It’s storytime. Grab your blanket and a snack, it’s a long one.
My local buddies got hyped on Infinity recently, and I dove onto the hype train head-first.
Less recently, I was given the Military Order starter box for Panoceania years ago as a birthday present. It was partly a way for a friend to invite me into a game he really enjoyed, and partly his wanting to challenge me as a painter. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift that got put on a shelf for far too long, largely because I was too scared of the smaller, more detailed miniatures. (Turns out, they’re ridiculously fun to paint.)
When we decided to start learning the rules and playing semi-regularly late last year, I went whole-hog into the terrain. I immediately had a concept in mind for the table I wanted to build – I was (OK, still am) high on The Martian and all things space and Science-Fiction, and wanted to do a research station on an alien planet that had some military presence – maybe the research was Top Secret, maybe there are hostile aliens… Either way, I envisioned a desolate red planet (heavily inspired by Mars), with rock formations, high-tech science station buildings, and some accompanying military buildings and support systems (like a landing zone, construction equipment, radar antennae, etc).
As we were all surveying the available terrain options, I fell in love with Warsenal’s pieces. Warsenal is one of the premiere MDF terrain studios for Infinity terrain, boasting an official license from Corvus Belli – their terrain is in the pictures in the game’s rulebook. Warsenal’s Cosmica line is perfect for the science part of the expedition, and their Comanche pieces would contrast those nicely and function perfectly as the military outpost portion. Just like my wife and shoes, I seem to have expensive taste. Luckily, I planned on doing my rock formations out of dense pink foam, and I could save some money there.
I didn’t want this terrain to be slap-dash or done quickly. I wanted it to look good, and I wanted to spend my time on it and really make it look nice. The terrain pieces themselves are practically sculptures, and Infinity is a very cinematic game, so I felt like I could really let myself run wild on the terrain and go overboard – and that would be OK.
However, since this was my first encounter with masking and airbrushing MDF terrain, I started with the simplest and cheapest bits I had, some Comanche Mantlets. These are designed to go on walkways and other exposed areas to provide cover. They’re six parts each, and about $5 for the pair – perfect starter pieces.
I had the pleasure of delivering this army to its owner last weekend. It was a long haul, and many things were learned, and in the end, it’s quite the sight to behold.
Items of note:
- Helynna’s flourescent pink mowhawk
- Imperatus’ action pose
- 24 friggin’ Sentinels
- Sylys Wyshnyllyr (painted in about two days)
Click for bigger pictures.
Adding high contrast lines to the weapon blades really helps them stand out, and helps broadcast the unique design of Retribution weapons. The Imperial Blue tint really shuts down the initial black-to-white contrast, and it would be too subtle to be seen unless you were examining a model individually. I was originally worried the lines would be too much, but seeing it across a whole army – I think it works nicely.
I really enjoyed not having to build bases, only paint them. There’s a whole discussion to be had about the benefits and costs of DIY versus resin bases, but from a time-savings stand point, being able to generate 30+ finished bases in two or three evenings is fantastic. I’d finished the models, and needed to base them, and before I realized it, they were done – and they look great.
Yes, I photographed them on my Khadoran Trenchworks terrain set. Because this is my blog, and it’s all about me.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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!