77191: Hydra (Reaper Bones)

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

Today’s model is the Reaper Bones Hydra, from their first Kickstarter. This model is one that I started about 14 months ago. I wanted it to work decently both as a display model as well as a wargaming piece. I used a few pieces of slate, carefully placed, including a nice sized piece in order to elevate the model – both literally and figuratively. During the process of painting this model and the time that it spent sitting on my desk waiting for some attention, I noticed that the heads of this Bones hydra tend to get a bit lost amongst one another.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

These first two photographs serve well to illustrate a couple of things about how Games Workshop/Citadel paint and pose their multi-headed models. Workshop seem to either carefully split the heads, avoiding having any in almost-identical side-by-side poses as the two rear ones on the Bones model are. With other models, such as Archaon, GW design their models specifically to have the heads painted in different colours or styles – which again helps them to stand out from one another. Which isn’t to say that this sculpt, by Sandra Garrity is a bad one. Just that the way that the model is posed compared to other, more recent models which are sculpted perhaps it’s fair to say – with the finished, painted product more in mind became apparent. I think simply changing the pose of either the middle rear or middle left head head/neck would elevate this model further.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

I’ve been painting for a long time now, and I’ve been able to turn out things to a nice standard for a lot of that time. I was commission painting when I was 16, and at 18 I won Best Figure and Best 40k figure at Cancon. (Before they gave trophies, unfortunately – assuming that they do now? I got a pair of certificates which are well lost at this point.) While that’s all well and good, what it really means is that as a painter I hit my plateau pretty early, and improving further from there has been a long, slow process.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

Since I started blogging again as a way to share my models and motivate me to paint more, I’ve also been trying to improve and add new skills to my bow. Part of that is risk-taking and experimenting with new methods, materials and techniques. I have more than one of these models, since Bones 1 was in the days I went quite heavy on Kickstarters. Knowing that I had another one up my sleeve allowed me the freedom to try something I probably would not ordinarily have tried – that is instead of painting the Hydra in a shade of green, or even a turquoise/teal that fits my overall Dark Elf scheme, I went for what I wanted to be more naturalistic browns. I also played around with my airbrush (which I am awful with!) to try and achieve some nice looking gradients. While that actually worked(!), I felt that the rather deep scales sculpted onto this model demanded more contrast since the airbrushing was so smooth and the sculpted scales didn’t stand out at all.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

A Dark Elf provides a comparison for our scale shot.

My (attempted) solution – which in my opinion didn’t work well – and is the reason that the model then spent a year (or two?) sitting on my desk unfinished until recently was to try a mix of Minitaire’s Airbrush Paints – specifically, their Ghost Tints. I’ve used them before, though never on a model this size. Now coming to the model for the first time and seeing it finished in these pics, it might look fine to the reader. But you know when you have a picture in your head about how you’d like something to look? Now imagine that, and imagine it coming along nicely, and then imagine it all coming undone once it dries. Now if I’d gone for Oil Washes, I probably could have removed it all due to the way that oil paints dry much more slowly and can still be removed and cleaned up with spirits.

I think the base worked out well, but in the end, the model fell short of what I’d envisioned for it. Could I go back and try to fix it up and redo elements of the model? Sure, but at the same time, I have another one to paint that would be a better use of my time than repainting this one, and my enthusiasm for this particular model waned to the point where it literally sat in front of me for over a year before I made myself finish it off. Sometimes you’ve just got to call something good enough for what it is, and call it done. In the end, the model looks decent and perfectly fine for a wargaming model.

In gaming terms, the model will have a home in the Pan-Elven army to start with (using the Dark Elf/Twilight Kin list), and eventually find a home with the Mythological Greek Army.

 

Losing my Marble – Reaper Bones Pillars of Good and Evil

Another pair of Bones painted up a few weeks ago, this time it’s Sandra Garrity’s  Pillar of Good and Pillar of Evil from Reaper’s Bones line, from their second Bones Kickstarter.

