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Preview: Carmen's fun painty time

Carmen's Fun Painty Time

28mm and 40mm scale painting and building, projects, tutorials and tips. Visit my links, too; Lots of good fun to be found on the Internet!

Updated: 2018-03-15T14:30:13.445-05:00


Santa for Zombicide Black Plague


 In my previous post, I showed some of the themed teams we use for Zombicide Black Plague; I also mentioned some of our custom survivors; here is my favorite customized survivor: Santa!!
If you have a little bit of skill with green stuff, here are the few steps I took to make Santa -- there was no cutting or bending; it was all adding, sculpting and painting.
I started with Arnaud from the hero box. He has that great ornate tunic. And I like his torch as an homage to fireplaces. Along with his beard, hat and fringe, I also gave him some longer Viking hair in the back, as well as a backpack and a small tribute to his bag of toys.

BUT OF COURSE, I will be giving Santa his own group: Santa and the Elves.

Zombicide Black Plague: Themed teams


My girlfriend and I have been playing a LOT of Zombicide Black Plague lately, so much so that we make our own scenarios and create many of our own characters.One thing we like to do a lot of is to create and use teams of survivors based on a theme. Here are a few of those (there are more, but for another day):My personal favorite, the barbarian males. We don't play zombie wolves, so we house rule Jorvak there with"ironclad: Runner" instead of "ironclad: Zombie wolves."The barbarian ladies simply lay waste to any horde in front of them. We love this group almost as much as our dwarves.We love creating custom survivors (and using crossovers).  The bear starts with a double-axe, and the dwarf brewer starts with a dog! (I should have put a dog in there, darnit)A Shortage of Dwarves: We love this group (we take only 6 at a time.) They play great, too!The knights look fine but don't seem to fare as well in a game together; might just be our playing style getting in the way.[...]

40mm Samurai


Over the past few months, I've commissioned three more figures through Steve Barber Models. I look forward to adding them to my 40mm Japanese collection.I have plenty of samurai, so the last few (and next couple) commissions have been of civilians. The first of these recent three is a woodsman resting with his ax to the ground, bound with a protective, woven blade cover. All those other samurai have plenty of grimacing and other war faces expressed in their sculpting, so I chose to have my woodsman smiling.I've also commissioned a peasant women carrying a pack. I always look for opportunities for conversions with these commissions, so the woman will have a separate, empty-handed arm, so that a tool or bucket can be placed in it. Steve and I also talked and mentioned she could be holding the hand of a young child. Always plenty of ideas.Steve also sculpted two separate different pack options for her: A basket full of persimmons to be sold at market, or a bundle of firewood (with which she could make a good companion piece with the woodsman.) The woodsman also has a separate pack that can probably be used with the peasant woman. So between the pack options and the open hand, you could get three or four of these figures, and convert each one into a completely different personage.Next up will be a figure commonly seen in most Japanese/samurai miniature collections: The Komuso Monk. Now here's the thing. It seems there are quite a few 28mm komuso (and Komuso in gaming/pulp art) who carry a sword -- one of the monks in the upcoming Rising Tides game, for example. As the legend/myth goes, the costume was a great way for samurai/ninja/operatives to sneak up or observe the enemy unnoticed.No, I want my komuso to actually be a monk, simply zenning out on his shakuhachi. All my other monks are already armed to the teeth, so I'm letting this fellow walk in peace. No sword will be included.(Maybe I'm way off course here; Any historians out there? Did some Komuso carry a sword? It also seems, if you're using the costume as a disguise, the sword might give you away. Really, I'm only going on what I've seen -- I admittedly haven't read to much on the subject. But I know enough that the sculpt without a sword will be just fine.)And here are some more photos of my current collection for you to enjoy :)[...]

The early steps


Except for the 40mm samurai I get from Steve Barber Models, I've only been painting plastic figures these days, and mostly those from board games; it's nice to actually get to use your creations sometimes rather than letting them get dusty on display (my 40mm metal samurai are in a closed case; no dust for them!) 
A lot of these boardgames I've been painting or painted (Conan, Zombicide, Mice and Mystics, Space Cadets Away Missions) have a nice group of heroes and usually a ton of enemy minions to paint. It's the minions that are usually the daunting part to paint.

