Sunday, July 22, 2018

Historicon 2018 Painting Competition

(Note: This post is very picture heavy.)
(Note Note: If you click a picture, a larger, zoomable picture will pop-up)

After a surprise 3rd place last year in the 2017 Historicon Painting Competition, I figured I would try my hand at it again.
I picked two models that I really liked, and for the first time, specifically painted them for the competition.  I have never done this before so I was curious if I would it would change the way I painted (spoiler: it did).

The first model was the Nurgle Harbinger of Decay from Games Workshop.  I've always loved this model and was looking forward to painting it.  The biggest challenge, by far, was deciding what to do with the base.  I usually do straightforward bases, but since this was a competition piece I wanted to do something a little more interesting.  I thought it would be cool to show how the grass was slowly decaying as the Nurgle lord walked along (note - I'm not the only person who thought this was a good idea as a quick Google image search will reveal).

Slightly different angle.

Needless to say, I was really excited when I placed second in the Fantasy Single Miniature category!  I had never painted a Nurgle model before so it was a struggle because I had no background experience in painting decaying flesh, or that "Nurgle green".

The next entry was a bigger surprise - a friend of mine had a metal Lizardmen Stegadon.  He really had no interest in trying to assemble and paint such a huge kit. I told him that I really wanted to see that thing on the table, so I'd assemble and paint it for him.  I've never painted Lizardmen before and it was also another opportunity for me to overcome my mortal fear of the big metal kits.  Having previously conquered the Orc Wyvern and the old Giant kit, I thought I was ready to tackle this.  I also said I wanted to just painted to a "tabletop standard", maybe a little more, so that we could just get the model onto the battlefield.

Anyway, I finished the Stegadon and we played a game with it.  When the game was over I looked at the model some more, and thought maybe I should enter it into the competition. I didn't have an entry ready for the Fantasy Unit/War Machine category so, eh, nothing to lose.  I added some foliage to the base and touch up a few minor mistakes.

I was even more surprised when I saw a #1 next to it in the cabinet.  I had won Fantasy Unit/War Machine category! 

The last entry was the female Freeborn NuHu Renegade for Beyond the Gates of Antares from Warlord Games. I've really be interested in the background of this game, and I really liked the pair of Male and Female leaders, but I could only enter one into the Single Miniature Sci-Fi category (and I had to leave out the little drone thing). 

This model was a little tougher to paint for a few reasons.  One, I had no background understanding of the lore, and what types of colors schemes would go well.  Also, while the design of the model is really nice, the end result of the cast wasn't great.  The fine details were a little too thin, making it tough to paint those details.  In the end, I was not super-pleased with the results, and I was still planning on painting the free-hand circle designs on the cloak.  But when I did a test of the free-hand on another Antares model, it was really...not good.  Free-hand is another thing I really need to work on.  So I decided to leave it off and just enter the model as-is.  At this point I knew it wasn't my best work and I was really considering just not entering the model at all.

I was stunned that when I picked up the model, I had finish 3rd place!   More on this later...
a blurry picture...
Last year when I decided to enter the IHMN company into the competition, I was very excited to place 3rd because it meant that I would probably achieve a life-long hobby dream: having a picture of one of my miniatures in either White Dwarf or Wargames Illustrated magazine. Now this was something I never thought would actually happen, so the fact that there was a chance., i just couldn't believe it.  Alas, when the October 2017 Issue of Wargames Illustrated came out, I rushed to the store, picked up a copy picture! I was bummed.  There were a few category winners that just didn't make final publication.  A few months later I spoke to Dave Taylor and he was surprised because the final layout that he sent to the publisher included the pictures! He thought it must have just been a mistake.
With this year's results, I think I have a pretty good chance of finally getting into the printed copy of Wargames Illustrated.  Keeping my fingers crossed...

So, competition painting: this was the first time I had ever painted miniatures specifically for a painting competition.  When I decided to do it, I was concerned that I would start approaching things differently, and the fact that it was for a competition would somehow change my standard approach.  It definitely did.  I found myself spending a LOT more time planning the model, planning the bases, and planning colors.  I'm not sure if I like that part of it.  Typically, I just dive right into a new project and keep going until I'm happy with the way it looks.  But with these two pieces I found myself very concerned about "getting it right".  The funny thing is, the two models that I painted specifically for the competition (the Nurgle lord and the NuHu Renegade) finished 2nd and 3rd.  But the model that I painted "quickly, to a tabletop 'plus' standard", finished first.  Hmm...maybe there's a lesson in there.

