Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Luminous beings are we..." (Gingerbread post!)

"My ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes..."

Merry Christmas!

Well I didn't have a lot of time this year, but I did produce my yearly gingerbread "house" that I like to share here with my readers.  This year... Star Wars.  I wanted to do the Dagobah ship raising scene but an X-wing would have been a lot of gingerbread.  So, here we have Luke, R2 and Yoda decorating for "Life Day".

Yoda's hut was done by draping a sheet of dough over a hemisphere made of crumpled foil, and baking it.  Once the foil was removed, a hollow dome-shaped cookie remained.  Overall, not my best or most elaborate gingerbread creation, but still fun.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


The Empty Child
28 mm scale

A basic but tricky conversion of Hasslefree's "Rose" mini, which was obviously inspired by the super-eerie Doctor Who episodes "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances".  Which also featured a character named Rose.  We're down the rabbit hole here, people!  Anyway, a lovely little figure, and I'm happy with the final result.

Goes nicely with Heresy's Ninth Doctor..  I mean "Doctor Malcolm Ecclescake".

"You'll have to act creepier, Captain Jack is stealing the episode."

Monday, December 02, 2013

The whole squad


The Professionals

OK, I finished them!  This is actually my first fully-painted "real" squad of miniatures (five Riflethings painted over five months doesn't count).  And probably my last, to be honest.  But it was a fun challenge and the results were worth it, I think.

I wish I could say the gangers have a fighting chance here... but no.

Also, dear readers, we've got another addition to the family coming in the spring.  As joyous as this is for me, I expect my posts will become even more sporadic next year.  But I'll try and post some interesting new stuff in the next few months, and keep Painting Agency on your blog feed, because I'll be back :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some DEVGRU SEALs... and their "dog"

DEVGRU riflemen and marksman
15 mm

So I painted three of these cool guys to start - two assault types and a sniper.  I tried to stick with "realistic" military colours - pretty drab but with sharp highlights - but they're not based on any specific uniform the US military now uses.  As people have said, they would definitely fit in any current or "mid tech" near-future scenario.

BigDog load-bearing robot
15 mm scale

I felt like my SEALs needed some kind of very-near-futuristic technological support, so I sculpted this guy to carry all their extra gear for blowing things up and shooting at people.  BigDog has received a lot of attention for its impressive ability to walk around in an eerily lifelike fashion while carrying heavy loads.  This version would be roughly donkey-sized IRL.

This was a fun sculpt.  I'm not very good at sculpting anything but pouches, so I just let this take me wherever it ended up.  The fabric protecting the legs saved me from having to do anything too mechanical-looking there, and careful painting hides the irregularities in the rest of the frame.  Overall, I think it's a good dog.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Elite Fighters

DEVGRU ("SEAL Team 6")
15 mm

I don't know what I'm smoking, thinking I'll get all these guys painted.  But at least they're based, so I'll have a go at a couple of them at least.  They're really cool figures, no wonder they've become quite popular as both modern and near-future troops.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back from the dead...

Narg Freebooter Hero
15 mm

Haven't done much painting lately, but here I am again!  Just finished this neat little guy, a sculpt I originally saw painted up on Spacejacker's blog.  His gun was a bit of a mess so I replaced it with something a bit better: an M-7 Lancer, an energy rifle capable of stopping a rampaging Geth dead in its tracks.  Not, admittedly, my smoothest conversion but it's good enough IMO.

Alien Plantimals
15 mm scale

I made these out of acorn stems I found in Florida.  I thought they'd be perfect for some kind of barnacle/plant-like sessile alien.  The "tongues" are just wire.

"I don't know, those things just freak me out."  "Reeeelax, they suppoooosedly harmless."

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Move along, move along...

Prang Constable
15 mm

Yet another Eli Arndt sculpt from  After seeing Spacejacker's nice paint-up here, this was a figure I had to get.  I suspect this version is vaguely inspired by, of all things, the TV show Space Precinct.  It also occurs to me that with his green flesh and rippled chin he resembles a Skrull, albeit a very fat one.  Nerrrrrrd!

