[Been Painting] The Court of the Crag (2/2)

Told you there’d be more down the line.

First up, baby’s first Special choice: some Tree-Kin, formerly known as Spite-Revenants.

I’m not entirely sure about these. They’re a little bit too blue, I think, and I don’t particularly trust the only white paint I have to hand as a highlight or next layer. But anything else I do with them has come out looking a bit naff, so I’m going to call them done until an idea presents itself.

Their completion gives me the full 1000 points I need to finish The Maven & The Witch, so all being well expect a wrap up on that this time next week.

I am pretty sure of Prince Hywel of the Crag. Even if each successive photo highlighted another thing that needed tweaking, after the fourth I am very satisfied indeed. Made a bit more of an effort on him, introducing a little bone and a platinum highlight here and there. Nothing that breaks the palette, just… nudging it a little.

In game terms, he’s an Alter Noble or Highborn; great weapon, “light armour and shield” (half-oaken body and a parrying stance), Glamourweave and the Helm of the Hunt.

I hadn’t planned on a Lord choice, but  I want to give myself the option. Having signed up for Warhammer: Resurrection (two day event to be held in the summer, lockdowns permitting), and pledged the Wood Elves to the cause, I shall have to get some test games in and see how the No Lords policy holds up.

[WFB] The Court of the Crag (1 of 2)

A much needed “weekend off” after the actual weekend burned my brains out; I still feel like parts of my head have been put in a vice and squeezed. Time for a day or two of long films I’ve seen before and painting, I think! I’ve now done three out of four Ylthari’s Guardians Alter Kindred Heroes and I have names for all of them.

First up, Gilfaethwy. You’ve seen them before, but I wanted to post another, unflattering photo so that everyone got one.

Gilfaethwy is armed with an extremely great weapon and probably the Stone of the Crystal Mere or something. I vaguely want to give them the Fimbulwinter Shard but it’s at its best on a mounted character in an army that isn’t mostly Dryads. I must find some way to sneak that into the army, though.

Next, Gwydion.

Gwydion is waving the Bow of Loren around, as the Alter Kindred’s additional attacks and single-model line of sight make them an excellent carrier for this traditional weapon. I may yet add some snow to Gwydion’s tactical rock.; I’ve not decided.

Finally, there’s Blodeuwedd. Not an amazingly photogenic figure, but she looks better in person. There’s quite a subtle merge-and-yet-distinction between the leaf skirt, the vine corset/basque arrangement and parts of her skin that led me to basically wet blend a few layers around Nighthaunt Gloom to ease the transition, and I think it’s worked quite nicely.

She will generally be carrying either Calaingor’s Stave or the Deepwood Sphere (subject to testing) plusa Dispel Scroll (I refuse to indulge the photocopy special, but I’m allowing myself one in the interests of furthering this magic-light approach. She can’t be Alter Kindred like the others on account of being a Spellweaver, nor can she be Glamourweave Kindred without saddling up on a steed or unicorn for some reason (although Mat Ward seemed to get away with it in the inaugral battle report for the army book, and I don’t think it does lasting harm, it’s basically a cheap 5+ ward, worse things happen for 20 points).

The fourth figure isn’t painted yet. These are merely his offspring and retainers. I’m saving him for the next milestone, as I intend to save him for larger games. But he’s primed, and he’s named, and the world will be hearing from Prince Hwel of the Crag at some point.

Talking of which: The Maven & The Witch. I must beg your indulgence for another week. The aforementioned brain rot has really slowed me down, and I have now successfully flogged off the last of my Age of Sigmar scenery. A substitute has been identified, and purchased, but needs to be prepared, and I need to do that once I’m back in work. I’ll probably get the second game played next “weekend”, now that both the heroes I need are painted.

[WFB] The heroes we deserve…

Progress continues apace: I am still able to put in a couple of painting sprints a week before work, and having cleared my OWAC commitments for the month, I now have many damned things to show you.

The first Damned Thing is this Alter Noble, for such they are. Honest.

