Review: Urbanmatz’ 6’x4′ Badlands Game Mat.

Warning, Pic HEAVY! – Also, most pics can be clicked for larger versions.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Here’s the next of my gaming mat reviews. Once again, this one is from Urbanmatz, based in the Czech Republic. The Badlands Game Mat. I chose this one as I’d been wanting something to (approximately) match the style that the majority of my models are based with. That is: dark earth, patchy grass and the occasional bit of rock.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Citadel Miniatures Zoat

Like my base!

As with the other mats I’ve gotten from Urbanmatz, the design is printed onto neoprene (mouse pad material) and is quite nice. The following pictures of a Kings of War game basically show the mat off for similar Rank & File-based games, so your WHFB, 9th Age, WotR, or historicals such as Hail Caesar, Pike & Shotte, etc. I recently reviewed their 6’x3′ Space Mat along with the Fantasy Flight 3’x’3′ X-Wing Starfield Mat and also their Snow Territory 6’x4′ mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

While the mat may look a little glare-y in some photos, and perhaps a bit washed out – it’s my lighting and photography to blame there. In person, it looks really nice.

Having said that, this is probably the time to emphasise again that despite them sending me a (stained) snow mat gratis, this isn’t any kind of paid for review, I paid full price (plus shipping to Australia!) for this mat and just as when I’ve reviewed and links to places like Red Box, Maxmini, Kromlech, Scotia Grendel, Brigade, RPE, Reaper, Games Workshop or anyone else, I don’t get any kickbacks from the links inside this review to pimp their wares, nor to I carry on and on about how wonderful (X company)’s products are every post. Unlike some others out there. 😉

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

I also took a few 40k-themed photos as well. We set up a small imperial supply outpost out in the boonies somewhere, where the Imperial Guard present are assaulted by (who else?) the Iron Warriors.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

I didn’t set up any fantasy or historical skirmish games for photos, but I think you can pretty well judge for yourself at this stage. It’s going to work well for a lot of genres and games from dinosaurs, through ancients, all flavbours of historicals and moderns through to sci-fi. It’s a nice, generic rural “out int he bush somewhere” pattern that works well with the three elements that I use in most of my models’ basing. I also found that it works both with “forest” and “jungle” foliage when I was playing around with my scenery, so that’s a bonus in my book.

Once again, the mat came in it’s own, labelled bag at no additional cost. I really like these bags, and it would be great if Urbanmatz would consider selling them separately as well. I need to get one for my FFG X-Wing mat so I don’t need to store it in the box anymore, one for my GW “green grass” mat, one for my ancient Armourcast (I think) mat, and then a few (or one) to bundle my smallish Mantic ones into. I know of another vendor who does sell them, so I might have to sort it out that way later on.

Verdict: This mat is pretty much what I wanted it to be. I can’t say that I’m surprised, but if it wasn’t a good one, I’d be pretty disappointed and would not be shy about sharing that. It’s a good mat, the quality is there, and the design is one that I’m happy with. If you like the design, I can’t complain about the quality of the mat or the service I got from Urbanmatz, so I really don’t have any hesitation in recommending them.

I’ve got one more of these things to review now – Dirty Roads. We’ve actually got an AoS game set up out in the shed ready to go, so I’ll try and get some in-progress shots to include in the next review.

 

Review: Urbanmatz’ 6’x4′ Snow Territory Game Mat.

Warning, Pic HEAVY! – Also, most pics can be clicked for larger versions.

Recently, at the end of 2016 I placed an order for three gaming mats from Urbanmatz, based in the Czech Republic. There was a delay on one of the mats I ordered, as it was out of stock for a few weeks, though Martin was kind enough to offer me a freebie Snow Territory mat, which he explained had some yellowed stain marks on it. I gladly accepted the offer, and am reviewing the mat now, with the noted discolouration noted and allowed for. I recently reviewed their 6’x3′ Space Mat along with the Fantasy Flight 3’x’3′ X-Wing Starfield Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat.

