New Gallery and Contact Form

After alot of fiddling, I’ve opted to install a gallery that opens in a new window. Please look for the gallery link above. I’ve also added a contact form so you can contact me, suggest content for the site, or ask questions.


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One of my first miniatures

The first mini I ever painted. At least I *think* he was the first. The character name was Thighter. Don’t ask what I was thinking. If I recall correctly, I bought this one somewhere between 1980 and 1982. He was out of the Heritage Dungeon Dwellers Knight 4-pack (Product Codes 1202 A-D). If you search for this pack you’ll usually find a different figure besides this figure 1202 D. The other packs I bought were the 4 female magic-user/clerics, 6 bandits, and 6 Kobolds.

A little more history: His campaign companions had names like Zelfox, a magic-user/thief, Sam (Straight up fighter… no stat higher than a 12 IIRC… remember the days of “roll-3-dice-and-write-the-stats-down-in-order”??), Roland (Ranger extraordinaire), Zephyr (Druid.. I liked those Z names, eh?), and Alicia (Assassin I believe).

Thighter - one tough  basic D&D through 1st edition character


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Whack-em by Gene Van Horne

A very special person that goes by the handle of “Cute but Psycho” did a very nice thing for a friend a while back. Part of that nice thing was getting two talented sculptors (Gene Van Horne and Jason Wiebe) to donate time & effort for a cause. I purchased the two special edition miniatures to help the cause with the intention of also painting ’em up and donating them for auction. Life got in the way so I instead donated a few already painted minis and decided that when I got the special editions painted I’d throw ’em to the sculptors that generously donated their time and talent for the project. Gene did Whack-em (The demented goblinoid jester and pig) below. The jester really looked like someone that couldn’t stop with just one…. so I borrowed some Reaper miniatures familiars, ground ’em down a little bit flatter than before & sprayed ’em with “blood”. I’ll get more than the one picture added so you can see the toad familiar that is attempting to hop off the back of the base. Enjoy!

Whack-em by Gene Van Horne


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Sculpey Clay Extruder

Also known as the Sculpey Clay Gun (in UK). I recently purchased this extruder with the intent of improved or quicker base preparation. Of course, I have to spend some time learning what does and does not work. Wish me luck!

Front of the package:
Sculpey Clay Extruder package front

Back of the package:
Sculpey Clay Extruder package back


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Kobolds Kobolds Kobolds

Looks like I get a preview of what our party may be facing. I helped the DM paint these critters up. Reaper miniatures Kobolds! Pretty much a quick tabletop job of the critters, with a little bit of OSL (Object Source Lighting) effect on the shaman’s gloves. OSL tip/Cardinal rule: It is best attempted on a dark surface. The gloves were painted black to setup a good contrast to the color of the flames. If the gloves were a light tan or brown color, the general value of the blue-greens would be lost vs. the similar value of the tan or brown. Same would apply to other light colors.

A pack of Kobolds prepare to thwart the adventuring party


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Dragonborn Conversion

We are starting our first D&D 4.0 campaign and that means a new character (or two) and new figures to represent them!

The first character that I am working on is a Dragonborn Warlord. My DM has been joking about the Reptus figure I’ve used for a few weeks, saying things like You still haven’t removed the tail? Taking the hint, I went through the Reaper catalog to look for a Reptus figure that it would be fairly easy to remove the tail from.

I took a 14222: Audt, snipped his tail off, strategically filed the rough edges down, added a sword (from 03316: Kar’Drakir, Reptus Dragonman Warrior) and will be smoothing the joins out sometime soon. I still haven’t decided on the color scheme, but I’ve got a little bit of time.

Dragonborn conversion using a Reaper Miniatures Reptus model: 14222, Audt


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Tools of the trade – miniature prepping

I’m about to teach a class at ReaperCON this weekend, so I’m going over common tools that I use. I’ve got more tools, but these are the ones I find myself using most often. The images are to scale within this article. The lower hash marks are inches, the upper hash marks are centimeters.

Cutting Wheel A rotary tool bit that is useful for cutting through materials. Beware the heat generated by the friction and always wear eye and hand protection. When the wheel breaks it shatters and can travel into places you’d rather not have it go. Cutting Wheel

Cutter / Gouger Cutter / Gouger A rotary tool bit that is useful for removing masses of material. It is easy to remove too much material with this. On minis I’ve found this bit to be useful for gouging out concave areas; the mouth of a beer mug is one good example.

Cutter / Gouger, small A rotary tool bit that is useful for removing masses of material. On minis I’ve found this bit to be useful for gouging out grout areas on custom made paving stone bases, and etching designs. It does take care since it’s a tiny bit on a high-speed rotary tool. Cutter / Gouger, small

File, Flat and Square File, Flat and Square A tool that is useful for smoothing out large flat areas with vigorous motions. I say that since I would not recommend as much effort going into the use of
the rat-tail file. The rat-tail has a reasonably sharp point that I’ve seen many hobbyists impale their passive hand with.

