All posts by griffo8_wp

Lauren Fahey has a background in Art History and Medieval/Renaissance Studies, and was originally able to pursue her interest in the intersection of art, history, and science at the Field Museum in Chicago doing object conservation for the anthropological artifacts in their collections. Lauren continues to use her training and detail-oriented talents to work as a freelance artist currently specializing in painted miniatures for hobby gaming and display.

Speed Painting Two Ways

Painting fast is something I struggle with. I’m a perfectionist at heart, and always have been. My mom loves to tell stories of my art projects back in grade school where she told me, “It’s great, be done, and get to bed!” and I would push for a little bit more, a little extra time to make it just right. Unsurprising then that 20 or so years later I end up painting minis the same way, only no one is telling me “Stop. It’s good enough.”

I’ve taken a few speed painting classes, but inevitably fall back into my familiar habits and style of painting if I feel like the speed techniques don’t live up to the quality I want. Recently I’ve been following two different miniature artists who do incredible things at incredible speeds; Raffaele Picca from Massive Voodoo, and Matt DiPietro from Contrast Miniatures. I was able to take a ‘Speed Painting Display Quality Miniatures’ class with Raffaele at Adepticon 2017, and I hope to be able to take Matt’s weekend class on his ‘Sketch Style’ sometime in the future. As an experiment, I decided to try both styles on identical models, and see how they worked in my hands.

Raffaele’s speed concept is all about creating focus on the model. As he says, no one is taking time to look at the feet (which is funny because my dad always used to say the same thing about shoes). Time is better spent painting the important areas and letting the rest fade into the background. He accomplishes this by using desaturated colors to start, and building up brighter colors and details only around the focus area, usually the face.

I started with a primed model, the Tharn Ravager Whitemane by Privateer Press, and then airbrushed an undercoat of P3 Battlefield Brown since this model has lots of leather tones. It’s a cool, dark brown color that is perfect for a desaturated, muted look. From there I used the airbrush to highlight the upper portions of the model with Gun Corps Brown, and a final highlight of Hammerfall Khaki around the face and shoulders.

Primed Whitemane, left, Desaturated Browns, right

From here the base colors are glazed on to get the overall midtone base tints. Once the main colors are on (ignoring the metals for now) a dark brown wash is used in the shadows, and wiped away from the higher highlights. When the wash is dry, airbrush a very transparent white layer on the face and upper shoulders to bring back the highlight and really solidify the focal point on the model.

Glazed midtone colors, left; White highlight for focus, right

Next I used Army Painter Dark Tone wash on the lower half of the model, again wiping the wash away from anywhere that should be highlighted. From here, it’s highlights only, focusing on the upper half of the model, adding in details only around the face, shoulders, and upper arms. The metals got done right at the end with a simple basecoat, wash for shadows, and a bright highlight. The finished Whitemane has a strong focus on the face and shoulders, and the rest sort of fades from view.

Finished Whitemane

 

Matt DiPietro’s Sketch Style has been super intriguing, and I’ve been keeping an eye on the articles and models he’s been putting out there. That said, a lot of what is going on with this technique is just me guessing until I have the opportunity to take his class. The Whitemane starts out with zenithal priming through the airbrush. This gives a good grayscale base for the next step.

Zenithal primed Whitemane

Using the primer as a kind of map, the next step uses P3 Thamar Black, Morrow White, and a Golden artist’s acrylic Titanium White to create a value ‘sketch’ on the model. The titanium white is the brightest, most pigment rich white and should only be used on the highest highlights. The value sketch refines the shadows and highlights, and basically creates a black and white version of the model.

Whitemane value sketch

From here, the midtones are thinly glazed on over the value sketch, allowing the grayscale to show through. The value sketch does almost all of the work with the shadows and highlights as long as the colors aren’t applied too thickly.

Colors glazed over value sketch

To finish the sketch style Whitemane I basically just added a couple details, a few higher highlights here and there, and some tone adjustment of the leather armor with brown ink. The metals I did the same as the previous model with a quick basecoat, wash, and bright highlight. The finished model has a high level of contrast throughout, and makes a very engaging looking model on the table.

Finished sketch style Whitemane

Since the goal of this whole thing is eventually to have some good looking models with less time spent, I kept careful track of how long each method took. I was doing both of these techniques for the first time (and also stopping for photos and looking at notes) and both ended up taking about the same amount of time, around 5 hours total. With some more practice I don’t doubt that I’d get even faster. I did a side by side comparison and I still can’t figure out which one I like better, so I think that’s a win!

