Chainmail miniatures painting blog

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Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby RSchlock » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:31 am

I decided to start blogging the painting process for my collection of Chainmail minis. More than anything else, this is to help me stay focused on working through them. I thought folks here might be interested in the blog, though.

https://chainmailminiatures.com/

Feel free to give suggestions or critiques. I'm a pretty novice painter, as you'll realize quickly.
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Big Mac » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:12 pm

RSchlock wrote:I decided to start blogging the painting process for my collection of Chainmail minis. More than anything else, this is to help me stay focused on working through them. I thought folks here might be interested in the blog, though.

https://chainmailminiatures.com/


Nice!

It looks like you already made several posts:

I thought this thing, from your "Getting started" post was quite ironic:
RSchlock at the Chainmail Miniatures blog wrote:I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with how much of our lives are lived online and in virtual spaces. About two years ago, I cut out all computer gaming and started playing table-top RPGs as often as my schedule would allow. Since it’s the 21st century, I’m a middle-aged guy, and my nerd friends live all over the place, that means we use Roll20’s virtual tabletop more often than not. It’s great to be able to goof around with actual people and collaborate on storytelling instead of just following a branching choice path written by a game designer. But…it’s still online. What I really miss is the tactile quality of gaming when I was a kid: the books, the dice, the pencils, the miniatures.


(The irony being that I agree with you and would like to do more face-to-face gaming, but that I wouldn't have had the chance to have met you, if we were not both online! ;) Plus there is the fact that I am also playing in a Roll 20 game today - AuldDragon's live-streamed Spelljammer: Adventures in Arcane Space. So, I'm not totally against the online thing.)

You also said this:
RSchlock at the Chainmail Miniatures blog wrote:For the moment, I like that Chainmail has a finite set of miniatures and that it’s set in a universe I’m already familiar with.


I've mostly been doing the opposite of you (mostly ignoring the miniatures and focusing on the Sundered Empire setting). One thing I've worried about, is being able to get enough figures for each faction - if - I decide to buy into the miniatures. There are some things, like the Ravellan dueling societies, that just have not been developed. We got North Wind Duelists, but there were also Snakestrike Duelists and Lajatang duelists.

You did say that you might move over to other miniatures later, but if you stick with Chaimmail and also buy non-Chainmail miniatures to convert to Chainmail, I'd be very interested to see what non-Chainmail miniatures you think would fit in well with the existing ones. But, I'm guessing that's a long long way down the line, as you already have a lot to paint.

I see you are going through Drazen's Horde first. Are you going to finish all of them and then do a full run of a second faction, third faction and so on?

RSchlock wrote:Feel free to give suggestions or critiques. I'm a pretty novice painter, as you'll realize quickly.


I've got very little painting skill. Icarus would probably be better able to give you that sort of advice, as he is an artist, as well as a Chainmail fan. I don't think I've seen him do any art other than 2D art, so I'd love it if he put up pictures of the same miniatures that you are painting. You decided to change the Drazen's Horde colour pallet and I've love to sit on the sidelines and see the two of you discuss the pros and cons of various colour schemes.

One thing I would suggest is that, over time, your blog is going to become fairly large and that you might want to think of some sort of navigation you can put in now, to help fans find specific blog articles. Can you do tags? If you can, I think you might want to consider tagging all your Drazen's Horde miniatures with the name of your faction, so that when you are two or three factions down the line, the Drazen's Horde fans can skip straight past the new stuff to get to this stuff.

I've also seen some people with a sidebar that allows people to see the titles of blog articles posted in specific months or years. You probably don't need that today, as you have a small enough number of articles that someone can scroll through them all. But have a think about the number of minis you have and how many articles you would have if each one got it's own page.

Are you going to do things other than Chainmail miniatures? You said that you would not be doing too much about the Sundered Empire setting, but have you thought about things like the terrain? Chainmail comes with cards that people can lay down to make terrain (bizarrely, players get to lay down miniatures and terrain in the setup phase). I remember seeing something called the 2.5D system, which was a mixture of 2D terrain and 3D terrain to give people battle maps that have a toned down 3D aspect. I first heard about this after discovering the Craft your own dungeons with DMGinfo series of videos on YouTube, but DMGinfo got this idea from DM Scotty.