Once again, the Urbanmatz mat is on neoprene (mouse pad material) and is quite nice. I wasn’t sure what to expect when it was offered, and while I was secretly hoping for a 6×4, was expecting a 4×4, not wanting to get my hopes up – but it turned out that it was a full-sized 6×4 mat.

Now I don’t have any models at all based for a snow environment, and even my thoughts around (eventually) playing Frostgrave involved basically ignoring the cold-weather setting but my initial thoughts when it was offered was actually to use it as a second mat for X-Wing, especially given the precedent from the recent films for atmospheric fighter battles.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat.

Unlike some other Snow/Arctic mats I’ve browsed recently, the details in the Urbanmatz offering are quite subtle and non-specific, even being pretty scale-agnostic. Just offering a hint of something buried below the snow, but subtle enough that the mat could also be used as a cloudscape if that was something needed for a game. I’d take some comparison pictures showing the textures with 15mm armour followed by 28mm infantry if I had anything painted appropriately.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Star Wars X-Wing

I did spend the better part of an afternoon with Marouda setting up and laying out figures to see how it all would look. First up were a couple of flights of X-Wing ships.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Star Wars X-Wing

I honestly think it looks a treat for X-Wing and gives a nice unique look to the (pretend) battle – and should do so when we actually do play X-Wing on it.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat.

Here’s a close-up of some of the discolouration on the mat. I was expecting it to be far worse, potentially in large yellow piss-patches in the middle of the mat but the issues are limited to a few places around the edge. While I can fully understand why Urbanmatz are unable to sell these, they’re minor enough for me to be able to ignore, especially given that the mat was a freebie

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat, Bolt Action

Time for some 28mm models, then. As mentioned before, I lack enough proper painted WW2 to really do much, and I’m completely lacking in snow-themed terrain, so I laid down some old, old Armorcast ruined building corners and my platoon of painted Warlord T-34/85 tanks. The tanks looked alright, though obviously whitewashed would have fit in more effectively.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat, Bolt Action

The buildings, left unbased as they are is usually a positive on darker surfaces as it allows for much more modularity, but on the Snowy Terrain mat they do kinda stand out too starkly. Clearly, if I want to do much with this mat, I should sort out some snow-covered hills and perhaps a few copses of snow-tipped trees. Frozen lake? Snow-covered cabin? Grimdork from Dakka did a whole little snow-themed table recently, and I do have a jar of Jo Sonja’s texture paste around here somewhere…

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat, Bolt Action

The buildings could probably work reasonably well on the Snowy mat if I were to make some squares of “internal damaged building” to lay in the middle of them. Or maybe even some squares of appropriate-looking linoleoum cut with slightly uneven edges?

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Frostgrave

Next up was to lay some more dense scenery onto the mat and see how it looked. First up we went for a kind of Fantasy layout, a pretend-game of Sorta-Frostgrave, to see how it all looks. More specifically to see how my existing terrain worked with the Snow Territory Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Frostgrave

And… it actually looked decent. To me at least. The dark, scorched brown looking bases on both the models and some of the terrain obviously contrast quite starkly with the Snow Territory mat, but it kinda works for me. Obviously snow on bases would make everything tie in much more effectively, but it’s far from awful.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Frostgrave

I hadn’t expected it to work this well, but I found it quite reasonable. Far from perfect, but very workable.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Frostgrave

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Frostgrave

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Frostgrave

Next up I added my Conan Wolves into the fray. Frostgrave has random encounters. Probably not 10 wolves at a time, but whatevs. This is for photos.

So yeah. Not too bad at all. Next up was to swap some of the fantasy terrain out and do the same with some 40k models and terrain.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Warhammer 40,000, 40k, Kill Team

Yeah, that’s a lot of 40k photos. Basically, I took a ton photos and used a small proportion of them above. I guess the point of them all is to give a good “feel” of how the mat works in a smallish 40k game with a pile of scatter terrain on it. I wasn’t hopeful when it came to using it for 40k, but as with the “Frostgrave” game above, I’m pleasantly surprised with how well it works.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Wolf Pack

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Wolf Pack

I thought I’d see how the wolves I painted recently look on the mat without vikings and scenery in the way as well, especially given their snow-grey coats. The answer, pretty decent.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Star Wars Miniatures

Star Wars Imperial transports in roughly 6mm scale? Seems to work well…

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Star Wars Miniatures

As does their larger cousin in (sorta) 28mm scale from the Hasbro/WotC Star Wars Miniatures game.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Star Wars Miniatures

Leading to potential use next time we go to a snow planet in the Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG (The PC’s minis are on the far right).