Take a look! Raffaele Picca’s what I’m calling Focus Style on the left side, and Matt DiPietro’s Sketch Style on the right.

Megalith Step-by-Step

This blog was first featured as a guest post over at the Privateer Press website, here’s the original! Guest Hobby Blog: Stone and Gems with Griffon’s Roost Painting

Step 1: Prep and Prime

Megalith was assembled, cleaned, and the mold lines were removed with a sharp hobby knife. Prime with P3 Black Primer in a couple light coats.

megalith_step1_cleanedprimed

Step 2: Gray Granite Stone

Base coat the stone with Bastion Gray. After this I would usually do shadows first followed by highlights, but in order to get a granite look, this time the order has to be reversed. Highlight first by two-brush blending with a 50/50 mix of Bastion Gray and Trollblood Highlight, and then do a second highlight with straight Trollblood Highlight.

megalithstonestitched
Base coat, left; Full highlights, right

I wanted to make my Megalith look like he was fashioned from granite, since it is one of the hardest and most durable of the naturally-occurring stones. Granite has a sort of speckled appearance, and to get an approximation of that look on a miniature you have to get a little messy! Grab an old toothbrush, get it wet and dip it in some Thamar Black paint. Holding the model about 4-6 inches away from the toothbrush, run a finger over the brush and flick the paint, trying to get a fine spray. This was repeated with Underbelly Blue and Menoth White Highlight, separately, for additional variation in the speckled stone.

Gray granite example, left; Megalith speckled, right
Gray granite example, left; Megalith speckled, right

The final step of making a gray granite is adding in the shadows. This step was saved until after creating the speckled effect because fine details like that visually disappear in dark shadows. To start the shadows, make a 50/50 mix of Cryx Bane Base and Greatcoat Gray and apply it using two-brush blending on the model wherever the shadows would naturally occur. Use this mix to lightly outline the hard edges of the stone to add some further definition. Add a little Thamar Black to the shadow mix and apply to the deepest recesses and underneath overhanging areas.

megalith_step5_stoneshadows

Step 3: Wood

Base coat the wood with Gun Corps Brown, and any of the exposed core areas with Hammerfall Khaki.

megalith_step6_woodbasecoat

Shade the wood first with Umbral Umber, painting in as much of the wood grain texture as possible. Then add a little Thamar Black to the Umbral Umber and use this to shade the deep crevices and outline the main elements of the wood. Shade the cores with Guns Corps Brown.

megalith_step7_woodshadows

Highlight the wood by focusing on the texture of the wood grain and painting it with Hammerfall Khaki. For the highest highlights use a mixture of 50/50 Hammerfall Khaki and ‘Jack Bone with a little Menoth White Highlight added in. Focus this color on the upper branches as well as anywhere that would catch a significant amount of light. Go for a really high level of contrast as the next step will tone down the colors significantly. Highlight the wood cores with the mixture just previously used for the highest highlights on the wood, focusing on accentuating the rings.

megalith_step8_woodhighlights

Make a mixture of 2 drops Brown Ink, 1 drop of Turquoise Ink, and 1 drop of water and glaze this over the wood in two thin coats, letting each coat dry completely in between. Do not use any of the ink mixture on the wood cores. The ink glaze helps the wood grain look more natural and less stark.

megalith_step9_woodink

Step 4: Ropes

Base coat the ropes with Rucksack Tan. Getting a good, solid coat can take 2-3 thin layers over black primer. Then shade the ropes with a wash of Guns Corps Brown.

Ropes basecoat, left; Ropes shadowed, right
Ropes basecoat, left; Ropes shadowed, right

Now the fun part… To highlight the ropes make a mix of 50/50 Rucksack Tan and Hammerfall Khaki and pick out each coil, except for where the rope would be in darkest shadow. Then take straight Hammerfall Khaki and highlight further where the ropes would catch the light, particularly on the front parts of the legs and arms. It’s painstaking, but in the end I usually feel like the precision is worth the frustration.

megalith_step12_ropeshighlights

Step 5: Glowing Runes

To start the runes, thin down some Menoth White Highlight and paint them all white, without letting any flow over the sides. I might have gotten a little carried away and almost forgotten to take a picture, but I’m sure you’ll get the idea. Next make a mixture of 2 drops Green Ink, 1 drop Yellow Ink, and one drop Turquoise Ink and glaze this over the white. Try not to let any ink pool in the corners. A good trick to prevent this is to dab some ink out of the paintbrush on a paper towel before going at the runes.

