Monday, November 30, 2009

Avatar Nearing Completion

My painting, playing and posting have all taken a serious hit lately unfortunately. Primarily due to holiday stuff, work stuff, and general life stuff. I got some painting done though, and the Avatar is pretty much wrapped up. It's not the most crisp paint job though, and honestly I'm thinking of continuing to work on it. However that's for another day, perhaps after returning from my Christmas vacation (for four weeks). Anyway, pics below, and constructive feedback appreciated about whether I should continue or not.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Just under the wire! I've got a tournament at the LGS today and getting the Seraph painted was my goal so that I could once again be fully painted. I've been getting a lot friendly flack about having won the last tournament because of my one unpainted model, so this is my chance to show them that bare metal does not win tournaments. However, I have to admit, I'm fully expecting to get smoted this time around.

This guy was a bit of a rush job unfortunately, but also not quite as much fun to paint as I was hoping for. There are some subtle things about the sculpt that make it a little strange to paint. For example, the tips of the wings obviously want to be painted as claws (and are in the studio scheme), however the wing membrane is attached to said claws. I could have improvised something there, but in an effort to be done by today, I opted to just pass. I can always paint another one if I so desire.

What went well:
* The wings (aside from the membrane thing mentioned above) went much better than on eThagrosh. I'm actually pretty pleased with them overall.
* Skin shading worked out good again, with using the stark shading of Sanguine Base. I really like the look it creates.

What could have been better:
* Carapace just didn't work out. It's predominantly smooth, with little to no sculpted detail unfortunately.
* Mold lines on the head managed to escape my attention, so there's a couple of stupid spots as a result.

Hopefully this nasty cheating bugger helps bring me victory today! If nothing else, I'll feel less cheesy fielding him now that he's painted.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Retribution Prototype Paint Scheme

Recently a friend of mine said he was starting a Retribution force and was trying to work out a paint scheme. We were kicking around ideas and I volunteered to paint up a prototype for him. What follows is an overview of the process of painting this prototype. First though, I want to clarify the goals:
* The scheme should be darker, ideally incorporating the Cryx Bane Base.
* The scheme should be fast to paint.
* Purple was the alternate color to offset the CXB.
With that said, here's what I did.

Step one is to prime in white and then base coat the parts that will be metal with black. The white primer base makes it faster to lay down base coats. The black however is to help the metals pop better.

The next step is to base coat everything. For this scheme I used P3 Wurm green for all the armored parts, P3 Cygnar Blue Highlight for the cloth parts, and GW Boltgun Metal for, well, the metal parts. For the P3 paints I thinned them just a bit (about 2:1 paint:water) but the metal I took straight from the pot.

Next I do the first round of washes. The green gets a thick wash of CXB (about 1:1). The blue gets a thick wash of P3 Beaten Purple (again, about 1:1), although I found that it took a couple coats of this wash to get the desired effect. The metals get a healthy dose of GW Badab Black wash. I've become very fond of this wash lately for doing "clean" metals. There's a lot of buzz about Devlun Mud, but I really like the Badab Black to create a cleaner metal look.

I've included a picture of the back here to better show the effect of the purple wash over the blue. I like the effect that this method creates because the purple ends up with a cooler tone rather than a warmer reddish tone.

Unfortunately for the next step I didn't break the pictures down much, so I'll roll this up. First, I made a thin wash of VGC Black (about 1:8 paint:water) and washed both the armor and cloth parts with it. I did a small bit of sponging to make sure things didn't get too dark or pool too much. Next, I drybrushed the metal parts with GW Mithril Silver to work the metals back up quickly. At the same time I quickly painted all the "bumps" that pop out on the armor with the same silver. And finally I also made a thick wash of P3 Arcane Blue and P3 Turquoise Ink (about 2:1:3 paint:ink:water) to add the turquoise glow to the metals. Mixing in the ink wasn't necessary, but an added bit of punch to the color. For the bumps on the sword I painted them with straight P3 Arcane Blue.

Ugh, more blurred pics. Sorry! Anyway, for the final steps I highlighted the bumps on the sword with P3 Frostbite, and I also did just a bit of highlighting with P3 Wurm Green on the upper armor plates to bring the color back up just a bit.

And that's it! Grand total it took about 2 hours or so. The scheme worked out fairly well. I think a lighter green tone might be better, but this made a good prototype model at least.
The scheme is also very quick to paint, and could easily be put to an assembly line system to roll out a painted army fairly quickly I suspect. It's certainly not a show piece, but it gets paint on a model quickly and when facing the prospect of painting a whole army on a limited time budget, wash techniques can really help do that.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Progress is progress

I'm only really posting this to keep myself motivated. Yesterday I kept staring at all the black primer and it was driving me nuts. So, I went ahead and did the base coating of white. This is always the big debate in my mind when painting Menoth, especially jacks. It goes something like this:

MeOne: "I'm going to paint this Menoth model with the traditional white/red scheme."
MeTwo: "Then why don't you prime in white?"
MeOne: "Well, painting metals over white is terrible. I'd have to base coat black for those areas first."
MeTwo: "So prime in black?"
MeOne: "Yeah, but then it takes forever to basecoat all the white areas."
MeTwo: "So go with a black/red scheme instead?"
MeOne: "I thought about that, but warjacks should stand out on the battlefield."
MeTwo: "So just suck it up and do it."
MeOne: "First I want to whine about it though."
MeTwo: "Screw this. I'm going to get a beer."
MeOne: "...."
[and then the model sits on my desk for a week before progress gets made]

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Why the Avatar is SPD 4...

