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

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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.

Said box. Pretty!

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

 

Four Dragonlings

A set of Heros and Villians, mostly humanoid,

which included three Gnome/Halflings: Wizard, Druid and Warrior

Three Dwarfs: Two Warriors and a Priest

Two Centaurs

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.

The old metal model. Unimpressed.

 

The Bad Ass Art!

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.

A more Beefy Centurion

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.

To go along with the swords, I also bought some giant Katanas. They are larger than normal, which works because the Bane Riders are so large. I’ll be swapping these in when I get my new unit. 

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!

Warmachine Developments/Spoilers

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.

Aradus Sentinal from Will Schick

Aradus Sentinal from Will Schick

The Gatorman Sacral Vault

Sacral Vault

The Doom that came to Infantry Armies

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:

A really cool model, though in ret, so BOO!

A really cool model, though in ret, so BOO!

King Missile

King Missile

THE Khadoran Warjack of the Future.

THE Khadoran Warjack of the Future.

Seriously, look at that thing. He’s wearing a Warpwolf for a cloak!

The Complete Release of Infinity v. 3 or N3

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:
Basic Rulebook
Troop Profiles
Human Sphere Rules
Paradiso Rules

I really think its a game that most minis gamers will enjoy and find enjoyable, and you should try it out!

Malifaux Avatars

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.

Conversions and Painting

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!

 

Nova Open and the ECR

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:

Stormguard
Winterguard Infantry and Riflemen
Trenchers
Exemplar Errants and Knights Exemplar
Bane Thralls
Man O War Shocktroopers and Demo Corps.

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.

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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.

Before

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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.

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After

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.

Strider old

Before

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After

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

Before

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After

After

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Fiona Old

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After

After

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

color-wheel-2

 

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

 

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.

SONY DSC

Bane 4

 

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!

I’ve been on a tear recently, painting a number of models in quick succession. I started out trying to catch my Cryx army up this year to fully painted, and I’m well on my way.

The list started out this year like this

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

I’ve now managed to Burn it down a bit

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

and while I’ve been painting It got me thinking about a number of things regarding painting itself that I really wished I’d have known back when I started that really, really helped me be a better painter. Some of these are going to come out of left field, but some of them should be helpful.

Lets start at the beginning, shall we.

Brushes! Everyone uses them, and the many people know what brushes the highest level painters use.
Ghool reviews them Here.

raphael-8404

But why use a good brush to begin with? I didn’t use one until I painted the Kraken two years ago, and only then because I had a specific purpose. First, because almost every synthetic brush will curl. This creates a huge problem when trying to be accurate while painting. Its very hard to stick to raised edges, hit eyes, and put on accurate highlights with a curved brush. I used to think it was a moderately helpful defect, but once I grabbed a Natural Hair brush, I was sold.
Additionally, most synthetic brushes you can get cheaply are water repellent, which means that the paint goes on the brush instead of in the brush. This results in a synthetic brush drying up quicker, as the water is exposed to the air instead of encapsulated in the brush. It also results in almost no control over the paint itself, as the water tension will work to release all the paint at once as soon as the brush touches the model. This adds into the first aspect, as you’ll tend to use less paint in the brush each time you go back to the paint. This in turn will result in a less smooth model as you constantly have to run back to the palette to get more paint. Additionally, synthetics tend to fray insanely fast, busting out in every direction as soon as you look at them. In a year and a half of constant use, I’ve had three individual hairs fray on my two natural brushes.
Finally, and this one applies only if you’re trying it, they don’t wet blend. I tried almost every brush with every tactic I had in order to get the wet blend to work on my Kraken, until Meg Maples told me to get actual, real, brushes. Lo and behold, it solved the problem.

Now, I always thought that the brushes were expensive, and they are, but they also last a lot longer, and perform better than most synthetics. I recommend Dick Blick for all you’re brush needs. I ordered mine a few days back, and they arrived 4 days before the expected delivery date!

Connected to the paint, is the palette. regardless of whether you use wet or dry, its extremely important that you paint with watered down paint. When I was trying to figure it out, the term they were trying to use was “consistency of whole milk” whatever that meant.  I don’t know a really good way to say it, but the right watered down consistency feels correct on the brush, its not runny, and applies right where you want it, without needing pressure. If its too runny, add more paint. If its too hard to apply, add more water. Its not a science, yet, but you eventually get used to it.

wet palette

Along these lines lies the scrubby brush, which is something that Meg Maples told me about. Its simply an old brush purposed to fix mistakes while painting. I’ll let Meg’s article explain. In all seriousness, this thing has saved more projects and more time than I could have ever expected!

