96290 Hill Giant

I finally got around to finishing up the Hill Giant.  It was this figure, in particular that put me off brush-on primers.  So, I’d prepped him months back and then stripped him while I made some progress on the Ahmut’s Legion figures.  Over the spring break I sat down and finally wrapped him up.  I have mixed feelings about the final product, but in the main, I think he looks great.FullSizeRender 11.jpg

This guy is huge and heavy.  Here’s a picture alongside a normal 28mm figure for reference:
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It comes in seven separate pieces and, I have to say, my pinning and gap-filling job was not the best here.  I did a lot of coverup with my paint job and the overall effect isn’t too bad.  Still, I know it’s there.  The right wrist, in particular, looks pretty bad.

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This was my first experiment using a liner and I like the definition it added to the transitions.  I had to try multiple applications to get it thin enough.  I realized, finally, that the way to do it is to apply the liner first and then go over with the regular paint job to make the lines thin enough not to be obtrusive.


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Skin tone is reaper tanned flesh with an application of Reikland Fleshshade.  I leaned heavily on Agrax Earthshade, especially on the feet to give a dirty appearance.  The model itself had some weird suggestion of whispy facial hair on the chin.  I tried to paint it, did a crap job, and decided instead to give him sideburns.  Despite the overall quality of the sculpt, the shrunken heads on his belt were pretty poorly defined.  So they look less than awesome up close.  But otherwise, I’m really glad to have this finished.

This represents the end of the Drazen’s Horde faction.  I have a few other duplicate pieces I’ll paint at some point, but I have a full run now.  When I get a chance, I’ll pose the whole faction together and make a few photos for the blog.  In the meantime, I need to push to finish up Ahmut’s Legion.

88380a/b Ghoul

I had been a little hesitant to paint up these guys because the reference photos on the Chainmail packaging are just awful.


To my surprise, though, the figures are actually really great.  They are a quick paint job and they’ve got great texture and definition,


The paint job was quick and easy: an initial coat of Reaper vampiric skin and then a Reikland Fleshshade wash, followed by two layers of highlights with vampiric skin and linen white.  I kept a wet look by finishing them with a gloss lacquer.  I realized that you can get a nice effect for undead creatures by painting eyes in a contrasting color (here pale green) and then applying a quick dab of flesh-colored wash to define the eyeball in the socket.


Hair is reaper blackened brown, which is my new go-to for a black shade that doesn’t suck up all available light.


Like most of the Ahmut’s Legion figures, I’m basing these using a brown base, a layer of crackle paint, then another brown wash and a darker wash to bring out the texture.  The bones here are from the recently concluded RBJ Games Kickstarter.  I now have skulls for days, but I’ll probably need to re-up on bones and skeletal fragments soon.  I really like how these bases turned out, though.

I’m halfway through painting up the Skeletal Equicephs.  I should finish the other one this week.

FullSizeRender 4.jpgIn the meantime, though, I’ve finally re-primed the Hill Giant and plan on finally finishing up the Drazen’s Horde run.  Depending on if I can get him right the first time or not, I hope to have that done by mid-week.  We’ll see.

88710 Skeletal War Dog

This was a quick afternoon job. Two different colors of bone, a brown wash, and some metallic details. The sculpt is fine. Glued together there’s a little gap in the right front shoulder, but the primer seems to have filled it in adequately.

Next up are the ghouls. Two are primed and waiting to be basecoated. Two more will get primed tomorrow. I’m also assembling a box of GW Sylvaneth Dryads to be used as twig blights in my Sunless Citadel game. First time I’ve assembled GW plastic figs. I can see the appeal. The sculpts are great and you get a lot of control over the final product. I’ll never take plastic as seriously as I do metal, though.

88358 Skeletal Orc

I’ve been sitting on these guys for a while and I finally dug in and painted them. This is the first batch using a spray primer. I went with Rustoleum Painters Touch. The other one I’d heard recommended–Dupli-Color Sandable Primer–was hard to find. It apparently has a grit mixed in that is intended to fill in gaps, but which can obscure detail in a model. I feel like my first application was too thick; some detail was lost here too. The surface is easy to paint, though, so I’ll be experimenting with how to apply a thinner coat.

