Corvus' Miniatures

Painted sf & fantasy miniatures by Gerrie Schenck

Painting again...

After a break of more than 8 weeks I'm painting again... it's a reminder of how quickly painting skills can dwindle if they are unused for a while. So I'm not aiming very high with this figure, just painting it for fun :)

What comes and goes

I've been wanting write a blog post about this for some time, but I never actually started it. But I think now, with more than 8 weeks without painting, is a good time for it.

I've been on a painting hiatus for more than once now. They range from one to six months, but in the end I always make it back to the painting table. Since my oldest daughter was born I've had more than before, I think that's normal. Real life business tends to take the focus away from the painting, at least for me. The last couple of weeks I've spent too much time in traffic jams, I've been ill now and, and so were my kids. For me that's sometimes enough not to find the spirit to do some painting. So real life business is the first possible cause for a hiatus.

The two other factors are motivation and inspiration. I think motivation is much related to your real life situation. For example I'm currently putting quite some time in a video game I'm really enjoying (Minecraft). Of course I enjoy painting, but currently I'm having more fun playing the game. So it's very hard to motivate myself to skip a night gaming and do some painting instead. All the same: when I've spent way too much time in a traffic jam when driving home from the office this usually results in having all the household tasks done late in the evening, too late for me to motivate myself to pickup a paintbrush.

The third factor which I already mentioned is probably the most important one: inspiration. I draw a lot of inspiration from music, literature, nature, etc. And of course watching other people's work, which I did at last month's Golden Demon contest in Germany. I've also recently discovered the joys of the audio book. I've decided to start listening to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series again. I never made it any further than book 8 with the paper version, but an audio book really allows more time for "reading". The rich fantasy world really gives me a lot of inspiration currently. I might try it out when painting, instead of music and see how it will affect my concentration.

My inspiration level is currently very high. But the motivation isn't really there yet, I'm still putting quite some time in the Minecraft game (which you should really check out if you enjoy sand-box building games) but I feel I'm nearing the point where I get tired of it. Another problem I have is that I'm still lacking a dedicated painting desk. I moved my old desk over to our new house when we moved back in August, but it's not really ready for painting: most of my stuff is still packed up and the plan is to buy a new desk and a display case. Maybe I should simply force myself to go to Ikea and buy the stuff, and the rest will probably follow.

If I bored you with this post, I'm sorry for it, but it's something I'm writing for myself in the first place. If you have some motivational/inspirational problems sometimes too, please share your story in the comments.

I still can't tell when I will return to painting, probably in two or three weeks I think. But writing on my blog again is certainly a step in the right direction. This blog, and the few hundred loyal readers I have is probably the best motivation there is.

In the meantime take care and enjoy painting!

-Gerrie aka Corvus

Golden Demon Germany 2010 event coverage

It's been 4 years now since my last Games Day. So it was about time to drive to Köln once again and witness this event from nearby. My friend Jasper aka Mordred decided to join me on this trip.

When we arrived we first did a quick tour of the show, checking out some of the new Warhammer Forge stuff, really amazing stuff. Then we waited almost 45 minutes in a line to buy some figures at the Forge World store. I bought some Tau Air Caste ground crew.

After that it was time to check out the Golden Demon entries. There were fewer entries than last time I was there, then the display cabinets were really packed with figures. But the quality level was still the same of course.

I placed my bets on a Skaven versus Ogre duel entry I've seen earlier on the Massive Voodooblog. And yes, in the end it won a golden demon and the Slayer Sword.

So let's start off the pictures with the sword winner by Raffaele Picca.

The Keeper is finished!

I'm very happy with the way he came out... great figure to paint!

If you care to vote:

The newest photo studio

I've been putting the new photo setup you've seen earlier to the test... and I was very disappointed. The pictures were a bit fuzzy and the color was also off: a strange orange hue seemed to cover the miniature, and I was unable to remove this post editing.

The fuzziness was probably caused by the fact that the miniature itself was to far from the camera. I had to do this because I couldn't position the lights any further to the camera. And the strange color might have been caused by the reflection of the wood of the desk next to the setup, or from the background, which was printed with a laser printer instead of an inkjet one.

