Thursday, 6 September 2007

Welcome the Studio McVey Blog!

We are launching this blog at the same time as the Studio McVey website, and one of the main reason for the blog is so we can create articles for the miniatures we feature on the main site - and to give you a chance to see what we are up to in Studio McVey !

The main website can be found at, or just click on the link to the website on the right of this page. If you subscribe to this blog, you will automatically know when there is something new to look at here, or at

There are two brand new painted miniatures on right now - a fantastic version of Tiriel that Ali painted recently, and a Deathjack that we have been working on between us for the last year or so. We actually find it really easy and enjoyable to work together on projects - one of us will do one part of the miniature, then hand it off for the other to work on something else.

One of the things that I really enjoyed work on for this piece is the base. The thought behind this piece was that this Deathjack was being transported on a ship, but the vessel was destroyed and sank during the voyage. The 'jack had to head for land across the ocean floor, and this miniature is supposed to represent it after has emerged from the ocean. The armour is pitted and rusty, and the surface is covered with barnacles and dripping with slime. I wanted the base to look like the 'jack is still on the beach, lurching across rocks and driftwood. The photographs on this page show a couple of the key stages in the construction - it was pretty easy to make. The rocks are just made from different sized balls of greenstuff - placed onto the base and then shaped and flattened slightly. The planking is just strips of balsa cut to size and glued together. When the rocks and pebbles were dry I added the fine details - like the barnacles and star-fish.

To make the curved shape of the wrecked boat hull, I cut some balsa strips and soaked them in water for a while until they became pliable. I bent the strips round a glass jar and held them in place with a few powerful rubber bands. When the wood dries it retains the shape is was forced into. I cut these curved pieces to length, and fastened them together with some cross-bracing, then glued the whole section onto the base. As the Deathjack is huge, I wanted to counterbalance that a little by have the planking overlapping the sides of the base a little . At this point I also added the holes for the 'jack's foot pegs. I cut the holes with a sharp blade and then packed out underneath them with greenstuff to give something solid to glue the miniature to.

Once the construction on the base was finished, I sprayed the whole thing with black primer and painted it. I started on the rocks first - building up the highlights and texture with light application of a sponge. I used a few different colours for the rocks, but mainly a pale grey/blue and faded red/pink as these seem to be common beach pebble colours. When I was happy with the highlighting I added in some faint white lines to represent veins of minerals running through the rounded rocks. I painted the barnacles a pale sandy colour and added a little green round them to make them look a little more natural.

That's it - finished!

Both Ali and I are really busy working on miniatures projects at the moment, but we are going to try and update this blog and as often as possible. We'll be publishing mini articles like the one in this entry, but we'll also be sharing our thoughts about miniatures and whatever is catch our attention in the hobby. So click the subscribe link on this page, and then you'll know when there is something new to look at here.

Talk to you soon!


PS - Huge thanks to Aaron Hedquist for designing and building the Studio McVey site - we think it looks fantastic!


David said...

Great stuff Mike and Ali! Glad to see that you're settled enough back in the UK to get things up and running! Kudos to a great article, and an awesome new site.

Serpent Six

curtiss said...

It's great to see that you've got a website dedicated to your work. I'll be a regular visitor to website trying to gleam some inspiration from your words and work.

Great article.

Rich Curtiss

Gavin Schofield said...

That's a brilliant base, I didn't even notice the detail that was on there until I read this article. I'll have to bookmark this blog and keep up with it.

Kudos for a great article and a fantastic website.

Landon said...

Great to see the new site. I look forward to seeing all your work. You are both still an inspiration to keep learning and painting.

Simon Pig Iron said...

Great site - awesome work!


Raul Latorre said...

Hi Mike,

As I told you, I think this is a very good step for you and for the hobby. I wish you the best luck. The site is great and good designed and know you are doing it more and more interesting every day.

I will keep the blog up :)

Congratulations to both

Phillip said...

Good to see you guys back online, giving tips and advice to us plebs in our forlorn efforts to even achieve in painting 0.0001% of what you two can achieve.