Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King – Arthas, the Lich King & Abominations

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Arthas Menethil the Lich King, Abominations, board game miniatures

Another mouthful of a title today. We’re into October’s models (I’ll get the September Round-Up happening this weekend). These models are from the aforementioned board game, that uses a modified version of the Pandemic game engine. As longtime players of the original and several of the variants (with lots still waiting to be cracked open and played!) – as well as former players of World of Warcraft, Marouda and I picked up this boardgame several months ago and have played it a few times now. It’s quite fun, though much easier than regular Pandemic.

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Arthas Menethil the Lich King, board game miniatures

As it happens, we pick our heroes randomly each time we play – but Arthas the Lich King and the three Abominations feature in every game that you play. They also seemed like pretty straightforward models to paint – not amazing sculpts by any means, but not terrible either, especially in light of being board game models.

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Arthas Menethil the Lich King, board game miniatures

Arthas was painted using dark metals, pre-highlighted with a careful drybrush using a makeup brush and then tinted with a very subtle glaze of blue over it all. His cloak and tabard were painted in an almost-black dark grey, and drybrushed to just bring up the highlights in a teal-ish blue. Almost a comic-book style of highlighting, but with a dusty/worn effect from drybrushing.

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Arthas Menethil the Lich King, board game miniatures

Wheras if this were a GW model, I’d have made the detailed hilt of the sword Frostmourne stand out with gold edging, the WoW model is actually all in dark steel, so I just left it as it was, with a bit more highlighting on the blade edges. The fur around his greaves and vambraces is rather poorly sculpted, so I just p[ainted it in the white fur of the source material and tried to understate it by putting more effort into the highlights on his leather gloves, as well as edging the armour where approriate in a “white gold” colour (Pro Acryl Light Bronze).

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Arthas Menethil the Lich King, board game miniatures

I had to paint in the details of Arthas’ eyes and mouth, since the model just has flat space in those areas, giving them a wash afterwards to dull them down and simulate the shadow of being inside his helm. I also painted his forehead gem using Citadel’s Gemstone blue over Vallejo Model Air Chrome. I also used Chrome to pick out the top highlights of his crown, shoulder and vambrace spikes and top of the sword blade edges.

For Arthas’ base, I wanted to build on what I learned recently when experimenting with the Water Effects on the Archon Fountains and give Arthas an unnatural/magical-looking ice and snow base. I got some AK Water Effects and mixed in a small amount of Contrast Pylar Glacier to see what would happen…

It gave me this paste….

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Arthas Menethil the Lich King, board game miniatures

Which went on pretty much how it looks, but allowed some manipulation. The colour was pretty strong but still had some transparency to it. I then let it dry for a day or so and added another layer, with less contrast mixed in to create a more transparent effect on this next layer of ice, then repeated several times adding less contrast each time until eventually it was just Water Effects. Finally, I added snow to the base, on and around the peaks of the ice swirls. It’s not something that has come out amazingly well in these photographs, but I’m pretty happy with the overall effect. Once again, a board game model that I was painting anyway provided a great canvas for trying something new.

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Abominations, board game miniatures

At the same time I was working on Arthas, I was also doing work on the three Abominations. Since these are basically great big Frankenstein’s Monster-style undead golems/zombies, stitched together from various remains I just painted them in pale zombie tones with some slight variance between the three models, just as seen in WoW. They feature some pretty poor detail in spots and weren’t exactly fun to paint, but they’ll look good on the table and that’s what matters most.

Pandemic: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Abominations, board game miniatures

Unlike Arthas, who behaves as a sort of spectre over the large regions of Northrend in the game, these models roam across the actual zones, so I gave them dirt bases with some grass and intermittent snowfall on top, as the continent in-game is a mixture of biomes but with an overall wintery feel. While I doubt Arthas would get a ticket, the Abominations may well qualify for Dave Stone’s latest painting challenge as he is the one coordinating Zombtober this year as a subset of “Apocalypse Me“.