So tonight I decided to try to fix these problems. First of all I positioned the upper light a bit closer to the camera. I then removed the two front lights and decided to keep only one of those, fixing it on the side of the setup also, then positioning it right above the camera. To compensate for the "missing" light, and also to ensure there was light coming from below, I dug up an old trick which you have seen earlier on this blog: using tin foil.

So I partially covered the inside of an aquarium (which I used as a small display cabinet years ago) with some tin foil, and also covered the wood of the desk next to the setup with the same stuff. I printed a new backdrop with my inkjet printer, put my favorite test subject in the spotlight and took the picture.

What a difference! The picture below is small, I know, but I hope you can see how the figure nearly jumps out of the picture. I'm really happy with this setup right now, and I can use the light for something else now :)

Review: CoolMiniOrNot Annual 2008

This time I am reviewing a publication: the CoolMiniOrNot Annual 2008 book. It's a compilation of the best submissions to the CoolMiniOrNot website in 2008. It's a nice book with a lot of inspirational content, but I think there's still some room for improvement...

At the moment of writing there are still 167 copies left in the CoolMiniOrNot shop. If you want to buy this book after reading this review, I wouldn't wait too long because once it's sold out, it's gone forever. I believe it was a print run of 500 copies and just like the only other annual they did (which dates back to 2003) it will probably never be reprinted.

The question a lot of people ask is whether buying this book is worth it, because every picture in the book can be seen online too. I guess this is a personal thing, much in line with the discussion of printed books versus e-books. But there's probably one thing which makes a lot of people decide not to buy the book and that's the price. It costs $35, with $7 shipping if you live in the USA or Canada, $14 for the rest of the world. So I ended up paying nearly $50 for the book...

I mainly bought this book as a source of inspiration and relaxation (because I really like looking at nicely painted miniatures). Did it succeed in doing this? Yes! Did I expect more from it? Yes!

First of all I wasn't really happy about the packaging. The book itself was packed in a simple cardboard box, slightly larger than the book, with some small foam pieces to fill up the gaps. As a result of the packaging, nearly every corner of the book took a hit. Nothing really serious, I know, but some additional protection could easily avoid this. I complained about this on the CMON forums, but apart from "all books are packed in bubble wrap" and "tell the people in your post office to stop playing football with the packages" I never got a decent explanation. And it seems to be that some people indeed had a book packed in bubble wrap... If you got one I'd like to hear how your book was packed up, please leave a comment below.

The book itself looks deluxe: it's a hardback with shiny lettering and a gloss finish on the outside. The layout of the pages is very well done. There are plenty of half-page and multi-angle pictures. Sometimes you'll find one or two pages with miniatures painted by the same artist, sometimes a page filled with material from different people. A simple caption is put next to the picture, including the artist's real name, CMON username, a title and the manufacturer. This information is very accurate, however there are some small mistakes here and there.

The 134 pages are split up in several sections: Fantasy, SF, Diorama, Scratchbuilt & Terrain and Historical & Busts. The fantasy section contains some miniatures which should have been in the historical section, but for me a subdivision like this isn't really necessary. Apart from the pictures there is a short foreword and an artists index.

I already said I expected a bit more of this book. One of the major things that bothers me a bit is the paper weight. It's the type of paper which is used for magazines like White Dwarf or a manufacturer's catalog. I expected something heavier, like the first Cry Havoc magazines. The flimsy paper makes the book look a bit thin also, and probably more prone to wear and tear. But in the end it's the print quality that really counts, and this is very good. All artists were asked to submit high DPI images for the book, and this really shows.

Most of the pictures in the book are top-quality, better than the average manufacturer. For example the Swordmaster by derwish or Ana's collection of pictures. As we all know miniature photography is an art on its own, needless to say there are some photography failures in the book also. Examples of this are this Imperial Guard Sentinel and this Chaos Lord.

Apart from those two submissions I mentioned, there are a handful of other entries with a score around 8.0. While these could easily be replaced by submissions with a score higher than 9.0, the editors of this book have chosen to include them anyway. I don't know why they did so, but it raises some questions about the way they picked the entries for the book. I don't think they did wrong including such pieces, it gives a nice broad view of the painting community and it's probably great for the artists, but on the other hand doesn't the reader of this book want to see the best of the best only? I do so anyway, especially after paying those 50 bucks...

