Tuesday 19 January 2016

Zombicide: Black Plague - Fatties

A more productive January than I thought it would be, so here come the Fatties!

They're not all in perfect focus, but I'm sure you get the gist :) One of the figures, poor grey chap in the middle row, suffered from me varnishing him in low temperatures this morning before adding blood for the photos yet the others weren't affected.

Alas, my magnifying lens and light on an extendable arm fell apart this morning so I need to fix it or source a replacement in order for me to pick out tiny details. It was instrumental in finding teeth, stitching and eyes on these figures.

Colours blocked in, lots of shading and washes, purple shading on the skin as they didn't look ill enough, then couple of details picked out with highlights (ropes, eyes, teeth, ropes etc.) and much blood applied - so these are quick and dirty paintjobs, literally! I want to keep them grimy in contrast to the upcoming hero figures who'll be a little brighter. The flowers are there because ... who doesn't love flowers?

I'll start on the Runners next with the goal of having those completed in February.

Thursday 14 January 2016

2015 Painting Review, 2016 Planning

Picking up old, dusty hobbies takes some practice and last year was tricky to re-engergise my interest in painting. To help get back into the swing, I took up the AmmoBunker's One Miniature A Month Challenge (OMAM for short) and it's exactly how it sounds - The goal is to generate regular output over the course of a year. This was perfect for me slipping back into the hobby, and provided the spur I needed to call a project finished instead of letting it sit on the work-in-progress shelf at 99%.

Summary of the calendar year output as follows ...
  • January - Captain Victoria Haley (Warmachine)
  • February - Space Hulk: Objective Marker (Space Hulk)
  • March - 2 Cthulhu turn markers, 3 Gretchin (Warhammer 40,000)
  • April - 3 Probe Droids (Imperial Assault), 17 Gretchin (Warhammer 40,000)
  • May - 22 Genestealers (Space Hulk)
  • June - Kraken (Guild Ball)
  • July - 2 Abominations (Zombicide) 2 Scenery pieces (Zombicide), Pash Grolin & Kay Dee (Colony 87), Salt & Kraken (Guild Ball)
  • August - Lord & Lady Greiss (Colony 87)
  • September - Barcoon Karbosh (Colony 87)
  • October - Alexei The Wanderer (Colony 87)
  • November - Siren & Greyscales (Guild Ball)
  • December - Infernal Golem (Titan Forge)
The surges coincide with rank and file tabletop quality in April & May, then paternity leave in July, with a tail off in the second half of the year as juggling three kids and crazy work hours began to extract a toll. That's a total of 65 completed figures in the calendar year, which is nothing short of miraculous for me.

While these won't be winning painting competitions any time soon, it wasn't the point - I've managed to convert unpainted figures into painted ones, relearned a few techniques and discovered new ones to be terrible at. All in all, a most satisfactory year.

The goals for this year, so far, are:
  • Finish something every month. This worked really well during 2015, so I'm keen to continue this approach to generate quality output on a regular basis.
  • Put a significant dent into the figures used in our weekly tabletop gaming sessions. First on the list is the Zombicide: Black Plague as that will see a good 200-300 figures once everything from the Kickstarter arrives, and that's a bananas number of figures to have sitting in a box for a game that's played almost every week. There are other games sat there in need of the same treatment, but we'll start here.
  • Manage my purchases more carefully. No need to overcomplicate things with unnecessary rules (one in, ten out may be applicable!) but it needs to be pretty special to be bought, as my nerd cupboard is bulging with great pieces bought last year that I haven't painted yet.
  • Completing half-finished projects. Starting with my Guild Ball teams for Fishermen & Engineers, who will be wrapped up so we have tabletop-worthy figures to play with.
So here's to another year of painting and more power to my elbow.

Sunday 10 January 2016

Zombicide: Black Plague - painting begins

I've started into the Zombicide: Black Plague figures this week. Nothing finished yet, but here's the first WIP of tabletop level paintjobs.

If you haven't played Zombicide yet, it's a co-operative boardgame where it's you versus the board in various missions with relentless waves of zombies joining the battle each round, and you have to find the balance between completion the missions and re-killing the undead. Marvellous fun, 2-3 hours for longer games and a real hoot - glad I backed this version, and there'll be quite a few additions over the coming months. Pressure is on for getting the rank and file back on the table, as we've been playing this quite a bit since mid-December arrival so they need to be ready quicksharp for the next round of games incoming.

These represent the Runners (14 of 'em), Fatties (another 14), an Abomination and a Necromancer from the base box. The Walkers will follow later, as there's 30-40 of those buggers and even I'm not daft enough to take on that many figures simultaneously - a lesson learned from my Gretchin mob last year! When gaming, weight of numbers on the table becomes a problem and it's hard to distinguish who's what - so I'll be painting the base edges red for Fatties, and orange for Runners. Everything else should be evident enough not to require it.

I'm batch painting the Fatties and going for reasonably boring colours, so mid-range blues, reds, greys and greens. By working on a small group it means I can move reasonably quickly while adding a little variety in where the colours are used. There's more coming in a few months, so I'll repeat the trick with slightly different colours, but the hordes will be dull but legion. The bases have a little texture added using some Vallejo Sandy Paste - my experience of it so far? It's like a resin-based version of Polyfilla.

Shading down on the first fellow. Detail and highlights next, and possibly even followed by proper pictures! Few of the details are crisply modelled but not obvious to my eye on the first pass, so shadows before highlights gives me a chance of spotting them and painting them correctly. There won't be gore added to the zombies until the very last stage as they'll all be matt varnished on completion and I don't want that beautiful glossy blood effect dampening. It will also be my shameless opportunity to cover up any glaring errors with blood and calling it "characterful", in the same way I call my awful cooking "rustic" ;)