Happy New Year!

So it’s 2021 now, weird right? I will have been painting for 8 years this year and have come so far and don’t intend on stopping now. A couple posts ago I mentioned hobby resolutions. I have…many. I’m try to reign it in but it’s proving difficult.

I have two lists. One for hobby specific goals and one for hobby adjacent goals.

Hobby Goals:

  • Finish Ma’al Drakar
    • I came very close to this last year but Stuff (TM) got in the way. This might be the year it’s done!
  • Start Grimtalon
    • This is a gorgeous Roc mini by Reaper Miniatures from their Bones IV Kickstarter.
  • Baba Yaga’s Hut
    • A house. With chicken feet. Need I say more?
  • Eldritch Desert Diorama
    • I’m not sure I mentioned it last year but I started a diorama later in the year. It’s going to be a black and white film noir Lovecraft-esque thing.
  • Finish up Shadows of Brimstone that needs to be done.
  • Start painting Forbidden Fortress.
  • Finish up the minis started during ReaperCon Live 2020.
  • Clear some of the Shelf of Shame.
  • Participate in the Reaper Challenge League.
    • I’ll come back to this in a minute.

Hobby Adjacent Goals:

  • First I want to work on the blog.
    • I love being able to share things with y’all and, I feel, I’m not doing it enough.
  • Level up my photography skills.
  • Organize minis and paint
    • Lol, this may never happen well enough for me to be content.
  • Update the mini inventory spreadsheet.
  • Update the paint swatches and make sure they are inventoried.

Okay. That was a lot. But it is for the whole year so maybe I’ll get some things done.

Now, I mentioned the Reaper Challenge League. It’s a new thing that is happening on the Reaper Forums and Discord server. The only downside I have found is that you have to have a Discord account and be part of the server to participate.

I am going to attempt to do this for a while. I probably won’t make it the whole year with everything else I want to get done. But it’s a fun thing to try to challenge myself. It is NOT a contest. It’s purely a challenge to see how much you can get done. I’m using it to help me clear my backlog.

This is the link to the forum post with a ton more information: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/93204-reaper-challenge-league-2021/

I think that’s all I’ve got for now but looking forward to bringing some exciting things to y’all this year. In the meantime be safe, happy, and healthy.

Happy Painting,
~S

2020

This year has been a trip and it wasn’t one I planned for.

All told I painted about 36 minis this year. I can’t find an exact number because I did not write things down like I should have.

As it is the holidays I have broken out my Reaper Miniatures 2011 Sophie Christmas Ornament to hopefully paint before the end of the year.

For next year I have goals. I can’t say if they are big ones or not yet. I will have to think on them for a while before I can really say one way or the other. I will get my list of overall goals up sometime soon.

Lastly, I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

Happy Painting,
~S

Busy

I have been busy as of late and will be busy through next month.

I haven’t been painting, I’m a little burnt out so I’m switching gears for a while.

I’m going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I am going to, attempt, to write a novel or 50k(+?) words of a story in the month of November starting at midnight on the 1st ending at 11:59 on the 30th.

November for the past several years has been dedicated to Minivember but as I mentioned I need a break. I don’t know whether or not Minivember will be back next year as I want to try to get All Mini’s Eve sorted out.

Time will tell.

Just to reiterate, I’m not disappearing, just taking a break. I’ll be back soon!

Happy painting,

S

Personal Chat

I have been very busy as of late. Life just kind of hit the fan. A friend of mine from high school who I lost contact with a while ago passed away last week. Then on top of all that my migraines have been pure hell. But I am still doing a little hobby-ing.

Projects currently working:

Firstly.

I’m working on the embroidery for the All Mini’s Eve stuff and while it’s going it just going slowly. I’d /hoped/ so much that I would have had it all together by the beginning of the month and I could actually commence with putting it together and doing the project itself. But, alas, that did not happen.

I’m working on getting some more materials to get some of the finer detailed things embroidered. Should be able to get that this week.

Secondly.

