Tag Archives: miniature

Keeping Motivated to Hobby — Mini Monday 21

It’s Mini Monday, where we share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we talk about motivation and keeping motivated to hobby.

Mini Monday Logo - Keeping Motivated to Hobby

Phew! Is anyone else finding they’ve got less time during lockdown? I sure am. These days, I finish a good chunk of work at night, so my hobby time is at a premium. But let’s not get discouraged. If anything, lockdown and new obstacles are just opportunities to do better at the things we count as important. Let’s see how we can keep the motivation high and paint more minis.

The Satisfaction of Starting

Taking your first steps on a new project can be just the change of scenery you need (ha, modeling pun)! If other projects have stalled, a quick project can bring out the joy of the hobby and get you excited again. New ideas are often the most exciting, so use that energy to revitalize your enthusiasm.

Having a few projects on the go helps too. Just be sure to keep finishing some of them off, otherwise you’ll feel overwhelmed by the number of incomplete projects waiting for your attention.

The Joy of the Journey

Every step closer to done is a small victory, so get a little done when you can. If a project sits for too long, it can kill enthusiasm, so a little progress often is the way to go. You’ll probably find that, if you keep progressing, you’ll find time to finish the project off in one final, satisfying go. This was the case for me with my Gundam Deff Dreads, which took ages but were finished off quickly over a few final sessions before a big tournament.

The Dopeness of the Destination

Finishing is possibly the greatest motivator, and it will energize you well into the next project. It’s also an important part of learning, because you’ll learn more from completing the whole process than from only getting through a part of it. With a completed model you can take a step back and consider the work as a whole, and you’ve got something you can show off n your display shelf.

Good luck, get minis painted, and stay safe!

Sculpt Saxon from Mouse Guard – MM #20

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll build Saxon, from the Mouse Guard comics.

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In case you’ve never heard of it, Mouse Guard is an award-winning series written by David Petersen. It was also turned into a best-selling tabletop roleplaying game, based on the Burning Wheel system, by Luke Crane. I love the series and the RPG, and I wanted figures to use in my games, so I made one. Let’s take a look.

Saxon from Mouse Guard

I built a wire frame for the model, then covered it with aluminium foil to give it more shape, particularly around the body, face, and ears.

I then used paper mache, much like in our recent Barrow-downs project, to cover the model.

Paper Mache

For fine detail like this model, which stands about 8 cm high (excluding the base), I made a very fine paper mache by shedding newspaper. I tried to soak and mash it finer, which took a lot of effort but did give me a slightly finer paste in the end. Mix this with 1 cup of water to 1 cup of flour.

Paper mache is great for model terrain projects, and although it’s not great for detail work, I chose it because I figured it would give me a furry, natural look, which worked out well.

Saxon Mouse Guard Paper Mache
The base is made of hardboard, and his hands are made of modelling epoxy. You could use Green Stuff too.

Painting

I base coated the model brown with acrylic paint, and picked out the skin of the hands, feet, ears, and tail with a browny pink. I used grey for the base, stippled on with a brush.

I then switched to Citadel Colours for the main coat. I used Snakebite Leather/Ballor Brown and Bestial Brown/Mournfang Brown for the fur, with Skull White/White Scar for the white patches. I heavily watered down the paints to blend them better.

Finally, I used a brown/black mix with lots of water as a wash, covering the whole model.

Finishing

I used pliers to cut a tiny black bead in half, which I superglued on for the eyes. Two coats of matt varnish, and Saxon was almost ready to join the Mouse Guard.

Saxon of the Mouse Guard

Sword and Cape

I’ll cover Saxon’s iconic sword and cape in a later tutorial, because I’ll need to experiment with a few techniques for the sword first. I’ve already tried plastic card, and now I’m shaping some alluminium, which seems to be working very well. Have any ideas? Drop them in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

Jump into Mouse Guard

Looking for the comics? You can find Mouse Guard issues on Drive Thru Comics for a cheap $1.99 each. I highly recommend finding the printed books though, they’re gorgeous.

Barrow-Downs — Mini Monday #19

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll build super simple Barrow-downs for your undead horde.

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To make this little addition for your gaming table all you need is an old CD or DVD, an egg box, papier-mâché, paint, flock, and some matt varnish.

Barrow-Down
These guys love death metal. You can find our skeleton painting tutorial here.

What are the Barrow-downs? In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, they’re tombs built into earthen mounds, which became the home of the ghostly barrow-wights. I don’t think they featured in the movies, but hey, a roleplaying table can never have too many tombs.

Because of the CD’s size, the model fits well on battle maps. Barrow-downs makes a stunning centerpiece for an encounter, or to mark the entrance to a dungeon. The model is so cheap and easy to build that you could bang it out in a weekend.

