Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 12: Ember Mage

The Ember Mage is the next hero ready for the game table and, while I know I've been saying this about every hero model, I had a great time painting her. Next to the Paladin, it seems to me that the Ember Mage is the most identifiable heroes in the core game, so I wanted mine to be a good spokesperson for this project as a whole. What I ended up with was a gorgeous model that really stands out. I know that sounds like I'm bragging a bit, but I am genuinely happy with how my painting has been coming along.

As I work my way through the SDE models, I keep coming back to a point that I want to mention as I post, but I'm not sure I've vocalized it effectively. The models for SDE are different in many ways from anything I have painted so far. This goes beyond just the scale and style, but is also the way the models are sculpted. My other projects being GW and Wyrd products, I am used to intense details on the miniatures. While the SDE models are, no doubt, finely detailed, they are sculpted in a way that gives a lot of liberties to the painter. When I look over an SDE model, there are almost always parts of the model that are up to interpretation, where the detail is more suggested by the sculpt, rather than dictated by it.

If you look at a Space Marine, for example, the lines are all defined, 'this is where his armor plating begins, this is where it ends, this is a pouch and this is a tabbard.'  With the SDE models, however, the line between one feature and another is blurred enough that, as a painter, I can define that myself. This is most prominent in the female hero models, and particularly on those parts of the model where skin and clothing meet, meaning there is some play in where that line ends up on a painted model.

I still don't think I'm describing this very well, and as I read and re-read the post, it occurs to me that I should look at this a bit more closely and try to identify some concrete examples in pictures. For now, however, I just want to show off a pretty paint job. Suffice it to say then, for now, that this 'suggested detail'  is something I keep running into with SDE. This makes the process of picking up a primed hero and getting the paint flowing somewhat intimidating. Once the work begins however, that intimidation is usually replaced by joy, which makes this project a lot of fun.

While I'm editorializing in this post already, I think there is also something to be said for the idea of painting models that I know are going to see time on the board. For a long time, working with Necromunda, the painting continues while you're not ever really sure a model will ever be deployed. This is somewhat lessened with Malifaux, but with SDE, I know at least my wife and I will be playing more. 

...okay, back to the Ember Mage...

Like the rest of the heroes so far, I kept to the traditional colors for the Mage. After pouring through the forums and google images for ideas of what other people have done, I decided two things. First, I wanted to make sure that she was a vibrant and deep red and not somewhat orange; and second, I do not like the look of yellow in her palette, especially with so much red. Most of the pictures I have seen of the mage make some use of yellow, either as Non-metallic gold or just as is for the trim of her robe and I wanted to avoid that.

For her robes, I wanted to go for a very vibrant, deep and brilliant red, but I didn't want to look at all orange or yellow. This
meant that I kept the colors dark, basing with a combination of Vallejo Game Color Heavy Red and Model Air Fire Red. Then I began highlighting with very thinned down layers of the same red and eventually, deep orange. I wanted to avoid the problem I always seemed to have with my old Blood Angel army, turning into orange marines by the time all of the hightlights were complete. I am very pleased with the shade it turned out. The trim and decorations on the robe were basecoated Bestial Brown and then painted straight with Model Air Gold. These were then shaded thickly with Sepia Wash. I went back and forth between wash and gold for several coats until I got a coppery, antique look to the gold that doesn't look too brown or too brilliant.

To compliment the deep red of the robe, I chose a skin tone darker than I have used for heroes so far, starting with straight Dwarf Flesh. This was highlighted with increasing amounts of Pallid flesh and some shading was done using a Flesh wash with just a tinge of Sepia. This prevented her complexion from looking too pale and getting lost in the deep reds.

The entire time I was painting her, I couldn't decide what to do with the Mage's hair, so I left it to be the very last part I painted. I had a hard time envisioning her hair as anything but black, but I didn't want to wash out her complexion. In the end, I decided to do it and it turned out quite well. Rather than work up highlights for her hair though, I basecoated it pure black and then highlighted using Model Color Sunny Skin that was thinned way down (probably close to 5:1 water and paint). This gave some texture to her hair without making it look grey.

As seems to always be the case, I have no idea which hero is going to be next, but I can say that I'm looking forward to it.

As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.

More to Come,


Friday, January 17, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 11: Here There Be Treasure!

I know I've shown some of my finished treasure chests here and there during the SDE project, but now that they are complete, I thought they deserved a post of their own.

When I sat down to organize the order in which I was going to paint SDE, I decided to make the treasure chests a nice little reward for painting the numerous Kobolds. If I paint a unit of Kobolds, I get to paint a chest. This served as a nice little diversion from the Kobolds, but also made the chests a pleasure to paint instead of another obstacle of wood and brass.

The chests come in three basic sculpts and I tried to make every chest as distinct as possible. Because I have aspirations of one day building a 3D board for my SDE games, I also decided to make them very flashy and bright, as my terrain tends to lean towards the subdued and realistic. For the first set of chests, there's not much to see...pretty basic wood chests.

For the second sculpt, I decided to channel Secret of Mana, though I didn't like the idea of having more than one green chest. For the other, I went blue, and my mind seems to have projected that there were, in fact, blue chests in the game. If you know, feel free to correct me.

