Bol’Goreth from Descent 2E

Of all the expansions in Descent Second Edition, the Trollfens was the one I was most excited to crack open. Not only did the expansion contain the Plague Worms, which are one of my favorite monster sculpts (hopefully soon to be painted), but the featured Lieutenant is the hulking troll brute named Bol’Goreth. I was impressed with most aspects of his sculpt, although there were a couple problem areas which I will discuss shortly. But overall… well just look at this guy!

 

BolGoreth
Character art for Bol’Goreth

Cobbled together from the shields of his vanquished foes, Bol’Goreth’s armor was a great opportunity to work on various non-metallic metal effects. His dirty loincloth was well sculpted and dynamic. Although a majority of the figure is bare skin, which can sometimes lead to a boring and tedious palette, his unusual coloration and well defined muscles made the task much more enjoyable.

But, as I already stated, there were a couple snags. First of all, there were several molding defects in the various ropes that hold the shields down. Some of the strands just withered away to nothing and others were just completely absent (most notably, the strand that connects his shoulder piece to the kite shield on the left breast). I did my best with some Aves Apoxie Sculpt, thickening the weak strands and adding a couple in places I felt made sense.

Secondly, a mildly nit-picky complaint, perhaps, but there was mud sculpted on his feet. While this makes sense thematically, the detail was not particularly inspired. It could be mistaken for a hairy hobbit foot or just very poor molding. Again, I did what I could with the paint, but this is one area that continues to draw my eyes critically.

The last problem area is also the worst. One of the interesting features of Bol’Goreth is his  very unusual flail made from the decapitated head of a statue. This plays into his special action, Rampage, making for a truly fearsome ability, as shown below:

I loved pulling this off in-game, imagining this beast charging towards the group of heroes with his chains swinging wildly. Unfortunately, those same chains must have been difficult to mold, making a terrible eyesore when viewed from the back. What should be empty space between the links is instead solid, flat plastic. While I understand the practical necessity for such a limitation, it really does diminish the overall sculpt, in my opinion. Regardless, I did what I could in minimizing the impact of that area.

Well, judge for yourselves how I did…

 

 

I really think I did a decent job of selling the non-metallic metal, especially on the kite shield and the shoulder piece. But I did not want all the shields to be simple hunks of metal. In order to break up the monotony, I decided to paint some designs on two of the shields which are also easter-eggs of sorts. The yellow and blue shield over his belly is a simplified version of the emblem for the Daqan Lords, the heroic human faction of Terrinoth (the world shared between Fantasy Flight’s BattleLore, RuneWars, RuneAge and Descent games). Also, the blood-fly design on his left elbow acts not only as a logical family sigil one might expect to see in the marshlands, but it is also a simplified version of the expansion icon used to identify components of the Trollfens box. Both references can be seen below:

Lastly, I tackled the base. As with my previously posted Lieutenants, I tried to make the base appropriately themed for the character. In this case, my goal was to create a wet, swampy look. I’m pretty satisfied with the look of the ground and the translucent effect of the pond water, but recognize that the plants probably come off as somewhat cartoonish.

Bol'Goreth Base
Swamp base

Still, overall I am quite satisfied with the finished model. I’m pleased with the non-metallic metal work, and feel that I have succeeded in doing justice to one of my favorite characters from the game thus far. Stay tuned for more Descent miniatures shortly, including one that I consider to be my best work to date. As always, please leave comments and criticisms.

 

Skin: 

The skin was based in a 3:1 mix of Vallejo Nocturna (VN) Cold Flesh (74.014) and VN Pale Flesh (74.015). Shading was added with pure Cold Flesh, and the deepest shadows mixed in a small amount of VN Frozen Flesh (74.010). The highlights were built up using the original mix with progressively more Pale Flesh, eventually reaching pure Pale Flesh. Selected areas received a final point highlight of Pale Flesh mixed with a small amount of Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Ivory (70.918).

