+ Creating an army of your own – part IV: high impact paint schemes +

+ Creating an army of your own – part IV: high impact paint schemes +

+ This is the fourth part in a series of articles on creating and developing your own personal army. In part I, we looked at picking a name and generating the seed of a culture for your army, which led into you building the first model of your force. We're now deep in other options for paint schemes. +

+ Noosphericinloadlinks +

I – Invitation and overview
II – Paint schemes and heraldic schemes 
III – Muted schemes 
IV – High impact schemes [This inload]
V – Analogous schemes [Spooling]
VI – Enemies and allies [Spooling]

VII – Building a world: developing a culture [Spooling]

+ High impact schemes: Theoretical +

We all know these. High impact schemes are those that grab the eye for one reason or another. Games Workshop's house style of painting is high impact. They tend to achieve this through bold contrast, using a standard key and use of complementary colours. Where muted or heraldic schemes can be too subtle to work effectively on the table, high impact schemes help show off the detail of the sculpts and makes identification of the different parts of the model easy.

High impact schemes are particularly well-suited to gaming with, as this approach will make your army stand out beautifully from tabletop distance. To illustrate this, compare Stuntwedge's beautiful high impact Hunter Cadre Shaska Nan with my muted Lamb's World 117th.

As you can see, where my Guard blend into one another and the table, every part of the Tau force reads out beautifully. When creating your army, you should also consider the practical side of it. If you're a gamer first and foremost, or you want to make a splash, then a high-impact scheme should be borne in mind.

+ Tonal key +

+ Low-key techpriest. Only a few spots are brighter than a midtone. +
High impact schemes tend rely on using the full tonal range, and it's here that we need to identify the concept of a tonal 'key'. When painting, you have access to all the tones, from white to black. You can make the choice to compress this one way or the other, in order to make an overall lower or higher key – that is, to emphasise the darks or lights respectively.

low key paintjob will keep the deepest shades as near-black, but not go all the way up to white for its highlights; while a high key paintjob will do the opposite; keeping very bright highlights, but using midtones for the shading. The muted schemes we've been looking at above have a narrow key – that is, there's less variation in tone across the model as a whole (though muted schemes often still have a few eye-catching spots to provide interest).

The challenge with a high impact scheme is thus less in catching the viewer's as it is in holding their attention. Badly executed, a high impact scheme can be jarring and confusing, looking garish and off-putting. This is the principle behind dazzle camouflage – or a zebra's stripes (this is turn reminds us that camouflage doesn't have to be muted).

A well-executed high impact scheme will ensure that the model retains some structure. In the Fire Warriors below, the scheme runs from pure black to pure white, with the parts broken up with tonal contrast. The panels of the armour are highlighted with relatively light grey, and the white panels of the gun are black-lined. This sweep of tone makes everything read out beautifully.

Fire Warriors of Stuntwedge's Shas'ka Nan
Visual anchors are places that the eye naturally rests upon. They're very useful in a high-impact scheme as a break from the high contrast. You can't rely as much on hot-spots of warm colour as you can in an heraldic or muted scheme, as they simply won't have as much power to draw the eye in a high impact scheme. That's not to say you can't use them; but unless the rest of the scheme is near monochrome, they're going to struggle to be the focus.

For Shas'O Shas'ka Nan, above, Stuntwedge has varied the same palette of colours – black, white and orange – but swapped them around, making the pure white the dominant colour, the black a high-contrast sub-dominant, and the orange relegated to being a tonic for accents alone. This helps the commander to stand out, even amongst his high-impact army, by virtue of being unusual – a quality that applies as much to paint as it does to naming [ref: inload 1 of this series +noosphericinloadlink above+] – and because white paint is naturally brighter and more eye-catching than other hues.

Note that the guns, head and feet act as visual anchors; the eye roams from one to the next in a pleasing circular fashion. A hotspot on the knee provides a focal point, drawing attention to the pose of the figure, while a secondary hot panel on the helm ensures that the head has sufficient complexity and interest to remain a focus.