Hark says they looks like they’re in a power metal band: “like Lordi but arboreal”. i think they play bass.

I know the Alter Kindred are supposed to represent the weres and shifters of yesteryear, thus sating the grogs who’d doubtless been groggin’ about them vanishing from the list since the week after fourth edition WFB came out. I don’t own any of those figures. I do know a bargain when I see it, and four freaky-looking half-tree monsters for £15 is definitely a bargain by GW standards. They even have good approximations for the appropriate kit: this specimen is sporting a great weapon and the Stone of the Crystal Mere knotted up in their branches, along with a 5+ save ably represented by their generally robust tree bits and some sort of spite (it’s a pity the spites start at 25 points, but you can’t have everything).

Emboldened by the use of Drakenhof Nightshade on the skin here, I tried it out on the faces of my next rank of Glade Guard. They have also had a new spot colour introduced, as a way of identifying regiments at a glance when they go all MSU.

i already did one “da ba dee da ba di” this week and i’m not doing another.

I think it works well enough that I can skip the temperamental “thinned down red then thinned down green” stage inherited from my Retribution of Scyrah models. I’m not so convinced by the brown boot trims and gloves. The thing with these Oathmark figures is they don’t have the extra layer of garments the Citadel figures do, so it’s harder to bring in a spot colour or break up the bodies. You gets what you pays for, and I am still content with them for the price, but as I work on these I am more appreciative of how GW’s plastic kits at their best stand apart from the pack.

With fifteen elves done it was high time to finish an 8×2 line with something a bit different: a metal Oathmark champion.

if heroes get a tactical rock, champions can have a tactical snowdrift

I’m well pleased with this one. It’s a simple enough figure, but with just a little extra complexity compared to the rank and file, with the chainmail and the studs on the hood and the hair. It’s also brought home to me how different metal really is to plastic, with a painting style like mine. When I’m literally working on the metals and plastics side by side, doing the same stages on each one, the comparative crispness and texture of the metal is apparent around the time the first wash goes on. I’m not saying I’m gonna chuck all my figures RIGHT NOW and join the all-metal all-the-time brigade (I’m not made of money!) but I do appreciate their argument in a new light.

Of course, if we’re going for a metal champion and a classic regimental lineout, we have a spare figure flying around from the ten man unit, and an opportunity is knocking.

not certified for use in Albion; not Lore of Heavens safe

Young Thaniel – the former unit leader who disgraced himself so in Ghosts in the Fog – has had his sword of bossdom-denoting confiscated and been given a Responsibility, in the hope that it’ll help him hold his nerve and set a better example. It’s not done, but papercrafting banners is definitely on the “later” end of my priorities.

why has the colour blue forsaken me after all these years of loyalty?
blue Chaos, blue Mercs, blue Trollbloods…

Finally, there are the latest harvest of Dryads. These have come out a bit funny, and I know exactly why. I gave the Nighthaunt Gloom a good shake before adding it and it came out super globby, drowning the lower layers in technical blue. It’s not a wash, even if I’m using it like one, and less is more when I get to that stage on the Spirits. I might skip it entirely on the next few and see how much of a difference it makes. These were rescued with another pass of Drakenhof Nightshade, which has at least given the unit a nice bit of variation when it’s all formed up together.

Speaking of which, since we now have some bigger-than-minimum-sized units, shall we enjoy some beauty shots?

With another week of this, I’ll have done all the Dryads, and two thirds of the Glade Guard. High time to move on into Special units, at that stage, and pop some Tree-Kin together ready for Chapter III of the solo campaign. Chapter II will be forthcoming Soon (TM). I need to paint up the second Alter Noble for that one, and also sort out some new scenery as I’m successfully shot of the plastic tombs. I also need to put some hustle under my bustle, as there may be only a few weeks until the bookshop can re-open properly and I may be in line for more hours at work, moving hobby activity back to a “days off, either paint or play” endeavour. In the interest of cracking on with the campaign, I may be about to make… a compromise. We’ll talk about that later, once I’ve figured out if it’s worth doing.

