Sunday, August 13, 2017

6MMRPC - Week 6

This week's update should bear an uncanny resemblance to last week.  At the end of week 5, I mentioned the planned addition of a spray booth.  That hasn't been ordered, yet, but should be within the next day or two.

Week 6 also closes with more plans than actions.  Some new rolling storage & organization should arrive tomorrow, and the plan is to top that with a photo station.  Over the coming weeks, the studio - occasionally referred to my "Den" (what Grey Wolf can be happy without a den, right?) - will be rearranged and some areas re-tasked.

Why am I doing this?  Well, good home cooks and professional chefs have said they do not enjoy the process or create their best work without good 'flow' in the kitchen.  By that they mean they want uncluttered, dedicated areas with the proper tools close at hand.  They want an area for food and ingredient storage, wash/prep, cooking, and delivery.  My thought was, why would my hobby / art studio be so different?  I have already found over the years that I do not function well in a cluttered space.  Sure, I'll make a mess while I work, but eventually a project will end and I will clean up, get ready to make a fresh start on the next one.

Years ago, I set up a dedicated paint station, really just an old drawing table set level, at a height comfortable for mini painting.  That helped in terms of quickly sitting down and working on minis, rather than dragging things out of boxes and storage tubs, then putting it all away.

However, basing, sanding and other dusty tasks can lead to rough paint jobs, so I made WIP covers out of 2-liter soda bottles.  That helped, but took up more space on the painting table.  Now, clear those away, and the prep work, and snap WIP photos with a cell phone in the same space.  Not good results.  Then reset for...uh...wait, where was I?  What was I doing for this mini?  Where did my paints go, the ones I was using for that green cloak?  Too much wasted time!

So, here I am, creating separate stations around the room, each dedicated to various hobby aspects or mini painting stages.  I am positive good 'flow' around the room, through each part of the process, with the proper tools close at hand, will help me.

I can hear my painting mentors and friends, now, saying things like, "There is no substitute for butt-in-chair time" and "Stop fiddling with other stuff, just sit down and paint!".  Oh, and there there's the classic, "Quit procrastinating!  Start painting!" :-)

Your mileage may vary.  I am thankful for the luxury of a space I can call a studio, and a loving, supportive (or long-suffering, maybe?) wife who indulges my hobby/business.

[/rambling thoughts]

How do you set up your work space?  Do you have a dedicated room, or desk, or a portable station?  I am curious to know what works for you, what makes you happy and keeps you interested in the hobby.  Please feel free to post your comments below.

Until next time...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

6MMRPC - Week 5

This week, progress has been made in terms of sales and staging for photos & listing.  Commissioned models arrived mid-week, including one big kitbashed combo of Anime garage kit & WH40K.

As noted mid-week, I failed my Willpower roll and ordered one mini.  Since then, Reaper's Bones IV Kickstarter has pulled me in for six wraiths.  So, now I'm down two Jokers for the Challenge, and we're only five weeks in.  Gotta reign in my impulse buying.

For the big kit and future projects, airbrush work will be required.  Surface primer, basecoats, large projects like scale models of cars and aircraft, for example, all can benefit in speed and smoothness by airbrush.  Rattle can primer is fine for most minis, but without a serious spray booth, only outside in the right (read: somewhat rare) weather conditions and daylight.  So, it looks like a good spray booth is the next big upgrade for Grey Wolf Studio.

I have considered a DIY booth project, but over the past 8 years or so, ever since first being introduced to airbrushing, I've built and scrapped several cardboard paint booths.  There were two sessions on the patio to keep fumes and particulates outside, but again, see also: Kentuckiana weather.  I've tried a box fan, air filter, cardboard, and light plywood in several configurations, but nothing worked well enough to use metallic paint through an airbrush, much less an aerosol.  I've discussed better DIY versions with my buddy, Brandon, and researched quite a bit online, but still can't come up with a design that fits all the criteria without a large investment of time, money and hassle.

So, over the last few evenings, I've been researching pre-built, commercially available hobby spray booths.  Size, style, capacity, cost, filters, venting, lighting...all the criteria.  I've considered purposes, justified the cost, and sketched a new layout for the studio.  A professionally built, 24" wide, lighted unit from Pace Paint Booths, Perrysburg, Ohio, seems to be the best choice for now and in the long run.  I should be ordering in a couple of days.  When it arrives and gets set up, there may be an unboxing/review for this page, maybe a (gasp!) video.  Don't hold me to that, though, I am much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it, especially with video.

The new layout should also make room for a photo station as well as improve storage and efficiency overall.  Reducing clutter and organizing helps my creativity, allows me to sit down and work at a 'station' with less prep & cleanup time.  And a good spray booth will allow me to paint, base, spray, glue and varnish year round.

Until next week, ciao!

6MMRPC - Week 4

I posted this only on Facebook last week, around July 30 or 31...

6MMRPC - Week 4 - Well, I took advantage of warm temps and low humidity to spray prime some Ral Partha skeletons; 12 infantry and 7 archers. Used Army Painter spray primer + paint, Skeleton Bone, so painting armor with metallics and picking out cloth, leather and wood areas should be quick. Spent the rest of the weekend pulling inventory for eBay and various Facebook Marketplaces. Most if not all of Week 5 will go into sorting singles & lots, taking photos, and listing. If my count is accurate, if one adds sold items (in 2017), current listings, and those soon to be listed, we break 730 unpainted minis. If it all sells, a large part of the Mountain will be gone. Hurray for progress, right?
Another 96 painted minis will also be listed, mostly Reaper skeletons and dwarves. While those will not affect my Challenge numbers, they will reduce inventory, make space for other things, and add to the bottom line. Well, that's the plan, anyway. Time will tell.
Over the coming months (or years, depending on other work load), there are 86 more to paint for sale or commissioned work.
This has been your morning report of Week 4, 6MMRPC. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mid-week Update - sort of

2017 Unpainted Mountain: Added 131, Painted 17, Sold/Gifted 237 = Net -123

eBay listings: currently 20 active listings, about 100 minis.  Direct link to my items for sale:

If the above link does not work, search for forest_brook from here:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

6MMRPC - Week 3

Not much progress for this week, thanks to helping get our daughter through a week of band camp during a dangerous heat wave.  Work, the band family picnic, and a day out for board games rounded out the week before spending most of today creating eBay listings.