megalithglow-first-steps

Now go back with the thinned Menoth White Highlight and and lighten the bottom parts of the linear runes. With the more open areas, like around the gems and in the shoulders, use the white to lighten the center as if the glow were radiating outward. The Menoth White Highlight was thinned down and blended outward with a second brush to get a smooth transition. Next make a mix of 2 drops Yellow Ink and 1 drop Green Ink, and glaze this mixture only where you lightened the runes. This will gives the runes a more lively appearance.

megalithglow-second-steps

The final step for the runes is taking some straight green ink and glazing it into the top parts of each linear rune, and the outsides of the larger areas of the shoulders and around the gems. This gives an illusion that the glow is fading out towards the edges.

megalith_step17_glowdarkening

Step 6: Gems

Base coat the gems with Thamar Black. Then take Gnarls Green and blend it up from the bottom of the gem, leaving the top third black. The smoother the blend you can get for these, the better. I like two-brush blending for just about everything, but go with what makes you comfortable. Now my camera couldn’t quite seem to get a good shot without a slight glare due to the dark colors and satin finish of the paint, but I think things are still mostly visible.

megalith-gems-first-steps

Next, in the bottom third of the gem, blend up Iosan Green into the Gnarls Green. The brighter colors are focused in the lower part of each gem because of the way light passes through the translucent stone and hits the inside. For the final highlight blend Wurm Green into the lowest half of the Iosan Green.

megalithgems-second-steps

Next take some Green Ink and, in thin layers, glaze over the entire gem. Make sure to build up enough layers so that even the black appears to be a very deep green. Finally take a brush with a very fine point and use Menoth White Highlight to make a few reflective dots on the top of the gem. I’ve used a red arrow to point out where they should be as the glare from my painting lamp slightly overlaps.

megalithgems-third-steps

Step 7: Finishing Touches

To finish off the model, I painted in the few bunches of leaves, and touched up the stone where any of my glow might have gotten a little carried away. The model was then sealed with Testors Dullcote to kill any shiny spots from the inks on the wood and the glow, and to help protect it as I’m sure it will be finding its way onto the table soon. Once that was completely dry, I took an old brush and some paint on gloss varnish and gave the gems a good coat for an extra dose of realism. Megalith got based with a bunch of forest foliage, including some ivy and a fern, and he’s all done!

megalith1 megalith3

Una the Skyhunter

I started on Una the Skyhunter almost immediately after her release at Warmachine Weekend 2016. It’s an awesome event that I highly recommend, and we were able to snag her and another of the new warlocks at the Privateer Press booth. Overall, after getting her put together, I think she’s one of the better models of the group. I’m also a much bigger fan of this version over her journeyman model, which has just too many things going on for a model that size.

Anyway, I frequently get asked to explain how I do skin, particularly faces, so I thought I would do a short step-by-step tutorial on Una, followed by a few intermediate progress pictures on the rest of the model. I almost exclusively use P3 paints because they work the best with how I paint, so the colors that I mention are all in their range.

I prefer to use a light gray primer on most of my models these days, as it doesn’t mute the bright colors as much as black primer does, and I seem to have a hard time with white primers having separated into chunks and watery medium no matter how hard I shake. I prime with my airbrush because it’s hard to nail down decent weather for spray can primer in the Midwest that doesn’t change drastically from day to day. So that covers primer, on to the paint!

For Caucasian female skin I start with a basecoat of a 50/50 mix of Midlund Flesh and Ryn Flesh with a teeny tiny dab of Thamar Black added in to desaturate the somewhat orange tone of the flesh colors. This helps it look more like real skin.

Skin tone basecoat

Immediately after doing the basecoat of the face I tackle the eyes. Here’s a secret… I used to HATE painting eyes, they were always crooked, and no matter what I tried I messed up my finished face. Then I took a class with Meg Maples, a former Privateer Press studio painter, and boy did she open my eyes (wink wink) on how to tackle this tricky subject! She has written a superb article that takes you through the exact process I used for Una, which you can find here, linked with permission: http://www.arcanepaintworks.com/blog-1/2016/6/9/6-step-eyes The best secret I learned was to do the eyes first and then clean up around them when they were finished. No more mess ups on finished faces!

