Monday 29 March 2010

Studio McVey Facebook page

Just a quick post to announce we have started a Facebook page. Ali will be administrating it - I have stubbornly managed to resist getting involved with Facebook, so wouldn't know where to start.

Stop by and say hi if you have an account.


Friday 26 March 2010

Isabella concept art

Just a quick post to share the original concept art for Isabella. Ali drew this one and you can see how faithful the sculpt is to the original idea. Great reception to the miniature so far - I think she's going to be one of the most popular in the range if the initial demand is anything to go by!



Wednesday 24 March 2010


New release time!

I have just updated the main website, and added Isabella to the Studio Store. We previewed her to mailing list subscribers yesterday, and we pretty thrilled with how she's been received. Ali drew the concept for this one (we'll be showing it here in the next couple of days), and it was brought to life by Jacques-Alexandre Gillois, it's his 4th sculpt for us and there are more to come later in the year.

We're absolutely delighted with this miniature - it's amazingly true to the original idea and concept. We wanted something between Mrs Coulter (from the His Dark Materials books), and Blade Runner - and that's pretty much exactly what we got. The character in the sculpt is just amazing - I especially love the interplay between Isabella and her little companion. The monkey is just tiny - JAG sculpts figures with very realistic proportions, so even though she is 34mm tall, her head is smaller than most 28mm miniatures. So the monkey's head is just impossibly small...

Great paint job by Ali too. She always beats me to the punch with painting these miniatures, and it's a hard act to follow! I've nearly finished my version of Kara, and Seraphine in underway (I'm doing quite a different take on that particular miniature!). I'll post them here once they're done.

Hope you like Isabella.



Monday 22 March 2010

Pan Base Tutorial - part 3

Here's the finished base with the miniature attached. Pan's a really nice miniature to paint, great mix of detail and smooth skin areas. I wanted the whole effect to be quite natural looking (to suit the subject matter), so I kept the colours quite warm throughout. The only cool colours I used were in the shadow areas.

I kept the sprites nice a bright and clean to make them really pop out from the base and Pan - I wanted to make sure I kept the visual relationship between the three miniatures as clear as possible.

Very enjoyable piece to work on.

In other studio news - we are now up to date with Kara orders. Well at least I have just received enough castings to fill all outstanding orders and even have some in stock - I feel like cracking open a bottle of champagne! Thanks to everyone for being so patient with us - it's been a very trying situation all round, and I really appreciate everyone's patience and support.

We are also going to be releasing a new miniature this week - Ali is just putting the finishing touches to the painted version as I type. As usual we will be previewing it to the mailing list members a day early, but I expect the general release to be either Wednesday or Thursday. It's a cracker too...



Wednesday 17 March 2010

Pan Base Tutorial - part 2

Here's the second part of the basing tutorial for Pan.

Photos 9 and 10 - This shows the basic painting complete. The groundwork has been (quite roughly) drybrushed with lighter shades of brown, and the bark texture on the wood has been highlighted in lighter tones of grey. Once the highlights on the wood were finished I washed over it again with a cool dark brown – but kept the paint thin. I wanted something half way between a wash and a glaze, enough to re-define the recesses, but not dark enough to significantly darken the overall colour. I also added some streaks of green to the wood to represent moss. I used quite a strong olive green but built it up in thin glazes. I kept the effect quite subtle at this stage. I also picked out the exposed inner-wood in a tan colour and washed it over with a warm deep brown.

11-12 – The main addition at this stage was the moss. This is very fine flock glued in place with a thin layer of PVA glue. Once the flock was in place I decided I needed to strengthen up the green glazes on the wood to better match the moss colour.

13-14 – The whole base was looking quite bright and garish, so I wanted to knock everything back and make it more natural. I use a lot of artists pastels on my bases these days – so I purposely keep the painting quite simple. I shave a little powder off the colours I want to use with a sharp blade – mixing them on a piece of clean white plastic card, almost as you would with paint. I apply the powder with an old brush. In this case I dusted it over most of the base (including the moss) to knock the brightness back, then added lighter colour in patches as ‘highlights’. It doesn’t quite come over in the pictures, but the pastels give the whole base a very realistic, matte finish.