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Star Wars Miniatures

I evidently only have 6 Snowtroopers. How embarassing! I also couldn’t find my AT-STs.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Axis & Allies Angels 20, WWII Dogfight, WW2 Dog Fight

Bringing us full circle with some air combat, I got out some Axis & Allies Angels 20 planes to see how it looked.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat. Axis & Allies Angels 20, WWII Dogfight, WW2 Dog Fight

Once again, I feel that it looks fine – Great even for air combat battles. I got out some Soviet and Luftwaffe planes for these pics, but it would work just as well for Western Europe 1945 or any other era’s dogfights above the snow. I had a feeling that it’d look good after seeing the X-Wing ships on it, but I wanted to put the WW2 fighters on it and see for myself.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Snow Territory Game Mat.

Once again, the bag shots. The 6×4 bag comes with a carry bag that’s noticeably larger than the 6×3 (above in the shot).

Verdict: I’m very pleasantly surprised with the snow mat. I have to admit, it’s not something I’d have ever really considered purchasing, and getting it for free is the only reason I own it. Having it in hand and having had a significant play around with my models on it along with the camera, I can really appreciate it now – especially given the versatility that I managed to work out of it. It’s perhaps not the very best design out there if you only want to play Frostgrave, but I personally really appreciate the fact that it’s very scale-agnostic and works for games and scales from X-Wing to WW2 Dogfights to the more typical 40k/Frostgrave/etc. Clearly it’d work just as well for SAGA, WHFB, Kings of War, Bolt Action, Flames of War and pretty much anything in pretty much any scale needing a winter snow theme, given some complimentary scenery (which I lack).

And to reiterate – while I received this mat for free, there was no request for, no offer nor any implication of Quid Pro Quo in exchange for it. It was kindly offered (I’d guess because I’d already bought 3 and 2 of them were OOS) and gladly accepted, without knowing the size or condition it would be in, given that they were upfront that it was marked. All of the photos were taken over a couple of sessions as I worked out how best I could make use of it myself, and all of the review text are my honest thoughts, feelings and reflections on the mat.

Dust Tactics Supply Drop Boxes

No wanker jokes, please...

No wanker jokes, please…

Since this became a thing last week (along with a roof leak that has had half of the house lights out of action only the night before), I haven’t been doing much proper painting, and typing has been limited to pecking at the keys with one hand. So neither painting nor blogging have been all that much of a thing, and my cleaning up of the paint desk got halfway done (underneath) but I only got as far as cleaning up the Old Citadel/Coat D’Arms/P3 style pots that were scattered about. I’d been wanting to write up a post about the second squad of Minotaurs Space marines I finished recently, but my mood hasn’t been great enough to concentrate on it, so I’m doing this one instead on the scenery I’ve just finished up with this weekend.

Allied DUST Tactics Supply drop crates.

Allied DUST Tactics Supply drop crates.

I have done a little bit of painting of sorts though – more simple scatter scenery. These crates come from the various DUST Tactics boxed sets I’ve accumulated over the years. Like so much in my collection, they sat around unused for ages before I got them out and primed them with PSC US Armour and Dunkelgelb Warspray cans. I did that several months ago, before winter set in and made spraying in any form very difficult. Since I could do very little else with my wrist as it is, I got Marouda to help me out over the weekend and tried out the Plastic Soldier Company spray stains that I purchased several years ago but have avoided using on my models in favour of more controlled washes and so forth applied by brush. I didn’t really enjoy using them, but they did the job – especially once I went over them with a drybrush afterwards (and a little dark spot wash on the US ones). I completed them with a gloss polyurethane varnish afterwards for hardiness, followed by Testor’s Dullcote to give them a nice matt finish.

