Reaper Bones Miniatures (a Kickstarter that has shipped)

As I said in the Kickstarter thread, I’ve received two sets of the Reaper Bones miniatures plus a clockwork dragon.

Photo of one set here.

I thought it would be interesting to share repairing models from the second set. I made a video detailing the procedure.
Here are the models that were bent enough to need fixing.

To the left are more minor cases, on the right are more visible ones, including about 10 that wouldn’t stand up, they were so bent.

Here’s the Storm Giant, before and after.

I finally got the 3 feet of the Clockwork Dragon to stand flat, but I still felt the wings were boring. So I tried boiling and bending them as well. Big mistake! They’re not the same plastic as the rest of the model, so they did not become flexible when heated. Instead, they just started to warp. For a bit I thought I had ruined my $25 figure, but with repeated dippings, I got the wings apart a bit, and the wings just happened to warp in a fashion I found pleasing. The new shape of the wings is in no way deliberate.
Before and after:

Another angle:

Yeah, I feel like I bought myself a job.

If it’s any consolation Gus the warped wings look a lot more natural on the Clockwork Dragon now.

I’m selling mine off. Too much cool stuff and not enough time.

I am still waiting for mine but will propably never paint them. Still, i think even unpainted they are nicer then papertokens.

Gus, how exactly do you repair the bend ones? Dipping them in hot water, did I catch that right?

I’m thinking that’s what his video describes (I admit, I haven’t looked).

Exactly. You bring a pot of water to a boil in keep in there, though it doesn’t need to be furiously boiling, just boiling. You dip the figure in the boiling water with tongs, fish it out, bend it, and keep in in the proper shape as you dunk it in ice water.

The figure doesn’t get boiling hot, so your main concern when touching the figure to shape it is water that is still clinging to the miniature. A little is no big deal, but a big drop hiding in a Beholder mouth or something similar can be nasty.

For minor stuff like very thin swords and daggers, the parts will often straighten out on their own after just 5 seconds in the water. You can just dunk it without touching it. Spears and such take 10-15 seconds, and you often have to hold them straight because they won’t stay straight naturally. The Giant sword is an example, I had it in the water for maybe 15 seconds, and it was very floppy when it came out. You can see how floppy in the YouTube video.

Really thick stuff may take longer. I had the Owlbear in the water for 30 seconds, because his supporting leg is really thick. Sometimes you want to lower the figure into the water on a plate, since sometimes the base will get soft, and you want a flat surface under it to keep it flat when you cool it. That was my problem with the Clockwork Dragon, the little disc bases under the feet just didn’t want to rest at the same angle.

I’m very, very slowly starting my painting, somewhat assembly line style. One thing I’m finding is that despite ordering all 4 paint sets from the Kickstarter, which was a total of 48 paints, the color selection is rather limiting. How can that be? Well, there’s a huge amount of overlap, mostly light grays that are hard to differentiate from the bottles. There are some colors I have trouble imagining using, such as neon yellow and green or bright pink. I feel the need for more shades of red and yellow, and more metallic colors. The gold and steel are good, but brass and a darker, less shiny steel would be good too.

I guess an expert could get the colors he wanted by mixing, but I ended up more paints from Reaper.

Great for things like banners, tattoos, bodily fluids & exposed organs, fires & anything supposed to look like a light source or directly lit by one.

I feel the need for more shades of red and yellow, and more metallic colors. The gold and steel are good, but brass and a darker, less shiny steel would be good too.

You can shade silver to whatever metallic colour you need by thinning down other colours and applying them over the silver. Applying the right base colour under the silver can make the process faster.

For example, dark brown base + gold metallic + watered down dark brown = brass.

However many metallic paints you have, chances are you’ll want to paint over a special base colour and shade as mentioned, simply to avoid the area looking flat & weird.

EDIT: Get a pipette and a notebook, and track how many drops of each paint/water/other stuff you use when you mix, exactly what you used the mix for, and add a brush stroke with the formula.

