Reaper Bones KhanJira the World Breaker arrived!

I just got my shipment of Bones Kickstarter #2 figures in and couldn’t resist putting this bad boy together right away.  Not only is he huge but minis have come a long, long way.  He’ll take some putty work, but nothing like the old metal GW dragons from back in the day.  For the most part the pieces fit together relatively snugly and some putty on the seams to fill small gaps is all that will be needed.  Instructions aren’t necessary, and the parts were all sculpted so you literally can’t make a mistake when you assemble him.

Did I mention he’s huge?  This guy is ready to take on your party and pick his teeth with their weapons!

I’ll be painting him to my best standard (spending 30-40 hours) next week and he’s headed for the Ebay store.

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More on Primer Plus the Reaper Cloud Giantess from the Bones / Kickstarter Set

This isn’t for sale, yet, but the new Cloud Giantess from the new Reaper line of plastics.  The figures which I haven’t been particularly impressed with were some which also weren’t particularly good in metal, either.  The female Spider Centaur / Drider hasn’t got a very well defined nose in either casting, and her face isn’t as good as most of their miniatures.  This figure is about 3 inches tall and has really nice details.  The same can be said for the dwarf warrior I tackled and some others.  Those will be showing up on here during the week.

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I settled on Tamiya fine, light grey spray primer for them.  As you can see below it’s not that dark so it didn’t interfere with my paint colors.  The beauty of this brand is that it sticks to nearly anything.  I’ve been able to spray odd plastics like toys with it and it stuck, where that’s not always the case with all other major brands.  If you don’t want grey,  you can buy it in white, too.  You can find his shop on Amazon.com Deep Discount Hobby or contact them through there  if you don’t see it for sale.

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Above is a primed Bones figure.  They’re not really easy to photo as light as they are on a white background, but it let me see where I’d primed / missed without interfering with my details or paint colors.

Wash Before You Prime and Gluing the Griffon (Day 3)

My adventures in priming have continued, and someone on the Reaper forum asked if they were washed first.  Wash?  WASH?? My miniatures don’t need no stinkin’ washing!  Actually yes, yes they do to remove traces of mold release, oils from being handled and other agents which will keep paint / primer from sticking.  It’s a step I often forget unless I’m dealing with really old figures and one I should pay more attention to.  I went back to Scorpion #2 and gave it a good bath.  For a desert dwelling cave monster, it was passive about it.  Gold star.

I took a drop of Palmolive original green dish soap and a very, very cheap paintbrush which come in bulk for a dollar or two at Wal Mart.  They’re the kind of thing I use to spread glue around, or in this case, soap.  I made sure I got soap into all the cracks and crevices before rinsing thoroughly and allowing the figure to dry.

To duplicate the test from the day before, I used the exact same paint.  It’s Liquitex Acrylic color (Mars black) thinned with Grumbacher Artist medium to get a consistency that’s a little bit thicker than the Reaper Master Series paints.  Yesterday, I had problems with the same black paint separating and pulling away from itself on Scorpion #1, but today it went on fine.  The key seems to be to make sure the mini is completely clean first.  Although I haven’t been able to put it to the test, I think that once it’s sealed, this technique will hold up to gaming, handling, and common use just as well as priming a metal figure and playing with it on your table top.

As much as I am cringing as I type this because of my own primer prejudice, I think we can actually forgo primer on these particular miniatures if they’re cleaned properly before you paint them.  If you really want to prime them, this is also okay.  They worked with Krylon and RMS brush on white primer both.  Below is the finished product without sealer.

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I currently only have one figure which needed to be glued together.  The griffon actually fit together really well, and as predicted, the plastics are far easier to actually work with.  I hadn’t put a drop of glue on it in the following picture.  The wings set in so well it sat on my table as you see it in the photo.  On a side note, photographing these miniatures worked better for me when I took off the flash.

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I glued the griffon together using Loctite Super Glue Professional Liquid.  That’s a fancy way of saying “big bottle of Super Glue” purchased at Wal Mart, hardware stores, etc.  I used NCF brand accelerator (mild) and it gave a really good, tight assembly.  It’s been a long time since I put this particular figure together in metal, but I don’t remember it being this easy.  With the weight of the wings, I’m fairly sure that pinning, gluing, falling, impotent profanity, chemically burned fingers, furiously creative words which never existed before, more gluing, and more choice dialog to crack the paint on the walls were all involved.  Glue and I sometime don’t get along, so I appreciated how easy this went together.  As in almost coming to the end of a 40 year trek lost in the desert and finally seeing civilization appreciation.

