Several of my previous armies have been legitimately accused of being Dark And Boring, which I now use as shorthand for the kind of painting I absolutively, posilutely strive to avoid in my own work. I take the opposite standpoint to Chip, who’s a big fan of many and varied shades of Ubiquitous Brown; that’s what floats his boat and it’s certainly appropriate for the miniatures, but I find that by the time you’ve done the obligatory shading, fading, weathering and staining and generally taken steps toward an interesting, yet still ‘real’ colourscheme, too much brown is not particularly exciting, and frankly I want things to look exciting.
The studio scheme opts for classic druidry and places green alongside its brown to enliven it, but frankly I’m not a fan. Partly to avoid Green Fatigue in case I want to paint any Cryx in the near future; partly because it’s the studio scheme and my previous diversions from such have been well-received.
Stuck for ideas, I decided to google ‘druid’ and see what happened.
It’s funny, but when you google ‘druid’, you get an awful lot of these chaps pop up.
Like N++ Dave, I sort of like the Warcraft aesthetic, which flaunts its artifice rather than colouring everything in sludge and grit. I am, after all, painting miniatures on bases, with gameplay mechanics indicated by painty marks on those bases; it’s hardly photo-realism, is it? A little weathering and muckiness won’t go amiss, not least because it’s a cheeky way of bonding a miniature to its base, but I want an essential brightness and variety underneath all that and visible through it, sort of what I managed with my Mercenaries.
I decided that this cheeky chappie on the left would make for a solid starting point. Those deep reds and purples enliven a scheme that’s still dominated by earth tones (the brown shoulderpads and bone details), and it manages to evoke ‘druid’ without relying on the whole green=nature connotation, which is verrah nice.
One thing I’m determined to add to this scheme is the customary black cloak; the druids of the Iron Kingdoms are ‘blackclads’, which reinforces just how sinister they are (for those not familiar with Hordes, the Circle Orboros are more ‘red in tooth and claw’ eco-terrorists than tree-loving pacifist types).
I also want to change the skin tone; purple skin and green hair isn’t really what I’m driving for out here. I’m torn between giving them the realistic outdoorsperson’s tan and painting them quite pale, like the Satyxis in yon image there. The black cloaks will conceal their faces, the customary ‘focal point’ of the models – that’s sort of the point, though, they’re meant to be eerie and anonymous until they become sufficiently powerful to not care whether they’re recognised or not.
Tans would facilitate that, but what I worry about then is that there’ll be no focal point, nothing for the eye to catch on, especially since there’s not much metal on these chappies. Unrealistic pallor may have to find its way in for the sake of a decent-looking paintjob; but if it’s framed and surrounded by the hoods, will it have a bit too much pop, and fail to flow naturally out of the miniature?
One thing I’m definitely settled on is doing some more interesting bases. I think part of the clashing bases problem I’ve been having is that there are no material components linking many of my miniatures to their bases; they just sit there on flat sand, looking boring.
For the Circle, I’m going all swampy-like; the notion is that they’ll be bounding across terrain not dissimilar to a Dartmoor bog; rocky or muddy outcrops in swampy ground. The outcrops are built up with some polystyrene packing stuff and gesso to seal the surface and bind it all together, and will be surrounded by dark muddy water (Charadon Granite and PVA in some combination) with moss and rushes (that’s ‘flock and broom bristles’ to you).
Small models without tabs on their bases, like Kaya, can be given a stature worthy of their status with a rocky outcrop like this one. Kaya never got a Proper Epic Base, although the peg on her foot suggests that one was sculpted at some point. I’ve rectified this: Kaya is now standing atop a cairn of some description.
Larger models, meanwhile, those for which a boost in stature would create storage and handling problems, get shallower outcrops built up around their base-pegs – lots of small bits from the packing sheet, stuck flat-side down, with the model then rammed into them and stuck home.
The Feral presents something of an issue, mounted as he is upon a slottabase tab sealed into its housing despite my efforts otherwise. I’ve built an outcrop over the slot to conceal it, and put some material around his feet to suggest sinkage ‘neath his weight. I’m not sure it’s worked.
Anyway, these three and Laris are all primed up and ready to go, so I think I’ll draw a veil over these proceedings and paint a Warpwolf today. Catch you later!