Axis DUST Tactics Supply drop crates.

The Axis crates were painted in the same manner as the US ones, though painting them and even looking at them now brings huge annoyance, as the assembly line workers in China seem to have mis-assembled several of the crates, as they have three different types of end-cap mixed across two different types of chassis. Still, if I don’t look too hard, I’ll be able to get past it.

Abwurfbehälter with Fallschirmjäger  Abwurfbehälter with Fallschirmjäger

Abwurfbehälter with Fallschirmjäger

This style of supply drop canister is loosely based on the Abwurfbehälter that were used by the Fallschirmjäger during WWII. The real ones went through several iterations – beginning as wood and finally ending up in a metal style that was the most common and well known. In WWII the Abwurfbehälter had specific markings that denoted their contents, though in the case of these Dust ones, I’ve decided to keep mine entirely without markings – so as to be more generic to work more easily across more games – From DUST (if I ever play it) to Konflict ’47 to 30&40k, various 28mm Star Wars games and hell, even moderns or Bolt Action.

 

 

 

The Winter Doldrums.

Some of you might be wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately. Well, this time the issue hasn’t been work, but midwinter. Not the winter painting doldrums, either – but a terribad cold that just won’t go away and drains much of my energy. I’ve still been well enough to go to work, and even do some painting and modelling and even forum-ing, but I’ve just not really had the energy for blogging properly. Not wanting to go out to take photos of my models in the (freezing bloody cold) war room. models needing to take a week before I can spray varnish them because it’s too cold (and dark) once I get home from work. I’ve been dividing my recreation time between mostly-simple hobby tasks and simple models and simple painting, and even then I’ve had to force myself. The other place I’ve been spending my time is on the PS4 – playing The Division and Mad Max, which I’ve picked up again after losing interest and putting it down a year ago.

I’ve got another unit of Celtos Skeletons almost done. Literally just a couple of hours of work left on them – mostly on the command, and – oh yeah – I have to figure out a bloody banner for them since the model is an old-school banner bearer with a bare crossbar. So a couple of hours, plus figuring out how to do the banner. (I should go old-school and cut up a cloth banner, like I used to in my Oldhammer days!) Since I’m running out of 4th Edition Goblin shields with the cool embossed skulls and crossbones on them, and I want to keep my few Marauder Undead shields for really special models, I was going to go the freehand route again. Then while rooting around amongst my transfers looking for sheets to use on the Minotaurs and Iron Warriors, I found three old Undead decal sheets, dated 1996 and untouched.

I think I had planned to use several of these on Space Marines, as new/different chapter badges. Certainly the red-hooded skulls look like they’d work perfectly as an Unforgiven chapter, and the winged skulls as a Night Lords subfaction. The Flaming skulls make me think of Word Bearers for some reason (I know, they use the tome). Maybe a “Ghost Riders” chapter? 😉

It’s funny though. I’ve actually gone back and forth on whether I should use them or not. I mean, I can obviously freehand a bunch of skulls and bones that will look pretty good, but it would also add a nice touch of older-school to use some of these old decals. But can I bring myself to defile these one-off, 20-year-old sheets?

The First Unit of Mantic Skeletons

A slightly odd title, I know. But the fact is that I’ve got quite a few more of these suckers to paint at some stage, so I’m simply future-proofing this (series of) post(s) now.

I haven’t posted for awhile – a combination of being perma-fatigued from work and personal life issues, and the onset of the winter doldrums. I did bugger-all from the end of last month until about the middle of last week, when I finally got back to work. The end of the first 6-month “Tale of Gamers” challenge I’ve been running over on Dakka is coming to a close in a few days, and I need(ed) to get my skates on. I still need to get something finished for Gondor, the boring bastards!