The enemy minions in Conan have colored bases to differentiate the units.
I'm taking this color and applying it to the clothing to emphasize the units on
the board. This is what my first step looks like when drybrushing the first
couple of layers onto my figures. Later, I will use black to clean up the areas
where there should be no drybrushed color and paint the figures as usual.
The pirate to the left will be blue, and the one to the right will be orange.
Zombicide was easy -- It was just a lot of drybrushing a few layers of gray; 300 figures finished in about 4 hours (over a couple sittings.) With Space Cadets, I went a little more hybrid, painting a monochromatic hue, but painting heads and hands green to add a splash of color to the aliens. Mice and Mystics had fewer minions, so I actually took a little extra time with them (and that collection looks great for the patience.) 

With Conan, I'm using the same drybrushing technique as with Zombicide, but that is simply to lay down the basic/dominant colors. Next, I will use black paint to clean up the edges, and then I'll paint the skin in three or four layers (as per my usual basic technique), and details such as belts, bags, weapons, and such. It will take a little longer than usual, but that first two or three layers of drybrushing the dominant color certainly jumpstarts the process.

And what I'm finding out about myself is that I'm more willing to paint a figure that already has color on it than one that is sitting, covered with nothing but primer.

Dice towers


One of the perks of moving into a new (for me) house, is having a little extra space. I have a little space to do some woodworking. So, of course, the first thing I made were these dice towers and tray. The tower to the left is solid (non-foldable) but has some character; the staining didn't go as planned, but it looks old and distressed -- at least in person.

The larger tower has a lot of baffles inside, and gives the dice a lot of action, taking almost one full second for the dice to reach the bottom (that doesn't sound like a long time, but it is. Is it?)

As a perk, in using standard wood sizes (I wanted to cut as little as possible), the tower and two dice trays really did fit together like that. I shit you not :)

Zombicide Black Plague: STILL not done


A game such as Zombicide is great because the zombies paint up fast (at least for me when I paint them monochromatically), and you only need a few characters painted to play -- Ok, ok, you don't NEED to paint anything to play -- but really, you do ;)I've had quite a few survivors painted -- more than enough to play -- but after introducing Elizabeth to the game, she warmed up to quickly to the gameplay. This inspired me to paint a few more survivors. So here they are along with a few notes and random information.I still have a score or more of survivors left to paint, but these represent the last of my "favorite" survivors. Elizabeth and I even like to make our own custom characters to take to war against the zombies (that's while you see the random Conan and Bossonian archer figure among the photos below.)The Critchlow box didn't interest me at first, and then I finished painting it, and now it's one of my top two(along with the Adrian Smith box)Elizabeth and I love to take "themed" teams of survivors into the fray, including all-female, armored knights,and this group of dwarves only. In fact, we've decided this is a whole family -- I forget right now who was relatedto whom, but I know that's Uncle Thundergut on the far right.The Gipi box was my early favorite. Not much anymore, but still great figures. Celia, though, is a greatcharacter to have in a game (she comes with heal, I think.)Most of our "armored" survivors themed team. Mostly figures from Jovem Nerd, plus Mizar from the Bonner box.Bossonian archer and Conan -- extra figures I got from eBay specifically to play in Zombicide as custom survivors.And then there's Gaak who I didn't know how to classify yet. Maybe the dwarves will let him play with them.I don't own Heroquest, but I own Zombicide. These are various pieces from Conan and Reaper. We actually don'tuse the chests anymore as objectives, instead using the furniture as themed objectives. We have house rules on howto use these (including when there are hidden colored objectives,) but it's too long to explain here; I just wanted to showoff all our fun scenery -- and Blackheart the wizard.[...]



