A few months back, I put out a timeline for my painting for the year. It wasn’t ambitious or anything, just a simple to-do list with a number of models on it. Sadly, I can’t say I’ve been doing good. Let’s take a look!
Painting of all sorts
Painting is, or at least was, one of the main reasons I’ve stayed playing miniatures games for so long, despite demand from a variety of sources on my time like a kid, a wife, video games, friends, and work. But, over the last three years my painting output has almost completely dried up, reaching drought territory and not recovering. I’m aiming, hopefully, to remedy that.
Hobbies are a tricky thing. To many of them, and you never seem to get anything done. To few, and you’re stuck to the internet and social sites all day trying to catch up with what the latest stars and Idiots are doing. I blame that on a lack of hobbies, its true. where are the stamp and coin collectors, the birdwatchers, the hikers. Many a hobby has dried up. I seem to have jumped on the wrong end of that miserable see-saw. I can’t even balance Painting-Assembling-Converting-Playing
During the first months of me starting this up, the Second Reaper Bones kickstarter went up, and I bought into it, thinking to get a bunch of cool new models for my D&D sessions, as well as just an awesome variety of models which to paint. Now, that box has come in, and its ready to get rocking!
Last time, the models came in a pretty unmarked package, this time they came in a nice, glossy box, ready for retail. While I like the “unfinished” look of the last group, I can’t fault them for wanting to look more professional. This group of models, compared to the last bunch, sported more bad guys and humanoid enemies for my players to fight, and I was really pleased with that.
It came with:
Three Adorable Tiny Monsters: Basilisk, Intellect Devourer, and a Grick
Two Extra Giants I picked up for my elusive Against the Giants Game I’ll run some day.
A tribe of 7 Bugbears
A tribe of Gnolls
I bought an extra pack of Swampdwellers, because they were extra cool. Frogmen, Turttle men, and an enormous Swamp Troll
A few Horned creatures
A set of undead of all sorts
A small coven of Demons
A group of Early Western Guntoters
A set of Monstrous Creatures: Chimera, Bulette, Wereshark, Gorgon, Ankheg, and Carrion Crawler. The Roper and Giant Maw Required assembly, so they aren’t pictures.
A group of critter-beasts
A set of Heros and Villians, mostly humanoid,
which included three Gnome/Halflings: Wizard, Druid and Warrior
Three Dwarfs: Two Warriors and a Priest
I was not particularly excited before today, but seeing the actual models gives me tons and tons of ideas for characters, bad guys and stories. Now that I have them, I am also excited to try and start painting more of them. though some of them (like the centaurs above) need a little heating and love in order to get their weapons, legs and limbs to the correct position, they are very well detailed.
I will say, though, that models like this are particularly hard to paint. I’d never really understood what soft detail v. hard detail was until I had tried painting a few of the earlier bones I received. What I noticed was that the models did, indeed have softer detail than the models I was used to. What that meant in painting terms was that all of the details, while looking sharp, and looking like it had an edge or crease or depression, instead were rounded and shallow. That means that it looks perfectly fine on the model itself, but is very, very difficult to paint. Drybrushing fails due to not having a god, sharp edge to cling to. Inks and Washes fail due to the shallowness of the recesses and creases, and you have to rely on either strong accent highlighting or very, very good blending in order to get a good looking mini. This means that I have to take longer than I assumed in order to get a good model, until I figure out how to paint these Bones quickly. its a strange world to live in, where painting a shirtless barbarian takes longer than painting a hordes Warlock.
I am also interested in working with them because they are sold as paint-ready, needing no primer. This is… suspicious to me, and I don’t trust it, and haven’t really been able to get over the fear of the models not coming out correctly if I don’t prime them to try it. Now, however, I might use them as winter paint projects, because it is extremely hard to use spray paint under 60 degrees outside. I’ll be trying it out eventually, just to see how it comes out and what it looks like afterward. Now that I have my second go round, I am going to be getting back on the Giant Painting Bandwagon. I’ve “only” got 10 more to paint.
I’ll be bringing them to D&D next week, seeing if anyone has a character they’d like to have represent them, and probably take a crack at painting them too. Tuesdays session was awesome, and I look forward to picking up some of these bones and using them against my happless friends, as well as painting their miniatures to look awesome!
Oh, and just in case your wondering, this is what 2 kickstarters worth of bones looks on the table.
Its massive, glorious, and sadly has only 8 painted models!
I’ve never really been one for converting my models. Ages ago, in the halcyon days of 40k, all the models were plastic and making them look unique, while fun, also means that you had a billion part model that took ages and ages to assemble. Assembly isn’t my favorite part of the hobby, because it eats away at painting time, and no one likes that!