Mixing paints is not an optional or expert thing, it’s a fundamental part of the hobby. Also, laying out colour schemes and their logical hilights and shadows on paper, before you try on your minis, is about as beginner as it gets.

Painting minis takes time and practise any way you go about it. Trying to skip the fundamentals won’t give you faster results, just bad ones. And the minutes you save will be lost on paint stripping, repairs and shopping replacement minis.

I’m not interested in mixing paints, whether you consider it a “fundamental part of the hobby” or not. Laying out color schemes on paper seems pointless, since 1) I can’t draw and 2) the results won’t be anything like the actual colors.

I appreciate the tip on approximating brass. That’s not a set of steps that would ever occur to me. Particularly since I don’t think of brass as being gold + brown.

It’s a fundamental part of the hobby because it’s needed to get any kind of half-decent end product.

If every surface is entirely uniformly coloured, the mini will look like crap. You can work around that to an extent without mixing colours by shading. But to get consistent and good results regardless of colour scheme and surface, you’ll need to mix your paints.

Really good people can do this on the mini while painting it. This is called wet-blending. Wet-blending, however, is really damn hard and even after you reach the point where every single attempt isn’t a failure anymore, you’ll still have to do it on 100+ minis before you’re able to get consistent colouring across multiple minis.

Laying out color schemes on paper seems pointless, since 1) I can’t draw and 2) the results won’t be anything like the actual colors.

It doesn’t matter whether you can draw. The point is to get the (rough) colours in context so you can tell if you’re going to love or hate it before you do something that’s very difficult to undo.
The results actually will be a lot like the finished result because this is about the colour scheme, not the exact tones of the individual colours.

The chunkier cousin of the stick figure is entirely adequate for this, and doing this has 3 benefits you’re not realising:

  1. It lets you lay out text hilights and shadows, and very easily lets you see where they should and shouldn’t be.
  2. It lets you keep track of the exact colours, ratios and number of layers you’ve used on those old-ass minis you painted 5 years ago and now want to add a couple more of.
  3. It lets you practise. And not just how to place shadows and hilights, but how to draw and paint banners, and similar.

Indeed, whenever you come across something on a mini you have absolutely no idea how to paint in any reasonable way, first look up how others do it online, and then draw (again, doesn’t have to be remotely competent - the best mini painter I know in the flesh draws like a 3 year old) 5-10 copies of the thingy and try painting it on paper before you start taking it out on a mini.

I appreciate the tip on approximating brass. That’s not a set of steps that would ever occur to me. Particularly since I don’t think of brass as being gold + brown.

I can tell this isn’t what you want to hear, but limiting yourself to a few basic colours is going to make you a better painter faster than having access to every pot of paint under the sun. Because it forces you to start out doing things the right way.

Most miniature gaming stores host paint night kind of events. If it’s at all possible for you, I strongly encourage you to suffer through one. It will make you think very differently about mini painting, I suspect, almost certainly save you a ton of money in the long run by killing a few bad habits, and likely improve your skills more in a night than you would on your own given 6 months.

It’s not that you’re saying what I don’t want to hear. It’s that what you’re saying is not useful to me.

“Learn to mix paints!” isn’t helpful because I haven’t the slightest what I would do. Beyond, I guess, mixing white or black to a paint to make it lighter or darker.

“Your miniatures will look like crap!” Well, maybe, by your standards. I’m happy enough with what I’ve done in the past.

I don’t draw. I don’t paint banners. I do pretty much the simplest possible stuff with the miniatures I paint. The most I’ll do use a wash to pick out details in crevices, which is easy enough to do because it requires no manual skill, the watery paint just accumulates in there naturally.

I’m never going to get the sort of elaborately shaded results I’ve seen online, because I’m barely capable of doing the paint-by-numbers approach of painting defined areas on the miniature. I don’t even always succeed in coloring inside the lines, frequently I’ll have to cover up spot errors with more paint. Given that, you think I’m going to do subtle shading effects? Please.

