Category: Painting

Beauty and the Beast – Belle and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast – Belle and the Beast

In a brief break from the Star Wars Armada content (more is on the way, I’ve got something bigger there), I wanted to showcase a set of figures I made for my sister, who has a real obsession with Beauty and the Beast. As an adult. I guess that’s okay, because at some point I really want to find a Robin Williams impersonator and have them record “Prince Danny” so I can have theme music whenever I go somewhere.

ANYWAY, on to the pictures:


Beast from Beauty and the Best Miniature

First up, we have the infamous Beast. I was pretty happy with this one – yeah, we can see layer lines when we take a picture close up, but consider that the image is blown up from a 30mm high figure. It’s not so noticeable then, though I’ll have to revisit the settings on my resin slicer.


Belle from Beauty and the Beast Miniature

Next up is the other half of the title – Belle, posed like she did in the movie where for some reason the entire town bursts into song about her. Sure, she’s cute and all, but how weird would that be? I’d have to move.

Together at the Finale

Of course I couldn’t give just those two figures – I needed something to really top it off. For that, I designed a pose with the two of them together near the end of the movie, where they dance in the ballroom with the iconic yellow dress and definitely tailor-made suit.

Beauty and the Beast Dancing

Yes, I too can see the bumps in the paint from where stuff was in the air. Go ahead and try painting in a house with three cats – it just kind of happens.

I finally wrapped it up together in these neat little display jars that looked a whole lot like the one that held the rose, and if I remember correctly she cried, so mission success all around.

Coming up I may go through my backlog of completed items before releasing the big Armada bomb I’ve been working on – either way, stay tuned.

The Hapan Fleet

The Hapan Fleet

Today I present an oldie but a goodie (and notable as one of my first miniature paint jobs, excluding the rough Lord of the Rings minis I did when I was twelve). Finished April 19th, 2019.

For Star Wars Armada, I bring you the Hapan Royal Navy. (see Hapes Consortium)

The Hapan Royal Navy
The flagship Hapan Battle Dragon…
… With a pair of Nova-class Battle Cruisers…
… Led by Prince Isolder with his Miy’til fighter wing.
Flying back to the Queen Mother after a successful raid.

It’s not my best painting by far, but at the time I was using the budget Shapeways printed option and Wal-Mart paint. Maybe one day I’ll make some reinforcements.

The Rock People

The Rock People

Long posts suck – it’s like looking for a cooking recipe and having to get through the author’s whole life story before seeing the ingredients list. With that in mind I’ll keep this post short.

I own a few 3D printers, and love them oh so much. One benefit is I get to print little minis, and below I’ll share a quirky set that I printed, painted, and am looking for a chance to use them in something, maybe as my own little version of Ewoks in a D&D campaign.

I didn’t create the models, though 3D modeling is something I’d like to get into. All of these were printed with my heavily modified workhorse, an Ender 3. You can see layer lines from this printer which is mostly inevitable unless I wanted to sand all of the little nooks and crannies (I didn’t).

All of the paint is the cheap kind you can find at Target or Walmart, with the exception of three Games Workshop paints you can see for the gemstones. Those technical paints are just really fun to use, and certainly help things stand out.


The Balrog: Part 2 – Finished

The Balrog: Part 2 – Finished

Well, it’s been a super long time since I made the original Balrog post, but there was more past that – I didn’t die in the Green Stuff phase. I actually finished this guy around the end of April 2020, so not long after that initial post.

The pictures I have aren’t great – they were taken while I was packing the apartment to move, so the background leaves something to be desired. Still, at least people have the ability to see it now instead of just staying in a case, right?

There he is – Durin’s Bane. Shadow and flame. The guy who tried to kill Gandalf, and kind of did, but then it gets weird and Gandalf gets a promotion.


This one was a lot of “just kind of wing it”. The model was large enough that I got to play with some different techniques I hadn’t before like wet blending (to make the whip ends seem like they were glowing), and I played with some of the Games Workshop layer system I hadn’t tried before. Vibrant, warm colors aren’t something I paint often, and they were surprisingly harder than I thought – typically I go for a bit more realism and wear.

I tried to magnetize the whip hand so I could swap out the sword he used – however, regardless of what I tried the whip was simply too heavy to be held on at such a narrow point. Deciding between the two I opted for the whip, even though the blade looks pretty sweet. My reasoning is:

  1. That whip still looks pretty nasty.
  2. The extra width it provides gives the Balrog a notable size difference compared to other miniatures on the table, which is what I was going for.
  3. In play, the Balrog has both the sword and the whip at all times anyway.
  4. I can see myself using the whip much more often. It’s a great thing to have the Balrog whip up to four enemies 8″ away, and whoever didn’t die gets yanked towards it to be killed next turn or maybe catch fire.

SO from both an aesthetic and gameplay point of view, the whip does its job.

Now I just need to paint the Moria goblins he commands.

The Balrog: Part 1, the First Green Stuff

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do anything miniature related, be it playing or painting. I have a backlog of projects of course, but I decided to just go for it and get a mini I’d been eyeing for ten years now – The Balrog.

After assembly, there were lots of gaps, so I did my first attempt at using Green Stuff – essentially a putty that solidifies for molding, crack filling, or anything else. So far I’m happy with it, but we’ll need to see how well it hides seams when it’s dried.

