Friday, June 22, 2012

Shopping Review: Miniature Market

I recently received an order of various miniatures, both Star Wars for my pie in the sky Blasters and Bulkheads game, and some heavily discounted Ill Exis material from Miniature Market. The later were for the testing of my recent airbrush purchases. I figure why spend tons of money on limited edition resin figures to blast them with an airbrush I don't know how to use?

Anyway, the Miniature Market is one of the places I go to in order to check their various sales and discounted bits. I've ordered from them several times in the past. This includes Privateer Press miniatures and books, the entire run of the original Pathfinder Random miniatures, and well, Ill Exis miniatures prior to this. I'm hoping that the price comes down on a few more of those puppies so that I can place another order.

One of the nice things about Miniature Market, is that they have a 'low' threshold for free shipping. I know, $99.99 isn't free or anything, but seriously, when a battalion for Warhammer or 40K costs around that much, and there are numerous limited edition miniatures that cost that much, and the average price of a miniature is like $10, even from Reaper if it's not one of their special 'Bones' or 'Legendary Encounters', $99.99 isn't going to stop me from adding, say, some Star Wars random boosters to my order to quality for free shipping.

While I've had a few questions about the status of an order, they respond quickly to e-mail. I've never had an order lost. I can't recall any back orders. They do a good job of keeping what they have on stock on their web page. I'm not bashing Coolminiornot but man, when I first started ordering from them, it seemed every order was missing something that I'd been charged for. They were cool indeed in fixing the issue and not calling me a lying bastard or anything, but the missing bits in the first place, especially when some of those missing pieces were part of their limited edition range? Not a happy customer.

That's probably the only big 'weakness' if you will of Miniature Market. While Fantization and Coolminiornot both seem to have their own specialty bits, Fantization having their Rusted Heroes and a new game in the making, and Coolminiornot having their fingers in well, every other damn pie, Miniature Market is, as far as I know, just a good place on the internet to shop.

Check out their clearance seciton one of these days and tell them Kushner sent you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Arcane Ruins by Games Workshop

The Games Workshop Arcane Ruins should really be called the Skull Ruins. there are numerous skulls on the pillas and on the single large pillar and on the broken pillars. This doesn't count the tons of skulls you get that you can add to the various bits and pieces. I threw them in my bits box. I was midly tempted to actually cut the rest of the skulls off here because if you take them off, you have a nice ruined temple set. With all the crazy skulls Games Workshop is so known for though, you've got "Arcane Ruins".

Assembly of this is fairly easy. My only criticism is that the mold lines are pretty harsh. Even after some sandpaper attacks and trying to hide them with some of the liquid green stuff, they are still fairly visible at least on the pillars themselves.

One of the nice things is that if you check the Games Workshop website for this product over here, , you see that they have it assembled and painted in a few different manners. This allows you to purchase it more than once if you want to try up different colors or try up different painting techniques. As for me...

I wanted to keep testing my Badger 105 airbrush. I started off with Vallejo's black primer, then the following, all of which are from the Vallejo Air Model rangel, Grey Blue, then USA Gray, then Barley Grey.  after that it was a few hits with brown wash.

For the primer, it was pretty much hit it everywhere with black primer, then almost everywhere with the Grey Blue, then try to cut back on the angel with the USA Gray, and then try to just hit some high points with the Barley.

Let's put it this way, I've got a lot of practice to go to get some control over the thing. Mind you, I could have done much better with the after wash. I could have made sure that there wasn't as much pooling as has shown up. I could have made sure to eliminate the brush strokes that are rampant all over the place. I could have done some touch ups with a brush and added some grass to the crackled marble on the inside. But... it's a piece I specifically wanted to hit with the airbrush and wash and see how it turned out. If I buy another one, or decide to touch this one up? That's another story.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Warhammer Paint Set Thoughts

So Hobby Town had a sale where you could get a few bones off of a $40 purchase. I picked up the Warhammer Paint set. I was initially going to get the starter set but alas they did not have it. Prior to that I had bought some of the textured paints and messed around with some of the colors but not yet all of them.

So the set includes the following:

5 Plastic High Elves: I suspect these are the sames ones that come with the Isle of Blood starter boxed set. The five here in my box at least were no identical and had a lot of details in various small things that made them stand out from each other.

The main body is separate from the spear arm. the second one here I lost his spear while doing something else and found it later on embedded in my sock. Surprised it didn't break to be honest. The only thing I'd consider bad on these guys is the face. Their heads are very narrow and their eyes fairly close together so its a bit of a PIA to paint them.

1 Starter Brush: M'eh. It's okay but personally, I found it a little too small. In addition, there was one hair longer than the rest of the brush which was initially driving me nuts but I finally managed to get a hold of it and yank it out. Small out to pick out the various gem stones on these elves but I wouldn't recommend it for the eyes.

1 High Elf Painting Guide: Terrible. Well, not terrible, but basic? Very basic? With instructions on using a paint that doesn't come with the set?

1 pot of Mephiston Red: Not bad. I think it's darker than the old normal... Blood Red or whatever it was, and worked well between Blood Red as a highlight and the old Red Foundation as a base coast.

1 pot of Caledor Sky: Kind of an Ice Blue. Light but not that light.

1 pot of Nuln Oil: This worked well. Good flow control. Might even be a little too dark. I was tempted to go back over these guys after I did my initial shading with it but the point was to... you know, just test the stuff out and see how it worked overall not make some figs that would blend in with my previous efforts.