Obviously the final, fanciest chest had to reference Legend of Zelda, so I went with bright brassy gold and deep red.

As a group and one the table they all look great, and in the games we have played so far, I've enjoyed the heroes choosing which chests they want to see on the board, as if one color over another will be lucky. One of these days, I'll get to use them all....oh and speaking of things I haven't used yet......

Boo Booties

The added bit of fun to the treasure chest collection are the trap chest, the Boo Booties. You end up with two of them in the box. I have yet to see these guys in games, but I think that is largely because we have only played 2 or 3 tile games and there just isn't that much treasure on the board. I can't wait for the first time someone flips and relic card and one of these little bastards comes storming out.

The first Booty is done in the very traditional color scheme. Some nice dirty teeth and a shiny red tongue make this a very fun little model.

For the second Boo, I wanted to go for something different and, after painting the red tongue, I wanted to go for a much more realistic looking tongue color. Going for a pick tongue meant I was free to choose another color for the rest of the chest, so I went with a deep red and a much more burnished looking metal finish. I love how the tongue turned out on this model. Wet and fleshy and, though I'm not sure how they come across in the picture, covered with little white dots as if swollen or enlarged taste buds.

As always, thanks for taking the time! Comments are always welcome.

More to come,


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Looking Back....and then Looking Forward

While the New Year is always a time to reflect on what happened in the prior year and what is coming up, I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about what I did last year. This is partially because January is nearly half over and the reflective nature of the season is starting to pass. Mostly, however, it is because I just didn't do very much in terms of the hobby.

2013 began with a list of eight specific gaming goals. Here is the list and how I did.
  1. Finish painting my current Puppet Wars Collection
  2. Finish painting a tournament-worthy Malifaux Faction
  3. Finish painting my secret new project. More to come on that one
  4. Base and Varnish any remaining painted Necromunda models
  5. Play a game of anything, outside the house, at least once as month
  6. Attend at least one large event
  7. Build a Malifaux Table and Terrain
  8. Focus on Improving the Quality of my Blog posts
The Drowned - the only Malifaux 
model I managed to paint in 2013.
So I ended up only completed one and a half of these resolutions. Not a very good record, but not all that bad considering how busy I have been with work this year. I can excuse myself from getting much hobby done while I am busy at work, as any free time I end up with is usually funneled towards time with family.

With the addition of a Lucius Puppet, 
I now have every Puppet Wars 
model available.
I call myself half successful for resolution #8. I have started to pay more attention to the composition of photos and I have been posting more regularly, even though I managed to paint fewer models this year than in the recent past. An interesting side note about this year is that, while I managed to roughly double my collection of Malifaux models, I managed only to paint a single Malifaux model in all of 2013.

This all means that, this year, I am looking at my hobby resolutions a bit differently than last year. Rather than the specific goals, I am going to focus on some more general things I would like to accomplish this year, with just a couple of exceptions.

So here is my resolution list for 2014:

  1. Finish painting the Super Dungeon Explore base set
  2. Paint more Malifaux models than I did last year (should be easy..I only painted 1 after all)
  3. Increase the visibility and quality of this blog
  4. Build some terrain (any terrain will do)
  5. Do my part to re-invigorate the Malifaux scene in my area (this will likely be a blog post all its own, but things have been pretty quiet since Gencon, and I am worried about that)
  6. Participate in more events than I did last year (this should also be easy, as I only played in one event and went to Gencon)
  7. Spend some time with Necromunda (it doesn't really matter what I do for this, but I want to get something done with Necromunda at some point this year. I miss that game.)
Okay, so maybe I am going to talk about last year more than I thought. Oh well. I'll leave it there.

More to Come.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Super Dungeon Explore Vol. 10: Claw Tribe Barbarian

Tonight I finished my first model of 2014 and my favorite SDE model to date, the Claw Tribe Barbarian. I will start by saying I am very happy with how she turned out and I personally think this is among my best painted minis.

I spent a longer time than usual deciding on a color scheme for the barbarian. In the end, the scheme is pretty simple and well worth the hemming and hawing.

After painting the Paladin and Fighter, I decided I was unhappy with the state of my metals, mostly the silvers of weapon blades. I spent a bit more time and focus on the barbarian's giant axe and I think I ended with a nicely weathered look. I will be going back and touching up the weapons for the other two next.

I mentioned before that when I started this project, I was nervous about getting the anime style eyes just right. I think I am starting to get the hang of it now though and I've actually been having a blast working on the eyes.

Her gorgeous red hair began as a Parasite Brown with highlights all the way up to Hot Orange with a bit of Bleached Bone. The pictures don't do the hair justice, but I attempted to highlight in streaks to make her hair look a bit more textured. For the eyes, I started with the darkest green I could find, which ended up being Vallejo Model
Air Camo Green. I then mixed in increasing amounts of Game Color Scorpion Green all the way up. Her freckles were added after all the highlights were complete on the skin with a sepia micron pen. The camera had a hard time picking them up, but she has freckles on her shoulder and a single one on her butt.

In short, she is a great start to what should be a great 2014.

Well, back to the painting. As always, thanks for stopping by. Comments are always welcome!

More to come,