I had the same problem with a blobby, indistinct hand weapon that he did, but picked an easier solution: I removed it.  Now my constable has the traditional space-policeman's electro billy club.

"You're a little out of your jurisdiction, Judge!  Here we believe in 'due process'."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I saw "The Wolverine"...

Artist's impression of about half the film.
The wife took me out to see the new Wolverine film for my birthday.  Without getting into plot too much, this is a solo story about Logan after his self-imposed exile from the X-Men and human society following the death of Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix.

Though it is based on the 80's comic miniseries, what you do not get is this:

... as a film.  Most of the same players are there: Mariko Yashida, Yukio, Lord Shingen, ninjas, the wounded bear etc.  But they are changed substantially in their actions, interactions, alliegances and motivations.  Also, there are (spoilers, highlight to read) the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, a toxic/power-stealing mutant, a fight on top of a speeding bullet train, a freakin' giant robot samurai, and Wolverine losing his metal claws... but growing back his organic ones. I rather missed the more pronounced good girl/bad girl contrast between Mariko and Yukio from the comic, it paralleled the two sides of Logan's character. Here the women are as close as sisters (and that's nicely done), and Yukio helps Logan as much out of loyalty to the Yashidas and her best friend as anything else.  And as reviewers seem to have noticed, it can't seem to decide if it's an action drama about a character tormented by his own inner nature... or a summer blockbuster spectacle with the requisite over-the-top special-effects-driven finale.

But I liked it anyway, and if you like Wolverine, you probably will too.

(Hmm, I should re-paint that Clix figure some time...)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Straight Outta Quantico

FBI Special Agents
15 mm

We just got back from a much-needed week's vacation on lovely Manitoulin Island, and so... it's time to post something cool I've been sitting on for a while here.

I was lucky enough to get first crack at painting these new releases from Khurasan.  One agent demands scientific rigor, the other allows himself to explore extreme possibilities.  Together, they're a doggedly unstoppable truth-seeking duo, even if they're always stopped short of actually finding it.

Anyway, on to the sculpts.  Holy crap, so tiny!  These are easily as finely sculpted as "Dave and Desiree", and perfectly proportioned.  There were a few pesky double mold lines that took some care to remove, but overall prep was not bad.  I didn't even try to remove the attached bases, as I was scared that I'd snap them off at the ankles; instead I embedded them in the middle of washer-shaped plastic pieces so the street surfaces didn't bulge up.

Conspicuously absent from these figures: powerful flashlights, yappy Pomeranian, implied pornographic VHS collection, or creepy living black oil.  Present: 90's style ladies' pantsuit.

"Wait, I think I heard something..."

"What's in the boxes, Reg?"

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Time War Veteran

The Ninth Doctor
28 mm

The Doctor: I'm The Doctor, by the way.
Charles Dickens: Doctor? You look more like a navvy.

Finally done!  I'm not 100% happy with some aspects of this guy, but are we ever?  Mostly his skin seems too dark, #9 was actually pretty pale.  And in retrospect, some brown tint on his leather jacket would have looked good.  I thought of adding a tattered British war poster ("Keep Calm and Timey Wimey On"?) to the base but that might clutter it.  Maybe later.  Anyway as I mentioned last post the base is supposed to be vaguely London Blitz, brick rubble and dust.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

'Cause I'm a Rocket Man

Star Pilot
15 mm

Finished my spaceship pilot from  Not a great sculpt, TBH, but not difficult to paint.  I tried for a shiny gold NMM visor on the spherical lump that is his helmet, I'm not sure if the effect is so great, but oh well, still learning.

The stripes on the base are outright cheating.... I colour printed a web graphic and sliced it into thin strips, then glued them down and blended them in with a little grey paint around the edges. 

"Uh... I'll just use the other landing bay."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


A couple of new projects:

Ninth Doctor
28 mm

Heresy's "Doctor Malcolm Ecclescake".  Great name, and so horribly British ;)  Again, the likeness is uncanny.  I gave him a "London Blitz" themed base, to tie in with one of my favorite episodes:

"Are you my mummy?"