The basic heroes. Don't tell the Cimmerian I called him basic.I finally got around to painting my vast collection of Conan figures (by Monolith). Previous large projects (Zombicide, Space Cadets: Away Missions) were approached based on which figures I felt like painting first. With Conan, I decided to prioritize figures based on what I needed to play the base scenarios. The first scenario required Picts, so I counted how many and started painting! I also painted the basic heroes (except for Belit for whom I chose a different figure, at least, than is suggested for the scenario.) I painted more Picts than I needed, but now I can play almost all the pict-related scenarios.  I also painted up Baltus and Slasher -- no game can involve Picts that doesn't have the option of adding that duo (my favorite supporting characters in all the Conan stories.)A princess alongside Baltus and his companion, Slasher.Next up will be pirates and Bossonian archers, then some city guard (as well as the random character here and there.) That will complete the base game figures. Then there are kickstarter figures and expansion box figures. Still quite a bit of material, but I hope to get the base game done before my next large kickstarter arrives: Rise of Moloch. Lots to paint there, too.And here are some Picts!Pict hunters. I paint the bases instead of using the "clip-ons" to reduce wear and tear.I don't remember if I need these for the first scenario or not, but I painted them nonetheless.Hyenas, though, I can't remember where they were in the Conan stories.Of course, you'll need Zogar Sag to unite the clans.A mainstay of Conan's world: The giant snake.[...]

Where I've been (Plus: Tokaido!)


The short version
Met a woman. Moved in with her. We paint, we game, we love.

Long version
My prolific blogging on the past stemmed from the fact that I had a dedicated space for photographing completed minis. My girlfriend (her name is Elizabeth) will let me have that space in our home, but with all the new distractions (we love to play board games together!) I just hadn't gotten around to setting it up. I did have the day off and took some photos of a few projects completed in the past few months (not a lot of figures from what I'm used to, but the painting slowly but surely continues.) So I'll be putting together a few posts over the next week catching you all up to at least my more recent projects.

By the way, I do get email notifications if anyone comments on my blog, so I still reply to questions and queries here, so feel free to comment on anything on the blog, no matter how old the post; I'll see it :)


One of the wonderful things about Elizabeth is her willingness to take on new creative hobbies. I introduced her to minis painting, and the first thing she painted were most of these figures for Tokaido. I had intended to paint most of them, letting her choose two or three favorites to paint, but she ended up painting a lot of these while I was at work. It was a pleasant surprise to see her progress through these.

I prepared the figures the same as I do for all plastic figures: Prime with Army Painter (I prefer black), brush on a layer of black craft paint (Delta Cermacoat) to add some tooth and to provide an easy-to-see matte surface, paint as usual. We used the character cards from the game for reference and painted the figures using those colors. The figures turned out great and really take on a quality that fits the look of the game. Elizabeth did great.

We're both looking forward to the soon-to-be-released Matsuri figures for Tokaido -- another set of 16 figures. I expect Elizabeth will paint most of those, too. I have no problem with that :)

By the way, here's the new set-up. Still much the same, and nice and cozy:

Zombicide Black Plague: Scenery and random figures


Well, first of all, I should probably explain my months-long absence. It's an easy explanation: I'm in a new relationship -- my first serious relationship, and she's wonderful. Not much more to say about that; I'm sure you've all been there :)

Anyway, I also finally got back to some painting, including these pieces of scenery I made for my copy of Zombicide: Black Plague. The doors and the chests are actually from my Conan Kickstarter; I specifically ordered extra copies of the doors and scenery so that I could have these for ZPB.

The chests I'm using as objective markers, and beneath each is painted a red "X," except for the two (one each) blue and green objectives. I had an extra, so I also created a yellow objective. I also-also painted extra chests using the objective colors for custom scenario ideas (where the objectives would be know, for example.)

I also painted up a few characters from a couple of the ZPB guest artist boxes. I still have a few ZPB figures yet to paint (at least of those I WANT to paint -- I have plenty more that will stay in storage, unpainted for the time being.) Hopefully, it won't be three months again before I get around to painting again.

Zombicide Black Plague: A couple randoms


My friends I played a bunch of Zombicide Black Plague this week, so I picked up a couple random survivors to finish (they already had a couple colors on them.) This is Theo and Genevieve. I like these sculpts for their simple designs -- sure, they have a few extra details, but they're not over-the-top, leaping off rocks, unfeasible armor, giant weapons, etc.

