Star Wars Imperial Assault: Nexu + Contrast Paint Experiment #7

Star Wars Imperial Assault Nexu

Back to Star Wars Imperial Assault today, with a pair of Nexu, originally seen in Ep2: Attack of the Clones. They only vaguely fit into the Imperial Assault campaign, as for some reason it appears that both the Imperial Forces as well as “Scum” forces have a whole lot of these things as attack-dog style pets. For those not familiar with them, in the film they’re depicted more akin to Lions or Tigers – and used as wild gladiatorial beasts.

Anywho, they sat around on the desk, entirely unpainted but annoying me for ages before I decided to knuckle down and get them done recently. As with a bunch of things, the most effective motivation was to play with the Contrast Paints.

I followed the “official” scheme for these for the most part, with just the smallest bit of variation between the two so they could be told apart on the tabletop. One is a little darker on top and in its stripes and also has a dark snout.

Star Wars Imperial Assault Nexu

As far as the actual painting went, thinned Snakebite Leather Contrast was used for their fur, over Wraithbone. The stripes were done with only-slightly thinned Snakebite Leather on one, and 50%-thinned Cygor Brown for the other, including the snout. The tails were done with a thinned mixture of Gryph-Hound Orange and Fyreslayer Flesh. The dorsal spines were 50-50 Cygor Brown and Black Templar, highlighted with thinned grey. Mouths with Volupus Pink and tongues touched up with thinned red paint. I still gave the fur a final drybrush to unify it all a little more.

Overall, the stripes using Cygor Brown don’t blend quite as smoothly with the rest of the fur as those with Snakebite Leather, but it was overall easier to do all of this, especially on areas like the overall fur, the tails, the mouths and the spines with the Contrast Paints than it would be with traditional washes, due to their physical properties – less viscosity, and the stuff adheres a little better rather than all pooling via gravity. It did also help with overall speed, and especially, with motivation to paint models I wasn’t all that keen on doing.

I’ve got some upcoming models that I’m actually keen on painting, that I also think will also make good Contrast Guinea Pigs. They’re still a ways off, though – all I’ve done so far is select them from a set, so don’t expect to see them too quickly. 🙂

Shadows of Brimstone: Scourge Rat’s Nest (Small Scenics)

Shadows of Brimstone Scourge Rat's Nest

Another slightly crappy Shadows of Brimstone model again today. One that’s both Neglected and Terrain and is also so uninspiring that it’s missed several challenges of each type at this point before I drove myself to complete it and just bloody get rid of it from my painting desk the other week. Truth be told, I didn’t even know what it was – I’d assumed it was some sort of beaver Dam for some reason – and painted it as such. It wasn’t until literally moments before typing this sentence that the resuls of 5 minutes googling told me what it actually is. A Rat’s Nest.

How could I be such a dumbarse? Well, because the Kickstarter was run back in 2013 with a projected ship date of August 2014. They finally delivered Wave One in 2016, with Wave 2 in 2017, and most of the stuff (especially Wave 1) was delivered via a box of unlabelled baggied sprues in a box. Truth be told, I still don’t know if I got everything as inventorying that mess was never going to take less than a full day of stressful cross-checking with online lists and guesswork as to what the fuck things actually were/are.

Shadows of Brimstone Scourge Rat's Nest

In an attempt to make it alook a little better, I initially based it on a 60mm flat round (aka old-school Titan base) and glued some offcut plastic tabs to it, to essentially sharpen up the super-soft details. Now that you know they’re there, they really stand out as offcuts. But they didn’t before I told you – which is kinda the point. Anyway, it looks ok. Good enough for a rough tabletop look, anyway. I might add some moss to it, but truth be told I don’t really want to waste my moss tufts on this thing, so…

Most importantly. It’s done and off the painting desk! Hurrah!!

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Jabba The Hutt (Jewel of July ’19)

Star Wars Imperial Assault Jabba The Hutt

Ahhhh Jabba the Hutt. A character that goes back to my childhood, the excitement of seeing previews of Return of the Jedi and then finally seeing it in the cinema. So when I started to expand my Imperial Assault collection, how could I skip the most notorious crimelord of Tattooine?

One thing that was never apparent for many, many years was the fact that a lot of Jabba is actually green. Why? Well, when seen in the film, he’s always in dim surroundings and the main angles that he’s lit and filmed from highlight his sandy-yellow coloured face and underside. The “green” areas always looked to me like they were prdominantly a shadowed effect.

