Killer Rabbits Painting Tutorial part 1: Furry basics

Variations in fur using the same techniques

Killer Rabbits Painting Tutorial part 1: Furry basics  

This tutorial is set up to give you the basics on how I go about painting Killer Rabbits, in particular the fur.  You will note that I am all over the globe with my choices of paint brands; the ones I use, with a few exceptions are more preference than anything else- feel free to substitute them with your favorite paints.

For painting I’ve broken the process down into 5basic steps. Feel free to jump steps as you wish. Ultimately whatever makes you happy, and getting them done and on the table is the real goal.


I’d be remiss if I don’t speak a bit about priming. Make sure to clean any flash or casting lines on the minis first, then use a primer to coat the miniature in preparation to painting which can be applied with brush or rattle can. I prefer the latter. Good primers are actually microscopically porous in nature and help the paints adhere to the mini.  Primers come in all colors these days but, unless I have a particular project to deal with (say like painting a tank green) I stick to either white, grey, or black.  Since these guys are a medium fur colored, I opted for a grey primer. In particular I am using Tamiya brand fine surface light grey primer.  Let your primer dry for 24 hours before you start painting.

 About Fur Colors  

Rabbit furs vary in colors from black to white, dark brown to light tan, and can be either solid, or showing a lighter color underside –even mottled.  The monks seem to keep to a few variations- either due to the rabbits around them, or to the color choices available to work with.  Primarily we find medium tone of brown and grey predominant, with some lighter underbellies, which better helps show the form.

True to the medieval manuscripts, these miniatures are not sculpted with a fur nap to them, but rather are smooth. Some of the marginalia show a painted fur pattern in sections to suggest a nap; I do this on the lighter sections, as you will see.
Base colors for brown fur

Base colors for grey. Your pallete may vary

Paint the base color 

Apply the base color on the majority of the miniature. If you want to do a lighter fur underbelly, leave the chest, under the chin, the cheeks, and the inner arms and legs (optional and good for variation) unpainted.

Adding browns. Note colors used on the base as swatches

 Applying Under fur and skin colors  

Next, paint on the lighter fur color. For browns I use a lightish cream or unbleached titanium color, such as P3 Menoth white base, or Jack bone. 

For the grey painted rabbits, I use a lighter grey (Like Foundry light stone grey, or Reaper weathered stone (I don’t use white) or a very light cream color such as P3 Menoth White Highlight.  This latter color is great for a fur warmth against the greys.

When applying the paint for the under furs, I start at the center of the chest and paint outwards to the edges. If you feel confident enough, you can blend the base fur and the under fur on the edges a bit, which breaks up the line and helps read as fur.

After you get the underfur on, take a medium to dark “flesh” color and paint the inside of the ears, around the eyes and inside the mouth if it is open. Should you prefer a pink nose, paint it as well, otherwise paint it black.

Now I use Games Workshop Tanned flesh, or Vallejo Dwarf flesh for this. Again, this is a step you can pass up if you want, but I feel it brings more life into the rabbits- and Drew did sculpt those really nice ears!

Adding greys over light grey primer

Paint up the other bits 

At this point you want to fill in the miniature pieces that are not exclusively fur. Spear shafts and heads, bows, clubs, arrows, etc. These are really subject to how you want to paint them so I won’t really go much into it here. I will say that I do prefer to show off a lighter colored wood for the most part, and use Games Workshop Bubonic Brown or Vallejo’s yellow ochre for the base, mixing either with a bit of white for highlights.

A note about eyes. In most of the marginalia, the eyes are similar to humans with a large white surface and a round pupil- usually making the rabbits look a bit mad. I go back and forth on painting just a black solid eye with a bit of a highlight, or white with a black pupil like the monks did, depending on the model and what they are doing. Rabbits beating monks get the crazy eyes! Either way, leave a bit of the flesh color around them to help them pop. 

The Wash!  