[WFB] On a cold and frosty mourning…

LOOK MA, GAME LEGAL UNITS

I’ve really hit my stride with these now. Thanks to the combination of no kids, six hour shifts and morning insomnia I can crack out a sprue each of Dryads and Glade Guard each week and get them done in three days before work. They aren’t particularly sophisticated paint jobs, of course, but they are entirely fit for purpose. Except that row of archers whose faces are still a bit green. The flesh recipe isn’t always forgiving.

I’m quite pleased with the Maven, though.

I’m still getting the hang of the regiment bases and putting things on at the right angle so they’re not stabbing their mates in the back of the head. Mostly I have to remember nocked arrows stand further back.

Arboreal GOBSHITE

These damn things look pretty nice once they’re together, and will be ideal for the rules-standardised “free wood,”*, but lore do I regret not painting them on the sprue. Sometimes my old-fashioned insistence that Build comes before Paint is at odds with the best way to approach a kit. Hand priming this was knackering and I’m gonna need a bigger brush to tackle the other two.

* – despite my prior kvetching about this rule – do Dwarfs get a hill in every game? can Tomb Kings elect to erase all foliage from the table on principle? – it still serves a grand purpose. If you want to deny me favourable terrain, you’ll just have to play something other than Pitched Battle. What a shame. I don’t have an agenda at all.

Not shown: Dr. Nurke’s Hair Restorative Tonic, one pint bottle

Forgive the janky photo. This is a WIP, a sneak peek, before I get the putty out and ruin everything. One Nomad Prince, with the rather spiffy flag from the Tree-Revenants (shaved down to remove the fingers and tuck neatly into his cloak) and a head from the Oathmark kit. I don’t especially care for the big pointy helmet he comes with, and the damn thing’s lost anyway. It flew off the sprue and hit me in the eye en route to Parts Unknown, and I was too busy cussing and blinking to see where it landed. No great loss. Bare heads are more Asrai anyway: helmets are for Ulthuan ponces.

Having bashed these out during the week, I can now spend my “weekend” (Monday and Tuesday, because people want to buy books at their weekend, apparently) setting up the table for the first instalment of that solo campaign. No promises about finished terrain, but I will try to get it all done by the time I hit the last instalment.

[WFB] In the bleak midwinter…

I have returned to my grubby hand priming roots with these figures. It’s far too cold to apply spray primer, and my cottage is far too cramped for the resulting fumes, and by the time I’ve got a box and taped figures to a stick and gone back over to catch all the bits I missed there has been no time saved at all. So it’s a layer of grey gesso to start and then on with the glazes and layers to proceed.

brown trees on their brown bases

These are test models, so nowhere near finished yet – just basecoated so I can play around with colour placements and stages, see what does best where and in what order. I liked the cold tone on the Dryads but they’re very dark and boring. They needed… texture.

grün

This is after a drybrush of Nurgling Green, a heavy going over with Nighthaunt Gloom, and another drybrush of Nurgling Green, working back from the claws and faces. They might need a coat of actual paint on those fingers to add some pop.

are you hitting me with your sister?

I’m leaving the Maven well alone for the time being, until I work out how to keep the Dryads lively, but I had to test out the Nighthaunt Gloom by itself on her scythe. Couldn’t resist.

this one’s my favourite so far

The Archers are looking better. Still feeling out the right order to paint all the bits in, but the drab grey cloaks with paler greys and greens underneath are working for me.

bases, faces and… boots? back to the drawing board!