+ High-impact palette and colour +

You don't have to run the gamut from white to black across the model for high impact, as Warmtamale's awesome Ghostkeel below shows. While the scheme does run from black and white, much of the impact stems from the juxtaposition of the differently-toned plates. This variety of contrasting tone creates impact, but because it's not starkly going from bright to dark, it's not as wearing on the eye. Contrast here comes as much from hue as tone.

The choice of colours is also very important to a successful high impact schemes. The hot pink Warmtamale uses is a colour you don't see much in 40k, so it's already attention-grabbing in its novelty. Using a more common 40k hue – red, for example – would work, but it's not going to be as striking.

Pink works really well here, suggesting an alien aesthetic. Note that Warmtamale has avoided the scheme becoming garish by carefully considering where the accents lie, and keeping them small. Were the blue, green, pink and black applied evenly, the result would be like an 80s nightclub. By applying the scheme as a bold two-tone (pink and black), and reserving the blue and green for tiny accents, the scheme grabs your attention but has sufficient depth to reward a closer look. This is key – it's not enough for your scheme to shout; it must have something worth listening to.

As you can see, hIgh impact schemes work very nicely for Tau, but the approach can work for any army. Orks, for example, can use a high-contrast scheme, as shown by Omricon's Bad Moonz:

While the paintscheme retains some of the muck and dirt you might expect from orks, note that the weathering is restricted to the edges of the armour plates, so that there remains a bold, striking panel of high-impact colour.

My beloved Imperial Guard don't need to be left out, either. High impact schemes are perfectly suited if your army wears dress uniform (perhaps being based on figures like Mordians, Praetorians or Vostroyans), but they can also work for figures in field dress, as with the snow scheme above. This is an unusual example of a high impact scheme, as it's almost entirely monochrome. If you do this, then you really need to pair it with a very strong, highly-saturated colour, like the red accents here.

Blood Bowl teams also work well with high impact schemes – so why not consider your local sports team's strip? While these tend to be almost heraldic, most sports kits are also high impact – another reminder that these paint schemes concept aren't mutually exclusive.


+ High impact schemes: Practical +

When picking your colours, bear the following points in mind:
  • Run the gamut  High impact relies on contrast in tones. Try to build in white and black, and work starkly between them – avoid smooth gradient blends that cover whole surfaces; keep your highlights tight and clean.
  • Visual anchors  To avoid visual fatigue and confusion, build in some areas 
  • Novelty  Consider unusual colour pairings. Coral pinks, tangerine oranges, lime greens... these are all colours that you don't see much in armies, so they have impact. Look at tropical fish or butterflies for inspiration.
  • Saturation  Pastel, destaurated colours are naturally relaxing to look at; not great for impact. Instead, use rich, vibrant colours for the main scheme. Softer colours do have their place, however – use them for accents, details and markings to create that all-important texture for visual anchors.
Remember, impact doesn't mean high key. As a demonstration, look at the two figures below:

On paper, this first scheme seems high impact. It's use highly-saturated hues, and the colours are bold and bright.

However, when we make the cloak a deep blue-grey, note how much more the surrounding colours pop. The second example uses contrast in tone more effectively, changing the figure from a high key scheme to a broader gamut of tone. It is the difference between light and dark areas that is the secret to high impact.

+ The Wood and the Trees – consider the army as a whole +

One final practical point: bear in mind that you're not stuck applying things in a uniform manner. One way to get a high-impact army is to apply the scheme across the army, rather than on a single figure. In the same way Stuntwedge uses the same core colours across this Tau army, but varies the proportions and parts that he paints in each colour, so you can do the same across a force, using a variety of colours on different models.

+ Warmatamale does much the same thing, applying the same palette of
colours in inventive ways across the force, even within the same squad. +
Harlequins are the ur-example of this approach – despite each figure being treated like an individual with its own schema, the army as a whole is high impact, because all the key pins above – gamut, anchors, novelty and saturation – apply.

In the absence of a harlequin army to show you, the saharduin below are a smaller example of this – they are completely different in hue from each other, but have sufficient similarities in tonal contrast and gamut (and sculpt style, of course) that they read as a cohesive pair. Here, then, is where high impact schemes work brilliantly – in tying together disparate elements.


