Reaper Bone 3 Delivers

Reaper Bone 3 Delivers

Kickstarter – After some minor delays the Reaper Bones 3 Kickstarter arrived. I didn't go whole hog on this one as I don't play D&D I don't really need a boatload of Fantasy models, even if it's an amazing deal. While this was running my group was playing quite a bit of Frostgrave however, so I did pick up the Graveyard set to fill out my board.

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Insta-Mold or it's Cheaper Equivalent

Kingdom Death – Ceramic Faces are a theme in Kingdom Death. Unfortunately the Survivor box I got only has ten 30mm base inserts. They're super cool but the monsters are on bigger bases and I want them to match. 

Some time ago I purchased this Japanese product (Oyumaru) for $4 off ebay. Apparently its the same as another product sold by CMON which is branded as Instant Mold. Essentially it's some type of plastic wax that you heat and press the part you want to copy into. Once it dries it's very flexible but holds the detail. You then press greenstuff into it and make a copy.

Once you pull the greenstuff out of the mold you have a pretty decent copy of the detail. I've been triming it to fit on the base of the models. I'll fill in to blank areas with sand and ballast to give it a bit more insterest than the plain faces have. 

On the painting table ... Welcome to the (War)Machine

On the painting table ... Welcome to the (War)Machine

Warmachine – It's been quite some time since I touched a Warmahine model. I did used to play prior to MKII but didn't have interest in updating to the new system and moved on to other games. I'm still not playing the game but it does have a solid following among my clients so it was inevitable that I'd be painting them again.

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101 Things to Do with Craters #2

101 Things to Do with Craters #2

Terrain Making – I finally had a chance to get back to the series I started a few weeks ago. As I mentioned then I have a mold I made for craters back when they were a thing needed for Warhammer 40K. As such i don't want it to go to waste so I'm working on various terrain sets that use some or all of the crater to create unique items from a common mold.

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Paid in Full: Commissions - How much is your time worth?

Random – Lately the number of inquires I've recieved about commission work has dramatically increased. Many of these questions have been about how to determine a price when doing commission work. So in an effort to answer these questions for the larger population, here's the basic principles I use when putting together a quote.

1. How much is your time worth? When considering doing "craft" projects that you intend to sell to others the first thing you need to consider is how much is your time worth. For the most part you're not going to make $16-$30 an hour painting models or building terrain. Even when painting to a Golden Daemon or Crystal Brush winning level the amount of time you put in usually won't equate to "real job" money. Most gamer's won't pay more to have a model painted then it cost them to purchase so keep that in mind when putting together a price. Also remember if you have a wife and kids or girlfriend your hobby time is probably limited. When I started this site I was between jobs and had much more time to build and paint stuff. Now my time is limited so it's important I enjoy every project I take on and be as efficient as possible so I'm not working for pennies an hour during my free time.

2. What are your material costs and how do you recoup them? Paint, primer, glue, sand all cost money. Good paint brushes and glue cost more. While it can take a while to burn through a pot of paint, you have to consider the costs when figuring your price. One thing I've instituted is buying new pots for army scale projects and billing them as a line item. Once you're done with the project your can give the remainder to your client in case they need touch up or add models they don't need or want you to paint.

Terrain Projects can get tricky as sometimes you use found materials and other times you need to buy foam and other raw materials. Most of the time you're going to buy in bulk and have a bunch of stuff you need to store. If you have limited room you might need to invest in space to store that stuff. Right now I'm not quite at that point but it's getting close.

3. What are your customers expectations? This is a big one. Some customers just want a three color minimum. While other might ask for table top quality expecting to be able to enter them in a juried contest. Managing those expectations and delivering as promised is huge. I've heard many horror stories from painters about unreasonable clients that make requests well beyond what the initial request was and then want to pay less because the quality is what was expected. On the flip side I've also heard numerous stories of painters that send over a quick shot of the base coated model only to have the client "love it and want to know how quick it will ship." That second one is rare but important to remember as some clients dont' want you best work. They just want some color on the models. Knowing this you can save yourself a ton of time.

4. How are you going to get it to the client? Nobody considers shipping costs. One more then one occasion I've  had to deal with customers complaining about shipping, "DUDE the flat rate box is only $5, why does it cost $20 to ship to me in Antarctica? You're trying to RIP ME OFF!" You also see this all over several companies forums. The reality is shipping is expensive, foam and packing materials are expensive. Tracking and insuring packages is expensive. And even it you do everything right the post office, UPS or Fed Ex will inevitably screw up on a one-of-a-kind rare product. It happens, sending boxes across the country or world has risks. Most of the time it's not an issue but when it is will be the one time you didn't insure or track a package. C.Y.A. 

While the post office and FedEx provide free boxes the packing material is not free. Even cheap foam is a $1-$5 a yard minimum. If you're shipping painted models wrap them in foam and pack them well. Otherwise it's likely to be damaged during shipping. For an order of several models you can quickly burn through a large amount of foam and tape. So figure in the cost of shipping and add a few dollars to cover packing materials otherwise it will eat into your already tight bottom line.

5. Don't get burned. When painting models this isn't as big a deal as if you don't get paid keep the model and resell it. So long as it's nothing to obscure you should be able to get at least 40-50% of the retail cost, more if you're willing to wait. But terrain projects are another beast entirely. Custom terrain is hard to sell once its built. Particularly if it's custom to specific client. After getting burned a few times I put forth a 50% nonrefundable deposit. That way if I have to go buy a bunch of supplies for a project I'm not going to be out of pocket if the client changes their mind or "is broke this month bro."