Building the Barrow-Downs

Build the structure out of bits of the egg box, using your CD as a base. I used the center bits (whatever you call them) to form the standing stones at the entrance to the tomb. Papier-mâché over the whole thing to form a solid shell, then let dry. This makes for a strong, lightweight model.

Paint the earth a muddy brown, then dry brush it with a lighter brown to highlight it. Paint the stone gray, then dry brush with a lighter gray.

When that’s dry, flock over the model, leaving the stone, a path to the tomb entrance, and any cliffs free of the flock. Then spray the model with matt varnish and you’re done.

There are thousands of ways to take this project to the next level, so get inspired and have fun with it.

Till next time, stay frosty!



Painting a Doom Cacodemon: Mini Monday #17

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’re paining a Doom Cacodemon.

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Here’s another miniature painted with Flesh Wash, my new secret weapon that I used to paint my skeletons and Yochlol. For this post I painted a Doom Cacodemon, from the Doom: The Boardgame Expansion Set, which came out in 2005. I’ll be using this mini as my Patriarch in my twisted Genestealer Cults army — more on that soon!

Doom Cacodemon

Painting a Doom Cacodemon

 

There’s not much to painting the Doom Cacodemon really; he’s big, but not overly detailed. I undercoated the mini white, then painted the pinks, followed by the coconut crab pattern on the back. This was based on CatgutPainting’s excellent Tyranid ‘Coconut Crab’ paint scheme tutorial on YouTube. I know this isn’t strictly “canon,” but I think it adds some visual interest.

The back of the Doom Cacodemon
The back of the Doom Cacodemon

I replaced the last two coats of CatgutPainting’s wash mix with Flesh Wash, which made him look more fleshy — surprise surprise. Generally, I don’t like Flesh Wash for skim, but monster skin is a different story.

I painted the base black, then added detail with metallics for the panels, wire, and steel rods. I might go back in and use the rust technique on some of those panels later, but I’m happy for now.

Next, I mixed white and yellow to paint the teeth. I finished them off with a little Flesh Wash around the base of each tooth to give them some grungy definition. Avoid pure white teeth at all costs!

Finish off with matt varnish, or with gloss varnish if you want a wet look. Done!

Follow Mini Monday on Pinterest and CMON

We’re sharing mini painting and kitbashing photos on Pinterest, on our Mini Monday Pinterest board. I’ve also been collecting a huge amount of Warhammer 40,000 Ork kitbashing pictures. Check it out and get inspired.

We’re also on CoolMiniOrNot now, come and check out our growing gallery and vote!



Mini Monday #16: Painting Skeletons and Easy Rust

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’re painting skeletons and rust.

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Walking skeletons are a staple of fantasy, so knowing how to paint them will come in handy, even if you’re only painting a few for your roleplaying sessions. This method is super simple and very effective. If you haven’t already had a look at how I painted Yochlol, be sure to check it out. That tutorial goes into using Flesh Wash, which is the key ingredient in this recipe.

1. Basecoat White Then Flesh Wash

Basecoat your skeletons white, then wash with Flesh Wash, aka Ink Wash: Flesh.

Painting Skeletons 1

2. Dry Brush Off White

For this step, I used a 1:1 mix of white and a brownish flesh tone. You’re looking for whatever looks the most like bone.

Painting Skeletons 2
The guy in the middle isn’t dry brushed, so you can compare the effect.

Painting Skeletons 3
All dry brushed… and done!

To dry brush, dip your brush in the paint, then wipe most of the paint off. Paint this residue over the raised edges of your model by flicking the brush back and forth. It takes a little practice, but the technique is very useful.

And that’s it, those bones are done. Let’s move on to the rust.

3. Paint Rusty Surfaces Orange

‘Nuff said!

Painting Rust 1

You can mix things up and have patches of different shades of orange, if you like. We’ll be adding plenty of visual variety still, so don’t worry too much if you don’t.

4. Sponge on Brown

Using a small bit of sponge and tweezers, sponge brown over the rusty surfaces. Like with dry brushing, you don’t want too much paint on the sponge here. The aim is to get a random pattern of dots.

Painting Rust 2

5. Paint in Metal Edges

Now, here’s the magic part. Paint a metallic colour on the edges of the swords and shields, focusing on raised edges that would see wear in battle.

Painting Rust 3

It’s a smoke and mirrors technique, but the metallic edges sell the rust and suggest that the weapons and shields are actually made of metal… actually.

6. Finishing Up

Lastly, put some Nuln Oil or a black wash over the rusty armaments, paint or base the bases as you wish, and seal off the miniature with two coats of matt varnish.

Painting Rust 4
Done dun dun dun DONE!