Reaper Bones 77246: Pillar of Good with Citadel Reiksgard for scale.

Reaper Bones 77246: Pillar of Good with Citadel Reiksgard for scale.

I’ve posed the pillar of good alongside a Reiksgard, as the model has a feel of nobility and goodness. I don’t have any painted SigMarines at this point, so it fell to the knight in shining armour to provide the reference model. No Sir ForScale here!

77247: Pillar of Evil

Reaper Bones 77247: Pillar of Evil with Citadel Dark Elf for scale.

The pillar of evil has a Dark Elf for it’s scale shot. Seems this marble pillar is a bit crooked.

Reaper Bones 77246 Pillar of Good 77247 Pillar of Evil

Reaper Bones Pillars of Good and Evil, side by side.

The pair of these were my first, very rough attempt at painting marble. I’d already started in on both of them before I decided to go with a marble effect rather than simply stone, so perhaps the colours aren’t what they could be. I also based both of them on 32mm citadel bases with a metal washer superglued underneath to give them more stability. As you can see here the Evil pillar isn’t entirely straight because Reaper Bones! They’re not bad pieces, especially for the KS price. Both styles would work better in pairs, but I only have the one of each and I think sourcing a second one of each and then trying to match-paint them is too much mucking about. They’re also probably both more suited to “inside dungeon” type settings than outdoor battlefields.

I used the new “Gloss” versions of Nuln Oil and Axgrax Earthshade on both to see how they perform – the Gloss part not being especially relevant as I varnish my models, but the way that the pigment behaves. I think they did both work well. There was a wash of off-white paint used on the “Good” pillar in an attempt to embed the veins “under” the surface a little. I considered dulling down the bases with some pigments, but I figured that keeping them shiny keeps them a little more flexible in setting.

Anyway, these were pretty quick and easy to do, and it’s another two models done.

 

Undead Army Showcase – July 2016

Undead Army

This is my second “State of the Army” post, this time showing off all of the completed elements of my (Marouda’s) Undead Army at present. Like the Gondor army, I’ve been working on it on and off over the last two or so years, with a recent push during the last 6 months and the painting challenge. I’ve kept Undead on as one of my main options for the second half of 2016, though I’ve opened up my options quite a bit as painting mostly Gondor and Undead got very old by the end. The Undead aren’t so bad though, as there’s actually quite a lot of variety in there, especially when you combine “Vampire Counts”, “Tomb Kings” and even the spectral elements of Lord of the Rings in general and Mordor specifically.

Undead Army

These photographs were taken during the same session as the Gondor Army and 6-month showcase photos, so there has been a little more movement on these undead since then, specifically the unit base I put together for the trio of Nazgûl. I held off publishing (and writing) this post until now as I could see three sets of army showcase posts in a row getting a little tedious. Besides, I wanted to share my Spehss Mahreens.

Undead Army

The Barrow-Wights in the front row need to have a new unit base built for them as Mantic first Squatted them in KoWII before a protest from players (and with myself as one of the first, if not the first in the departed Beta forums) caused them to be reinstated, though now they’re “Large Infantry” with 40mm bases. I’m not going to rebase my LotR SBG figures, so I’ll be making a – hopefully slightly interesting and imposing – multibase for them. My first failed attempt already sits abandoned on my painting desk. 😛

Undead Army

There are a few variables in here. The various Mordor and Army of the Dead/Oathbreaker models will (theoretically) be split off one day to one or two LotR-themed armies of their own, the two units of skeletons with Greek shields and the odd bit of linothorax armour will go into the Mythical Greek army, along with the pair of Brass/Bronze Bulls, units of SpartansTalos, and more besides. Tomb Kings stuff, of which there is little to none right now will become it’s own force; and I’ve got a tub filled with Confrontation prepaint Wolfen, a miniscule 12 of whom are pictured here. Though there’s enough of those to happily stay in the Undead while also making up a Lycan-themed “The Herd” army of their own. Until those things begin to happen, though – they’re all combined to form a mighty undead army, led by Neferata (version 1).