This model is taking me forever to paint. I keep getting distracted with other projects. The Seraph got bumped in my painting queue due to the upcoming Steamroller 4 tournament at the LGS on the 14th, and I feel obligated to at least make an honest attempt at getting back to fully painted. Anyway, I'm tinkering with the Avatar at the same time. The photo this time is better, but the lighting on my desk just exacerbates the challenge of photographing a model that was primed black on a bright background. However, as you can see, I've got the golds and silvers mostly done except for final highlighting. I've base coated the cloth bits at this point and plan to do them next. I always prefer to leave whites until last only because of my tendency to splatter onto them. Hopefully this weekend will provide for a bit more painting time on this big boy.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

eThagrosh vs Stryker

Last night I played a wicked fun game against our local Cygnar player at the LGS. Right up front, let me apologize for the photo quality, as I am still getting used to the new camera and need to figure out the many settings. However, despite the terrible photos, the game itself was ridiculously fun, and not just because I won either. My opponent was very gracious, and this battle was actually the result of the two of us not getting a chance to play against each other in the Flash Point tournament. As a result we brought our lists from that tournament in order to see how things would go, but we also turned off the "tournament mode" and returned to friendly gamer mode.

The Lists:
Me: eThagrosh, Typhon, Carnivean, Seraph, Shredder, Incubi, Striders+UA, Deathstalker, Forsaken, Totem Hunter, Swamp Gobbers
Aaron: Stryker, Ol Rowdy, Thorn, 4 Storm Lances, Trenchers (9 + Grenade Porter), Laddermore, Squire, Journeyman Warcaster, Black 13th, Gorman

The Mission:
Assassination, plain and simple.

The Throwdown:
This was a fun battle. I don't have a lot of experience playing against Stryker, so naturally he caught me numerous times with earthquake, especially the poor Seraph which, despite being a flying creature, got knocked down with alarming frequency. Gorman was also highly effective at tossing black oil on the Carnivean just when I didn't want him to. However, on the flipside, the Striders did a great job of thinning and eventually wiping out the Trenchers before they could do too much damage. And the good thing about the Seraph is he can still use slipstream and give Typhon a bit of a movement boost by sacrificing his attack. In fact, the Seraph never took a shot the whole game. Thagrosh and Stryker were both commanding their armies from the back, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Due to some unfortunateness with Laddermore's arcing lightning, the gobbers met an early end which sort of forced Thagrosh's hand though. Fortunately the consummate rockstar Typhon was able to deliver some serious disruption to the front line of the battle.

The Endgame:
Again, Typhon is a rockstar. With the benefit of Dragon's Blood and Spiny Growth he managed to get stuck in well and then the Seraph was able to slipstream him into position to start trashing Stryker. Unfortunately, it was on Stryker's feat round, so the trashing was kept to around 10 points of damage. And then Stryker retaliated with earthquake and fleeing and surrounding the Carnivean with stuff to stick him in. However, Stryker couldn't get enough damage leveraged to take anything in particular out. Despite getting Typhon knocked down, the Seraph was able to slipstream Typhon up enough so that he could stand and hose down Stryker with 3 sprays and finish the job of the previous round.

The Highlights:
Typhon continues to be a slippery little devil, and the Seraph just makes him that much more amazing. Those two make a duo that presents a lot of disruption potential to enemy plans. In Aaron's own words, he was trying to get in position to pull off an assassination, but my army was just too fast and tough. The overall synergy of the army continues to be flexible and fun. It's hard to point at any piece of it and say it's the single most effective or useless piece of the army.
On the Cygnar side, I have to admit that the Storm Lances were very good at blocking lanes and tying things up. And Ol Rowdy was certainly a nasty little beatstick. Stryker himself too is a very effective toolbox. It was definitely a fun challenge to play against this Cygnar force.

The Reflection:
It's odd for me to think that I'm likely to keep playing this same list for a while. Certainly there's the limitation that I need new models to really change it up much. However ignoring that, I really love playing eThagrosh. eLylyth is even sitting in my cabinet fully painted and never played because I find eThagrosh so entertaining. This last game I even managed to use more of his spell list as I found a good opportunity (although failed the roll). Anyway, it's late and I desire to dream yet further of the great avatar of Everblight marching across the plains toward victory.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Minotaur Side Project

This side project has been sitting on my desk for months now, and I finally got around to finishing it. It originally started as just a distraction model to practice blending and fine details on when I was doing squads or speed painting other stuff (essentially to have an OCD outlet). However recently I decided to just get it finished up. It's really one of a very few display-only pieces I've done ironically. My normal display case doesn't actually have any display-only pieces in it so this is sort of a first for my own collection.

What went well:
* Skin - Although it isn't "beastly" or "dirty", it was good practice for me. I put more time into zenithal highlighting and feel like it helped a lot. There are definitely places where the blending is not very smooth, but overall I feel pretty good about the use of color.
* Axe runes - More on that later.
* Horns/Hooves - These turned out pretty good. I didn't do a wash over them in the end, which I think could have smoothed them out.
* Metals - I like how well these pop. I really put more effort into this because the metals are such a prevalent portion of the model. Honestly, I feel like I learned a bit more on how to work with just silver metals.

What could have been better:
* Leathers - They just didn't turn out the way I wanted. Not sure how to explain it, but they just don't look right.
* Hair - Blah... what more to say. I tried out a bit of a new technique which I think will work better in the long term, but after reading some tips from EricJ, I'm totally disillusioned about sculpted hair and how to paint it now.

Ok, one specific thing to focus on for this model. The runes on the axe head are something I tried different than usual. I wanted to make them appear somewhat glowing, but I opted for a different style. Here I used a technique called stippling (lots of dots basically) rather than trying to blend, and the end result is sort of a "star field glow" sort of effect. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Well, that's it for now. My painting desk is now back down to a single active project (the Avatar), and I recently finished building a new paint rack so I suspect my painting frequency should climb back up to a respectable level again.