After you have all your base colors in, let them dry fully, then give the entire mini a wash of Games Workshop Agrax Earthshade Shade color. This will help blend everything together and accentuates the lines in the sculpt like toes and face lines. If you think you’ve to too much on, just take a clean wet brush and pull it off like erasing. A small piece of a paper towel or your finger works too.

At this point your miniature is ready to be varnished and battlefield ready. Should you want to add a bit more to it, move on to the next step.

Added details by repainting areas- note brush stroke fur

You can really bring out a lot with just a bit of paint here.

 Finishing Details  

At this stage of the miniature I like to go back and touch up some of the details, picking out highlights on the miniature and suggesting a bit of fur on the chest.

Take the light fur color and go back to your chest and cheeks, painting to lighten them up. If you paint in small vertical strokes you can get a bit of a fur nap. Sometimes at this point I’ll add a bit of white and go back to do the line work. I also do this in a cross-hatching kind of way on the edges where the fur colors meet. If I get too carried away, I simply grab the base fur color and paint back the other way.

I then take the base fur color and repaint areas like the top of the head, edges of ears, shoulders and paws- things that stand out a bit.  play around with it and see what you like. You can always hit it with a wash again. Same thing applies to all the weapons and accoutrement.

That’s all there is really; time to base the rabbits up and you are ready to go!

Here are some samples of finished models. You can see how much variety you can get by using these techniques.

For Part 2 we'll focus on basing.



Killer Rabbits: Dogs and snails

Been working on the painted stretch goal rewards for my Killer Rabbits Kickstarter. Here's the Hare riding the Hound, and entourage, based upon this manuscript marginalia

Then on the other side of the fence, we have the rabbit riding a snail. This was a really fun piece to paint, as it's raining here and I had lots of snails for models.


The concept idea.

Off to paint more and more rabbits. Stay tuned!


All City Kings- N Guage style


I visited an old friend a few weeks ago, and he was showing off his cool N Guage train and set up he had. I painted this up to sneak onto his track next time I visit. :)

I really had a blast with this one night project: lots of good weathering practice and getting my old Graf chops back. I could totally do more of these! 


Fort McHenry Project: Naval officers

US Naval officers, ready to repell and other nautical words!

Naval Officers

I'm getting close to finishing up the Fort McHenry commission project (yay). The rangers have been more than patient with me, as I realized that this was a much bigger project than I thought it would be.

US uniforms, aft view
 These US and British naval officers are the last troops needed; now I have 9 civilians to do up, then focus on the ships, which are already half done. I am excited to see this all in the hands of the fort, and put to work.

British officers- all prim and proper

British stern costume


Breaking Lances: A Grail Knight and Joe Con

"grail knight" mounted and foot versions

Breaking Lances at Joe Con!

This weekend I had the privileged to run a breaking lances tournament at Joe Con, a 3 day convention my pal Joe puts on at his house. One of the great things about the con is all the faced I may not have seen throughout the year, many of them fellow SCA members (although I've been inactive for about 15 years now).
The Tournament table set up with great bayeux backdrop. Note foot combat area in the fore

So with the latest version of the rules cleaned up, I set up a table or 8 players but quickly expanded it to 10 players as the crowds demanded more action!  The other big thing we did was to give the foot combat rules a real shakedown.
Another view of the field, knights at the ready

Action commences! After the first couple of runs, the cheat sheets went away.

I unfortunately didn't take any pictures of the foot combat in action- but I had all 4 fighters participating, all were SCA fighters and at least one was a knight! This providing for great "feel and pace" feedback. And also, a few good laughs! Thanks guys!
Josh tries his hand role playing Sir Brion Beletrix.

 Rules wise, I think that they are all ready to go, sans some editing work, and adding in stuff like a better crit chart for foot combat, and how to run a tournament. My durrent goal is to set this off as a Kickstarter in Q2 of 2019. Fingers crossed.

Grail Knight 

This is a new design I finally had a chance to finish painting, as I needed 4 foot knights for the playtest. The color choices were inspired by Alan Lee's painting the blue knight, where He uses a great contrast in colors. In Watercolor! The man is a constant inspiration!
Alan Lee, The Blue knight

Different shots, on grey background. I need to build a bigger lightboxc

Well, that wraps up 2018!