This was further reinforced by the oringinal Kenner toy. I never had it myself as a kid, but a friend did, and the thing was basically desert yellow in its entirety.

So then the remastered, butchered “Special Edition” Original Trilogy films came out, and what the actual fuck was going on here? Unconvinging, cartoony-faced CGI, a vastly smaller Jabba, a silly “comedy” spot where Han steps on Jabba tail, and much more green, to boot! Messed up on a variety of levels to the point where it looked (to me) like they’d just changed Jabba’s colour. In the same way that they changed his face, his size… you get the idea.

Star Wars Imperial Assault Jabba The Hutt

So it wasn’t until years later – sometime after the Internet became a thing I spent time on – when I finally saw and understood that Jabba was in fact, actually mostly green the entire time. So.. okay. So then that was how I finally painted the model, despite my instincts wanting to make him entirely made up of shades of yellow, tan and ochre. Finally complete (he’s a Neglected one, too!) It’s a pretty nice model, though it does have a few flaws.

Star Wars Imperial Assault Jabba The Hutt

So wild tangent aside, the main flaw with the model is basically the size. As you can see from this triad of “Scum and Villany” types, the scale used by FFG for Imeprial Assault is one that gives a lot of priority for the models being boardgame pieces first, and miniatures a (distant) second. People familiar with Star Wars will know that the droid, IG-88 is super tall, the Jawa is tiny, and Jabba is a huge, bulky slug. For scale, Jabba should be so big that the Jawa is about the size of Salcious Crumb (the bird-faced fellow sitting under his bong in the above film still).

Ah well, boardgame miniatures, eh? Whaddayagonnado?

Shadows of Brimstone: Dark Stone Brutes + Contrast Paint Experiment #4

Shadows of Brimstone Dark Stone Brutes

Today we have a few more Shadows of Brimstone models. These aren’t good models, though. In fact, they’re some of the models that gave Brimstone’s first releases such a …mixed-to-poor reputation, despite being made of “proper” HIPS plastic. But yeah, these make models like the Feral Kin/Werewolves look positively amazing, depite those also being low-detail models that only go together one way. As with a great many of the Brimstone models I’ve painted to date, they did get pulled from the big box of sprues in plastic baggies was because they looked like they’d be “easy wins” – models that would be straightforward and uncomplicated – in other words, easy to paint.

Shadows of Brimstone Dark Stone Brutes

As it turned out, they looked even worse than I expected once I had them clipped and then glued. really soft detail all around. So they sat there for.. quite awhile. Then, the Contrast Paints arrived, and I knew I had the perfect way to get these things the hell off my desk – seeing how they work on what are basically, soft-detail models that are bad from a technical point of view, completely aside from their aesthetic aspects. I originally planned to paint their “rock” sides as yellowish stone, in homage to The ever-lovin, blue-eyed Thing, but after referencing the box art and some other people’s painted models, I decided on the greenish grey in the Contrast Range instead.

Now, I’m no slave to Box Art, but these aren’t figures I care about, so im’a (is that how you spell it?) “save” Ben Grimm for a figure I can give a shit about. As opposed to just looking like shit. Besides, they’re called Dark Stone Brutes, so… whatever. So I used three different Contrast paints for their trousers, three others for their shirts, Guilliman Flesh for their faces, and Gryph-Charger Grey for their “rocks”. Then a bit of drybrushing and the tiniest bit of normal painting to finish the face, eyes, hair and hands.

The Warpstone or whatever it is is Greenstuff World’s Colour-Shift green because I forgot the colour I used last time on the Hydra, and thought it was green rather than purple. They’re shaded with purple, but again – whatever.

Shadows of Brimstone Dark Stone Brutes

But Azazel? Surely the detail on these models isn’t that bad? Well, here’s a size comparison for you. They’re pretty solidly big. You can see how they stack up for size compared to a normal Space Marine, a Primaris and a normal Human (Hasslefree).

So what does this show? Well, most obviously, Contrast Paints can help you get models painted quickly and in many cases look pretty good, but on poor quality models, they’ll do nothing more than speed the painting up. I mean, this is what I expected anyway because my view of these paints has been as simply another tool the entire time.

