Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Three dwarf gunners

And here's what they look like when you paint the rest of them (following on from my previous post on how to paint flesh). Just three to start with, I do tend to fuss and faff around and add too much detail, so they end up taking far longer than I had intended. 

The figure in the middle is the star from the tutorial. He's probably my favourite from the unit, though the pipe smoker on the right has a lot of character. 

I need two more to make a complete unit for Erewhon, which is probably my favourite game at the moment. If I played Saga I would need eight figures, and if I played Rampant I would need 12 (or 6 if they counted as 2 wounds each). I have nine in total, and a couple of duplicates. I will plod on to five, then eight, then see how it goes. My enthusiasm and patience has, much like my hairline, grown thin recently.

Friday, 25 September 2020

Easy(ish) Way to paint Flesh

Here's a little step by step tutorial, an easy way to paint flesh tones. These are northern, ruddy tones, ideal for humans like vikings or any northern Europeans. It's also suitable for non-humans, including the ruddiest dudes out there, the dwarfs. 

Step 1: Base coat in a pale colour. I am using Citadel base wraithbone, but any pale colour with a warm tint will do. White is too stark, and a cool tone like a light blue or grey will make the figure look cold. If you were painting a dark elf that could be a good idea, but not here for a cheery little fella like this. This is, by the way, a Marauder dwarf thunderer, from around 1992. Allow this step to fully dry.

Step 2: Make a glaze of a ruddy flesh colour. I am (very aptly) using Citadel base Bugman's Glow. To mix up the glaze I take a brush full of paint, add a drop of flow enhancer and a smudge of matt medium. It's impossible to give exact quantities, it needs to be fluid enough to settle into the creases. Load up your brush and apply this once, starting in the deeper areas like the eyes and mouth. As it dries you will have to decide if one coat is enough, or if a second coat is required. If it goes on too thick, remove it by using a clean damp brush to suck up the excess. I do this anyway to remove areas that I want to keep light, like knuckles, bridge of nose, any area that is a light tone. These two steps give a very good base that would be fine for gaming figures - you could add a brown wash for the eyes and leave it at that.

Step 3: The dreaded step - paint the eyes. The easiest way is to wash the eye socket with a dark brown, for gaming it will look fine on the tabletop. For magnified photos on a blog, it looks like a brown line, so if you want to take it further, here's my procedure. You need steady hands, good lighting, a very fine brush and paints of the correct consistency. If you can get all those, and with plenty of practise, you might be able to get it right first time. 

Paint the eyeball with an off white, light grey even. Then dot in the pupil, make the dot bigger at the top of the eye, so in effect draw a semi circle rather than a dot. Now thin the black a little and draw a line across the top of the eyeball, to separate the white from the flesh colour (and avoid staring eye syndrome). Finally, mix a little black into your ruddy flesh colour and paint the lower eye - the bag under the eye. You would also use this colour in the mouth and on the lip if the figure had these. And that's it if you are painting humans/historicals, but the dwarfs get an extra rosy step.

Step 4: This optional step adds more ruddy features to the figure. I have used a Coat D'Arms paint for this stage, any warm/dusky pink/red will be good. Thin it down to a glaze and add to the tip of the nose, under eyes, on the knuckles and backs of hands, around joints like knees or elbows if visible. This step amps up the ruddy effect and can be a bit cartoonish if over done, so keep a light touch with thinned paint and build it up. If you overdo it, use a clean damp brush to remove the glaze and start again.

And that's all there is to it! It seems like a lot of steps and layers, but it's mostly glazing, apart from the eyes. Note there is no layering or highlighting involved, which is why I class it as an easy(ish) method. Have a go. And let me know how you get on.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Vikings renovation

 I think I mentioned recently that I was overhauling my viking collection. Out with the old and in with the new. I sold my old figures some time ago and have been slowly painting up their replacements. The figures available now are far nicer than in the past and life is just too short for crummy figures, that's my reasoning at any rate. 

Here's the first batch of "new"recruits. Only the front rank are truly new. The two on the left are by V&V Miniatures, while the ale quaffing figure is by Mierce Miniatures. These are my two favourite makes of Norse/viking minis, top quality all round. The rear rank are by Drabant Miniatures. At one time these were the best vikings available on the market, but they have been superseded. Still, it was worth spending a little time touching up a few highlights and rebasing them to match the new guys.