Star Pilot
15 mm

A figure from  Just your classic space jockey, as found in every grimy fictional space port ever.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

I wear a fez now, fezzes are cool!

The Eleventh Doctor
28 mm

Well, he's done!  I'm not entirely happy with the photos, but I do like my paint job (I'm allowed to do that, right?).  I didn't even try for that subtle tweedy texture on his coat, I just got on a roll last night and did the blending on it and that was that.  I would have highlighted the pants more, but IRL they're this super dyed denim that barely reflects any light.  His skin looks more yellowish here than it really is, I may try to reshoot these if time allows.

In other news, I've done some painting for Khurasan Miniatures, and I'll post those whenever I get the greenlight to show them to you.  A few new sculpts of amazing quality, with a hint of 90's TV nostalgia...

Sunday, July 07, 2013


"Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart".  We all hate them:

"What do you mean I'm not helping?"
 But they do work... sometimes a little too well.  A few times I've actually given up on trying to post comments on blogger because of a series of near-impossible captchas.

Anyway, I've had to thin out a bunch of spam comments from older posts on this blog recently, and while that was totes fun, bro, I'm wondering if I should give in and put authentication on my commenting the way most other blogs seem to.

What do you, my regular readers, think? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Take me to your leader!

"Not another primitive planet..."
15 mm

Some little grey men figures from  Cute lil' invaders...

Monday, June 17, 2013

11th Doctor WIP

So far, so good.  A good sculpt makes all the difference; I don't think I've ever had an easier time painting eyes. 

I don't usually complete parts of the mini before touching the rest this way, but for some reason I felt I needed to give this guy some "life" before I moved on to fussing over his clothes etc.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This one goes to eleven!

The Eleventh Doctor
28 mm

"I wear a fez now.  Fezzes are cool"  (relevant "Doctor Who Confidential").  Miniature is the Nerdlord from Heresy.  A lot of people don't like this Doctor, but it's just been announced that they're killing regenerating him off, so there's that...

I'm not sure if the fez is too high on his head, it was awkward to sculpt on without mangling his existing hair in the process.  Feedback needed.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Star Grunt

Alien Trooper
15 mm

Theirs not to make reply, 
Theirs not to reason why, 
Theirs but to do and die.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A quick fun paint job on a figure, before I start work on a slightly more elaborate project.  Cute little guy, and my classic "green fatigues" scheme seemed very clever until I noticed that it's very similar to the way Spacejacker painted this guy.

Carcassone Scoring Markers
28 mm

I did another set of these for some Carcassone-playing friends.  Thanks to the (now-defunct) Mega Miniatures' impressive selection of medievals, they're a slightly different set of characters: Abbess, King, Constable, Warrior Lady, and Knight.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Science sidebar

So I recently saw this press release from the University of Michigan Health System, about an infant's life saved with a custom 3-D printed polymer splint implanted in her collapsing airway.

[Dr. Glen] Green and his colleague, Scott Hollister, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and associate professor of surgery at U-M, went right into action, obtaining emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to create and implant a tracheal splint for Kaiba made from a biopolymer called polycaprolactone.

On February 9, 2012, the specially-designed splint was placed in Kaiba at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The splint was sewn around Kaiba’s airway to expand the bronchus and give it a skeleton to aid proper growth. Over about three years, the splint will be reabsorbed by the body. 

 Remember polycaprolactone?...

Apparently Instant Mold CAN do anything ;)

Monday, May 20, 2013

City 17 Survivors

Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance
15 mm

(This post has a soundtrack) 

Well, I finally finished my "dream miniatures" that I started back in March.  Painting these was a genuine pleasure, despite having to squeeze them in around the ever-increasing time constraints of "real life".

