The Tray of Shame

Having now spent the best part of two weeks in imposed self-isolation, two things have become clear.

Firstly, until you have a surfeit of “free time” you don’t realise just how many jobs around the house you have put off until you had the time to do it. Luckily, your partner will kindly remind you of this, and handily write these all down on a list and pin this in a prominent place, as a daily reminder…

Secondly, until you have the time to assess you collection, you’re probably not quite aware of just how many unfinished miniatures &/or hobby projects you have.

Fortunately, I don’t have nuns following me about, ringing the Shame Bell. What I do have is… The Tray of Shame.

As I have no permanent hobby space, all my paints and the figures I am currently working on are all contained in a handy desk tray, which means that it can be carried to wherever I’ve set up my paint station. The space not taken up by paint has enough room for approximately 30 28mm miniatures – which is a reasonable amount and means that as one set of figures is drying, can work on something else or if you have a specific colour open, you can paint all the red bits (on the figures that have red bits) in one go.

The general idea is that you have all the figures for a particular project in the one place, so that you’re only painting the figures you need, rather than endless serried ranks of everything you own, stretching far away into the distance and making you cry…

And once the miniatures are finished, they are allowed to leave the Tray of Shame.

So, let’s take a look at some of the inmates of the Tray, all from the current Doctor Who project, and see how far they are progressing.

Firstly, the Ur-Ghuls, as mentioned in my previous post;


These plastic figures come in two parts – head and body – and two different poses. They have been assembled, the bases given a light covering of sand, then undercoated in White, followed by a base coat of GW Corax White, which is actually a pale grey, as you can see from the picture above. As I am currently contemplating their final colour scheme, this is as far as I’ve got with them.

Next, my Weeping Angels; 

The two on the left are the rubbery figures from the front of Doctor Who Adventures and the ones on the right are Reaper Bones Angels of Sorrow. Whilst different styles, both sets have been painted in exactly the same way, white undercoat, Corax White base coat, then a wash of a darker grey, which, whilst partially dry, was given a thorough brushing with a dry brush. This has a similar effect to dry-brushing, except rather than adding paint to the figure, you’re actually just taking paint off the raised parts, allowing the base colour to show through. This means that you won’t accidentally add too much paint to the figure, which can happen on the first pass.

I’ve seen these figures have additional green washes given to them, to suggest moss growing on the “statue”, but am undecided on whether I want to go this route, so may just paint the bases and be done with them.

Next, some Timelords:

The left-hand and middle figures are from Crooked Dice, and the right-hand one from North Star Military Figures, as detailed in this post. These are MY versions of – from left to right – the Rani, the 13th Doctor and the Master.

The Doctor is almost finished, with more work to be completed on both the Rani and the Master.

And the final figures that have escaped from the Tray of Shame and are now finished, a trio of… time travellers? Or supporting cast? You will have to wait until they are formally introduced to find out…

The left-hand figure is from Miniature Figurines and the middle and right-hand figure are from Crooked Dice. And yes, I know that the Miniature Figurines “Chrononaut Grandfather” was previously introduced as Dr. Wilton Hume, but this “actor” will be serving another purpose elsewhere.

As you can see, I’ve FINALLY managed to successfully paint the eyes of these figures. Took more than one attempt on all three figures – got one eye right and cocked the other one up, so had to repaint the eye and, in some case, the whole side of the face, but I’m now no longer as wary of doing this is the future, so that’s a good thing. Although I may have been a little heavy handed with the female figures eyebrows…

The final figure in the Tray of Shame is actually destined for Blackwell, as I’ve had this cheap plastic figure for a while and kept meaning to tidy up the mold lines, base and paint it, to represent the Black Pig of Sodor Gardens;

A toy wild boar from a ‘toob’ of wild animals, which is slightly over-sized to be in scale with my 28mm miniatures, but fine for representing a ‘Swine of Unusual Size’. I filed or scraped away the obvious mold lines on the figure, which left a slightly ragged appearance to the figure in certain areas. However, I felt that this looked a bit like fur, so decided to leave it as it was. 

I then cut out a section of expired plastic giftcard, big enough to hold the figure, ensuring that the ends were the same radius as my other based figures, by using a 2 pence piece as a template. This means that the base is approximately 25mm across and won’t look out of place with my other figures. This was then given a thin covering of Milliput, which was then textured and the figure pushed in, then left overnight to dry.

