Pirate Parade: Stylish Scallywags

It’s time for more pirates as we head into the final stretch of this piratical ReaperCon 2020! This group is pirates with style.

Barnabus front 450

This is one of three variants of Captain Barnabus Frost, who is one of the members of the pirate Consortium in the ReaperCon 2020 setting of Brinewind. I painted this years before the Brinewind guide was written, but I think it fits the character as described decently. Much more ruthless and cruel than you might imagine from his fine clothing and love for antiquities and historical lore.

Barnabus back 450

This version of Barnabus was sculpted by Bobby Jackson, based on concept art by Izzy “Talin” Collier. You can get the Brinewind guide as a separate purchase or part of the Brinewind Box, but only while supplies last. There is talk that it will be made available as a PDF, as well, and I’m crossing my fingers for that. The Brinewind guide includes Talin’s art of this and several other characters.

Barnabus right 450

I enjoy that this is sculpted as a character who is out to rule the seas, but look good doing it. You may notice that Barnabus above and Kalonice below have similar colour schemes – purple, teal, and red-brown. I will admit this is a favourite scheme of mine. For a few years around the time that Kalonice was painted, I had used it a lot. I had gotten out of the habit and wanted to visit with an old friend at the time I painted Barnabus.

Kalonice front 600

Every now and then even the most critical artist produces something they’re pleased with. Kalonice is one of those figures for me. She felt like a bit of a jump up in my skills at the time I painted her. She’s not perfect, and there’s plenty I’d do differently if I were painting her today, but I’m still pretty happy with her. I still use her face as my avatar picture on the Reaper forums!

Kalonice back 600

Although this looks like a simple base, it was challenging for me. How do you make broken pottery was one thing I wrestled with. I did some research on what the spilled wine would look like by pouring some juice out on our counter. As I think about it, I think I need to go back to trying to experiment with things like that and studying more from life and reference photos!

Rb pirate front 400

I don’t know the name of this character. I think he’s from the Rum & Bones board game. He has a great dynamic pose where he’s twisting his body in the motion of throwing the knives, but as is sometimes the case with dynamic poses, it’s challenging to photograph.

Rb pirate back2 400

I started painting him at the CMON Expo paint and take table a few years ago. Then I used him to test some of the colours I was thinking of using on the succubi figures. By that point I figured I might as well finish him up!

Rb pirate face 400

His colour choices are maybe a little flashy for a grunt level pirate, but I had fun!

Figures in this Post

This version of Barnabus is available in metal. There is a variant version in plastic Bones. And a newly available new envisioning in metal.
Kalonice was a licensed miniature from the Exalted line and is no longer available for purchase. 
A variant version of Kalonice is available in metal.
The Rum & Bones figure is a member of the Wellsport crew.

Pirate Parade: A Motley Crew

ReaperCon 2020 has begun! You can sign up for classes, enjoy the Twitch streams, come hang out and chat in the Discord, or start painting things to enter in the Showcase or Quad Color Clash to try to win some gift certificates.

I am getting into the pirate theme spirit by sharing some of the pirate figures I’ve painted over the years. There ended up being more than I thought!

Mousling pirate front 400

This adorable rascal is out to steal your heart and your gold!

Mousling pirate back 400

The base was made by layering a sandy texture paste over the integral base he comes on.

Dwarf pirate front 400

Some years ago I was asked to participate in the Ace of Aces charity event. Prominent painters come together for a frantic hour of speed painting, and the collection of figures is auctioned off to support the Gen Con charity of the year. The only trouble was… I hardly ever speed paint. I am a sllloooowwwwww painter. Even more so back then. Since this was for charity, I didn’t want to make too poor a showing. So I started to practice speed painting. Took me a while to get something decent in less than an hour, but I finally managed it. This dwarven pirate was one of my practice pieces. And then did double duty in our role-playing game sessions.

Dwarf pirate back 400

I’ve been working on getting more conversant with making videos to prepare for ReaperCon classes, and I was thinking that it might be interesting if I do a few videos where I take speed painted figures or older figures that I have lying around and demonstrate how I would touch them up to improve them and address issues with the paint jobs. Let me know if you think that sounds interesting!

Skeleton pirate face 600

Last up is the skeleton pirate manning a cannon. Those of you conversant with cannons probably noticed that something is a little off here…

Skeleton pirate left 600

Yep, the cannon is assembled backwards. I’d like to blame it on his being a literally brainless skeleton, but it’s the painter who is brainless. :-> This was painted for an old contest that used to run in the Wyrd Games forums, Iron Painter. 

