Forum rebuilt?

They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day. And yes, they’re right! But they can say the same about our miniature painting forum! It took us some time to make it what it is now, and we felt it was time to change some things!

Forum rebuilt?
You don't rebuild a forum in a day

Chest of Colors miniature painting forum

Most of you surely know that one of the features of Chest of Colors is our miniature painting forum. For some of you it’s the central part of the website, and it’s great that they feel this way. The forum is the meeting place for our community of miniature painters, pretty friendly and active. It’s also where quite a few members of our team were spotted, appreciated for their contributions to our community and invited to the group.

The first posts there date back to April 9th, 2005, which is about the time that the Headblast Design forum was abandoned and a new home for its community was needed. During the time a nice community of painters gathered around our forum, thousands of posts were written and many painted miniatures were presented there. Sure, we may be smaller than the biggest miniature painting forums on the internet, but still many people choose our forum and praise that it feels more friendly, more personal and more helpful than most other forums – including the biggest players in the game.

Why change anything?

During all the years much has changed. Some users disappeared, some new ones joined us. Groups of users formed, reformed and ceased to be. Sections of our forums became more or less popular. Manufacturers of miniatures came and went. Game systems saw their glory and decline. And finally: our site underwent some serious changes.

The first serious change happened when we had to separate the forum from the old green website. Many people knew only the forum and were surprised to know there was also a website to accompany it. Both parts of the webiste had different layouts and they felt like totally separate things. This state lasted for a few years until we managed to rearrange and re-launch our website in its new form.

We had some long discussions about the forum and the shape it should have. Some most frequent users of our forum talked about the sections which grew to be more popular than we expected and others which happened to become abandoned and almost dead. We felt that things would better be rearranged for improved usability and for more enjoyable experience of spending time our forum.

We managed to give the same consistent look to the website and the forum again and to integrate them partially. The integration is still not complete because logging in to the forum and to the main website is still done separately, but we may change it one day. We will see if it’s necessary at all. And when it was done, it was time for the changes we discussed!

The pub you visit

Yet before the changes were introduced, some of our members started a nice thread with thanks for the work we do to make Chest of Colors a homely place for us all. It was so very encouraging to see that most people liked the way I felt about the forum:

I always think about our forum as an old pub that you drop into one day.

You know, there are many of them but you stumble into one and see people chatting on topic and off topic, giving each other ironic comments and sharing private jokes. First you may feel strange and not quite fitting there. But then you spend an hour or two. Listen to the guys there and then find the courage to stand up and say “hello, I am new here”, and then you’re a part of it all. Then their jokes are yours, their place is yours, and you feel at home there.

The pub you visit
Think about our forum as an old pub that you drop into one day

That’s what I always wanted this place to feel like for fellow fans of miniatures.

It seems it does. Thanks to the people who spend their time here. The site is not about the computer code, servers, layouts, etc. It’s all about the people. Just like a pub is not just the walls – it’s the people who create the atmosphere.

Are the changes drastic?

No, they aren’t.

What we did was:

  • removing rarely used sections and merging them to more active ones that they would fit in
  • reorganization of some sections (like creation of a complete Rules, FAQs and technical help section on top of the forum) and moving topics and sections to places they belong more than to their previous locations.
  • adding guidelines to showcase and WIP sections
  • adding a new method of posting images to our forum, so they don’t break the website’s layout
  • adding a medals system to award users for their achievements and contributions
  • improving the system of reporting posts and threads to moderators, so users can help us keep the forum clean and in good order
  • rewriting our forum’s rules and answers to frequently asked questions
  • marking Polish forums in a visible way, so people know which part of the site is the international one and which is the Polish one

So it’s more of tidying the place, cleaning it, and trying to put things in better order. We hope you like the new order of things better and that it’s more natural and obvious for our miniature painting friends. We know that our users will need some time to get used to it, but we believe it’s not too much of a problem.

Is this all?

Well, honestly speaking there’s still a bit of work to be done. Some smileys need to be added, some old duplicate threads and posts need to be taken care of, some dead links have to be located and fixed. But we hope that with your help (which is so much easier now) we can do it and our forum will become an even nicer place for us all to hang around.

So if you haven’t done it yet, pay us a visit at the miniature forum, take a look around and see how things are organized now. Do you like the new order of sections? Do you think the whole place is more enjoyable now? Do you feel anything should be improved to make it the kind of forum you want to spend time on?

Share your comments, they’re the best source of insight and inspiration we can get, because we want you – miniature painters – to enjoy the place!