The figure and base then received an undercoat of white. The base got a coat of Chocolate Brown, and the pig had a base coat of Corax White, followed by a couple of coats of Elf Grey, just to build up some base colouring. There will be some black paint in this little piggie’s future, as you can’t have something known as the Black Pig not actually being black.

Right, that’s all for this post, as I’ve just received a delivery and need to construct a day bed/sun lounger before my wife gets home from work.

See you next…time.


16 thoughts on “The Tray of Shame

    • Ah well…the other figures are squirrelled away in, for the most part, in foam-lined storage cases. So the *total* number of unfinished figures is probably at least ten times this amount. But these are the ones I see when I open the cupboard, sitting reproachably awaiting attention.

      And thanks. Very simple paint job and technique on the angels, which gives a good result.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I feel your pain! There I was expecting to have all this time to whistle through some unfinished bits and pieces, but alas no! Still, glad to hear you are at least home and safe and thinking about your projects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Working my way through the tray, although some larger pieces are not actually *in* the tray, so there’s a few more bits being worked on, like the Tardis.

      The idea is to have the ‘cast’ of the first episode finished (or almost finished) before “broadcast”, then chip away at the next episode’s cast, etc.

      Currently planning a ten episode run (to match the one that was broadcast), with a mixture of old and new foes for the Doctor to face…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Tray of Shame. Love it. Similar to my Boxes of Despair. Though my Boxes lurk here and there and sometimes get lost. In fact I was on a hunt for one last night. Successfully located! Still full of shame.

    I’m lucky enough to have a permanent painting area. I’m a bit like you, I keep several sets of minis on painting handles and use a color on all the minis.

    Looking firward to both seeing the Tray emptied of its current contents and what adventures you have in store for the painted figures!


    • Cheers Harry. I think we all have our own versions of the Tray of Shame, be it a tray, box, cupboard or, in Dave’s case, an entire room.

      And as mentioned in my reply to Michael, as the ‘casts’ of each episode gets finished and then used in an AAR, they will then go elsewhere, being replaced by the next set of figures.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The angels do look very good, though the reaper one are better (I do like those figures if I’m honest).
    All really nice choices and the painting is coming along nicely, though I have to say that your Rod Taylor” Dr Who does look like he’s feeding an ice cream to his invisible dog 😉

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s because my version of K-9 has a stealth mode…

      The Reaper angels are nicer figures and reasonably inexpensive, being Bones – however the DWA ones were free and don’t look too bad, once painted.

      Liked by 2 people

    • We all do, Pete. But this is a safe space, so feel free to admit it – no-one will judge you. Some of my figures have been languishing elsewhere for a year or more. About time they got a bit of paint on them.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. That is an interesting painting method you’ve described with the Angels. I have, on occasion, over-loaded the brush on the first swipe of the dry brush and made a right mess of the paint job, so I’ll have to remember your method. That is one of the reasons why my painting method is more layering than anything else, mainly because I’m rubbish at dry brushing.

    Oh, like Dave, I’ve a room of shame … and over-spill inside and outside of the house!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too have been somewhat heavy-handed with my first swipe, so this method alleviates the problem on single-coloured figures, such as statues, ghosts, etc. Also prevents that dusty look you sometimes get if you over brush.

      I’m okay with dry-brushing on large expanses, such as predominatly furry beasties, but haven’t madtered the technique on small areas, so tend to base colour, then use a darker wash, like on my Doctor’s face in the post above. Gives s smoother finish, but does take while to judge the consistency correctly, otherwise it starts pooling elsewhere on your figure, which can be frustrating. Trial and error.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Tray of Shame.” Love it. I call mine the “side-pile”, which is an area off to the side of my work space that constantly accumulates half-finished miniatures. Once a year, usually in December, I make a point to polish off as many of them as I can. But there are miniatures that have been in there for YEARS.
    Like you, I am also often reminded that there are jobs that need attention. I am also reminded, often quite pointedly of late, that while I could wait out the quarantine in my basement (which contains all my hobby stuff), this is not acceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Keith. I think we all have a certain amount of miniatures that we *really* should have painted by now, but something else comes along and takes your interest, so I think it’s understandable.

      And partners DO seem to believe that hobby stuff is further down the priority list than, for example, staining the garden fences. As my wife does count as an essential worker, she will be back to work on Tuesday – and what happens when she’s not here…

      Liked by 1 person

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