Even with the remarks I have, I think this book is worth the money. I really like publication like this, since they allow me to quickly browse some pages and soak up some inspiration. Almost all pictures are very good and the overall layout and selection is very good. If the 2009 edition comes out I will surely buy it. I'm just a bit disappointed in the paper quality and a handful of selected submissions.

  • nice layout
  • great selection of entries
  • good quality cover
  • price
  • paper quality
  • some lower-rated submissions
  • A must have for every miniature enthusiast who prefers printer media over browsing pictures online, a great source of inspiration.

The new photo studio

The room which is going to be my future painting studio is still a mess, and I still have to buy the main painting desk, but I already put the new photo setup in place. I used a low cabinet on which I attached three lights. I wasn't able to position the lights the way I wanted completely, but in the end I got them all pointing the same way somewhat. I'm using three white 40 watt fluorescent bulbs for this, which grant a white, diffused light.

Apart from the better lighting condition I now have a dedicated spot to photograph my miniatures. This way I will get more consistency throughout the pictures and I don't have to clear my desk and build the setup every time. If you are wondering where my cloud backdrops or previous photo setup are gone, I trashed them when boxing everything before moving because I already had this setup in mind.

The plan is to write an extensive article about miniature photography, when I finish experimenting with my new setup...

detailing has started on The Keeper

There are a ton of details on this figure, fun to paint but it takes up a lot of time.

Once again I am faced with the exceptional detailing on this figure: the leather book case for example has a very fine texture to it, nearly impossible to capture during painting.

I repainted the orb after my first attempt: the purple sparkles I painted on it reminded me too much of a christmas ball :) So I decided to paint it black, as it suits the figure more I think, like it's holding some dark energy. I will paint all the gems on the figure black, like the one on the pendant.

Meanwhile at the Mantic blog...

Nice to see some of my work featured there (

EDIT: just found out my vignette made it to the master gallery :)

RBG's The Keeper: cloak done and some glazing

Finished the cloak of The Keeper earlier this week, and today I tried to introduce some color into the figure with some glazes. Since I'm not a glazing expert, I somewhat failed to achieve what I had in mind, but it made some of the blendings a bit smoother. I know the cloak still looks rough, but I like the effect anyway.

The skin got some glazes of the base coat with some violet and bright skintones mixed in, the cloak got some burnt cadmium and beige. Yeah my glazing skills really need work, I should use the technique more to get more practice.

Got some more work done on Myrianna, the rest of the cloak is finished, as well as the hair and I did some basecoating on other areas. I'm now probably going to continue with The Keeper, he's mostly done but has a lot of tiny details left.

Red Box Games' Myrianna: an experiment in wet blending

I'm currently enjoying my holiday with my family at the seaside. I planned to work a bit more on the reviews I promised, but the internet connection we have here is really terrible.

But anyway I did quite some miniature painting already, for the first time in 3 months! I'm working where I left off: Red Box Games. Did some more work on Yrsa and The Keeper, and started on Myrianna, the figure you see below.

I decided to experiment with a technique I never really used before: wet blending. For those who don't know this method: it's basically mixing your shades and highlights on the figure itself. By doing this your blends will be very smooth, but it's a hard technique to master. But I feel I am improving very rapidly so maybe this will be the painting method I will use in the future.

So far I did the face and the back of the cloak. ..

Review: Red Box Games

Red Box Games is Tre Manor's own company, but he's probably better known for his work at Reaper Miniatures. The somewhat simplistic website offers links to an out-dated greens gallery and the shop. The shop itself offers only pictures of the greens, don't expect any casted figures or painted ones.

There are five factions to choose from, all of them pure fantasy. Aelfar, the elves, has quite some armored fighters, but also some spearmen, a rogue and mages. The dwarves are called Dvergr, in my opinion the least interesting race. Most of them look alike: covered in fur, heavy helmets and big shields. But there are some nice surprises, such as Dodgy Drexel, a small rogue, probably the tiniest figure of the range.

