Heritage paints

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m involved in the OSFMapa and so far I’ve written a couple of articles for it.  Some of the other guys’ articles are amazing showcases of old, rare, and/or finely painted miniatures.  I don’t have very good photography skills, and although some of my minis are quite old, I don’t think I have many rarities.  So instead I’ve written about painting guides from the 70s and 80s, and last time I focused on Heritage USA’s paints and painting guides.   Actually I didn’t have a lot to say about the paints, I mostly did what I could to find out what Heritage’s signature primer was (spoiler: it almost certainly gesso, although one source insists it was house paint base…).  Anyway my research into Heritage couldn’t be complete without asking Willard Dennis a lot of questions, and honestly he’s the main source of info in that article. Willard is familiar to anyone who delves into Heritage and its history, because he is very generous with his time, answer all kinds of questions about the company.  He worked as a mold maker for Heritage and unlike some of the former employees, he is willing to talk!  If you poke around the two Yahoo! groups devoted to Heritage Models, you’ll find that he answers a lot of the questions with no nonsense.

Anyway since I started asking him about Heritage paints, he remembered that he had some bottles somewhere, and even offered to send them to me if I’d cover the postage!  Who could turn that down?  30+ year old miniatures paint, some of it still salvageable!

Opening the bottles, I found that about half of them were beyond saving, but the other half were in pretty good shape.  Willard had mixed water into all the bottles, and I’ve since read that maybe adding water to old acrylics is not the best way to restore them (it introduces bacteria and/or fungal spores which can grow in the paint, and too much water can mess up the polymer emulsion of the paint base), but they actually seem quite useable.  The pigment is intense, and the paints seem to dry rather quickly (I had a small spill when I opened the package!).

The paints included several ‘specialties’ from Heritage’s sci-fi and fantasy lines, including a ‘phosphor’ (glow-in-the-dark) that looks like it is still good.  There were also a fluorescent ‘laser’ paint that is dried up, but which reminded me of the short-lived attempt I made to paint some minis in fluorescent Polly-S paints for use under black lights (no, really!).  Finally there was a ‘ground work’ paint which Willard explained was basically dark green/brown paint with flocking mixed in.  Heritage offered other interesting specialty paints, that I don’t think any other company tried: ‘crackle’ paint, ‘mithril’ which was apparently metallic flacks in a clear base, and more.  They certainly weren’t afraid to experiment.  I don’t quite have a complete palette of Heritage paints, but I’ll try to use them to paint up some old Heritage minis I have.  Of course I’ll try to use the ‘stain painting’ method Heritage developed. 🙂

The catalogs I’ve found don’t list the large bottles except for a few utility colors (including primers, varnishes, and ‘ground work’) — I’m not sure if the large bottles of other colors, with the fantasy/sci-fi labels, were actually sold in stores or just something Willard got as an employee.  I forgot to ask about that.

Here’s a shot of the label on the Sci-fi/Fantasy paints:

Opposite the wizard is a space-suit wearing sci-fi character.

I think the paint survived so long in part because they’d been left closed for most of the 30 or so years they were in Willard’s possession — he admits that he was not all that into painting.  I also noticed that the lids, which are metal, have a small rubber dome inside them, which must have served as a gasket to give the jars a great seal.  The large bottles are soft plastic and the small jars are a hard plastic.  I used to get Polly-S paints in similar jars to the small ones and they always had problems with drying out.  Pretty much every other paint from back then just had flat pieces of glossy cardboard under the lids, and they always absorbed paint, tore, and lost the ability to form a good seal.  The Heritage paints, with their built-in rubber gaskets, were perfectly designed to keep paint from drying out.  I will re-use the jars that I can’t save for that reason.

The bottles all smelled a bit like bong water to me, but it could just be old cigarette smoke or other garage smells.  I hesitate to wash them off though because I’d hate to ruin the original labels.

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Published in: on July 14, 2012 at 8:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Old School Fantasy Miniatures apa Journal #1 on eBay

Only 25 copies of the first issue of the OSFMapa journal were printed — copies for contributors, a few copies for featured guests/interviewees, a couple of review copies, and few more reserved for sale.  Three copies were ‘lost’ in Customs but might resurface.  There have been a number of requests to buy a copy of the journal, but we had only one left over to sell to raise money for the APA (amateur press alliance), and so it was placed on eBay by our Central Mailed/editor Scott B.   You can gawk or bid here.  A few pages are scanned at the auction site too so even if you don’t bid, you can check out the auction to get a glimpse of the strange miniatures of Dean Carline and some figures painted back in the 1970s by artist Robin Wood!

(Yes, I wrote one of the articles in this journal; no, I am not profiting from this auction.)

Published in: on May 3, 2012 at 6:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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What you’re missing out on (now with pic)

Issue #1 of the OSFMapa journal is out.  There are but 25 copies, which mostly went to the contributors, with a few held back for sale, review copies, etc.

Here’s a picture from the central mailer (Scott B.), showing a stack of zines all assembled for the binder.

The table of contents is:

  • Membership & treasury reports by Scott Burnley
  • Rules of the OSFMapa
  • Introduction: from the mind of the Menace by Matt Reed
  • The Menace manual of monsters [pt. 1] by Matt Reed
  • Toward a history of fantasy miniatures painting, pt. 1 by Mike Monaco
  • Grenadier art work by Mark Young
  • The metallic age of Lord of the Rings miniatures by Joseph Dougher
  • The Lord of the Rings want list by Joseph Dougher
  • Unknown territory by Vincent Portier
  • The art of Dean Carline and Unique Fantasy Miniatures by Vincent Portier
  • The lure of lead by David Wood
  • Your collection– focused like a laser, or scattered like a shotgun? by Tom Kristensen
  • The beast unleased by Scott Burnley
  • Arcana plumbi antiqua — Wizzards & Warriors by Scott Burnley
  • Robin Wood, fantasy illustrator by Scott Burnley
  • Painting miniature figures by Robin Wood
  • Conversions in lead by Robin Wood
  • The last word by Scott Burnley

Many of these articles are illustrated with photographs, some in color.  We are treated to a collection of minis painted by Robin Wood in 1979, and photos of the strange, beautiful work of Dean Carline, whose range of miniatures I’d never heard of before.  There are also some reprints of old ads, an awesome color cover featuring one of Grenadier’s miniatures cast (or at least plated) in gold, and more.  The indicia includes an Easter egg of sorts — a secret message spelled out in runes. About 70 pages of awesome miniatures porn.

Well, the good news is that if you’re a miniatures collector, painter, or connoisseur, you can still join the OSFMapa, write a short article or two, and get your own copy of the next issue. Email Scott at oldschoolfantasy (at) gmail (dot) com if you’d like to get involved!

Published in: on February 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm  Comments (3)  
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Old School Fantasy Miniatures APA

Image courtesy of Tom Loback

There is an amateur press association (APA) being formed by Scott Burnley which proposes to create a journal all about the classic fantasy miniatures of the past … Grenadier, Ral Partha, Dragontooth (recognize the logo above?), Heritage, Minifigs, pre-slotta Citadel … and so on.  The stuff made for D&D, Chainmail, and Runequest, (as well as sci-fi stuff like Galacta and Traveller etc.) — in short, all the pre-slotta base treasures from the 1970s and 1980s.

Email Scott at oldschoolfantasy (at) gmail (dot) com if you’d like to be involved!

More info is also posted at various miniatures Yahoo groups and the Acaeum.

The initial vision is of a print journal, but at this point things are still being discussed.

Published in: on September 21, 2011 at 8:00 am  Comments (6)  
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