Teeth and Claws:

The claws in VMC Green Brown (70.879). Striations were added with a mix of Green Brown and VMC Buff (70.976), with a second layer of striations with pure Buff. The points of the claws were picked out with Buff mixed with a small amount of VMC Ivory (70.918). The teeth were done by the same process, only skipping the pure Green Brown base.

Gums and Tongue:

Although a very small area, the gums and tongue were an area of concern, as I feared to make them too pink or attract too much attention. I avoided this by simply mixing the pink color, Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Rosy Flesh (72.100), with a splash of the VN Cold Flesh. This dulled the pink and helped tie the color into the other skin tones.

Loincloth:

The base color was a 1:1 mix of VMC Leather Brown (70.871) and VMC Khaki (70.988). Shading was accomplished with a mix containing more Leather Brown. Highlights were built up progressively with increasing amounts of Khaki to the original mix, eventually reaching pure Khaki. Some small point highlights were added with a mix of Khaki and a small amount of VMC Buff (70.976).

Ropes and Skulls: The base color for the ropes connecting the shields and fetishes was VMC Green Brown (70.879). This was mixed progressively with VMC Iraqui Sand (70.819) to build up some layers, eventually ending with pure Iraqui Sand for point highlights.

The skulls were painted in the same way as my HeroQuest Skeletons, first basing in VMC Khaki (70.988), adding progressive amounts of VGC Bonewhite (72.034), with final point highlights of Bonewhite mixed with a small amount of VMC Ivory (70.918).

Wood: The plank of wood on his right shin was painted following the step-by-step included in Vallejo’s “Wood and Leather” paint set. Base coat was applied with VMC Flat Earth (70.983). Two washes were applied, first with VMC Smoke (70.939), and secondly with Smoke mixed with VMC Black (70.950). Grain lines were added with a mix of Flat Earth and VMC Dark Sand (70.847). The wash with Smoke was reapplied, and final touch-ups were done with some mixes of the same colors in areas I felt were too dark/too light.

Marble Statue Head: Base coat was a mix of VMC Green Grey (70.971) and VMC Green Brown (70.879) in an approximate ratio of 4:1. A shade was applied to the lower 1/3 of the head using the base color with a dash of VGC Black (72.051). This was blended into a smooth transition with the base color. Highlights were added to the upper raised portions of the shaded area with the base color, and then to the raised portions of the base color with the addition of some VMC Ivory (70.918). Finally, some pure Ivory was added to select areas of the upper surfaces.

 

 

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Mummies from Classic HeroQuest

I thought painting skeletons was bad…

In HeroQuest, the mummies represent the strongest of the undead monsters. These slow, shambling enemies hit harder and take more damage than the Skeletons and Zombies. Only the Chaos Warriors and the Gargoyle are more fearsome! In addition to having better stats, those monsters have something even more important that the mummy lacks…

COLOR!

Mummy
The card for the Mummy

The one saving grace with the mummies was that the core game and Return of the Witch Lord expansion only require a total of six of these monotone monsters. Now, a mummy may appear rather simple at first glance. Base coat it white, do a brown or black wash, call it a day, right? Well, that’s just not good enough for my taste. Instead, I spent far too long blending layers of off-white bandages.

While I think the effort paid off, it was much more difficult than I expected to achieve matching levels of contrast and brightness between the six different models. This actually became something of a blessing in disguise, as I like to have some variation between the individual figures (as seen with the goblins’ shirts, the skeletons’ scythes, and the fimirs’ gems). I decided to use the inconsistent levels of contrast as part of that variation, along with differences in skin tone. I reasoned that mummies with lighter, brighter bandages would have died more recently, so their skin should be more pale and undead in appearance. Thus, the “youngest” mummies have bluish-green skin, as shown below:

 

 

 

The middle-aged mummies have the same skin tones, but their bandages have begun to age. Although the pictures may not show the difference all that well due to white balance, there is darker shading and a more brownish tone to these figures, as opposed to the slightly yellowed appearance of the previous group.

