So i'm probably a week or two away from actually getting around to these guys (due to it being my b day this week and there being other stuff in the queue) but the secon my client sent me the below inspiriation pic i couldn't help myself and dove into action. They will likely stay this way for a few days but i wanted to show you guys this beautiful cian i got for undercoating these as it's just so gorgeous! I've been a long time waiting for an excuse to do blue orcs, and now that i've had a commission of them it means two things:
1. I may get more for this order, which is exciting and will be fantastic for my already broad and interesting portfolio.
2. I will now have this beautiful turquoise in my "arsenal".
I should say also that these where the nicest resins i've ever assembled and they absolutely S*** all over the games workshop resins, such care taken over quality assurance. There was literally ONE extra bit of resin i had to break off and that was it.
PROGRESS ON THE DRAGON
I got a bit more done on this guy before i stopped last week. I need to clean it up and add the purple before i ink it, i want to use a weak ink on this one as i want to do most of the mottling and fading before the ink. The purples have been freaking me out a bit so i went to the local friendly gaming store and i grabbed two brand new purples from GW. I find GW paints can be really good especially after just opening. So given my track record with purple i thought i'd grab two new tones.
During my time as a commission painter i have written and released a few wargames. Two of which i released on kickstarter and they got a fair bit of attention. One of my games "City Grounds", a mordheim inspired city fight style game has been in development for many years and only this year during lockdown did i begin working on it again. The game is a fun mix of gang fighting, skirmish style mechanics and it is inspired by the manouvers and actions of parkour style films and video games (such as mirrors edge or district 13).
Since this was our first physical play test of the system in nearly 8 years we decided to play a simple territory grab. We had two markers, one on the factory and one on the water tower. Whoever held each (within 2") at the end of each turn (up to 6 turns) wins a point of renown. Kills also gain a point.
My old buddy Tom playing the Constabulary (below in blue and purple) and as usual kicking my hiney.
After priority rolls we set up on either side of the board. Tom took the woods and i took the ruins.
During the first few turns the rabble split in half and attempted to climb the ruins while also meandering into town. Due to the activation rolls rules the rabble kept hillariously failing actions and stood fairly still for a while. We dove into the game so fast that we forgot some basic rules e.g. "most basic actions first" which increases your chance of elongating your own turn as more successes means more turn.
The constabulary had better luck and took control of both Dens within two turns. There was no combat yet but because this was a playtest game we where fairly busy flipping and jumping over things (in game).
As the game progressed the constabulary continued to have a solid grasp on the victory locations. The rabble tried to push in and had some success but where pushed back again and again by the constabulary. Many bad rolls plagued the rabble including a few hillarious "snake eye moments" concluding in many funny falls from height and some damages. The rabble took a few tragedies as they tried to push off the constabulary but many failures ensued including a drastic death of Gorthak (our orc) who was kicked off the top of the water tower by one of the constabulary. There was one really fun parkour moment where the dark elf character from the rabble ran the full height of the water tower and contested the location for a turn, sadly also getting kicked off the top and falling also to his death.
As tom piled up points of renown one after another (he scored a total of 12 to my 0 which is hillarious) the rabble finally got some good rolls and got up to the victory locations. With just a few turns left they made a good effort to push back the constabulary but the combast where brief as the constabulary are so strong. The game concluded in an obvious win for the constabulary.
WHAT DID WE LEARN DURING THIS GAME?
- Fall damage needs tobe revised and extended.
- Rough terrain/ high terrain needs to be modified to include balance mechanics to give more gravitas to fantastical acrobatic feats.
- Models cannot run up ladders now.
- footing tests for unarmoured models on high ground who may fall due to actions.
- adding Dive, Tackle and Swing actions.
- Removal of bonus dice on extra hard rolls.
- Attacks of oppertunity need some minor revision.
- Jump distances have been changed.
- Punch and kick prerequesites changed and shortened.
- Points values for wounds have been added.
OUR NEXT GAME?
We will be playing the same game (swapping teams) this week and then hopefully purchasing some new teams (probably simple 5-10 man teams in different races). I am excited to have a playtester friend again as i haven't been able to test my games for a long time. Keep your eyes peeled for more soon!
My final Dragon in the big 6 i was sent by my client Dom is a large and boney Gemstone dragon. He is painted and pictured in the art reference in purple. I left this guy till last for one simple reason. Purple hates me. I have bought P3, vallejo, games workshop etc and i have always found purple to be a color that just doesn't seem to want to be painted in small scale. Am i missing something? Yes, likely i am. I will do my reserach for this model, but starting out i gave it a grey undercoat with a light to blue grey gradient on the wings which will give me a great base to work from.
