For more than two years, I have been incredibly lucky. The most wonderful woman I have ever met has somehow come to love me as much as I love her. We both agreed that we’re going to get married at SOME point, but we’ve been distracted by the usual suspects. Poverty, illness, painting models, Lou Gossett, Jr., etc.
A bit more than a year ago, Reaper Miniatures began their second Bones Kickstarter, and like a sucker, I threw a small fortune at them. You know how it is. One of the add-ons offered was called “Unleash the Kraken!”
It was perfect. The love of my life has a POWERFUL ken for cephalopods. I ordered it and waited… a lot. Thanks China. But it arrived and I have been dutifully painting it.
This masterpiece serves two purposes: a belated xmas present, and an official declaration to the world of my intent to marry her. She loved it.
Love is wonderful, but it’s not what this blog is about. Being the first Reaper Bones mini I’ve actually BOTHERED to paint, I’d be remiss without a thorough review of this product, and a complete breakdown of all the steps that led to this final, precious artifact.
The Reaper Bones Miniature:
Beautifully sculpted, I followed the instructions on the Reaper Bones Preparation Guide. I washed the squid gently in soapy water, and dried each piece. The Beak, mouth/head, tentacles, body, ship, and mast holding up the squid are all seperate parts. Each part was carefully cleaned with a diamond file. The bottom of the body had some Reaper branding words that took a lot of elbow grease to scrape off.
I did a pre-assembly of some parts. The support mast was glued to the ship using super glue. Gaps between the ship and mast needed a bit of green stuff, which I modeled into barnacles to cover it up. I painstakingly arranged the tentacles about the mouth/head, and used more green stuff to join them more perfectly. It was joined later, after some parts were painted.
As per the Reaper instructions, I (for the first time) used no primer. At first. The green stuff demanded primer, so I used a Reaper black paint on primer. As for the rest, the paint did stick… mostly. I found that 95% of the surface area of the model held paint with one coat. Some very small areas refused a second but paid heed to a third. Paint took an INCREDIBLE amount of friction to remove with rubbing, just as good as if it had been primered.
The ship was my first test to see how the paint stood up. I started by coating the entire ship with black. I then heavily drybrushed it (almost a wet brush) with Fortress Gray. I inked then entire ship with Army Painter black ink wash, and then hit the whole ship with another lighter drybrush of Fortress Gray. I then built up color with a drybrush of Snakebite Leather. The next layer was Snot Green, but only in places that face “up” where sunlight could reach algae. Ropes were given a much thicker coat, as algae would gain a stronger foothold in a softer surface. The eagle bowsprit was given a very light drybrush of Vallejo brand gold, to simulate fading gilt. Barnacles were picked out with Fortress gray, and washed to darken the insides. The shelf corals were hit with a custom blend of paints to make them a salmon/coral pink.
Next, I tackled the body. Colossal Squids tend to be orange, so I built up from Mechrite Red, to Blood Red, Firey Orange, and Blazing Orange. The belly was Bleached Bone washed with 50% Citadel Chestnut Ink and 50% water with one drop of dish soap (saved from at least a decade ago!). It was then drybrushed Bleached Bone and then lighter with White. Armor plates were Shadow Gray drybrushed Space Wolves Gray.
The head came next. The interior of the mouth was similar to the body. Teeth were black with a slight highlight of Shadow Gray. Face was similar to the upper body. The eyes were a challenge. I started black, and when I added white I left a circle of black around the edges for contrast. Vallejo brand teal for the eyes, and a mix of various paints to create a different teal for some eye freckles. I then did a circle of black for the pupil.
Tentacles were built up similar to the upper body, and spines are black with Shadow Gray.
The interior of the beak was bleached bone, with a small painted on orifice inside. Exterior is black with Shadow Gray highlights.
Finally, the Squid was assembled, touched up, and sealed with Testors matte varnish.
The final verdict: Thanks to Reaper’s master sculptors and the skills I have honed over 14 years, this is my finest work. There can be no better proposal, at least not with my skills.
…and by the way, she said yes!