 

 

Finally, the oldest, meanest mummies have a more realistically colored skin tone. I have read that the skin of real-life mummies takes on a deep brown sheen, similar to that of polished wood. In addition, the wrappings of this group have been stained by decades of putrified seepage, resulting in a cruddy, discolored look.

 

 

The color variation is more accurately demonstrated in the group picture below:

I prefer the brown skin tone to the bluish-green skin, although I think the wraps of the middle-aged mummies have the most attractive level of contrast. Overall, I am mostly satisfied with how these baddies turned out, but I am really looking forward to moving on to some more interesting subjects. The next focus for HeroQuest is going to be one small set of orcs (there are a whopping 16 orc figures), followed by the zombies, and then back for some more orcs.

 

Bandages:

The different levels of contrast all used the same colors, simply starting and stopping at different levels of brightness.

The darkest wraps started with an approximate 4:1 mix of Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Chocolate Brown (70.872) and VMC Buff (70.976), creating the darkest lines between the bandages. Individual bandages were then picked out with increasing amounts of Buff, and blended up to highlights of pure Buff.

The brightest bandages started with a 2:1 mix of Chocolate Brown and Buff, jumping straight to pure Buff. Highlights were added with the incremental addition of VMC Ivory (70.918), with spot highlights of pure Ivory.

The medium bandages fell between the other two, being based with a 3:1 mix of Chocolate Brown and Buff, and ending with highlights of Buff mixed with Ivory (never reaching pure Ivory).

Blue Skin:

Base coated with a 1:1 mix of Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Steel Grey (72.102) and VGC Dead Flesh (72.035). The medium tone was a 1:2 mix of Steel Grey and Dead Flesh, highlighted with the addition of VGC Wolf Grey, and finally some point highlights with a little VGC Dead White (72.001).

“Mummy Brown” Skin:

Base coated with VMC Mahogany Brown (70.846), then layered with the incremental addition of VGC Plague Brown (72.039). Highlights added with the addition of a little VMC Dead White (72.001).

 

HeroQuest Box Art

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Zombicide Black Plague – Component Storage Project: Part One

Although it may not be apparent to those who have visited my home, I have a bit of a fascination with creating storage solutions which are attractive, compact, and above all functional. My philosophy mirrors that of George Costanza’s; “Important things go in a case. You got a skull for your brain, a plastic sleeve for your comb, and a wallet for your money.” I feel certain that fantasy miniature board gaming would have made his list if it had been as popular in 1998 as it is now.

That being said, I have finally taken the first step in improving the storage of one of my group’s favorite games. This will be a three-stage undertaking with the ultimate goal of greatly reducing the number of boxes required for storage, while at the same time keeping all necessary components grouped and within easy reach. And I do mean all components.

With the imminent release of Zombicide Green Horde (the second season of the Black Plague medieval setting, which was recently Kickstart[ed] by Cool Mini or Not Games), the number of miniatures and cards will more than double. Luckily, many of the other components (such as tokens and figure bases) will merely be duplicated rather than increased. So the current plan is this: Stage One – Cards, dice, tokens, and figure bases; Stage Two – Tiles; Stage Three – Plastic terrain and miniatures.

Now, without further ado, my solution for Stage One…

We start with a simple, partitioned drawer. Like the rest of the box, the drawer is made out of solid black walnut, solid white maple, and some maple plywood. The maple ended up having some amazing striped figuring, which was not obvious until planed and sanded. This gives a beautiful reflective quality, much like that see on old-fashioned hologram trading cards. The mitered corners are reinforced with walnut splines, which also add a bit of additional flair.

Drawer Overview
Component drawer with walnut wedges for the figure bases.
Drawer Side
The sides of the drawer, displaying the maple’s figuring and the walnut splines.

The left section will hold two layers of twenty-four dice, for a total of forty-eight dice. While this is surely overkill, there are a surprising amount of special dice available for this game, so they add up quickly. The center section can potentially hold ninety-two standard sized figure bases, although I have reserved the fourth possible row for large sized figure bases and spawn tokens. The smaller figure bases are held in place by the three walnut wedges, which act somewhat like wheel-chocks to keep the round bases from rolling around. The right side holds all of the currently necessary tokens. From top to bottom: door tokens, dragon bile/flame tokens, vault door tokens, first player/rotten/crown tokens, objective tokens, rubble tokens, and noise tokens.

