Thursday, January 27, 2011

Miniature pinning in a few easy steps

Today I want to show you a simple technique I learned to properly drill and pin a miniature. Pinning is more of an advance modeling technique used to properly fit and glue two pieces of a miniature together. This is usually a more preferred technique when you have two pieces that are flat on the ends like this Kobold Gouger from Soda Pop Miniatures.

So I will be showing you how I pin the tail on the Kobold so it stays on and survives the wear and tear of gaming. You will need the following tools for this project:

1. Pin Vice- Basically it is a hand operated drill. This allows for precise drilling without ruining any detail. A Dremel also works but I don't recommend it for small pieces like the ones I am working with unless you want a new hole through your finger ;).
2. Drill Bit- In the photo it is already attached to the pin vice. Bit sizes usually come in millimeters or inches. Miniature use drill bits range from .50mm to 1.90mm or 1/32in. to 1/8in. I prefer to use a bigger drill bit if I feel the piece can handle it without any damage. In my opinion it produces a better join.
3. Brass Wire- Used to join both pieces. Comes in all sizes as well. Match your wire to the drill bit you are using.
4. Premo modeling clay- This is what I used for this project. Sculpy or something similar works as well. You want to use a non-drying clay that can easily be cleaned up and not leave any residue behind.
5. Super glue(not shown)- Almost a given for working with pewter miniatures. I use Gorilla brand super glue. Of course you can use whatever brand you prefer.

So you start by drilling a hole in the smaller piece that will be attached to the bigger piece. In this example I drilled out the Kobold mini's tail. You want to to drill it pretty deep but take care not to drill through the piece.

After you finish drilling, do a dry fit on the piece to make sure they fit together properly and are the correct pieces. Believe me, I have had my share of wrongfully pinned and glued miniatures in my day. So after you've done a dry fit twice, grab a small bit of the Premo clay and apply it to the piece you are going to drill next. In the photo you notice I placed it on the Kobold miniature where the tail is going to be pinned.

Now carefully join both pieces and here is where it gets tricky. You have to try and be as precise as you can joining both pieces as they are meant to be fitted or you will have a mis-aligned piece. If the clay is too thick use a smaller amount. You want to use just enough to stick both pieces together.

Now I carefully remove the tail from the Kobold and end up with a blob of clay precisely where I have to drill my next hole. You might have to give it a few attempts to get something similar to the photo above. But if it is not working, try drilling the hole a little deeper on the smaller piece and that should give you better results.

You can now take your pin vice and drill your next hole on the miniature. At this point, I just went ahead and drilled enough to get me started and then cleaned off the rest of the clay and continued drilling on a clean surface till I felt it was deep enough. Of course how deep your hole will be depends on the miniature's anatomy. Luckily the Kobold is a solid piece so I can drill it without worrying about over doing it.

Next you take your brass wire and glue it to one of the pieces. It doesn't really matter which piece you glue the brass wire to but I prefer to glue it to the bigger piece. This is just my preference since I've had the smaller pieces take flight when I cut the wire and then spend about 20 minutes searching the carpet for it. I usually cut the wire a bit longer than necessary and either drill the smaller piece a bit more or sand the wire down till I have a perfect join.

All that's left is to do is to pour a bit of glue on one end and join both pieces together. You should be left with an almost seamless join depending on your miniature. You may have to go back and fill the seam with green putty. Judging from the photos it looks like that's what I'll have to do with my Kobold.

So hopefully I was able to show you a helpful technique to use next time you need to pin your miniatures. I am sure I had seen this technique explained somewhere else on the net before but since I couldn't find it I thought I would write up a tutorial explaining it.
Any questions let me know.
Keep on gaming!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some more of my past work

Here is some of my past work from a couple of years ago. This is Dhalia and Skarrath from the Hordes game by Privateer Press. I painted these 2 miniatures for my friend Darren as a gift for him. I pretty much used the paint scheme that was recommended in the Hordes Metamorphosis book. The base is pre-made by Epicast bases with a few minor additions. I really wish I can remember all the paint colors I used to achieve the sand rock color but I think I just ended up using a mix of oranges, reds, and browns. I hope to post more miniatures as I get them done and hopefully with better description of paints and colors used. Enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Custom Miniature Bases

So one project that took a long time to complete was my base insert project. I sculpted some bases to use with my miniatures to simplify the often over looked part of the hobby. It was labor intensive but well worth it.

