Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas one and all from Pirate Viking Painting! 
We'll be back in the new year, reinvigorated for more little plastic man shenanigans. See you then.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Useful References

Hi folks, I often talk about how useful/important research is to getting the result you want. Well, I've been doing a lot of musing lately about skin painting, I've got Caucasian pretty much down and using Dwartist's excellent mix has led to nice Afro-Caribbean tones (currently secret Inq28 project but I'll share after I inflict them on my players), but there are dozens more and it's often tricky to get a starting point for the midtone. Well, a photographic artist has provided us wargamers with a really interesting resource:

"Humanæ" by Angélica Dass is a work in progress artwork with the midtone colour of each participant (ratio of pink people is a little high at the moment but work in progress) defined by its Pantone colour. Much easier to compare a paint to a swatch than the ever changing shades of skin so I'm hoping it'll be a useful starting point. Thus I figured share it here! [it has a naff interface at the moment, use the tiny red "fore and back" at the bottom to scroll the pages]

Ideally, I'd like to see more companies making - and sculpting - a better range of skin paints and face shapes but until they do, we'll have to keep on finding useful shades in the existing ranges and sharing them. I think I know some of the reasons for the reluctance to move beyond the Caucasian norm in wargaming, race is one of those very, very touchy subjects. Almost better to be thought of as white-centric than to offend by mislabelling people or worse, missing an ethnic group out while featuring others. I'd say, time to grow up wargaming industry, accept the fact that some people will throw toys out of the pram and handle it when they do. Another reason is expense, flesh tones are tricksy, adding dozens more is expensive. But as we're seeing in Humanæ there are probably existing tones in your ranges. Would it be so hard to label them as Burnt Umber / Afro Carribean Skintone? Of heck, just call them the skintones and let us figure out that they can be also used for other things.

Anyway, that's it. Thought I'd share a resource and some thoughts. If you've got a nice solid skin recipe for the hundreds of non-Caucasian skin tones out there then feel free to share it in the comments! If I get enough I'll make a sort of library of them. There's dozens of reference sites for animals (Equusite for horses is one I use a lot), nice to see one for humans.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On the Workbench - Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Goblin's Life For Me

Really bad eggs! Hi folks, given that it had been a little while since I posted anything (my creativity has been channelled elsewhere recently) I thought I'd share the some conversion work. In this case, Goblin Pirates!

Now, before I start, I should offer some caveats. This is probably going to be the last you see of these guys for quite some time. I plan my hobby some time in advance and these are for after I do some Empire. I do though get bored so have models available for a bit of converting glee when painting becomes samey. So while I've got a converting article here, don't expect to see them painted for some while. Sorry! On with the show: These fine chaps are the command groups and one of the characters of the last of my Goblin tribes. Joining the Bitter Moon Night Goblins and the Black-Head Forest Goblins will be a tribe of common goblins. Sadly, I don't really get on with the "Genghis" common goblin models. Nothing too wrong with them, just not my cup of tea. Following on with the Hochland Campaign at the Beard Bunker I had the notion of a bunch of goblins living as river pirates on a small flotilla of stolen boats. This festered away until I saw the Black Scorpion Goblin Pirates models. "That was the vibe for me" thought I. Some musing later I also realised that Ogre Kingdoms gnoblar models would work great with a little conversion (mostly weapons) as gobbos. The River Pikey tribe were born! (Pikey is a pejorative term for gypsies where I grew up and goblins really fit the stereotype)

left to right: chariot champ; 3 unit champions; big boss

The thousand points of River Pikeys has three block units in it so needed three command groups. I had a good look through the Black Scorpion models I had available and figured which of the poses would work best for standard bearer and musician conversions. The remainder became unaltered champions. In the photo above, the Nelson looking one on the left is going to be standing in the bow of one of the chariots (boats with wheels added!) as a champion. The captain model on the right is going to be the leader. Still need to find an appropriate shaman but the hunt is on. So with everything divided out I needed to get to work converting.

The three standard bearers were simply made by carving away the weapons they held (and turning the cutlass on the middle one to a more ranking-up-friendly direction) and pinning zombie polearms into place as the standard poles. I added an empire gunpowder scoop to one to indicate that they were just using anything vaguely the right length as a flagpole, thieves see? Not a lot of work really. I still need to resculpt the little finger on the middle model to fit the pole but that'll be a job for the future. With the easy stuff done, time for the musicians.

I wanted a nautical feel to as many of the instruments as I could manage. A bell and a fiddle fit the bill. The last one's pose rather limited my options so while a squeeze-box accordion would have been more appropriate a "liberated" Empire horn was a better fit. Making the bell was just by repositioning a zombie bell to look like a swing mounted ship's bell that he's nicked off with. Likewise, the horn was just giving him a new hand (night goblin) to replace the hand-covering basket hilt cutlass then cutting and gluing the horn. Again, a little green stuff work will be needed to smooth the transitions. Finally, the hard one, the pose of the musket armed goblin left me with only one instrument that would fit. A fiddle (violin) was the only option. This... was a challenge. I wanted to use the model so sucked up the difficulty and plunged on. Carving away the musket left me with the arm positions free of interference. Next, I cut a rectangle of plasticard roughly to size and carved it by eye to be the vague shape of a violin body. All other details will be with painting. The neck was made in three parts, the curly middle bit and the two tuning pegs. These are tiny, I lost three carved pegs before I had them in place. The bow was just a length of paper clip wire, I added a strip of paper thin plasticard to the underneath and a little plasticard shim to shape the end of the bow. I'll do a little more shaping once the superglue is thoroughly cured with a very sharp blade but for now? Job done. I think it turned out ok.

So that's that! The first of the River Pikeys are ready to be painted and set sail. If anyone is curious, the army list for the Pikeys is above, I think it's going to be a fun project. I'll share it as it goes.