[Been Painting] Mr Windsor, Mr Newton, Why’d You Close Up Shop So Late?

The following miniatures are the first I’ve painted with the W&N Series 7 brushes that have been languishing in my work tray since Christmas 2013. They were a gift from Hark’s grandmother, and since they were EXPENSIVE and a GIFT and need PROPER CARE I’ve been trepid about actually using them. However, my Army Painters ain’t getting any less knackered and so I bit the bullet and tried them out. I didn’t use them for everything (after having to pluck a few loose fibres from the size 1 while working on the barbarian fellow) – the Army Painters are still broken out for messy, rough work like priming, drybrushing and washing – but the W&Ns have seen some use on everything I’ve been painting this week.

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The Houseguard Thane was executed almost entirely with the new W&Ns. I wasn’t 100% sold on them until I painted his gun and eyes, which went off… perfectly. Absolutely perfectly. First time. Everything stayed perfectly crisp, no bleeding of thinned paint into other regions – nothing of the sort. I don’t know if it’s because I was concentrating harder, being fretful about being slapdash and ruining the brushes, but no – I usually take care with eyes and they often still need two goes.

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The W&Ns also saw some use in layering this Eldritch’s skin (a couple of goes over with Vallejo Ghost Grey) and armour (thinned P3 Radiant Platinum). One thing I have noticed is that the thinner paint and finer brushwork really brings out the ugliness in under-sculpted models like the Sythyss (left) – that potato face is seriously not attractive and there’s not much for the brush to bring out, unlike the severe lines of the eldritch’s musculature.

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This Generic Fantasy Barbarian (TM) is about half done. By contrast to the figure above, he saw almost no attention from the W&Ns, apart from the chains, sword and girdle. I tried picking out the individual lines on his bearskin and hair with the larger of my two W&N brushes, but was rapidly dissuaded when the fibres started to trail and straggle, with a few danglers needing to be plucked off the tip of the brush. Mindful of the time I ruined an Army Painter Hobbyist brush on the first go, I left off after a few minutes and went back to the stalwart AP Wargamers for a spot of drybrushing and inking.

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Nightmare – who was a bit of a sod to snap in the unexpected January sunshine – is another testament to the quality of the W&N brushes. All the runework on his armour plates flowed beautifully once I started to put some faith in the quality of my tools and take my time. The colour scheme’s a bit of an experiment too, as I wanted it to look at least partly ethereal and ghostly-like; the slight mottling that comes from only using a single layer of Vallejo paint over the grey-and-ink primer seems to be helping in that regard, although I’ll need to go back and glaze or at least black-line the plates in its hands. After that… green glow on the facial grille and engine and it’s pretty much done.

I’ve also been taking care to only pick up paint on two thirds of the brush, give it a little twist after rinsing to keep the point, all the stuff you’re supposed to do for brushes but which I need the added slap on the wrist (these were EXPENSIVE and a GIFT don’t RUIN them) to do. I haven’t bothered with actual brush soap but I do give them a going over with squeezy gel and a more gentle rinse than the Army Painters generally receive.

The hobby queue currently stands thus:

  1. Bane Lord Tartarus, 2x Soulless Escorts, Garryth – one area basecoated
  2. Issyria, Witch Coven, Khador Rifleman, objective markers – primed, inked, ready for basecoat
  3. Bane Knights, Cephalyx and Drudges – primed, ready for ink
  4. Fell Bats, Varghulf, Nobz mob – need repairs/finishing/priming, although I’m in no hurry on these – they’re just there to nibble away at when I feel like it
  5. Retribution starter box – needs buildin’

Once I have Issyria and the Soulless painted my next priority will be banging through those Cryxian infantry and Tartarus at a goodly rate of knots – my Cryx are very much a workmanlike, impressionistic project, rather than the more crisp and cartoonish style I’ve adopted for the Retribution. I’d like to have the Cryx totally done by the time Iron Kingdoms Unleashed launches, as I’m interested in that as the first small-and-self-contained project of the year. More on that in my next Frugal Gaming post on the House of Paincakes, I reckon.

[WM/H] Something’s Got To Give

I have a little bit of a dilemma on my hands, boys and girls.

This is the time of year at which money is not abundant, and at which a chap who’s bound to the sell-the-old-to-buy-the-new paradigm of hobbying looks at what’s there and what’s not there and wonders: what can I bear to do without?

I look at my miniatures shelf and I see an increasing lack of space there – especially since I have a new project taking shape on the desk over the room. In particular, I see a lot of Warmachine stuff, which makes me… nervous. It’s arguable that I don’t really benefit from having that much stuff for Warmachine, and that if I’m going to have a diverse collection for that game it’d be better to have one Warmachine and one Hordes faction than anything else. At the moment, I own Retribution and Cryx (and some token Mercenaries, but they’re less a viable faction than a collection of stuff I own for the IKRPG or my other factions, out of which I can technically make a Warmachine army).

