Sunday 19 April 2015

Socket Base Part 1

Making a Socket base

Getting hold of a  plinth is as easy as going to a timber yard and buying a length of 35x35 or what ever size you need and cutting it to length (you can even get them to do it for you). You can add a beading to it also if you are keen. Or you can purchase one from a retailer. Sockelmacher comes to mind.

On this base I have used cork. Your local hardware store should sell cork tiles, this is what I have used. A lot of people use corks as slabs of earth to get a base, this has its uses. To get a better looking base, and to avoid the "oh I can see that's cork" break your cork up into pieces and glue it on making it more irregular. Adding a few items of interest always helps if you are planning a larger base, here I used 2 skulls.

I have used a bit of blue tack and set the removable base in the centre of the plinth and used the cork to surround it and build an enviroment. Think of the cork as volume and the "rocks" to form the general shape of the scene.

Next also from the hardware store is gap filler was just under $4. Its a perfect option for those who don't feel the need or have the funds to purchase products that are 4x times price. An old brush that is at the end of its days is great with a bit of water to sculpt the filler too.
Squirt it on to the base and a little to the side use your modelling tools and brush to move it around and squash it in to any gaps that don't look right. My thoughts are to build some more volume and give a base to the area I will cover with sand and baking soda. I want to use baking soda as the grain is much smaller and I want to create a dusty looking enviroment.

while the filler was drying I selected a few pieces of root that I had collected in my travels stuck them in so the filler would harden around them. Using a smaller piece of root I glued one to the underside of the small cliff so the dead tree above had some roots too.

The next step I added baking soda to the filler areas and a few smaller areas. I brushed the residue off the base as I'm looking for a dusty desert look not soft snow.

Primed Base

I have primed the base using black and grey primer, black from below and grey from above, there is a slight khaki colour to the grey as I added it to the grey primer just as an experiment. Here you can start to tell that this looks like an realistic enviroment, it is harder to make out a slab of cork the top ground undulates more than if it was a flat piece of cork and its smooth enough to look like a dusty desert.

 Side Right
side Left

I hope you have enjoyed this little voyage into base building and if you have any questions don't hesitate. Painting and pigments are the next step and 3 special additions for interest.

Tuesday 31 March 2015

Contrast and better Bases

Contrast Buddy Contrast

I recently put my thinking cap on in an effort to help a fellow painter who entered the crystal brush competition this year. He was pleased with what he had done and it was some of his best work to date. I have modified this write up to be a bit more general because as I was writing things down for him I thought hey this could be helpful to many people thinking about how to improve and the difference between what we see in real life and how we choose to paint it in mini form.

Skin is tricky and it may seem weird to use darker colours but for what we do adding contrast pushing the tones using greys,brown, reds what ever, down to black if its needed.  I used these reference pictures of  a statue to help with light and shadow.

 what we see in real life.

What our eye needs to see in smaller scale to figure out whats going on and look good.

You know what you see in both pictures. Grey, white,  tones of brown, flecks of others and colours of the environment. When the light and shadow is increased  those colours are emphasised, you feel more emotion in the piece. Think about this and move on to the next step.

Spend some time evaluating what you see and how you could increase the contrast if it was smaller in every day life. Walking down the street seeing a rubbish bin. Maybe a few scratches that could be more defined in it if it was a mini, maybe the post is a bit bent that holds it. The idea is Emphasise it. Seeing the colours and emphasising the light and shadow in your head. Yes I'm MAD but it helps when you sit down to paint having the thoughts of the day with you.


 Basing is one of my fav's so enjoy my little run down

Reference pictures on what it is you want to replicate are very helpful, so find some pictures of rocks in a grassy field, what ever your plan is and use that to help transform your base. This is what I looked at before I did my dwarf. I didn't add trees and ferns but you could imagine if it was a bigger base it could sit in there, I hope. (laughs in head)

I looked at the shape of the rocks added some pointy ones looked at the colours and used them in the rocks. A mixture of washes, dry brushing, glazing, sponge, and a few small lines. The foliage was way out of my league and it didn't need it, so I just used some grass tufts and mixed some satin varnish with some woodland Scenic fine turf and made moss.

****Sticking foliage on is not enough!****

I also put some wash and paint on both the moss and grass, dark green and brighter green then a few spots of 97% white with mix of the bright green, Emphasise! ( I only used pure white on the face this time) Then added some water effects mixed with the same dark and bright green. The water is not green in the picture I just took the liberty to make it more interesting(I hope).