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Like the metal version, the wings weren’t a completely perfect fit, and it will take some Greenstuff / Milliput / etc for a perfect join.  However, I think most of us expect that in many models.  Overall, I give griffon assembly a 5 out of 5 stars and happily skipped the drama of weighty metal pieces.  For those who have to ship these through the perils of the USPS and the occasional Orc postal employee who reads “Fragile” as “Smash Package,” their survival rate through shipping is probably going to be higher.  I won’t know that for sure until I try it, but I feel a lot more confident about shipping a plastic one than I do a metal while preassembled.

Also from my painting table…

With some work with Paint Shop Pro 9’s fade correction, automatic contrast adjustment, color balance, and turning off the flash, I finally got a closer image of what the Night Specter came out looking like.

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To Prime or Not to Prime Reaper Bones / Kickster Minis

To be fair, I have heard of a few people who don’t prime their metal miniatures, but that makes me cringe.  When I painted my very first Ral Partha and Grenadier models back when I had to fight the sabertooth tiger for my brontoburger, I bought a bunch of those Testor’s paints in the tiny bottles, purchased paint thinner, and proceeded to glob it on.  For your amusement, here’s one of my better ones.

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Many years later, about the time Reaper was a fledgling company and minis were in that sad, intermediate place where they were almost forgotten, I purchased a Partha blister.  On a whim, I asked the man behind the counter, “how do you paint these?”  He handed me a can of Partha primer and told me to prime them first, then use whatever kind of paint I wanted.  It sounded good to me, and he made a sale.

(Insert Disney music from Aladdin here) “A whole new world” opened up after that visit, and I began to prime all my miniatures.  I switched paints, starting with cheap acrylic paints from Wal Mart which were 50 cents a bottle.  I gradually progressed to better brushes, paints and techniques.

I was willing to put aside my primer prejudice to try painting straight onto the new Reaper plastics to see what it would do.  It would save me a step and some money if I could put the primer back on the shelf with the 8 Track and Beta recording… nevermind.

My experiences with primers on plastic figures has been hit and miss.  Back with the earlier Games Workshop grey plastic figures, a lot of the primers came out with a “fuzzy” finish to them.  This happened because it was either too thick or the plastic had a reaction to it.  I normally use Krylon white spray primer which I get at Wal Mart, Lowe’s or just about anywhere you can buy spray paint.  It’s more convenient, dries in about 10 minutes, and I’ve never had any issues with it ruining in the can or messing up my figures.  It doesn’t have quite the same, solid coverage as GW brand, but I’ve used hundreds of cans and it works for what I do with it.  It was also cheaper than GW when all I could do was mail order, but those are the only current types of spray primer I’ve used.  For plastic miniatures, I normally use Reaper Master Series brush on primer from the squeeze bottles.

Unfortunately, my photos don’t show very much, but in my defense there’s not much to see.

Left: Scorpion – No primer at all
Middle: Beetle (not Ringo) – primed with Krylon
Right: Spider – primed with Brush on RMS white

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It’s not particularly easy to see what you primed because the figures and primer are both white.  Be careful you don’t overdo it or you’ll lose details.

I began on the scorpion using a black acrylic paint designed for canvases and non-miniature artists.  I use a lot of black so this is more economical.  It normally has to be thinned down a little in a squeeze bottle with Medium, so I found that brand pulled away from itself to show the miniature underneath.  It took more than one coat to cover.  The flash gave me problems, but inside the red is where it “pulled” away from itself.  The green is reflected highlights from the flash or my desk lamp.

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I switched to a brown made by RMS and it covered as per normal, even without the primer.

When I went to paint the beetle, the black paint covered and went on smooth.  I didn’t get the “pulling” away.  RMS paints behaved the same way and it didn’t seem to matter.  I didn’t see any difference between the Krylon and RMS brush on except I can usually get the spray types on more easily with smoother coverage and speed.

Durability:

Once the Scorpion was dried for a few hours, I rubbed my thumb over the top of it really hard several times, trying to get the paint to come off.  It stayed put.  I put the figure in a bag full of plastic and metal miniatures and proceeded to shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.  That’s some pretty serious abuse for an unsealed miniature.  It had some very small chips in the paint, but showed some really impressive resilience.  I don’t actually play with my figures and seal with 3 coats of spray gloss.  I finish with either one coat of either Testor’s dull coat or Vallejo brush on matte for a truly flat finish.