I’d never felt I was innately skilled at sculpting, unlike some of the other pursuits in hobbying, so I had never really tried anything incredibly complex. That changes when I bought my first, metal, Centurion for Cygnar. I hated both his spear and his pose, and felt that his model never matched the glory of his artwork.
I resolved to make the model look at least a little bit more like the art, even if it was just the majesty of it and not the pose. To that end, I bulked up the shield and then used a brass rod for the spear haft to extend it. I thought it looked good, and it looked better painted.
That lead, after a long, long while to my Bane Spartans, who I’ve already spent some time writing about. The success and, I’ll admit it, fun, of those conversions lead me to seek out some other units that I thought I’d like to see modified. The big, huge glaring light was that of the Nyss hunters. I love almost everything about them except for their over-sized heads. I felt that their massive domes would get in the way of everything, and, even more egregious, that they would not be fun to paint, and I want to have fun painting. I started looking around and found some good heads, though not many of them, and a good set of weapons.
Those weapons, by the way, I bought off of Shapeways. That site has some fantastic parts for models, from heads to weapons to arms and torsos, all modeled by people like you and me, and then 3d printed and sent to the customer. Its awesome. The heads Were helped along by a friend of mine who had an army of Fantasy Wood Elves, and was sitting on a huge stock of ones I needed. After a bit of cloning, hacking and chopping, They were finished.
Now, I had Spartans and Ninjas. I was pretty happy.
Except that I still had this bug, it seemed. Something within me would see things that I once thought were perfectly fine, and I’d decide I wanted to give them my own touch. Bane Riders were the next up.
While looking through a ton of sites for ninja-like heads, I kept coming across Samurai heads. Each time, I got more and more convinced I needed to do something with them. Eventually, I settled on Bane Rider Samuari. I would do a simple swap of their heads and weapons and call it a day. Much like my Bane Spartans, these heads ended up being much, much more complicated than I wanted them to be, but I ended up doing just fine, I think
However, since I am going to try and trade my assembled models for unassembled so that they are easier to convert, I have not been able to get at the bane riders with a dremmel or a knife to see if the heads actually fit.
I think I might even add flags to the their backs for that little added touch.
Sadly, though, even this was not enough for me. I needed more. The thought came to me, though, when I was digging through my bitz box and located a head of a Bane Knight that I had gotten with my unit. It was a pot helmet that seemed like it would fit on pretty much anyone. Fortuneatly, or unfortuneatly, if you these poor fellows, There was a unit of Steelhead Halberdiers in front of me. The helmets were almost exactly the same! I just needed to do a straight swap.
However, that wasn’t going to be enough. I deffinitly have to add more cryxian flair to the models. I figured that a Bane Thrall axe head would do the trick to replace the halberd.
So, I have a pretty full stock of models I need to get converted and painted up. I might even have some little bits and bobs that I need to add to the Halberdiers before I finish them off. I also think I want to do a cool, neat base for the Nyss. Oh, and that Totem Hunter conversion in No Quarter is amazing, and the skorne one looks like it could be insanely fun to paint!
If anyone has some suggestions about models in the Cryx, Merc, Skorne or even Cygnar line that could look cool converted up, let me know. I think I’ve got a few ideas percolating around in my brain, but its extremely hard for me to pull them out.
Thanks for reading!
I’m just kinda going to go around the nerd world in a few minutes, there have been a ton of developmens I want to touch on that I’ve not been able to just sit down and rash out into a full post. It’d be perfect for a bite size nerd, If I wasn’t trying to paint every second I possibly could!
Recently, there were released a number of excellent spoilers/previews from the next/last Privateer Press Anthology book.
From the already released Exigence:
The Skorne Aradus model.
The Gatorman Sacral Vault
I think there is a ton of potential for both of these models to be in my armies. I really wish that I played either Circle or Legion, so that I could use the Sacral vault in that army as well, but thats not happening any time soon. I really like the look of the Aradus, but the base-to-model ration is, as always, suitably Skorny. The guns it brings are a welcome addition to almost every Skorne army!
The Sacral Vault I am a little less thrilled about because I am gonna have to get a PG to paint that monstrosity up for me, and then trade them a painted model of equal value. Hopefully I can get this done before Lock and Load, where I play my gators.
There were also reveals, releases and spoilers on the jacks for three of the five factions that are going to be getting new character Jacks in the upcoming Reckoning book.