Undead Army

There’s another couple of dozen troops (skeletons and zombies) on the paint desk right now, as well as a couple of more centrepiece-type models on the go. I’ll likely keep knocking out a few more undead units as I paint a variety of other things in the time between now and the New Year.

Neferata and Bastet

Marouda took a few photographs as well, managing to take a much better photograph of Neferata than I did when I posted her here – certainly in terms of her facial details not being nearly as washed out as in my own photos. I’m still learning my way around the new camera, but hopefully getting better!

Undead Army

There are a few not-quite-finished models in this photo. 6 Nazgûl (including a few named) and The Witch King. The Confrontation Wolfen also don’t have any paint on them aside from the retail pre-paint. You can also see some more candidates for scenic multibases besides the Wights. Hopefully between some of that and the centrepiece models I need to complete, I’ll be able to show this force off again at the end of the year in a more impressive light.

 

77126: Vermin: Spiders, 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarm (Reaper Bones)

A couple of very simple paintjobs to share today as the first 6-month “Tale of Gamers” painting challenge comes to a conclusion at the end of June. Like many of us gamer-types, I have a shedload of random figures from Reaper’s Bones I and II Kickstarter campaigns. I did back the third one, but skipped the base pledge this time round as Reaper delved deeper into add-on territory and offered less “value” with the base pledge. Especially as I’ve got more than a lifetime’s worth of random bendy PVC fantasy models, as Tarmor can attest to as I offloaded a bunch to him awhile back! With Bones III, I picked a much more “curated” set of figures. But this isn’t a discussion of Bones III. It’s showing off some rather bland and generic figures with paint to match!

Reaper Bones 77126: Vermin: Spiders

These three are the 77126: Vermin: Spiders. Not a bad sculpt to be truthful. I painted them in red tones with yellowish markings because Marouda’s far from a fan of realistic, life-size spiders and because they’ll be used in the Undead army, and red/black with a touch of teal/bronze/etc are the army colours. Their fangs are done with Citadels’ new “Gemstone” paint (the blue one) over a dark metallic base. Mostly because I’d only just gotten them and wanted to experiment with them a little on inconsequential figures.

Reaper Bones 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarm

The next three are Reaper’s 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarms. These are what they are, I guess. Much more for generic roleplaying purposes, but they didn’t take much time to paint up and ink. I used a few shades of ruddy red-browns so as to distinguish the spiders a little. It didn’t especially work, but at least the blobs are varied a little. I could have gone through and very carefully painted eyes and markings on each individual spider, but at the end of the day, these Swarm models don’t deserve that much of my – or your – time. As gaming models for what are essentially trash mobs, they’re good enough. I have a bunch more of the larger spiders and beetles and such somewhere from Bones I that I was cleaning up for paint a year or two ago, but they’ve gone missing somewhere.

Reaper Bones 77126: Vermin: Spiders

Reaper Bones 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarm

All six models were based on 30mm bases I got from Impact! Games, as 25mm rounds are too small, they fit them well enough – and quite frankly I’m buggered if I’m going to use my expensive 32mm Citadel rounds on them. I then made up some unit bases for them from 120x40mm cuts of MDF that I purchased for unit trays – somewhat inspired by Grimdork’s unit trays over on Dakka. The trays are for their main use – as “Undead Army Swarms” in Kings of War. Technically, they’re a unit that is part of the Army of Dust (Not-Tomb Kings) and not the more generic Undead (that covers the Vampire Counts stuff), but I’m in favour of fluff over RAW when it comes to army lists for friendly games. When I paint scorpions, they’ll be much more AoD/TK themed. I noticed after taking the photographs that the grass tufts I’ve added to the bases here are a little dull, so I’ve since added a few in a slightly brighter green.