I was blown away by how easy and effective these techniques were. I’ve used the rust technique a bunch of times on my Warhammer 40,000 orks already, and painting these bones felt like cheating, it was that easy.



Mini Monday #15: Painting Yochlol

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’re painting Yochlol from Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game.

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We’ve already painted a few minis from this great game, and we’ll be painting loads more in the weeks to come. Yochlol is a pretty simple model, but it’s also perfect for highlighting a few techniques that we’ll come back to in the next few projects. Today is all about washes! (No, not handwashing, though you should be doing that too.)

Step 1: Clean and Basecoat

I base coated Yochlol white. I used to love black as a base coat, but white is nice and bright and, in this case, it’s a perfect base for step 2…

Step 2: Mellow Yellow

I painted the entire model yellow (Flash Gitz Yellow), except for Yochlol’s eye.

Painting Yochlol 1
Custard Monster!

Step 3: Flesh Wash

Paint the entire mini with Flesh Wash.

Painting Yochlol 2: Flesh Wash
A little definition goes a long way.

Flesh Wash isn’t available from GW anymore, but Coat d’Arms still sell the original Citadel Flesh Wash, now called Ink Wash: Flesh. It’s a terrible wash for skin tones, but I discovered a bunch of great uses that make this is a great paint to add to your collection. Yochlol is our first test subject.

Flesh Wash pools in the recesses of the mini and gives a nice contrast with the yellow. If too much wash pools in one spot, just use a dry brush to mop up the excess. When you’re happy, leave the mini to dry.

Step 4: Details

Paint the eye white. When that’s dry, add a little blue to your white and paint a line along the top edge of the eye. This provides a slight shadow. Paint the whole pupil and iris black. When that’s dry, paint the iris orange, being careful to paint within the “lines” or edges of the iris you painted black before. Lastly, paint the base to fit the rest of your collection.

Painting Yochlol 3: Detail
Here’s Looking at You.

Step 5: Varnish

Varnish with gloss varnish. Two coats works best. The gloss gives Yochlol a wet, slimy look. You can use a matt varnish on the base to create some variety.

That’s it, you’re done!

Painting Yochlol 4: Finished
Done!

Yochlol is a quick and easy model to paint, which also makes it perfect for trying out new things. This was the first time I’d found a good use for Flesh Wash, and the techniques I used on the eye were a first for me too. Overall, I’m very happy with the results.

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Stay safe out there everyone!



Mini Monday #12: Travel Wargaming

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you my travel wargaming solution. Welcome to Mini Monday #12: Travel Wargaming.

Mini Monday Gargoyle

Here’s a trick for getting your wargaming and roleplaying fix while you’re traveling. You can’t always carry your hobby with you, but these minis fit in an Altoids tin.

Mini Monday #12: Travel Wargaming
The trusty old Altoids tin. I’ll happily accept donations of these, any day.

Mini Monday #12: Travel Wargaming

These mini miniatures look cool and are easy to play with, and have bases of a standard size. You can easily adapt this idea for building a roleplaying set too.

Mini Monday #12: Travel Wargaming
LEGO Minifig heads make great travel wargaming miniatures.

Each mini is a LEGO minifig head on a 2×2 inverted dish, with a round 1×1 plate between them to give the figure extra height. You can use different colors to distinguish between different types of units, such as leaders and rank and file troops. I just used whatever I had. These custom LEGO wargaming miniatures work well for skirmish games and roleplaying games.

Mini Monday #12: Travel Wargaming
The battle commences between the Empire and the Rebels.

You could easily build terrain too, since it’s LEGO, or maybe a custom measuring stick—anything you want.

RPG Blog Carnival

This week’s post is brought to you by the RPG Blog Carnival, and the theme “Adventurer, Take This… .”  Rising Phoenix Games is hosting the carnival this month. Using LEGO minifigs in your campaign is a great way to allow your players to customize their representation of their character, without having to paint a new mini each time a player decides to dip into a new class.

Got any travel tips related to tabletop gaming? Have some nifty ideas for carrying your Kill Team? Let us know, in the comments below.



Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics

It’s Mini Monday, where we share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we get down to the basics of miniature basing. It’s Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics.

Mini Monday Gargoyle

I’ve been tinkering with this basing method since I started painting Warhammer 40,000 figures, and have refined it into a simple method that gives great effects.

Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics
The Gretchin on the left has sand from my garden. Sam, on the right, has a larger grain of dirt. You could paint this grey or brown to look like gravel, but it’s good enough for gaming, and that’s the point.

Remember, the main thing you’re looking for when basing your army or figures for roleplaying is consistency. You can differentiate heroes from the rank and file with special bases, but generally, you want a process you can apply to all your figures, to give them unity.