I'm still waiting for some guest boxes to arrive (which I pre-ordered, but should have just bit the bullet and added during the Kickstarter campaign -- oh well.)

I'm still in book illustration mode, so the minis painting has taken a back seat. Hopefully, I'll have the illustrations finished and few more minis (Tail Feathers and a few more Zombicide) painted by the end of October. That's when Conan the board game is supposed to arrive! I've been looking forward to that one for a long while.

It rained


It rained, so I sketched from the window of the coffee shop I was at.
Also, I picked up a second copy of Tail Feathers (by Plaid Hat Games.) Now, I can play four-player games, and I also have enough ground troops to where I can devote some exclusively to Mice and Mystics (you can trade in one character fro three Oakguard.) A year or two ago, I bought a second copy of the Mice and Mystics figures when they were being sold, so I also have M&M figures devoted to Tail Feathers. Really, I should just put together a Big Box to hold everything.

I also saw a copy of Downwood Tales in the clearance section of my FLGS, so I might go pick that up soon just to have the extra little baddies with which I can began to houserule a Mice and Mystics mass battle system.

But mostly, I just want to paint more cute, little animals. Anyway, here's that drawing of the rain.

Minis break; Art time!


I've taken a break from minis painting while I practice/prepare to work on my first children's book. So the blog will be a little quiet for the time being. Here's some art to hold you over :)

Dakka Jet!


It's (mostly) finished. I still need to get the base together, but the business part of the whole sh'bang is done! I also still plan to do some kind of art on the tail, but I want to plan that out a little more. I also plan to write the pilot's name somewhere on the jet, perhaps some kill markings and such, too.FYI, the cockpit location on my jet does not come in the box that way; I had to cut away some fuselage with a saw and get the pilot and control panel to fit with a bit of cutting and filing. I lucked out and got everything to fit almost perfect. The large intake and extra pipes came from a Wazzbomma parts eBay purchase and don't come with the Dakkajet (not the version you get in the Storm Cloud box set, anyway.)I'm happy with my little jet. Enough firepower to annihilate all foes, a big-ass engine to go fasta, a suitably personal yet orky-enough paint job, and enough conversion work to make this one my own.Now, he's probably going to need a wingman.I'll have to get some proper photos later, but here are a bunch of random hand-held angles.[...]

Zombicide: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?


I finished a few figures for Zombicide Black Plague, including the prized Monty Python and Holy Grail figures. Now, to help skirt copyright, the sculptors changed a few minor things (heraldic devices and such,) and I didn't bother converting any of it back to the "original," but they still look good and everyone knows who they are :)

I also finished Dr. Stormcrow who I added, along with Klom, to my Chronicles of Hate group to complete a full 6-survivor group to take into games. This group's theme seems to be "Survivors who actually WANT to fight the zombies."

I'm still working on the Dakka Jet -- it's almost built. I finished painting the pilot today (forgot to take a picture!) I'm still trying to think of painting ideas for it.

Dakka dakka dakka!!! Almost. Just started.


The engine is so big, I had to move the pilot to the wayback.
A friend of mine and I split the cost of a copy of Games Workshop's new Storm Cloud to play. He took the eldar crimson hunter, and I took the dakka jet.
As you can see, I'm totally trickin' out my ride -- it's BOSS!!

I made a separate eBay purchase for a few spare parts (namely that giant blower up front, as well as plenty of extra pipes.) I don't have any other orks, so I was only going to get this dakkajet model if I knew I could make the engine big and imposing enough that my one and only ork purchase would sound like an entire army.

It's not obvious in this snapshot, but I also moved the cockpit way to the back -- I wanted sort of a layout like that of the Gee Bee racing plane. It took some cutting, but the result worked out well (as you'll see in the future when I finish construction and painting.

As for the painting, I'm not quite sure what scheme to do. I don't want to do a traditional ork scheme. I was originally going to do all silver with a giant red nose, but now I'm thinking of some sort of matte color, so I can emphasize the chrome/metal pipes on the nose. I'll figure out something, but I need to finish construction first. The process continues!