It's good to finally get some minis painted for myself. I think my mojo must have melted in the heat of the summer, but finally it seems to be returning. Partly this was due to being able to game face to face again after a trip round to Matt's dungeon (which is now more a palatial barn, I'm sure he will blog this at some point). I fielded a confederation of bearded warriors (vikings and dwarf allies) against his marauding beastmen. Unfortunately the photos I snapped on my phone were pretty poor so hopefully Matt's blog will come to the rescue. 

One of the units I fielded was this block of berserkers. We were playing Dragon Rampant so I fielded them as bellicose foot. This contains a good representative sample of my collection as it stands today. There are resin V&V, metal Mierce and plastic Victrix all mixed together here. And for the most part I reckon they work well together. Hopefully my enthusiasm for painting them continues, I would love to pit them against a small force of these brutes.

Small is perhaps the wrong word to use in this context. Vikings fending off trolls, coming soon. Some time this decade at any rate. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Tree and scatter terrain

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on some new terrain. Now that it is finished I thought I would show it off with some minis. First though, a straight shot of the terrain I put together. The trees I covered in my last post, the dwarf head statues are made by Scibor Miniatures and the bases trays are made by warbases.

Here's a picture of rangers of Oakenhammer patrolling the borders of the forest, ensuring there are no incursions by pesky goblins or foul undead.

And finally a photo of a few of my vikings emerging from the forest. 

I just have to get them on to the battlefield now, though who knows how long it will be before that is possible. At least the new stuff will not die horribly in their first game.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Treemendus terrain

Trees, a vital part of most fantasy battlefields. I have tried several times to make my own, but never really been satisfied with the finished result or the amount of time spent. And yet pre-made trees can be very expensive. So I was quite happy to spot a relative bargain on ebay, some busch pine trees at just over £10 for 15 reasonable sized specimens. I just had to work out how to "plant" them.

The tree "trunk" is nothing more than a twisted wire, on railroad layouts they are designed to be pressed into polystyrene terrain. But for us wargamers we usually have our trees on a flat base for ease of gaming, preferably removable to make way for troops. 

My bases are mdf trays (I got them from warbases, they are actually advertised as pond bases but I thought they were a good size for small copses/scatter terrain). How to get the tree to stand up on them? I toyed with the idea of bulking the trunk up with masking tape and using it to somehow stick to the bases, but it never really seemed a good idea and would also require additional painting. I wanted something a bit quicker and easier. 

The idea to use wooden beads came from my wife. They already have a hole so no need for drilling. Just glue them to the base, pop in a tree, job done. There are probably better ones available, more cylindrical rather than round, but these were in the house so they got used.

I applied some ground texture using a mix of diluted pva glue, sand and small stones, and tile grout. This is essentially what I use on my figure bases. I made it quite fluid and poured it onto the bases rather than apply with a brush or stick, then added extra sand to firm it up. When it was partly dry I pushed it up around the beads to hide them better. 

With the trees in place the beads are practically invisible, and when they are painted I reckon they will just disappear. I am hoping that I literally will not be able to see the wood(en beads) for the trees! I will report back when they are finished.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Project ESR

I have dipped in and out of 40K a few times. I love the art, don't know that much about the lore, like some of the figures and never really enjoyed the game system that much. I much prefer a fantasy setting. So I was a bit surprised with myself that I got swept up by the Indomitus hype train. The models in this set are truly incredible.

The necrons are of most interest. Years ago I picked up a few plastics with the intention of putting together a quick force - they are the undead of the 40K universe - thus pretty easy to paint up quickly. I never really liked the dayglo weapon tubes so chopped them out and built a slightly different version of the gun. And that was as far as I got. One of those ideas that seemed good at the time but came to nothing.

But now I am keen to resurrect the ESR (Evil Space Robots) as I jokingly call them. I dragged the warriors from out of the box on the top shelf of the cupboard, the equivalent of the burner located some distance beyond the back burner. I played around with a few colour schemes and settled on this one. It's not particularly original or inspiring, but it's quick to do. With more detailed models I think it will really come to (un)life.

Roll on the delivery date. I had to order from a company I have never used before after the box sold out within 10 minutes of the launch on the GW website, hopefully they will prove to be reliable. I cannot wait to get started on the lovely new models.
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