I mentioned last time, that I had commission work coming in that would cause the personal projects to get set aside for a while.  Well, here’s an update on what’s going on!

The main commission I was talking about is a pair of 75-pt Retribution lists with about 20 pts of overlap.  The inspiration for the paint scheme comes from Hampster Cage Studio’s midnight inspired and LED lit Hyperion, and (I think) the client’s Alma Mater, UFL.  This gave us a nice bit of contrast in a dominant set of complementary colors:  blue and orange.

The main scheme should use blue for armor and orange for cloth, and then invert that for anything with the Dawnguard label.  Including Imperatus.  Of course, Retribution has loads of glowy bits, so the obvious solution is to use the opposite color as the glowy bits.  So, there’s a lot of play between the complementary colors, and since the blue will be very dark and the orange rather bright, there’s also some contrast in value.

Inspiration for the primary armor color.

Inspiration for the primary armor color.

I chose a House Shyeel Artificer and Dawnguard Scyir as the test models for a few reasons.  One, they’re metal so if it all went to shit, I could just throw them in the soup and not worry about it.  Two, they each showcase the scheme in different ways.  The Artificer has lots of armor and cloth, but isn’t a Dawnguard model, so would show blue with orange.  The Scyir would show orange with blue.  Since they had opposite colors for armor, they’d also let me work out the proper recipes for orange and blue glowy bits.

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After getting back from the NOVA Open, I needed to work on something different than Warmachine and Hordes.  Different sculptors and model manufacturers have different aesthetics and that means they offer different painting experiences.  I needed a change of pace, so I dug out my Tau and started working on one of the new(er) XV-8 Crisis Battlesuits.  They redesigned these not long ago, and they are spectacular.  There’s detail all over, they go together really nicely, and offer quite a bit more pose-ability than the older models (which are about 15 years old):

Some of my first models, back from April of 2004.

Some of my first models, from back in April of 2004.

The Scheme

I wanted to do an urban theme this go around, as a way to practice weathering and to work on more interesting and complex basing.  The urban environment dictated a mostly grey color palette, so I got out a set of four colors and my airbrushes and started playing around.  For all of the “white” and “black” on the model, I’m using the following Vallejo colors:  Black, German Grey, London Grey and White.  Often, while working off the wet palette, I’ll mix the three intermediaries, giving me roughly seven shades from pure black to pure white.

I started with the legs, which had large areas of armor and joints/structure.  This offered a nice place to play with both black and white, and make them interesting.  I used the airbrush to do the bulk of the work and show me where highlights and shadows should go and then enhanced the extremes with brushwork.  After some edge highlighting, I was pretty happy with the factory fresh look I’d achieved.  This is the requisite first step before weathering.

Mmmmm, lookin' fine!

Mmmmm, lookin’ fine!

Once I’d ironed out the style and method I liked, I proceeded to screw it up on the torso.  Instead of using my tight beam Sotar for the final highlight of white, I used my Patriot 105 which had a larger, fire hose sized needle equipped.  It made grainy transitions and forced me to re-spray the white with the Sotar.  This made it too bright, and the white edge highlighting barely shows up.  Phooey.

Good airbrushing, bad edge highlights

Re-worked airbrushing, invisible edge highlights

As you can see above, I built an urban base.  Because broken asphalt + road markings + rusty pipes = urban, right?  That’s all you need!  The asphalt is just thick cork, and the pipe’s a plastic tube.  The rest is flock, paint and weathering pigments.  There’s a more detailed tutorial coming on how I do this kind of base, later.  It’s not difficult, but like weathering, it’s an annoying number of layers and lots of waiting for things to dry.

After getting through nearly all the edge highlighting, I really wanted to add a pop of color, so I threw down some green on the Tau icons and backpack.  These were all done by hand, using several layers and mixtures of the P3 greens. The small bits of color really pop off the more monotone armor.