Once you’ve gotten a set of brushes, I usually go with a 1 and a 2, the palette and scrubby brush ready to go, Its time to get to actual model work. I am a firm believer that the right primer makes for the best model possible, and after trying a number of different ones, I’ve settled on the best. Dupli-Color Sandable Automotive Primer. Its amazing, is thin, and sticks like hell to the models. Without a clear coat, I’ve only had one chip on all the models I’ve painted with it so far, and that is on Gorman Di Sea Wulfe’s stiletto, a pointy and vulnerable part.

Lastly, before we even start painting, there are methods to holding your model so your oily, nasty skin doesn’t rub off the primer. I used to just try and hold the model, but that gets very nasty, very fast. Your hand can cramp right up, and your fingers tend to rub the primer off of places that you hold often: Head, weapons, etc. We’ve all seen pinning to a dowel, and that works for some, but what I really like it an old spray point lid. I’ll put double sided tape on the top, and just slap my model on it to paint. The hand has a lot more area to grip and I’ve painted models as large as Karchev this way, including tipping him upside-down to get some underparts. I will say that you can re-use the tape, but every part exposed to the air tends to get less and less sticky over time.

While this method is good, I can’t say that it works for large units or multiple models. What I have seen recently is an ingenious idea I have blatantly stolen. I saw a whole unit of Gunmages sticky-tacked to the top of the old GW paint bottles. The Hexagonal ones. just load up on the sticky tack and press them in. Voila, small based models ready to go!

The very last thing I’d like to point out is food and drink. Many people suffer from unstable or shaky hands, and this can partially be alleviated in some form by a few small steps. First, paint on a full stomach. Being hungry and low on sugar can cause your hands to shake, and it can be extremely distracting. Avoid high doses of caffeine while painting. I know its good for an up all nighter right before a con, but its a stimulant, and that can really exacerbate the shaking.  lastly, if your the type to partake in adult beverages, have a cocktail or beer while painting. Alcohol is a depressant, and it can really slow down the blood and quell the shaking. And, who doesn’t want to have a white Russian while painting Khador? I mean, really!

Next time out, probably next Thursday, I’ll be talking very basic color theory. Even just these little points have helped me immensely with difficult to shade and highlight colors.

I’ve been playing D&D for nearly 18 years now, and I’ve enjoyed all but a few times I’ve sat down to a table with my friends. I enjoy getting together with friends, shooting the shit, and playing monsters and heroes. I’ve been DMing for almost that entire time, and I’ve run my fair share of adventures, from years long campaigns to 15 hour one shot adventures. I’ve found different ways to turn tropes on their heads and I’ve built a huge mythology in my mind and in the players games that have affected the world I created.

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With the Rest of the Unit Spotlight Series, I’ve finished painting these Banes tonight, and rather than just show off pictures, I’m gonna write a little article about ’em as well!

Off we go with Bane Knights then!

Bane Knights were the greatest force to be reckoned with in MK I, and in MK II, they were brought back into line with the rest of the faction. Bane Thralls took their proper, as many would have it, place as the go to infantry of Cryx. Now they are experiencing a sort of Renaissance in the faction, with many units and abilities now ignoring stealth. There is also a 30 Bane Knight army headed by Skarre that is making its rounds. I, however, will only have the one unit.  This one!

Bane Spartan Group

They were a joy to paint and put together, and I can’t wait to get them on the board when I get together with the guys in April.

Stats!

SPDSTRMATRATDEFARMCMD
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Its the typical sorry Cryx setup, with victim defensive stats, though the ARM is better. They have the slow Heavy Infantry speed, and  MAT is pretty typical at 6, though its nothing to write home about. They’ve never used RAT in their life, so it doesn’t even count.

However, their below average stat line belies great power, though, as their special rules are very enjoyable, but before we get there, we’ve got the weapon: The Bane Lance, which comes in at a pretty respectable P+S 11, but its the Reach and Weapon Master that make it really hum. With a charge threat range of 10′, and an average damage of 22, 25 on the charge, the Bane Knights represent some serious damage to most jacks and all heavy infantry. Lighter infantry will generally be harder to hit, but that’s what we bring our good friend Bane Lord Tartarus for, but we’ll get to him later.

The back of their card has a number of rules that just keep amplifying the goodness of the unit.
Traits: Undead – again, nothing new to Cryx. Immunity to fear and fleeing and not suffering much from coherency means they get stuck in and don’t budge until you kill the very last one.