If this dragon doesn't remind you of Clover, then either you haven't seen the movie or you forgot to put your eyes in today.
FIXING UP SOME WARG SKIN
Recently i finished these "wild wargs" for my client. Mildly disapointed by games workshops re release of warg models that are designed for miniatures to go on their backs (therefore having literall flat backs with no fur) i sculpted som extra fur on and then gave them a lick of paint. Not to linger on the point but come one games workshop (or as i call them the "evil empire") you literally could sculpt a bit of fur on them and THEN re release them. Such money hungry, money grabbing desperation and it deeply saddens me. The capitolistic nature of our industry is saddening.
Although my client was appreciative of the little effort and paint job he did say that the skin was "to clean" and i agreed immediately. I think that's a second danger of these basically detailed models, they will always have a danger of seeming to clean. As a fix i decided to mix a flesh wash/home made black wash and added that onto the models skin today and it has worked a treat. I imagine i may go back and give them a little beige drybrush later today when they're dry.
The touch up on those wargs went really well and since i have since received a big old mix of flowery siflor tufts from ebay i decided to upgrade their bases a bit to as the general "green" static grass wasn't helping their slightly cartoonish finish. Either way it was detracting from the naturalistic tone of the project.
HEADING BACK TO VALHALLA
In the coming weeks i will be dipping back into (and finishing) Brams Valhallan order (although we all know that this army....will never be finished and i'm half tempted to get an old frost giant model and convert it to be some kind of behemoth ogryn captain for bram sometimes, that's how extravagant and exciting his imagination is!). Bram has a fantastic imagination and has created these amazing bear riders (rough rider stand ins) using foundry bears. Below is a picture of the last ones i painted.
ROMAN FIGHTER COBBLE BASES
I am a decisive artist generally. I don't tend to back and forth on decisions but with these roman models i did a bit. Should i remove the tabs entirely and pin them, should i do the bases first and them stick them down, should i match these to the mob bases even though i did the test model slightly differently and then found that the mob bases would have been much harder to do correctly in the previous style. I wouldn't say they threw me, moreso i might say i just couldn't decide so i let them sit on the back burner a few days while i did the mob bases and got them painted. Now that i finished them and stood them next to the fighter test model i could see that regardless of the style of cobble the coloring, flocking and overall general art style (being my own usual naturalistic, gritty one) matched quite well.
Step 1. Mix your putty and squeeze it onto the base. Rub off the edges to get a bevel and use a cuticle (nail) tool to flatten the top. I also used the pointy end of this tool to clear out the semi circles on the fighter bases.
Step 2. Using a dentists tool (from a craft shop) sculpt lines into the base, making sure they cross and intersect randomly, so as to imply larger and smaller cobbles in a mixed fashion.
Step 3. Using an old tooth brush stipple some marks and dots into the bases to finish.
Dragons are always interesting. Dragons by their very nature ae large and for the most part observe naturalistic patterns. The images given to me for this dragons showed many blatant red and pink hues. I had many ideas as to how to get that "red lizard" kind of look while maintaining the obvious ruby association of the gems. I decided in the end to go with a brown undercoat and then work in basecoat, ink heavilly down to a dark brown/black and then slowly mottle and overbrush my way all the way past the original brown tone into a dim red. This i think has achieved the interlacing affect of natural skin, brown scales and the general red tone of the skin without inking it heavilly in red (creating lots of gawdy red pools in recesses) or working up from red, which might have made the model brighter than we wanted. I think the final result is great and i am really proud of how that red mottling worked out in the end for sure.
I finished up those roman mobs ( look at this picture i realise i could finish the group base edges). They have been good fun, from picking colors to scultoing and painting the bases. They really came together with the flocking stage and i really enjoy using those tiny autumn leaves, they bring a pop of life to the models.
This evening insomnia struck as notice of further lockdown measures on manchester come 1 day before the hottest day of the year here. Such a shame. So as to have enough time to enjoy the sun tomorrow afternoon i powered through those romans with some new brushes i got off ebay, then i knocked up a little photo booth (pictured left) on my work desk and snapped some pics. Multiple ink followed by highlights and some brown lining. A little muddying up, some eye and mouth socket painting, a bit of detailing and voila.
Today i was confronted with an age old problem that i've had to deal with for a long time. Unmixed paint. Specfically i have a few bottles (yellows, purples, some browns) that just never seem to mix no matter how hard i shake them. So i had a brainstorm moment and i remembered i've just bought a drill. I wrapped some wire around a bottle to make a "spinny paint bottle holder thing". I gave it a good whirl and whoa...some of these un usable bottles have changed completely. I'm really glad as there was some colors i really wanted to use on these models.