6. Be transparent. Have examples of your work and the various levels of quality and pricing tiers available. Put them out there for the work to see. Eventually people will start to connect with your work and ask about pricing. For example for a table top quality miniature from a skirmish game I typical charge by model size: 30mm - $8-$12; 40mm - $10-$15; 50mm - $15-$30. This gives a good starting point. But for an army level game it's unlikely you'll get that much per model. At this point most people want a "lower table top quality" which falls more in line with the 25mm- $2-$3, and goes up from there.

For terrain projects it helps to come up with some designs you can quickly replicate and make a bunch of them at once. Assembly lines are good for managing time and if you make something that can be used for several systems you diversify your client base. For example the swamps I sell in the online store I typically make 6-10 of them at a time. Since they use water effects it's better to mix a larger pot of it and pour all at once than to make small pot and have a bunch of waste. Having an existing stock also lets you focus on other projects and have a reference point for custom orders.

Being consistent helps you to manage your time and be able to quickly quote a price to a potential customer. I hope this answers any questions for aspiring painters and potential clients.


Garage Sale! - Sweet Deals

Warmachine/Hordes – As I haven't played a single game of either system since 2009 I've decided that it's time to part with my Legion of Everblight Force. I hope that I'll find a buyer that appreciates all the hard work I put into the force and will buy it as a full lot. There are more photos in the gallery section.

I've added a "Buy it Now" button in the online store for the asking price of $650 shipped anywhere in the U.S. I've also added this to Bartertown to increase the exposure. I don't want to break it up as I feel this is ideal for a player looking to quickly get into the game with out having to assemble and paint a ton of models. If you have a reasonable offer please email me. Also I'll sell outside the U.S. but we'll have to negotiate shipping as it's going to be farily expensive.

I'm also clearing out the shelves to make room for new product check out the online store for more great deals including some unclaimed commissions, overstocked items and other great deals. I'll be adding more throughout the month so check back often.

These great deals end September 3, 2012 so don't wait.

Garage Sale Continues...

I'm going to continue my Garage Sale for the rest of March. Each week I'm adding new products to the store. Some of the items are commissions that weren't picked up or the customer changed their mind. Other items are conversions and works-in-progress that I haven't worked on for a long time and don't anticipate coming back to. And of course the bulk of the items are well painted armies that I no longer have an interest in.

New this week are some models from what I'd consider a "display quality" Legion of Everblight army. This army features a cool blue and brown scheme with lots of detail work. The highlights don't show up in photographs as well as they do in hand, but I'm really proud of this project and hate to see it go. But in an interest of keeping my display cases current I'm willing to part with them as I have little interest in getting back into the system. 

Also up are some models from my Chaos Marine army. I'm not a big fan of the new codex and am trying to limit myself to just one army for each large game system I play. I don't play 40K as much as I used to and can probably get by with just a loyalist chapter that I can work on completing.

Now Available – Twilight Emporium Bases

After shopping around for bases to use on my Hell Dorado miniatures, I gave up and decided to create my own. My problem was I wanted something with lots of skulls on the bases but I also wanted a rocky surface to mount the miniature to. It seems like most manufacturers make skull bases that consist of a bed of skulls.

After spending the weekend sculpting and crafting bases that would suit my purposes, I decided to make a mold and cast them myself. Now that I have a mold that will last for quite a while I'm going to start offering round lip base sets in my online store

Garage Sale

In an effort to clean up my miniature cabinet, I'm adding a garage sale to the online store. While I hate to part with any of my older armies, it make little sense to keep them on the shelf gathering dust when someone else could get more use out of them.

First up on the list will be the majority of my Cryx force from Warmachine. My regular gaming group never made the jump to Mark II and I don't see any sense in holding on to the minis any longer. 

I'll be continuing to clean out my closets over the next few weeks so check back often for great deals on quality models.

Shrinky Dinks

Game Aids – I first experimented  with Shrinky Dinks while playing Warmachine/Hordes. It is so important to keep track of spell effects that some type of counter has to be used. We started off with colored beads and/or noting it on the card but over the course of the game they became difficult to remember. This resulted in lots of bad plays and "Woah, I didn't know that – instead I'm going to..." Around the same time Gale Force Nine made tokens for the game, for many players this was a Godsend. I on the other hand didn't care for them, sure they were easy to get and had most everything you needed; but they were also tiny, hard to pick up and expensive.

As luck would have it I came across Ink-Jet Shrinky Dink paper at a craft store. With my 40% coupon I bought them and figured it wouldn't hurt, I also found self-stick felt that same day. It took some experimentation but I eventually found that if you make something about 2"x2" it shrinks to the correct size. Also when you chose colors make sure to go lighter than you want them to be. They get significantly darker once they shrink.

My first tokens were for my Cryx force and I made them cog shaped and circular. (Bad idea...circles don't shrink correctly and you get ovals). After Hordes came out I made them for my Circle Orboros and Everblight forces. I've been really happy with them, they're easy to pick-up, large enough to be able to read and relatively inexpensive to make.

After our first few games of Malifaux I came to the realization that spell effect counters were needed. So I sat down and read through the book making note of any spells that stuck around. I decided on a simple hexagon shape, Bleeding Cowboy as the font and scanned in the faction symbols.

Once they're printed out you bake at 300 degrees for 5 minutes or so and you're done. Seal them with a gloss spray and you're ready to game. I prefer to apply self-stick felt to the back of them. This not only makes them look more finished but also makes it easier to pick them up.


How I felt

Finishing – It's important to me that my models be complete. You spend so much time painting and basing your models, why would you leave the bottom of the base plain? For me I use a compass cutter and some self stick felt to complete the base. Not only does this give your model a finished look, the felt will help to keep them in place on the battlefield.

Finishing – It's important to me that my models be complete. You spend so much time painting and basing your models, why would you leave the bottom of the base plain? For me I use a compass cutter and some self stick felt to complete the base. Not only does this give your model a finished look, the felt will help to keep them in place on the battlefield.