Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vassal of Menoth

The other day when I explained to my buddy that I still hadn't painted the Vassal, he looked at me quizzically and couldn't fathom how a model that was both quite cool and had awesome game stats hadn't moved to the top of my painting queue. It was a fair question. Admittedly I'd been a little burnt out on the Protectorate paint scheme lately and enjoying doing fresh stuff. However, I finally got crackin on this guy. I decide to take my time with him, since he was a small model. After some amount of struggle I managed to get rolling and suddenly it felt like my muse was back.

I tried to go for a fairly dramatic highlighting technique on this one. I also tried to balance the color around so that it draws the eyes back and forth. For example, the lower legs and the should armor and flesh all draw to each other. Similarly with the chains, mask and cloak, and again with the red cloth and hair. It's not very well done, admittedly, since I didn't force the color tones closer together, but that was the intention. I feel like it sort of works.

For the metals I tried using as much contrast as possible, particularly on the chains. I only really used Cold Steel, thinned Black, and Vallejo Metal Medium. I tried to keep a good solid defining line of black around the bits to make them stand out. I used this technique on the Testament before and really liked the results then. I spotted on some thinned down Vallejo Smoke to give it a slightly rusted and dirty look, but not enough to overpower the metal.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


First, let me state that this is was an enlightening model for me. I primed this one white rather than black as I normally would with jacks and protectorate models. Then, about halfway through I looked at it and got quite frustrated. It was just not looking very good. In fact, I was having that same problem with the Vassal too. So I decide to just muscle through it and aim for tabletop quality. Well, an interesting thing happened. I also got more magnets in the mail the other day, so I decided to haul my remaining models up to my painting desk and glue magnets to them. The remaining models consisted of mostly some protectorate troops and all the protectorate jacks. After getting them up here, I set down my Revenger and came to a huge realization: My painting skills have really improved dramatically. You see, the Revenger (pictured below) was one of the very first models from Warmachine that I painted, and definitely the first jack I painted. I remember putting a lot of effort into it too, since I loved that jack. And today, sitting beside it, is the Redeemer that I rushed through and settled for "tabletop quality". Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty good about my painting skills now, and not going to beat myself up for the quality.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Warwitch Deneghra

This model went remarkably fast. I primed her Saturday afternoon and pretty much painted her all in one day yesterday. Again, it helps that I'm balancing quality vs speed, so the couple corners I cut really helped speed things up, but part of that was offset by trying to do more NMM work on this one as well as having to work delicately on the skin. I ended up spending a lot of time correcting mistakes that spilled over onto her skin. However, the end result worked out pretty well. I like the overall look of the NMM on her witch barbs. The spear could have been better, but I decided not to dwell on it. I can always get the other sculpt at some point and paint her over again.
Working the NMM areas was much easier on a single model instead of 10 at once like with the Bane Thralls. I was able to keep paint wet and workable longer and could take my time getting just the right shades. Her skirt was also a nice place to practice some very controlled, small 2-brush blending work. I wouldn't necessarily rank this in my favorite models to paint category, but the delicate and accessible features made for a much easier project that some of my other recent choices.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bane Thralls

Let me say it again: Painting squads can be really soul crushing. It takes so long, and it often feels monotonous. Fortunately, these models were not completely soul crushing. I was pretty stoked to paint them, and although I only aimed for tabletop quality, I still feel pretty happy with the results.
Again, I used the NMM rust technique I've used before (on the witches for example) and I really like how it turned out. I also used NMM on the axe heads which, well, it turned out adequate, but not fabulous. They clearly could have benefited from much more effort, but by the time I got to the axe heads (last) I was pretty antsy to get them finished. I used a couple washes on them (black and Bloodstone) to sort of dirty them up which really helped. In hindsight, I think getting a better spread of grayscale paints would really ease the whole NMM thing for simulating steel.
Admittedly I cut a few corners. There were some inner sleeves that I skipped, and some dangly bits that didn't get extra attention. Fortunately the washing technique gave them enough pop that they didn't need additional work, and in a group it's less likely to be noticed. Part of me hates to cut these corners, but I'm trying to stick with balancing quality and speed. It's sort of a "time boxing" rule I guess, as much as using that term makes me sick.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

From the Painting Desk: From Quality to Quantity...

Just a quick post before bed. After working on higher quality stuff, I've shifted gears to work on my Bane Thralls and practicing more of the speed washing techniques I used before. Probably almost halfway done at this point. I just worked on the main armor and chainmail using layers of washes, and then laid down a base coat for the skirts. It feels nice to make such a large amount of progress in a single day. Again, not going for super quality, but medium quality and relative speed, and so far I'm pretty happy with how these are turning out.

On a personal note, tomorrow my wife and I are celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with a couple friends of ours, so between that and work, I'll probably not get the other half of the work done on these until next weekend. Yay for fun and holidays and such, but boo on lack of progress.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Capt Jeremiah Kraye

And here he is... Capt Jeremiah Kraye. My second mounted figure. This was a job for Jeff, who was kind enough to let me paint this model. I wanted to paint it, but didn't really fancy buying it for myself. Again, like the stuff for Sean, another perfect opportunity to paint a great model without having to buy it myself. Maybe I'm a little crazy. However, I will admit it'll be nice to be back to painting my own models that will get table time.
For this model, I did more than normal prep work in getting him assembled. I originally started the model as two pieces also, with the horse/Kraye separate from the base, and once I got far enough I attached the two together. I still ended up getting a little slop on the base that had to be corrected, but it was pretty minor. It's become my habit for a while now to paint models fully assembled unless absolutely necessary.
As for this particular model, here's a handful of things that I feel worked out well:
  • The gray/blue/black horse made a nice offset color to the rest of the model.
  • Kraye's white gloves/chaps/etc give him a nice "civil war" type of feel, which I thing really suits the sculpt.
  • A combination of both silver and gold helped give the metals plenty of pop without overpowering the general feel of the model.
  • In general, the brightness and color balance of the model I feel keeps the eyes moving over the whole thing decently, but helps to draw the eyes to Kraye himself.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

October Woes

Well, as October begins, I realize I should set forth another challenge for myself. However, this week started off with an avalanche of challenges at work and home, and left me pretty much a drooling vegetable. I'm not expecting things to get much better, so this month will see a break from the Mercs to get caught up on other things that I've wanted to get done. This month I plan to finish Kraye for Jeff, and get the Vassal and Redeemer painted for my Menoth force. I'm worried that even that is ambitious, but hopefully October will level back out for me.

On a side note, I got some new brushes (more Series 7s). I picked up a couple new #2s since my usual one had gotten a fair amount of paint in the ferrule and it has lost a number of hairs making it's precision a problem. Now I can use a fresh #2 and not worry. If it wasn't for the amazing prices from Dick Blick, I'd never be able to paint so freely with the Series 7s. I also picked up a 2/0 brush to try out for super detailed work. I don't expect to use it often though, as even the 1/0 I have now is pretty specialized.