Not perfect likenesses, of course.  Gordon looks less nerdy and a bit more badass in opaque sunglasses, and I rather like darker-skinned Alyx.  I converted the boxy, generic gun that was on the original sculpt to at least resemble the Combine Pulse Rifle from the game - an incredibly potent weapon.  With more sculpting mojo, I might have tried for the Gravity Gun...  As for painting, I wanted figures that would really "pop", and so went with the high-contrast style that I'm getting better at (as well as contrasting Gordon's colorful armour with Alyx's subdued street clothes).

The base turned out well in my opinion, I didn't want anything too flashy that would distract from the figures.  But I think it's suitably thematic.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Klaatu Barada Nikto

15 mm

Barely a paint job at all, really.  The figure is from

Sidebar: The Day The Earth Stood Still, as classic as it may be, has got to be one of the most BORING films I've ever seen.  It's not just "different era slow", or "arty Solaris/2001 slow" it's sloooooooooow.  Of course you can't fault the moral message about the barbarity of war, but for better or worse this is not a film that has aged well.  Then again, I don't like The Maltese Falcon either, so maybe I am just a barbarian :/

"Gettin' real tired of your sh*t, Robot Monster."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Judgement Arrives

Mega City Judge
15 mm

A figure, obviously inspired by a certain quasi-fascist comic book hero.  The pose is a bit static but the likeness itself is about as close as you're going to get without running afoul of THE LAW.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Something a little different

Carcassone Scoring Markers
28 mm

I thought our copy of the tile-laying strategy game Carcassone could do with an improvement - namely giving the players personas in the form of figures matching the colours of the "meeples" used as game pieces.  These will go on the scoring track rather than being used in the game itself:

So now when you play our game, you're not just picking a colour you like, you can play as a character... do you want to be the Abbess, the Burgher, the Warrior Lord, the Noblewoman, or the Warrior Lady?  My original plan was to do proper paint jobs with the respective colours as themes, but "ain't nobody got time for that" and this way I won't feel as bad when the paint gets all banged up :P (hopefully the thick gloss varnish will protect them somewhat)

Thief of Catan
28 mm

And another board-game-related project: a tabletop quality paint job on a nice Werner Klocke sculpt.  This figure is destined for a friend's copy of the addictive game Settlers of Catan, where one of the pieces is a thief who can steal players' resources.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Jean Jockey (Half Life 2 WIP)

Alyx's jeans, a.k.a. sometimes we can rise to a painting challenge:

Ooh, me aching eyeballs.  But, so far so good...  I enjoy painting denim, for some reason that worn, faded blue look is so satisfying.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Underground Menace

21st-century biological research revealed that naked mole rats possessed truly remarkable abilities:  resistance to pain, low-oxygen atmospheres and ionizing radiation, as well as the effects of cancer and aging.  However, centuries passed before the mechanisms behind these were fully understood, and the necessary technology available to transfer these advantages to genetically engineered human beings.

Astr-O-Myne Corporation's interest in exploiting the mineral riches of newly-explored extrasolar planets conveniently coincided with these advances.  Robots were fine for chewing through relatively homogenous space rocks.  But for planetary mining, Astr-O-Myne required a new and exceptionally hardy breed of human workers.  Arrangements were made with certain Terran governments wishing to reduce crowded prison conditions, and the first genetic experiments were a spectacular success.  The new miners were stronger, tougher, and instinctively knew their way around tunnel networks.  And best of all, they had little choice in the matter: aside from their lifetime contracts with the company, the gene transfer resulted in a pallid, warty appearance that set them apart from normal human society.

"Mole Men"
15 mm


It was only a matter of time, however, before these underground super-men and women felt their working conditions had become intolerable, and decided to throw off their corporate shackles...

Insurrectionist miners emerge from a reconnaissance tunnel to search a company outpost.

I've been working on these for a while, and figured I'd finish them up before I really got going on my Half-Life figures.  These miniatures are "Titan Scouts" from Rebel minis.  The papercraft buildings are "IKubes" and a PODS container, downloadable for free from Topo Solitario papercraft.

(Obligatory link to Spacejacker's different take on the same figures)