Now, could I – or anyone else who is willing to put the time in make these look amazing via putting in a lot of time with traditional methods and added freehand? Of course! But the fact is that in that case you can make a post-it note look amazing, or an egg. Or.. well, you get the idea. I get it that there are people out there who want to really put their best efforts into each and every model that they paint. I get it. That used to be me, too. Now, a decade or three on, and with an ever-expanding number of models to paint, I see the folly in that attitude – at least for me (and because I keep buying models!)

So now it’s more of a Triage situation. Models like these only get painted because they’re for a game I actually want to play, and they’re multiparts, so they need to be assembled, if not painted. So a quick and dirty paintjob is what the shitty models get because they’re not worth my (limited) time to care about all that much. These only got bumped up because I was curious about using Contrast on them, and wanting to see how the actual colours of them with my own eye, as well as a little more experience in applying them before I get to models I might care about. By these metrics, these Sow’s Ears that still look nothing like Silk Purses are a success.

They still look pretty shit, though. The only thing I actually like are the desert bases!

Shadows of Brimstone: Wasteland Terralisk (Neglected Model June ’19) + Contrast Paint Experiment #3

Shadows of Brimstone: Wasteland Terralisk, Citadel Contrast Paint

Another of the larger-but-simpler models from Shadows of Brimstone today. It’s the Wasteland Terralisk! Unlike, well, quite a lot of the other original Brimstone models, this one is not bad at all. (You should see the trio of garbage Brimstone models I just finished! – Well, you will after I finish June’s stuff…)

Shadows of Brimstone: Wasteland Terralisk, Citadel Contrast Paint

The other thing of note is that this one is painted largely with GW’s new Contrast Paints. The model is really in four main painting “Sectors”, which made it ideal for playing with Contrast. The tentacle-tongue, the soft(?) underbelly, the carapace & claws, and finally the base.

Shadows of Brimstone: Wasteland Terralisk, Citadel Contrast Paint

The base was painted in the traiditional manner, with a coat of sand for texture, since the sculpted texture was weaksauce, so don’t worry about that. The Tongue was Super Easy, Barely an Inconvenience. One coat of Contrast Volupus Pink over Wraithbone Primer, and that was it! Perhaps not quite as nice as if I’d used my normal techniques, but for something like a tentacle-tongue, well, this isn’t a mile off what I might try, and it was much, much faster! The Underbelly was done with Contrast Aggaros Dunes – and again just a matter of painting the stuff on initially. After it was fully dry, I gave it a light drybrush with a sandy ochre colour.

Shadows of Brimstone: Wasteland Terralisk, Citadel Contrast Paint

The carapace, face and widdle claw-arms were similarly done with Contrast Snakebite Leather over the Wraithbone primer. I first darkened the tips of the claws before applying the contrast. For the face, I painted the “skull-face” section with Contrast Medium first, and then bleneded the Snakebite Leather down into it. I did this in order to preserve the skull face and have it be a bit lighter, to keep it as the focal point of the model. Once the Snakebite Leather had dried, I drybrushed all of those areas with a very pale sand/off-white colour. Following that, I went and re-darkened the tips of the claws as well as the spiniest part of the back carapace by carefully drybrushing with black. Teeth and Eyes I painted in the traditional manner.

I only took colour inspiration from the box art in the most coincidental way this time. This was because KS backers didn’t get a box (we got a sprue in a plastic baggie) and because I didn’t look for the artwork as I wanted to play with the Contrast Paints once I finally pulled my finger out and started painting it. (It’d been assembled and primed for …fucking ages.) Good thing, too, since the artwork colours are …rather basic.

Shadows of Brimstone: Wasteland Terralisk, Sand Crabs, Citadel Contrast Paint

Scale Shot Provides Scale.

I took some video with my phone of the process, though I’m not sure if I can be arsed editing it together, cringing at my own voice, or posting it up on the You Tubes, but either way, the text here tells the story ina  reasonable manner. Ultimately, the Contrast paints worked really well on this model, one that is entirely organic shapes with decent enough detail. On models like this (and stuff like dinosaurs, etc) these paints will really shine. Could I have done better painting tradtionally? Sure, I really think I could have. Would I have bothered? I honestly can’t say if I’d have put enough effort in to do so, though. Being completely honest, this model had already sat for more than 6 months with no movement, but the Contrast Paints’ arrival were what got me motivated to get the model painted. Sure, being a test subject was part of that – but so was “I wonder how fast I can paint that sucker and still have it come out decent”. With these paints, the mst painful part of the model was the base!