How I painted wings for a Demon Prince of Nurgle

It must have been in 2008 that I painted two commissioned Chaos Demon Princes of Nurgle in that pre-heresy color scheme (white armor with green decorations). At the time everybody used winged Demon Princes for Warhammer 40.000, so these had to have wings, too. So I used wings from Heresy Miniatures B’hakoth model, converted them and painted in a disgusting Nugle way. But this only started the series of questions how I painted these rotting leathery wings. To avoid responding to every question separately, I created this tutorial showing how to paint wings for a Nurgle Demon Prince.

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

Here’s the first wing. It’s more or less finished, and at this point I decided to take pictures of the process of painting the other wing.

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

Generally I don’t try to analyze or organize thoughts clouding in my head in any logical way… (otherwise I might decide that if I don’t know where to start, I should not start at all ;-))

I prefer to go all ahead instinctively… to keep my thoughts busy (especially to keep my left hemisphere busy, so that it doesn’t disturb the right one :-P) and to start painting… and to hope the rest will be fine somehow.

What I did first was outlining the shape of the “skin” which remained on the wing.

I think it wasn’t a bad choice because in case anything had been wrong, I still could correct it easily, because this light blue color would be easier to cover than red.

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

The blue color is probably a mix of P3 Coal Black + P3 Menoth White Highlight / Vallejo MC Ivory 918 (you can use any of the two alternatives).

The remaining surface was painted with Vallejo MC Woodgrain (transparent) 70828.

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

The next photo shows the wing during application of highlights to the skin:

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

Hmm, I didn’t finish it and I started shading the border between “skin” and “under-skin”.

You can see how unsystematic I was (that proves that the wing was created by Chaos ;-)).

I also added a stich on the “skin”.

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

I returned to highlighting the “skin” and modified my concept for colors.

Even the previous photos shows that I added darker decolorations of a green shade (it’s a glaze of P3 Coal Black + Vallejo Smoke Game Ink). The same color as the skin on the final color of the demon’s arms.

I also added some light blue by highlighting P3 Coal Black with white (P3 Morrow White).

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

That’s more or less what my painting of the demon prince’s wings was like.

Total chaos can sometimes make painting even more enjoyable, and sometimes can only make it more difficult.

This time it was ideologically necessary. 😉

And that’s what the wings looked like in the end (I only painted some chipped paint on the green arrows later.):

Photo: How to paint Demon Prince of Nurgle wings - Tutorial

If you still have any questions or suggestions – feel free to share them in a comment. I’ll try to check them and leave answers.

Enjoy your painting and share your results!

— Ańa

Grey Seer 2011 – miniature painting competition report

We’re back from Grey Seer and must admit we had a terrific time there! The event is still pretty new but it already managed to make Gorzów an important city for every miniature painter in Poland, and hopefully also for foreign painters in the next editions.

Grey Seer – miniature painting competition

On August 13th we went to Gorzów Wielkopolski to participate in Grey Seer – a miniature painting competition being a part of Polish Team Championship in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It was only the second edition of the painting contest, so we were prepared that something could go wrong and that the staff could be unable to arrange everyting right. So we were willing to forgive them some shortcomings, but fortunately our tolerant moods proved to be unnecessary.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition report

The first edition of Grey Seer was not very popular among painters, and many entries were entered by gamers who participated in the Championship. This year many popular painters declared they would be coming to the event, which showed that the contest managed to earn its place in Polish miniature painting community. Obviously painters were satisfied with the first edition and either decided to return for the next edition or even recommend it to others. This year only a few entries came from gamers, and most entries came from miniature painters. Does this advent a change in profile of this competition?

Arrival

We (I, Ańa and Kacpero) arrived shortly before the noon and immediately met our friends from Warsaw. We recognized Camelson (and congratulated him on his success at the German Golden Demon), Smok, Edwin, Mr. Denial and Przemo. Maybe there were more of them but these are the ones that come to my mind now. A moment later we were greeted by Sławol, who organized the whole event. Then we went to say hi to the rest of people who were already there, including Gildor, KeraM, Bizon, Szary and Nameless. Most entries were already there so I immediately started to take photos of entered miniatures for the puropose of this report, while Kacpero and Sławol took care of all the people submitting new models for the competition.

Later we went to see the gaming tournament and it was pretty impressive. There were like 180 players playing Warhammer Fantasy, and some of them entered their miniatures for the contest. They received special card placeholders to stand in for the miniatures they submitted, so they could continue their games in the tournament.

Categories and entries

There were five categories: Fantasy single model, SciFi single model, Large model, Diorama or Unit, Open. There was also an additional prize for the best junior. The nice thing was that there were not only diplommas and trophy plates/badges but also models and bases for the winners. Not that it wouldn’t be good without them, but they surely were a nice touch and I know that the winners really appreciated them.

