C18 Night Horror: Medusa (1987) #Fembruary Painting Challenge Success (Again)

C18 Night Horror: Medusa.

Today’s model is an old figure from a classic range, rather than a classic figure in it’s own right. Released in 1987, I don’t even remember how I ended up with this model, so I’m going to assume that it either came in a Night Horrors Blister with other figures I liked enough to grab the pack, or perhaps I picked it up secondhand from Dave.

C18 Night Horror: Medusa

Yeah, dark brown would definitely have been a better choice of wash.

Either way, it got an unfinished simple paintjob years ago, and was taken out of a figure case sometime in the last ..year? Or two. Anyway. While I was looking for another figure yesterday, I found this thing in there. Because Fembruary, I decided to grab it out and make myself finish the thing off.

C18 Night Horror: Medusa

Alongside a couple of other old-school Night Horror miniatures.

Once I had it on my desk, I remembered why he thing never got finished. I didn’t know how to paint the robe and …towel. Belt. Thing. This was largely because the details show it to be haggard and damaged throughout, and especially on the hem. After a little bit of thought, I decided to go Greek with it, because Medusa, and paint it with a nice red that would contrast well with the green of her hair-snakes, and a pale yellow for the towel-belt. Add a Greek Key (or Meander) to the hem, and then a black wash to grubby the thing up. On reflection, maybe a dark brown would have been better, but c’est la vie. It’s not an important enough figure to go back and “fix” by repainting yet again.

C18 Night Horror: Medusa

And alongside a couple of other figures that will make up the Mythical Greeks.

So now it’s done. It’s not a model I particularly like, but it’s done, finished painted. It fits both Fembruary and Neglected February, and without at lease one of those (probably both, let’s face it) it would still be clogging up space in a tub. Now it can clog up space on a shelf in the War Room instead. She can be used in Fantasy RPGs or in that Mythical Greek Army that is a slow-burn project.

C18 Night Horror: Medusa

Bonus Size Comparison photo, featuring SPEHSS MARINE.

77191: Hydra (Reaper Bones)

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

Today’s model is the Reaper Bones Hydra, from their first Kickstarter. This model is one that I started about 14 months ago. I wanted it to work decently both as a display model as well as a wargaming piece. I used a few pieces of slate, carefully placed, including a nice sized piece in order to elevate the model – both literally and figuratively. During the process of painting this model and the time that it spent sitting on my desk waiting for some attention, I noticed that the heads of this Bones hydra tend to get a bit lost amongst one another.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

These first two photographs serve well to illustrate a couple of things about how Games Workshop/Citadel paint and pose their multi-headed models. Workshop seem to either carefully split the heads, avoiding having any in almost-identical side-by-side poses as the two rear ones on the Bones model are. With other models, such as Archaon, GW design their models specifically to have the heads painted in different colours or styles – which again helps them to stand out from one another. Which isn’t to say that this sculpt, by Sandra Garrity is a bad one. Just that the way that the model is posed compared to other, more recent models which are sculpted perhaps it’s fair to say – with the finished, painted product more in mind became apparent. I think simply changing the pose of either the middle rear or middle left head head/neck would elevate this model further.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

I’ve been painting for a long time now, and I’ve been able to turn out things to a nice standard for a lot of that time. I was commission painting when I was 16, and at 18 I won Best Figure and Best 40k figure at Cancon. (Before they gave trophies, unfortunately – assuming that they do now? I got a pair of certificates which are well lost at this point.) While that’s all well and good, what it really means is that as a painter I hit my plateau pretty early, and improving further from there has been a long, slow process.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

Since I started blogging again as a way to share my models and motivate me to paint more, I’ve also been trying to improve and add new skills to my bow. Part of that is risk-taking and experimenting with new methods, materials and techniques. I have more than one of these models, since Bones 1 was in the days I went quite heavy on Kickstarters. Knowing that I had another one up my sleeve allowed me the freedom to try something I probably would not ordinarily have tried – that is instead of painting the Hydra in a shade of green, or even a turquoise/teal that fits my overall Dark Elf scheme, I went for what I wanted to be more naturalistic browns. I also played around with my airbrush (which I am awful with!) to try and achieve some nice looking gradients. While that actually worked(!), I felt that the rather deep scales sculpted onto this model demanded more contrast since the airbrushing was so smooth and the sculpted scales didn’t stand out at all.