Here is what the final product looks like once attached to the miniature and painted. Well in order to get to a finished product, I started with sculpting some originals with slight variations to each so they don't all look the same.

I then used some RTV silicone to make a mold of the originals. 24 hours later I can now cast copies of my custom bases in no time.

Currently these bases are being used on my Super Dungeon Explore miniatures. They are 20mm in size so they are the accurate size to use on top of the plastic base you get with the miniature. Currently I am casting them with smooth-cast 320 casting plastic but I normally use dental plaster. It's cheaper than plastic.
Game on!

Welcome to Mini Art Design

Happy New Years 2011!!
Well I want to kick off the new year by introducing a miniature hobby blog. I enjoy the hobby of collecting and painting miniatures. I have lots of them waiting to be painted so I hope to keep a blog and share with you my progress as I try to accomplish painting most of the minis in my closet this year.
2011 will be the year of at least one completed miniature project!

I want to start my blog by sharing with you some very cool miniatures I have come across on the interweb. A few months back I heard about some miniatures from a company called Soda Pop Miniatures. Apparently this year they plan on introducing a dungeon crawl type game called Super Dungeon Explore. Now I am not a big fan of Dungeons or Dragons or the evil dragon-lizard people known as Kabolds for that matter, but Soda Pop Miniatures design of the characters are based on SD anime(or Super Deformed Anime). So of course being a big anime nut, I had to purchase them with some of my Christmas money.

So for my first purchase from Soda Pop, I got the Dwarf Fighter, The Paladin, The Human Mage, The Elf Ranger, and the Kobold Priest. The detail on the miniatures are pretty amazing. They ware nicely cast in pewter with only a few minor imperfections. They did require more prep work then I am used to and the smaller size of the miniatures does make it more challenging to put together than the normal 32mm scale pewter minis, but nonetheless it was worth the extra work.

Here is a W.I.P.(work in progress) of the Kobold priest and the paladin. Not much flash or mold lines to clean up.

The backside of the Kobold priest. The staff was very difficult to glue and required the use of epoxy putty(or green stuff) to fill in the seams and give it more strength.

Under the Kobold's mouth was a huge gap that required more putty to fill it with. Well with some of my minor sculpting skills I was able to fill the gap and make it appear as part of his robe.

Here is the female Elf Ranger. As you can see there is quite a bit of detail at this small scale.

The Elf Ranger had a slight miscast at the edge of her headdress that needed some putty to fill it in.

One very cool addition included with the minis was a variety of treasure chests cast in grey resin and one in pewter. You can't have dungeon exploring without some kind of treasure to acquire. These are fantastically sculpted. They are very cartoony looking and fitting with the theme. My only wish is that Soda Pop Miniatures sold these separately. I would buy a bunch to use in other games like Pirate's Cove and Warmachine. The monster chest is definitely one of my favorites.

I spared no expense with these minis and went ahead and cast some of my round bases in resin to base them on. I know it looks like ice but once primed and painted they will look like a grimy dungeon floor.

Well I was so impressed with these minis that I went ahead and bought some of the other Kobold monsters so I can actually play the game. The price is pretty reasonable by pewter miniature standards. Under 100 bucks you can buy all they minis and have enough for a fun dungeon crawl game. Soda Pop Miniatures has some other anime style minis as well and so far I have been very impressed by their quality. So keep following as I paint these terrific minis and if you want some of your own here is the place to go: Soda Pop Miniatures- Super Dungeon Explore

Keep on gaming!