Una with 6-Step Eyes

Now I start with the shadows on the face. Regardless of skin tone I always do one warm shadow color and one cool shadow color. By “warm” and “cool” I’m referring to some basic color theory that warm colors are generally red, orange, yellow and cool colors are blue, green, violet. Warm colors pop forward to the eye and cool colors visually recede. For more on color theory and color mixing, I super recommend the book “Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green” by Michael Wilcox.

The warm tone helps bring some life to the model. As humans we’re used to seeing blood flowing under the skin which creates a warm, reddish hue. So the warm tone, used in the cheeks and around the ears, gives the illusion that the model also has some blood flowing under the skin. I make a mix of the base skin color and add a small amount of Sanguine Base, just enough to tint the base a little red.

Warm Shadows on Face

To give the face some depth and definition I go to the cool shadows next. My go-to color to achieve this is Coal Black, and it is hands down my favorite color in the whole P3 paint range. I add just a touch to the base skin color, enough to achieve a slightly blue tint. This is not mixed at all with the previous shadows color, otherwise it gets too purple and we lose the pure cool effect of the blue.

Cool Shadows on Face

For the first highlight I use pure Ryn Flesh and focus on placing it where the light would naturally hit. Areas to focus on are the tops of the cheekbones, the forehead, the bridge of the nose, the skin over the upper lip, and the top of the chin. Try not to completely lose your midtone (the basecoat) leaving some to transition into the shadows. I frequently have to go back with the midtone color and make sure to redefine it as usually either one shadow or the highlights get a little over-zealous.

Ryn Flesh Highlights

For a final highlight I mix the Ryn Flesh with a good amount of Menoth White Highlight (about two-thirds and one-third, respectively). Menoth White Highlight is a nice warm white, almost a cream/linen color and will help the final highlights pop not only with light, but with warmth. This should be placed inside the first highlight where the light would hit the very most. It’s generally a pretty small highlight, but very important for the full definition of the face.

Final Highlights with Menoth White Highlight

As a final step for the face, I gave Una some lip color using Sanguine Base and Sanguine Highlight. The darker color goes on the upper lip because it’s in shadow, and lighter on the bottom. I add a very small highlight on the lower lip by mixing the Sanguine Highlight with some Ryn Flesh to give the lip a fuller feeling.

Lip Color

In order to make sure everything looks good before I move on to the rest of the model, I block in the colors around the face. So I did a quick base coat of the hair, the hood, and the shirt by her neck. This serves as a good check on whether or not I’ve achieved a decent level of contrast on the skin tones, and helps me see what the face is going to look like in the context of the rest of the model.

Block in Colors Around the Face

Since the model I’m working with here is pretty small, work-in-progress photos with even my good camera are less than perfectly detailed. I’ve drawn a simple diagram of how I place my shadows and highlights on a face given a sort of ambient, overhead lighting, like what you would find if they were outside on a sunny afternoon. Placement of shadows and highlights can change drastically under different or more dramatic lighting situations, but given a model you’re going to play with on the table, those usually don’t apply. The colors are a little exaggerated for effect and clarity in understanding the “zones” of the face.

Face Map Front
Face Map Profile

Now that the face is done I tackle the model from the inside out, moving on to the fabrics, and then the armor, and then all the little details afterwards.

Cloth and Leather
Armor

And then after a hundred feathers, we have the finished model!

I hope this is helpful in showing exactly how I tackle faces on models. Even when they’re small in scale like Una, the face is where we’re programmed as humans to look first. It’s worth spending the extra time and practice on getting it right! Until next time, Happy Gaming!

 

Winter Hunters

Guild Ball is a great game by Steamforged Games with a low model count, and I love getting teams . The models themselves all have great expressive faces and active poses to go along with the whole idea of fantasy murder soccer. This team of Hunters was imagined with a winter theme, in such a way where they might blend in to a snowy forest environment. Whites, icy blues, and dark grays are the main colors, and the crushed glass on the bases helps sell the effect of crisp, shining snow.

Theron, Hunter Captain
Theron, Hunter Captain
Egret
Egret

Fahad was probably my favorite of the whole team, getting to do her as a snow leopard and freehanding all the spots was a great challenge. In the end, I think the effect turned out pretty nicely.

Fahad
Fahad
Hearne
Hearne
Jaecar
Jaecar

Who doesn’t love a rampaging polar bear? Seenah only has one foot on the ground, and you can just picture him barreling towards the enemy team.

keith_seenah1

Seenah
Seenah
Chaska
Chaska
Zarola
Zarola

You can’t have Hunters without their traps, cleverly disguised for the winter season, nor a game of Guild Ball without the ball, given the appropriate logo.

