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.

88570 Crazed Minotaur Cultist (alt)

I’m not sure if this is a proper model number or not. I actually almost missed the figure altogether, since it doesn’t have its own blister-pack version. The model number on the lost minis wiki is actually the number for the Fear & Fury combo box, which is the only place this figure was released.

I really loved this one. It’s a weird looking minotaur, but a great figure and pose all around. The head is a single piece on a ball-post from the torso, allowing for a little freedom in how to pose it. The muscle definition is great and the hair is well described, making for a lot of possibilities.

I did a couple of things here that I’d been wanting to try out. First, I went with a striking red color for the hair. I thought: it’s already such a weird looking minotaur, why not go all in and make him a redhead? My first try was a disaster. I put too much color variation in the hair, base coating with Reaper palomino gold, and then trying to layer on yellow and red ink, while doing an Agrax Earthshade wash to bring out the shadows. The result looked awful. Like he had dirty, mangy hair that he’d covered over with a bad dye job. But then I just washed over it with orange in multiple thin layers until I had a solid base, then did highlights on the tips of the hair working progressively lighter toward blonde. I’m pretty pleased with the results. You can still see a little of the original shading, but the overall effect is pretty realistic, I think.

I also used this as an opportunity to work on making horns look more like real horns. I base coated in Reaper earth brown and then did multiple layers of glazing with black ink. The result was a nice, matte black surface that looked organic. Then, I did multiple washes with palomino gold and buckskin pale trying to get a nice, clean transition. The result was almost what I had in mind. Transitions little too sharp in places, so I glazed over everything with dilute buckskin pale. The result is a little too washed out, but it works, I think.

Next up is the Human Death Cleric. She’s done, but hasn’t been based or sealed yet.

I also finished up a bunch of kobolds and an ice toad for the Sunless Citadel. I’ve got a bunch more kobolds left to do as well. I hope to get them all done before the semester begins.

88300 Crazed Minotaur Cultist

It’s been a while but I’ve got a batch of minis painted over the holidays to post. I was away from my desk, but brought my tools and tried to squeeze in as much painting time as I could. I’m on to Ahmut’s Legion now. There is still the Drazen’s Hill Giant sitting on a counter in my apartment waiting to be repainted after I stripped the old primer that was giving me so much trouble. I’ve decided that I’m done with brush-on primers for the future. Maybe it’s my technique, or just a bad batch. But even when I’m careful, I can’t seem to avoid getting foam and bubbles in the application, which turn into blemishes that can’t be painted around. This piece, in particular, gave me fits. In frustration, I wound up scraping the primer off the hooves and spot applying it to get a decent base layer to work from. I’ve decided I’m going to try Dupli-Color sandable automotive primer…at least until I go all-in and buy an airbrush setup. Dupli-color seems to be a cheap and well-regarded favorite on hobby boards and blogs. It’s a shame because, bubbles aside, I really like the texture of the Vallejo primer and the way it holds paint. But I can’t stand painting fucked up minis anymore.

A lot of the reference photos for this guy really emphasize the muscle tone and the (to my mind artificial looking) lines in the torso. The result looks cartoonish in a way that detracts from the overall quality of the pose and the variation in surface textures, I think. I’m painting all the non-undead Ahmut’s figures with a mixture of Reaper Fair Skin and a drop of Vampiric Skin. I’m going over that with Vallejo flesh wash for shadows, then building up highlights with progressively more vampiric skin. This still leaves too much contrast in the brighter areas (though the shadows look great this way, I think), so I’m then covering the whole with a diluted wash of Vallejo gray wash and a drop of fair skin. The result is very nice, I think.

I like this pose a lot. It has the energy and drama that characterizes the best of the Chainmail poses. My one beef is that the head is separate from the beard. After pinning it, I built out the gap with some putty. But it still looks like he’s wearing a scarf. I don’t think it would have killed them to cast the head and beard as a single piece, to be honest.

Other than that, he’s pretty straightforward. I went for wet-blending on the axe, but you can see I didn’t quite nail it. The color transitions aren’t subtle enough, unfortunately. I think one of the horns is bent, but adds character that way, so I left it. I tried out my new crackle paint on the base. I think it looks pretty good. I left most of my basing stuff at home, so the Ahmut figures are going to be based in mud and bare rock.

I have a couple more to post: one today and another tomorrow. That should get me caught up, more or less.

88050 Halfling Sneak

I’ve started painting the Ahmut’s Legion faction now. First on the agenda is these little guys:

Painting them was pretty straightforward. I went with Reaper Vampiric Skin with Vallejo Flesh Wash to add some contrast. Other than that, I left the faces alone. I’m using black & yellow as the Ahmut faction colors. So I gave them yellow pants and fletching on their quarrels, and flat black armor pads on the arms. The shirts I did in Reaper Khaki Shadow and the outer cloak is Highland Moss. I was going for a sort of commando look here.

The real pain in the ass was assembly. Unlike the Goblin Scouts, which have a fixed crossbow stock and need the prod glued in place, the Halfling Sneak required gluing in two places, both hands wrapped around the stock, and then placement at two simultaneous pressure points. For a full sized figure, maybe this is doable without mishap. For a piece this small, though, the assembly process is murder. Add to that the imprecision of the part size and you’ve got a perfect recipe for frustration. It took a while and I gummed up my paint job a bit, but I finally assembled them.

Next up is the Crazed Minotaur Cultist. I still need to strip and re-prime the Hill Giant to complete the Drazen run. But I confess I’m a little intimidated by the job, so I’m pushing forward with the Ahmut’s Legion figures until I get some courage to return to it. After that, I’m hoping to take some photos of the whole faction in one place.

I also finished this figure, who will represent Sir Braford, the paladin fallen under the spell of the wicked druid Belak in my Sunless Citadel run through.

I’m pretty happy with how his armor turned out, though the transition to the cloak looks pretty bad and will irritate me for a while. Next up on that front is a bunch of kobolds.