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

These models were actually started several years ago, shortly after I purchased Mantic Games’ Dwarf King’s Hold: Dead Rising. Seeing as the game came with a dozen or so of Mantic’s Skellymans, and I had none painted or assembled at the time, I took a sprue or two from my (at the time) recent purchase of Kings of War 1st Edition: Morgoth’s Revenge (aka the one with the awful dwarves and a tiny A5 pamphlet for a rulebook) and built them up for the game.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

I can’t remember if DKH has a skeleton hero or not – or if I just built the guy with the two swords to keep myself interested. The feather-plumed skeleton also has a unit leader feel to him, though. Perhaps when I do another dozen of these guys one of this pair will remain here as the unit leader while the other moves on to lead the second unit.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

I only have three spears in this unit, as it was built for the boardgame. At some stage, I’ll build a spear-heavy contingent to combine with these guys (and one of those leaders up above) to make a spear unit. I’ll also do a few more with hand weapons to fill out a unit with regular weapons.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

All of the shields on these models have freehand designs. I’ll have to think of some other designs that are both simple to paint and suitable for this sort of undead models. Any ideas? Nothing too creative or exciting for these guys, though!

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

The difficulty with these models is as nice as these have come up – honestly, to my surprise – they were a real bastard to paint. Not fun at all. The issue I have is that the details are very shallow. I don’t mind fine detail, but it’s all very shallow on these guys, and as such, not simple and easy to paint in my style. Skeletons with well-defined details and bones are usually a joy to paint, but these aren’t it.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

While Mantic’s Undead are often cited as their best range – certainly before the latest batch of KoW plastics came onto the scene recently – and I do agree that the Zombies (and Ghouls, I guess – I’ve used a ton of Ghoul parts on my Zombies) are great models. The differences are that the Zombies are a real pleasure to paint, but are severely limited in their components and require a fair bit of work to get differentiation once you go beyond the first few models (hence using all those Ghoul parts on mine). The Skeletons on the other hand have a lot more components to choose from to make the models more varied, and like the Zombies, they look pretty good once done – but they’re the opposite of the pleasure to paint that the Zombies are.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Will I paint some more? Well, I feel obliged to do another dozen in order to split the spears and hand weapons, so I’m sure I’ll do those this year. After that, it’ll be a second dozen of each to bring each of them to horde-size, though that’s less likely to happen this year. I also have a few sprues of Mantic’s Skeleton Revenants, though again, no real plans to do those anytime soon. Maybe I’ll paint my Mantic Skeleton Cavalry first…

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Still, I have to give this painting challenge credit – It motivated me to sort out these guys who had been assembled and nothing more but sat aside for around four years or more, and now we have another finished unit of models, and while they’re not going to win any Crystal Brushes, I reckon they make a very nice unit for the table.

 

Painting Skeletons – A Warm Bone Tutorial.

Like great men everywhere*, I’m always happy to share my methods and techniques when asked. In this case, Imperialrebelork asked me if I could share how I paint the bone on my skeletons and other undead, and as I had these guys coming up in the queue, they provided me with a perfect set of models to use as an example. It’s a pretty simple system. Pretty much base coat, two down and three up.

*Note – I’m not calling myself a great man, just saying that like great men, I’m happy to share. 😉 – OR AM I?

Cleaned model & Primed model.

The first thing was the usual. Cleaning the models. In this case, a mob of 22 metal “fir bolg” skeletons from Brigade Models. I’d have taken a photo, but I forgot and it doesn’t really matter. Unpainted bare metal models glued down to plastic slottabases. Not a huge stretch of the imagination, amirite?

Now usually, I prime skeletons white. I know a lot of people prefer to start dark, but I’m the opposite with skellys. In this case, I did something a little different to my normal way. I recently asked Marouda to grab me some spray paints when she went past a local hardware place. I’ve been using Several Shades of Grey on some scenery projects that I haven’t yet shown, and also asked her to pick this one up for me, as a trial for undead.

White Knights Squirts – Gloss Cream – AU$7.45 from Bunnings.

We all know that GW cycles through a bunch of different coloured sprays for basecoats every few years before losing interest and discontinuing them, and Army Painter cans are popular. Both cost around AU$30 on average last time I cared enough to look. This can was less than ten bucks. I’ve had mixed results with Army Painter and Rustoleum on models, but nice cheap White Knight seems to come through every time. It’s good stuff. I’d have been happier with matt, but it’s a base coat and I’m going to seal them when it’s all said and done anyway, so whatever.