The next issue: bases, faces and blades! The bows were far too plain so I went back and redid those in the pale green. Much more better. Part of me wants to push things further, into a colour range with some whites in. Something a bit like Joe Sturge’s army from White Dwarf 321. Not a period of Dwarf history I normally venture into, falling as it does months after the Bigger Giant fiasco and the emergence of Owen “magazine for people who don’t read” Rees’ web-crazed half-text noodlings as editor, but not without its gems.

less qq, more pew pew

The subsequent models are probably going to go on regimental bases – the old four-in-a-line jobs. I have quite a few of these lying around and for an army that’ll probably change its formation more often than its trousers they should be easier to wrangle than movement trays. I have ten 80x20mm ones, which is plenty, and twelve of the 100x25mm ones, which make me think unwholesome thoughts like “eighth edition” and “Dryad horde.”

I’ve also started work on the next batch, mostly because Ylthari’s Grauniads arrived and I wanted to play around with the newest kit. These are some flimsy, springy models, but they DO all go together without glue as long as you look, think, and take note of where all the pegs are.

I glued Gallanghan’s body into place because I had trouble finding a peg, and I cut off Ylthari’s weird-looking worm sprite – unfortunately, it turned out to be load bearing and her head pinged off too, so that was another dob of poly cement called for. And they needed gluing to their “new” old bases too, natch.

alter images

While sixth edition technically callls for 20mm square bases, these models are far too big for that. They do fit nicely enough on 25mm though. I don’t think it makes that much difference. Most of them will be Alter Kindred and unable to join units, or rolling alone by choice as sixth edition is kinder to independent characters on foot than I remembered. It does mean none of them can chill with the Eternal Guard, so I might be in the market for a footslogging Noble if a unit of those becomes appealing.

reduce, reuse, regenerate

Their newfangled fully modelled round bases will not go to waste. The various sprites, twiggy bits and other sundry additionals I leave off my models will fill those gaps nicely and bingo bongo, I have spell tokens or encounter markers or something.

That’s as far as I can go for now, with the Dwarf Bronze I wanted to use for arrows out of commission. It’s back on the Oldhammer 40K Orks for me tomorrow. OWAC won’t O-WA-A-AC itself, after all.

[Been Painting] Vampire Counts: This Post’s Words’ Worth Is Over Nine Thousand

In April, when I had money, I bought some reinforcements.
In May, when I had the opportunity, I seized upon a Bargain.
In June, before everything and its dog went wrong, I made some beginnings.
Four days ago, when necessity struck, I began anew.
Three days ago, things began to take shape.
Two days ago, certain losses were made good upon.
One day ago, we stood upon the brink of accomplishment.
Today?
TODAY WE RISE!

Because a picture is worth a thousand words. Geddit?

Instagram is more suited to this sort of thing. You can find me over there @propergoffic, same as the Twitter and the Twitch and almost everywhere else I care to be. But it would be churlish not to put them here, too, especially since I can actually link directly to images from here.

It’s strange. My wrists are fucked. I’m generally quite lethargic. And I don’t enjoy painting. But I can still speed paint like a trooper when I’m called upon to do so. Necessity fuels what obligation merely prolongs, and when I have a weekend of actual gaming ahead, Shit Gets Done. There are still touches that I’d like to touch: sticking some static grass on some bases, tinting some armour to at least pretend a harmony with the army (although I guess randomly different coloured Knights are an essential part of the Empire aesthetic), working out how to make the Huntsmen at all interesting (I think some browns? brown is never interesting though) – but that can come later.

Anyway, that’s what six thousand points of sixth edition Vampire Counts looks like. despite my best attempts, there are disparities in the composition of paint and the style with which one applies it and the circumstances in which particular figures have been ruined, so nothing matches quite as well as my inner perfectionist would like. But perfect is the enemy of “good enough” and “good enough” is good enough for me. It’s also good enough for Exeter Games Gathering this weekend, and since I set off for Exeter tomorrow and will be playing WFB by teatime, good enough will bloody well have to do.

The weekend’s game schedule looks like this, so far:

  • Joseph and his Dwarfs, 2000 points, nice easy teaching-feeling game for someone who hasn’t played much (any?) sixth edition
  • Lee and his Bretonnians/Dogs of War, 6000 points, yes I know but we want to bung our entire collections on the table and see what comes about.
  • Lawrence and his Skaven, 2000 points, because fate will come around at last and all endings are beginnings and I’m not travelling to within fifty miles of my longest-serving friend, arch-rival and nemesis without playing some WFB with him, it’s just not happening.