77191: Hydra, Reaper Bones

My (attempted) solution – which in my opinion didn’t work well – and is the reason that the model then spent a year (or two?) sitting on my desk unfinished until recently was to try a mix of Minitaire’s Airbrush Paints – specifically, their Ghost Tints. I’ve used them before, though never on a model this size. Now coming to the model for the first time and seeing it finished in these pics, it might look fine to the reader. But you know when you have a picture in your head about how you’d like something to look? Now imagine that, and imagine it coming along nicely, and then imagine it all coming undone once it dries. Now if I’d gone for Oil Washes, I probably could have removed it all due to the way that oil paints dry much more slowly and can still be removed and cleaned up with spirits.

I think the base worked out well, but in the end, the model fell short of what I’d envisioned for it. Could I go back and try to fix it up and redo elements of the model? Sure, but at the same time, I have another one to paint that would be a better use of my time than repainting this one, and my enthusiasm for this particular model waned to the point where it literally sat in front of me for over a year before I made myself finish it off. Sometimes you’ve just got to call something good enough for what it is, and call it done. In the end, the model looks decent and perfectly fine for a wargaming model.

In gaming terms, the model will have a home in the Pan-Elven army to start with (using the Dark Elf/Twilight Kin list), and eventually find a home with the Mythological Greek Army.

Warlord/Immortal Spartans, Part Two.

And so today I finally finished the second two dozen of these. The first batch had all but two wearing the bronze bell curiass – the other couple wearing a linothorax. I realised that with the limitations of the Warlord/Immortal kit there was no avoiding having a whole lot of the models simply wearing robes and a helmet. So this lot are in essence the “secondary” group of Spartans to the first. Like the first batch, these are a little anachronistic in terms of their gear, but nomoreso than most media depictions and they look decent, so I’m fine with it.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

24 Spartans lined up in a Phalanx for Skirmish-style gaming

As such, I went for a shield scheme that would be distinctive from the previous set, to mark them out as a separate unit. Black Lambdas on a bronze field, rimmed with red was a simple scheme to apply that also looks striking and effective.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

Details of the linothorax and robes.

Being a mass of historical figures that will be far in excess of my “proper” Fantasy armies – and also made of figures on the low end of the detail scale, being both “historical truescale 28mm” and frankly not that detailed anyway (their feet are just undetailed hams with a hint of toes at best) I gave them as simple a tabletop job as I can stand to. I still couldn’t help going and lining the clothing of every one of them with a bit of white pattern, though. You can really only see some it from the side or behind, though.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

One Horde or Two Regiments.

They’ll be predominantly used for Kings of War at this point, and so the 24 models make up either two regiments – or more likely a horde – of Spear Phalanx. Marouda helped sporadically, but didn’t enjoy the experience, so I ended up doing much more on them than I’d planned to.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

Onwards! And so forth.

I did a simple conversion to mark out the leader. Not that it matters for KoW, but I like to take the opportunity to add a little bit of character in this way. I gave him his spear to hold in his shield hand so that he could wave his sword in the air, no doubt while delivering a stirring speech or battle cry to his men. If many years of warhams have taught me anything, it’s that leaders must be shouting, not wearing a helmet, pointing, or waving something around in the air. It’s simply the rules.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

And alongside his little mate from the first unit.

Warlord/Immortal Spartans – The First Dozen

These twelve models are the first of 36 Spartans that Marouda and I started painting the other day after watching a doco about (who else?) Leonidas and Thermopylae. She seemed enthusiastic enough, and off we went. It took three days to clean and assemble the 36 models, and with a bit of daily painting, we’ve (well, almost entirely myself) have gotten the first dozen done. I swapped in a lot of the bronze bell curiasses into this group. Initial paint as noted the other day was a dark Tamiya red spray with a Zenithal highlight of Army Painter Red. Maybe I have a crappy can, but that AP spray really leaves a horrid grainy finish. I don’t think I’ll buy their stuff again. I’d rather pay a slight premium and buy GW or Tamiya’s coloured primers.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

Anachnonistic Spartans showing their shields. Ready for SAGA Ancients! When it becomes a thing.