Drawer Organized
The drawer neatly holds all of the currently necessary dice, tokens, and figure bases, with a good bit of room to spare for future expansions.

The drawer fits very nicely into the lower part of the storage box proper, as seen in this photo.

Drawer in Place
The drawer sliding into place on the front of the box.

The second layer of the box also has three sections. The left and right sides are sized to accommodate the two decks of sleeved, smaller cards: the enemy spawn deck on the left, and the various equipment decks on the right. I intend to add some tabbed organizers to aid in storage, so that special enemies, starting equipment cards, and vault weapon cards can be easily grouped for storage. I also intend to develop some cardboard spacers to help keep the decks upright, which I can trim down as more cards are acquired. Currently, the box should hold about 4 times the number of cards released with Black Plague, so I’m hoping this will be plenty of room for future expansions. The middle section holds the survivor ID cards as well as the colored plastic pegs for the survivor dash boards. (For those not familiar with Black Plague, each survivor has a plastic dashboard which organizes their equipment, ID card, and experience/health/skill counters. The colored figure bases snap onto the survivor miniatures, and match the plastic pegs which are used for tracking health and skills on the dash board. A very nifty design by Cool Mini or Not Games.)

Cards In Box
The enemy spawn cards, survivor ID cards, plastic pegs, and equipment cards stored in the upper section of the box.

The inside of the box lid contains the same three compartments, allowing it to double as a convenient spot to place discards while playing the game.

Discards In Top
The discard sections built into the underside of the lid.

The lid slides snugly over the extended maple sides of the box, keeping it secure during storage. But the most satisfying part of the lid is not functional, but purely decorative. In order to add some visual interest to the box, as well as to easily identify it once it is surrounded by as yet unbuilt storage boxes for my other games, the top is crowned by the distinctive “torch” design that separates the medieval Zombicide games from their modern cousins. The torch was cut by hand with a scroll saw using some leftover scraps of walnut.

Lid Detail
The Zombicide Black Plague “torch” design, clearly identifying the contents of this box!

While there are certainly some flaws in the craftsmanship, I am still very proud of the final piece. I think I have succeeded in producing a beautiful item that will also make setup and storage of this game much easier in the future.

Box Overview
The finished Zombicide Black Plague (and expansions) component storage box.

The next step in this project will see the creation of a storage box for the 30 cm square tiles. Stay tuned for more!

Zombicide Logo

Shadow Dragons from Descent 2E

Finally, another large monster from the core game is complete!

I had very mixed feelings on approaching the Shadow Dragons. On one hand, they are large miniatures which get an awful lot of use in the game, and have a really nice pose that fits their threatening nature. On the other hand, there are some really large gaps around the shoulders and right leg, a really bad mold line along the ribs on each side, and overall there just isn’t much detail – I have heard some other painters refer to the Shadow Dragons as “a blank canvas”. Whether that is meant as a compliment or a criticism depends on your point of view, I suppose.

I began work on the minis by using some Elmer’s PVA glue to fill in the aforementioned gaps. I simply put some glue on the palette, brushed some into the gap, let it dry, and repeated until I felt the gaps were suitably corrected. A rather simple method, and much less messy than trying to use putty (although it is wise to use an old brush).

Like most Descent monsters, there was limited reference art for the dragons, but at least there was a full body shot to work from. The color palette of the dragon appears to be a greyish-purple, as shown below.

ShadowDragon

I decided to attempt this tone, and I feel I was rather successful. I struggled a bit with the base design, as I wanted to incorporate the “Dark” monster trait as well as the greenish cloud depicted in the art. I’m not really sure what the green is supposed to be: possibly the “Shadow” ability, or given the green color of the mouth, possibly the “Fire Breath” ability of the master. Regardless, I ended up with the base design as shown. Kind of makes it look like a space dragon, I guess, but oh well. It’s dark and has some green, what more do you want from me???

