Finished up the Orc Berserker yesterday.
I'm still not thrilled with the lacquer on this one. I usually finish with a coat of Testors Glosscote and then follow up with a layer of Dullcote. This is still too shiny, though.
The piece itself illustrates what I like and dislike about the Chainmail line. On the plus side, it's a very well done figure. It's a breeze to paint with a very lively expression. At the same time, like many in this series, it's very 2 dimensional. I'm not sure if it was for budget reasons, or if it was an artifact of the WoTC manufacturing process, but many of the figurines in this line are very flat. When they flesh out, it's often with attached elements that extend laterally. I find it somewhat disconcerting, since I'm used to contemporary miniatures by Reaper and other manufacturers, who don't seem to have to operate under the same constraint. The result is a figure that is pretty flat overall and aesthetically disappointing.
That said, I very much like the balance struck in this series between a stylized, cartoonish aesthetic and realistic depiction.
I've been getting better at thinning my paints. My first few attempts seem blotchy and rough now because I was layering on thick paint that clumped up. I'm now starting with a 1:1 paint/water ratio and building up color in multiple layers. The basecoat on this orc's skin, for example, was laid down in at least six layers. The result is a much smoother finish.
I'm going to pick up some Vallejo Glaze Medium, which should extend the drying process and allow for more subtle wet-blending of tones. Hopefully this will culminate in some better experiments in a week or two and an improvement in the color transitions and highlights overall.
Next up are four Goblin Scouts. They're glued, primed, and prepped. I'll start painting them tonight or tomorrow.
Powered through last night to finish up this guy. He’s called Orc Trooper, but his stats are weak and he’s got this whole shabby hobo thing going on.
That said, this was probably the most fun I’ve had painting a miniature ever. Interesting and varied textures, a sculpt that was consistent and well-defined everywhere except for the (concealed) face; there was a lot here to work with and not a lot of time wasted trying to figure out what the sculptor was trying to represent.
I did hit a few snags. The spear on his back is very thin and had bent over in the blister pack. Straightening it out, it broke off in my hand. I tried several solutions. In the end, making a socket out of milliput putty and then supergluing it in place worked well enough. There’s an unsightly bulge at the end of the spear shaft. I tried to sand it off, but wound up breaking off the tip again and needing to redo the whole thing. So I left the bulge. I painted it to look like some cloth tied below the spear head. I don’t think it detracts too much from the overall effect.
Given the large amount of armor on this piece, I tried varying textures and metal tints. I went with a bluish cast on the helmet and scale mail, and with a brighter silver for the shoulder piece and the boots. Sticking with the “orc hobo” theme, I went through afterward and did a reddish-brown glaze on the helmet and some patches on the armor, trying to give the impression of rust. I think it worked out nicely, actually. It’s not overstated, but you do get the impression of a rusty tinge to the helmet, and it weathered the armor subtly.
Next up is the Orc Berserker. I’ve got a loose one that’s been knocking around, so I figure I’ll stick with orcs and see how he turns out. I’ve also started prepping four Goblin Scouts for painting. These are a little trickier, since they’re small and they have a crossbow piece that needs to be glued in place.
I finished up my 10 Goblin Troopers this afternoon.
I based them on cobblestone instead of grass, in part because I hated how the other five look on their bases. Also, I got a neat sort of acrylic rolling-pin with embossed patterns the other day. It’s meant for rolling into a medium like green stuff or molding putty in order to achieve a textured base. I like the cobblestone, though I think I went a little overboard in the colors department.
Next I’m on to the Orc Trooper. He’s already pinned and primed, and I repaired the spear tip that had bent off in storage. I’ll probably take a crack at basecoating him tomorrow.
So this guy just arrived in the mail. Say hello to 88461, the Ettin Trooper. He’s heavy and he’s going to need at least 5 pins to put together. I think I’ll wait until after I’ve done a couple of orcs.
Someone on eBay was selling a large lot of loose, unpainted figurines. Glancing at the photos, I could see a couple pieces I was missing, so I took a shot. It turned out to have ten Goblin Trooper figurines. But all in the same variant. There are two sculpts of this figurine with two separate poses. Someone must have a stack of Goblin Trooper B sitting in a box somewhere.
This was a good opportunity for me to tighten up my workflow. I tend to paint very slowly and methodically. Working with five very small figurines at the same time got me thinking about how to use economical gestures and how to work on specific layers completely before moving on. I’m not super thrilled with how these turned out, but they’re not bad either. I still have one more Goblin Trooper sitting in a combo box. It’s variant B, so I’ll let that one sit for a while. I have five more almost finished and I’m basing them differently. I think I’m on to orcs after that.
Emboldened by my “success” with the Ogre Trooper, I decided to stick with the ogres for the moment. I have the big “limited edition” Ogre Mercenary to look forward to, but I wanted to stick with the Drazen faction. Also, I want to get familiar with shading and wet blending before I take on a larger piece like that. So I decided to go with the Ogre Delver instead. I just love this sculpt. It’s very lively and energetic. It’s also pretty hard to find now, so I was taking a bit of a risk painting it early.
The hands with hand axes are separate elements. The space for the join was pretty small and I decided simply to glue them with Zap-A-Gap instead of pinning them. That was a dumb idea. At least three times during the painting process I wound up squeezing downward on an arm and having it pop off. And re-gluing while in the middle of painting is a pain in the ass. At some point, I’ll need to pin these on properly. At the moment, though, he’s sitting quietly in my finished minis box, perpetually snarling.
One thing I like about this sculpt is the texture variation and layering. He had a weird pad under his left arm that I decided to make into a bloody bandage. The teeth are pretty rough. In general, I struggle with that kind of high-contrast detail work. But I love the way his leather armor turned out and this base was really fun to do. I picked up a baggie of resin skulls, so I got to give an added dose of creepy.
I decided to start with the Drazen’s Horde faction. They’re the closest to traditional RPG baddies: orcs, ogres, hobgoblins, and goblins. No weird abyssal monstrosities or strange color palettes to worry about. At the moment, I have the entire run of Drazen figurines except for the Dire Boar and the Orc Gangfighters. So I should be able to put together a Drazen warband without too much trouble. My first effort was the Ogre Trooper. She’s pretty hideous and I’ve got five of them in my collection, so I figured I couldn’t go too wrong here.
Prepping her was rough. The head sits at a weird angle and there’s an oddly jointed arm that needs attaching. I pinned the head in place but the arm was left with a pretty significant gap. So, I got to try out using green stuff for the first time. I did a lousy job of it, so her right arm makes her look like she was the victim of a bizarrely localized yet severe burn. Something to work on for next time. I also got to try out basing her. I used corkboard and Woodland Scenics grass and gravel. As I look her over, there are definitely things I’d do differently next time, but I’m pretty pleased with the results overall.
I’ve chosen a brown & burnt orange color scheme for Drazen’s Horde. And I’m painting the ogres with a sort of washed-out tanned flesh tone instead of the lurid yellow on the Chainmail boxes.