I am working on a new diorama. It is on hold for now until I figure some things out but you can check those out over on the Reaper Miniatures forums. https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/93022-eldritch-desert-diorama/

I go a little more in depth with my process over there. If you’d like to see more of this type of content here let me know!

Thirdly.

I know this blog is a little neglected but it’s been a weird couple of years around here so I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to it as I would have liked. I’m hoping in the next few weeks I’ll get some content planned out more appropriately and posted in a timely manner. And again I apologize for lack of posting.

Lastly.

I may be starting a second blog that is not geared towards minis but geared towards the history and anthropology behind different food. I need to do a lot of research on this before I do it but it may become a thing that kicks me in the butt to at least get this in gear.

I think that’s all for now. As always:

Happy Painting,

S

Mini Tips Tuesday #2: Primers

For this Mini Tips Tuesday we’re going to be talking all about primers.

“What is a primer?”

Primer is a coat of paint that allows your subsequent layers of paint to adhere better. It will help keep your paint job more durable as well. Without primer paint will easily chip off and ruin your paint job.

“What kind of primers are there?”

There are many different types of primer but, for miniature painting, it can be broken down into three different types: spray-on, brush-on, and airbrush primers.

Spray-on primers come in rattle cans. They are very helpful for priming a lot of minis at once or priming something large. 

Brush-on is a primer that you use your paint brush to apply. Primers for an airbrush can, in most cases, be used as a brush on as well. 

Airbrush primer is designed to be sprayed through an airbrush.

“Do they come in different colors?”

Yes! 

Black is generally considered the standard color to go with. I, personally, have trouble seeing details with black primer so I will generally go for white or grey. Another reason I prefer white and grey over black is because I paint a lot of difficult colors. It is really hard to paint a solid yellow, red, or white base coat over black primer. 

However, hobby primers have come a long way as there are a plethora of other colors out there. Army Painter, for example, makes a whole line of colored primers meant to help you get your base coat done at the same time. 

Colored primers are good for models that have the same base color. This is especially good for things like armies of minis that will be based the same. It’s much easier to start with your base color on all of them than to use a black, white, or grey base and paint over that a thousand times. It saves time and paint. Along with colored primers there are metallic primers. These are exactly what they sound like, a colored metallic primer, it serves the same purpose as any colored primer.

Airbrush primers are made to be sprayed through an airbrush. These however are also usually a good enough consistency to be used as a brush-on application as well.

How do I get the best results from a primer?

Spray on primers generally have instructions on the can. You want to follow these very closely. If it’s too hot or too humid it will affect the way it dries. If you spray too closely you risk clogging up details. If you spray too far away you risk the primer drying before it hits the model and you’ll get a rough surface. You may want to spray in a box or something similar to avoid getting primer all over everything in the area you are spraying in. 

Brush-on primers don’t need special conditions to prime. It should be fine to just pour some out on a palette and use it. There are a couple things to note when using. Shake thoroughly before using and work at a steady pace. If you go too fast you run the risk of getting bubbles in the primer and it will create bubbles on the models. 

If you use too much primer, spray or brush-on, it will obscure details no matter how thin your coats are. 

“How do I choose a primer?”

You want a primer that will adhere to the material you are going to be painting. So if you’re painting plastic make sure you get something that notes it will stick to plastics. It’s even better if you know what kind of plastic you’re working with but it is not usually required. This applies to metal miniatures as well.

In any case, you will want a matte primer. Paint does not stick well to glossy primer. 

“What is Zenithal priming?”

Zenithal priming, or highlighting, is priming that gives the effect of the sun shining on the miniature at different angles. It helps you pre-shade a model. 

You will start with a mini primed in all black. Then from above use a very light dusting grey primer at about a 45 degree angle. Then from the very top you do a spray of white.  

When painting over a zenithal highlight you don’t want to use super opaque paint. Doing this will ruin the effect. While it is generally done by spraying it is possible to achieve a similar effect with dry brushing.

“What about Bones minis? Should you prime them?”