Skeleton pirate right 600

This figure looks like another candidate for some repainting to me. The painting on the cannon is solid (it’s based on pictures of real cannons that I found), but surely there’s a way to add some interest to this super boring base, and make the skeleton look more weathered and worn. And maybe spruce up the light from the flame a little bit! (That cannon is pinned and glued, so that mistake I have to live with. :->)

ReaperCon Badge

If you have questions about any of my ReaperCon events, feel free to contact me here, or through my artist chat channel on Discord. I hope you have a great weekend!

Figures in this Post

The Mousling pirate is available as part of a three pack of metal figures.
Gruff Grimcleaver is available with a pistol in plastic, or as a pirate cook in metal
The Soulcannon is available in metal.

Female Mage with Staff

Dark Sword just released 14 new miniatures into their web store, and I’m pleased to be able to share my work on one of them, an adventuring mage.

old mage front

I was interested in painting this figure for a few different reasons. The main one is that she seemed like a great representation of the idea of what if you had a character concept that was kind of Gandalf, but as a woman, which is something we don’t see too much in fiction or in miniature. The sultry young sorceress, yes. The withered old crone, yes. But a wise and powerful older wizard who happens to be a woman, not so much. I get excited to see as wide array of character types as possible in all settings, and there are some great ones in this latest Dark Sword release.

fmage right

One of the other reasons I was excited was that the way her cloak is sculpted was a great opportunity to try out the leather painting technique I’ve been experimenting with. I went into that in a bit more detail on a previous post about painting a Dark Sword archer. I learned the technique in a workshop with Fernando Ruiz. There aren’t too many in person workshops and classes happening right now since we all need to stay safe, but keep your eye out for online learning opportunities! ReaperCon is coming up and class registrations have opened. There are also a wealth of painting and sculpting live and recorded classes and sessions on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon. (Or if you’re too exhausted to work on learning a skill right now, that is also an absolutely valid way to feel!)

fmage back

A third thing that interested me was the opportunity to paint grey hair. I love painting hair, but I haven’t paint a lot of grey hair, particularly on a female miniature. (I did have fun painting a whole shades of grey miniature painting Maester Luwin for Dark Sword some years ago.) I don’t think I’ve painted a figure with this ringlet style hair, either, and that was fun!

fmage left

I painted this miniature in late February/early March this year. 2019 was my ‘year of chaos’. Between planned renovations and unplanned renovations following a minor flood, our entire lives had been in upheaval for some time. It was all a blur of packing stuff away, moving it around, and rushing off to conventions. By the time I painted this figure things had settled down some and we were trying to get back on track, but convention season was already starting up, and then everyone in the world started experiencing upheaval.

fmage face

Because of the upheaval I wasn’t able to take any work-in-progress pictures or document much of the process with this one. Jim asked if I could add a few grasses or plants to the base, and I would still like to do that. And as soon as I find the box I packed the grasses and vegetation basing supplies into I will! (I found the box with a lot of other basing supplies and I’ve even tried to organize it, but some things are still at large in our basement. We’re working on it!)

Wiz front 400

The very talented Jennifer Haley also painted this miniature, so if you head over to the product page you can compare two different visions for the same figure. And see why Jen remains one of my miniature painting idols!

Quick-ish Paint: Stitch Thimbletoe

I chose miniature painting as a hobby in part because painted figures could be used in games, but I was attracted to the techniques and approach of display painting from the first. My initial attempts to learn drybrushing and washing were frustrating so I skipped ahead to learning layering after a couple of miniatures. I didn’t really start with a solid foundation in tabletop painting techniques or painting for speed.

Stitch face 400

Many years later I was asked to participate in the Ace of Aces charity speed painting contest at Gen Con. I spent some time practicing speed painting so I would be able to do a decent job for charity. A few years after that I worked on an unreleased project that wasn’t exactly standard tabletop painting, but was a lot closer to that than to display painting. I’m still no tabletop/speed painting wiz. I am regularly astonished by what people who are well-practiced at quick painting can produce in one or two hours! But I found I learned a lot from both experiences, and that what I learned could improve and inform my regular painting practice.

Stitch back 400Painted with the Pathfinder paints, which include some terrific pink and purple colours.