Yes they are tiny. This is true 28mm scale, a rarity in most modern miniature ranges. I will talk about this more, but first I'll take a look to the remaining three races. The Helsvakt are savage warriors which remind me a bit of the old Drunes by Rackham, complete with some druid mages. The fourth race are the Njorn, a bit similar to the Helsvakt, but they also contain some features of the Aelvar. Their overall theme reminds me a bit of the ancient vikings.

Finally there are the goblins, Red Box Games' most recent race. This also contains the huge Bloodmaw and Horsebane figure: a goblin mounted on a bear, probably one of the most spectacular figures of the entire Red Box Games range. Now that we have got to know the company and its miniature lines a bit better let's get a closer look at some actual minis.

The minis are got are these: Yrsa the Accursed, Olsvalter the Aged, Myrianna of Aelfheim, The Keeper. All of these are priced at 8,99 USD, which is fair price I think. All figures are shipped in their own zip-lock plastic bag together with a base. The figures I got were all one-part, except for Olsvalter: the owl on his back should be glued on. The bases are quite small, a lot smaller than the average round base actually. Once a figure is mounted on there's hardly any place left for basing, except for some regular sand. I strongly advice to base them on a bigger base for additional room.

I already told you the figures are small, and they are extremely detailed as well! Actually the sculpts are some of the best I have ever seen! Each figure is full of character and the entire figure has received a lot of attention. Just take a look at the closeups below and I hope you understand what I mean. And yes, that's my index finger in the background :)

There is a lot of detailing on the figures: weapons, scrolls, familiars, trophies and a wide variety of magical items, they are all sculpted on with the same amount of care. Sometimes this can make a miniature look busy, but here it just looks right. There are plenty of bare areas left, don't worry.

Casting was very good. Some mold lines here and there of course, but nothing really serious.

Here are the figures lined up, ready to be primed. I'm really going to enjoy painting these for sure!

  • great, dynamic sculpts with a lot of nice details
  • good price
  • no unnecessary assembly
  • true 28mm
  • supplied bases are small
  • only a few races
  • 28mm, they might look small when you want to use them in a game with other figures
  • online store only shows the greens
  • Some of the best figures I have ever seen. Characterful, extremely well sculpted and very detailed. These gorgeous miniatures are really made to paint up nicely, and they're a challenge to do so too. Money well spent.

Upcoming product reviews

I'm currently working on a bunch of reviews of several products. The reviews will be composed of two parts: a general introduction to the company and its products and then a hands-on review of one or more of their products. This is what you can expect in the next few weeks:
  • Red Box Games: 28mm fantasy goodness from the US.
  • Tor Gaming R&D: figures for their upcoming game "Relics"
  • VoodooWorx: UK based supplier of sculpted resin display plinths.
  • Plinth Country: a new player on the resin and wood display plinths market, coming from Poland.
In addition I'll also be taking a look at the brand new CoolMiniOrNot Annual 2008 book. I guess this company does not need an introduction :)

Do you want me to review your product as well and attract new customers? Please contact me at

Visit the Chest of Colors forums and upgrade your painting skills!

Some of you might know Chest of Colors as the homepage of some top painters from Poland. But behind the green facade of the front page lies an international community of artists of which I'm a proud member.

In my opinion it's the best forum around if you want to take your painting to a certain level. Of course there are lots of other forums out there, but these are usually oriented towards gamers (with all respect) and if you post something of a higher quality level there the usual response is "wow man, that looks great!". At Chest of Colors all pieces will receive constructive comments, even if it's a golden demon winner. Miniature painting is all about getting better and improving your techniques, but how can you achieve this without someone who points at your mistakes?

The heart of the message board are undoubtedly the Showcase and WIP (work in progress) forums. There are also separate forums to do brainstorming or ask for specific painting techniques. In the new releases forum we talk about new releases of all possible manufacturers. And there's much more!

I invite you over to introduce yourself in the introduction forum, post some of your stuff and get some comments on your work. It would be nice if you mention my blog in your introduction so that I can give you a warm welcome there :)

If you have never visited a real painting forum before, don't expect it to turn you into a Golden Demon winner in an instant. You will however get great feedback and this will improve your painting, that's for sure. The more you put in it (posting images of your own work), the more you will get out of it.

Click the image below or follow this link:




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