+ inload: Crusader and Servitor +

+ Combat Arena Completed +

+ The Crusader and Servitor below are the last two figures from the Combat Arena boxed set, and that means – for the first time in my life – I've painted a boxed game ready to play. +

+ Seems weird – I've painted lots of miniatures, but never a whole set: some figures from every set have either been cannibalised, repurposed, or left unpainted. It's a nice feeling to have a game all ready! +

+ Gotfret de Montbard, Crusader +

+ A characteristically stoical pose, I'm slightly disappointed that GW essentially redid the previous metal iteration of this character type rather than trying something a bit more dynamic. That said, I don't have any of the metal ones, so no great loss. +

+ For the paint scheme, I knew I wanted to keep things nearly completely red in order to suggest Emperor Palpatine's Guard from Star Wars. I think these sinister figures have a lot in common with Inquisitorial Crusaders, and the all-red scheme is very striking. +

+ The shield's an obvious exception – and intentionally so. The helmed head doesn't make a great focal point, so I've made that secondary. Gofret de Montbard is a bodyguard, an anonymous figure; and so his mistress' heraldry – displayed on the shield – is paramount. Nevertheless, I've used a warm, red-tinged yellow for the shield in order to keep things harmonious. +

+ To avoid having all the elements blurring together, I used cool reds for the capes and warm red for the armour. This standalone figure was thus a useful bit of practise for both Blood Angels and Word Bearers. Lone characters are useful for this – had something gone awry, I'd only have to adjust this one figure. +

+ Note the orange eye lens, red purity seals and warm-brown leather – again, all adding to the warm scheme. +

+ The chequerboard effect (or 'dicing', as I recently found out it's referred to) was originally subtler. I used a mid-brown rather than cream. It had a nice effect, but I felt the shield needed more punch to work heraldically. The result is a bit scrappier than I would have liked, so perhaps I'll return to re-work it. Note the lens on the shield is painted in the same way as the eye. The legend on the shield-scroll reads Vici – 'I conquered'. +

+ Combat Servitor X-101 +

+ As mentioned in an earlier inload [+noosphericinloadlinkembedded+], I used a very workmanlike scheme for this fantastic figure, intending this brainless man-machine to appear like a JCB or similar piece of heavy equipment. +

+ Besides the techpriest, this figure is probably my favourite in the set. Clunky, ungainly and asymmetrical, it looks lumbering and threatening – in a brainless zombie sort of way. +

+ The scheme hopefully has echoes of the power-lifter from Aliens, a similar piece of industrial tech that fits neatly into the 40k universe. Like the power loader, it's got a pair of big claws, some pitted metal and a load of lights and dials. +

+ I've used a piercing green for the bionic eye – the other one is rolled back to suggest this poor soul's mindless nature. +

+ The big claw is the only bit of metal that gets the yellow scheme – all the rest is less bare. To show the rigid texture, I've added some light damage – and avoided doing so on the workmanlike 'overalls'. You can add scratches and so forth on those (to an extent, that's how I did the leather coat on the psyker in the inload linked above), but if you're trying to distinguish two similarly-coloured but differently-textured areas on one figure, I find it best to avoid confusing matters. +

+ One thing I've noticed about all these Combat Arena models is that they've got great details on their backs. The dials and switches here, the dangling charms on the Crusader... I'm not sure if it's intentional, but it'll likely look nice during the game, where you're probably looking at the rear of your character for most of it. Nice touch! +

+ As with the dials, I added some red warning lights, but kept the searchlight dim – by painting it as switched off, I didn't have to do any object source lighting, and kept the focus on the face. Note the little barcode on the shoulder, and the yellow banding on the cable around its stomach. Little details like this add some freehand personalisation for very little effort. +


+ ...and so, with the addition of a drybrush and few tufts of static flock, that completes the motley crew for Combat Arena. They look nice together – so hopefully they look equally good beating the [SCRAPSHUNTERRORABORT] out of each other, too. I'm looking forward to playing a fully-painted game. +