For a while now I’ve been meaning to do something like once a week take an hour or two to speed paint a mini. I didn’t quite do that with this figure, but it is something along those lines. I sat down with the intention of spending two hours, and ended up spending four hours or so, with a few touch ups the next day, so somewhere between five and six hours total. For me that is pretty speedy. :->

Stitch left 400

The figure is Stitch Thimbletoe, halfling thief. I painted it to use for my character for a long-running game with some of the other Reaper painters and sculptors. We play a few times a year when we meet in person. For years I used a half-painted female dwarf figure, and people at the table would forget that my character is a halfling. Stitch fit the character concept pretty well apart from being male, so I decided to go with that figure and assume that there are boyish build halfling women just as there are boyish build human women. I track the party treasure on my character sheet, so a figure holding a little sack was a perfect touch! 

If you’d like an idea of what it would be like to play with this group, a subset of us are playing a bimonthly game on the Reaper Twitch channel, and the first full session is up on YouTube now. The sessions are hosted by Frank at Knight Heart Gaming. Complete with fancy boards and thematic music! It is very cool. I should have another quick paint post up before too long because I’ll need to paint my character for that game if I want to be as cool as the other players. (Or not, since some of them also sculpted their own figures…)

Stich right 400

Stitch was sculpted by Bobby Jackson, who is one of the other players in the game. He loves halfling characters, and I think that shows through in this charming sculpt! The figure is sold with a small treasure chest. The other players in the game think we have a treasure chest amount of party treasure, but really we have more of a small sack amount, so I left the chest off my base. ;-> If you check Stitch out on the Reaper online store you’ll see the version that Brice Cocanur painted with a fantastic glowing sword effect as well as the chest.

Stitch forscale 700The knight is standard human scale. And also one of the figures I painted as speed paint practice!

I also used this as an opportunity to try out the new Pathfinder Paint colours. Most of the paints used were Pathfinder colours, with the addition of Blue Liner and the new Bones HD Elven Green for mixing darks. I think I used a little Palomino Gold for glazing the sack as well. I mixed my own greys for the sword and rocky base by mixing Elven Green with various of the dark pinks. (Mixing complementary colours like green and red creates interesting neutral colours that work well with the colours already on the figure.) Michael Proctor of Clever Crow Studio sculpted the base for me. He’s a terrific painter, and he’s sharing his wisdom in painting videos now!

Fool’s Gold

I’m still working on the post about my personal adventures in failure. In other news, the hotel block for ReaperCon 2020 is now open for reservations. If you’re not familiar with ReaperCon, it’s a great place for miniature fans of all companies to learn more about mini painting and sculpting, enter an all brands welcome contest, enjoy gaming, and much more.

And now, let us travel back in time to 2010. My title for this little diorama is Fool’s Gold.

Fool's Gold main angle

A few days ago Reaper Miniatures reached out to me to ask if I could send pictures of a diorama I did some years ago. The main figure in the diorama is Crazy Pete the Prospector. Crazy Pete is available for purchase, but he is also being featured as one of the gift with purchase options on the Reaper site.

Fool's Gold face view

I did have pictures, but they were from 2010, taken with an older camera with lower resolution. And colour corrected before I had a proper greyscale card. Taking new pictures was complicated by the fact that Crazy Pete had become detached from the base.

Fools left 800

I dug him out of my case and discovered that the damage wasn’t bad at all. Some glue and a few minutes touching up a little paint were all that was required to get the piece in shape for new pictures. I did a little bit of touching up, which I’ll go into more detail on below.

Fool's Gold vulture view

The vulture is also a Reaper miniature. If one vulture is not enough to meet your scavenger needs, Reaper now has a six pack of different vultures!

Fool's Gold mole view

The mole is not available for sale. I started off sculpting it on top of an armature made from a Reaper squirrel familiar. But I am pretty bad at sculpting, and was even worse in 2010. Luckily Jason Wiebe of Pariah Artworks came to my rescue and sculpted this great mole figure for me! The mole was very important to my vision for the scene, so I’m grateful he took pity on me. 

Fool's Gold

One of the things that makes this piece dear to my heart is that it was a collaborative effort with a lot of support from my friends on top of Jason’s sculpting addition. Clever Crow Michael Proctor shared the piece of bark to make the mountain/cave, and a lot of great tips for painting scenery and true metallics. Ali Liu and other artists gave me great feedback and advice on ways to make the story stronger, and helped push me to try the freehand and texturing. (Way back before that became such a thing as it is today!) I would probably have chickened out if not for all of the support.

Fool's Gold Original picture

Above is a copy of one of my original photos. The touch ups I did included making the lining stronger in a number of places, adding a few more highlights on the vulture, more gloss sealer on the spilled water, and increased shading on Crazy Pete, mostly his skin and boots. 

There are definitely some things I would do differently if I painted this piece today, but I’m still proud of it, and it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since I finished this one!