I find myself saying this phrase a lot. This miniature is the best I’ve ever done. This edit is the best I’ve ever done. I think it took me a while to really realize how important that mindset is. Whether its for this hobby or my work or whatever, as long as I always feel like the latest thing I’ve done is the best so far, I’m always improving and clearly able to see that improvement.
Well, after taking a break, Pathfinder has brought this hobby back to the forefront. I was an avid D&D 3.5 player way back when, but never really tried Pathfinder. A ton of friends have been playing it recently, and that’s definitely scratched that tabletop itch I’ve had for some time. Couple that with the delivery of my Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter package, and I’m back to full-on painting mode. As funny as it is to say, I think painting minis is very much like riding a bike. That sense that you never really forget how to do it. I started painting something out of the box and within 30 minutes I was back to remembering old techniques and the stylistic things I’d do to speed through anything I want done for tabletop-use.
It’s interesting to think about how I feel like I’m less motivated to create things the more creative I am at work. For anyone who stumbles on this and doesn’t know, I’m an editor at Blizzard primarily working on World of Warcraft’s in-game cinematics and various other projects for the other IPs. On a daily basis, my job revolves around having to be creative on the spot at all times. There are meetings here and there sprinkled throughout the day that help break that up, but for the most part my mind is racing all day. I think as a result, I come home and just want to mindless play something or watch something or read something. Definitely an unexpected consequence.
That’s not to say that I’m not making things or obsessively working on things outside of work, like I used to, but my focus isn’t so much on painting or building or designing right now, so I feel a small break coming. As seen by prior posts, I tend to focus on other things and come back to this hobby after a few months as the things I post on here are my absolute favorite things to make. But it’s been interesting to finally see that it could just be quantified as being drained from a full day of artistic work and then lacking the motivation to do more of it after hours, rather than just losing interest in the hobby altogether.
Well, this has certainly been a wild stream of consciousness post so far, but I think I should end it there. I’ve been thinking about teaching myself something music-oriented, or maybe learn to program something. I’ve also been wanting to learn Unity for some time, so perhaps that could be a fun little break from this. Either way, I imagine I’ll be painting up a storm in no time.
I really wanted to start out small with my airbrushing, as noted in my initial airbrushing blog. I had taken on a simple Werewolf and figured I’d maybe try another one of my smaller models. Maybe another one from my large Reaper Kickstarter haul. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out that way. While shopping at a nearby hobby shop for some new Vallejo Air paints, I came across a Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought.
When the “Primaris” versions of Space Marines initially came out, I remember seeing them plastered all over every Warhammer 40k fansite, forum, subreddit, you name it. They were larger than the older models hobbyists and gamers had gotten used to seeing for decades, and provided a lot more detail to cover. I totally understood the fascination and love they garnered, but I still had resisted the urge to buy them. I still have a massive backlog of 40k miniatures. I still never finished painting all my units from my original 3rd Edition and Dark Imperium box sets. But damn this thing was awesome looking, and looked like a perfect opportunity to play with airbrushing.
It’s been a while since my last update. I knew I’d post infrequently, but didn’t expect to take this long. Before I go too far into why I’m posting now, I should say that I still have yet to complete my Imperial Knight. It currently sits in my office on one of my terrain pieces, and though it looks good as-is and I am really proud of what I’ve done with itwwwq, I still have so much more planned. I think I’m just worried about potentially ruining it by adding all the Dark Angels decals and emblems on it, but that’s what I had always intended to do with it, so I should probably just suck it up and deal with it. Haha.
Anywho, the reason I’m updating now is because I’m finally getting into airbrushing. I always saw airbrushing as this sophisticated method that was very expensive and completely out of my wheelhouse. Now I don’t see it that way. As I’m just starting out, I decided to get a simple compressor/airbrush kit from Amazon. I did my research and consistently saw that Iwata was the way to go for brushes, but when it came to compressors, it didn’t seem like the brand mattered so much. I decided to go with the kit I chose because the reviews seemed decent, and I frankly wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy airbrushing enough to warrant the high cost of an Iwata.
After months of procrastination, my first Imperial Knight is nearing completion. If you haven’t seen the first part of the update, you can check it out here.