Well, I’m interested to hear what you have to say, Disconnected. I also got the Bones paint set (though not the minis, just did an addon to a friend’s pledge) and I have to echo that there are way the hell too many subtle shades of beige and not enough variation in other colors. Here are the colors included:

I find myself wanting a bright silver and a copper. I imagine I could get copper with gold over red, but can a dull metal tone like the steel be brightened sufficiently with white?

The “honed steel” paint is really shiny. What I’m tempted to do is darken it, not mix it with white.

EDIT: I’d like to add that I’m definitely interested in specific tips on how to mix paint. I’m just irritated by “go mix paint!” with no further information, since it is not at all a simple subject. I know how color works in great detail for monitors, but paint is completely different.

Here’s a photo of some partially painted figures. I deliberately shot with direct flash so you can get some sense of how reflective the “honed steel” paint is.

The guys who are really heavily armored are a difficult problem for me, since logically they’re mostly just steel, which is kind of boring. I intend on looking over the example photos at Reaper Mini to get some ideas. I’d also like to make things like axe heads more interesting.

OK, that’s better than I was expecting. I was expecting something closer to Citadel’s Boltgun Metal, which is a good color for functional metal bits but not bright enough for ornamentation. With a bit of white highlighting that should be plenty shiny for my purposes.

As for giving some detail to the fully armored guys, who’s to say that the armor isn’t enamelled? You could, for example, make the larger plates blue and leave the finer parts like fingers steel, and then pick out the rivets with gold.

I can’t write you up a Painting Minis 101 handbook in a forum post. What I can tell you is that the information is readily available elsewhere. Dakka-Dakka, for example, has a ton of tutorials in their forum. YouTube is full of fantastic video tutorials, from the barest of basics to the downright incredible. You can buy thoroughly illustrated, well-written books on the subject in pretty much any store that sells minis.

It is absolutely worth it to get some kind of handle on whatever passes for theory when it comes to painting miniatures. Because while it can be an art, it is first and foremost a craft: there’s right and wrong ways to do things, and a fair pile of hopelessly unintuitive stuff you’ll never figure out on your own, but which drastically affects what you can achieve. Really, you are waaaaaaaay better served buying a book on this than an additional box of paints.

[li]The most basic way to paint metal, is to start with black as your base colour. You want the entire area solidly, uniformly black. If we’re talking most of the mini’s surface, consider spray-painting the miniature black. It’s both cheaper and easier than airbrushing.[/li][li]Now it’s black, you need mix your silver and black paints, roughly 1 part black and 2 parts silver. Don’t thin down the paint, it’s exactly fine out of the bottle.[/li][li]You want to use a fairly large brush, and while applying almost no pressure you’ll need to stroke on your mix using the side of the brush, not the tip. Use as long strokes as you can.[/li][li]Once this is dry you switch to pure silver. A drop of paint should be enough for every mini in the pic you posted. Thin down the silver with water at about a 1:1 ratio.[/li][li]To apply this very watery silver, you’ll need a blunt brush you aren’t afraid of ruining. And some toilet paper. Dip the tip of the brush in the silver, then wipe it off on the toilet paper until the brush only leaves a faint trail of paint. Now gently brush down the miniature with the very tip of the brush, very much as if you were dusting with a feather duster.[/li][/ul]

With a bit of practise this 3-step process can look damn good. And until then you can make it look damn good by applying a very, very watered down wash of pure black (or ideally, extremely watered down black ink).

As already mentioned, one of the reasons you should test out your colour scheme on paper before you inflict it on the mini, is because it really does give you a very good idea what the end result will be like. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to make your minis stand out a little, please do try this. It’s very easy to gauge whether, for example, painting the major areas of a minis shoulder pads red, will look good, if you have a rough draft to try it on. And please believe me, it doesn’t matter how craptastic you are at drawing. Nobody but you is ever going to look at your colour tests, and they absolutely do not need to look even vaguely recognisable to anyone but you, to be insanely useful to you.