Dynamo, who’s just a monster from hell, was released, Moros was spoiled in the latest No Quarter, and Ruin has their rapid prototype model revealed. Honestly, Ruin determined my second Khadoran caster, and is allowing me to comfortably expand into a two list pair that is extremely cool to theory about. Moros is going to cause me no end of fits, when I play Skorne. For the vast majority of the time, however, I play Cryx, and I won’t need to worry about that little machine from hell. Dynamo is the model I am least enthused about, but that is probably because I don’t want to get shot in the face anymore. I just can’t take it.
Well, I probably can. I’m playing Fist.
Oh, Right. Pictures:
Seriously, look at that thing. He’s wearing a Warpwolf for a cloak!
When this initially came out, I was ecstatic, and I think I still am. This game has a ton of potential, and is a very, very well made game. That doesn’t mean its perfectly balanced or an extremely tight ruleset, though is it better than most.
They had originally said that Human Sphere and Campaign: Paradiso were going to be kept as is, but they have since recanted, in their own way. Now, with the release of the edited rules for the expansion books and all my models with new stats and rules again, I can feel the excitement creeping up on me.
Oh, and have I mentioned that all the rules are FREE
What you would need and want to assess the game are:
Human Sphere Rules
I really think its a game that most minis gamers will enjoy and find enjoyable, and you should try it out!
According to this post, Avatars are completely removed from the game of Malifaux. While there are various ways of saying it nicely, they are out. There are rules for using them in a campaign, which is adorable, and there are ways to use them as legal proxies, which I fail to see as a reason to purchase them, but they don’t mean anything. I think its a brave decision, but its even harder on me in the wake of the Infinity Profile Trim. Out of three games I play, only one has never removed a model willfully from the game. While it may be eclipsed by other models, I will always be able to field the models I purchased within the limits of the game. Infinity recently took some of the weapons and options away from certain troop profiles, removing some of my models from the game, and now Malifaux is doing the same. Thankfully, I’d never gotten my Perdita Avatar after the rules made her so derpy I never wanted her.
Going along with that, I understand their decision. Its 30+ models that need to be worked into their new style of game, and I don’t even think its possible, especially when your trying to get player feedback. Certian Players are going to want big, nasty, awesome centerpiece models, while others are going to want the choices of taking or not taking the model to be nearly automatic. I agree with the decision, but I don’t like it.
After the success I had with my Bane Spartans, and the initial rush of the Ninja Nyss, I have expanded further outward with my desire to convert. Its not an overwhelming desire, but I do like the uniqueness it gives my army. The first thing I had decided was that I was going to turn my bane Knights into Samurai. That’s being done by a simple head and weapon swap, and I have actually built them and have em ready to go onto the new bodies when I get them. The second is the Bane Halberdiers. I use Steelhead Halberdiers from time to time in my Cryx lists so I wanted them to match just a little. In order to accomplish that, I’ve decided to replace their halberd heads with Bane Axe heads and replace the Steelhead Bucket Helmet with Bane Knight heads. After I paint them up and get them matching the color scheme of the Cryx army, they’ll fit right in!
Painting is finally happening on my Skorne force. I’ve joined the Tale of Warmachine and Hordes Painting Group, and I have to paint five points of models every month in order to continue participating. To accomplish the monumental task, I’ve decided that I’m going to paint up the rest of my unpainted Skorne warlocks, and get using them on the table. First up is Rasheth, who I have to say, I am pretty proud of, for his spot. He’s sitting about 70% finished, and I look forward to having him finished!
You will also notice that my pictures suck less. Thankfully, the phone I have sucks less!
Its about time for the NOVA Open and the East Coast Rumble to start getting ramped up, and I am looking forward to seeing a ton of people and getting some games in. Running and judging WMW qualifier events is no small task!
Before there was MK II, there was Prime Remix. Before there was remix, there was the old, black and white prime. In that book, there was an affirmation of the type of game that Privateer Press wanted to make. Page 5, when I first read it, was a defiance of the type of game on the market at the time. It was, and still is, a credo to play a game as its written, within the rules and with honor. To understand that the game isn’t about being fair, its about being equal. You’re going to experience some terrible things happening, and if you don’t see it coming then its not your opponents fault, its yours. At its core, page 5 represents, to me, not giving up in the face of loosing, finding solutions, not problems, and learning the game inside and out, until your eyes bleed and your head aches and yet still being surprised by the game, the opponent, the models. And loving every minute of it.
Within that same page, the final two paragraphs pulled out the stops on the models as well. They were going to be beefy, awesome, destructive metal models that created awe and were a joy to paint. They were going to be detailed, expertly sculpted and a joy to behold. And they were going to be metal.