+ Which one's your favourite? +

+ inload: Creating an army of your own III: muted paint schemes +

+ Creating an army of your own – part III: muted paint schemes +

+ This is the third part in a series of articles on creating and developing your own personal army. In part I, we looked at picking a name and generating the seed of a culture for your army, which led into you building the first model of your force. Next, we looked at the option of how to tackle an heraldic style paint scheme. +

+ But perhaps you're not a fan of heraldry, and want something a bit more realistic, or subtle? In the next few inloads, the datalooms are combed for alternative approaches to colour schemes – from the grimy and gritty to the highly stylised. +

+ Noosphericinloadlinks +

I – Invitation and overview
II – Paint schemes and heraldic schemes 
III – Muted schemes [This inload]
IV – High impact schemes [Spooling]
V – Analogous schemes [Spooling]
VI – Enemies and allies [Spooling]

VII – Building a world: developing a culture [Spooling]


To kick off, a little overview of the different schemes we'll look at over the next few inloads: 

  • Muted – Using naturalistic and often earthy colours, muted paint schemes make a virtue of subtlety. 
  • High-impact – The polar opposite of muted schemes, high-impact schemes bring instant clarity and definition to miniatures. 
  • Analogous – This sort of colour scheme makes use of closely-related colours to give a harmonious effect.
As before, this isn't primarily advice on how to apply paint. The main aim of the article is not to show you how to paint, but what to paint. Your painting techniques and style are key to giving your models character, so the key advice here is really hung around answering the questions of 'what colours do I use, and where do I put them'?

With that said, there's a step-by-step included at the end if you'd like a walk-through.

+ Muted schemes: Theoretical +

Using naturalistic and often earthy colours, muted paint schemes make a virtue of subtlety. This type of scheme incorporates real-world camouflage, so it includes more realistic military wear and naturalistic creatures. For this reason, it can be a great starting point for forces like Imperial Guard, Tau or tyranids. 

Unlike the bright, eye-catching primary/secondary combinations of heraldic schemes, muted schemes incorporate less contrast in hue; often using desaturated (that is, slightly greyed-out) earthy hues; the maroons, browns, plums and mossy greens of the tertiary colours. 

[+viscaptaccreditation: Lucifer216]
The termagant above is a good example of the use of desaturated hues. The underlying scheme is red, yellow and blue; but the specific paint choices Lucifer216 has made – a ruddy brown, cream and soft blue-grey ensures that the creature looks natural, rather than as though painted. 

Note that the red carapace is highlighted with a creamy hue, while the cream skin is shade with a ruddy hue. The effect is that there are colour bridges created between the different areas, helping things to look co-ordinated, and for the eye to flow. 

Note, however, that the different parts of the figure still stand out – the gun, carapace and soft skin all 'read' cleanly. When using a muted scheme, the result will naturally lacks a certain sense of contrast. The aim is to make sure that the figure doesn't dissolve into a blurry mess.

...and talking of blurry messes, here's one of my hapless Lamb's World Guardsmen. Using real camouflage patterns will – unsurprisingly – break up the lines of the figure and make it hard to read. If you choose to use camouflage and want to retain some impact, then you need to make sure to build in points of contrast to make up for the lack. You can still approach this with some subtlety.

When you first look at the guardsman above, your eyes probably roam around a bit, then settle on the goggles. I've used a clean secondary colour (orange) to paint these. Warning colours, like red, yellow and orange, naturally draw the eye, so including them as accents is a good way to direct the viewer and give them a visual anchor.

The camouflaged areas are painted with contrasting versions of the same hue: a desert yellow midtone, cream tint (light tone) and dark brown shade (dark tone). Note that the disruptive pattern is restricted to the fabric areas – and even then, the cuffs are plain. A block of plain fabric stands out – a more subtle example of contrast than seen in heraldic schemes. The reason for this is to create another visual anchor. Multiple anchors like this help lead the eye around a figure, and keep the viewer's interest; avoiding the risk that the viewer looks at the focal point, then moves on.

