Review : Basing earth Alkemy DVD : painting buddha !
Recently I have received some DVD from Painting buddha. this was the 2nd and 3rd ones,
Basing Earth Alkemy and Freehands. Initially I planned to make a single review for the 2 items, however I felt it was too huge for this… Each one deserves his own article !
then let’s start with Basing Alkemy Earth. If you know me personally you have probably discovered how I love basing… this is indeed my way of seeing miniatures painting, the base is not something optional. Of course for gaming, this is perhaps a bit more.. but for showbase, this makes the difference. I guess I won some medals because of the bases I made… this is bringing more depth to the story you want to tell with your mini.
So le’ts see what we got in the DVD 1.3.
– Gaming base
– Squad base for displaying few minis on their own base (like it’s done for squad category in a well know UK company contest 😉 )
– Show base for competition.
then 3 DVD comes with this box, full of stuff.
I should admit that among all the DVD about miniature painting I got in hands, this one has the best packaging. High quality box, huge design of the stickers on the DVD. Clearly if you know the guys behinds those, you know how they are placing high quality standards in their web design and merchandising.
Indeed, the guys behind this are more than well known : Michael Bartels, Ben Komets and Matt Cexwish.
Back to the way they have done the DVD, apart the design of the box, the film you will see is also really well done, with some nice idea to bring the video tutorial to a higher quality experience.
Indeed, you see closely what the guys are doing, but you see also the face of the teacher, giving you something more.. like in the private coaching session. Moreover, in the lower right corner, you see a zoomed view on his painting palette. the way then to better see how he mixes the colors etc…
DVD 1 : Gaming bases
The first bases built here by Ben, are more for beginners.. This is at least what I think, regarding what you can see on the 2 others DVD. Anyway, back to basics is something also common for this kind of tutorials, and this is not too bad to listen some general tips.
Therefore, you will learn how to build volumes on simple round gaming bases. the tone of the discussion is really friendly, not too strict … we are not talking here about teacher delivering their knowledge to the respectful audience.. but more what you can have during a painting session at your club or so. Pretty funny jokes, and very cool ambiance.
Sounds things are not “scripted” like in some commercial DVD, but Ben is discussing with his friend Michael to explain his thought.. things are coming naturally and not like if it was written… don’t know if they made multiple video recording.. but I guess not.
One of the other points is about “references pics” shown during the explanation. Inspiration is a thing, but wild nature is the best to align your view to the reality. Thus many pictures are shown to help you to figure out what is the “model”. Pictures are provided in the DVD.
Thus 3 gaming bases are made, pretty in details… results are indeed very nice, for players who wants their army to be displayed not just on round of plastics.
One remark : protecting the plastic base during painting is sometimes nice, as this avoid painting again and again the round base with black 😉
Finally video is really easy to watch, more for beginners, but the fact Ben is discussing with Michael, makes the video more friendly, and not only “educational”
Michael is asking questions, giving nice advice… interacting with ben … Playing bad cop/ good cop ?? who is the bad ? 😉
DVD 2 : Global squad base ; with base insert in the display
this is indeed much more advanced. Matt is showing you how he makes a big display for few minis, with their own bases inserted in it. The aim is to see the global group, while each base is almost invisible.
After an explanation and drawing about what he wants to do, he is showing you that drawing is not only to organize your ideas… but ha makes template with paper first, before starting to cut plastic card to build the volume of his base.
Interesting step by step to create the borders of the base volumes, and fill then the gaps, gluing, sanding etc…
Everything is done to make the single bases “invisible”, totally “fused” with the display.
Creating rocks is also explained. Many of us have already think about this.. using slates, wood, milliput etc… there is here a very nice recipe to mix multiple pastes, and bake it to create you own realistic rocks.
Not too hard like real slate, not too smooth like real wood or cork.. I will not reveal this here, but I have tested it a long time ago, not using this exact way, and I will for sure try again now, with the explanation given here.
