Squaduary 2018 Challenge: Part 1

A little over a week ago, Westrider commented on the simple February community painting challenge I set up, and mentioned a thing called Squaduary. This is a “Paint a squad entirely during Feb” challenge. Now usually, I’m working on stuff started long before, but as I already had plans to work on my metal Plaguebearers, I decided “why not” and to attempt to see if I could get them painted entirely during February. For good measure I also got to work on some Wolves that had been sitting around for awhile.

Now, this has been (and will be) far from the only set of models I work on this month. There’s also my models for the Fembruary challenge, not to mention a few more Neglected Models, and you know – just random stuff I want to get completed – and and I’ve got plenty of other stuff to post up, so Squaduary updates will be pretty much whenever I get to them. I’m also not good with WIP updates, as there’s usually quite a lot of time between me taking a photo and then writing a post, and then even for the post to be published (since I have other stuff to post up- and right now I have both a queue and a backlog), so the images are often out of date before they go up.

Thousandeyes also unfortunately uses Disqus for his blog comments. While it’s probably easier in some ways since there’s so many issues with WordPressers like myself posting on Blogspot’s blogs, I’m the kind of guy who usually reads up on new things before signing up, especially when the thing seems a little redundant to my needs, and there are only a few blogs I’d have commented on before that use it. What I read about it awhile ago didn’t endear me to it (and that was before the 2017 hack), so I won’t be signing up to it and therefore can’t post to the “official” squaduary stuff to “officially” sign up (and I’m not a twitterer. tweeter?)

The Squaduary month is laid out in optional stages, which can be useful for a lot of people

There will be four stages, each taking a week, to this:
1. Assembly: 1st – 7th
Taking them off the sprues or putting them on bases, what ever way you get them ready for paint. 
2. Basic painting: 8th – 14th
This is your basic coating and blocking in colours.
3. Clean up and details: 15th – 21st
Cleaning up your colours and picking out all the bits to make the mini stand out.
4. Basing: 22nd – 28th
Adding the base or just painting it out.
Stages 2 and 4 can be swapped as per your own style. Hell you could ignore the lot, I am not the Corpse God Emperor of you!

I’ve been following the final suggestion of ignoring the lot, Eric Cartman style.

Because that’s how I roll when I paint my toy soldiers. SRS BZNSS.

I’ve just gotten back from a 3-day work trip out in the sticks with patchy internet and almost no “me time” (like, midnight till I fall asleep after 2am before getting up again at 6:30am). I took a few of the Plaguebearers with me, and with luck, I’ll manage to get the “cream” batch of them completed this weekend. The trip away is also why I’m again SO far behind on other people’s blogs, and even responding to my own blog’s comments…

The total numbers are 27 Plaguebeaers and 9 wolves. The 27 Plaguebeaers will be merged with and then regrouped from the 14 I’ve already got painted, giving me 4 squads of 10 and a variety of flesh tones across the 4 squads. Or 2 squads of 20 plus a Herald, or… whatever. You get the idea. I’m just sorely disappointed that Chaos Lesser Daemons don’t come in their patron’s sacred number. (Multiples of) 7 in this case.

Once these metal plaguebearers are all done, I’ve got some resin Nurgle toys I want to get sorted out. I also need to search for those bloody metal Beasts.

I’d have liked to post this up in some form earlier, but I’ve been flat out just getting all of January’s finished models photographed and posted up, along with the Decembuary Round-up. I especially wanted to post the round-up a few days after the end of the month. I participated in Dreadtober last year, and aside from barely getting a mention on their page because WordPress and Blogspot don’t play well together, they published the round-up at the very end of the month and the “latecomers” post like three days later. I finished the models on time (note: Plural), but didn’t have time to post or photograph my models as a wrap-up for a few extra days, so I missed out on inclusion and when I sent them a link to my final completed models it was ignored.

Aside from still being a little pissed off and bitter about that on a personal level, it also motivated me to not do the same thing, and give people a chance to finish painting their models for the challenge on the last day, and not feel obliged to run outside to photograph them and post on their blogs the very next day. So to close that tangent, I wanted to finish up on all of January’s posts before even starting on February’s. Hence my “Neglected Figure Challenge” figure that I actually finished on Feb 1st got published yesterday – on Feb 8th and this post about my participation in this February challenge coming now.

Still, giving it some time allowed for some actual progress photos, and Squaduary can’t hurt my motivation to get these Plaguebearers done. Further, any PBs or Wolves I don’t manage to complete this month will dovetail nicely with Squad: March! which will be the ABB hobby challenge following Neglected February. Since March’s challenge will only be concerned with finishing squads (or units) and not care when they were started, I can almost guarantee that these will all be done by then if I fail to get them all done during Squaduary.

D&D Monster Manual 11: Castle Ravenloft Wolves, Rats and Giant Spiders

I haven’t had much to show recently. A combination of work ramping up as we come to the middle of the year, new duties at work on top of my usual turning out to be a far heavier workload than expected and of course, the onset of winter – shorter days and bloody cold! All of these factors have combined to drastically reduce  my output and energy. This weekend I managed to finish some goblins, but it’s basically so cold right now that I’m concerned that spray varnish could wreck the figures, so they’ll remain 95% done and unphotographed until we get a day that’s both warm enough and one where I’m able to be home to spray.