Perhaps you might want to consider making things like a 2.5D version of a Hissing Pool, at some stage. Then you could play Chainmail with cool terrain, but have terrain that can be packed away fairly easily.
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby RSchlock » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:24 am

I'd be very interested to see what non-Chainmail miniatures you think would fit in well with the existing ones


I've given this some thought. At the moment, I have a good number of miniatures. I think around 110 were released and I've got all but about 20 of them. So I think I can make a good push toward getting a comprehensive collection, especially if some of the rarer ones pop up on eBay and the like. But I do think it might be interesting not just to sub in figurines for the ones I'm missing, but to think about how to expand the game and develop new themed factions. I love the idea of Ravillan dueling societies. You could even develop faction-specific maneuvers that could compensate for limited command points, for example. We should totally brainstorm in this direction.

Are you going to finish all of them and then do a full run of a second faction, third faction and so on?


That's the plan at the moment. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about duplicates in my collection. With the goblin troopers it was an easy call. They're small and lend themselves to swarming strategies anyway. But I don't know if I'll paint more Ogre Troopers before moving on. I think it'll depend on how I feel once I've worked through the faction. I think I'll to Thalos next, since I've almost got a complete run there as well. I'm only missing the half-elf cleric, I think.

One thing I would suggest is that, over time, your blog is going to become fairly large and that you might want to think of some sort of navigation you can put in now, to help fans find specific blog articles


This is all good advice. I set the blog up last night on a whim. I'd been bugging some friends with photos of my painting process, but decided a more public forum might be better. It's hard to find representative photos for some of the rarer pieces. I'll be thinking about how to make it more user-friendly and tags will definitely be a part of that.

Perhaps you might want to consider making things like a 2.5D version of a Hissing Pool, at some stage. Then you could play Chainmail with cool terrain, but have terrain that can be packed away fairly easily.


It's like you're reading my mind. I would like to practice making some 3D terrain elements, not just of the cardboard cards that came with the books & faction boxes, but other elements as well. As I adapt the game, I want to develop formal terrain placement rules involving static terrain elements and the addition of elevation lines on the battle map.

Thanks for the enthusiasm and the great suggestions!
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Big Mac » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:39 am

RSchlock wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I'd be very interested to see what non-Chainmail miniatures you think would fit in well with the existing ones


I've given this some thought. At the moment, I have a good number of miniatures. I think around 110 were released and I've got all but about 20 of them. So I think I can make a good push toward getting a comprehensive collection, especially if some of the rarer ones pop up on eBay and the like. But I do think it might be interesting not just to sub in figurines for the ones I'm missing, but to think about how to expand the game and develop new themed factions. I love the idea of Ravillan dueling societies. You could even develop faction-specific maneuvers that could compensate for limited command points, for example. We should totally brainstorm in this direction.


I'm not really looking for the minis, at the moment, otherwise I would grab a list of the ones you need from you and then let you know if I see any of them, while I was looking for minis for me. If you can find anyone else who is in a mini collecting phase, you might be able to exchange tips with them (and both help each other).

Command is a strange thing. I've been trying to figure out what Command does in a tabletop game set in the Sundered Empire. You don't have command points outside of the Chainmail rules. I am pretty sure they are tied into the curse of Stratis.

I was trying to work out details of other dueling societies in my North Wind Duelists topic, but I should really have split that topic and made one for each society. If you do eventually want to work on fanon dueling societies, we should probably make a new topic for it. I was looking at things from the angle of what exotic weapons existed in tabletop rules, but from your mini-expert point-of-view, you might want to go searching for photos of minis that would work as is, or with modification and figure out how to paint them in a Ravellan style.

RSchlock wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Are you going to finish all of them and then do a full run of a second faction, third faction and so on?


That's the plan at the moment. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about duplicates in my collection. With the goblin troopers it was an easy call. They're small and lend themselves to swarming strategies anyway. But I don't know if I'll paint more Ogre Troopers before moving on. I think it'll depend on how I feel once I've worked through the faction. I think I'll to Thalos next, since I've almost got a complete run there as well. I'm only missing the half-elf cleric, I think.


You might be able to find someone willing to swap some of your duplicates for some of their duplicates, so if you have a lot more duplicates than you think you will use, you might want to keep some in reserve for now.

(I think the ideal thing would be for you to find a Chainmail fan close enough to you to meet up and play against.)