The armour and weapon are painted in a plain earthy green for these areas. I applied it without any disruptive markings, and highlighted and shaded it as normal. I used a similar tone to the fabric's midtone in order to keep the overall figure muted. Compare this with the Tau soldier below:

Here, there's a stronger contrast between the armour areas and fabric – so why isn't this a high-impact scheme? There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the colours – near-black and near-white – have been neutralised, becoming slightly earthy. Secondly, the two aren't in balance. There's far more dark armour visible than light fabric, so the overall effect remains muted.

Just like the termagant above, there's also some 'bleeding between' the tones. The light fabric is shaded with the addition of the dark armour colour; and the dark armour is highlighted with the addition of the light fabric colour. Although the puttee-like lower leg covering used a third colour (again, an earthy brown hue), it sits in between the light fabric and dark armour in terms of tone, helping the two areas to blend visually. 

I going to look more closely at basing in a later inload in this series, but note that on both the Fire Warrior and Guardsman above I have used a fairly plain base that is a lighter tone than the figure itself. This simplicity helps to frame the model. The more complex the basing, the more it draws the eye away from the figure – and that's a pain for muted schemes, where the challenge is to provide realism with making things dull. On the same note, the rim of the base is a midtone – darker than the top to provide contrast – but not black, as this would contrast so much that the eye is drawn there.

Talking about stopping things getting dull, since the scheme is basically black and white, I could get away with a couple of accent colours. Warm orange tactical markings lead the eye to the bright green lenses. As the point of greatest contrast, these form a visual anchor and focal point, which goes to show that highly-contrast cool hues like acid green and ice blue can work just as well as warning colours to draw the eye.
+ APPENDNOTE ++ Keep markings on muted schemes simple and iconographic for best effect. Lines, geometric shapes and symmetrical blotches work well. Anything too complicated will get lost. +

+ Salamander [heraldic] +
It's also worth noting that muted schemes aren't restricted to more 'modern military' forces like Guard and Tau, nor to midtone schemes. The Plague Marine above has some elements of an heraldic scheme – the pauldrons demarcated from the rest of the armour, for example, green (usually secondary) as the subdominant – but the overall effect is muted. 

This is because the specific green I chose is actually a tertiary olive green, and the white is effectively a very light red-brown (rather than the yellow- or blue-tinged whites more associated with heraldic schemes). 

Compare the green of the muted Death Guard with the primary green of the heraldic Salamander [viz ref: right] for another illustration of the difference between muted and heraldic schemes. There's a huge amount of 'visual bridging' in the Plague Marine, with the colours muddied and mixed and combined together through use of blending and glazes, and that helps it step away from a strict heraldic finish.


+ Muted schemes: Practical +

When picking your colours, bear the following points in mind:
  • Tertiaries Tertiary colours are anything you can make by combining a primary (red, blue, yellow) and secondary (green, orange, purple) paint. Generally, they're greys, browns and so forth. Sticking with these will naturally give a muted effect. Three colours is a good start. Anything more becomes a lot of hassle to balance. With that said, the more paints you use, the more effective your camouflage (for example) will be.
  • Keep the tones muted  Make sure your tertiary colours are distinct in tone (i.e. you include tints, midtones and shades), but not markedly so – avoid anything approaching white or black. 
  • Visual bridges  Try to avoid hard breaks between all areas of the model by using midtones between lighter and darker areas.
  • Saturation  You can desaturate any colour simply by adding a hint of neutral grey (such as GW's Administratum Grey) to the mix; or by adding spots of both white and black, which have the same effect.
+ Black and white always have a 'deadening' effect on a figure, so for naturalistic muted schemes – where you want to retain a sense of warmth or coolness, you're better off adding a little of the colour's complementary. In paint, the complementary pairs are red and green; blue and orange; and yellow and purple. +

+ Applying it to your army +

Muted schemes have one huge advantage over other types of paint scheme, and that's that they're much easier to apply across an army. Unlike heraldic or high-impact schemes, which require consistency in hue, muted schemes can vary quite wildly and still appear cohesive. This is for the same reasons that bright reds and yellows catch the eye – but from the other angle. 