1 pot of Ironbreaker: Not bad as a metallic. Lighter than Boltgun Metal.

1 pot of Ulthuan Grey: If you've been looking for an off white, this is your color. It will probably make a great base for doing skull white highlights. I initially thought it was white until I hit it with the actual Pure White.

1 pot of Kabalite Green; Somewhat a muted Turqouise Green. Like an aqua green? I highlighted it a little using the Ulthuan Grey. Personally? Not seeing a lot of use out of this color.

1 pot of Cadian Fleshtone: M'eh? The instructions want you to paint the hair with this and then shade it with the Nuln Oil.

1 pot of Imperial Primer: Black Brush on Primer from Games Workshop? My how times have changed. I initially based some of my figures with my air brush with this and it worked pretty well. Glad to see GW offering it.'

On the base I used the Luthian or whatever the home place of the Lizardmen are, then gave it a green wash from Vallejo. That was a mistake that I've made in the past and will probably make again. Unless the Vallejo washes are extremely well shaken, I've noticed they tend to dry white in some spots. I then went over that with Goblin Green. Not bad for the time invested in it.

Could I do more with them? Yup. Some washes on the gloves for example. Heck, maybe paint the bows and spears brown or something. Highlight the metal parts with Mithril Silver! But they were a test run and I've got other figures to work on. The main thing? The GW paints remain, at least to me, another tool to use.

I still hate the bottle design. The paints are still over priced. But it looks like White Dwarf is actually putting some painting articles back in and the paints weren't bad and will be easy to find wherever I go so that's good at least.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Avion Archers from Black Orc Games

Black Orc Games does a miniature game called One Hundred Kingdoms. I've never played it, but some of the factions are great. The Roman Empire inspired gorillas for example? Classic. However, my FLSG, Games Plus, occassionally puts things on sale and in this case, that included these rather large reptillian archers who belong to the Outkast faction or as known in most other lines, lizard men. The interesting thing though, is that the figures have more dinosaur styling to them then traditional. These guys, avion archers,  I've painted up for example, would probably be around eight feet tall with their long necks. Humanoid? Yes. Humanoid to the point other races are? Probably not.

I also do some online shopping at places like Hobby Lobby.

Say hellow to my new clamp. Has a great weight and does a solid job of holding the figures. I can use it to hold stuff that's drying, hold figures so I don't have to get my grubby fingers on them and more!

I'm also in the process of testing out the 'starter' set of GW paints that comes with the High Elves. An... interesting choice not including a brown for things like the bow and spears instead relying on the Imperial Primer. I'll post more of those elves later.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Airbrushing The Night Away

Tried out my new airbrush. Fun stuff. Looking foward to doing it some more. Lays down a fantastic base coat. I have a long way to go before I get anywhere close to comfortable with it but that's okay. Assuming I don't croak in a few weeks, I've got some time.

One thing I didn't talk about is the difference between me priming with Vallejo and using Army Painter. First, Army Painter doesn't have all of the colors. Has most of them, but not all. Second... well, don't know if there is one. They both can go on even. I've had some problems with Army Painter, but that was my fault for not standing close enough so the primer was drying before it hit the miniatures. Both will save you time.

For me, the airbrush is to start things out. I do intend to do more with it. I'll also be curious to see how it compares to regular spray primer in terms of things like use. The primer was sucked up very quickly by the airbrush. If it does that with paint as well, whoa! I can see it being something do use only on those big pieces that I don't want to kill a brush on.

Awesome Paint Job and Les over there provided a lot of inspiration for me to take the plunge but there are a lot of resources on Youtube and the blogs for those who want more information. For example, The LeadHead has several great posts about the materials and use of the dreaded airbrush.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Tale of Two Michigan Toy Soldiers

I'm always on the lookout for different things to change up my painting. I'm not saying make it better mind you, just different. I like messing around with things so that I don't get bored. It's one of the reasons I'm looking into the whole air brush thing.

On one of the blogs I regularly follow, the painter had done up a Nurgle (Chaos God of Disease) sorcerer with a few type of AK slimy grime. I decide that looks pretty cool and want to try my own hand on it. But first, to get some of that AK green slime.

Well, Games Plus, my local, doesn't have any. They carry a ton of miniature stuff and have even been carrying the Secret Weapon stuff for a while, but this stuff, as well as the MIG stuff? Nope. Maybe too much of the hobby side as opposed to the miniature side?

Anyway, I check out the internets and find... Michigan Toy Soldiers carrying it both on their regular site and on ebay. Without logging into the regular site, the regular site is 50 cents more. Not a big deal. when you log in, you get like, $2.00 off.

The problem? The shipping from the regular site starts at like $7.00 and on e-bay, it starts at $3.50 and can be free.

When I mentioned this to the store, their response was something along the lines of buy what suits you best because it normally works out better if you're ordering from the site regularly.

Uh? What? You lose money, at least a little to ebay, and then to ebay again on the paypal if people use that, but you charge them less for shipping? But if I'm ordering enough to cover the difference between the two it's better for me to do so through the regular site?

Look, if I have to play games like that, the question I as a customer pop up as why? In this case, it's because Michigan Toy Soldier is one of the few places in the old United States to carry ti so I'll order it from e-bay, pay the extra $1.50 on the set, save the $3.50 on the shipping, and they'll lose out on the various fees from ebay.

As my friends at work would say when there was something going on that they just couldn't understand why it was done that way, "Applause to you Michigan Toy Soldiers. Applause."