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Dark Sword Miniatures

Here's a shout out for all the painters and wargamers and miniatures collectors reading this. Dark Sword Miniatures has released its second set of miniatures -- "Wave 1.5" -- in the "George R.R. Martin Masterworks" line, with some great sculpts by Jeff Grace and Tom Meier. Check out the Dark Sword website at http://darkswordminiatures.com/ for a look at some painted versions of the new wildlings and gold cloaks.

And speaking of the minis, I've been meaning to post pictures of some of the winners in the painting contest Dark Sword sponsored earlier this year at GenCon. Sorry to take so long about it, but with Spain and Portugal and worldcon and all the work sense, I lost track. But better late than never.

Here's the first place winner, a double diorama of Melisandre and Cersei back to back.

And here's one of the runners-up, another take on Cersei.

I have been known to paint a miniature or two myself from time to time, but I can't even come close to these. It's amazing what a really good painter can do with a brush.

Anyway, hope you all enjoy the look, whether you're into miniatures or not. I'm going to leave comments open this time... but please, stay on topic.


( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
Soooooooo beautiful! The details are amazing (in the larger sized photos, of course). 3rd is my favorite, and my birthday is next month. :p
Oct. 26th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
Tom Meier's sculpts simply astound me. Dany with the newborn dragons in the style of Venus on the Half Shell is just fantastic.
Oct. 26th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
They really made an awesome job! The winner especially shaded his compositions perfectly, with such details o_o' I'm amazed wow! Congratz to those guys, they deserved it!!
Oct. 26th, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
Her, actually. That was painted by Anne Forrester.

Oct. 26th, 2008 07:33 am (UTC)
Those are amazing... if I could paint that well maybe I'd buy more miniatures!
Oct. 26th, 2008 07:52 am (UTC)
UGA beat LSU 52-38! Wooohoo!

Oh, stay on topic. These are cool. Wish I could paint. :-)
Oct. 26th, 2008 08:10 am (UTC)
Those are amazing. Even more amazing is how well that people paint details on such small miniatures. I wish I could paint that well.
Oct. 26th, 2008 08:51 am (UTC)
The process of making these tiny, tiny figures is mind-boggling enough, but as unicronq says, then going on to paint yet more detail on to them is just remarkable.

We're apparently going to be getting a pile of miniatures this Christmas, but I've no real idea about how to go about putting them together. Must go hunting for sites that provide tutorials with the assumption that it's your first time.
Oct. 26th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
My SO and I decided that I should start painting minis ("How hard can it be?" said I) and we got a "Learn to paint minis" kit from Reaper... Comes with 2 minis and a ton of paint to learn on, with general instructions on layering and what not so you get the gist of it. Can be found online at Reaper's store or at your friendly local gaming store.
Oct. 26th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
I had the same problem
I bought the first line and there still sitting on my dresser in the package I don't have any idea of how to go about finding someone to assemble and paint them for me. I wish they came fully assembled and painted like the valerian resin variant set I bought with is amazing...
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Re: I had the same problem
Go to a RPG/hobby store that sells Warhammer and Warhammer 40k stuff. Your 'train and models' store may or may not be a good bet, too, though they tend to focus on more traditional stuff. If you see displays of minis that have been painted by locals, that's a good sign.

There should be a bulletin board with ads for people who will do that sort of thing for you. If you don't see a board or anything, ask the shopkeeper. They'll know or at least point you in the right direction.
Oct. 27th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
I second the suggestion of the Reaper "Learn to paint" kits, actually. It was my first painting experience and it must have been positive because I'm stll doing it four years later! They give you everything you need: paints, brushes, minis and instructions, and there are different ones for different aspects of painting, e.g., fur, armour, skin and cloth. The Reaper sculpts are good to start on as well because they don't usually require too much assembly, they're not too intricate and the alloy they're made out of is quite tough. The Dark Sword minis are beautiful, but the metal they use is incredibly soft and bendy, which can play havoc when you're trying to paint a very thin sword blade or spear haft.
Oct. 26th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
Absolutely fabulous!
Oct. 26th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
Holy God, those are amazing! O_o
Oct. 26th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
WOW! Those are beautiful and amazing. I love the shields above the women in the first two.
Oct. 26th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
I got my 1.5s - they are really fantastic, and they ship fast.

Thanks for posting these, George!
Oct. 26th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
Those are AMAZING.

I paint mini's and I just can't imagine the time it took to make those so detailed.

Wow. Just simply. Wow.
Oct. 26th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
Wow. These painters are seriously talented. The shadowing and details really bring them to life, and all the extras in the first one...amazing.
Oct. 26th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC)
They are extraordinarily beautiful. True works of art.

But ummm are my eyes deceiving me or did the fantasy worlds current greatest living author just utter the words, "Here's a shout out ...". This may very well be a sign of the coming apocalypse.
Oct. 26th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
The paint jobs are gorgeous. I want to point out some flaws in the sculptures, though....

Their legs are way too short. Cersei's head looks big, but that may be an effect of the too-short legs -- which, by my measurement, should be nearly a head-length longer! Both figures' arms seem short, too; Cersei's elbows should be level with her waistline, but they appear to stop too high.

I see that many of Dark Sword's sculpted characters' legs are missing several inches of ankle and calf. "Daenerys with Newborn Dragons", though, looks just about perfect.

I genuinely mean to be helpful, here, rather than hostile. It is just hard for me to ignore anatomy flaws in art.
Oct. 27th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
You're wrong about this one. The mid-way point on the bodies of the majority of people is roughly around or just below the crotch, and if you measure Cersei that way, it's just fine. Her head may seem large, but that's because it's piled with hair.