Oh man, has it already almost been a week since I posted Klom? Well here is some more art from my pile until I can get some minis painted. Speaking of which, I'm one Tim the Enchanter away from finishing all my Zombicide Python/Grail figures. I COULD post them now, but I want to post them when the whole gang is done. Anyway --art....

I painted cheesecake using my Vallejo acrylics -- Vallejo works
great for canvas painting (though, it could get expensive if I did
it all the time.) Mmm, cheesecake. Now, I want cheesecake.
I used my Pentel Pocket Brush pen to doodle this on a PostIt Note while
I had a sandwich at the local Subway until the rain stopped.

"You kids get the hell off my Medieval lawn!"

Some more art, why not.


Here are some random pieces of other art I've done in the past month. The first one here I was trying to go more cartoony (more in the style of Patsy back there), but it came out somewhat nice.

Next is a little 2x3 inch doodle in pencil of our favorite Frenchman.

The last one is a self portrait of me as a medieval brute/warrior; Sir Cumference of Inkwell (done with a ball pen/gel ink.)

Zombicide Black Plague: Klom


Here is Klom the ogre for Zombicide Black Plague. He's a beefy figure sitting on an almost undersized 35mm base (the normal Zombicide base is 25mm.)

Yep, he's a big'un.
There was a lot going on with this sculpt so it was difficult to keep the painting clean. This is one of the reasons I don't like most sculpts these days; they're over-sculpted with gobs of detail, and my painting skills can't make that bullshit work. But I plowed through and got Klom finished.

Maybe I should have left the checkers alone and done a simple, one-colored hoody?
Speaking of checkers, those were actually the easiest to do!
Steo One: Paint the hoody white.
Step Two: Use a micron pen (size .005) to literally draw the checker pattern onto the hoody.
Step Three: Fill in every other square with black. You can add highlights or stop there.

In the past, I hadn't used this technique because I wasn't sure how the varnish would react with the micron pen ink. But since I don't varnish my plastic figures, there were no worries of what might happen.

This is the guy who makes balloon animals
for the kids at the Farmers Market.
Next up: I have some light grey/white drybrushed onto my Grail figures (and brown for Tim, of course.) Not sure how long those will take with my hands dipped in so many other art projects these days.

Tomorrow (Saturday), I'm headed to the Farmers Market to draw free portraits behind the guy who charges $20 for crappy caricatures. OK, I won't that mean of a troll, maybe I'll charge a couple bucks.

More art ...


... But I DO have a couple minis under the brush, so I'll get something posted in the next few days.
Until then, here are a sword-and-board mouse and University President Pig.

Some more 2D art


I'm still in a small minis-painting hiatus while I paint with my watercolors. I painted up a lich for my friend Jeff. I also did this fighter for myself to try out a couple colors and styles.

In the meantime, I've also put together a watercolor set specifically aimed at doing portraits (something I'm working on to earn some cash on the side.) I think I'm actually pretty good at drawing portraits, but I still need a little work painting them (in watercolor); that's one of the reasons for the minis hiatus -- I'm teaching myself those things I still need to learn :)

The hiatus may end soon, though, as I've finally primed all the minis from my copy of Deathwatch Overkill. There might be some genestealer cultists in the near future (also, maybe a dakkajet!)

Mouse the slayer


When I'm not painting minis, it's probably because I'm busy with other art. This is one of the many randoms I've drawn/painted the past couple days.

Everyday, I try to do at least one piece of art or finish one or more minis. I took a short minis break after finishing the Adrian Smith box set; I'm still trying to decide what to paint next. I also just might need a short break; I've been painting the hell out of minis the past couple months.

Zombicide Black Plague: Chronicles of Hate


These are the Zombicide: Black Plague survivors from the Adrian Smith Guest Artist Box. They are characters from his Chronicles of Hate graphic novel (which I'm not familiar with yet, but hope to pick up soon, especially with volume 2 on the verge of release.)