The first thin i wanted to do after i blocked out all of the robes was pick out the skin tones. I attended the very moving and very large Black lives matter protest a few weeks ago, read a bit on the matter and also stumbled upon a great article saying that ancient rome was anything but a white colony. I read into this and i found that in fact "race" in ancient rome would have been even more diverse than it is now with much less white representation across the board. I decided to make these bases at least as mixed as possible by introducing mixed skin tones. It seems like the tiniest little protest in itself but the industry is disgustingly white. And there is no other adjective for it. It's just white people making white miniatures for white people mostly. And it sucks. As a conesquence i always try to ask my clients if they want a mix of skin tones but even white skin is catered for much more easily than dark skin tone sin paint ranges. There literally is very few "dark" skin products. Vallejo skin tones comes to mind as a good one.
I like to use multiple different color primers that i buy from SPRAYSTER.COM to save money. I have many strong opinions about primer in the wargames industry. The shocking mark up is astonishingly unjust. I save my customers a lot of money by using these other primers. I shall say in short that ALL MATT PRIMER is basically the same in regards to the purpose of wargaming. With some of these they come out a little sheen, so i simply brush them with a matt coat of varnish before painting or inking and they take paint perfectly. Check out sprayster.com.
Following a mixed undercoat (leaning heavilly into brown and beige for historical accuracy of sorts) i painted the bases a dark grey (matching the base of the test model.) Many of my clients know my mental health can be u and down, so this last few days i haven't got as much done as i'd like, however i decided to trek on and get these bases done as a test to see how they matched up with the test model.
I was nervous that the stamp method i employed on the group bases wouldn't look like cobble and i think i was right with just the grey/brown/beige/grey method. It looked a bit boring. I decided to pick out some of my favorite browns and add them on top picking out individual tiles.
That seemed to work really well but it was a bit flat so i mixed my home made "death juice" (recipe to come soon) and some grey paint and i made a dark grey wash. After the grey wash i added a final dry brush of spaceship grey and it really popped, the contrast was there and it looks fantastic. The fit of the bases is ever so slightly tight (i have akward memories of a client once berating me because his bases didn't fit absolutely perfectly - don't worry it wasn't John, John is so nice) so i will see how they feel in a day or two when i'm done painting and then i can always sand them down a tiny bit.
This dragon model is an exciting learning curve. I considered approaching this from a few angles. Firstly i considered dark purple and black primer worked up to red and pink with black washes, then i thought about black and worked up manually without washes to brown red. Finally i decided on a dark brown and skin tone (to develop that skin tone on the tummy of the picture) and then washes and working back up to that purple red hue. It's going to be a challenge. As it stand right now i've done the brown, the skin and the red (block colors) and started with the washes. The image is definitely very red but i'm stumping out on how to get there. I am very understanding of the creative process however and i know we shall one way or another. For the time being i'm very proud of the natural skin fade i've achieved on the tummy and can't wait to see these washes dried.
Pictured above, achieveing those natural skin fades with spray, dry brushing, mottling and and overbrushing.
With the majority of details picked out roughly i gave the model a liberal wash of Death Juice (my own home made black wash) mixed with Army Painter Strong tone. I think i might repeat this once dry, not sure yet. Otherwise i might just work the skin tones down to a darker set. i can't rightly decide yet.
Basing these romans has been a fun challenge so far. I sat down the other night with a few old kung fu movies and removed the base tabs with clippers. I considered going completely tab less as with the test model but i realised that some of the models wouldn't work that way (thin legs) so i have had to compromise the style a bit to get a uniform (ish) look to the cobble across the board.
I kneeded some putty and squeezed it onto the base wity my fingers. i found that the less i thought about it the better a job i did, which then i could clean up with a tool afterwards.
After doing the first base i decided to go out and get a better sculpting tool from the craft shop.
The main issue i met with these "multi bases" is the thickness of the putty. If i was to compeltely match it to the fighter i think it'd have looked odd. However in trying to do something a bit different for the multi bases i worry i've strayed to far. This took a fairly long time to get done and i'm happy with the result. Luckilly my clients seem to trust me and usually follow my judgement on orders. I realise looking at this that i could totally add other bits now that it's dry. I also do believe on these bigger bases there will be more brown leaves and tufts.
Just four more mob characters left to do then i'm gonna get on matching those fighter bases to the test model as i feel it's more pertinent to do so with them. That will take a lot longer than expected.
SUBSCRIBE TO FOLLOW ALL UPDATES.
A blog for the w.i.p element of the EZPainter process.