Abilities:
Ghostly: This is what makes the choice between Thralls and Knights matter. Bane Knights have the ability to ignore both free strikes and most terrain, enabling them to get into, and out of, wherever on the board they happen to need to go. This flexibility combined with reach and weaponmaster makes the banes a continuous threat to anything within 7″. The addition of Ghostly also tends to free up a number of models in terms of both order of activation and target selection. Arc nodes, Saxon Orrik, Scarlocks and ‘Casters can all either stay home or have to not worry about the Banes. Ghostly is amazing.

Vengeance: Remember when I said they had a slow speed 5? Combined with Ghostly and Reach, Vengeance extends that to the heavens. Tartarus brings it all the way to a reach out and touch you of 15″, ignoring free strikes and difficult terrain. Vengeance giving you that extra 3″ once a model in the unit is destroyed or RFP, forced the opponent to make some difficult choices. They want to remove the whole unit, or almost every model, or leave it be and hope it doesn’t take his legs off. It is not a good place to be in with P+S 11 Weaponmasters.

Spartan Bane Leader

Spartan Bane Leader

These rough and deadly dudes come in at a clean 6/10. While expensive, the ARM16, reach and ghostly really make it worthwhile. The only units really competing for the same points are Blackbanes and Revenant Crew. The Crew we’ve discussed, and Blackbanes performs a significantly different function that its not really a competing slot.

And what role do the Bane Knights Play? The Aggressor. They move in, along with their BFF Tartarus, and threaten to punish anyone coming within their threat range. with Vengeance and Tartarus’ Death Toll ability being able to replenish the Knights if even one is left really puts the pressure on the opponent. They have to remove every model and most likely Tartarus, or suffer dearly for the expenditure of resources.

I’ve really found a lot of good use with the unit as a bullet sponge, absorbing the damage that other units would take on the turn they are removed from the game. They are so good at what they do that the opponent has to try and remove the unit when you give them the opportunity, so use it to your advantage.

Their MAT 6 makes them generally armor breakers, and sometimes troop killers, but rarely both. However, they do have the backup of the Cryx army and Tartarus. Many casters can get their MAT up to 10 or higher, again with Tartarus.

They are everything that a Cryx unit should be. Bad stats, great weapon, good rules, and when added to a casters arsenal, brings their board state closer and closer to 11.

So, Lets take a trip through the casters again, shall we. I expect very different results this time than last.

A reminder of the scale, again: 0 – I’d never bring this unit with this warcaster, and the unit has heavy negative synergy
1 – I’d bring this only in a gimicky list centered on this model/units and its ingame ineractions.
2 – I’s consider bringing this model/unit with this warcaster, with the proper support units and as a points filler
3- When taking this caster I  debate bringing this model/unit every time
4- When taking this caster, I find it hard to leave home without this model/unit
5- This model/unit is an Auto-include for this caster.

 

Asphyxious I – As I said about the Pirates, I also say about the Knights. Scything touch and Parasite make a great combo for any melee unit. This time, it pushes the number extremely hard, as an effective 17 weaponmaster is no joke. Gunning from across the table at speeds up to 15″ they really can protect Asphyxious as he bounces around the board, teleporting and stealing souls.  (3)

Asphyxious II – What once was an automatic include into this army with the ability to go incorporal and a garunteed +2 MAT and charge range against the caster is, now still an autoinclude. When it comes to getting work done on the feat turn, nothing quite sings so beautiful as your full 8 man unit of Knights backed up by the 2 Bane Thralls dropping dark shroud on the targets. I’ve been able to swing many games just by having the feat exist with banes on the board. With Parasite to up their damage, Clouds to protect on the way in, and Excarnate to make more once the Biles are out of the picture, Asphyxious II brings the whole package for the Bane Knights.  (5)

Asphyxious III – The Return of Scything Touch is welcomed, but the loss of Parasite is not. Him and Targarus make them very dangerous to high defense troops by using Carnage to bump their MAT to 10. Ashen Veil bumps their defense up a bit, but is better off on a higher defense unit. (4)

Deneghra I – Again, What does Deneghra I not make better? Crippling Grasp and her feat makes them MAT 10 and P+S 15 weaponmasters. Tartarus and an errant Bane Thrall can push it to 12 MAT and 17 weaponmaster, and man can that trash some models. Ghost Walk does nothing for them specifically, but their innate Ghostly makes it so that she has at least two units in the list that are going to be ignoring terrain every turn. (4)

