Thursday, November 21, 2013

72. Piles of Bones

Yes, I participated in the Reaper Miniature Bones Kickstarter last year (and for that matter, I backed the Bones 2 Kickstarter too; hey, I'm sick, I need help). Overall I'm happy with the Bones figures, mixed with a tiny bit of disappointment.

The Bones plastic is better suited to large figures, yet most of the basic figures (in the Kickstarter) are human sized.  They have decent detail on the human-sized figures, but metal is still better.

I totally understand that this is a great way for Reaper to get new blood into the hobby.  Relatively speaking, it's a very inexpensive way to provide miniatures to new painters.  (The Kickstarter was a super-duper inexpensive way to get a lot of figures; that's partly why I backed it.)  I've seen many postings on forums (fora?) from newby painters, all excited and a-quiver over painting their first miniatures.  This is a Good Thing.

The Bones figures, however, IN MY OPINION, do not merit my spending the usual way-too-much time per figure that I usually do on them.

One last thing I am not happy about is the fact that they are not prime-able. Supposedly they are not meant to be primed, and in point of fact this works fine if that's how you paint anyhow:  straight unwatered-down paint on the Bones.  But that's not how I paint; that's never how anyone has ever painted in the whole history of acrylics ever.  I've been painting miniatures since 1988, and I've always always always diluted the paint with water.  It's how I was taught.  It's how the professionals did it; it's how they still do it.  I don't know how to paint without diluting the paint.  I don't know why you'd want to paint without diluting the paint first.  But if you water the paint down, it won't stick to the Bones.  And if you spray prime it (again, as I've done since 1988 on every figure I've ever owned) it becomes tacky.

The only thing I was able to figure out to do was to use Reaper Brush-on Primer first.  This allows me to use my tried-and-true technique of thinning my paint, but it DOUBLES the amount of time needed to work on a figure.

Accordingly I decided to paint them as quickly and simply as possible, while still aspiring to a high enough standard that I won't hate the end result. Here, then, are those results of the first two batches of Bones that I have painted.

I went with the more useful (to me) generic dungeon monsters first, as well as those that required the least amount of detail work.

If you click on the pictures, they will expand to fill your screen with  gloriously-mundanely-painted Bones.
First up is my personal favorite, the Owlbear.  I love this sculpt, and I tried to get the eyes to match the crazed feel of the pose.  The Monster Manual describes the Owlbear as having "bestial madness in its red-rimmed eyes," so, yes, there is a bit of red there too.  I did want his eyes to stand out though, so went with the yellow.
Next up, a majestic Griffin.  One thing I did to speed up the mass-batch painting was to use the same colors over and over again on all the figures.  I don't really expect most of them to turn up at the same time in a game, so having similar colors won't really be too noticeable.
An "Eyebeast" (aka Beholder) on the left, and the Owlbear again.  I'm not sure why I didn't get a solo picture of the Beholder.  These are excellent examples of where Bones shines:  larger critters with normal details.
Moving on to the smaller beasts, here we have (L to R):  a Rust Monster (Reaper calls it an "Oxidation Beast"), a Bat Swarm over a tombstone, a Hell Hound, and a Mimic (again, Reaper calls it a "Mocking Beast").  The only information I could find about the Hell Hound in the Monster Manual said it had glowing red eyes and a soot black mouth.
Vermin!  (L to R, back to front):  Dust Scorpions, Spiders, Scarab Beetle Swarms, Fire Beetles, a Rat Swarm (yes, it came with two but I somehow missed the 2nd when digging them out of the box), and Spider Swarms.
Rats!  Extra large (and "dire" to judge by their eyes).
Skeletons.  If I ever become an Undead abomination, I hope I'm a skeleton archer:  that way the bowstring won't hurt my arm when I shoot!  I didn't take time to straighten (or otherwise adjust) the bows.  It's Bones.  It is what it is.
Some dressing for your naked dungeon:  two Candelabra, a sacrificial Altar, a (healing?) fountain (aka the "Well of Chaos" per Reaper), and a tomb (currently empty, called "Vault and Lid").
This is a slightly closer view of the fountain and the inside of the tomb.  The water is glossy, although it's difficult to see here, and the rose in the coffin is part of the sculpt.
I forgot to mention that the dungeon-y floor and walls above are from the Legendary Realms Terrain Kickstarter I mentioned in my last post.

Following these, I tackled the "translucents."
Team Fire (L to R):  Medium Fire Elemental, Large Fire Elemental, a Burning Sphere Spell Effect, and a Wall of Fire.  I tried very hard to highlight the figures without obscuring the translucent quality of the plastic.  I like the concept of the translucents but the execution left me a little cold (kind of funny since these are fire and all).  I felt they needed something to help them out.  They were almost too translucent, so much so that you couldn't really see the figure!
Team Spook (L to R):  a Spirit, the Night Spectre, a Banshee (Labella DeMornay by name), a Grave Wraith, and the Ghostly Summons.  To darken the green I used some old GW Green Wash.
I don't have any better pictures of the translucents because they are very difficult to photograph!  Either the camera won't focus on them well, or you really just can't see them.  So you'll have to make do with these; sorry.