What's on the docket for 2019?   stay tuned blog followers, and may you all have a wonderful, prosperous and happy new year!


Cool Yule!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you all for showing up at my blog from time to time, and especially to those who have commented. This year I've had over 20 new followers and over 250K views!  Next year we are going to hit 500K views, and I'll  have a cool giveaway...somehow.

Again, thanks for you joining in and making this hobby special!   And if you haven't you should take a look at some of the folks that I follow (on the side board)- I am continually inspired and awed by the work they do and great tips they have.

Cheers and have a cool Yule- see you in 2019!

I remain, your most obd't toy maker


Eagle knight Zombie

8 deer gets ready to take a bite out of his lunch.

Antediluvian Miniatures

My pal Andrew Taylor, owner and proprietor of  Antediluvian Miniatures knows my love for the Aztecs, and was kind enough to send a pre production cast of this Mixtec Eagle knight zombie from his new kickstarter line.  Needless to say, it got primed and painted ASAP!

Growing up in California, and in a working class white and Chicano neighborhood, the lore and myths of the Meso American culture was all around me. Even our Jr. High School mascot the Warriors, was an Eagle knight!

Because of this it has been a passion of mine, especially the art- and in particular the art from the Codex Nuttall, a wonderful book from the period. Sadly few of these books have been discovered, but there are recordings of the Spaniards burning thousands of them.  Dover has a wonderful facsimile of the codex. The original is in the British Museum.
Buy this book! 

It was the color choices in the Codex that inspired my painting palette; yellow ochre, that dark red and the jade/ malachite greens, along with white.
I went a bit brighter on the yellow, to help make the mini pop a bit

A page of the codex, for reference

All in all it is a wonderful miniature to paint, and I thank Andrew Taylor for the early Christmas present!  Looking forward to getting the rest of the set!

Did I really use that many paints on one mini?!


Mecha!: Zentraedi War Pod

I've got my mind on my Mecha, and my Mecha on my mind

Back in the Late 80's my self and a group of college buddies launched a new game company called Seventh Street Games. The name was the based upon the street where the house that most of them lived. Our first foray into actual publishing and making models was a game called Mecha! "An Explosive System for Science Fiction Combat!" The rules turned out pretty well and were distributed to many stores across the states- it almost ended up paying for the publishing costs- but it was a great spring board into my career. And because of that, and the fondness of mech combat, I'm dusting off the old rules, seeing what still works well, and then updating them for 21st century game play.

Here's the cover, and  the Intro, that basically explains the game approach.

Rules Cover

Intro Blurb

Mech Models: Then and now

Back in the day we were really trying to recreate the fantastic Macross genre fights between all the Zendraeti  mechs vs the stalwart human pilots in their Veritech mechs. The trouble was, those models were rarer than hen's teeth to find, even though I lived next to some of the best stores in Japan Town for a source.

But those days are now over!

Thanks to the Robotech Kickstarter, both Veritech and, more importantly the Zentraedi War Pods (my personal favorites) are very easy to come by via Ebay and flea markets. I scored a bunch and although a bit smaller than the old school models ( a pod measures 70mm to the end of it's top barrels)  the details are tight and models are easy to assemble- and fun to paint!

Examples of model sprues

War Pod Test!

here's my first war pod test paint. I based it on a wonderful blog post that I found by Collection DX
Which features some nice weathering and the grey legs instead of the typical white.  Here's my take on that theme.

Death on a stick!

My war pod is mounted on a battle pole using the battle nipple (yeah, it needs a new name) That I had cast up for my starship! game and models a decade ago.  I may update it, but honestly it works really well, and protects them models much better than having magnets as an attachment.

So, we'll see how this shakes out- I am keen on painting up a slew of these and getting the gang back together for some battles! Stay tuned for more!

Oh, if you have any of your own mechs to share, I'd love to see them. Also looking for any extra decal sheets :)