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 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
Its been a long, long time since I put up something That I’ve painted, and I figured I’d just toss some models up here, talk a little bit about them, and get on my way!
First, and most obviously foremost, is my Donate or Paint Challenge Model. I was challenged by my buddy Faultie to paint up, in 72 hours, a model or donate money to the cause of one gentleman, Marc Harrison.
This models concept was surprisingly simple: This model should be almost completely black. not just black armor, but black everything. In person, even that purple is almost indistinguishable from black, as are the hose and armor. most of what you see are the base, and flames. Oh, and of course the eyes. I has a blast painting this, and look forward to painting another pair, as they are up next.
My second favorite is a Raluk Moorclaw. I loved his sculpt so much after seeing this guy in my hands that I went out and got one, even though I know his rules are a little wonky and that he is unlikely to see use in even the strangest of lists for both Cryx and Minions.
When I paint a model that not for me, I love to toss a bit of orange in there, no matter what their scheme is. I love painting the color, and have found a huge variety of hues and colors that I can get without much effort. Though I won’t keep him for every long, this model will always be one of my favorite to have painted.
Speaking of paint jobs for other people, I also was able to paint a very enjoyable Morvahnna 2. This model just oozes awesome. I followed the paint scheme given, but managed to sneak my orange in their anyway.
Now, onto my models, Which aren’t many but I am fairly proud of them none the less.
The Fat Man himself, Dominar Rasheth, was the first model I’d painted for myself in many months, and the first Skorne model in possibly years, I don’t remember. Getting back into the groove with painting him was a little bit of a trick, but once I was there he was every bit of fun to paint that I had hoped.
The skin is always the hardest part to get right on these models, because I think I’ve forgotten more ways to paint it than I remember. The green and bone is a simple enough color, but the gold is a giant pain. With the PP solid gold coating terribly, and the need for extremely precise targeting with the paint, I’ve had to give up my favorite gold color and move for a more bronze-gold than the pale gold I initially wanted.
Painted alongside Rasheth, for obvious reasons, was my little adorable agonizer. Though he only took bare minutes to paint, he was a guy I use so often that I wanted to make sure he was taken care of. I’d started him probably three years ago, before I’d discovered a little bit more of what I can do with paints and painting. Now, I’m happy with him.
Then, I put my brush to a caster that was primed, because it was winter, and nothing gets primed in the winter. Makeda 2 was a model I wan’t particularly excited for, and once I started my excitement level dipped even lower. Sometimes, when painting a model your unexcited for that is also not coming out right is to change something up. Simply chaning her shirt from bone to black made her work that much better. In the end, I am pleased with how she came out, and am excited to paint up her second epic incarnation and see how she comes out as well.
After I finished her up, I took a venture into my bag and came out with some models that I had started way back when, and wanted to finish. This was before, like the Agonizer, I had learned a few new techniques like blending properly, mixing colors correctly, and a bit of patience. First to come out of the bag was Aptimus Marketh, a model I love in almost every situation. he took a bit of work to bring up to mediocre standards, but I wasn’t about to paint him up again.
Finally, and I just finished these two up on Saturday, were my Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer. Both were frustrating to paint, again coming from a time that made me have to just straight up repaint a number of the models features, but also because they are insanely Skorneish: All that filigree is insanely complicated. I’m not a fan at all. At least the Tyrant Commander has useful rules and a fantastic model. The Standard bearer, while nice in a pinch just isn’t a model I am putting front and center every game. He almost killed my will to paint…
With all of that going on, I had time to do a little stupid Conversion. I love Darragh Wrath, and I love scythes, but the scythe on Darragh just wasn’t impressive enough for me. So, I found a pair of those old GW Zombie weapons and carefully made that weapon look scary as hell. I love it.
Do you know how hard it is not to go back to Cryx right now?
Even with all of that done, I’ve got a loaded painting table. I’ve pledged to have a fully painted tier 2 theme list for Lock and Load, to milk the most out of the Iron Arena Games I play, hoping for a Hydra or other awesome art print. In order to do that, I’ve got a Bronzeback, a Gladiator, a unit of Bonegrinders I don’t even own yet, and a Pain Giver Task Master. Additionally, I’ve decided to paint a caster a month, and up next is Mordikaar. Last, but certinaly not least, I’ve still got two exchange models I am going to paint up. One for Aggyfaces Legion of Ice and Fire, and one for my buddy Mike, who painted me a ginger Caliban!
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.