Over time, both of these statments had to morph with the growing popularity and complexity of the game, and nothing, not even the MK II design of Page 5, says that more than the plastic models that have come out. Starting with the Knight Exemplar Bastions detailed in NQ 24 with their own article explaining the shift to plastic and what to expect.
Since then, There have been a number of units resculpted into plastic, as well as new units being put out from the very start in plastic. The results, while initially promising, have been somewhat of a let down. They arrive fairly warped with a proliferation of mold lines and flash in aggravating areas. The end result, at least in theory, are much improved models. If you can make your way through cleaning up these models, your likely to end up with some very good ones.
Notable models converted to plastic:
However, even more recently, harkening back to the MKII releases, they have been resculpting Warcasters as well, and a number of them have really needed it. In order to take back what they declared so many years ago, about their models oozing character, sculpted by experts and meticulously crafted, they have had some blemishes on their resume. There are a number of reasons why this has happened, but I believe it has to do with some excellent vigor brought into the company fairly recently for the models and art. I really enjoy seeing the direction that Nick Kay and Dough Hamilton, specifically, are bringing to the models.
Of the casters in Prime, we have but a scant few left that, I believe, will end up being resculpted. Severious alone, I believe, sits in the land of Prime Warcaster without a variant. And, Until recently, so did Goreshade The Bastard stride alone among his Escalation brethren without a resculpt. Recently, though, he was given new, awesome, life.
They’ve been on a tear through some old models lately, and I just didn’t realize until recently that since Goreshade was announced with a Con Exclusive in February, they have announced 10 additional resculpts (11 if you count the Cephalyx Mind Slaver). C’mon PP we’ve got almost three months here before we hit the full 12 months, give us one more! Severious demands it!
Now, Without further ado, a parade of resculpts.
I can go on and on about how fantastic these sculpts are, but just suffice it to say that I picked up and am trying to play a Goreshade I army for the first time in years, simply because of how awesome his model looks.
I’m really a fan of this resculpt. Bigger and badder, they make me feel like they actually are gatormen. As much as others don’t like the cartonish vibe, I love every minute of it.
These were just begging for a resculpt because the metal bends, breaks and is a violent pain to store. These models will e seriously terrifying to clean, but the upgrade in sculpt is worth the time and effort.
Honestly, I don’t care one way or the other for either sculpt. Its nice that they are doing multi-unit boxes, but I’m just not enthralled by the Legion ascetic
Outside of a few cosmetic changes, these models remained the same. I’ve heard they are larger, but I’ve nothing to go off of in that department. I will say that if these and the Kriel Warriors are larger, I’m all for it. Huge Trollkin should be a thing.
While not a 2 part box with the Swordsmen/Keltari, The Karax are an amazing resculpt based on the same body. While they don’t seriously perform on the field, I would consider picking these up just because they are so nice looking. The flash and mold lines, though, terrify me.
I really like this resculpt of the unit. In addition to driving down price, its was a very good method of integrating some of the new themes that the trollblood line has evolved into back into some of the oldest models in the faction.
This is the one I thought was the least necessary. I loved the old Power Pose version of Siege, and am very glad that I have him. While his rocket is cool and all, I just think his old pose radiates an amount of power that’s undeniable.
I’mg Going to melt my old one down and do nothing with it. While the old pose was good enough, and the majority of the model was well done, the sculptor just couldn’t pull of the face. This new model has a sleeker, meaner, more awesome pose and a fantastic face.
Zerkova was probably the most derided warcaster in all of PP games. In addition to having rules that no one finds appealing, her model was mocked for being “Parkeresque” and being in a strange pose. This new model doesn’t truly address the strange stance, it sure is an upgrade. The model is good enough that, much like Goreshade I and Fiona, I might want to actually put her on the table one day.
This model was the most out of the blue, though I heard afterward that there was a lot of call for this resculpt. There isn’t a whole lot different, but it sure is going to be a mean model to transport.
Thats the last of em, as of today, but I have hope. Ed Burelle told me three years ago, in relation to a Deneghra II resculpt that I would be a happy man. I’ve yet to see that emerge, and I am definitly not playing her until she gets a solid resculpt.
These last few weeks since NOVA have been killer. I’ve not had the motivation, opportunity or drive to really get into a whole lot of gaming, and I think its creating an even further slump that continues to drive downward.
What I have done, I’ve not really been doing in detail, so I’m just going to rattle over some high-view stuff on what I’ve been up to, and what I am considering doing.