 

Dungeon Saga: Some Small Scenics

Like most people who backed the Kickstarter, I got my Mantic’s Dungeon Saga stuff a little while ago. While the models are (almost all) quite nicely sculpted, there’s some terribad warpage on many of them. Combined with the usual Mantic Kickstarter-quality packing (I’m still waiting on replacements for a bunch of broken and missing stuff), messed-up hardcover compendium and reviews that talk about how Jake Thornton clearly lost interest as he was writing co-op and campaign rules (apparently you can see his interest wane as you read through the Adventurer’s guide as he was really only interested in the HeroQuest-level rules) means the game’s extras got placed in a plastic tub and the game itself stacked on top to get back to one day (or not). Whatever. I’ve got Black Plague to scratch my boardgaming itch for the time being without any resentful rules being mixed in.

Mantic Games Dungeon Saga Scenery Benches

Benches!

The scenery items for Dungeon Saga on the other hand, are pretty damned good. The doors are made from a proper, hard plastic (ABS or HIPS, most likely) while the bookshelves, wells, barrels, and so forth are made from a softer PVC-type plastic. Both sets are actually pretty damned good – especially for stuff that comes in a boardgame – and I’ve got no hesitation in recommending them to anyone who is a wargamer. They obviously wouldn’t work so well in super-detailed dioramas, but that’s a separate category.

Mantic Games Dungeon Saga Scenery Barrels

Barrels!

So I decided to start painting up a few of these pieces. Now, a word of warning. I purchased several cans of Rust-O-Leum sparay paint awhile back, since the cans read that they were a primer and colour spray in one, and that they have some kind of special formulation that binds to plastic. Great! I sprayed a bunch of my PVC scenery with it, and the stuff simply never properly dried. Even after more than a week of Melbourne’s Summer Heat. This made my “quickly knock up some scenery quickly” task a lot more painful than I’d planned. The brown eventually mostly dried, but the black was still sticky and horrible, and so I threw them into some Simple Green a few days ago. I’ll get back to those, later. The point here being – DO NOT USE Rustoleum spray paint on miniatures. At least the formulation that they sell here in Australia. Never had a problem with other brands, and so I’m back to those. On reflection, though – it seems similar to problems that people have had with Reaper’s Bones PVC, so maybe it’s not the spray after all. I’ll have to do some tests on HIPS sprue and some resin offcuts….

Mantic Games Dungeon Saga Scenery Well

Desert Well!

As I have three wells in hand due to buying two of the sets + extras (I’m missing more scenery, too), I had an idea as I was taking them outside to undercoat. My first thought was to paint them all “dungeon grey”/bluestone but then as I was getting out the spray primer (damn Rustoleum) I had the thought to paint them differently. One to go with my desert mat, one to go with my green mat and one to go with the dungeon internals. So this one is sandstone.

Mantic Games Dungeon Saga Scenery Well

Field Well!

I added a bit of Vallejo realistic water at the bottom of each to make them look a little nicer than just leaving the shallow sculpted bottom (which, again is quite decent for a sculpted model.) I painted the second one here as field stone. I added a bit of variation between the stones, but that seems to have mostly disappeared after washes and highlighting. I finished it by adding some plant growth around the edges, and added a little more realistic water than the desert well.

Dungeon Saga Scenery Items.

Dungeon Saga Scenery Items.

And here’s the “group shot”. I’ll have to get onto the bookshelves next, since I didn’t spray those and therefore gunk them up at all. Sometime after that I’ll have to try and scrub that horrid Rustoleum off the other pieces. I’m not looking forward to that one bit.

Reaper Bones, 77249: Large Barrel Small Barrel, 77248: Crates (Large and Small)

Reaper Bones’ Barrels set and Crates set

As a very exciting separate bonus – here are the Barrels and Crates from Reaper’s Bones II line. I painted these last year and photographed them because I’m now trying to photograph everything I finish, but they weren’t exciting enough to even sneak into any updates until now. So here they are.