Browns, greys and drab tertiary colours are naturally elusive and easy to overlook. As a result, the brain glides over minor variations in hue, which leads to a nice naturalistic finish.

The orks of Luggub's Droppaz are painted almost entirely in tertiaries: greys, browns and a variety of olive-greens. All the tones are muted, and they are further bound together by common glazes that further bind the different areas together. 

Muted schemes are perfect for large military groups. They offer verisimilitude (if not realism), and tend to be relatively quick and forgiving. However, on the downside they can look drab – even dull – so they require just as much forethought as any other type of scheme.

If you decide to go for a muted scheme, do spend some time selecting your paints, and consider the tones more than the hues.


+ inload: Imperial psyker +

+ Primaris psyker +

+ Aradia Madellan, primaris psyker – no, not an eight-foot tall genetically engineered superhero, but an Imperial battle psyker. +

+ Following on from her Rogue Trader and techpriest comrades, the third hero/combatant for Combat Arena steps up. A similarly dynamic sculpt, I wanted to get across a slightly grubbier feel than Nayam Shai Murad, as Madellan is effectively a guardswoman. She's effectively an officer, sure, but still a relatively low-ranking member of the military. I used similar techniques for her coat, boots and gloves as for the Rogue Trader, but added touches of grey and brown to mute and neutralise the colours, giving a grubbier, less opulent result. +

+ The scheme is thus a bit of a 'symphony in brown'. Brown coat, brown trousers, brown holsters and pouches, brown wood on the staff... even brown-based skin. I hope, however, it's not dull. I've made sure to use different hues of brown, from pale wood on the staff to deep black-brown on the coat. The advantage this scheme gives is that it works beautifully as a base for some parts to leap out: +

+ To avoid the scheme being entirely brown, I added a flash of red for her sash. This 'hot spot' warms the scheme and draws the eye, so I added a little pattern with repeated dots, just to give a little freehand flair. +

 + I'm not generally a big fan of glowing eyes and so forth for psykers; I prefer to picture battle psyker's powers as more akin to Scanners-style brutality – less wizardy pyrotechnics, more people coming apart at the seams for no apparent reason. This is an example of leaving 'design space' in my collection for Eldar and similar figures who can be a lot more showy in their psychic showing. +

+ With that said, I'm always happy for technology to have a bit of object source lighting, so her psychic hood/collar thing has been painted with bright pale green light to suggest her psychic powers manifesting and being channelled through the hood. This is really at the root of why I opted for the deep dark brown scheme. +

+ If you want lights on a model to be effective, the underlying scheme needs to be low key – that is, for all the tones to be relatively dark – so that the lit-up parts stand out properly. If I'd used (say) a clean white coat, the lights on the collar wouldn't have read properly, as they'd be darker in tone than the coat – and clearly the object giving light needs to be lighter than the surroundings. Hue is largely irrelevant here; it's all down to tone. +

+ What's next? +


+ One last character – the sword and shield-carrying Crusader – is left, along with the pair of servitors above. As you can see, these are coming on quite swiftly. As befits these man-machine hybrids, I'm painting them up to look like a cross between workmen and a JCB, using the same scheme as I did for the galvanic servo-haulers terrain [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] . +

+ inload: Rogue Trader and Techpriest +

+ Rogue Trader and Techpriest +

+ Neyam Shai Murad and Daedalosus are characters from Blackstone Fortress: Escalation, and re-used in Combat Arena, which serves as a prequel of sorts. Both models were very enjoyable to paint, and were a great opportunity to play around with some different schemes and ideas. I've always loved ranks of uniformed troops, but the more I paint figures like this, the more I see the appeal of rag-tag bands. +

+ The basing is unfinished. I'll be doing all of the figures from the set in one fell swoop, to make sure it's coherent. Other than that, they're complete. +