Hunter traps
Hunter traps
Guild Ball
Guild Ball

One of the best things for me is to put all the models together and take a team shot. Looking at them all out there as a visually cohesive unit is really rewarding!

Hunters
Hunters

Weathered Cryx Inflictor Tutorial

This blog was first featured as a guest post over at the Privateer Press website, here’s the original! http://privateerpress.com/guest-hobby-blog-weathering-with-griffons-roost-painting

 

The Inflictor is the newly released Cryx warjack that comes as part of a hard plastic kit along with the Seether. I’ve long been a fan of the Nightmare Empire, so I just had to add the Inflictor to my collection. In my imagination, the Broken Isles are a kind of wet and dreary place. I’ve always thought that Cryx ‘jacks could look rusty and corroded in that climate, since the undead probably aren’t the most fastidious of beings. So I’d like to share a step-by-step for painting the Inflictor focusing on the weathering technique I use to make my Cryx ‘jacks look nice and dirty!

 

Step 1: Prep and Prime

Assemble the warjack according to the instructions, remove mold lines with a sharp hobby knife, and fill the gaps with an epoxy material of preference. It is important to note that I failed on the following instructions part, and didn’t notice that the Inflictor should have two small acid tanks on its right shoulder instead of another set of spikes. So mine has two sets of shoulder spikes… oops!

Assembled, cleaned, and gap filled
Assembled, cleaned, and gap filled

Prime the model in a light gray or white primer using an airbrush or a rattle can variety. A lighter primer is important here because it helps the next step, a rusty orange, show up vibrantly.

Primed in a light gray
Primed in a light gray

Step 2: Rust Layer

Using the airbrush again, give the Inflictor a solid base of Bloodstone mixed with a little Bloodtracker Brown.

Rust layer base coat
Rust layer base coat

Next take a bit of blister foam, and using it as a sponge, dab on spots of Khador Red Base, Khador Red Highlight, Bloodstone, and Umbral Umber.

Rust Colors and blister foam sponge
Rust Colors and blister foam sponge

After spongeing on these colors, the rust layer should have a decent amount of variation.

Rust variation added
Rust variation added

At this point, I sealed the Inflictor lightly with some Testor’s Dullcote, a spray matte varnish, to protect the rust layer in the next steps. After that had fully dried, take whatever cheap aerosol hairspray and apply two light coats to the model, letting it dry fully between coats. A hairdryer on a cool setting can speed up the drying time significantly. It is possible that the hairspray will make the model look shiny, but this is fine as it won’t stay that way.

Inflictor_Step6_Hairspray
Hairspray application

Step 3: Airbrush the Main Color

My Cryx are the standard gray scheme, so I used Cryx Bane Base, Cryx Bane Highlight, and Thamar Black. Using the airbrush is crucial to making this weathering technique work since it applies paint in very thin layers, much more so than what can be achieved with a brush. When airbrushing, I prefer to start with the darkest shadow color, and work my way all the way up to the highest highlight. I start with mostly Thamar Black, mixed with a little Cryx Bane Base, then add more Cryx Bane Base for the next layer. Straight Cryx Bane Base is the third layer and serves as the midtone. First highlight is Cryx Bane Base mixed half and half with Cryx Bane Highlight, and finally the last highlight is straight Cryx Bane Highlight.

Shadows and Midtone
Shadows and Midtone
Full Highlights
Full Highlights

Step 4: Exposing the Rust

For this part you need a clean cup of water, a bristled dental pick, and a cheap, soft paint brush.

Bristled dental pick, clean brush and water for exposing the rust layer
Bristled dental pick, clean brush and water for exposing the rust layer

With the wet dental pick gently scrub away at the gray until the rust color underneath is sufficiently exposed. The water dissolves the hairspray, and weakens the paint on top of it so that it can be removed. Use the clean paint brush for cleanup of any paint flakes that may not be removed with the dental pick. Focus rust spots on areas that would be prone to them, anywhere water might pool and sit, around rivets or other weak spots, or anywhere the ‘jack might be prone to being scratched or damaged.

Exposing the rust layer
Exposing the rust layer

It’s impossible to fully control this process, you get to choose where and approximately how much paint comes off, but not the exact shape or outline of the rust spots. Embrace the chaos, it makes the rust patches look more natural! When the ‘jack is as corroded as desired, make sure it’s fully dry, and then seal the model again with Dullcote. This will protect the work thus far, and prevent the grays from chipping down to the rust any more.