While I was very happy with the purple coloration, I felt that it would be a little boring to simply repeat the process on the Minion. I also like to try to change things up a little between the Master and Minion monsters, but being “a blank canvas” the only real option here was to change the main color. To that end, I substituted a very dark blue for the purple. The goal for both miniatures was to evoke a sleek, dark appearance similar to that of a panther, in which the muscles glisten a bit while the color itself is most apparent in the shadows.

And the two of them together:

Dragon Pair
A really bad day for the heroes!!!

Unfortunately, I must say that I actually prefer the look of the Minion to that of the Master, but I am happy with both of them for what they are. Let me know what you think.

 

Skin

Base color was a mix of ~40% Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Black Grey (70.862), 40% Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Bonewhite (72.034), and 20% VMC Blue Violet (70.811). Shade was created adding slightly more Black Grey and Blue Violet, while highlights were made adding more Bonewhite incrementally.

The bluish dragon used a similar technique, starting with 30% VMC Black Grey, 30% VMC Dark Sea Blue (70.898), 30% VGC Bonewhite, and 10% VGC Imperial Blue (72.020). Highlights with progressive additions of Bonewhite.

Spikes and Claws:

Based in VMC Black Grey, highlighted with VMC Basalt Grey (70.869).

Tongue and Eyes:

Initially painted white with VMC White (70.951). Based in VMC Flat Green (70.968) mixed 50:50 with VMC Flat Yellow (70.953). Shaded with straight Flat Green, highlighted with incremental additions of Flat Yellow.

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Queen Ariad from Descent 2E

Queen Ariad has to be the most unattractive miniature I have painted thus far! The figure represents one of the Lieutenants from Fantasy Flight Games’s Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition. She appears as a “leveled-up” version of the Ariad Lieutenant, both of which appear as villains in the Labyrinth of Ruin expansion to the core game.

The main problem with this character is the rather gaudy and ambiguous color palette displayed in the limited reference art that is available. Like most Descent characters, there is only one image of Queen Ariad in the expansion materials. Fortunately, a recent expansion for the Runebound board game also featured Queen Ariad, giving one more reference picture. The lighting for the two pictures seem to be in almost polar opposite ranges, making it unclear how much of her coloration is natural or due to the dramatic lighting. The apparent blue-green body, red legs, and near-white claws creates a rather unpleasant color range, making the bulbous character resemble a rather patriotic tomato rather than an intimidating end-boss.

LoR Cover
Queen Ariad as she appeared on the cover of the Labyrinth of Ruin expansion for Descent 2nd Edition.
Queenariad
A picture of Queen Ariad from a recent Runebound Expansion

I also felt that the sculpt was rather chunky in many respects, especially around the undersides of some of Queen Ariad’s claws. While the upper surfaces have a nicely sculpted “scaled” appearance, reminiscent of a pine cone, the lower surfaces often fade into rather blurry lumps with edges that are jagged and misshapen. In addition, the ridged areas of the lower legs were often disrupted due to poorly placed and rather prominent mold separations. While these were somewhat correctable, the character is already something of an amorphous blob, lacking in interesting details, so the corruption of the few areas that HAD details was a let-down.

Regardless, I did my best to do justice to the sculpt and reference art. I’m especially happy with the red “crab leg” areas, as I have always heard that red was a difficult color to highlight. I also feel that the nonmetallic gold “crown belt” and “starburst” came out well (Both of these items were incorporated in regular Ariad’s costume, so I guess the implication was that Queen Ariad “sprouted” right out of Ariad’s original body?) Although I feel my final body color came out slightly more saturated than I would have wanted, I feel that the overall appearance is a respectable effort for a rather difficult subject. But you be the judge!