I’ve been pretty busy with other projects and have been putting off painting. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I tend to get sidetracked really easily. I’m almost at a point where I need to multitask in order to feel like I’m getting something done. I often find myself with Netflix up on one monitor while I’m writing, creating something, or playing a game on the other monitor. Its damn near impossible for me to just sit still and do one thing now while at home, and unfortunately this has caused me to really slack on most of my projects. Combine that with my weird voluntary ADD causing me to jump from idea to idea from one week to another, and you can see how I now have 50 separate incomplete projects that I may never finish simply because all of them excite me enough to make me jump around. Its exhausting.
That said, some coworkers of mine have really gotten into trying out miniature painting, and as such have wanted to throw mini painting parties after work. This has been a blessing, and is really what gave me the push to get this thing 90% finished as well as start on some of the Reaper minis I bought in their last Kickstarter campaign.
I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons near the end of middle school, and quickly obsessed over the idea of being able to build my own worlds and design my own locations. One of my favorite hobbies at the time was playing StarCraft, Blizzard Entertainment’s titanic real-time strategy game and father of what we now know as “eSports”. I was never particularly good at it, but the one aspect of it that I loved was the included “Campaign Editor”. This tool allowed anyone to create their own campaigns and essentially design their own games. For a kid like me that had no knowledge of coding other than basic HTML, this tool was a godsend. I made a ton of maps – well I started a ton of maps, never really managed to finish any as I’d always get side-tracked with new ideas – but they were always stuck within the limitation of what was possible with StarCraft. So needless to say when I was introduced to D&D where the only limitation was your imagination, I was sucked in immediately. I’ve developed a bunch of D&D campaigns over the past decade, but the most recent was the world of Ellos.
Despite having a sizable backlog of primed and unpainted minis waiting in the wings, I impulsively went ahead and bought an Imperial Knight from Games Workshop. I’m not sure why exactly. I had just finished my largest diorama piece to date and maybe just wanted to try my hand at painting something larger for once? I also just finished painting the Master Balthasar miniature, which is probably my most detailed model so far, so I was feeling confident in my ability to finally tackle this thing.
I’m writing this post about a third of the way through the painting process, so unfortunately I don’t have any early progress pics to share, but I’ll be sure to take some from now on to document my process with this particular model. So far I’ve been experimenting with layering shades on my metallic sections, then very faintly drybrushing them back up, wet blending with the Liquitex Slow-Dri Blending Medium, and magnetizing parts of the model. Why the hell did I decide to experiment with these things on such an expensive model.
I’ve had the Master Balthasar model primed and shelved for a while now, along with most of the Dark Vengeance set. As silly as it sounds, I think it took me a while to get to the point where I was ready to try to paint this little bastard as he is more detailed and technically difficult compared to all the basic tactical Space Marines (even with the occasional robe) I had done before. I don’t know how obvious it is yet to anyone readying these, but I’m definitely not super confident in my ability to paint minis. I think I naturally hold myself to a massively high standard (we are our own worst critics, right?), and until I’m able to paint something at the quality you’d see on the box art, I just won’t be happy.
I’m not the best miniatures painter in the world by any means, but upon looking back at some of the things I’ve painted over the past decade, I realized I’ve at least gotten better. And I’m continuing to get better. The same could probably be said for the maps I make or the dioramas I build.
So what’s the point of this blog or this website? Simply put: I wish I had a reference for what I’ve put together in the past. I tend to jump from interest to interest a ton – I sometimes refer to it as voluntary ADD. I think I just find something I really want to work on or play or write or create, and obsess over it for a month or two before a new shiny project inevitably pulls me away. When I finally get back to things I’ve worked on in the past, I almost have to re-learn things I’ve already done just to get myself back up to speed. Shit, even building this WordPress template is something I’ve done in the past and had to re-figure out. So with that in mind, I don’t expect this site to be updated frequently as I get side-tracked and move from project to project, but at least it will house most of the things I work on so I have some reference to look back on. Who knows, maybe I’ll expand it later and include all the other things I do other than painting and map-making and terrain-building. Maybe “Devlin’s Compendium” or something. 🙂