Seal with Dullcote
Seal with Dullcote

Now this ‘jack is good and rusty!

inflictorrustwip
Inflictor after hairspray weathering

Making the rust varied in the step with the sponge really gives it an extra boost of realism. Check out the circled area to see the detail inside the rust spots.

Detail inside rust
Detail inside rust

Step 5: Define the Rust

To really make the rust stand out it needs to be edged. To simulate the effect of paint lifting from the rust, paint a fine Thamar Black line around the top edge of the spot, so it looks like it’s casting a shadow. Use Cryx Bane Highlight to paint a thin, light line around the bottom edge of the rust spot, as if the peeling paint edge is catching the sunlight.

Edging the rust spots
Edging the rust spots
Rust edging detail
Rust edging detail

Step 6: Paint the Metals

Paint the steel starting with a Pig Iron base coat, then shade with a 50/50 mix Coal Black and Umbral Umber. Highlight with Cold Steel. For the brass areas, base coat with Blighted Gold, then shade with a mix of Umbral Umber, Cryx Bane Base, and a small bit of Gnarls Green. Highlight with Brass Balls.

Metals painted
Metals painted

Now, it makes no sense that these metals look clean and shiny and new while the paint is old and rusted. To age the metals, dab some Bloodstone on the steel using a sponge to give it a light rusted appearance. Make a wash of the same color and apply it judiciously where rusty water might pool, or coming in streaks from the rust spots in the gray areas. Brass corrodes differently than steel and oxidizes into a blue-green color. Make a mix with Arcane Blue and Iosan Green, and sponge that on the brass areas. Using these colors, make a wash and apply it carefully around the bottoms of the rivets, or around any of the brass crevices where water might get stuck.

Aged metals
Aged metals

Step 7: Cryxian Glow

Hands down the most eye-catching thing about Cryx is their eerie green glow. It lets you know that that’s no normal fire powering these machines, it’s something Evil. To start, paint all the areas that are going to be glowing with Menoth White Highlight. This will insure that it is the brightest part of the model.

Paint white where the glow will be
Paint white where the glow will be

Now make three separate mixtures of ink. One of straight yellow ink, one that is two drops yellow and one drop green, and the last mixture is one drop yellow and two drops green ink. Starting with the middle mixture of two yellow, one green, glaze the ink over the areas painted white. Take care not to have too much ink in the brush, and don’t let it pool around the edges or in the cracks. Next, use the straight yellow ink and blend it closer in to the core of the ‘jack. Then use the darker green mix and blend it towards the outer edges, as if the fire is getting colder farther away from the middle.

Green glow
Green glow

 

Step 8: Finishing Touches

Almost there! All that’s left at this point is a few hoses and the boney shoulder spikes. Paint the hoses black and highlight the ridges with Coal Black mixed with a bit of Menoth White Highlight. The bone spikes are a ‘Jack Bone base, shaded with a 50/50 mix of Gun Corps Brown and Cryx Bane Highlight, then highlighted with a mix of ‘Jack Bone and Menoth White Highlight.

Almost complete
Almost complete

Get the ‘jack based with your favorite creepy materials, take some final photos, and voila! The Inflictor is ready to go onto the battlefield to further the plans of Lord Toruk, drain enemies of their souls, and perhaps give them tetanus, too!

inflictor1 inflictor2 inflictor10inflictor7

Rats! A Malifaux Crew

I recently got a commission to paint up a crew of Malifaux models, which was my first foray into anything produced by Wyrd Games. I don’t know much of anything about the game itself, but I have to say, the models were a delight. The plastic is really great, cleaned up easily, and has some really impressive detail quality. As I understand it, the group I got are Outcasts, led by Hamelin, and made up of a combination of “The Plague Cometh” and “Brotherhood of the Rat” box sets. All that was asked of me was to paint them close to the studio scheme, and leave basing to my client. The interesting thing about Malifaux, though, is that they don’t currently seem to have studio painted models for their plastics. There wasn’t a physical model to copy, so I had to turn to their graphic images for inspiration and guidance.