 

 

 

Body:

Base coated with an approximate 1:1:1 mix of Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Foul Green (72.025), VGC Dead Flesh (72.035), and Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Ivory (70.918). Began creating highlights by rebasing the upper surfaces of the body with the base color mixed with slightly more ivory.  The two sections were then blended together by highlighting the lower portion with the upper mix, and highlighting the upper portion with even more ivory, reaching an approximate 1:1:2 mix of the original colors. This was similar to how many painters wet blend, only done gradually.

Claws:

The claws were base coated with the final highlight color from the body stage, an approximate 1:1:2 mix of Foul Green, Dead Flesh, and Ivory. Additional layers were added with more ivory, eventually reaching pure ivory for the final highlights.

Legs, Eyes, and “Stinger”:

All of the red parts were base coated with a 1:3 mix of VMC Hull Red (70.985) and VMC Vermillion (70.909), serving as the darkest shade. This was layered up to pure Vermillion for the midsections. Highlights were placed with progressive additions of VMC Flat Yellow (70.953). (The edges of the chest region were wet blended with the “red” base and the “body” base)

Gold:

Base coated with VGC Heavy Brown (72.153), layered with VGC Heavy Goldbrown (72.151), highlighted with mixes of Heavy Goldbrown and VGC Dead White (72.001).

Ground:

The ground through which the figure is “erupting” was painted with a base coat of VMC Desert Yellow (70.977). This was then shaded with Citadel Agrax Earthshade. Highlights of the original Desert Yellow were added around the cracks and raised portions, with final highlights of Desert Yellow mixed with VMC Dark Sand (70.847).

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Fimirs from Classic HeroQuest

After painting the large groups of Gobins and Skeletons for HeroQuest (twelve minis for each group), I decided I needed a little more immediate gratification. So for my third group, I decided to paint the Fimirs, which only require six minis to cover all expansions. The Fimir race was created by Games Workshop specifically for the Warhammer universe, and appears in HeroQuest due to some crossover between the two games. It was not a particularly popular monster, however, and never extended into other fantasy properties, such as Dungeons and Dragons.

Apparently, Warhammer lore established that Fimir are cyclopean lizard-men who live in swamps and routinely kidnap and rape human women. While I am not in support of swamp racists in general, I find it oddly endearing that Games Workshop went to the trouble of creating a backstory for the whole species which is at the same time rather specific and glaringly uninspired.

Fimir Card
The monster card for the fimir.

For those unfamiliar with the game, the Fimir is the brute of the green-skins, having the highest attack, defend, and health values. Accordingly, they are relatively large miniatures with nicely exaggerated muscles perfect for highlighting. They have minimal clothing and armor, and what they do have appears to be gold in the pictures.

 

As with previous HeroQuest miniatures, I tried to continue working on my nonmetallic metal skills. Overall, I think they turned out rather nicely, despite some rather difficult areas of the molds. The belly “plates” and shoulder “discs” were not very round and tended to have misshapen details which distorted where the highlights should go. Even so, I still prefer the resulting appearance to true metallics. I have seen several versions of this character painted very well, but these poorly sculpted areas tend to catch light oddly and really make true metallics look out of scale.

The area that I feel needs the biggest improvement in my minis is the wood. I need to get better! If anyone has a good tutorial or step-by-step they can recommend it would be greatly appreciated.

 

In order to introduce a little variety to the models, I decided to follow the example of several other painters, and attempt to make the central areas of the armor look like gemstones rather than flat pieces of metal. I think the effect came off decently, especially from a little bit of distance.

The red stones really worked well, picking up the red of the eyes. The purple stone was not quite as effective, in my opinion, but it is actually my wife’s favorite so I chose not to repaint it in a different color.

 

After slogging away at those larger sets of miniatures, it feels very good to have gotten through another monster group as quickly as I did. After finishing up some more Descent monsters, I will get back to HeroQuest with the mummies, which I hope will go even more quickly than the Fimirs. I may throw in some furniture as I go along if I feel the need to break up the monotony. Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.

 

But here is the whole group of Fimirs. Let me know what you think.

