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.

88590 Hobgoblin Adept

Finally finished the last of the hobgoblins:

This was fun to paint. The model has a lot of textural detail that made for interesting work. The pose is simple and the only assembly needed is the banner on his back. I went with a reaper bleached linen and buckskin pale (2:1) tint on the undercloak and shadowed by replacing palomino gold for buckskin pale. The result was still too harsh, so I finished with a light gray glaze.

Faction colors are in the waist sash and the banner. I went with purple for the shoulder sash to give more color variation. The chainmail underneath was a pain in the ass to paint. The lettering on the banner is phoenecian (D/H for Drazen’s Horde).

One piece left and I’ve officially painted all of this faction. I’m having a serious problem with my primer, and it’s threatening to hold me up. I’m using Vallejo surface primer (grey) and mixing it with a little black to darken it up. This gives an absolutely ideal painting surface, in my experience. But the grey foams and bubbles really badly. Usually I can catch this when I’m brushing the primer on. But not always. Even this Hobgoblin has a pitted surface in places because of these annoying bubbles:

You can see what I’m talking about on his right bicep and on the rightmost banner. The Hill Giant is even worse:

So I’m going to have to strip him down and reapply the base coat. I know the real solution is to graduate from brush-on primer to airbrushing. I’m not ready for that yet, though.

Keep an eye out for the first Ahmut’s Legion units to appear this week or next. Two halfling sneaks are being prepped and assembled at the moment.

88349 Hobgoblin Fighter

Well, it’s been a while but I finally finished up these guys:

This is a pretty great sculpt. It’s too flat, like a lot of the cheaper Chainmail figures. But the left arm and shield, which are two separate pieces that need pins, help break up the two-dimensionality. The pose is lively otherwise and there’s a good amount of textural variation to work with.

I went with the classic hobgoblin skin coloration, using Reaper Deep Red and Harvest Brown in a 2:1 ratio. Lots of chainmail to work with and some pretty intricate leather straps criss-crossing it. That made for some delicate brushwork.

I finally picked up a sable Windsor & Newton Series 7 for the fine brushwork. Wow is that a fun brush to use. Helped with the detail work quite a bit. I also wet-blended Vallejo silver and gunmetal grey to make the armor pop. I’m pretty happy with how that turned out. The pants were painted in a high contrast variation between Reaper heather blue and brilliant blue. I tied it together with a glaze of Vallejo Game Ink blue. Really happy with how that turned out. The faction color is in the shield detail:

All in all, this was a pretty boring figure to paint. I think the colors and textures give a nice contrast to a lot of the other figures in the Drazen’s Horde faction.

Two more figures are in progress and then the whole faction is finished. Here’s a sneak peek:

88715 War Ape

Finally finished and based the War Ape. This was a quick paint job, but I’ve been busy working on other minis for a game I’m running, so I let this one sit for a while before I based him. Apologies about the quality of the photos. The lack of contrast made it hard for my iPhone to take a decent picture.

The sculpt itself is great. The contrast between the fur and metal is well-defined and easy to describe. The facial expression and lunging pose are just wonderful.

I went with a harvest brown/black mix in a 4:1 ratio for the undercoat, then added a bit more brown for the highlights. Many of the reference photos online go with a blue & red mandrill look for the face. A lot of those are lurid, in my opinion, but the piece really does cry out for color contrast. So I toned it down a bit but used the same color scheme.

Given that there isn’t much space to show the Drazen’s Horde faction color, I opted for copper in the arm pieces. As with the orcs, I gave a light green ink wash to indicate oxidation. I’m still not thrilled with this technique, but I don’t have the energy to figure out how to paint verdigris properly.

The Drazen’s Horde faction is almost finished. Only two hobgoblins and the hill giant left to paint. I should be done by the end of the month, at which point I may switch to Ahmut’s Legion.

I’ve also painted a bunch of rats and a couple of shadow figures for the Sunless Citadel module. I’m particularly happy with how the plague rats turned out.

88830 Dire Boar

As promised, here’s the Dire Boar.

This was a pretty quick paint job, all considered. The lower jaw is a separate piece and is a pain to attach properly. I wound up drilling it in the back and attaching it with a rod that ran back into the boar’s mouth. It still came out a little cock-eyed.

I base coated with Reaper Harvest Brown mixed with black. This came out much darker than I’d have liked. So I did several coats of highlights, trying to bring out the texture of the piece. I’m pretty satisfied with how this turned out.

I struggled a bit getting the tusks and horns right. A pass with a light yellow ink wash left them looking like bananas. In the end, I went with Reaper bleached linen and buckskin pale in a 2:1 ratio and then finished with a sepia wash at the base of each tusk.

The snout and eyes are Reaper rosy skin mixed with blood red, in a 3:1 ratio. After that I washed with red ink and then then filled in the texture details with more blood red paint. To make it seem moist, I went over it with a third layer of gloss lacquer applied by brush following my usual two spray coats.

This came in the mail this week as well and is already getting use:

It’s a beautiful wooden holder made by Stephan Rath and sold in a Kickstarter that I backed last year. They go on sale to the general public next month. You can pick them up here.

Ironically, when I pledged, I wasn’t much of a painter, having only painted up Reaper Mouslings for my kids. Now it’s going to get plenty of use. I just nabbed two lots of Chainmail figures off eBay, leaving me with only 3 more figures to complete my collection. I also just bought a big batch of reaper minis for a D&D 5e game I’m going to run for some friends. So there is a bunch of painting in my immediate future, I think.

88280 Bugbear Trooper

I haven’t had a chance to update the blog lately. Too much stuff going on elsewhere, and I took a little time to paint some non-Chainmail collection stuff.

But I’ve finally finished and based the Bugbear Trooper, and wow is it a beauty.

Gorgeously defined musculature. A really energetic pose. And a sculpt that is clear, abounding in texture variation, and really fun to paint. The contrast between the chain and the fur, in particular, is what makes this figure pop. That and the pose. Wow.

I went with the traditional yellowish-brown for the bugbear’s skin. There are enough green and pink tones in the faction already. I decided to stay canonical here and with the coming Hobgoblins, who will be reddish. Washed the whole thing in Vallejo umber and then put in the highlights. I finished the whole with a glaze of yellow ink, which brought down the highlights and tied the figure together nicely.

The inside of the cloak I treated the way I’ve been treating all tanned hides: pink undercoat followed by a glaze with Vallejo flesh ink. I still like the effect a lot.

While I was painting this figure, I also took time out to paint an Orc Berserker in non-standard colors for a reddit painting exchange. I’ve got like 6 copies of this figure so it was nice to see one go to a good home. I used the Vallejo metallic glaze medium to give his axe a metallic ice effect. I like how it turned out. That was a dry run for some plans I have for the Mordengard communist dwarves. The other figure is Trista the Loremistress, one of the Reaper limited edition 25th Anniversary figures released this year. This was a commission for my daughter, who specified blue dress and a brown bodice.

Just this morning I finished the Dire Boar. Once that is based, I’ll post it too.