Eventually we received like 40 entries. Of course it’s not the same number that you can see on an important competition like Golden Demon, but compared to other Polish miniature painting contests the number was really satisfactory and larger than a year ago. Bearing in mind that it was only the second edition of the contest and the first was not really popular in the miniature painting (not: gaming) community, receiving this number of entries was a very nice surprise. There was also one historical model: Sahariana, that you will be able to see on a photo later.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition report

In comparison to the previous year’s edition, this time the overall quality was much higher, which was confirmed by both the participants and the judges. It was nice to see that the entries attracted attention of gamers who had a break between their battles. The only problem at this stage was the lack of protection for miniatures (glass cases, cabinets, or at least glass screens), which had one advantage: people could see the painted miniatures better, but at the cost of increased risk of damage to the entries.
Fortunately no disaster took placeplace and models survived the competition undamaged.

Judging and winners

Judging was done in two stages: the first cut which separated the finalist from the rest, and the finals during which the winners were chosen. Then the best junior painter was chosen and the grand prix was assigned to one of the winners of all categories. As you will be able to see in a moment, some of the entries were really impressive and it wouldn’t be a shame to enter them even at large international contests.

Here are photos of all the winning entries:

Photo   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   Photo

And here are the remaining entries:

Photo   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto   Photo   PhotoPhoto

Painting classes

During the competition painters could participate in miniature painting classes run by Ańa, Camelson and Przemo. Przemo explained his take on color theory, Camelson showed how he paints (focusing on painting skin) and Ańa made a presentation about painting and designing freehands. She used a computer to provide additional examples and demonstrations. It was a great chance to meet experienced painters, learn from them and ask them questions.

The atmosphere at the event was fantastic. I am very envious that others managed to spend more time together when we were judging, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time. Man, we did! And we even managed to sneak to the back of the school in which the event was held, to taste some delicious food served there by a little barbecue crew. Thanks guys!

Surprizes

    Two biggest surprizes of Grey Seer were:

  • Neuroshima Tactics miniatures are actually much better than we expected. Guys, you really have to do something with the way you’re trying to present and sell your miniatures. It can be done so much better. On our forum we constantly thought the miniatures are no good, but it’s not true. We saw one of them in person and it was much better than we could ever expect. So Neuroshima Tactics miniatures are not bad, just terribly presented.
  • Fantasy single model winner (Wurzag) was painted by KeraM, who’s only 14 years old. Guys, you will really need to try harder if he continues to improve at the speed he did so far. Not long before he was less than a mediocre painter, and now he’s not only beating adult painters in a normal painting competition (not a “youngbloods” category) but also becomes the best of all awarded junior painters I’ve seen so far on all Polish contest. Keep it up, KeraM, and don’t stop improving. You will soon give older painters a sweat if you keep entering such good works in miniature painting competitions.

Awards ceremony

The grand prix went to Ańa for her fantastic group of Tzeentch characters. We’ll try to provide official photos of these models which still haven’t received studio photos, but believe me, each of these models could easily be a serious entry (and possibly a winner) as a single model, and here we received four of them. It was really well deserved win here, which gave Ańa this nice trophy:

Photo

Now here are photos of all the winners and finalists:

Photo   PhotoPhoto   PhotoPhoto   PhotoPhoto   PhotoPhoto   PhotoPhoto   PhotoPhoto   PhotoPhoto   Photo

Afterparty

When the award ceremony was over, we helped Sławol clean the hall in which the competition took place. We talked and laughed a lot, and the painters exchanged honest and in-depth comments about their works. It was a fantastic chance to see the works of others and to get some first-hand feedback on your painting from some of the best miniature painters in Poland. The discussions continued later during the walk that we took to the restaurant in which we had our afterparty. We found Gorzów a very nice city, and will surely try to return there to spend some more time sightseeing.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition reportPhoto: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition report

The afterparty was very entertaining and relaxing. We spent the evening in a Turkish restaurant, eating delicious food and drinking, talking and joking with our friends. Our friend Irkuck joined us during the party even though he wasn’t present at the competition. He was responsible for those nice trophies that were awarded to all winners, and everybody liked the trophies. My personal favorite was the one which went to the best junior painter, as it had a nice steampunk or post-apocalyptic feel.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 - miniature painting competition report

The man behind it all

I must say that Sławol amazed us all with his ability to organize such a great event. He organized the painting contest almost single-handedly, and the only problem I could see was the lack of protection for entries. On the other hand there much more positive aspects of his work: great coordination, arranging sponsors, announcing the event in the internet, preparing the awards, participation in judging, arranging perfect place and equipment for the painting classes, booking the place for the afterparty, and much more. He was our host there in Gorzów, too, and he did his job really well. He even managed to give certificates of gratitude to everyone who helped him. Huge thank you, Sławol!