Generally speaking you should get comfortable with the idea that pretty much every part of every mini needs to be painted 3+ times in different ways, usually with different techniques. And you should get your mind wrapped around the idea that you “paint layers”. That is: you start with the darkest colours that needs to be in the deepest recesses the mini have. From there you paint on the lighter colours of the neither raised or recessed areas. And finally you paint the lightest colours on the most protruding areas.

That’s a rule of thumb, mind. You always start with the most recessed bits, because it’s very hard not to get paint all over the place when you do them. But they’re not always the darkest colours. For example, anything that’s supposed to look like a light source, reverses dark-to-light thing - typically going from a white-orange mix to a black-grey mix.

You should also not ever think of washes, inks and the like as a separate step. Or… Almost never. If you’re feeling ambitious though, you could try to shade the armour of a mini like the big sword+shield guy in your pic.

[li]Start with a uniform white base coat.[/li][li]Mix something like Sapphire Blue and white on a 2:1 ratio, and thin it down until it’s the consistency of a wash. Add 1 drop of dishwasher de-streaking fluid to the mix.[/li][li]Now use a fairly large brush to give the mini 10-15 coats, the first from the tallest point to the base and each successive wash starting slightly lower down on the mini.[/li][/ul]

The end result is you have a blue armour that looks just shiny enough to be some kind of metal, with fairly natural-looking built in hilights and shadowing. Be warned, though: as simple as this sounds, it is really damn hard to do it right. At the very least try finding a video tutorial of it before trying yourself. Oh yeah and… GW has some special wash paints that makes this approach a lot easier than regular watered down paints.

Disconnect is right but maybe a little more serious than what you want. I do not keep a log book or anything like that, when i mix colors it is generally because i want a color slightly darker or lighter than what I have. But i am an intermediate painter, not an expert.

You can get a nice tabletop result with drybrushing and washes. I generally paint the fig, then drybrush, then wash, then drybrush again (smaller area than the first) to give an impression of layers of color.

For a showcase piece, I take a lot of time. I use (very) thin paint, lots of coats. Pretty much do what Disconnected talks about.

I think mixing paints really doesn’t need to be made out to be very complicated. You can get good results from just starting with whatever colour you wanted as your base coat and just adding darker and lighter shades of that colour. Let’s take the barbarian Gus posted with the chest painted and say you used the Tanned Skin colour from Paint Set 1. All you’d want to do there is take a darker browny colour, maybe Muddy Brown, and add a drop of that to two drops of your original Tanned Skin colour. Then dilute this darker shade of Tanned Skin with at least one or two parts water to one part paint, and wash it into the recesses of the muscle. Then take two more drops of Tanned Skin and a drop of a lighter skin tone, like Fair Skin and dilute the mix, then with a very small amount of paint on your brush paint it onto the most raised parts of the skins like the centres of the chest muscles. This is the bit of painting I find most addictive because even the quickest highlights, as long as you use thin paint that doesn’t cover over the base coat you’ll instantly see the details of your mini pop out.

Really all mixing paint is about is taking a base coat colour and adding either a little bit of darker/lighter [insert colour here], diluting, then painting onto the recessed/raised parts of the mini respectively. Although if you don’t have a nice progression of 3 paints in that colour like the you can see in Paint Set 2 for the reds, bones and skin tones, you have to improvise a little bit.

But what about hue and saturation?

There are a couple of different ways to model color, but the more intuitive one is Hue, Saturation, Brightness. Hue is the base color: red to yellow to green to blue to red again, and all the shades in between. Saturation is the intensity of the color, where zero saturation is shades of gray, to light saturation which is faint color, to fully saturated. Brightness is, well, brightness, and that’s what’s obviously controllable with white and black, though adding those also reduces saturation.

For example, I was thinking that copper and brass were more appropriate materials for the Clockwork Dragon than steel and gold, the two colors I owned. You can’t get copper and brass from steel and gold without altering hue.