Fimir Group
The Fimir Mob

Skin:

Base coated with Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Golden Olive (70.857), shaded with mixes of Golden Olive and Vallejo Panzer Aces (VPA) Splinter Strips (70.348), then highilighted in stages with the addition of Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Dead Flesh (72.035).

Leather:

Base coated with VMC Woodgrain (70.828) mixed 2:1 with VMC Orange Brown (70.981), progressively layered with more Orange Brown, and then highlighted with the addition of some VMC Dark Sand (70.847).

Gold:

Base coated with VGC Heavy Brown (72.153), layered with VGC Heavy Goldbrown (72.151), highlighted with mixes of Heavy Goldbrown and VGC Dead White (72.001).

Wood:

Base coated with VMC Flat Earth (70.983). Stripes were added with VMC Woodgrain, and VMC Japanese Uniform (70.923). Glazed with VMC Smoke (70.939).

 

HeroQuest Box Art

Elementals from Descent 2E

Boy, are these guys intimidating miniatures to paint!  One of the primary problems is the complete, and utter lack of reference images.  The monster card (shown below) is the ONLY image available, and obviously it shows next to nothing useful.

So, as the card states, there are four elements associated with the creatures: fire, earth, water, and air.  Having looked high and low for reference art, I noticed that there is much variation in how these elements are divided and portrayed by other painters.  That is a result of the second major issue with the figures, which is some confusing sculpting.  It can be very unclear what the different parts of the figure are meant to represent, especially the back of the torso.  I chose to interpret this as earth, mainly because I felt the lower arms, chest, and abdomen were clearly rocky texture.  The back appears much more ambiguous, possibly being flowing water or fire.  Looking at the way the elements are listed on the card, however, I felt it made more sense to transition more clearly from element to the next following the specified order.

As I discussed in regards to the Cave Spiders, each monster group in Descent has minion and master stats.  Normally, I would try to incorporate red into the color scheme for the master, but unfortunately fire is… well red.  So I chose to go a slightly different direction, making the master appear “hotter” by concentrating on more yellow and LESS red than the minion.  Hopefully that, along with the red rim for the base will make it clear who is boss here!

As for the base, I waffled several times on what to do.  Out of all the monsters in the core game, expansions, and Hero and Monster packs, the Elemental is one of only three monsters with the cold attribute.  I felt that I needed to reference that in the base, but was conflicted because I thought some fire on the base would work much better in balancing the color distribution on the mini.  I considered doing fire on ice, but that just didn’t sound pleasing.  So I settled for attempting an ice floe.  Not 100% satisfied with the result, but I think it evokes ice well enough and also appears distinct enough from the water element to work out well.  Overall, I’m very satisfied with this paint job, but look forward to moving on to something less eclectic.

 

Water:

Based in Anita’s Acrylic (AA) Nautical Blue (11122), shaded with 50:50 mix of Nautical Blue and AA Azure (11179).  Highlights with AA Slate Blue (12006), then 50:50 mix of Slate Blue and Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Dead White (72.001), final point highlights with Dead White.

Air:

Based in Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Neutral Grey (70.992).  Highlighted with VMC Sky Grey (70.989), then 50:50 mix of Sky Grey and Dead White, final point highlights with Dead White.

Earth:

Based in VMC German Camo Black Brown (70.822), first highlight with 50:50 German Camo Black Brown and VMC Neutral Grey (70.992).  Second highlight with previous mix lightened with some VMC Sky Grey (70.989).

Fire:

Based in VGC Dead White (72.001), layered first with VMC Flat Yellow (70.953) then mixes of Flat Yellow and VGC Hot Orange (72.009) working up to straight Hot Orange.  Larger flames got a point highlight of VGC Bloody Red (72.010) topped off with small accents of VMC Smoke (70.939).  (The “Hotter” master monster was done in the same way, but using more of the lighter colors and omitting the Bloody Red completely.)

Ice Base:

Base coated the entire base in VGC Steel Grey (72.102).  Used a total of five layers mixing in VGC Glacier Blue (72.095) and VMC White (70.951).  Each layer was done with overlaid crosshatching, often alternating directions of the hatches in different layers.

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