Could anything be improved? Sure. There could be more painters and more entries. But with so well prepared second edition of the contest and so satisfied participants, there will surely be the next edition and even more people will participate. There could be awards for random participants – it always encourages more people to enter, even if only because they hope to win the random award. There could be some kind of protection for entries. Not necessarily closed glass cabinets, but at least PVC screens to stand before the entries and visitors. Fortunately this time nothing bad happened, but you can never be sure. Additionally, there could be some foreign painters participating in the contest…

Going international?

But can I have your attention for one more short moment? Thanks!
I was told that in 2012 the European Team Championship is to be organized in Gorzów! It’s going to be a huge event, with players from whole Europe playing Warhammer. It’s a great opportunity to come there and enter the miniature painting competition. So maybe you could come to Poland in the next year? I can wholeheartedly recommend coming to the Grey Seer contest. Even if it’s not a huge competition, it’s a very friendly and interesting event.

And what are your thoughts on this event? So who’s coming to the next edition in 2012? Who’s still thinking? What are the pros and cons? What are your doubts? Don’t be shy and come to Grey Seer 2012! 🙂

If you noticed any mistake in this report, if you are (or know) the author of some unsigned works here – just leave a comment and we will amend the text. Thanks for reading!

— Mahoń

It’s off to Grey Seer we go!

It’s only a short post today, as we’re leaving for Grey Seer in the morning. What Grey Seer, you may ask. So let me explain that “Grey Seer” is the name of a painting competition, which takes place during the Polish Team Championship in Warhammer Battle.

Photo: It's off to Grey Seer we go!

Many of us didn’t manage to get there a year ago, and having heard how nice the event was, we don’t want to miss it again. So we’re expecting to meet some fellow painters and old friends there. Some Chest of Colors members, some former members of our team, some friends from our forum, and many miniatures (hopefully most of them painted).

Additional attractions

We know that Przemo (winner of Hussar 2010), Camelson (fresh winner of Golden Demons won in Germany) and Ańa (if you don’t know her yet, just follow the link to learn more) will be giving miniature painting classes there, as Ańa was preparing something about painting freehands today.

In addition to the contest there will be a small party in the evening, so we’re really looking forward to meeting our friends there. If you’re going there, don’t be shy and come to say hi and join us either during the event or after it. We’ll be happy to meet you there.

Photo: It's off to Grey Seer we go!

It seems that the whole championship and painting competition are already prepared, so all that has to be done is driving to Gorzów Wielkopolski.

See you in two days!

And if you happen to be there and return before us, why don’t you leave a comment below to report your impressions from the event. Thank you! 🙂

How to paint marble bases

I’ve been asked questions how to paint marble, like on the base of my Space Marines Librarian. As people seem to be interested in explanation of my way of painting marble, here it goes:

How to paint marble

I used VMC 907 “pale greyblue” as my base color.

Photo: How to paint marble bases - Tutorial

I stained the surface with dark stains of wash made from VMC 939 “Smoke”. Beginning of this stage can be seen above, and the final effect – below:

Photo: How to paint marble bases - Tutorial

 

While increasing the intensity of the wash I outline the streaks achieved previously by several layers of wash and make them bolder. I also create a few more streaks:

Photo: How to paint marble bases - Tutorial

Effects of this operation can be seen below, just like thickness of the base color (ie. thinned a lot) which was still used to highlight the palest parts and to emphasize the edges where colors change:

Photo: How to paint marble bases - Tutorial

I painted some veins with the base color

I used wash of VMC 938 “transparent blue” in some places, where my intuition suggested, I created spots. And then I used the same color, but thinned it less, to draw places for next veins.

With a wash of VMC 828 “Wood grain” I stained the surface just as I did before with blue.

Photo: How to paint marble bases - Tutorial

With a thin brush I painted veins – cracks, using a mix of “Smoke” and “Transparent Blue”. It was nearly black, but I didn’t use black as I didn’t want the veins to contrast too much with the rest of the surface.

I emphasized the veins with the base color and the same brush, and I added a few more veins. I also added a few spots in this color.

I was only missing a few darker accents – deeper in the sculpt. But this was done with ground old dry pastels in color of dark browns and the scenic water effect, which I am presenting below. But you will find your own ways of finishing your marble.

Done!

Photo: How to paint marble bases - Tutorial

So that’s the way I painted my slab of marble. Everybody might prefer their own ways, but maybe my method will be useful for you? 🙂

There are many kinds of marble, though. If you are interested, let me know and maybe one day I will be painting another marble base so I can take photos and show you how to deal with different marbles. Or maybe you want to share your ideas?