Tom Meier addresses these misconceptions concerning the anatomy of female legs at this post at his blog; there are several other posts on the topic of proportions and anatomy including, I believe, a post last year also discussing women's legs.

Tom's actually one of the most exacting sculptors in the business when it comes to trying to fit realistic proportions in a medium that encourages exaggeration. :)
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
According to several anatomy sources I have used, the human body can be measured in head-lengths (for the purpose of drawing or sculpting). I offer this excerpt from Encyclopedia Britannica:

The scheme which Dr Paul Richer suggests (Anatomie artistique, Paris, 1890), and Professor Arthur Thomson approves (Anatomy for Art Students, 1896), is to divide the whole body into head-lengths, of which seven and a half make up the stature. Four of these are above the fork and three and a half below (see figs. 1 and 2). Of the four above, one forms the head and face, the second reaches from the chin to the level of the nipples, the third from the nipples to the navel, and the fourth from there to the fork.

(Here, you can find the same information in a more convenient format.)

The seven-and-a-half heads measurement is accurate, based on measurements I have made of people in photographs and in life. Most resources I've read seem to agree on the eight-head measurement, though.

For the sake of argument, I will use the example of the Cersei sculpture. Judging by the head-length method, the sculpture is anatomically incorrect. Cersei's legs only measure about three head-lengths. In relation to the head, the legs need to be about another half-head longer to be right. The legs should be at least equal in length to the upper body, from the top of the head to the crotch.

Here is a hastily-made diagram. The head box was sized a bit generously, with the fact in mind that Cersei's head is tilted slightly up. Note that her eye sits about in the middle of the square, making the eyes correctly placed, by the basic rules of anatomy, in the center of her head.... But the entire body is not even seven heads in length. In order for the sculpture look right, the head should be smaller and the legs need several "inches" added to them.
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
You didn't read Meier's posts on proportions as I suggested. His first one discussing the legs of his female figures points out that even a slight tilt on a camera will distort a figure when said figure is about 1.25 inches tall. I'll quote it for you:

"In figure #1 we see the difference in apparent proportions caused by different camera angles with respect to a figure. The level of the head and shoulders is the same but there is a gradual distortion as we go lower down until the hips appear to be in a quite different place. In a photo with no frame of reference it is difficult to tell the angle of the camera and how close to the figure the lens was. The effect is frequently to foreshorten the lower half of the figure without the viewer being aware of it."

It's fairly clear that the perspective is a bit off on the Cersei figure (look at the base), and in exactly the way Meier cautions -- foreshortening of the legs is inevitable.

And I noted that Cersei's head is piled with hair, which you seem to think is okay to measure for head height, when it's actually not. Head height is measured from the skull, not the top of one's hair-do.

Also, 7.5 heads is an artistic convention. Try this one, which makes it more like 7.2. That said, I think Meier tends to the 8 head "ideal proportion" convention, at least as witnessed from his own website.

In any case, he's rather convincing. I'd recommend you read his posts on the topic. He also makes comments open on his blog, if you'd like to ask any further questions about miniatures and proportion. :)
Oct. 26th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
Those are amazing! The detail work that they managed to do is truly admirable.

Any chance of us seeing what you can do?
Oct. 26th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
The painting and detail on those are amazing.
Oct. 26th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, those are very cool. The texture of everything in the third model just makes it particularly impressive and makes me think of an ice sculpture painted.
Oct. 26th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
Well they gave Cersei quite a generous bust ha. I thought she was described as being a little more sleek, but very cool.
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Cersei
I always thought of her as double d's. Or, is that Prince Doran I'm thinking of?
Oct. 26th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
Those are fantastic! Not only are the sculptures themselves beautiful, but the painting done to them is astounding! If only I was that talented. :-/
Oct. 26th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
If you've the inclination (and the time, I suppose) to improve your painting, I can recommend a great book by Kevin Dallimore called the Foundry Miniatures Painting and Modelling Guide. Simple but effective techniques and a fantastic portfolio of historical dioramas for inspiration.
Oct. 27th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
Lovely work! I approve :)
Oct. 27th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Dark Sword Miniatures?
When I read that, the first thing I wondered was why George was promoting this trilogy: http://www.amazon.com/Forging-Darksword-Trilogy-1/dp/0553268945/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225077357&sr=8-11

Oct. 27th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
That was the first time i had seen that "Birth of Dany" green. I have to say, when a company puts out something like that, you know you teamed up with the right people.
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
Here's a shout out for all the painters and wargamers and miniatures collectors reading this.

I read that as warmongers.

Awesome. These are awesome!
Oct. 27th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Wow! Congrats.
I'm with George. Some folks have amazing talents. Wait a minute... George, your brush is the word. Thanks for sharing.

I think I'll leave mine unpainted. But, now thanks to these pics, I may work up the courage to mount them in a diorama.
Oct. 27th, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing those, they are beautiful. *is jealous of mad painting skillz of others* I picked up the 54mm Daenerys mini at Essen Spiel this weekend and I'm just about to re-read "A Game of Thrones" so I can get the colours of the dragons right! (Just re-reading the end seems like cheating, somehow!)
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
I couldn't help but notice that in the Cersei POV chapters of A Feast for Crows she keeps talking about how her dresses don't seem to fit quite right. Her servants either "shrank" them or her maid isn't lacing them up tightly enough, etc. Maybe in the future we'll get to see a chubby Cersei? :P Of course, now that she's locked up and awaiting trial, her figure could change.
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
You know something? I've looked at some of the work in progress versions of these, and it's just time for me to say something. Those statuettes of Cersei are given me a bit of a chubby. That's some nice, er, hand crafting. Can I get some alone time now?
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )


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