Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Starry starry night

Vincent Van Gogh
28 mm

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of China blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

When I saw that Philip Hynes of Bears Head Miniatures had sculpted a Vincent van Gogh figure, I was so excited. Van Gogh is one of those artists who everybody has heard of, but who can never be overexposed or uninteresting. He was somebody who had a passion and a vast talent for art, but who was sadly so plagued by mental illness that he didn't last. Still, in his short life he painted over 900 canvases!

The particular painting I've depicted here is one of a series of four sunflower still lifes he did while working in Arles, France around 1888. The most famous of these hangs in the National Gallery in London, but there were three others. One is in a Belgian gallery and another was destroyed in Japan during WWII. This one has long been in a private collection and is not publicly displayed.

Something I was not aware of is that probably the only reason Van Gogh didn't slip into obscurity in death was that his brother's widow, Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger, inherited much of his work and devoted herself to raising its profile - and value - through an artful campaign of gallery showings and publicity. Without her, we'd never have enjoyed so many brilliant paintings, or a rather good episode of "Doctor Who".

"You should sign it 'For Amy' or something, just to confuse the art historians."

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Sorcerous Spitfire

"Zeppelin Down"
Mixed scale

Beneath the starlight of the heavens
Unlikely heroes in the skies
Witches to attack, witches coming back...
As they appear on the horizon
The wind will whisper when the night witches come

1915, the Great War... England watches the skies in fear of bombing raids from the Kaiser's mighty Zeppelin force, striking with impunity from above the clouds. An ultra-secret arm of the War Office makes contact with a terrifying and reclusive group of mythical inhabitants of the British Isles. Unmoved by appeals to patriotism, they are however outraged  at the technological monstrosities raining destruction on "their" countryside, and respond accordingly...

I've toyed with the idea of using forced perspective in a miniature piece for ages, but never found a good subject.  The inspiration for this probably goes back to a similar composition I once saw on CoolMiniOrNot, of a 28mm Orc Stormboy launching off of an Epic vehicle "far" below. But this vignette ended up more like some things seen in traditional military modeling. And it has four different "scales" in it, which I'll admit was an ambitious first try.

While I'm hardly ashamed of my painting chops, I'll definitely admit my traditional modelmaking skills are pretty... rusty, in as much as I ever had them.  This project was a definite learning exercise: I had to completely redo the Zeppelin after a disastrous attempt to shade the underside, and getting the base to look remotely plausible took a lot of work.  On the upside, the clouds came out exactly the way I wanted them! And a near-monochrome palette with strong contrast really gave the witch a sinister look.

“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

Monday, April 27, 2020

What's that WHEEKing sound?

Mysterious Wasteland Character (Guinea Pig Mimic)

Crimson and clover
over and over...

As you sift the rubble for anything useful to add to your gear or trade for bottlecaps in town, you hear a sound.  Scrambling for a hiding spot, you see an odd figure approaching. Masked and shrouded, it's humanoid enough at first glance, but its movement is an odd combination of shuffling and lurching, with legs hidden under a long overcoat.  And you think you hear squeaking...

This is certainly one of the strangest and most unique figures I've ever seen, let alone painted!  Annie Norman of Bad Squiddo Games has a well-known obsession with guinea pigs, and this figure is clearly the oddball product of that.  I love it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wolf Clan - the Red and the Black

28 mm

Hallelujah when the moon is up
We are werewolves, all we need is blood
Take a silver bullet for your shot

We're immortal, all we fear is god!

I'm very much a "f*** it, it's done" kind of painter, so this doesn't happen very often: after posting this figure here, I received some very helpful feedback, and took it back to the painting desk.

On the original post, my official Most Loyal Reader, Javi of Lazyminis, bluntly told me "your werewolf isn't bloody enough, and that severed hand looks like a cheap Halloween prop".  And he was, unsurprisingly, RIGHT. I couldn't un-see it.

Anyway, I think it looks much better now. I avoided real grand guignol with blood splattered from head to toe, but he's definitely torn something up.  And, it turns out the key to truly ghastly gore is mixing red and black...

"... I'd like to meet his tailor."
Thanks, Javi.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Menace of the Wolf Clan

28 mm

This figure kind of came together unexpectedly.  My FLGS, the Dragon, is having a "we're all stuck at home" Instagram painting contest!  The terms were pretty open, but I decided that I should support them since in the midst of all this they're still operating, making local home deliveries!  I ordered a couple of blisters of Nolzur's figures and this is the one I went with.  Done in four days, and I think the result is pretty satisfactory :D

The kilt is a passing version of my own family's clan tartan, actually only the second time I've painted tartan on a figure.

Friday, April 03, 2020


Sirius Black/"Padfoot"
28mm scale

In the form of a huge black dog, Sirius Black follows his godson Harry to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, hoping to keep him safe from the most terrible dangers in the wizarding world...

I painted this figure at the request of my daughter, who is currently reading through the HP series at a shocking rate, totally immersed in the world of magic.  The figure is a pre-slotta Citadel wolf dating from the late 1980's.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Massacring Mendicant

Groo the Wanderer

I loved Groo comics when I was a kid.  I didn't own many but the public library, always mindful of of literary demand, stocked a decent supply. The combination of Sergio Aragon├ęs' distinctive art, murderous slapstick, and ridiculous storylines about the adventures of a total idiot really hit the spot for adolescent me.

I have no idea where I got this figure.  It was presumably either a trade, or I found it in the miscellaneous figures box at my local FLGS (or as they tended then, "smelly nerd cave").  I don't remember ever seeing any of the other Dark Horse Miniatures figures in person... They're all worth a lot of money now, so I'm unlikely to try and expand my collection.

Rufferto, Groo, Chakaal, Sage, Minstrel.  This set would probably
cost a couple of hundred dollars... if anyone would sell it.

"Did you just call Groo a... MENDICANT?!"