The Army Painter asks for Feedback.

So THIS video turned up in my YouTube feed…

I’m in two minds about this. We know that people have had issues with their current range of paints for quite a few years now. Some people like them, and their YT comments are filled with AP fans being positive – and you know, if some people like their paints, more power to them and they’re entitled to share their opinions!

Ninjon, a Youtuber who I can usually stand, was paid by Army Painter to do a promotional video using their paints, eventually did come up with an excellent result, but admitted through the process that he had to change the way he painted to do so and even in the end the best statement that he could come up with was that you can do great work with whatever paints you have access to if you just put enough work in. (A sponsorship offer refused by at least one other YouTuber because he didn’t like the paints enough!)

Squidmar, who I’m more indifferent to did a big “Paint-off” tournament (he’s clearly an AEW fan) where Army Painter’s paints got one of the worst overall scores.

Similarly, I think their current range of paints are bad. Their Speedpaints have serious issues, first pointed out by Stahly from Tale of Painters and then also by Juan Hildago. (how many YouTubers skipped over this entirely?)

Oh, and To the guy who told me to just buy a few Speedpaints and try them – I’ll go with no. I’m not wasting my money on them, but I’ll add a donation button if you want to pay for me to try them..

Later, Juan also found a fix – or as close as possible to a fix to the Speed Paints reactivation issue.. it’s Citadel’s Contrast Medium. Still, watch the video to get a good idea of drying time and how much Contrast Medium is needed since it’s not as simple as “add one drop!”

Anyway – we don’t know if this is genuine, or how genuine this is – given how long their paints have had a bad reputation. We do know that the initial tactic of not addressing the reactivation issue and relying on online fans and Stans didn’t work out since they later started sort of addressing it – though the fact is that just as the Army Painter paint issue with the “gel” medium should never have made it to market (their original paint formulation was fantastic, neither should the Speed Paints with their reactivation issues.

Now Army Painter are asking for feedback to be emailed to them. I wonder if the imminent launch of Duncan Rhodes “Two Thin Coats” paint range, distributed by Asmodee, plus factors like the upcoming new Vallejo ranges (Xpress + new Game Colour), plus AK 3rd Gen being pretty good and more accessable could be pushing Army Painter’s new “give us feedback” policy after so many years? Competition in this case can only be a good thing.

Regardless, I’ve taken it in good faith and emailed them and would suggest that anyone else who had issues with any of their products also do so at feedback AT thearmypainter.com (you can figure out what you need to do there)

Here’s what I sent them:


Hello!

First up, thank you for the open call for feedback. I have been using AP products since at least 2010, which is my oldest email confirmation, so possibly earlier than that via FLGS.

Please take this feedback in the spirit that it’s being sent in, which is (hopefully) constructive criticism. or to put it another way, I wouldn’t bother to type this out if I didn’t care enough to want your products to improve and be something I could trust to purchase again.

I have a blog. It’s non-monetised and only a small one with 1000 or so subscribers, though as with these things, depending on what I post I get more hits or fewer ones. My hobby and content is company-agnostic. I’m not a GW stan nor a GW hater. I use paints and hobby materials from many manufacturers – including you guys, with the washes as well as what I have left of your original line of paints, the ones with the paint spatter on the label. I use this stuff to paint models from many ranges. GW is in there of course, but also Mantic, Battlefront, CMoN, Reaper, and literally dozens more. I use it to share my opinions and experiences, and occasionally review products that I have purchased to help other hobbyists make informed choices. Point being, I’m not a GW Stan, nor an AP hater. I just like quality products and do not like trash-tier ones.

the URL is http://azazelx.com

I do not have kind words to say about the current range of Army Painter paints when I talk about them, either on my blog, on the blogs of other people, or on forums such as dakkadakka – though I remain positive on the Washes.