The Others: 7 Sins – Abominations of Greed (Proxy Blue Horrors of Tzeentch)

The Others: 7 Sins - Abominations of Greed

Another half-dozen figures from the 7 Sins Kickstarter today. In this case some fleshy little grubs from the “Greed” faction. As with most of the others, I’ve painted them with the Warhammering in mind. So once again, I’ll just quote myself from a month or two ago – I’m not sure what the “official” paint scheme for these is supposed to be, but let’s face it – I gave (and give) zero fucks about the lore of this particular box of miniatures with a game shoehorned onto it. When I first saw them on the Kickstarter page, I had the very thought that stayed with them to conclusion. Proxy Blue Horrors of Tzeentch.

The Others: 7 Sins - Abominations of Greed

Ass, Ass Baby…

Despite their appearance, these models were not painted with GW’s Contrast Paints – they were painted with 2 layers of washes over a pale, fleshy bascoat, though – so essentially the same process. And much the same process I used for many of the not-Nurgle Gluttony guys from 7 Sins as well. Oh, and have I mentioned Vagina Dentata in this post yet? Because, well, just look at their “faces”.

I know there’s the whole “if that’s what you keep seeing, then the issues are with you, not me” argument to be made about a great many things, but my counter to that, is where there’s smoke and also a whole lot of flames coming out of almost every window, then I recon there might just be a fire in there…

I’ve still got both the Avatar and Controller to finish for this next faction to be complete. I suspect that some more Contrast Paint experiemnts might be in store..?

Adrian Smith’s HATE – 3D Plastic Trees (June ’19 Terrain Challenge) + Contrast Paint Experiment #2

Adrian Smith's HATE - 3D Plastic Trees

Broadly similar to yesterday’s post, we have my second terrain-based experiment with the new Citadel Contrast Paints. This time on the Kickstarter-exclusive (but the whole campaign was KS-exclusive?) 3D Trees from HATE. Based on how old and gnarled they looked, my initial plan was to paint them with a grey contrast paint to give them the “white-grey” look that very old, dead trees tend to end up with. Unfortunately, the grey contrast paint I tried (I forgot which) did not look good, so a very fast trip to the kitchen sink was required to wash the stuff off and salvage it quickly.

Seeing how nicely they turned out, I do regret not having gotten a second (or third!) set of these, as CMoN really knocked it out of the park with these models. I mean, I’ll live, but it goes to show (yet again) how pointless things like Kickstarter exclusives like trees and wolves and the like are. Hm.. I’ve just noticed that the trees came in a set of 8 in the end, rather than the 10 advertised….

Adrian Smith's HATE - 3D Plastic Trees

So after the clean up of the grey, I tried my plan-B of Wyldwood Contrast Paint. Despite initially not wanting to go with brown trees, this stuff worked really nicely. Following the one-coat of Wyldwood, I was careful not to handle them because the Contrast paint is pretty prone to rubbing off. So out they went for a spray. I followed that with careful touch-ups of the little bits I missed with the Wyldwood, an overall drybrush of bone, grey and a drybrush for the stony ground around the edges of their bases, painting in the skulls on the bases and the exposed wood with bone, another wash over the exposed wood, and then another spray.

Adrian Smith's HATE - 3D Plastic Trees

To finish off, I found they were still a bit shiny (not the contrast’s fault), so I gave them a brush-on coat of AK Interactive’s brush-on matte varnish, and then mixed some of that stuff in with two shades of weathering powders (mostly since I didn’t have the shade I wanted to use) and slapped that on the bottom parts of the roots and the rocks, wiping it off quickly.

Adrian Smith's HATE - 3D Plastic Trees

In the end, I’m very happy with how these turned out. Sure, I only used the Contrast paint as a base, and then followed up with my usual techniques – but that’s how I see them. I’m hardly going to entirely change my ways of painting after all of these years, but I’ll happily adapt some aspects to these paints when I choose to use them. I can credit them for motivation, though – it’s unlikely I’d have gotten around to starting these trees by now without the Contrast paint, and they did make it so that I got them finished in just a couple of days. That alone made them worthwhile for me!