Now comes the idea of “stamping”. Not always easy to find piece of walls at our scale for minis. Thus stamping and molding may be the solution.. many tips and tricks to do so are given, and some products to use… Again i like this, as “stamping” is always fun !
Talking about walls, means often bricks ! And that something either time consuming, or expensive if you buy bricks to make a huge wall.
Matt explains his way of creating bricks in milliput. Moreover, he explains how to create your own tool to do so. Indeed the tool is not a big discovery, as plenty of painter made it like this already. But quite often the shape of the brick is not ideal.. and tadaaaaaa !! Matt gives the solution, by modifying a bit the shape of the tool… Damn never found it by myself 😉
Now comes the painting time, first airbrushing, and then using classical technics to bring colors on it. Not big discovering here, as each painter has his own way of doing such display painting.
However, when painting the bricks, I can tell you that I have noticed something interesting. As this is the second time I heard this in the DVD pack, I would like to say few words about this “tips”. They use a brush loaded with the mid tone of “earth/brick” but the tip is loaded with white/clear color… and they paint like this, placing light and “wet blending” it using the mid tone… in almost one go ! I really need to try this now !
Matt now plays with vegetals.. to create a realistic ambiance. Here you will not see a full fantasy, highly contrasted/flashy base… but a very realistic tones….
Again the tutorial is always made funny, while these 2 guys are discussing together… not giving a “lesson” but like if they discuss with friends…
DVD 3 : show base
For this one, the aim is to display a miniature, on a fully scratbuilt base. Quite often, as I said, this makes the difference, in a contest, therefore, it’s important to pay attention to all the details.
Once again, our best tool is some reference pictures, taken from mother nature ! Here the idea behind is to build kind of layered earth ground, with different kind of earth, and fit this into a defined frame, Ben has the brilliant idea to use a dice box. while cutted and shaped as needed, it becomes a beautiful place to build the ground.
For the layers, he decides to use multiple piece of cork, from different thickness, again very clever !
But the cork is not textured, or at least not as he wishes. Thus as usual, PVA glue + various sand/rocks etc…
The textures created is not always exactly how we want, and again this is striking to see how fitting to the reality is “the goal” for him… thus painting of layers is done to simulate again the various earth tones, and it’s really fit to the picture taken as an example… really impressive I would say.
Placing some roots are and there to make dead trees etc.. this here pretty classic however painting the wood (root in fact) was a nice moment for me, as it came to giving wood tones, variability on brush stroke that give a real natural wood aspect…
then come the time of adding some life, with grass, vegetals etc… tons of stuff placed on this base… you need then to have in house quite a lot of material, even if some stuff can be found naturally while walking outside. I still think that this kind of competition showbase, forest or underwood, induces a huge investment on mini plants , grass, flowers, leaves…. that not all of us can do finally.
For showbases, it’s needed to pay attention to details, and thus, plenty of different vegetals are placed on the base.. but correctly placed… , Ben is really trying to control the materials, and not just let it fall by gravity on PVA glue…
At the end, a quick part on artificial water, very classic with 2 components resin, nevertheless a good tip to avoid bubbles 😉 I guess some of you may start to be curious 😉
Anyway, very cool base, natural, fitting perfectly to the picture shown in the beginning, I really see an elf for example here 😉
Maybe it would have been cool to have some picture with a nice mini over such base, to see also the way to fix the miniature on the ground.
Overall, 3 DVDs of equal quality, and what quality… should admit : the best.
Depending on your level, you may find the first too easy, or the last too hard… or not aligned to what you need as gamer for example… you will anyway find tips and tricks that you may use soon or later. Of course, knowing the talented guys behind those DVD, you can be sure that the techniques shown will be perfect, however, they created a nice ambiance for their videos, closer to friends painting session and a bit less strict than many tutorials.
Technical quality of the video, layout of the screen, packaging is just the best I have seen since now, and I got quite some DVD about miniature painting…
I hope you guys liked this review, next time, I will discuss the freehand DVD form the same series. i am totally a newbee on this, thus I may have another way to handle this DVD.. let see
In the mean time you can have a look on their website