The Warlord (formerly Immortal) figures are decent enough, and have both positives and negatives. The sprues that make up the majority of the kits are identical between the Spartans, Ancient Greeks and Classical Greeks, with only the command sprues offering any differentiation or extra pieces. The Spartans come with a sheet that has 90 Lambdas, though that’s broken up into 30 White, 30 Black and 30 Red – so if you want uniformity from your box of 40 figures, you need to buy more. Except – here’s the kicker – Warlord don’t actually sell them!

I got lucky with Warlord’s quality customer service when I called them the other day and asked to order several sheets. I paid for the EIR sheets and they’re going to manually swap them out for the Spartan sheets, which will give me enough to have some freedom on my boxes of Victrix Spartans that don’t come with any decals at all.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

Of course when they’re front on, you can’t see their armour decorations.

I did my research before putting together or painting these guys. The Warlord models don’t come with cloaks at all, which is a shame. There’s differing opinion on whether Spartan linothorax armour (the linen armour) was dyed red or not, so I went with “yes”. Similarly with the horsehair crests, there appears to be differing opinions on red or black and white, or some combination. Since the Spartans were around for quite some time, I’d guess both are probably correct. Similarly, I chose a “Hollywood” style anachronistic combination of the Corinthian Helmet (worn in earlier times) over the Pilos, along with the Lambda (used in later times – and not yet at the time of Thermopylae). Let’s face it – if anyone were to decide that they don’t want to play with us because the Spartans aren’t historically accurate (and knowingly so! GASP!) then I probably didn’t want to play someone like that anyway.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

A small unit of Spartans, three deep. Ready for Kings of War!

It wasn’t until taking these photographs that I realised I forgot to flock the figures. I’ll have to do that tomorrow. I might go over the shields again with a satin varnish. The matt is a little washed out.

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

Low angle shot to see the rows of shields.

These models aren’t going to win any painting competitions, but it’s been a nice thing to finish a dozen models – a unit – from sealed box to ready for the table (after flocking!) in only 1 week. They’re at a tabletop standard that I’m quite happy with for historical models that I literally have hundreds of (roughly 900-1000 plastic infantry between the various types of Greeks and Macedonians – ouch!) It’s also been a good learning experience on what to do and what not to do. Now to get the other two dozen of this batch finished!

Warlord Games Immortal Miniatures Spartans

The unit leader.

It also means that my painting total for 2016 is 12 models after 3 days!

A Painting December Interlude: Warlord Games Spartans.

I haven’t posted anything new from the project in awhile. It’s because I’m honestly not enjoying painting Be’lakor or the giant at this point. Bel’s flesh-and-black look is tedious to paint, and the Giant’s clothing issues are once again completely off-putting. (They’re why he didn’t get painted 20-odd years ago). So I’ve mostly been playing videogames instead, and after watching a documentary with Marouda about Spartans, decided to harness her brief moment of enthusiasm and see if she wanted to work with me to assemble and paint up some Spartans together.

We cracked open the Warlord box, and found that their rebadged Immortal Miniatures sprues are completely the same across all three of their Greek ranges – the only difference being a unique command sprue for each. Bell (bronze muscle) curiasses are rare in each box (one per sprue of 8), with the majority wearing Linothorax (linen armour) and two out of every 8 wearing only robes. The command sprues add one more Bell curiass and another robe-wearer. So – no units uniformly all wearing bell curiasses unless we wanted to loot all of them from the other Greek boxes with the result that they would then have none in their units.The Spartan box’s main distinguishing feature is a bunch of heads wearing the Pilos helm on the command sprue. So we had some decisions to make.

36 WIP Spartans. Not much to look at so far.

In the end we went for a “idealised fantastic” selection for the Spartans. We both felt that while the pilos helm might be accurate for (late) Sparta, it’s ugly. So we went for a majority of corinthian-style helmets (worn earlier) which we’ll be pairing with shields bearing the lambda (worn later). We’re going with the Lambda to easily distinguish the Spartans from other Greeks and also the Macedonians that will be painted and assembled later. I know (from the research that I did while working out our options for these models) there are people over on TMP who’d happily tell me that I’m doing it wrong, a heathen and more besides, we’re going for models that look aesthetically pleasing (to us) that can also be distinguished easily as Spartans by ourselves and out friends. Rivet-counters be damned!

The models took 3 days to assemble, and were sprayed last night with a Tamiya dark red. This morning I gave them a zenithal highlight of a brighter Army Painter red. Now I’m troweling acrylic putty onto the round Renedra bases to make their integral bases stand out a little less. In my researching, I found that the colour of the Linothorax worn by Spartans is debated, and may have possibly been red rather than buff/white so I think we’ll go with the red, along with their robes and skirts in red.

