Whats on the bench?
Well, at this point it's been about 3 weeks that we've been at home because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Thankfully not sick, just following the "Stay at Home" guidelines that began in the US around March 16th or so.
In between working from home, dinner and games with the family, unable to go out, I've found a fair amount of time to indulge in some painting. So I've either restarted some old projects (like, REALLY old), and some vintage kits that I've always wanted to get around to doing.
Question is how long we will be under lock down, and if a (hopefully) short period, these will ever get done....
So here's what we have brewing on the bench right now - feel free to share what you're up to on my Facebook page...
Here's a wide view of what's on the bench these days. Rather than just do one figure at a time as I normally do, I thought under the circumstances it may be better to work on a few projects simultaneously so as to alleviate any of the typical boredom that often occurs halfway through.
See if you can identify what's on here....
No? Well let's start with an easy one that actually didn't end up in the above image...
A 1/35th Tamiya Stuka zu Fuss halftrack that's mostly done save for some last bit weathering and the Dragon figures that will surround it that need to be painted. A fun project that is totally different from what I've normally done, started about 2 years ago.
Behind that? Well that'll still be a secret for now....
Next up a real "Classic". A 90mm Steel Bonnets Edward "The Black Prince" sculpted by Peter Twist in the early 80's (I think?). Searched for this kit for years until finally stumbling across it on a friends table at a small, local show.
The sculpt is really superb. Casting? Well that left a bit to be desired with a LOT of clean up and also having to build up the horse's neck, but pretty good for it's time.
I plan on finishing the metal as I usually do in kits like this - it's been sanded, burnished and polished to start. Let's see it goes with all that heraldry, though fortunately it is cast on, except for a few spots.
10 years to find the kit. 2 years in the "stash" lets see how long it will be on the bench.
Next up is also another 90mm Vintage kit. This one a Trumpeter of the 2nd Regiment of Carabiniers, 1810.
Also purchased from the same friend who finally let me acquire The Black Prince, I'm not really sure if this is a Barton kit (that's what it looks like) and I'm still researching it. Typical of the 1970's and 80's it's pose is a bit stiff, but a little work on the arms hopefully makes it look more natural. Also a LOT of clean up here and unfortunately not much detail on the face - though it did prove an interesting challenge, having to pain in what wasn't sculpted in, still with some work to go.
Also interesting was the almost total lack of research material out there as well - this seems to be from the period in between the early Empire Carabinier uniforms and the more common later ones. There are very few examples of trumpeters wearing a cuirass, but alas this guy does. Again a little help from a friend who was able to share some materials and advice.
Going to try to airbrush the horse because of it's size. Let's see how that goes!
Finally, a bit of fantasy with a 28mm Warhammer figure I started like maybe 3-4 years ago. He's actually sat, mostly completed on my bench that long.
Problem with starting and stopping like this is even though you might have been satisfied with how he looked a few years ago, essentially you're starting over because so far removed, you start seeing mistakes more readily and see where you can improve him more - so sometimes this causes a total restart - I don't plan to with this guy, maybe I'll just finish him and knock down my stash from 432 years of work to 431.....
Either way, I think, if I recall, this was one of my earlier attempts at painting metals, without metal, AKA as NMM.
Behind him is a little demon I had actually completed for the "Don't pay the Ferryman" piece, but when placed, through the whole piece of balance in terms of it's position and colors - so he's just waiting for the right little base to perch on.
Back to the overall workbench shot are a few more pieces in varying states of completion.
Left to right:
A Sherlock Holmes bust which I sculpted (Yes, my first every scratch sculpt) way back in 1996 or 97. I was out to create a "stylized" or "Comic book" version with pronounced features. Though most of the face was also painted 20+ years ago, I did some touching up and with not all that much left to finish him, paint his smoking jacket and pipe to finally finish him.
Behind the trumpeter you can make out a WWI trench scene and German soldier (soon to hold his rat) that was also started maybe 15 years ago.
Last but not least, another fantasy piece that I just started, to the right of the Star Wars mug. A 54mm Morland Studios kit, she will be a rather large departure from what I normally do. She'll be painted up in acrylics and washes to try a new technique I've been planning on trying.
Well, that's about it right now, until I get bored and start pulling more stuff in, but sometimes that's half the fun.
On a more serious note.....
While I reference being" trapped" at home, the reality is that we are pretty lucky to be home (or even have one). There are many across the globe who do not have that good fortune on a good day, let alone during this pandemic. There is much to be grateful for.
That's in addition to the countless healthcare workers, first responders and even the grocery store clerk and delivery drivers who we are relying more and more on as the situation makes it riskier to go out. A very big thank you to all of you who are out there, day in and day out so the rest of us can be safe (and fed).
I am also lucky that I am able to Work from Home.....
While this is generally a solitary hobby, as you've likely seen throughout my website, it is also one where you make friends from everywhere around the world. I am thankful that after checking in with my friends, initially in Italy, we all seem to be well. Let's pray that continues.
There is a positive to this - if you're lucky enough to have you family with you, appreciate every moment. Enjoy every dinner. Laugh during every game. Take this time to build a better relationship with them, so 20 years from now you look back and see this is a great memory of your time with them and not a terrible pandemic.
So I recently "discovered" flats. I'd seen numerous beautifully painted pieces over the years, even bought some thinking one day I'd give one a try.
I hesitated because honestly, the work I had seen was so incredibly great, I never thought I could do it.
Well, late last year I took the plunge - did the figure at left for a try.
I loved it.
While it is obviously very similar to painting a full figure, it's also different - very different - and different enough that it presents a whole new set of challenges - thus, it's also for me at least, incredibly interesting.
So after giving two pieces a whirl so to speak, I've taking a short break and working on a full round right now just to keep painting. On my bench though is a 54mm Flat of a General of the French Revolutionary Period. With that one I hope to incorporate all of Greg's advice So stay tuned!
Back when I had more time, and when there were more magazines, I used to write articles whenever I could. Some where about the hobby itself, some about techniques. I figured that a good way to start my little blog would be to put up some of those articles. Sadly the magazine that published them is no longer around - Historical Miniature was the premier American magazine related to figures. Each copy was really top quality both in terms of content down to the paper it was printed on. It is missed.
So without further ado....
How to paint metallics
This was an article I did for HM explaining how I painted metallics without using metallic paints. Nowadays it's a pretty common practice in the hobby, and it comes from a few hundred years in the art world, but at the time it wans't something that was very common in the hobby....
The next subject up is one of my favorites.....ME! Just kidding, but it is an artist profile that also appeared in HM.