Monthly archives: April, 2018



Completion Date: 2017.12

Time: 82 hours

PNP Link with more pictures:


This is my second of three posts about my 2018 Crystal Brush entries. You can find the first post here, and a FB post about my overall Adepticon reaction here.



I started planning this project around the same time as Through the Never. I had a short list of 28mm miniatures and Slambo was at the top, as the miniature to me epitomizes Games Workshop nostalgia. He’s a miniature straight out of the 1980s, but updated to contemporary sculpting. It’s a weird phenomenon that the images we remember from the past are distorted through our inner emotional lens. This updated Slambo sculpt is how I remember original Slambo looking (i.e. awesome), and original Slambo just looks like junk to me now.

So, my goal with this piece was to also paint Slambo the way we remember him, or maybe how we pictured him as children (I’m addressing all of my fellow GW gamers / former GW gamers who were children in the 80’s and 90’s here). We’re talking SENMM, Sorayama-style. We’re talking over-the-top lava. We’re talking Heavy (not so much ‘Eavy) Metal:




With all that in mind, I put together the concept:




I really liked GW’s Baleful Realmgate (I used a snippet of it in my concept), but it was way too big of a piece, so I did my own sculpt in C4D, and shamelessly duplicated a lot of the shapes, but on a smaller scale:



I took the clean geometric sculpt into Mudbox and cut in the lava flow, rock texture, cracks, and chips. Despite my best efforts to estimate in the software where Slambo’s feet would land, the first test print had the feet squarely on top of the lava flow:



I expanded the base and did a second test print (in Shapeways super cheap PLA). The geometry of that print worked, so I ordered a final print in the FED material.



I started with the usual sketch to find my pigments. I wanted to try out Warcolours, as I had won a big box of them at Rainbow Brush at GenCon. The Warcolours black didn’t really work for me (too glossy), but most of the other saturated primaries/secondaries worked well for what I needed. I also selected a blueish gray that I knew I needed and didn’t want to have to mix every time. Another cool thing about Warcolours is that their transparent colors are super consistent coming out of the bottle (as much as I love Reaper transparents, sometimes no matter how hard I shake the bottle, I get a droplet of coagulated pigment surrounded by a soup of medium).


Another critical preparation step was getting a better understanding of how different chrome shapes reflect the environment around them. I had done the concept art for the piece with a kind of abstract idea of how it would work, but I wanted to cement my understanding of the different shapes and how they would reflect. Besides taking a newfound interest in anything chrome or mirrorlike I encountered in the real world, I also did a test in C4D:



The actual physical execution of the painting process of Slambo was smoother than usual. I ended up spending only half the time that I spent on Through the Never. The main challenge was getting the lava into the right level of chroma saturation, which was accomplished with several fluorescent passes.



Nothing new other than the aforementioned Warcolours.



Good: It won a Crystal Brush, which was really cool (I had doubts about it making the cut). Even cooler was peoples reaction to this piece. It was by a huge margin the most popular of my three Crystal Brush pieces, based purely on apparent enthusiasm. I think we all have a shared nostalgia for Slambo.

Bad: Nothing exactly bad, but…

Ugly: The lava flow coming out of the skulls sucks. At the top of the post I listed the completion date as 12/2017, which is mostly true in that he was 99+% done at that point, but I actually slapped on that lava flow around 18 hours before I entered the piece in the competition (I had put it on hold to focus on Pharaoh’s Curse). I feel like it’s the weak link in the piece.




Completion Date: 2017.11

Time: 168 hours

PNP Link with full photo set


This was one of my three entries for Crystal Brush 2018. I wrote some more broad Crystal Brush thoughts in a Facebook post here. I will be posting WIP articles about my three CB pieces.




I started on this project in April 2017 after seeing the results of the Crystal Brush come in. I was inspired by Kat Martin’s gold winning piece, and decided that I wanted to attend the following year and definitely bring something for the sci-fi single figure category. I already had a short list of 28mm scale miniatures that I thought had potential for a big project. I knew I wanted a massive space background, and Yvraine seemed to fit, so I started gathering reference material, arranged it all in Photoshop, and ended up with this:



Working in Cinema 4D, I got started designing a base. The concept for the platform part of the base evolved quite a bit into the cubes idea that made it into the final version. The grid of cubes were procedurally generated into a guide shape, which was fun. My first pass had issues:

Besides looking wonky, another issue I found based on a 3D test print was that there was no way I was fitting her cat on the base with her while still staying within the legal 50mm diameter restriction. So cuts and adjustments were made, and two test prints later, I had the final design. I ended up having to print the arches in FUD material because Shapeways didn’t like the arches in HDA (writing this months later, I forget why):

The only non-3D printed sculpting element I got into was the ripple effect on the portal as she passes through. I did a battery of tests:


…and ended up settling on using Water FX as a basis for the volume (because it holds rigid shape so well), and then using liberal coats of Mod Podge to smooth the whole thing over.



I did my usual pigment test to try and translate the concept art into pigmented colors:

I would usually want to mix that darker red from primaries, but I wanted to keep my shadow colors super consistent, so I went with the premixed dark red to keep it anchored to a single hue/value/saturation point that I couldn’t accidentally drift away from with poor mixes.

As I began to sketch everything in, I started with a gold brocade on the side of the dress:


But I felt that it had too much contrast and was distracting from the face. So, I mocked up some potential ideas for more subtle freehand in Photoshop:

…which I thought worked, and tried to replicate as closely as possible, although in both cases, I had to simplify volumes based on the amount of area I had to work with.



Nothing new this time around.



Good: I think this project was a big step for me as far as lighting and atmosphere. The project was also well received at Adepticon / Crystal Brush, and won its category.

Bad: Due to a superglue accident, I had to cannibalize two different Yvraine miniatures together in order to produce the one piece.

Ugly: For maybe the first time, I don’t think there is anything super ugly that happened or resulted.



Shoutouts to Aaron Lovejoy and Ben Komets for their critiques of my work.