So in lieu of something newly-painted, I have some more Dungeons and Dragons Boardgame models today. These three aren’t the most exciting or inspiring figures from the Ravenloft Boxed set, but hey – they’re done and they work on the table.

D&D Castle Ravenloft Giant Spiders

The Spiders. Well, they’re not amazing sculpts and didn’t exactly inspire me, so I decided to look to one of the “local heroes” of spiders – The Australian Redback spider. Of course, the sculpts look nothing like an actual Redback, but what can you do? These were simply painted to what I’d consider a basic boardgame standard.

D&D Castle Ravenloft Wolves

Next up we have the Wolves. These are also somewhat average sculpts – though better than the spiders. I tried to make them look a little bit realistic, though their awkward pose, soft detail and super-heroic-scale proportions don’t help. While I’ve given a little bit of extra effort to them in trying to give them somewhat realistic colouration and some facial markings. While it would have been easier to simply paint them black or brown, that would bore me to tears. Of course, when blown up this large, they look awful. Such is the price of zoom photography.

D&D Castle Ravenloft Wolves

D&D Castle Ravenloft Wolf Faces

Again, I’ve gotten to a point where I felt they were “good enough” – because again – boardgame models, not centrepiece wargaming or display models.

D&D Castle Ravenloft Rat Swarms

Finally, the bases of Rats. Or Rat Swarms. Whatever. They’re actually fine for what they are. But let’s face it – how much can you bring yourself to care about something like this? Once again – boardgame models that are “good enough“. I’m hardly going to detail the faces on these little ones, after all.

Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolf Pack.

I picked up 15 of the new(ish) Space Wolves’ Fenrisian wolves off the eBay several months ago. I like the models, but I’m not fond of GW’s current pricing strategy for Australians. There are ways around it of course, and one of those I employ quite frequently these days is picking up a lot of secondhand figures from eBay. It’s also a good way to get metal models, rather than the overpriced Finecrap they’re peddling, though I’ll occasionally get those via eBay as well if the cast appears to be close enough to perfect. Not that this matters here of course, as we’re dealing with secondhand plastics. These ones were already assembled and sprayed when I got them. A little rough around the edges, so a bit of scraping got them in order, and a coat of Army Painter grey to start off my own basecoat. After some “research” time watching Nat Geo and Animal Planet docos, I’ve also seen how grey, black and white wolves seem to co-habitate the same packs, I went for grey wolves for the first batch with the following ones to be black and (probably) white. It also works to split the five unique body sculpts across 15 models, making each one slightly unique. After checking out some photos of them online I worked out how I was going to break down their colours.

Some blending for both the grey fur and the warmer brown tones on the faces. I was actually quite happy with the subtle blending on the grey fur, as well as the grey on the bodies to the browns on the paws at this point, though my WIP photo here is a bit crappy.

Coated with Pledge One Go/Future Floor Wax, for my first attempts at using ink washes, inspired by Chung/Wargamers Consortium’s video that can be found below.

**NOTE  – THIS IS NOT MY VIDEO. CHECK OUT THE WGC CHANNEL FOR GREAT TIPS AND ADVICE.**

Anyway, here they are – finished!

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

The Oil Wash was a good learning experience. I wasn’t completely happy with it, and had to do a little bit of re-blending over the top in places, but overall, the wolves came up well, especially as a quick project. I’m still a little bummed at my nice subtle fur blending being wiped out by the oils, and so it’s not a technique I’ll use for everything going forward, by any means. Still, it’s nice to have another technique that I’m comfortable enough to play with, and as I said, on cheapish eBay figures, it’s not the end of the world. I wonder how Oil Washes would behave on Bones models? Perhaps it would melt them? In the end I also opted to give them somewhat natural looking eyes, rather than (stereo) typical “evil red” eyes.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

I intend to use these wolves (and the other 10, plus all those older-school ones I still need to paint) across several systems. 40k, LotR SBG/WotR, Kings of War, even (maybe) DeadZone if I ever play it (replacing those awful Mawbeasts). I found these wolves to be pretty good, but not quite as nice as I’d hoped. The poses are great (though one did have an accident when Marouda carelessly snapped it off it’s base at the ankle requiring some pin vice surgery and more overpainting – I was well pleased with that) – so as nice and dynamic as they are, the poses are a bit fragile. The tails not being a separate piece, is a nice change from the older models, so they’re less likely to break than the previous wolves. What I’m not so keen on however is the fur on the side of their torsos and upper legs. Clearly a result of digital sculpting rather than more traditional methods, they’ve overlaid a “leaf” pattern of fur (more visible in my first and third photos) rather than sculpting the whole of the bodies in a more traditional manner, as they have for the manes.

Overall, though. I’m happy with the models and the way they turned out. I don’t think the Black Wolves will need an Oil Wash, so they’re just needing to sneak into the paint queue past the Ogres and Elves. The white ones need a bit more than that however. Once they’re all painted, I’ll do some nice shots of the entire pack. Look forward to that in 2014 sometime! Unless a KoW Ogre army has some kind of counts-as provision for packs of wild wolves… 😉