The figure itself is maybe the most frustrating one from the Chainmail line that I’ve yet painted. The pose is great and the skull looks amazing. But the torso is only thinly connected to the hips and any lateral pressure makes the whole piece bend precariously. I had to reinforce one with glue before priming. The other absolute pain with this piece is the arm and axe element. It’s too small to pin, has two points of contact on two separate axes, and is positioned perfectly so that if the piece falls or is dropped, the initial point of contact is the axe, which causes the whole part to pop off. If it’s glued securely, then the axe will break at the left hand. I must have glued each of these at least five times before finishing. I had four originally, but one broke on falling and can’t easily be reassembled.

The big experiment here was using raw pigments to create a rust effect on the axe blade, the spear lodged in the orc’s ribcage, and the metal element on the left wrist. I used isopropyl alcohol to prepare the surface, and applied varying mixtures of burnt umber, indian red, and mars orange pigment. The first was almost exclusively red.

The second and third were mixtures of all three, build up from an umber base layer to a dusting of orange on edges.

By the time I got to the third, I’d worked out a method: initial applications of pigment were too heavy and blotchy to seem realistic. So I loosely mixed red and orange pigment into a combination of Vallejo silver and glaze medium. This gives a corroded metal look that could be reapplied at the edges to look like rust flaking off. I haven’t nailed it yet, but even at this stage, the weathering effect is really cool.

Next up are the skeletal war dogs. They’re small and simple. I hope to finish them over the weekend.

88353 Battered Skeletal Troll

A bunch of things have kept me from getting much painting done over the last few months. This one was finished back in January, but I didn’t get around to posting it at the time.

It’s a pretty straightforward piece. Not a lot of color or texture variation. The curved neck was a pain to glue. Too small to pin and very precarious while the glue was curing.

Shading was done with a heavy layer of Agrax Earthshade. It’s hard to see, but there’s a yellow cloth tied on the right arm that gives the Ahmut faction color.

I just finished the skeletal orcs as well. I’ll post them shortly.

88460 Skeletal Dwarf Soldier

Just finished a group of three skeletal dwarves.

These were quick and fun to paint up. I used a reaper moldy skin/highland moss mix in a 2:1 ratio to do the flesh. The beards took a couple of passes to get right.

I’m planning on using red and gold as the Mordengard faction colors, so I wanted to give a reference to that in the colors here. The main Ahmut faction colors are in the shield.

I really struggle with embossed shields. This took several tries to get right. In the end, I painted the metal with Reaper adamantium black and the background color in pale saffron. A diluted wash of agrax earthshade brought out the weathering on the shield. I think the silver rivets really look great.

I’ve got two more of these dwarves that I’ll paint when I get a chance. I’m trying to finish a quick paint this weekend, so I’m working on the battered skeletal troll.

88709 Human Death Cleric

Finished this one up this week and finally got around to basing it last night.

It’s a nice piece with interesting textures. Nothing too complicated. Like many of the cheaper Chainmail figs, it’s very flat. But that scythe is really wonderful.

I did my first pass on the armor using Vallejo gunmetal gray. Metallic paint on a piece that’s dark colored and mostly armor turned out to be a lousy choice, though. Lots of gloss, but all the detail was washed out. So I went over it with multiple coats of nuln oil until I had a nice matte surface. Then I put in edge highlights and bright spots with silver paint. This worked really well, I think. In fact, I think I’m going to start doing a lot more non-metallic metal effects. You just get more control over the final result.

Other than this, I went with the faction colors I’ve chosen for Ahmut’s Legion: black and yellow. The cloak was base coated in buckskin pale, shaded with Agrax Earthshade, and then built up with some aggressive highlights. Then I went over the whole thing with a glaze of yellow ink.

For the base, I wanted to give the impression of a necromancer in the midst of raising the undead. I have a bag of resin skulls back in my desk in Boston. In retrospect, I should have brought them. Instead, I sculpted a bunch of bones and skulls out of green stuff. This is obviously not my forte. I guess it looks like she’s animating a skeletal giant or something. The color contrast between the bones and the mud is cool, though.

Next up are three skeletal dwarves. I’m hoping to have them done this week before I get back to teaching.