I like the look of my Retribution immensely – well, not completely immensely. I like the job I’ve done Ravyn, Kaelyssa and Elara, on the Houseguard and, to a lesser extent, the Dawnguard infantry, and the Stormfall are OK. The Arcanists, the two myrmidons, and Ossyran, though… they’re oddly bad compared to the others, and it’s annoying since I need at least one ‘jack that I’m comfortable with fielding, and the support pieces for it, and since Ossyran’s my favourite Retribution caster it’d be nice if he was my best painted too. I’ve not had much success with the Retribution but the Houseguard and, to an extent, the Stormfalls, have done me proud. The ‘pick one scalable list and stick to it’ project has been pretty successful, although I’d rather have picked Mage Hunters over the Banshee and just stuck to a one-jack army.

I like the style of my Cryx immensely. The monochrome paint job has mostly worked, although I think the job of bridging the gap between casters and troops could have been done better; there’s too much of a stylistic jump between Asphyxious and his minions, too much rich colour to make him sit well with them. I’m settling into a play-style that I like with them; I play Cryx not as a horde but as a handful of scalpels being rammed into the opponent from every direction. The goal in play is not to outfight my opponent but to bypass them in sufficient strength to win by assassination; that’s why I seem to favour Deneghra, Mortenebra and the Coven as casters and battlegroup-focused builds in general. I don’t seem to find myself fielding infantry swarms very often, conventional wisdom be damned.

The problem I have is this whole “two armies for one game which arguably rewards deeper investment in one army” phenomenon. The other problem I have is the nagging itch to do Hordes. I do like the Hordes mechanics. I did like everything about Skorne except painting them and I think I know what went wrong there (I went inside-out rather than outside-in – with my Circle I painted the fiddliest bits at the basecoating stage and everything else was just putting colours around those bits). I could quite feasibly play Trollbloods again; I own enough blighted trollkin miniatures to do some dark, spiky trolls with the addition of, say, Doomshaper and a battlegroup.

What’s telling, I reckon, is that if I look back at my history with Warmachine, I have (barring a couple of years in the middle) always played Cryx, always had that primary faction – and then had something else that I’ve swapped in or out over the years. The Cryx have been the ‘collection’, the thing for which I bother with multiple builds – my off-faction has generally petered out at a single 25 or 35 point list, been played for anything up to a year, and then drifted gently away. Given that track record it’s perhaps not surprising that I’m considering letting the Retribution go… especially since, with the whole ‘one or two heavies and a bunch of infantry’ shtick, I essentially play them like classic Cryx anyway. Could I build a list heavy on Cephalyx or Bane Knights or Satyxis and effectively get my Retribution force within Cryx? Potentially – but I would really miss those Houseguard models.

[WM/H] Been Painting: A Cockle Full Of Cryxies

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Bloodgorgers are weird. They’re a unit I’d not normally have considered – I don’t like the weird poses they’re in, especially the legs, and while they have SOME neat rules properties they’re not something I’m innately hype about. However, there were four (and Gerlak) in the job lot of Cryx I picked up back in April and so I’ve topped the unit up and made the best of it. Unfortunately there’s not really room for glowy green bits on them, so they really are monochromatic Cryx – but I think the method holds up pretty well.

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General Gerlak Slaughterborn. Being a character, he gets actual flesh tones and metallics. I’ve swapped his original head with the Bloodgorger leader because I wanted the aforementioned Bloodgorger leader to be shouting; I have this part-baked idea about doing a blighted Trollkin force down the line, with this fellow as a Trollkin Hero, the Bloodgorger leader as a Fell Caller, the Bloodgorgers themselves as Champions, and then a modest battlegroup featuring either ‘Madrak’ (using the Tartarus model… what? they have the same axe, and Tartarus is a reincarnated trollkin chieftain…) or Doomshaper (because Doomshaper’s cool and either of his models look blighted as fuck – I’d probably go for the epic version and a bunch of Dire Trolls because Dire Trolls are ace).

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Bile Thralls in delicate soft focus. In theory these guys are still hot shit, in practice I’ve never gotten on with them because lining up Purges requires a precision that I’m not sure I possess. However, one of them is my favourite line trooper in all the Privateer range:

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That’s a six-inch hemisphere of pure death, coming your way.

It’s looking like October’s going to be the month for clearing away dead lead. I work most evenings and weekend afternoons at the moment, and my night off (Wednesday) is allocated to either WFRP or getting some actual sleep. I hear sleep is good. Still, that leaves me with the daytimes in which to paint, and since I have most of the bits for pGoreshade’s Theme Force (I only need a Bane Thrall UA and a couple of Machine Wraiths, plus the man himself – for Frugal reasons I should probably pick up the old model but fuck it, the new one is glorious, even if he does overshadow his epic self to an extent) I’ll probably be working on that after my first payday on Saturday. That leaves Wednesday for the Warlords of Draenor pre-release content, plus some actual sleep. I hear sleep is good.