After their spray with White Knight

Now usually, I spray prime white, then I paint all of the bone elements of the model with Old-GW “Bleached Bone” or the equivalent. (Ushabti Bone, Vallejo Bonewhite, etc). – for something different, I gave this paint a test, and it looked just fine. No problems with coverage, etc – so I did the whole lot in it. Except for one model who fell down on my desk that I missed – Little bastard! Since it’s a spray it didn’t manage to hit every little bit, so the choice is to tidy up with Bonewhite (as I use the Vallejo) or respray depending on how much is missed.

A choice of bone basecoats

Assuming that you don’t have a local source of cream/bone coloured spray paint, or just prefer not to, these are a few paints that would work just as well. I’ve never used Flayed One Flesh and am unlikely to since I’m quite happy using the last of my old-school bleached bone and the Vallejo Bonewhite – the same paint I use for touchup after the spray.

With and without the first shade layer.

The first shade layer is applied with a very-thinned “Snakebite Leather” or equivalent. Lately I’m using XV-88, which – despite it’s ridiculous name – has a colour and consistency that I like very much. Often when painting over traditional paint I use saliva to thin the paint. I drop a little drop of clean saliva (no bubbles) into the palette and a drop of paint next to it and then draw them together. Saliva has a slightly more “elastic” quality to it than mediums be they water, Lahmian Medium, Windex or commercial acrylic medium. This allows better control with the brush when moving it around on the model. Blame John Blanche and a very old White Dwarf’s “Blanche Itsu” article.

All of these paints are effectively “Snakebite Leather” for the first shade layer.

With these models, I used windex and water. The nature of having used a gloss enamel spray can for the base coat meant a much smoother finish to the models than if I’d painted them with white primer followed by acrylic miniature paint. As you can see above, the flow was smooth, and white there are a few tide marks left in spots like the shoulder blades and near the arm joints, that’s fine – they get fixed later. You can also see that as well as going into the recesses between bones and joints, the wash also stains the bone slightly.

Second layer of shading – almost a lining exercise. After (left), Before (right)

The next step is the second layer of shading. I use a very dark brown paint – and again that can change from batch of skeletons to batch. Once again I thin the paint right down via either saliva or various mediums. This second layer of shading is something I’ve only started doing in the last couple of years. Might have even been last year, but I think it adds nicely to the final result – though I guess it’s optional if you’re wanting to get them done a bit faster. This time, I shade only between specific bones. Between and underneath the ribs, and then I do major joints. So elbows, knees, hips, the jaw, sometimes between the fibula and tibia (lower leg), sometimes between the radius and ulna (forearms). I also line between the fingers and toes but not the metacarpals and metatarsals (the bits of our hands and feet usually covered in skin). Sure, it’s not especially realistic to have the fingers defined but not the metacarpals in a skeleton but it’s a visual look that works since we’re used to looking at fingers and toes.

This Model Air paint: 71.041 Tank Brown – is my current go-to. I had to write the number on the label after it wore off the main part.

The important thing here is to keep the second layer of shading to joints and holes, etc only. We don’t want to be staining the top layer if at all possible. I do go over the mouth and teeth area, as well as the nose, eye sockets and a very subtle-thin bit in the sphenoid – where your temple is behind the eye sockets/orbitals.

Any of these will work. The AP is a bit lighter though, so would be my last choice.

Now our two layers of shading are done – the “two down”. We do our three layers of highlighting – or the “three up”. The first layer is the same bone that we used for our basecoat, as seen up the page. Thin it down nicely (saliva recommended) and then carefully overpaint the bones in spots where they’re raised – leaving the lower and most recessed bones untouched. This is where we start to neaten up the tide marks and other messy bit left by our two layers of shading. The first layer of highlighting is essentially restoring the base coat colour to the model where it’s needed while neatening and leaving the shading that we want to keep.