The only noticeable progress on actual minis this week was to add two Ral Partha skeleton archers to the 'soon' queue.  They got greenstuff on the base, then glue & sand/ballast mix, bringing them up to the same prep level as the others prepped some months ago.  All these skeletons are waiting for a cooler, less humid afternoon so I can spray prime them with paint/primer, this time with Army Painter Skeleton Bone.  Here they are as of today, newest ones in the bottom right:

One other item of note: here in Week 3, I took on a new commission project.  16+ minis will be from Raging Heroes: The Toughest Girls in the Galaxy, plus a large kitbash of a GW Eldar Wraith Knight and an anime garage kit.  That's going to take some time, especially to get back into airbrushing.  While this means my personal Mountain will be somewhat on the back burner, again, it also means I get to blog about painting some really cool new models and adding to my skill set.  So, watch this space!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

6MMRPC - Week 2

Beginning in late in 2016 and finishing in early January of this year, I tried a tweaked version of Sorastro's painting on some Reaper skeletons.  White spray primer was covered with a basecoat of brush-on Army Painter Skeleton Bone and other colors, then inked, highlighted and eventually varnished.  I liked how it all went, the improved speed, ease, and overall results.

Still, I wanted to try the full technique, starting from priming with Army Painter spray paint & primer all-in-one.  With Zombicide: Black Plague getting played quite a bit at the time, I didn't want to pull out many zombies for painting until I had the technique down pat and could turn them around in fast batches.  Instead, I opted to bring out some zombies that could be painted up and inserted into the game as proxies for anything sitting on the workbench.

A long time ago, some of these Ral Partha and Grenadier zombies were primed white or black for different projects, but none were ever finished.  Others were bare metal, just sitting around in the Someday Bins.  All went through a quick cleaning for mold lines and flash, then stripping in Simple Green or Purple Power.  After scrubbing, rinsing and drying, they were glued to Reaper plastic 1" bases.  Next came basing with Alene's Tacky Glue and a mix of sand & model railroad ballast, then primed with Army Painter spray primer/paint, Necrotic Flesh.

I am impressed with Army Painter paint/primer.  Fast, solid, one-coat coverage without sacrificing detail.  As far as I can tell without digging in and really painting minis, I'd say this stuff is a winner.  Alene's Tacky Glue...not so much.  Even when piled on and rounded up above the integrated base, once dried the integrated bases on the minis were plainly visible.  I primed anyway, thinking to ignore the edges and move on, but I guess I'm just too picky.  I later went back in with white pumice paste to hide the edges.

That's why these look the way they do, with a greenish primer coat on the minis and gaming base, and a band of white material between.  That's the pumice paste.  It's for fine art/painting and doesn't need primer, so it will just get painted and washed later, anyway.  The z's crawling from their graves received putty around their bases with a few sculpted rocks and dirt around the headstones.  Here they are, waiting for paint that may next week or next weekend:

As for other progress in Week 2, I listed some unpainted minis on eBay.  I also prepped a couple of RP skeleton archers, planning ahead for a last 'stretch goal' of painting at the end of the month.  But, that's detail for another day...

...until then...


Sunday, July 9, 2017

"Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'...into the future..."

Once again, time has gotten away from me.  Here's the latest update:

Early this year, I stepped away from painting miniatures in favor of taking an inventory and handling some family medical issues, among other things. Six months have flown by, so with a new Six Month Mountain Reduction & Painting Challenge (6MMRPC) that started July 1, it seems like a good time to update the numbers:

2353 unpainted as of 12/31/2016
  -17 painted (15 in early January, 2 in mid-June)
  -44 sold/given away (April - June)
+129 added (June); Reaper Bones 3 KS, Z:BP, others

So, the first half of 2017 has seen a net change in unpainted miniatures of +68.  That's not good, considering my goal is to be deeply in the negative numbers, shrinking rather than growing the unpainted Mountain.  The new 6MMRPC will help get back on track and close the gap, first via eBay.  Hey, now, don’t judge; I have bills to pay. :-)

Hopefully that will go quickly, or at least smoothly enough to allow time for picking off a few Bench Queens along the way.  Example: experimenting with a faster, tabletop-level painting technique for Z:BP zombies. 10 Ral Partha and 6 Grenadier z’s will suffice and have been primed with Army Painter “Necrotic Flesh” spray primer/paint.  They might see paint by the end of this month.

After that, there may be a few paint-for-sale items and/or limited commissions hitting the workbench. If not, most horizontal surfaces will probably be covered with Zombicide: Black Plague through the Challenge period to year’s end and beyond.  I think I would like to have Z:BP wrapped up by early 2018, in time to switch over to Malifaux for a while before Zombicide: Green Horde arrives.  Yes, I pledged for that in June, but I do not know how many minis the core game, stretch goals and add-ons will include.  We’ll just have to wait and see when everything arrives mid- to late-2018.

Until next time...