You may very well think you have seen these greens and reds somewhere else, and you'd be right!  Specifically, I very nearly copied and pasted my painting technique straight from the Reaper Miniatures forum, which you can see here.  Scroll down about halfway and you'll see what I mean.  I'm not afraid to admit when I steal someone else's good idea.

Also, as an FYI, nearly all of the paint I used for everything seen here was Apple Barrel or similar craft paint.  The quantities I needed were so large that I didn't want to "waste" my expensive Reaper paints that way.  Job's a good 'un!
A Reaper Bones skeleton battling the Large Fire Elemental, for scale comparison.  Really, though, who can hurt the other?
A final glamour shot.  Team Fire led by a very old Ral Partha wizard gives battle to an even older RAFM ghost-chick who is now leading Team Spook.
For what it's worth, the dungeon terrain seen in the Fire and Spook pictures is from the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter I backed.  I went for the unpainted tiles. What you see here are the results of my painting the tiles in a manner similar to what Stefano Pokorny from DF talks about in his instructional videos.  No, I did not buy Pokorny Paints or brushes.  No, I will not buy them.  No, I don't need such a goober making videos like that.  No, Stefano, you are not the first person to ever drybrush something.  Good grief....

Anyway, the painted portion is obvious, and the upper walls are the unpainted tiles just piled up to hide the rest of my table.  So you can see the difference pretty well, in case you're interested in buying some yourself.  I'll have a full blog post on the Dwarven Forge tiles once I finish painting them all, at some time in the future.

Thanks for looking, and happy Bones-painting to you too!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

71. More Kickstarter Goodness

All at once in the last few weeks I've received a number of Kickstarters that I backed.  For the longest time, nothing; then several came within days of each other.

First, my Legendary Realms Terrain Mega-Dungeon.  I'll never be able to make my own from Hirst Arts molds, so I ponied up the money (big money too) for someone else to make it for me.  Pre-painted, made from resin.  The quality is about what you'd expect from a small company that got completely SLAMMED by orders from their Kickstarter, and hasn't truly done all that well in getting things out in a timely manner.  I count myself lucky to have received mine when I did.
Two big boxes, very heavy.
They were packed very carefully:  pieces inside other pieces.  There is no way I could ever replicate this for storage or similar.  I'm not sure how they figured it out.  Unfortunately, because painted side was touching painted sides, there was some rubbing during transport and some (not much but some) of the paint was removed from some of the pieces.  It's nothing I can't fix with a simple drybrush, though.  And to LRT's credit he offered to replace any pieces damaged or paint-damaged for free.  I did not take him up on his offer, although I was missing two hall pieces and have yet to see them.
Here's another view of the inside of the box.
Here you can see some of the detail of the castings, as well as the rubbing that occurred during shipping.  It's nothing a little black/grey drybrushing won't take care of.

Second, Gangfight Games expansion figures for their Western-themed game, Blackwater Gulch.  The Kickstarter was run by Game Salute.  I got in mainly for the non-Firefly figures, plus the overall number of figures for the price was decent in my opinion, and they are all metal figs so that's a plus to me.  And while they're Western-themed, they are generic enough to use for nearly any system outside of pure D&D fantasy:  pulps, post-apocalyptic, even some moderns.
The box.  Why do I take pictures like this?  I'm not really sure....
What it looked like upon opening.
Left to Right:  The Widowmakers, the single figs and dice, the Tranquility Crew, and Wilde's Rangers (and their Gatling Gun).

Third, I backed the Dwarven Forge dungeon terrain Kickstarter (and this was well after I had already backed the Legendary Realms one, too, but at the time it was starting to look like I might not ever receive the LRT dungeon).  My hope was that the pieces would match up and I could effectively (almost) double my dungeon size in one go, but it was not to be.  It's not that they don't totally match up, it's more like they almost match up and how close do you want it before it starts to look bad on the table?

The box.  Yep, there it is.
The contents upon opening.  Four boxes, two of each are identical.  I got two sets, you see.
Individually wrapped pieces, that eventually looked like...
Oh, and I got a bag too.  You can just throw the tiles in there willy-nilly, because, since they're "plastic" they're practically indestructible.
I realize I don't have a picture of the Dwarven Forge tiles all set up.  I'll correct that soon.  But since I got the unpainted set, there's not much to see yet.  Just black-brown plastic.

Lastly, I expect to receive notice any day now that my OGRE Designer's Edition has shipped.  OGRE was the first Kickstarter that I ever backed, and I went a little overboard, plus it led me down this primrose path of other Kickstarters.  Seriously, my bank account hurts....

Funny thing is, I began writing this blog post almost two weeks ago and I have YET to receive shipping notice.  This is due to the very strange shipping methodology SJGames has adopted.  Somehow they thought that sending the geographically-farther sets out first would get the game to all backers at the same time.  Well, I live only a couple hundred miles from OGRE HQ and this guarantees I will be among the last to receive it, while backers much further away have already been playing games with their sets.  Bleah, I say.  And yes, I think it is a stupid methodology.