15-16 – Once I was happy with the painting and ‘weathering’, I added a layer of leaf litter. I used the Hudson and Allen leaves and crushed them up a little before application. I added another layer of full leaves over the top of that, glazing over some of them to give a little colour variation.

17-20 – This is the finished base. The last thing I did (before removing the masking), was to add some Ivy. This is a mix of rubberised horsehair for the branches and beech seeds for the leaves. I used the seeds that had been dyed green, but I still added a little additional colour when they were in place. I find the best way to apply the ivy is with super glue – I put a little spot of glue where I want the branch to attach – then give it a quick spray of zip-kicker. I apply the leaves by holding them with tweezers, dipping one end in glue (I put a little blob on some greaseproof paper) and sticking them to the branches. The last thing to do was peel away the masking tape and fluid, and touch up any bits that were unpainted.

I’ll post the finished piece with the miniature attached in the next few days.



Thursday 11 March 2010

Pan Base Tutorial

Sorry it took a little while to get this tutorial up, things have been busy in the past few days. Here's the first part - I'll try and get the second part up a little sooner!

1- The first thing I did was to locate the resin scenic element (which comes with the miniature) onto the display plinth. I used Apoxie Sculpt A&B putty for this and just added it quite roughly in the shape I wanted. I built up the shape I wanted with little pieces, not bothering to smooth them in at all at this stage.

2-4 - When the overall shape was roughly how I wanted, I added a small piece of real wood for a broken tree stump. It's actually a little piece of driftwood. I added some more putty round the base of that and then started to shape and texture the whole base. I sculpted a sharper cut-away under the resin piece, so it looked like it was on top of a low bank. Once the overall shape was what I was looking for, I added some texture to the surface. The broken ground texture was achieved by dragging a sharp edge across the surface - the Apoxie sculpt works well for this as it crumbles when wet. More elastic putties like greenstuff don't act like that. I put the sprite in position at this stage, just to make sure there was space for her. I didn't work too hard at hiding the join between the resin parts and the putty - there are plenty more elements going over the top that would hide the joins later.

5 - The next stage was to protect the display plinth while I was painting the base. Once you have acrylic paint on something it's very hard to get off without leaving a mark, so I always mask round the things I am going to paint. I use Humbrol Maskol for this, but any other masking fluid would do just as well. It's applied with an old brush as it's very hard to get off the bristles.

6 - Once the masking fluid is dry (it usually goes clear), I tape over the rest of the base with masking tape. Tamiya masking tape is great for this as it comes off without leaving a mark, it also comes in lots of different widths.

7 - Once the tape was on I undercoated the whole base with in grey and started painting. The ground was given a coat of Scorched Brown - I wanted to give quite a natural look to the base, so I chose a light warm grey for the wood. If you look at the bark of trees (especially gnarled oaks), it's usually far more of a grey colour, rather than brown.

8 - Once the base coats were dry I washed over everything with the same colour - a mix of cool dark brown and matte medium. This was thinned down quite a lot and applied liberally.

That's it for this part - the next article will look at the rest of the painting and detailing on the base.



Wednesday 10 March 2010

Sharro's base

In an earlier post I mentioned we used a base by Daral Jones for Sharro - well he's just started selling bases and resin accessories from his website, really amazing work and I urge you to check it out.

We are currently working with Daral on a Studio McVey project - more news on that later in the year...



Monday 1 March 2010

Sharro concept art

Thought I would share the original concept for Sharro - it's really a beautiful piece of art by Chippy (Brian Dugan) and it lends itself perfectly to being a miniature. Not a great deal else to say about it really!

I've also just finished my painted version of Pan, and will be posting that here in the next few days, along with a tutorial on how I made the base. I just need to size the pictures I took and write a little text to go with them