Before I give my answer I will preface this by saying this is what I do and suggest, personally. It is a hugely debated topic.

First, it is possible to paint Bones without priming but it can be difficult due to the hydrophobic nature of the material..

Second, I do not prime, kind of. I use the liner paints that Reaper Miniatures makes as a primer. I like brown and blue. You can use these straight out of the bottle or with a drop or two of water without issue. Any more water than that and you run the risk of the chance of it beading up and running off.

I do not recommend aerosol primarily for one reason. Some, not all, of the spray-on primers will cause the mini to become tacky and sticky. This may or may not ever dry. It can also cause the mini to seem to be dried well at first but then later on will become tacky sometimes after you’ve already painted it.

I highly recommend that if you feel you must prime Bones to either use a liner paint, brush-on primer, or primer sprayed through an airbrush. 

But, to each their own I say. 

As always happy painting,

-S

Mini Tips Tuesday #1: Brush Care

It’s here! Our very first Tuesday Tips. I’ll be doing this on the first Tuesday of each month. (Apologies for being a day late, I had some technical issues to fix.)

First up is brush care! It is one of the most important things in painting. There is a lot to know and consider when it comes to care. 

“Why is brush care so important anyway?”

Brush care is important because if you don’t care for them properly or at all you will be going through brushes like they’re nothing. Some brushes, especially real hair brushes, can run upwards of $20USD for one brush. So like all of your tools you will want to keep them in working shape. You can be a little rougher on brushes that are meant for jobs that may be for dry brushing and similar painting techniques. A little extra care after painting is probably the most important thing. Not only will it save you hassle later one but it will save you money.

“What should I do to prepare my brushes for painting?”

When you first get your brushes you will want to clean them before you even start painting. Many manufacturers will put a glue of sorts in the bristles. This is to keep them from fraying and getting ruined in transit to you. Most paint brush companies will put a plastic tube over the tip for extra protection. Warm, not hot, water should suffice but if you want to use a soap as well then do it.

“What should I do while I paint to keep them in working order?”

While you are painting there are several things you can do to keep brushes in good shape. One thing to do is never let paint get up into the ferrule(the metal bit that holds the bristles to the handle). If you see the paint start getting too far up the bristles stop what you are doing and rinse as well as you can. If paint dries in the ferrule it can cause the bristles to split and splay out. If it gets to that point you will want to use a restorer to fix it. 

Next, if you are using paints from pots, use a cheap brush to move paint from the pot to the palette. You will want to use this brush or another cheap one to also mix and/or thin your paint. These two things are very hard on brushes. If you don’t want to use another brush for mixing just use the other end of the handle to stir it up. It is also a good idea to rinse your brush frequently, even if using the same color. This will help keep paint out of the ferrule. Also, never leave your brush sitting tip down in your water cup. This will cause the bristles to bend and become misshapen. Pick a specific brush for dry brushing. This is very rough on brushes and can ruin them quickly. Speaking of separate brushes you can use a different brush for metallic paint which can be harder on brushes than other paints.  Lastly, and this is a big one don’t let paint dry on your brushes, this again will make them unusable. 

“What do I do after painting?”

Always use warm, not hot, water to rinse well after a session. Many paint brushes have wax inside the ferrule that keeps it attached to the handle. This can loosen up over time if you use hot water regularly. After your initial rinse use your brush soap and gently massage it into the bristles. Rinse and repeat this until the water runs clear. Once it is clean use a little bit of the soap to reshape your brush and let it dry. This will not only condition your brushes but will keep them in the proper shape and will most likely keep it from splaying out. Of course you want to remember to wash it out before you start your next painting session.

“What kind of product(s) do I use to clean my brushes?”

There are many, many, many types of cleaners out there for cleaning your paint brushes. The most common thing I have seen recommended is Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. This works as both a soap and a conditioner. If you have real hair brushes it is highly advised to use something that is both. For synthetic brushes you can get away with just a soap. I would also strongly suggest you get a soap specifically for brushes and not just use whatever you have lying around the house. For this post I’m going to focus on two types of soap. The Masters soap and Pink Soap. 