The Balrog with his new snake friend. Hiss hiss.

I’ll post updates for the whole ten readers as it goes along.

The Search for the Blackest Black Acrylic Paint

The Search for the Blackest Black Acrylic Paint

Recently (over the past almost two years) I’ve been getting into painting miniatures. The miniatures are almost always game pieces – be it figures from the Fallout board game, ships in Star Wars: Armada, or World War II Bolt Action platoons. I’ll probably be writing more about my learning curve so not everybody has to make the same mistakes and silly purchases that I did, but for now, I want to talk about something that people take for granted: black.

Yep, black – you know, the shade that we see everywhere. My phone is back, my shirt is black, my notebook, some of the two cats I have, black is a color that fits on any model or painting. It can help add texture and depth, give a cool look on a starship, or just make a nice black belt for a soldier to really bring the outfit together. However, those things aren’t ACTUALLY black – they’re very dark shades of grey. There’s a distinction to make here, and that is that black is the absence of light. It’s a void. It’s something that is incredibly difficult to replicate, especially in paint or media… And that may be why when I came across an article on Vantablack, I was intrigued. Vantablack is the darkest material people can create (as of writing it may have been recently dethroned, I don’t know). Using Vantablack creates a void-like appearance because barely any light is reflected back to the viewer – it truly is the absence of light.

The problem with Vantablack is twofold – first, it’s something that pretty much needs to be applied in a specialized lab, and second, the exclusive use of it for artistic purposes is owned by some dude, who is pretty smug about it. Like the rest of miniature painters everywhere, I just used my regular blacks and got along just fine, until I came across an ad promoting a paint that was the darkest on the market. That’s where I first saw Culture Hustle’s Black 2.0 (I’m not an affiliate, I’m not getting paid, or getting free stuff, or anything like that). I had a few projects in mind for scenery and miniatures where a true void effect would look pretty neat, so I bought a bottle, waited a bit, and then painted something up.

The results were… Okay. The pictures that are used on the site show Black 2.0 in its absolute best scenarios – to the eye, though, it looked not much different than my regular black. I will say that it was much easier to get a solid black with 2.0, but was it worth it over my Citadel paints? Not so much.

Then, of course, came Black 3.0. It was marketed as being even darker, and if you used 2.0 as a base layer then coated 3.0 on top, you’d have the blackest black that black has ever been! (It sounded fishy, I know). Again, I decided “What the hell?” and bought a bottle. This time, we’re on to something.

Black 3.0 truly is the blackest paint I own (still not getting paid). One of the models I wanted to paint was a TIE Phantom from X-Wing, the miniature game from Fantasy Flight. TIE Phantoms are supposed to be able to cloak themselves to be invisible to the naked eye, and since they’d be deployed in space… Well, a black void paint just fits. Here is the current Work-in-Progress model, where I have only painted black.



The effect is the ship going into the void (cloaking). This model is the factory paint, then the black is a base coat of Black 2.0 and a single layer of Black 3.0. The eye is better than a camera, so while it’s not a complete void, it’s an effect that’s hard to describe – if it were over a black background, it would blend seamlessly. Only by holding a bright light next to it can you start to see the texturing on the wings, and under no play circumstance would that happen.

So, being happy with my choice so far, I was curious about how this new Black 2.0+3.0 combination stacked up to the other blacks in my box(es) of paint. For that, I made a little sample swatch for everyone!


In the swatch, you can see:

  • Liquitex Basics Mars Black
  • Citadel Abbadon Black base
  • Black 2.0
  • Black 3.0
  • Black 2.0 for the first coat, 3.0 for the second

None of the paints have been thinned, and they had dried for about 10 minutes when the picture was taken. It was on white cardstock, and it was lit by a very bright daylight-balanced source about a foot away.

Again, this is something that is hard to capture with a camera, but here are some observations:

  • On its own, the cheap Liquitex Basics Mars Black would have been pretty darn black. There is a bit of shine and gloss to it, though, so keep that in mind.
  • Citadel’s Abbadon Black is going to be great for most uses. Really, this is the realistic black that you see day-to-day, like a non-gloss phone case or a black outfit.
  • Black 2.0 was very matte. Of course, it was darker than Liquitex and Citadel, and I’d have thought it would be as black as black can be.
  • Black 3.0 on its own shows very little difference between 2.0. It seemed like maybe it was darker, but if I had to pick it out from its predecessor I would probably fail.
  • Black 2.0 undercoat with 3.0 topcoat truly is like a void. It’s bizarre. You hold it up to a lamp, three inches away, and it’s STILL BLACK. It’s like a borderline optical illusion.

I wanted to see what I could do here, so I loaded up Photoshop and added some exposure filters to the chart. See the results below (and click on it for a larger version).


With exposure pretty much blown out, now we can definitely see some differences.

tl;dr – How do I get the blackest black acrylic paint?

In my testing, you would want to use the Culture Hustle Black 2.0 as your base coat (after primer), let it dry for a good day, then put 3.0 overtop. You’ll get an extremely unique effect that will draw attention and trick the eye. I would not suggest this replace your usual black since it looks almost unnaturally dark, but it sure is something to see.

Hopefully, this helps fellow miniature painters in their shopping – what we have is a truly dark acrylic, so while the marketing is strong with 2.0/3.0, there is actually some value to it.

Paints used: