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.

dj01_feature_art

Advertisements

Skeletons from Classic HeroQuest

Boy oh boy, am I glad to be done with these guys.  I really enjoyed painting the first skeleton, but after painting bone after bone after bone…  There’s just not that much variety in skeletons, and I had to really push to get through all of these.

Skeleton

With most groups of minis, you can add variety by mixing up weapons, shirt colors, skin color, or hair color.  But for skeletons, there wasn’t much I could think of changing.  I had considered adding some gold teeth or glowing eyes, but those effects just didn’t look right in the end.  So I settled for slightly different wood colors for the handles of the scythes and adding some rust to some blades as well.

There were also some real bad seam lines along the one side of the ribs which I was able to mask decently with some well applied paint.  Overall, I’m pleased with how they turned out.  It just took a lot longer than I would have liked.

First, the darker handle…

Next, the lighter handle…

Now for the rusty blade…

And finally, the group shot of all twelve members of the Undead Skeleton Army.

Bones:

Based in Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Khaki, (70.988), layered with Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Bonewhite (72.034), and highlighted with 50:50 Bonewhite and VMC Ivory (70.918)

Scythe Handles:

Dark – Based with VMC Flat Earth (70.983), washed with Daler-Rowney FW Sepia Ink to darken and deepen the brown tone, highlighted very small areas with VMC Leather Brown (70.871) mixed with a touch of VMC Khaki.

Light – Based with VMC Flat Earth, shaded small areas with 50:50 mix of VMC Flat Earth and VMC Leather Brown, highlighted very small areas with VMC Flat Earth mixed with a touch of VMC Khaki.

Blades:  

Nonmetallic metal technique with a base of VGC Cold Grey (72.050), darkened with VMC Luftwaffe Uniform (70.816), lightened with VGC Dead White (72.001).

Rust added with a wash and layers of VMC Mahogany Brown (70.846), lightened with VGC Plague Brown (72.039), and highlighted with Plague Brown mixed with a touch of VMC Khaki.

 

HeroQuest Box Art

Valyndra from Descent 2E

In addition to groups of monsters, such as the Cave Spiders, each Descent Second Edition boxed expansion features one or more boss monsters that are often encountered in the campaign’s finale.  Unfortunately, the expansions only feature these villains as cardboard tokens. Completionists, like myself, are easy targets to Fantasy Flight Games’s marketing strategy in releasing separate Lieutenant packs featuring plastic miniatures for the bosses.  Since we will finish the Shadow Rune campaign in the very near future, I decided to paint the dragon Valyndra, the Lieutenant from the next expansion, Lair of the Wyrm.

Overall, I was somewhat disappointed with both the character design and miniature for Valyndra.  She appears to be a red dragon, but due to the stylish object source lighting on the only available character art, it is impossible to tell what, if any, color scheme was intended.

pic1406139

Many fellow painters have attempted to reproduce this intense orange and yellow appearance, but in my opinion, the result always appears flat and washed-out.  I chose to paint Valyndra as a simple red dragon.  The sculpt was very difficult in areas, however.  The scale pattern doesn’t make much sense, as scales appear to overlap in random patterns rather than any orderly fashion.  There are also several areas, such as the tail, where there is no scale pattern sculpted at all.  Some of the skulls on the base have some serious mold offset problems as well.  Be that as it may, I think I still managed to pull off a pretty nice interpretation of this monstrous beast.

For the base, I tried my hand at some lava.  Not completely satisfied with the result, but it gives the right impression.

valyndra-leftvalyndra-rightvalyndra-tailvalyndra-top

valyndra-front
Only a mother could love this face…

Scales:  Based the whole body in Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Hull Red (70.985), painted each scale with VMC Cavalry Brown (70.982), then highlighted certain scales in Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Bloody Red (72.010).  Further highlights to the tips of certain scales with VGC Hot Orange (72.009), and final point highlights with 50/50 VGC Pale Flesh (72.003) and Bloody Red.

Wings, Spines, Horns, and Claws:  Based in 50/50 mix of VMC Green Brown (70.879) and VGC Bonewhite (72.034).  For the wings, I washed with diluted Daler-Rowney FW Sepia Ink.  Shading for all parts with VMC Chocolate Brown (70.872), highlights with pure VGC Bonewhite and 50/50 mix of VGC Bonewhite and VMC Ivory (70.918).

Lava:  Based in VMC Black Grey (70.862).  A layer of VGC Gory Red (72.011) was applied with a large brush in a sweeping pattern, followed by a second layer applied selectively to accentuate the wavy areas of the first layer.  Each wave was then strengthened with layers of VGC Bloody Red.  The middle of the waves were highlighted with VGC (Hot Orange) followed by VGC Sun Yellow (72.006).  Intersections of waves were further highlighted with VGC Moon Yellow (72.005) and then point highlighted with 50/50 VGC Moon Yellow and VMC White (70.951).

dj01_feature_art

Cave Spiders from Descent 2E

The first group I chose to paint-up from Descent was the Cave Spiders.  These little buggers are from the core set for the game and are relatively easy to deal with.

cave_spider_1_recto
Cave Spider Deployment Card

In Descent, the number of monsters deployed in each group changes in scale with the number of hero players.  In addition, there are two classes of monster within each group: minions and masters.  Minions are weaker and moulded in white plastic, while masters are stronger (often possessing abilities unique from the minions) and moulded in red plastic.  In order to differentiate the master monsters from the minion monsters, most painters work red into the paint scheme for the master in addition to adding other identifying markings.  Using several references found on Google (including this one:  https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1496722/descent-journeys-dark-second-edition), I settled on a paint scheme for the minions as seen below.

I spent a good bit of time trying to decide on a fancy design for the bases.  There are lots of monsters available for Descent, so whatever I chose to do with the Cave Spider bases would back me into a corner with the other monsters down the road.  Each monster in Descent has two traits which limit the Overlord’s options in deployment.  I had toyed with the idea of having each base reflect those two traits; in the case of the Cave Spiders these would be “Cave” and “Wilderness.”  I did a quick paint-up aimed at mimicking art from the game tiles, but decided against it.  The spiders covered up too much of the art and the images looked grossly out of scale as well.

Failed Spider Base

So I settled on a simple cobblestoned base for the spiders.  I still may do some grassy, watery, fiery, or brick bases down the road, hopefully without looking too out of place.

Again, using inspiration from other painters, I chose to distinguish the master Cave Spider with a red marking on its back similar to the one on the card art.  The card art doesn’t clearly show the whole design, and many of the lines are so thin that they would be difficult to paint well over the “hairy” sculpted detail, so I created my own design.  I also painted some slight differences to the base, including a red rim and spider webs (fitting, as the master has the unique ability “Web”, which requires adjacent heroes to suffer one fatigue when exiting their space).

And finally, the finished group of Descent 2nd Edition Cave Spiders!

Cave Spider Group
Cave Spiders Everywhere

Bodies:

Base coated with Vallejo Model Color(VMC) Black Grey (70.862) lightened sequentially with VMC Basalt Grey (70.869), VMC Neutral Grey (70.992), and VMC Sky Grey (70.989).

Eyes:

Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Electric Blue (72.023)

Mouths:

VGC Cadmium Skin (72.099)

Red Markings:

Based in VMC Flat Red (70.957), highlighted with mixes of Flat Red and VGC Cadmium Skin (72.099)

dj01_feature_art

Doombringer from Battlelore 2E

I was very excited to start working on the Doombringer as soon as I saw the sculpt.  What isn’t to like?  Spiky legs!  Spiky back!  Big mandibles!  Lots of pointy teeth!  Uninspired color scheme!  Wait… what?  Yeah, I didn’t particularly like the stock color scheme, as pictured below:

ss_2f6b0fe1a2caf26765ff858af69a97f1555be859.600x338
Doombringer artwork

The primary color for the Uthuk army is red, and I just wasn’t seeing enough red there.  On top of that, boney plates on a beetle just didn’t ring true for me, so I decided to pursue my own color palette.

In addition, I decided to try my hand at more interesting bases.  I had considered trying to do distinct groundscapes for the different armies (desert for Uthuk, graveyard for the undead, and grasslands for the Daqan).  However, sand/beige is a secondary color for the Uthuk, which might overdo the yellow range.  I also wanted to keep the bases as unconfusing as possible.  If the Banshee’s base looks like a graveyard, then it might cause a player to think she is on a graveyard tile if they don’t look closely enough.  So, long story short, I chose to paint all factions with the same grassland look of the board.  This is the final look I went with for the base:

IF
Grassland base approximating the look of the game board

So, without further ado, I present my take on the Doombringer:

 

And the final look on the board:

IF
On the board!

Abdomen:

Based in mix of Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Gorey Red (72.011) and Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Black Grey (70.862), gradually worked in VGC Bloody Red (72.010), VGC Hot Orange (72.009), and finally VGC Sun Yellow (72.006) for the lightest areas.

Thorax, Head, Legs, and Spines:

Based in VMC Hull Red (70.985), shaded with VMC Black Grey (70.862), and brightened with VMC Cavalry Brown (70.982).  Point highlights with VMC Basalt Grey (70.869).

Belly:

Based with a mix of VMC Green Brown (70.879) and VMC Iraqui Sand (70.819), built up with more Iraqui Sand until highlighted with pure Iraqui Sand.

Goblins from Classic HeroQuest

Two years ago my friend introduced me to HeroQuest.  This was my first foray into tabletop fantasy gaming (sad to say), but I was bitten by the bug instantly.  I was lucky to find a 100% complete box myself for only $50, and have since completed the miniature collection for the Kellar’s Keep, Return of the Witch Lord, Against the Ogre Horde, and Wizards of Morcar expansions.

Goblin Card
The monster card for the goblins

First up on the painting table were the goblins, 12 in all including the Kellar’s Keep set.  I love these minis.  The cartoon-like evil smile, the oversized head and limbs… these little guys are so reminiscent of the 80’s fantasy art that I grew up with and loved (Like the Rankin Bass version of the Hobbit, and Paul Bonner).  With so many of the same figure, I wanted to liven things up with a little variation, so I chose to paint the wielders of different weapons with different colored shirts:

Yellow shirts for the hatchet holders:

Red for the short-sword stabbers:

Blue for the scimitar slashers:

This was also my first attempts at non-metallic metals.  I have always felt that true metallic metals give an out-of-scale look to miniatures, and much prefer being able to place highlights more purposefully than the reflections created by real metallics.  I think the effect came off quite nicely for a first try.

And so, after several months of trial and error, I finished my fully painted goblin army:

IF
Goblin Army

Next up for HeroQuest will be the skeletons!

 

Goblin Skin:

Started with Anita’s Acrylic (AA) Foliage (11153), Shaded with VMC Camo Olive Green (70.894), Highlights with Apple Barrel Leaf Green (20528) and point highlights with AA Green Apple (11074)

Boots and Belts:

VMC Flat Earth (70.983), Shaded with VMC Leather Brown (70.871), Highlighted with AA Coffee (11044)

Yellow Shirts:

AA Coffee (11044), Shaded with VMC Flat Earth (70.983), Highlights with AA Antique Gold (11033) and point highlights with layers of AA Golden Yellow (11013)

Red Shirts:

VMC Cavalry Brown (70.982), highlighted with VMC Scarlet (70.817), point highlights with AA Mandarin (12008)

Blue Shirts:

VMC Steel Grey (72.102) highlighted with VMC Wolf Grey (72.047) then glazed with AA Ultra Blue (11149)

Metallics:

Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Cold Grey (72.050),  Shaded/Highlighted with VGC Black (72.051) and VGC Dead White (72.001)

 

HeroQuest Box Art

IG-88 from Imperial Assault

There are a couple of aspects of IG-88’s miniature that really bugged me.  First of all, I felt that the mold lines were particularly difficult to remove, as is often the case with cylindrical or round shapes.  The step-offs between one cylinder and the next largest or smallest never seems to run level all the way around the arm, leg, or head.  This gives an obviously defective spot, most noticeable on IG-88’s left arm, and around the large hole on the right side of his ‘mouth’ area.

Still, I think I pulled him off rather well.  I was trying to avoid using metallic paints, as I have always felt that the reflections created by true-metallics appear out of scale for the size of a miniature, and prefer to be able to place highlights where I want them rather than where the true-metallic decides to reflect.

Anyway, here are my results (Paint Colors listed below):

 

 

Metal Areas:

Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Cold Grey (72.050) mixed approx 5:1 with VGC Night Blue (72.019);  Shaded/Highlighted with VGC Black (72.051) and VGC Dead White (72.001)

Gun:

Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Black Grey (70.862); Highlighted with VMC Basalt Grey (70.869) and VMC Neutral Grey (70.992)

Straps and Pads:

VMC Leather Brown (70.871); Highlighted with VMC Flat Earth (70.983)

Eyes:     VGC Hot Orange (72.009)

Brownish Wires:    VMC Hull Red (70.985)