Large armies of identical minis has always been something that I've somehow disliked about wargamming. I felt the same way about Airfix soldiers. Something about it seems to interfere with my sense of disbelief. I guess I'm a bit anal about it. :lol:

RSchlock wrote:
Big Mac wrote:One thing I would suggest is that, over time, your blog is going to become fairly large and that you might want to think of some sort of navigation you can put in now, to help fans find specific blog articles


This is all good advice. I set the blog up last night on a whim. I'd been bugging some friends with photos of my painting process, but decided a more public forum might be better. It's hard to find representative photos for some of the rarer pieces. I'll be thinking about how to make it more user-friendly and tags will definitely be a part of that.


Thanks.

I'm not sure of the exact "reason" for your blog, but if you have been bugging friends about your painting process, you might want to decide if you want to include before and after photos on your blog articles (or before, during and after photos along with a commentary on what you are doing).

There is something (called a More Tag you can put into Wordpress articles to cut down the amount of them that shows up in the main feed. (I'm always forgetting how to do it when I write for Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine.) So if you wanted to have the sort of short punchy articles you have now, but also add details about your painting process, you could do the thing you are doing now, as a summary of what you think about each mini and then stick anything else you want to talk about underneath on of those More Tags.

I'm not telling you to write a ton of stuff about each mini, but if there is more you want to say, and you have been holding back, this might be a way for you to split between keeping things short and also giving more to people that want the uber-nerdy details from you. :lol:

RSchlock wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Perhaps you might want to consider making things like a 2.5D version of a Hissing Pool, at some stage. Then you could play Chainmail with cool terrain, but have terrain that can be packed away fairly easily.


It's like you're reading my mind. I would like to practice making some 3D terrain elements, not just of the cardboard cards that came with the books & faction boxes, but other elements as well. As I adapt the game, I want to develop formal terrain placement rules involving static terrain elements and the addition of elevation lines on the battle map.

Thanks for the enthusiasm and the great suggestions!


Have you noticed the way that the terrain didn't all come out together, but was released in groups with each Chainmail set? (That's not totally clear from the Chainmail Comprehensive Rulebook.)

I've not totally gotten my head around things yet, and - like I said - I'm kind of trying to do the opposite to you and work on the setting rather than the miniatures rules, but I think that the terrain is partially designed to fit in with the themes of each year of Chainmail.

For example, they seem to have the collapse of the ground covering the Underdark, the introduction of the drow as a playable faction (rather than as a "top up your army with these factionless dudes" thing) and (IIRC) the Hissing Pools together.

Some of the terrain is obviously generic, but if you want to start making extra terrain, it might be worth looking at each set individually, and the terrain attached to that set, to see if fanon terrain would fit in with specific sets.

There is some information about the unpublished sets, so if you ever want to locate non-Chainmail minis that could be used to restore those factions, you could perhaps think about a small number of new terrain types at the same time.

I've actually been trying to work out where, in the Sundered Empire, the various Chainmail battlefields are supposed to be located, but that's probably not something that you need to worry about.

I kind of wish that they had asked Chris Pramas to write a Chainmail novel, or a Chainmail Endless Quest book, where we could have seen the adventures of a small warband.
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Icarus » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:13 pm

Big Mac wrote:I've got very little painting skill. Icarus would probably be better able to give you that sort of advice, as he is an artist, as well as a Chainmail fan. I don't think I've seen him do any art other than 2D art, so I'd love it if he put up pictures of the same miniatures that you are painting. You decided to change the Drazen's Horde colour pallet and I've love to sit on the sidelines and see the two of you discuss the pros and cons of various colour schemes.

Well ... I am, in fact, an artist - a professional freelance one.
But, I tend to work in traditional dry media - though, in the most recent several years, I've made a fairly successful transition to also doing digital art. I also have studied sculpture at university, and do 3D digital sculptures.
I do enjoy painting miniatures, and sometimes doing acrylic paintings, It's not something that I've ever spent very much time developing, and I don't generally do a lot. I used to live not too far from the Reaper Miniatures headquarters, and would sometimes go to their Saturday Paint Club days. I picked up just enough tips to understand the basics of painting minis successfully, and can now only just barely accomplish painting miniatures for my home game without being tragically disappointed in them.

So, while I do love the minis that RScholck has posted on this blog thus far, I'm a far cry from critiquing them.
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Big Mac » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:42 am

Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I've got very little painting skill. Icarus would probably be better able to give you that sort of advice, as he is an artist, as well as a Chainmail fan. I don't think I've seen him do any art other than 2D art, so I'd love it if he put up pictures of the same miniatures that you are painting. You decided to change the Drazen's Horde colour pallet and I've love to sit on the sidelines and see the two of you discuss the pros and cons of various colour schemes.