Integration of base and mini, Harmonising

I used teal and the orange/red colours to bind the mini and the base together, it does not have to stand out, just be there for the subconscious to work it out. You see further down Skettets uses blues and purples to bind and build emotion. In your head you don't instantly think oh that's the same colour, you feel the emotion of the piece. Upon further study you can see how it works.

Shape of base

Integrating items into your base to build reality making a hill slope or letting mother earth take back some ruins. Making a dynamic, angled, or varied level base can be more attractive than a flat one.

Wip of angled base with split level.
One that I'm working on which will have a breaking wave in front crashing onto the rocks.

Last though

Emotion, a feeling of depth and the feeling of a living environment. Shadow and light needs to be picked out, variation of colour and variation that you see in real rock, plant, grass, ivy.
I hope this is beneficial and you have something to think about after reading this. The last thing is practise no amount of watching and reading can turn you in to a master it just helps to realise and understand what your trying to achieve.

Pick up that brush and Paint on!

#miniature painting
#making a miniature base

Monday 23 March 2015

Dragon Slayer

Games Workshop Dragon Slayer 

After painting so many soldiers for the ANZAC diorama I felt like having a quick painting session and knocking something a bit more colourful out. This little guy has been sitting in front of my computer screen for a while now. CoolMiniOrNot link

A few mid way shots of basic colours laying out the stripes and tones of skin, and how it looked before base work.
 I think the water effect was a bit of a let down and it did'nt need the extra detail, just some gloss varnish to give the idea of a wetland.

paint on :)

Friday 13 March 2015

The Great War Exhibition Miniature Painting Project. Part 5

Finished the second batch and started the third.
Cleaned up and primed with automotive etch primer.
 These guys are in mid stride and on quite an angle so slightly lighter backs.
 Slightly darker fronts as they are leaning over.
If you're keen to read more about the diorama check out

Friday 20 February 2015

The Great War Exhibition Miniature Painting Project. Part 4

Washes next for the Turks and a few touch up and they are done.

I'm pleased to show you the results of the resin casting. I was able to get rid of almost all the bubbles there are a few left. this is it all put together but not glued in place. I really need to get on to finishing his axe, I stripped it as I didn't like the 1st attempt.

Happy painting ;)

Monday 16 February 2015

The Great War Exhibition Miniature Painting Project. Part 3

Alright this time I have Turks to paint. A friend mentioned to use auto primer and it seems to be a lot better than standard primer for metal.
Auto etch primer thinly sprayed. Filled shoulder gaps with putty.

1 highlight 1 shadow over the base colour.

should come up alright with a spot wash on folds etc.

Bonus resin casting
  The first time I tried using resin it worked pretty well, the next time I tried it didn't go so well as there was not enough surface area to set the resin.  I should have taken a pic of the failed resin. It was salvageable so cleaned up the base and this is round 2. Cut and super glued the ice cream lid around the base. Making sure it is sealed. mixed the resin as per instructions.

I feel a bit better about this one too, way less ink. its pretty much clear I'm hoping the blue that's on the sea bed is enough to give that cold feeling. I have not put the ice shelf on yet. A buddy and I discussed it and think it was a factor in the last pour not setting( not enough air to cure it).

paint on 

Saturday 7 February 2015

The Great War Exhibition Miniature Painting Project. Part 2

Bit more progress, nothing too crazy couple glazes (yellow, red, grey) on face after wash. If you can imagin 4000 minis painted buy 100 people you don't want to have too much variation. It must be a huge diorama!
 more info at;

Thursday 5 February 2015

The Great War Exhibition Miniature Painting Project. Part 1

I have great pleasure in being part of a giant diorama project for commerating WW1.  You can read more about whats going on for the NZ First world war centenary and the Mustering the troops Blog about painting 4000 miniatures!

My first 10 (out of 40) are ANZAC troops digging. Plenty of preparation, I had to pin the wrists at the handle end of the shovel and file back the shoulder joints a fair bit to get them to fit.

After a good wash I glued them together.

I primed them and filled the imperfections and joints.
As there are 4000 to paint, the goal is pretty simple; nothing too crazy and a good standard of base colours and washes.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Nurgle Lord

Finished Nurgle Lord

I have a few wip pics also, Im going to keep it fairly short now and in the future Due to family responsibilities.
 Base lay out  and early stages of flesh tones.
 A nearly finished Nurgle

 Base Pre water effects
Water effects setting