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The last pic shows the back of the model, and lack of highlights on the jet pack exhaust.  Like the glow effects from the green bits, I want to wait until after I do the weathering, since those glow effects would sit on top of the weathering effects.  Additionally, I haven’t picked out any of the typical “off color” armor panels that most Tau paint schemes are known for.  Since those will be a pain to do by airbrush (especially now, with the model completely glued together), they’ll likely have to be done by hand.  Getting the highlighting and shading on those to line up and fit with the existing armor will be oodles of fun.

All of that in Part 2, whenever that happens.  For the immediate future, this guy’s going in the display cabinet.  Next up on my paint table are some commissions!

 

Muse On Minis was vending at the NOVA Open this year, and they had some fancy pants tokens they were pretty proud of.  They offered to give me a set if I wrote a review of them on the site. Overall, I was pretty impressed, but I do have some suggestions / criticisms which you can find in the pro/con lists at the bottom.

Last Wednesday at my LGS, I set out to blight the good blight equipped with a fancy new set of “Dragonspawn” Tokens, a spiffy magnetic spray template and some AOE mats for my Ravagore Scathers.  Local buddy and PG Chris decided to try and show me the error of my blighted ways, and threw down with his Biel Tan Eldar Retribution.  He happened to have some of the new MK3 Muse tokens, too, as well as a set of magnetic objectives for us to mostly ignore.  To make sure this review is as saturated with Muse stuff as possible, we borrowed some rectangular zones from the Advanced Maneuvers crew (who were filming one table over) which were custom made for them by none other than…  you guessed it… Muse on Minis!

Models, check. Tokens, check. War Room, check. Wait, where's my Diet Coke?

Models, check. Tokens, check. War Room, check. Wait, where’s my Diet Coke?

Have I name dropped enough yet?  Yes?  Cool, let’s get on with the pew pew noises and pictures of pretty, pretty tokens by models.

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Oh boy, what a con.

NOVA Logo

I look forward to the NOVA every year. The staff are all excellent, the location’s just 10 minutes from my house, and the painted models in the display cabinets are gorgeous. What more could I ask for? How about awesome hobby seminars all four days from Justin McCoy (Founder, Secret Weapon Miniatures) and Roman Lappat & Raffaele Pica (Massive Voodoo). Let’s also not forget Jessica Rich, who paints for nearly every mini manufacturer out there (like Reaper and Dark Sword, to name a few). I took six (6) classes this year, with at least one from each of the four teachers.

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I’m back painting again after a too-long hiatus thanks to Overwatch. Most nights, I’m painting for a few hours, then playing for a few, when friends are online.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Trevor Christensen, from the Chain Attack podcast. His commission painter, Ashton Holbrook (aka. Red Modeling & Painting), was no longer taking commissions (for a very good reason) and Ashton had referred Trevor to me as a possible replacement. Trevor needed his Karax unit painted before he heads to Amsterdam for the WTC next month, so I got to work as soon as I could. Trevor asked for something quick and simple, so he’d be sure to have them on time. I’ve always wanted to paint these models (I love cool looking shields) so I gave them an extra special treatment and went all-out.

I’m not going to go into the process and recipes used here – it’s predominately 2-brush blending with a little glazing. The recipes are Ashton’s and truth be told, I enjoyed mostly being a mechanic following the directions as written rather than having to actively figure everything out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that part too, but this was rather refreshing.

Trevor sent along an Extoller Advocate to use as a test model, along with a few models Ashton had painted for color and quality reference. Since this was the first time I was painting someone else’s color scheme to match previously done models, this was incredibly helpful. I’ll probably ask for that sort of thing next time I have to match an existing scheme for a project.

Trevor seems pretty happy with the results, and I’ll be showing these guys at the Nova Open next weekend before shipping them to Trevor. I’m not sure how well they’ll do in the painting competition where every brush stroke is examined – corners were cut for time and I didn’t worry about getting every blend perfect, but they’re firmly an above tabletop quality job on a 10-man unit done in about 12-15 hours, and I’m eager to get feedback on them. I’m confident that an army painted to this level would be in contention ofr a Master Craftsman award, and I’m very happy I was able to do that as quickly as I did.

Enjoy the pics, and stay tuned for more models in this scheme in the future!

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