Well ... I am, in fact, an artist - a professional freelance one.
But, I tend to work in traditional dry media - though, in the most recent several years, I've made a fairly successful transition to also doing digital art. I also have studied sculpture at university, and do 3D digital sculptures.


I didn't know you did 3D digital sculpture. I'll have to look out for some of your stuff in the future.

I once saw Jennel Jaquays post a picture of a jug she made. I thought that looked really awesome. So even if you have some things that are not RPG related, I might enjoy seeing the style of them.

Say, do you think you might ever be able to design a 3D equiceph and put it online as a Print on Demand mini?

Icarus wrote:I do enjoy painting miniatures, and sometimes doing acrylic paintings, It's not something that I've ever spent very much time developing, and I don't generally do a lot. I used to live not too far from the Reaper Miniatures headquarters, and would sometimes go to their Saturday Paint Club days. I picked up just enough tips to understand the basics of painting minis successfully, and can now only just barely accomplish painting miniatures for my home game without being tragically disappointed in them.


It must be fun to live someone near to a game company.

You know, back when I was a kid and West End Games were selling Star Wars stuff, I was convinced they had that name because they were based in the West End of London. I had it in my mind that "one day I would look them up in the phone book and ask if I could go and visit". :lol: :oops:

Icarus wrote:So, while I do love the minis that RScholck has posted on this blog thus far, I'm a far cry from critiquing them.


Fair enough. I guess we can both sit here and wave pom poms at RSchlock instead. ;)
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Icarus » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:08 am

Big Mac wrote:Say, do you think you might ever be able to design a 3D equiceph and put it online as a Print on Demand mini?

You know, it's funny that you ask this ... my Beloved once thought the same, or similar. She got in on a Kickstarter for a home version of a 3D Printer, just a little larger than what would be required for a mini.
Sadly, the Kickstarter went bust after it funded, and people tried suing the person running it, because the printers weren't ever delivered.
...
But, on topic:
The 3D sculpting software that I use is compatible with 3D printing, so, I suppose it's a possibility. A far-fetched one, to be clear - but, within the realm of possibility. But, that realm is a pretty enormous Crystal Sphere.
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Big Mac » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:46 pm

Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Say, do you think you might ever be able to design a 3D equiceph and put it online as a Print on Demand mini?

You know, it's funny that you ask this ... my Beloved once thought the same, or similar. She got in on a Kickstarter for a home version of a 3D Printer, just a little larger than what would be required for a mini.
Sadly, the Kickstarter went bust after it funded, and people tried suing the person running it, because the printers weren't ever delivered.
...
But, on topic:
The 3D sculpting software that I use is compatible with 3D printing, so, I suppose it's a possibility. A far-fetched one, to be clear - but, within the realm of possibility. But, that realm is a pretty enormous Crystal Sphere.


I think that a lot of people use Shapeways to do their miniatures printing, rather than buy their own printer. I remember someone talking about economy of scale and how you needed to print more than a certain number of minis to make home printing cheaper than using a commercial 3D printer. However I don't remember the actual numbers.

If you were able to upoad a "generic 3d horse-person" to a place where someone else can buy a copy of your mini, perhaps RSchlock could get one and then paint it. (I'm not sure if that would count as collaborative Chainmail art. :) )
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby RSchlock » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:29 pm

I found these guys last night. You could probably cut the horns off that minotaur and have a pretty decent equiceph, if you wanted to:

http://fenrisgames.com/shop#!/FGBRZMIN01-Asterion-minotaur-hero/p/28681777/category=8945527

http://fenrisgames.com/shop#!/FGBRZCKT1-Chess-knight-with-lance/p/83650829/category=8945527

I think the problem is that Chris Pramas or one of the other writers basically invented the equiceph as an extinct race and then only made the zombie version playable. So there was no incentive to model or develop the character. It might be fun to ask a model sculptor to make one. If we let them retain the rights, I wonder how much they'd charge.
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Icarus » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:01 am

RSchlock wrote:I think the problem is that Chris Pramas or one of the other writers basically invented the equiceph as an extinct race and then only made the zombie version playable.
That's exactly what they did. There aren't any living Equicephs in the Sundered Empire.
There are, however, living Equicephs elsewhere after having been exiled across the sea. They were later detailed in the D&D Miniatures game. I was surprised to find that they aren't human-sized. They're Large.

