Mono Mocha

I'm alive! It's a miracle ^_^

I've been down-for-the-count since mid-February with Mononucleosis. Basically, you're sick for 6-8 weeks with spikes in fever, nausea, headaches and sore throat throughout that time. It's like having the flu– only it lasts a helluva lot longer. Anyway, I'm finally over it and able to paint again. Thank. Goodness. On the bright side, my Netflix and Crunchyroll stamina has greatly improved. I watch the entire first season of Attack on TItan and the first 3 episodes of Season 2 in one day. Now that is some otaku dedication. Also, the new reboot for Mystery Science Theater 3000 is out on Netflix and I love it.

I also played Stardew Valley on PS4 while I was in bed (and not working from home) and finally mastered the art of fishing, which is damn hard at first. If you've ever played Harvest Moon, it's similar to that– plus elements of Minecraft– and the game features some oddly-adult concepts. For example, as you go about your farming and charming of the community, you become more familiar with the personalities and hardships of the residents. Shane, a character in the game you can marry, is a depressed alcoholic. At one point, you find him blackout drunk at the edge of a cliff, wondering whether he should throw himself off. Your character has a few choices in responses and afterwards, he seeks help and goes to rehab in the city nearby. He comes back to start his own chicken farm and thanks you for your intervention. They definitely didn't have things like that in Harvest Moon! And that's just one dude of the 28 people you interact with. The graphics are old school, but that's only off-putting until you get hooked into the game– then you can't get enough! I've played over 75+ hours of the game so far and I'm in Year 3, Spring. Oh, and the best part? It was $15. Well worth the investment ;)

Since I wasn't really feeling up to painting during the last month, I was able to cut, file, and clean a healthy amount of my Kingdom Death miniatures. I've completely assembled a few, though most I have to partially assemble and paint sections before attaching the rest of the pieces. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to reach certain areas with the paint brush since pieces overlap so closely. One I was able to fully assemble was the Latern Pinup:


Once I did get back to painting, I worked on the Effin Cool Minis Djinn– she's 95% done! I just need to finish the bottom or the brazier, clean up the back of her hair, and add a few Spruce Green glazes for a bit of OSL effect. In the end, I decided not to give her eyebrows, though I really did consider it.

Once I'm done with her, I'll be taking some nice final photos. Then, I'm going to finish this lovely lady from Bombshell Miniatures:

Wu Ling Shu - Bombshell

Djinn The Mood to Paint

I'm getting back in the mood to paint after being hit with the annual plague that goes around when fluctuating weather and bad allergies collide. Recently, I was contacted to work on a special project by Felipe, for Effin Cool Mini's Kickstarter, "Court of the Sultana", which runs through March 17, 2017. I wasn't sure what to expect, since the Kickstarter project hadn't launched yet. After they sent me 3D rendered images of the Djinn, a miniature from the Kickstarter, I agreed to paint her, as the sculpt looked like a fun challenge! Felipe was super-reasonable about the turnaround time, since I was going to be out of the country and navigating a death in the family. After returning home, knowing this mini was on my painting table motivated me to get painting again. Felipe shipped the miniature quickly, and a few days later, the Kickstarter went live and I was able to see the full group of miniatures offered through the project. I was happy to see that they funded within 24 hours!

Now, before we get too far, please note that this Kickstarter does contain full female nudity, and if you're sensitive to this subject matter, please think twice before clicking. While I fully acknowledge that this can elicit strong opinions, I appreciate these sculpts within their context. Here, I'll let Effin Cool Minis set the stage for you...

We have conjured up a world in our mind where the Sultana rules supreme in a female dominated society where men are culled and kept only for breeding. At least, that is our story thus far which continues to feed our inspiration toward the figures for this Kickstarter. This has been the most interactive Kickstarter we have had this far, and we are excited to have our backers so involved with their ideas for these figures. Come join the fun!
In the desert realm of Tharaa, summer’s heat lies as heavily upon the lavish court of the Sultana as it does upon the simple shops and homes of her subjects. Yet they are the ones who rejoice with the cool evening zephyrs that race refreshingly through their markets stalls, tents, and villas; breezes that never seem to reach the perfumed halls of the Sultana’s court. On those stifling, windless, near endless days; comfort, pleasure, and even mere distraction elude the powerful ruler. Her great wealth, her many servants, and her countless possessions seem more burden than blessing. On those days when clothing itself seems a pointless effort, the beauty and power of the human form acts as reminder that modesty can be a needless vanity.
— "Court of the Sultana" Kickstarter