I used to love your paints. The old ones, with the Paint Spatter labels. I used them frequently for many colours, and used them as often as Vallejo. That’s also more than Citadel. In 2017 I ordered the new giant set as soon as I was able to get hold of it in February. To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. The new, gel-based medium is horrible. I added my own mixing balls and use a heavy dust nail polish shaker (not the cheap trash on amazon – a solid professional model) and… the paints are still trash.

I’ve still got them mostly because I don’t want to turn a new hobbyist off the hobby by giving them away. So they just sit in a tub. I sometimes feel like I should just throw them away, but sunk cost fallacy, since it cost me  £224.10. That’s 100% wasted money on what I consider to be faulty product. I wonder how those pretty-light-stepping YouTubvers would feel if they’d spent that kind of money on the product rather than having it sent gratis, or even as a sponsored video? Needless to say, I went from buying AP paints pretty regularly, to not having bought another one since then.

Adding two mixing balls isn’t going to make the paints any better. They’re shit. I can buy Citadel & Vallejo easily, have literally hundreds of them here, and aside from a few dodgy metallics, never have to fight or struggle with the paint. (and yes, I avoid GW’s whites). I can now get hold of newer paint ranges. I have the large suitcase of AK 3rd Gen and they’re fucking magic. I have the full range Monument Hobbies Pro Acryl and they go on smoothly. Why would I bother trying AP again when it’s the same formulation, but with an extra mixing ball? Ninjon showed that with enough perseverance, you can achieve great things with sub-par tools, but I don’t want to fight my tools. or work around their gaping flaws.
If you want to “fix” your standard line of paints, then go back to the original medium/formulation. Throw in an exchange program for people like myself who got ripped off with a huge purchase of faulty product.
 
I do like and continue to use the Wash Tones. I prefer them over the Citadel as well as most others in most cases (excepting unusual colours like P3’s “Turquoise Ink” – or wanting a certain shade of green, etc). That says something – that I “lost” so much money on the AP paint range and still use the Wash Tones. It’s about the quality of products.

I almost bought (pre ordered) the Speedpaints. I have a full set of Contrasts. Imagine how much I feel like I dodged a bullet as the local supply was slow, and then the first honest reviews started to come out that talked about reactivation. Well, just a couple of honest reviewers. I’m sure you know who they are. There are still lots of Youtubers and pundits who are happy to compromise their trustworthiness for the sake of keeping sweet with a moderately sized company in our niche hobby for future sponsorships and advance product. Got to keep those clicks coming. Reactivation is a “feature”. Riiiight. I would have bought the full set of Speedpaints plus any released later, but due to reactivation, now I will buy none of them. I have a full set of Green Stuff World’s Dipping Inks.

I’m told that your Air Range is pretty good. Once bitten and all that, though – the bad taste still lingers from the regular paints and then there’s the Reactivation Speed Paints. Did I mention I have the £224.10 worth of my Army Painter Wargamers Complete Paint Set just sitting here taking up space? I’m not ready to risk AU$550 on a set of Army Painter Air to find out how well they perform. Vallejo is coming out with their own Not-Contrasts “soon”, as well as a revamped Game Colour range. If reviews from the trustworthy people are positive, I’ll buy the entire “Vallejo Xpress” range on release, and may even buy a chunk (or all) of the new Game Colour paints as well. 

Why? The difference is trust, or in AP’s case, a lack thereof.
Trust in a quality product.
I hope this helps. If you would like any additional feedback please do not hesitate to contact me.
kind regards,

For anyone who finds this post that isn’t a usual reader here but feels compelled to comment – I’m not paid by Vallejo or anyone else, nor have I been given anything for free in exchange for views or my opinions. I’ve had an art book provided to me free of charge for review purposes once, but every other product I’ve reviewed here has been paid for by me. WordPress throws any comments added by new people into a moderation area anyway, and so reasonable comments (even if I disagree) will be replied to. Abuse and/or outright stupidity will just be nuked at the door. I’ll have a conversation, but I won’t even entertain publishing stupid comments. This isn’t Twitter, after all. 😉