These being historical figures of troopers rather than anything special, they’ll be getting “fast, tabletop” paintjobs – with the same mentality of “get them done” as my Moria Goblins or the plastic Gondor Rangers. Base coat, simple highlight and wash, then a matte spray basically. The aim is to look good as a unit on the table from a foot or two away rather than look good as individual models.

Hopefully Marouda will keep her interest so we can get them finished inside a week – and then I can get back to this giant and daemon that have sapped my enthusiasm with a refreshed attitude.

Painting December: Talos Completed!

Probably should have waited and called this post “Day of the Talos”. Ah well. Done now.

Mierce Miniatures Talos, Colossus of Bronze

Mierce Miniatures Talos, Colossus of Bronze

Aside from my agonising over how to get the verdigris done, the model was quite an easy and low-stress paintjob. Certainly the painting was much more pleasant than the assembly, which destroyed 2 drill bits.

Mierce Miniatures Talos, Colossus of Bronze

In the end I went for a direct inspiration from Ray Harryhausen’s Talos from Jason and the Argonauts (1963) regarding the dead, dark eye sockets as well as (and more importantly) the weathering and verdigris, though mine is more “gold-brass” than the “copper-brass” of the film.

freehand Greek shield

The colourful shield adds a spot of interest to the base, as do the flowers and the reddish wood of the spear. The freehand dolphin design is based on images of Greek shields, and provided me with something fun to add to the model, since it’s the sort of thing I really enjoy doing. I considered adding some damage to the paintwork, but decided against it. Naturally, I didn’t notice the errant hair when I took these photos. Luckily, it’s not stuck to anything. I’ll have to fix the small tide mark on the bronze shield, though.

freehand Greek shield, Mierce Talos

freehand Greek shield, Mierce Talos

The discarded helmet, shields and spear were chosen to add a sense of scale to the figure without being too specific in the same way that a crushed orc or Greek would have been. The wargear could have been left by friendlies, opponents or might even be a messy offering to the gods. This model might end up being used as scenery occasionally, what with being a gigantic bronze statue…

Mierce Miniatures Talos, Colossus of Bronze

Finally, a scale shot. This model is easily the largest miniature I’ve ever painted. I really need to get more of my impressive centrepiece models done in the coming years. When used in KoW which uses square bases, I found that the giant 100mm round base fits neatly into a movement tray, so I’ll just park it in there when I need to.

…and yes. I just ordered a bunch of Argonauts from Foundry this evening!

Painting December: Day of the Talos

I spent a bit of time today on the Talos. Touched up the black primer from last night, then went over it with Vallejo German Red Brown Primer. Next I found I was base coating it, and a bit later I was drybrushing the metallic layers, painting the slate and finally the dirt. So it’s (almost) finished.

I mean, I could call it finished. Spray varnish it, and then add some flock or tufts for colour on the base and it’d be quite a decent model.

So now I’m at the point of working out what more to do with/to/for it. And that’s where feedback is always welcome – even if I don’t use all of it.

Couldn’t resist a scale shot – he’s a BIG boy.

Now – as Cash mentioned in the comments when I was looking to work out which models I’d do for December, this figure wasn’t a stretch of my skills by any means. The assembly was a bit trying, so I could say I learned a little there on the use of my Dremel, which I was given as a birthday gift from Marouda several years ago but have barely used. But the figure… well, he’s just carefully drybrushed in layers. It’s a big, rough-cast bronze statue. Drybrushing is the perfect technique. Sure it was careful, and there are spot highlights, but drybrushing is drybrushing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, though – I need to work out what to do to properly finish him.

I’m planning on giving him glowing bluish eyes, as I did with the Brass Bull. That much is easy.

The harder question is verdigris. And if so, what type and how much?

I think this is the “official” artwork for the Talos. They’ve applied the verdigris very sparingly – as almost a light spot wash.

There’s the dark (angels?) green wash that GW used to use on everything before they came out with a verdigris paint wash. Not especially realistic, but it looks good.

There’s also realistic, but that often doesn’t look so good. When it’s heavy, you end up with the Statue of Liberty’s distinct look. I’m after bright metal underneath, rather than dull.