1. Preparing the Miniature

Paint your miniature and glue it to its base. Leave the base for now.

2. Texture

Get sand from your garden and sieve it. You can cook it in the oven for 10 minutes to ensure it’s free of life, then let it cool. I keep my sand in small plastic containers. Mix PVA or wood glue with water, in a 1:1 ratio. Paint this on the top of the base and then dip the base into the sand. Leave to dry.

Homemade Sand - Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics
“Homemade” sand sieved and ready for use. Costs nothing and you can get tons of it.

3. Glue it Again

You can use the same mixture again over the sand when it’s dry to ensure it stays down, otherwise it might come off when you’re painting it. You can also spray the PVA and water mixture onto the base, but I find an old brush works well if the glue is dry: start at the edge and work your way inwards.

4. Paint

When this is all dry, paint the textured base. There are a few options for this. I like to paint the whole base in Warboss Green, from Citadel Colour. Some people like to paint the edge of the base black, or you might choose a sandy tan colour — it’s up to you.

5. Flock

Use small bits of flock to represent scrub and bits of vegetation. Stick this on with PVA glue.

6. Varnish

When it’s dry, varnish the whole mini. Sprays are great, but if you don’t have a spray, you can paint it on using an old brush.

That’s it. This technique is cheap and easy, and really finishes off a model. Doing batches of miniatures together makes waiting for things to dry less of an issue.

You can support the blog by purchasing a gargoyle mug from our store.

Gargoyle Mini Monday Mug
Paint brushes, water, or regular ol’ caffeine, whatever it holds, it does so in style.



MM #9: Smoke Grenade Objective Markers

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. Today we’ll look at making smoke grenade objective markers for your games of Warhammer 40,000 or Kill Team.

Mini Monday #9: Smoke Grenade Objective Markers
Smokin’

These were easy to make, but before I break it down, I need to point out that the best part of these, the bases, were a lucky find. They are from a line of Steamboy collectables, and I had six of them in my box of D&D minis, so I used them instead of gaming bases. Games Workshop has some excellent bases that would be a great substitute, such as their Sector Mechanicus Industrial Bases.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught an Ork Alive…

I used a kid’s stencil to create an outline for my own numbering stencil, and then painted the numbers on in white. I then painted the outline of each number in black.

Smoker’s Corner

The smoke is cotton wool, pulled apart slightly to make it more whispy. I left mine white, which made sense for a smoke grenade, and glued it down as is, with PVA glue.

Grenade!

The grenades were the most fun to make. You’ll need a thin, hollow plastic rod and a paper clip. I used the stick from a lollypop and a single paper clip for the six grenades, so these are really cheap to make.

Cut the rod into six 5mm segments. Using the end of a pair of needle-nosed pliers, bend the paperclip so that it makes a small D shape. The left part of the D should be 5mm long, so that it fits into the small segment of rod. You’ll need six of these D shapes, and they should pinch the rod segment when inserted inside them. This is your basic grenade.

Fill the top and bottom of each rod with PVA or wood glue. When it dries, this makes the rod look like a solid, closed-off container and they’re ready for painting.

I base-coated my grenades black, then mixed green and black for the body of the grenade. I then painted the striker lever of the grenade silver, but a dull metallic dry brushed on would work better.

Glue these so that the top of the grenade is sitting in the smoke. Varnish everything except the smoke and your smoke grenade objective markers are done.



Quick Terrain Projects — Mini Monday Ep 6

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we take on two quick terrain projects, which you can bang out in an evening.

Quick Terrain Projects of a stalagmite and road sign.

The first project is a stalagmite, those naturally forming spikes of rock that you find at the bottom of caves.

For mine, I used paper clay, but any type of clay should work. I drilled a hole through it and threaded a bit of chain through the hole to create some visual interest. I dripped super glue down the chain, which keeps it stiff. To paint the stalagmite, paint with a dark gray then dry brush with a lighter gray on the raised edges. The chain is painted black and then painted with a metallic color. Done!

The road sign is a bit of chopstick and popsicle stick, shaped and stuck together with wood glue. I used paper clay for the base, and you need something that is heavy enough to keep the sign upright. I then painted it brown and edge-highlighted it with a tan brown. I didn’t paint a name onto the sign, because I wanted to be able to add names to photos with Photoshop, as I’ve done above.

Both of these projects are simple and quick enough that you could turn out several in an evening, and they’re great projects for beginners. Besides being cheap, you can get a lot of reuse out of each bit of scenery. My little stalagmite has appeared in every prison and dungeon I’ve run since making it, and fills an inch square nicely.

Is there anything you’d like to see me paint or build? Let me know in the comments below.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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