I don’t know if I’ll be up to doing “battle reports” in the full on and detailed sense – I prefer to concentrate on and enjoy the games rather than fuss around with photos and notes, and my hands are hurting just from typing up this relatively short post – but I’ll sort something out. Maybe rope Lawrence into co-writing a narrative report. We did that way back when, with our very first game. I’d post it in a heartbeat if I could actually FIND the damn thing.

I mean: there are still 20-odd Skeleton Swordsmen at the back there…

[WFB] Another Way To (Un)Die

Well, I made it. Slightly later than ideal, still just in time. 1500 points of painted Empire of Dust Tomb Kings, ready to be flung at the invading High Elves of Prince Panting this weekend and stage an incursion upon Dr. Shiny and his Bretonnians in September.

What fate awaits them after that I cannot say: I profoundly disliked painting them, probably because I had no vision for the army going in and only figured out what I shall laughingly call “the technique” on the last models, the Mummies, whom I genuinely abhor as being almost fucking impossible to rank up even with the traditional spacers. But if they’re fun to play with, they may be spared.

Do not look too closely at these Ushabti. You will see all the details I couldnae be arsed to paint proper like or mould lines I couldnae be arsed to clean up. I really didn’t care about this army. Nothing is prepped. It’s all been banged out in six months for the sake of a little variety.

These close-ups of the abominable Mummies may show the faded turquoise of their garments, which I FINALLY figured out how to do. They also show the three characters: Prince Thotmanho the Frequently Abbreviated (who actually looks quite nice, the swine), Bhakgamun the Liche Priest (whose staff is frankly not to be trusted) and an Icon Bearer who will get a name if I decide it’s worth taking an Icon Bearer again. They may also also show the Magic life counter I’m using to mark wounds, since this unit occupies a 4×5 formation even though only 2×6 of actual models are involved. They are REALLY hard to rank up. Quite characterful though.

Meat and potatoes, neither of which are involved in the daily habits of these units. Neither are bread and butter. But anyway; horrible mixed media Skeletons I haven’t filled because arseholes to that, but they look OK from four feet away when it’s cloudy out. And a Skull Chucker, cheerfully sized for fifth edition, dramatically undersized for anything else. I do quite like the rat as the extra crewman, as well as the flaming skull token I made to mark the shot.

You might be thinking I hate this army already. I don’t. It is very much built to be played, though, and the assembly and painting have been phoned in on a very big phone to that end.

The painting queue currently contains this Mausoleum terrain set, but once that’s done, I’d like to set up something a bit smaller scale and take my time on it, just to confirm that I can still paint. The Blood Bowl teams have been here the longest, but my Bad Squiddo stuff needs priming as it’s starting to discolour now some of it’s been unpainted for a year or two, and half a dozen Orc adventurers plus some Gothic horror vignettes may be just the palate cleanser I need after these big monotonous drybrush-and-ink fests. But first: GAME TIME.

[WFB] Been Painting: Von Carsteins

Better late than never, eh?

I never owned the original Vlad and Isabella models from 1994. Back when they were current, I was more of a Necrarch man (ah, the follies of youth).

They never had rules in my beloved sixth edition (although it wouldn’t be too hard to cobble together a set: they’d be ‘special’ insofar as Isabella would have a couple of Lahmian powers and Vlad would have more magic items than were strictly proper).

By the time seventh edition rolled around and gave the Von Carstein family some decent rules (finally, you could fit all of them into 2000 points, and there was none of that OH SPECIAL CHARACTERS WHAT A BEARDMONGER talk around either), I was starting to fall out of love with WFB and the models had been superseded anyway.

So, what with one thing and another, there was no need to own them. It’s only in the last year or so that the completionist’s urge has take me and I’ve felt inclined to pick them up.