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In conclusion:  Personally, I’m going to stubbornly sit in my “It must be primed!” camp because I have less hassles with the paint sticking every time and I use a variety of different paint brands.  However, I think it’s possible to paint straight on these figures and particularly if they’re sealed (plus treated gently), have it work out just as well.

On the Nightspecter, I added some straight paint to try and bring out the details a little more.  It looks brighter in person to me than it does on my monitor.  I’m having trouble getting a decent photo of it because of the flash.

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Painting the Fire Elemental and Ghostly Haunt / Wall from Reaper Bones / Kickstarter Miniatures

Reaper Bones Kickstarter Miniatures

Painting the Large Fire Elemental:

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with him.  Normally, I prime figures, put a base coat on them and carry on like any other painter, but these miniatures begin in a transparent color.  I didn’t want to completely lose that because I like the effect.  I began by trying some basic inks.  I’m not sure what the brand, but they’re probably Games Workshop, Partha, or similar brands all dumped into giant dropper bottles that I’ve been using for the last 9-10 years.  They’re gaming painters inks, but the brand (or mix) is unknown.    Red ink didn’t show up, so I mixed in some brown.  It was much too runny and made a mess.  I wiped it off and let it dry.

Next, I tried some ink mixed in with Clear Flat sealer from Model Master (Testors – Purchased at Hobby Lobby) mixed in with the ink.  This was a little better, but too thin.  It still ran and didn’t cover.  I finally settled with some clear sealer mixed 1 to 1 with Reaper Master Series paint.  That worked and allowed me to put a glaze over the figure, giving it some easy shadows.  For the highlights, I used Reaper Master Series Clear yellow.  Once it was dry, I tossed in some straight paint here and there for visual variety and there he is.  This was a quick and simple paint job once I got things to work properly.

Here he is:

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The Green Wall of Haunting:

I had an idea of what I was doing by now, so I began with RMS Clear Green.  It didn’t work very well (as shown here.)  The left side is plain and being done with the sealer mix, the left was Clear Green.  The color was a little too bright for my taste and it ran too much.

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I went back to the RMS paint and some clear sealer again.  Here you can see half of it done for comparison.

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I put a glaze on the entire mini then mixed my glaze with some yellow clear.  I put in some very basic drybrush and highlights, let it dry, and hit it one last time with RMS Clear Yellow again.   If you don’t have any RMS clear, I’m sure the sealer and paint mix will also work.

Here it is:

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When the clear yellow dried, it lacked some of the contrast it had when it was still wet.  I plan on doing a Testor’s clear mix with some very pale green or white to bring out the details better.

Initial Reactions to Reaper Bones / Kickstarter Minis

Reaper Bones Kickstarter Miniatures

Disclaimer: I don’t work for Reaper and I’m not being paid to do this.  I was asked for my opinions and to document my process of painting / working with these new plastic miniatures.

My Initial reactions were as follows.

Pros: Large miniatures like the griffon, dragons, and huge demons are going to be a lot easier to glue together.  Obviously the plastic is much lighter weight and I’m looking forward to not having the struggle with pins and pieces falling off even when using an accelerator.

The casting is very clean.  I’m actually seeing less obvious mold lines than the metal versions and no air bubbles.  I expect that out of a big company, but after dealing with some “garage resin kits” in the past, I appreciate such a perfect casting.  The plastic feels a lot like a white resin, and a bit softer than the hard grey Games Workshop figures or the old Ral Partha plastics.

If you’re really short on time or can’t paint, some of them are cast in color like flames, so you can use them right out of the box, or possibly with just a little bit of ink or something to make the details come out.

Cons: 

The difference between their plastic and metal figures is noticeable.  I’ve only seen one of their prepainted and ready to go figures in the blister, and they do look more detailed than those. However, the plastics don’t look like they’re holding details as well as the metal.  This could be because they’re bright white, making the details harder to pick out with the naked eye and they’ll paint up exactly the same.  I’m reserving judgement until I can actually paint some of the more detailed skin, feather, textures, armor, and faces.

They’re made in China, but rumor has it that Reaper is trying to eventually bring the equipment here to the states.  I don’t have anything against China, but Reaper is based in my home state.  I support them and the jobs they bring to my country and my state because they’re very close to home.  Commerce like that is never simple because outsourcing still means local jobs, but I hope they bring everything over to do here in the US.