+ Nayam Shai Murad, Rogue Trader +

+ Daedalosus, Technoarchaeologist +

+ Neyam Shai Murad +

+ The Rogue Trader's a great figure, though she has quite unusual composition – the masked face gives her anonymity and character, but makes it a less obvious focal point. There's also a lot of framing and extension going on with the cables, skulls, pistols and flaring coat. In planning the scheme, I wanted her to look wealthy but deadly, a sort of sci-fi Anne Bonny. To this end, I avoided a really ostentatious colour scheme, instead going for tastefully subdued to let sculpt's baroque weirdness and over-the-top nature really speak for itself. +

+ (And then I added bright red and white feathers, because muted and tasteful is all very well, but she is a Rogue Trader, after all!) +

+ To adapt to this, I chose to make the brightest points the leg-blade (I thought this was a cool sci-if touch that visually explains 'space pirate') and the feathers in her hat. The eye then travels up the length of the leading leg – note the use of cool white (silver), warm white (ivory chasing) and neutral white (breeches) to create some variety without sacrificing the overall hue. The eye is then led up the neckerchief thingie before resting on the head. +

+ I've made the studs on the front silver, on the advice of PCRC buddy Lucifer216 – a nice touch that breaks up the ivory; thanks for the idea. For comparion's sake, you can see the original ivory version in the top pict-capture of this inload. Subtle, but striking. +

+ I included the ivory on the mark and weapons as a way of suggesting opulence and wealth. A warm colour, It also echos the bone of the servo skulls, helping the piece to feel cohesive. To complement the warm yellow-tinged ivory, I used some of its complementary (purple) as a subtle glaze on the armour. +

+ A little freehand ensures that the mid-reloading six shooter has holes for the bullets to go into. +

+ Perhaps my favourite part is the worn leather of her coat. I was tempted to do something more flash, but in the end decided a weather-beaten but comfortable coat would reinforce the privateer-like feel of her character. +


+ Daedalosus +

+ I was rubbing my automanipulator claws together with glee as I approached this figure. The Adeptus Mechanicus are a huge favourite of mine, and this sculpt has almost everything I love about the faction. +

+ In terms of scheme, I wanted to nod back to my Braun VI Skitarii – a long-lamented army which I lovingly converted and painted a decade or so ago – with the use of purple and green accents. I have moved the robes from the red of the originals to a rustier orange. Less Christmassy, I think. +

+ With such complex sculpts, it's sometimes hard to know where to begin. I painted the whole figure using a similar recipe and techniques as the Iron Warriors of Officio Monstrosa [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. This gave me a metallic figure; and it was then a case of overlaying the fabric, skin etc. with the appropriate colours – in effect, a form of negative painting. +

+ The orange-red was an experiment. I painted it a mucky pink first (a mix of Vallejo white with a touch of Dark Flesh) to ensure the silver was properly covered. Once dry, I overlaid it with Gryph-Hound Orange, one of the new Contrast Paints. This gave a nice clean starting point, which I then highlighted further with creamy additions to an orange paint. I pushed the shadows further with sepia ink and granulation medium, too. This added some subtle visual texture, and generally dirtied him up so the robe went with the beaten-metal appearance of the techy bits. +

+ After the fun I'd had with the astronomical/astrological freehand on the Word Bearers recently [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], I couldn't resist adding some similar 'circuit diagram'-style embroidery on Daedalosus' robe. There's a hint of the Necrons to this type of design, which I thought fitted nicely with the idea of a Technolarchaeologist without banging you over the head. +

+ I think it's very easy for the 'tech' part of techpriest to get emphasised, but the appeal to me of the faction is the mysticism and ignorance of the setting, so I've left the metals mostly fairly dull – with the exception of the tools themselves. I thought that precious technology like his pistol and tool belt would have religious significance, so would be especially carefully maintained. I gave these an addition highlight and some gold detailing. +


+ Still to go to complete the set are the remaining two adventurers and the servitor. I've got an additional servitor because I love the figure (in fact, you can have a sneak peek of the twins by looking at the opening panoramic pict-capture of this inload), and so my Combat Arena will be especially deadly! I'm looking forward to getting a game in at some point soon. +

+ Next up: the psyker. +

+ inload: Catch-all +

 + Pondering the imponderables and taking stock +

+ No hobby should become a job; so I make no apologies that this inload's a bit diffuse – it's just a collection of odd thoughts and pictures that don't really warrant full inloads of their own. +