Deneghra II – Curse of Shadows and her feat allows the enemy nowhere to escape. Being able to ignore free strikes, terrain and a single unit for positioning in order to line up the strike on the following turn is brilliant. Ghostly paired with Marked for Death means that you can charge through buildings and from the other side of the forest, all while moving your MAT up a step. At her very best, she can make the Knights an effective MAT 13 with Tartarus around, and most things that are that high on the curve to necessitate a 13 don’t have the armor to withstand the assault. If you really manage to pull it off, the Feat+Marked for Death+ Dark Banishment setup can really mess peoples day up. (3)

Skarre I – Along with Asphyxious II, Skarre was the original MKI poster child for Knights. With her Sac Strike going off of modified armor, her feat allowed a 12, no LOS required Boostable pow 21 damage roll. There weren’t many casters that could survive that type of damage. Now, Sac Strike might as well not be on her card, but the Knights still him with her as well as any. P+S 16 weaponmasters at ARM 21 with Vengeance and Ghostly are nothing to be laughed at. With Dark Guidance to buffer out their MAT, its hard to leave home without ’em (4)

Skarre II – Skarre II really brings only a few things to the party for the Knights. Without any armor debuff, she has little to offer them beyond Black Spot. Now, that one unit will go into the dirt like a mole, but you can accomplish the same thing with ranged attacks and not risk the Melee. Death ward is nice, as Knights with ARM 18 can shrug off even some of the harder anti-infantry measures out there, but its generally on the Deathjack or the Leviathan to keep it safe.   (3)

Goreshade I – Goreshade provides nothing to any of his troops. On the one hand, that means that can’t help them go from good to great. On the other, though his feat means you’ve got Tartarus along, and Knights go great with Tartarus. They are also pretty self sufficient, with terrain mitigation and the ability to punish the enemy with Vengance.  (3)

Gorhshade II – Goreshade II loves him some Banes and is almost never without his good buddy Tartarus. with Occultation to provide stealth, Curse of Shadows to aid in the damage output, and Sudden Death for stupid shenanigans, he’s got the support package to get them their alive and in one piece. I tend to go with the double Bane Thralls, but they are always a consideration.  (4)

Goreshade III – Occultation is back again, and Mockery of Life on these guys just makes Vengeance that much sweeter. Scything Touch adds a touch of a damage swing, to push them over the edge. I don’t know where they will sit in his list eventually, but I expect it will be a constant consideration.  (2)

Terminus – Who doesn’t like tough Bane Knights? who doesn’t like tough Bane Knights that can take a bullet for Terminus and then trigger vengeance along the way? Oh, right, your opponent. While Terminus has almost no spell support to offer any of his infantry, what the Bane Knights bring for him is worth the price of admission. (4)

The Witch Coven – Occultation‘s been talked about. I should just remove it from further discussions about her. Veil of Mists, however, combined with Ghostly’s immunity to free strikes, really hits home in manners of maneuverability. Curse of Shadows, as well, allows them both maneuverability and hitting power. Stygian Abyss, while usually an assassination tool, can be really good at letting the Knights drop a Circle or Legion heavy that is blocking the road. The feat, as well, enables the Knights to get close enough to do the dirty work, and its something I really appreciate.  (4)

Mortenebra – Mortenebra should be right up there with Goreshade I so I get this done with all at once. Nothing other than the feat is good for the troops in her army.They’ve again got the self sufficient theme going on, but she’s generally going to want to bring more Jacks or jack support.   (2)

Venethrax – Yes, here is my boy. A specific timing interaction makes the Bane Knights one of his best infantry choices. Vengeance and the resulting attacks happen before both replenishment of Focus and the conversion of souls to focus, so Soul Harvester to get  a ton of work done here. I bring them to every game.  (5)

Scaverous – Scaverous’s Winters Grasp and Telekenesis shinanigans can really turn the Bane Knights to 11, but there are so many things he wants to take with him that its generally hard to fit anything not specifically dedicated to his feat. None the less, these guys can do a very respectable job with him, and I keep meaning to fit them into a list somehow.  (3)

Bane 4

Best Caster: Asphyxious II. His feat is still pure gold for them, and the threat of that feat going off and removing one or more of your valuable models from the board at one go is no joke.

Worst Caster: Mortenebra. The unit, while good, costs to much for her to really get use out of them. They would still be useful and you’d probably be happy you brought them, but then again, you could have had a Leviathan.

Results: Boy, Bane Knights are pretty bad ass. They take the typical Cryx approach of average or lesser stats, but when you add the Warcaster in to bring the enemy down to their level, they really shine bright. With Tartarus to support them, and with Tartarus I find it hard to leave the Thralls at home. That is a large chunk of points, though. 25 can be a whole game all by itself. When it gets rolling, though, there isn’t much out there that can really give em a run for their money.

Bane Knights: 8/10