Sharks are scary. Sharknados are scarier. Walking sharks with tentacle arms that have mouths and claws on the end are even scarier. All a merriod lacks to be truly terrifying is frickin’ laser beams attached to its head.
This monster poses a serious threat to the heroes of Descent. They roll a relatively powerful set of attack dice, have a respectable defense, are able to attack from two spaces away with Reach, and have the ability to Immobilize heroes (Descent revolves around action economy, so any limitation can be very problematic). To top it all off, the Master’s Flail ability allows a single attack to target two heroes at once. These guys are not to be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, the miniatures representing these nightmares have a few problems. Right out of the box, there are some pretty nasty gaps where the legs, arms, and tentacles attach to the huge lump that is the main body. I did my best filling and blending these gaps, but inevitably they are still somewhat visible. Much like the Shadow Dragons (Shadow Dragons from Descent 2E), the sculpts were primarily large open spaces with little to no detail. This makes sense, since sharks are little more than sausages with teeth, but it makes for somewhat boring painting. Lastly, my minion had a mess of glue running from its right tentacle down the cheek and onto the belly (leftovers from the factory assembly of the multi-part casts). I cleaned it up as best I could, but it’s still visible.
As usual, I wanted to make the minion and master appear markedly different. I chose to paint the master according to the reference art, and to model the minion after a real life shark. In order to bring some visual interest to an otherwise dull color palette, I decided to incorporate the distinctive stripes of a juvenile tiger shark. In the end, the minion proved a bit more difficult than the master, as the blending of monochromatic gray tones was a bit unforgiving. I decided to leave some of the contrasting values a bit starker than normal in an effort to give a wet sheen to the skin.
For the master, I loosely followed the character art. I used some blue tones that were a bit more vivid, again mimicking the coloration of the real life mako shark. I decided not to attempt the translucent barbing along the tentacles, but I did paint the eyes a bright, glowing yellow, which contrasted nicely with the blues of the skin and the flesh colors of the mouth. While the black, dead eyes of the minion successfully emulate the disturbingly expressionless eyes of real sharks, the blank glow of the master’s eyes look pretty creepy in their own right.
Being “land sharks” as well as being one of the few monsters in Descent possessing the “Water” trait, it was obvious that the bases needed to represent the Merriod’s amphibious nature. I reversed the portions of the base that contained the water in order to create more contrast in the overall presentation. The blue water works well under the bland, gray body of the minion, but the earth tones of the beach help the master’s blue to form pop.
So, that’s one more monster group from the core set complete. Slowly, but surely, the set is coming together. While these two miniatures may appear uncomplicated, it was satisfyingly challenging to blend realism and fantasy while balancing visual interest and monochromatic color palettes. Despite these shortcomings, I think I still managed to pull off some interesting miniatures. But let me know what you think by leaving a comment.
Base coated with VMA USAF Medium Gray (71.275). Minimal areas of shading were added with the addition of some VMA Ocean Gray (71.273). Highlighting of the upturned surfaces was kept relatively subtle by adding very small amounts of Dead White to the USAF Medium Gray in two to three layers. The stripes along the back were done with USAF Medium Gray mixed with a very small amount of Ocean Gray.
Base coated with Vallejo Surface Primer USN L. Ghost Grey (70.615). Layers were added with the incremental addition of Vallejo Model Air (VMA) USAF Light Gray (71.276) followed by the addition of Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Dead White (72.001).
The base coat of the skin was an approximately 1:1 mix of VMC Prussian Blue (70.965) and VMC Grey Blue (70.943). Layers were built up with progressive additions of Grey Blue, pure Grey Blue, and then progressive additions of VGC Electric Blue (72.095). Pure Electric Blue was used for point highlights.
This area was based in a 1:1 mix of VMC Grey Blue and VGC Electric Blue. Layers of pure Electric Blue, followed with the incremental addition of VGC Dead White (72.001). Finally, point highlights were added with pure Dead White.
The inside of the mouths was basd with VGC Rosy Flesh (72.100). Some shade was added around the “throats” with a mix of Rosy Flesh and VMA USAF Medium Gray. Highlights were created with the incremental addition of VGC Pale Flesh (72.003), with point highlights with pure Pale Flesh. The teeth were picked out with pure VGC Dead White (72.001).
A base coat of VMC Black Grey (70.862) was applied, followed by highlights of VMC Neutral Grey (70.992) to the claws and a point highlight of VGC Dead White (72.001) to the eyes.
Base coated with a 2:1 mix of VMC Flat Earth (70.983) and VMC Iraqui Sand (70.819). Several layers of stippling were added with the addition of more Flat Earth, followed by the addition of some VGC Ger. Fieldgrey WWII (70.830)
The areas of vegetation were base coated with Vallejo Panzer Aces Splinter Strips (348). Next, a layer of pure VMC Golden Olive (70.857) was roughly stippled, leaving a border of the darker color around the edges. A final stippling of a 1:1 mix of Golden Olive and VMC Flat Yellow (70.953) was applied to smaller areas as a highlight.
The water on these bases was done in a manner similar to that of Verminous’s base. The base coat was actually the lighter tones, with a mix of approximately 3:1 VGC Dead White (72.001) and VGC Steel Grey (72.102). Layers were added with incremental additions of Steel Grey, followed by pure Steel Grey, and finally Steel Grey mixed with a small amount of VMC Dark Sea Blue (70.898). By working lightest to darkest, I was able to work away from the coastline, which helped to protect the earth that I had already painted. Final thin highlights of nearly pure Dead White were added along the leading edges of the ripples.