+ Combat Arena +

+ Hooray, I thought, as I saw an awesome Mechanicus model previewed last year. Boo, I thought, as I found out it would only be released in the US or Germany. A similar train of thought occurred when I found out – hooray – the model would be available locally after all... but only as part of a very expensive expansion to a game I don't own – booooo. +

+ In comparison to the closed, Stazi-like '**** you, peasants' attitude that GW had during the turn of the century, new GW is doing a great job; but with all the different (and, in fairness, fun) ways they're bringing models to the market, there are inevitably minor annoyances like this. +

+ I had resigned myself to waiting, as I'm sure the sprue will be available in some more affordable way one day, but then stumbled upon a box of the US-exclusive game on eBay for a decent price, and picked it up. I really liked Gorechosen – a very silly, very quick and very fun gladiatorial combat game – and this essentially looked like a reskin. +

+ Lovely delicacy and movement in the stock poses. +
+ To cut a long story short, the models are beautiful. In an unusual move, I decided to build them as the God-Emperor intended, straight out of the box. Since I don't usually do this, I'd forgotten how nice – and quick! – it is to do so. I ended up getting all five built and primed in under an hour. +

+ A Techpriest leads two servitors on techy-shenanigans+

+ The techpriest above was the catalyst for the purchase, but I'm starting to warm to the quick boardgame-style games GW have been putting out. In the past I've regarded them merely as extraneous packaging, but with hobby time disappearing, it's nice to go back to them and find some way to play with toy soldiers that can be set up, played and broken down in a short time. +

+ I think I'll always prefer the spectacle of a tabletop wargame, but with this and Betrayal at Calth [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] under my belt, perhaps I'll have an easy option for when time is tight. +

+ Either way, when I get a chance to play, I'll pop up a battle report. +


+ Speaking of Wargames +

+ Ah, back in the comfort of serried ranks of troops. Age of Sigmar interest has returned to the PCRC, with Warmtamale and Lord Blood the Hungry leading the charge, and a couple of us gathering our forces in the wake of the release of Cities of Sigmar. +

+ With the drums and horns calling the Throng of Nog [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] to war once more, I did a quick squizzy at where they stand. +

Being a very mixed combo of swaps, ancient lead and second-hand rescues [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] built up over a few years, they're quite a mixed bunch. Now there's a bit more certainty about what things can be in the rules, I'm feeling more motivated to paint them up. They are, however, perhaps understandably a little mixed. From left, we've got:

  • 18 undercoated crossbow dwarfs (their leader and a lone drunkard are on my painting desk).
  • 33 dwarf warriors: 10 in the early stages of painting (the red file); 11 undercoated black, including the banner and musician; 11 undercoated grey and one filly painted leader.
  • 5 grey-undercoated Hammerers, along with a painted Thane and Wizard.
  • Roughly 40 Ironbreakers, around 15 of which are fully painted.
  • In addition, there are a scattering of oddments.
+ Not as huge a backlog as I'd feared, but still something that's going to require some batch-painting. +


+ Apropos of nothing +

+ In addition to the KR cases I use for storing most of my finished/ongoing armies (the poor dwarfs above will remain homeless for a little while), I have a small case which houses some more unusual miniatures, united only by being odd one-offs. The Court of the Sun King project is housed in here in its entirety, for example, including a number that I've never got round to painting. +

+ I mention this only because there's really no other reason that I got a pict-capture of the two below. I just happened to have five minutes and wanted to take a picture of some favourites. It's nice to look back, sometimes. +

+ Of course, looking back's also good to ensure we don't rest on our laurels. I remember being very proud indeed of these miniatures. Brother Hicks and Hutch (rear row, right and left respectively) in particular saw much battlefield time. Feast your eyes on the awesome freehand on their Legion of the Damned colleagues! +

(Shut up, those are excellent rib-cage patterns)
+ Onwards and upwards with the painting journey, I say; and remember – your hobby's not your job, and no-one giving you marks. +