It’s been a while since I last did any painting (over a year in fact), so the first afternoon was a leisurely “try to remember how this works” affair. Here we can see the end of an hour or so’s work.

Colours were blocked out first, to get a feel for the overall composition, with the diffuseness of my old Bleached Bone and Ghostly Grey serving as early stage highlights on skin and clothes. Mannfred’s been wheeled out to serve as a palette reference: I also took the opportunity to refresh his paint job a bit, livening up his cloak lining and looking for opportunities to put some different colours on him. The goal was to have them looking a little bit better than the rest of the army; not so amazing and modern that they stand out, but good enough that they stand close inspection.

The day after, I started in on highlights.

My old leather jacket has been pressed into service for this bit – it’s worn to an off-white around the edges, and I’m mindful that pure black doesn’t really exist out there in the world, so its combination of brown-black and damage is perfect as a reference. The heavy travelling capes worn by the Von Carsteins all have a spot of edge highlighting to weather them a bit, breaking up those large areas of black and pushing them just over the quality boundary compared to the rough and ready army at large. It’s helped Mannfred’s “two thirds black” colourscheme look a bit less tosh, too.

Finally, there are the deets. The blood on Isabella’s chalice and Vlad’s sword; the gem on the Carstein Ring; everyone’s red eyes; and a bit of black lining on Mannfred’s mouth to put some detail back in.

I’m very happy with Vlad, and… mostly happy… with Isabella. There’s some sort of casting imperfection on one of her fangs, which didn’t show up until highlighting and shading really brought it out. I’m going to leave it there, partly because eighteen year old me left a lot of mould lines and so she’ll fit in nicely with eighteen year old me’s collection, but partly because I like the idea that she wasn’t the flawless beauty the Von Carstein propaganda claims she was. Anyway, check out Vlad’s sneer. That’s worth it, right?

I’ve also livened Mannfred up a bit further with a few layers of purple and grey glaze on his sword and staff, saturating them with Dark Magic (TM). The sword looks OK, but I kinda botched the staff; there are too many layers on there now to fix it without stripping the whole model, and it looks all right. If you squint. From three feet away.

Fortunately, I’m a three-feet-away kind of painter; unfortunately, I’m all about that “bases, faces and implements” approach. Get those elements looking right and the rest is easy. Mannfred’s not quite there. At least we have some new problems with his colour scheme now…

While I was picking out eyes and teeth and so on, I also took the opportunity to doll up Clarimonde and Romuald in the same style. Of course, under the harsh eye of macrophotography it becomes clear that Clari’s face needs a tidy up, but the main thing I wanted to show was the edge highlighting and the gold on what was previously undifferentiated black.

All that detail work was doing my crust so I started on the other two Banshees while I was at it. Ethereal stuff makes a nice break from detail work ’cause it’s mostly just slapping glazes together and making sure they don’t go absolutely everywhere.

I wouldn’t do the bases like this if I were painting these models on their own, knowing what I know now, but if you think I’m snapping all my brittle fourteen-year-old kitbashes apart to rebase them, think again, chummy.

The odds of my using all of these together are… well, I could do it in fifth edition, if playing a three thousand point game and not needing a level five wizard to ward off High Elven superiority. I’d be more likely to do it in seventh edition, where Mannfred the Acolyte is around to offer a cheap Loremaster and Vlad is a solid generalist Vampire Lord; he’s not the best at anything except Not Dying, but that’s honestly what I look for in a general. I wouldn’t do it in eighth, I don’t think: like fifth edition, that’s a “you need a level four wizard to handle other level four wizards” deal. Maybe if I can take Count Mannfred and Vlad, but who’d let me do that? Only a yoghurt.

I think that’s an unsung strength of the King of Editions and Edition of Kings: because caster level didn’t factor into what you actually needed to roll on the dice, you could play into a fourth level wizard with only a couple of level ones and still stand a reasonable chance in the magic phase.