It might be fun to ask a model sculptor to make one. If we let them retain the rights, I wonder how much they'd charge.
If I'm understanding Big Mac correctly, that's what he's suggesting I do. He'd like to see me sculpt something, and then sell it. I don't know if I'd sell it or not, but, it'd be neat to do, to see if I can do that kind of thing, or not.
Here's a sample of the kind of digital sculpture I do ... this one was just for a photo reference for an illustration I was doing. Image
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby RSchlock » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:23 am

Oh man. If you have the time and the inclination, you should totally do that. In fact, we should brainstorm what sorts of units an Equiceph faction might have, write up some stats, and use this as a chance to expand on the core game!
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Icarus » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:35 am

I don't know ...
I mean, it's neat, and all ... and I certainly have the time. I've got time in spades.
But, I generally find a bunch of other projects with which to fill my day. None are really more important than others.
...
I can't even begin to imagine something in the scope of actually modelling miniatures.
I s'pose there's a market for it. Otherwise there wouldn't be commercial 3D printers, right?
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Big Mac » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:39 am

RSchlock wrote:I found these guys last night. You could probably cut the horns off that minotaur and have a pretty decent equiceph, if you wanted to:

http://fenrisgames.com/shop#!/FGBRZMIN01-Asterion-minotaur-hero/p/28681777/category=8945527

http://fenrisgames.com/shop#!/FGBRZCKT1-Chess-knight-with-lance/p/83650829/category=8945527

I think the problem is that Chris Pramas or one of the other writers basically invented the equiceph as an extinct race and then only made the zombie version playable. So there was no incentive to model or develop the character. It might be fun to ask a model sculptor to make one. If we let them retain the rights, I wonder how much they'd charge.


Nice find!

I believe the equicephs in Chainmail were supposed to be raised from the graveyards after the living race had left the area (or become extinct). They are supposed to be skeletal versions. I think you need fresh dead to animate zombies. (There is a discussion about them in my What happened to the equicephs? topic.

Ripvanwormer thinks that the non-dead equicephs would be the decendants of the equicephs who were exiled from the lands in Western Oerik.
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Big Mac » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:51 pm

Icarus wrote:
RSchlock wrote:It might be fun to ask a model sculptor to make one. If we let them retain the rights, I wonder how much they'd charge.
If I'm understanding Big Mac correctly, that's what he's suggesting I do. He'd like to see me sculpt something, and then sell it. I don't know if I'd sell it or not, but, it'd be neat to do, to see if I can do that kind of thing, or not.
Here's a sample of the kind of digital sculpture I do ... this one was just for a photo reference for an illustration I was doing.


That's amazing!

From what I understand, the thing about making miniatures is part art and part engineering. You might be able to make a big chunky mini with fairly small features, but on a 1-inch scale you might have a skeletal equiceph that literally breaks up into a bunch of bits, because it just isn't strong enough to be picked up.

There is actually a guy out there who has made a bunch of 3D models that people can use to print D&D miniatures.

If you did want to do this (and it's a big if, as I'm guessing this would at up a ton-of-time) perhaps you could look at Miguel Zavala's work in your 3D software and see if you can work out how he has made his miniatures "solid" enough. If he hasn't locked down his files, perhaps you might even be able to find something similar and modify it.

I don't know where he hangs out, otherwise I would have already pinged him and asked him about what he does. (There are some Spelljammer monsters that never got miniatures. If this was something I could learn to do, I would probably be tempted to have a bash at one of them.)
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Re: Chainmail miniatures painting blog

Postby Big Mac » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:59 pm

Icarus wrote:I s'pose there's a market for it. Otherwise there wouldn't be commercial 3D printers, right?


Maybe this is the sort of thing where people could back you on Patreon to fund you putting aside some time to build models.

The big thing I can imagine is that there would be a learning curve and you might not be able to deliver anything useful until you have learned your 3D-fu.

So, although I'd love to see you do something like this, I think you probably should only do it if you are willing to burn up time building yourself something that is for you and your own games. If you did that, then you would be working for yourself and the low return of investment (at that stage) wouldn't matter so much.

I think that, if we really wanted this sort of thing to be viable (for you or anyone else) we would want to track down more Chainmail fans.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Big Mac
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