The Plague Cometh box set art - Wyrd Games
The Plague Cometh box set art – Wyrd Games
Brotherhood of the Rat box set art - Wyrd Games
Brotherhood of the Rat box set art – Wyrd Games

When I go about starting any project where the models are going to end up as a cohesive group, I find it critical to stop and think about what it is that’s going to tie them all together. Color and basing are always good choices for this, but when the models themselves are more individual, it can be more difficult to get a single color to unify everything. So for this project I chose to go a more thematic route. It seemed like all of the models were meant to be people on the fringes, living rough on the streets or in the sewers. It made sense in my brain that they should all have muted colors, and a mostly subtle, limited palette.

Let’s start with Hamelin! Here’s a nice clear picture of his official studio illustration, followed by my interpretation in miniature form.

Hamelin - Wyrd Games
Hamelin – Wyrd Games
Hamelin painted model
Hamelin painted model

The Obedient Wretch was probably my favorite model out of the group. She’s sweet and creepy, and even though she’s a very simple figure, it feels like she has a story. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even find much in the way of a studio illustration, just this one image from a Malifaux page that appears to be in Cyrillic. It’s still a great imspiration and starting place for my model.

Obedient Wretch artwork
Obedient Wretch artwork
Obedient Wretch painted model
Obedient Wretch painted model

The color choices on the other models were largely guided by the images from the art on their box sets above, though I couldn’t resist putting the little girl eating a rat in a pink dress. The dichotomy of what she’s doing and the innocent, childish color just felt too right.

Rat Catcher - Wyrd Games
Rat Catcher – Wyrd Games
The Stolen, girl - Wyrd Games
The Stolen, girl – Wyrd Games
The Stolen, boy - Wyrd Games
The Stolen, boy – Wyrd Games
Rat King - Wyrd Games
Rat King – Wyrd Games
Nix - Wyrd Games
Nix – Wyrd Games

And you can’t forget the rats! Of course I see plenty of real life references for those in my city alleyways… Eek!

Malifaux Rats - Wyrd Games
Malifaux Rats – Wyrd Games

 

Painting the New Circle Orboros Battlebox

I’ve been working on painting up four of the new Warmachine/Hordes battleboxes (what Privateer Press calls their handy intro kits). Two sets for Warmachine, and two sets for Hordes so that my husband, Chad, has them for demos as a press ganger. I started with the Circle Orboros set in the Hordes system because that’s what he plays. Since he plays a lot, I’ve been painting pieces for his army all along, and thankfully I had one piece of the box already done, so I had a headstart.

Since we knew what was going to be in the box, I capitalized on that headstart and started painting a Pureblood Warpwolf and a Wild Argus before we even had the battlebox in hand. The Pureblood was a bigger project since the studio art has him being white, and I’ve tried to stick close to that scheme for Chad’s army. White is a difficult color, and I’ve struggled with it before, and since I didn’t have 20 extra hours to get it right, I went with more of a very light gray.

Pureblood1
Finished Pureblood Warpwolf

The Wild Argus was a much quicker endeavor, and I’m happy to finally have one finished. The original Argus were the first models I ever painted, and that was a long time ago. Those can thankfully be retired as an object lesson in how far I’ve come in the last 5 years. Perhaps I’ll trot those out in a post sometime, but for now here’s the recent one.

Wild Argus
Wild Argus
Completed Gorax
Completed Gorax

The Gorax is the model that was already finished before I got going on the battlebox, so with all the beasts out of the way, it was time for the warlock, Tanith the Feral Song.

Thankfully, we were able to have a line ninja at Privateer Press’ convention, Loack and Load, and we got the Circle battlebox two weeks ahead of the regular release. We got the box opened and even though I was expecting it, I was somewhat surprised with how very green the plastic was. Once Tanith was primed with gray Scale 75 primer the green still bled through.  Thankfully, I was pretty certain that the paint would be opaque enough that it wouldn’t affect the end result.

Unpainted Tanith is super green
Unpainted Tanith is super green
Tanith Work-in-progress
Tanith Work-in-progress

The paint worked out ok, but the mold lines on the model were really a challenge, particularly on her right leg. I generally use a scalpel to clean up the lines on plastic, and I had to do a lot of work to get it to even be acceptable. I had to sacrifice some detail to get things smooth. In some ways the detail on this plastic is really good, especially on the larger models, but I do wish that the mold lines on the smaller models weren’t quite so intense. However, all’s well that ends well, and Tanith turned out decently.

Finished Tanith the Feral Song
Finished Tanith the Feral Song

Tanith4

With Tanith done, that completed the new battlebox, and all that was left was a group shot! Circle Orboros ready to take on the table in an ‘all new war.’ Happy Gaming!