Back when I began painting 10 years or more ago, I knew very little about color and shade. Instead, I made up for my skill with shear determination. I learned a number of things along the way, but I’d never really mastered the correct shading of colors, and highlighting eluded me as well. I the last year, I’ve learned a lot about shading and highlighting, and its really made a difference in my painting. I figured I’d share most of what I’d learned!
Part of the things I’d wished I’d known when I began painting was a touch of color theory. I’ wanted just enough to be dangerous with a paintbrush and to make good, solid color choices on models. I threw my hands up in both fear and terror anytime someone tried to teach me, though, because it seemed that it was some sort of esoteric wizardry. Now, having overcome that ridiculous fear, I can break miniature painting that I do into three major tips.
1- Mix your paints
2- Shade to Brown, not black.
3- Each color leans towards two other colors.
Sadly, I have neither the Photoshop or photographic skills needed for this task, so you’ll have to deal with pictures and small guidance.
One of the first steps for me towards painting better was using mixed paints. It allowed me a relatively easy transition to a number of more difficult painting concepts, including two brush blending and washing, and its much easier than I thought it would be.
This is going to be a theme, by the way: each of the three here seem hard and they sound hard and and they read hard; but aren’t, actually, hard. Most times I was able to get the concept within minutes of putting brush to model.
Mixing paints allows you a smooth transition of colors, even if its not blended in any way, as it creates a gradient that pre-mixed paints just don’t provide, both in highlighting and shading a color or colors. Mixing is vital to create colors that are the foundation of the other two tips, which allow a greater flexibility while creating our models colors.
The first of those two techniques is shading towards brown. When you shade towards a dark, colorful brown, you’ll really make a model much more lively. There are very few truly black things in this world, and the use of black as a final shade will give your model a very different effect than when you shade towards brown. Most of the time, shading towards brown involves very little shading with the prebottled browns that companies provide. Instead, it involves making a brown from the color you start with.
For example, purple. Its a hard color to shade no matter what your doing, and black simple gets the color darker. This may not be, in all cases, what you are going for. If you instead use a yellow, you will move the purple towards brown naturally, creating a pleasant gradient. Why yellow? Because good browns have all the primary colors represented, just to different degrees. Purple, made up of red and blue, lacks only yellow to turn it to a brown. adding increasing amounts of yellow will take that purple color towards a deeper and deeper brown, eventually hitting a nice, solid shade tone. For this shade, I would avoid a yellow that is too green or too orange, as that will add either more blue (for green) or more red (for orange) that will ultimately unbalance the brown.
See what I mean about reading hard? I am even trying to be simple! Really, don’t be afraid. Try it a few times. How do you know what color to use, though, when your at your desk painting? Simple! The color wheel!
The color you want to use will always lie directly across from the color your using!
We are going to use a similar principal when we create highlights. This, though, involves seeing the color for its two part components. First, take a paint pot, any paint pot, and stare at it. You should be able to figure out what the main color is, and what its secondary color is. Most pots are not simply a single pure color, though there are some exceptions when it comes to blue and yellow. Red is especially hard to find in a simply red form, and will lean (bias) towards blueish or orangish.
What is this blueish red, you scream at the computer! And rightfully so! (I just imagined this in Patrick Stewarts voice, BTW). Its a red that, if were to naturally extrapolate its color, would end up purple. Its what some would call red-violet. The orangeish red follows a same though process, though it would end in an orange color. Try it a few times, and it’ll start to click.
Let me point out some neat colors
Greatcoat Grey is blue-based
Coal Black is green based
Sanguine Base is a blue-red
I’d do some of the GW paints, but I just don’t own enough.
Now that you’ve identified the two colors, you can start a highlight based on those two colors.
Purple is one of the main colors of my Cryx army, and has been since the very beginning. In the beginning, it was extremely hard to paint, especially as I had chosen dark purple. You don’t want to get into the pastel section of the palette, but you need some way to highlight the lines and make them pop. Here is where the two color method worked its magic.
Purple is the combination of red and blue, and the compliment (opposite) of yellow. I realized I needed to figure out which direction the purple I wanted to get to was biased. It turns out, it was extremely blue! From there, it was simply choosing a bright blue with which to mix the purple to get a gradient of purples that didn’t move towards pastel.
Instead, I mixed a color that was just a brighter version of what I was already using, and ended with a pale blue-violet highlight. It looks strange on the paint palette, but it worked extremely well on both Asphyxious and my Bane Spartans, though in different ways
One thing to remember here is that a color can never get brighter than it is when it comes out of the pot. it will always become more pale with the addition of another color. Make sure the brightest part of your model is one that is straight out of the pot!
Now, to go use this to paint Aiakos, first of the Tactics rewards to get painted!