Masters soap is a hard puck, like a bar of soap, that comes in a small tub. For these purposes you probably don’t need more than a 1 or 2.5 ounce tub. It is intended to help clean after a painting session and then to be left in after cleaning as a conditioner. 

Pink Soap is a liquid soap and conditioner. I find it has similar cleaning abilities as the Masters soap but I feel it’s a little easier to work with in some cases because it is a liquid.

“How often should I clean them?”

It is recommended that you wash them every time you are done painting. The cleaner your brushes are when you start a painting session the better your brushes will work for you. 

“What is a brush restorer and how do I use it?”

Brush restorer is when you need to clean paint out of a ferrule. I’ll talk about the Winsor and Newton brush restorer. It is a water based cleaner that you soak your brushes in for a short amount of time. You want to ONLY soak the brush tip and the very end of the ferrule. If you get this on the handle or anything with paint on it it will strip that away. In some cases getting it on the handle will leave the paint tacky and rendering the brush unuseable. You also want to make sure that you use this in a glass container because it can melt plastic.

To use, pour some restorer into your glass jar first. Then you will set up your brushes so the tips won’t rest on the bottom of the jar, this will make them misshapen. I have found you only want to soak in 5 minute intervals. The bottle says to soak them overnight, I have done this and ruined more than one brush. After 5-ish minutes you will want to gently push the ferrule against a clean paper towel and pull towards you. Do this several times and then rinse with warm water. Then you may repeat pulling it across the paper towel. Once no more paint is coming out you should rinse the brush thoroughly to make sure all of the restorer is out of the bristles and then make sure to use a conditioner to restore the oils, in natural hair brushes, keeping them in working condition. 

There are other types of restorers out there. Such as the Mona Lisa Brush Shaper. This works more or less like a conditioner. You put some in after cleaning and then shape the tip and let dry. It seems to work well on brushes that are pretty beat up. It can’t save everything though.

A New Thing and a Special Project

So first up is the special project I’ve been working on for ages. It is still very much a WIP but here are some pics to tide you over until it’s done!

Reaper Miniatures Ma’al Drakar
(minus wings and terrain)

Those are some quick photos of the eyes, which still need a little refining, and a dry fit to see how the heads look together.

Now for the new thing. I’ve been Doing a thing on Instagram for a few weeks where every Tuesday I briefly talk about tips that I have found or been given over the years. I am going to expand this into a little bit of a larger format.

So, for now, the first Tuesday of each month will be Tips Tuesday here. I will take the tip or tips I post about and expand those into a more indepth blog post. This will be starting in July or August of 2020.

I’m hoping that this new thing will help me get back into blogging about the other topics I had started that got derailed because of Life(tm).

I hope to be able to share with y’all some cool stuff and be more active here, I know I’ve been neglecting it for a while and I’m sorry for that. Anyway, looking forward to new things! Here’s to the second half of this year and beyond!

Happy Painting!

-S

Projects

I’ve been crazy busy. I feel bad for neglecting the blog but I’ve simply had no time. Hopefully, things will settle down soon and I can get back to semi-regular posts.

I’m working on two very large projects but I can’t post them currently as they are a surprise. I am still working on my Fire Giant commission. I need to have some nice weather so I can prime bits of the base. Then I need to actually paint the base. But after that I can send it off to it’s home!

Here’s some sneak peeks from one of the secret projects and a mini I finished and assembled but have yet to base.

Sana from Hasslefree Miniatures

Quarantine

So, I haven’t left the house in…a while. I am at a higher risk for all of this going on because I have pretty bad asthma. I’ve been painting quite a bit but pretty quiet about it since some of it is a surprise for a game group. Here’s a couple pictures of my most recent small project that I finished as a challenge to get me out of a painting rut.

I’ve gotten some small stuff done and even a commission since I last updated. I’m currently working on a larger commission of a Fire Giant Jailor from Reaper Miniatures. Here are a couple pics of that work in progress.