Circle battlebox ready to go!
Circle battlebox ready to go!

Cryx Reaper and Hairspray Weathering

So one of the things I always looked forward to when I first got an airbrush was finally being able to try out this technique that made really great, natural looking rust spots on models. I had tried a couple other ways of getting a rust spot look with sponges and just freehand painting before I got my airbrush set-up, but none of them looked quite right to me. Here’s a good example of what a rust spot looks like in real life:

Rust spot on a car

There’s a lot of texture and variation, irregular edges, and it forms in a weak spot in the paint. I just couldn’t get the freehand to have the same rough edges with any sort of success. So I kept things pretty clean as far as painting the machines go. I’m the type of painter who relies most heavily on my brush to get the job done. It’s comfortable, and I’ve been painting that way long before I ever knew that hobby miniatures were a thing. Airbrushing is still pretty new, and I definitely still have a long way to go before I’m as good or as comfortable with that as I am with a brush in my hand, but with it I can achieve an effect that I just fail at otherwise.

*Clean* Cryx Slayer, model by Privateer Press
*Clean* Cryx Slayer, model by Privateer Press

A quick run-down of the hairspray weathering technique is as follows… Paint or spray a base of a rust color, preferably with some kind of automotive primer as it bonds really well (I just went with regular paint and then was gentle later). Add some variation and some different textures to the rust color by sponging different oranges, reds, and browns on top. Spray two coats of hairspray over the whole thing, letting each dry fully in between. I sped up the drying time with a hairdryer on a cool setting.  Then airbrush the color that you actually want over top, including all the shadows and highlights, but making sure the layers are pretty thin without being transparent.  It basically ends up looking like there’s no rust color at all at this point.

Next, take some clean water and a small scrubby brush (I used a small brushed dental pick), and gently wet and scrub away the top layer until the rust color is exposed.  The water dissolves the hair spray underneath and lets the top layer get brushed away. When I was happy with the number and shape of my rust spots, I sealed the miniature at this this step with Dullcote matte varnish.  The final little step is to take a brush and do a very dark line under the top side of the rust spot, and a light line on the bottom side of the spot to make it look like the edges of the spot are casting shadows and catching highlights. Here’s how the Cryx Reaper turned out in the end.

Cryx Reaper, model by Privateer Press
Cryx Reaper, model by Privateer Press

Reaper3Reaper8Reaper4

I think getting these Cryx warjacks ‘dirtied’ up a bit really helps sell the idea that these are dark, scary murder machines of the “Nightmare Empire.” I couldn’t resist throwing some blood spatter on there too. It’s pretty likely that I’ll continue to use this weathering technique to add some variation to these types of models in the future, and once I get a better handle on it, I’d love to do more of a photo tutorial. For now though, I’m learning to love the character that getting a bit dirty and out of control can give things!

A Whole New War and a Brand New Adventure in Painting

A brand new edition for one of my favorite games, Warmachine/Hordes, means a brand new adventure in painting for me!  The first big step is my very own website, which for now will function mostly as a painting blog, but in the future I hope to add things like painting videos, classes, and more!

As far as the new edition goes, I’m looking forward to really diving in since I never really got a good handle on the Mk II rules. There are some great new caster models included in the new battleboxes, and I’ll be getting my hands on a few of them. I already have the Circle Orboros box, thanks to my husband having a loot ninja at the Lock and Load convention, and I’m hard at work on getting the models painted up.

New Circle Battlebox, by Privateer Press

 

I already have the Gorax completed, and the Pureblood just needs some basing. The newly re-named Wild Argus is currently under my brush. I had most of these ready to get primed and painted when we figured out what was going to be in the box, however, I have yet to see how the green plastic takes to primer. It’s so very, very green… I don’t have any pictures of Tanith the Feral Song just yet, but I’ll probably make a progress post for her when she gets on the painting table.

Pureblood Warpwoolf and Wild Argus work in progress
Pureblood Warpwoolf and Wild Argus work in progress
Completed Gorax
Completed Gorax

Once the official release of the new edition happens in about a week, my local game store is running a Journeyman league, led by my husband, Chad, who is one of the local Press Gangers.  While he will be playing these Circle models, I will be going back to my favorite undead necromancers, Cryx.  I’m looking forward to being able to get a fully painted army of my own on the table, and seeing what they can do.  I’ll keep you posted!