L-R: No highlight, Layer 1, Layer 2

The second layer is pretty simple as well. With a lighter shade of the same colour (or add white) we highlight more of the edges of the bones, top and sides of the skull, the parts of the ribs at the forefront of the model, the spinal column, the raised portions.

L-R: Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3

Finally, the last layer is done with an almost-white paint, and here we only paint the top of the skull and facial details, the very tips of fingers, and upper and outer edges of bones and joints. The tips of the spine. I use a very fine brush here to pick out individual teeth. You can see it most easily in the pic above on the ribcage and the skull.

A selection of highlight colour options. The Vallejo are 72.101 Off White and 72.098 Elfic Flesh

The two colours I use here are both Vallejo Game Colours: 72.101 Off White and 72.098 Elfic Flesh. At this point it’s a matter of painting (or finishing) any cloth, armour, weapons or other junk being carried around by your Skellies, sorting your bases, and you’re pretty much done.

I are finish! (this image is unfortunately a bit overexposed/washed out)

Now this method isn’t going to win any Golden Demons or Crystal Brushes, but it’s a relatively quick, easy and simple way to get a “warm bone” look, uses a limited palette of 5 colours and I’m happy with the results. It’s even simple enough that I can manage to chip away at it in my lunch breaks at work.

Another batch painted using the same techniques, photographed with different lighting.

RPE/Ral Partha Europe Launches Dwarf Kickstarter

I rarely pimp Kickstarters. I’ve done it for three counting this one – Impact Miniatures’ not-Blood Bowl campaign (delivered, but a year late). Shieldwolf’s Shieldmaiden campaign (cancelled, and currently relaunched with 5 days to go. And now this one. Simply because I like what they’re doing:

It’s the kind of small-scale, low-risk KS I’m still happy to back. RPE do their own casting, they’re a solvent business who I’ve bought from before and the first five models are already done. Most importantly, I like the models, as I’ve always had a soft sport for Dwarfs, and these are in the overall Citadel style that I like. I need to grab some of the Kev Adams Dwarves from their webstore sometime, too…

RPE’s Kickstarter Dwarfs

Our aim is to produce a warband of 10 dwarves in 28mm scale. They will be sculpted in epoxy putty, moulded in black rubber and cast in metal – miniatures the old school way!

Picture the proud dwarf king in exile, forced from his mountain stronghold. Leading a band of grizzled veterans, they hire their services out, biding their time and amassing gold and followers until the day they can reclaim their homeland. You know the story, it’s the classic excuse to get a dwarf warband together, though this one needs no hobbit or human help and comes complete with its’ own dwarf wizard. Perfect for dungeon bashing and skirmish games, or with the possibility of adding duplicates to your pledge you could even build a small army.

The first 5 sculpts pictured above have been mastered already, the next five will be based on these and will provide another spearman, swordsman, axeman and a pair of crossbowmen. The next sculpts are already in progress and pictures will be added as soon as we have them.
They measure approx 20mm tall and scale well with other miniatures.
Designed and sculpted for us by the talented hands of Mark Evans.

These are the different pledge levels, only the Flagon of Ale level and above qualify for the free assassin dwarf.

1 dwarf of your choice £4 posted add £2 outside UK Wee Dram
1 dwarf king £5 posted add £2 outside UK Half Pint
5 dwarves £14 posted add £2 outside UK Pint
10 dwarves £22 posted add £3 outside UK Early Bird Flagon of Ale
10 dwarves £25 posted add £3 outside UK Flagon of Ale

Army deal- king, wizard, 5 spears, 5 axes, 5 swords, 5 crossbows total 22 +freebies £45 posted add £3 outside UK  Early Bird Pewter Tankard 

Army deal- king, wizard, 5 spears, 5 axes, 5 swords, 5 crossbows total 22 +freebies £50 posted add £3 outside UK  Pewter Tankard

All pledges can add extra miniatures from the list below, each mini has a letter for ease of selection, simply increase your pledged amount by £2.50 for each additional dwarf you want. When we contact you after the kickstarter you can use these letter codes to easily confirm additions.
Any miniatures or extras unlocked – will be added to this list.