Here's a few pics of some of the entries in the Single Miniature Fantasy category (with judge Dave Taylor in the background).   This was before all the entries were in.  I forgot to come back to the cabinets and take a picture of all the entries.

...and this was the sight that greeted me - the Nurgle Lord finished second!  The winning entry was a dwarf that was blowing fire (tough to see here, but it was painted amazingly. Just wait until the Oct issue of Wargames Illustrated to see it up close).

When I submitted the NuHu Renegade sci-fi figure, I noticed this entry immediately.  I knew right away that this model would win.  And sure enough, it did.  I have no idea what manufacturer it is (maybe Infinity?)  Also, the same person entered an amazingly painted Three Musketeer in the Single Miniature Historical category, and that won 1st place as well.  I don't know the winner's name but those two miniatures were stunning.
Update: the gentleman that painted both of those figures is Gregory Zuniga.  He took 1st place in 3 categories (these two and Sci-Fi Unit/Warmachine with an awesome battlemech type figure) and also won Best of Show with that musketeer.  Congratulations Gregory!

Here are some of the entries in the Fantasy Unit/War Machine category.  The turtle from Eureka Miniatures was painted really, really well. I didn't get a good look at the other squad. I still still in a state of shock that I had won.

These were the final 3 in the single miniature Sci-Fi. I thought for sure the Ultramarine and the Ork would finish higher than me.  Also, this was the first chance I had to see a Forge World Primarch in person. Wow - those models are unreal. And it finished 2nd.

I still can't believe I took home a medal for all 3 of my entries.   The competition was really really strong.  Some amazing models by some amazing painters. 
Something else that makes this year's results extra sweet is that the famous Perry Twins took part in the judging of the miniatures.  They were special guests at the conventions and they were incredibly friendly.  Just having the chance to chat with two of the guys that sculpted many of my favorite miniatures of the years was great.  They did a sculpting demonstration as well as a slideshow talk about their careers in "the hobby".  I also got a picture with them!
Oldhammer achievement unlocked!

This might have been the highlight of the competition, however.  I think this was in the Open category.  Yes, it's the G.I Joe's.  I didn't even know somebody sold these.

So...I placed the figs in the miniature cabinet at home, in their new place of prominence.  I will be sad to have to give the Stegadon back to it's rightful owner!

I took these pictures very quickly this morning with the always helpful Foldio2 light box.  Here's the basic setup I used.  Two daylight LED bulbs, plus the LED lighting that comes with the Foldio.  And a crappy, old Canon Elph PowerShot point-and-shoot.  I'm pretty sure I've stretched that camera to it's technical limits.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Lizardman Stegadon

A good friend plays Lizardmen, but wasn't really thrilled with the idea of building, assembling, and painting an all-metal Stegadon kit.  So I offered to paint it up for him.

Here's the results!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Staged Pictures

I'm still experimenting with photographing miniatures, and so I attempted to set up a staged scene and take a bunch of shots.  I was a little cramped for time so rushed a few of the shots but overall they turned out better than I expected. 

Here's the setup.  Two cheap lamps from target with daylight LED bulbs.  Grass mat laid on a coffee table, and white foamboards on the sides held up by books.  The rear board is covered with a grey matt that came with my Foldio2.  I couldn't find a suitable blue background to represent sky.  Next time!

Here's a blurry shot of the goblins.

Chaos knights...

Trying to learn about depth of field and intentionally having some parts of the picture blurry.

Depth of field again: focused on the mounted Lord Edmund, and got the pirate-hat guy out of focus (intentionally).

This shot was take very far away, and I cropped and zoomed.   Amazing how much detail my basic point and shoot Canon Elph PowerShot can get.

This was one of the last shots and definitely rushed.  Even with a little post-processing, the picture wasn't very good...

The purple wizard.

Overall, I definitely want to keep trying.