They are probably the most difficult to paint of all the survivors; there was a LOT of details everywhere on each figure. I started the painting by giving the whole group a drybrushing of dark brown. That first layer provided me with two things: It helped bring out the detail, picking out smaller details otherwise hidden in the fur capes or among multitudes of leather straps, and it also provided a first layer of color to build on -- drybrushing with brown essentially finished all the leather straps! (And there were a lot of'em.)

Drybrushing was followed with painting the flesh (I used the Foundry Flesh 5 triad -- my favorite.) And then I did all the metal bits -- armor and medallions. Loin cloths, weapons, accessories, skulls and clean-up followed. It feels good to get this group finished, being both difficult to paint and my favorite looking Zombicide survivors of any (Black Plague or Modern.) I can't wait to get them on the board, though, I'll need to paint a couple companions to round out a 6-person crew. I think Klom the ogre and Dr. Stormcrow will fit this group well enough.

I'm not sure what to paint next (if not Kloma nd Stormcrow). I've got a lot of stuff going all at once on the table, and I'm happy that I'm able to get a little of each done every day, now. I have the Monty Python Holy Grail figures primed (but I'll need to get some photo reference,.) I also have plenty of my Warhammer Empire troops primed and based and ready to paint. Then there are the "ladies in sensible shoes" adventurers which paint up fast. That's just the stuff that's ready to paint -- there's a helluva lot to prime!

40mm Samurai: Retinue


I've had these 40mm figures from Steve Barber's samurai range for months and only now finally finished them. There was a lot of planning with these, to get the individual figures assembled and prepared/fitted/aligned to carry the kago/palanquin, to get the kago/palanquin itself assembled and painted (I assembled it incorrectly, by the way; it should have a peaked roof,) and then of course to get a scheme planned and everything painted. And all of this occurred during a time in my life when painting minis was the last thing on my mind.

Fast forward a few months, and I'm currently experiencing a resurgence of minis painting. I saw these guys sitting off to the side and pulled them back to the table. Now, my entire samurai collection is once more complete.

I would like to assemble and paint one more kago, but before I do, I might commission a sculpt of a noble to sit inside -- the opposite side has an open window which was planned for the future commission. It still might be a while until I commission another sculpt, but the rider is a strong contender to be the next. I think in the coming months/years, my next commissions will be various Edo period civilians -- pilgrims, laborers, messengers, travelers, merchants,etc. Don't forget, you, too, can commission sculpts!

Zombicide: A horde marker


Sometimes, in Zombicide, more zombies congregate in a zone than can physically fit. Some people play that nothing other zombies or survivors cannot enter the zone once it reaches capacity. And others take all the zombies in that zone, set it aside, and place a marker to represent that horde. That marker is what I've made here.

I had plenty of extra walkers, superglue and gumption, so putting this together was no problem. Simply cut the zombies form their bases (try to cut as close to the base as possible so as not to cut their feet off.) Then start gluing them to a larger base (I used a 60mm base here.) With each figure, do a rough dry placement to see how it looks first. Then a couple dabs of superglue on the feet and one or two on the body where the figure might touch other figures for added strength.

You can prime with spray, but you'll need to follow up with some brush primer to fill in missed spots. Then paint as normal!

I don't play much modern Zombicide after the release of Black Plague, so I won't be using this marker much at all. But I'd like to make a couple similar markers for my Black Plague game. I'll need to find some more zombies (without having to buy another core box.)

If you're trying to count -- there are 18 zombies on that base! The next one, I might spread them out a little more. 18 is fun, but I don't want to spend TOO much money on these :)

Women in sensible shoes


So I've been told the range is called Women in Sensible Shoes, and they can be found at Oathsworn Minatures. Here are a couple more added today. Still a few to go, which I will paint among other ongoing projects. The painting table has been busy the past few days!

I'd still love to get some of the adventures from Otherworld Miniatures, but they're definitely on the pricey side just as I thought. And I don't need any new figures anyway: I have Zombicide survivors to finish, women in sensible shoes, a Hot Wheels repaint commission, my Warhammer Empire/Mordheim repainting project, and a few stragglers among my 40mm samurai. That's what I have currently -- my copy of the Conan board game has yet to arrive with all of its figures in their Howardian glory. That's the biggest reason I'm trying to get my current projects finished.