File, Round A round file useful for boring out the inside of curved areas. Care should be taken to avoid cramming the tool through an opening. The end is tapered, so File, Round
you should try to allow space to freely move the file.

File, Round and Flat Curved File, Round and Flat curved / angledI use these for place on a miniature that are difficult to file with a straight file. Usually the bent tool can reach the surface, where a straight
file is blocked by part of the mini. In general, this also means that you won’t be able to do large motions; usually smaller or circular motions.

Polishing Pin and Collete Polishing Pin and Collete A rotary tool bit that is useful for removing mold lines or smoothing out mold-shift. Shift is where the plane of the two halves of the mold are not in line. This creates a crease on the surface of the mini. Mold-shift is not a mold line as it looks like a miniature that has been cut in half and then glued back together poorly. Mold-lines are extra material past dimensions of the original mini.

Sanding Band and Mandrel A rotary tool bit that is useful for smooth the surface or quickly filing down a portion of the miniature. Beware the heat generated by the friction and always wear eye and hand protection. Sanding Band and Mandrel

Squeeze Tweezers Squeeze TweezersI use these for retrieving small pieces from unlikely landing places. They are also useful for holding pieces firmly and gently for gluing and test-fits.

Wire Brush A rotary tool bit that is useful for polishing and removing leftover edges from hand filing. For example, If you spend a reasonable amount of time filing a sword edge, there will be a sharp and loose edge that will detract from the miniature once primed or painted. It is usually difficult to see, but easy to feel by running your finger along a filed edge. Use the wire brush to remove this excess material. Wire Brush

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Workbench space saving

Something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t want to drop serious cash on, was under-shelf lighting. It just seemed excessive to spend $50.00 to $100.00 per 12″ to 18″ of space. Add to that my preference for the ability to adjust the direction of the lighting and it didn’t seem like I’d be able to achieve the desired results with an economic solution. All of that changed when I found the pictured lamp for $5.00 at home depot.

Gooseneck Lamp Box Art

At first I had hoped to figure out a way to move the clamp along the underside of the shelf that’s over the workbench. After some trial and error, I decided that the clamp was too weak and it would end up degrading the overall appearance of the workbench. Appearance… workbench? Yes. The workbench has to perform double duty and it needs to be configured so that it’s easy to maintain AND can be cleaned up to a clean professional workspace. My solution was to remove the clamp and original plug. Drill holes in the shelfs valance/over-hang and mount the gooseneck directly from the shelf. The result is that I’ve cleared space on the desk AND have adjustable lighting available for the workspace. The total cost was about $27.12 for a very well lit 24″ area. If I don’t need as much light I can get the cost down to about half that.

Below is a picture of one of the two that I’ve got mounted already. Once all of the current ones I’ve purchase are mounted, I will install wire channels to conceal the lamp cords.

Gooseneck Lamp Mounted on Shelf


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Rhymaiss

Reaper was gracious enough to fly Jeremie Bonamant Teboul into town this weekend; The powers that be brought many of the local Reaper freelance painter’s in for the visit. It was really neat getting a chance to talk to him about the hobby and get a glimpse at his approach. He’s quite modest, so I’m going to avoid too much rabid fan-boy talk in this post.

I wanted to share my “sketchpad” miniature for the time he was here. The figure is Rhymaiss from the Kraken Artefactory range. Jeremie co-owns Kraken with two other folks.

The point of the exercises that we went through were to get practical experience with what Jeremie was sharing. Odds are that I will not finish this figure as I want to preserve it for future reference. If you have not ever done this, I highly recommend it. Keeping physical reminders of past successes and failures is very effective memory tip/tool.

What I think I learned about how he is currently doing things:
His approach to color, to light placement, to composition (neat ideas about the harmony between a base and figure), re-learned the wet palette, to brush-strokes plus paint consistency and finally a bit about his approach to photography. His photography is very harmonized with his painting style.

Below is the picture of how far I got with several hours of painting on Rhymaiss. The final note is that I tried to use the photography technique that he described as well… When I write up my photography tips, I’ll be sure to include this approach since it is very complimentary to the painting techniques he taught.

Rhymaiss - practice figure - produced by Artefactory


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tinywars wiki on pbwiki

During my routine hunt for site referrers I found something else. Another miniature fan that had chosen the name “tinywars” for his gaming wiki. While we aren’t affiliated, it’s always nice to give folks props for their great work. He’s got some nice 10/12mm WWII stuff on his page(s). check it out: tinywars at pbwiki.com


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