The Process

I didn't have many mould lines to correct and after minimal sanding, I scrubbed her with an old toothbrush and dishsoap, and let her dry. I then primed her with Reaper's brush on Black Primer and picked my basecoats. I wanted to start with a darker olive-brown skin tone and work my way up to a warm, white highlight. Given her androgynous musculature (especially around her hips and upper back), I wanted to be sure I was able to highlight each muscle group and add some high contrast to her skintone.

I also did some research on painting fire since flames are supposed to be lighter closer to the combustion center, or hottest part, of the flame. One of the most valuable I found so far is on Laszlo Jakusovszky's blog "Hot Lead". I own both of his How To Paint DVDs and have benefitted from his experience and insight. While I know the center of the flames should be lighter than the tips, ethereal flames may have a little more room for "creative license", given that flames can look different depending on the level of oxygen available. Since the flames on this mini originate in a brazier, I plan to bend the rules for a mix of both– I'll have the brightest part of the flame in the center of the brazier and at the tips of the flames closest to her skin– for a nice contrast that carries the eye up and around the mini. I'm just getting started, so we'll see where we end up!

Where I left off:

I'm about 30% done. I'm fairly happy with how her skin is turning out, and I've yet to paint her hands, hair, brazier, chains, and flames (though I've at least chosen the flame colors/range of contrast). I'll be refining the blends around her stomach and hips, since they're a little too sharp right now. I'll also be considering what color to paint her hair– if I'm going to keep it black with grey highlights, or have it blend to another color, possibly with Object Source Lighting eerie blue-green coming from the flames. I'm happy with her eyes, and I painted them as exaggerated as I dared, matching the bright color of the flames. I hope to finish her in the next week– stay tuned and thanks for following along!


I have quite a few works in progress on my table after taking a month off after a few grueling weeks of work, a death in the family, and catching a really bad cold. I truly appreciate your patience and understanding and I hate to disappear like that. If I do, I'll be sure to post in my blog why I'm out and when I'll be back. In the meantime, I'm working to get my "mojo" back but hopefully it won't take too long before I'm motivated to paint consistently. I've clipped, sanded, and cleaned 5–7 sprues of Kingdom Death pinups, and they'll be ready for assembly as soon as I'm (mostly) done with the To Do List below:

I just filled out my Kingdom Death 1.5 Kickstarter Pledge Survey today (it was surprisingly easy!) and I'm still proud of myself for not getting too caught up in the "but $2,500 is such a good deal" craziness (mostly thanks to my better half). I currently have two pinups on my table, and I often find I'm inspired by anime when painting KD models. For example, the "Leather Pinup" on the left is inspired by Kakashi ("Naruto"). I thought about painting a Sharingan in her eye but the whole point of Kakashi's mask & hair is to hide his Sharingan so I decided against it. The best part will be when I attach the big pig tails. Heehee!

The pinup on the right will be painted with Korra in mind ("The Legend of Korra") with light blue clothing and white fur trim. I'm just getting started on these two, and the one on the right proved very difficult to assemble properly, with funky leg gaps/excessive overlap that I needed to adjust with Liquid Green Stuff and gloss varnish. Hopefully, it'll work out in the end, and I haven't had a mini give me this much trouble in awhile. I've applieda base coat for her skin, but I think I'll end up going a shade darker and then starting the highlights.

Recently, I received my "Secret Sophie" gift, after sending off my own painted mini for the swap. My mystery person sent me chocolates, bases, minis, and a beautifully painted mini titled, "Still Easier Than Herding Gamers" which is awesome since it's a dwarf with a hammer, seemingly herding a cat. I also received a badass illustration of a Beholder– my gift-giver is quite the artist! With everything going on, I was so grateful to receive this– it truly lifted my spirits!! I hope I find out who it was soon so I can properly thank them :)

Since I hope to get back in the swing of things soon, my next project will be working with some variations on the color red, as well as working with fluorescent paints for the very first time. I'll have more for you next Miniature Monday!