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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Immense WIP Update!

Welcome readers!

So, as the title states, this is an immense update. I've recently been motivated to get a lot of my Malifaux painting done as I've decided to attend a local tournament this Saturday. This will be my first Malifaux tournament ever and I want to make an impression with my models as they will have a Hobby award - which I assume is for painting - and I want a chance to get it. I decided to list all the models I'd need to have completed before this Saturday's tournament and came up with this:

All the grey glory

I decided that I can't get every model I use in game complete, as the summons between Leveticus and the Mechanical Rider will be overwhelming - that's an addition 7 models from what I own.

So I decided to have everything painted from what starts out on the table for two crews, Leveticus and the Viks, as they are my favorite crews so far. I changed a couple things in my lists in the prior week that I've play tested and came up with something I like so far. What I had was a half painted Leveticus, Hodgepodge Effigy, Freikorpsmann, 3 Waifs, Desolation Engine and the Mechanical rider.

I prioritized the models based on shared models between the two crews. The Hodgepodge was in both lists so I wanted him done first. Then I put the Freikorpsmann second in the list as when he got done my entire Vik crew would be painted. The rest would be done after based on assembly line and what I felt like doing, although I definitely wanted to save the Mechanical Rider for last as that was the model I was most excited to paint and the most intimidated by.

Hodgepodge Effigy

So seeing as this little guy is in both crews I decided to paint him up first. I based him with black then used Grey and White to zenithal highlight. I then used Vallejo Game Air (VGA) Electric Blue to spray over this, with the natural highlighting from the grey/white creating different tones to a sharp contrast to black. When you keep the deepest shades completely black it creates a lot of good contrast. I then sprayed the knife and pistol barrel with grey and white to create the NMM effect. I edge highlighted with Electric Blue and added a small amount of white for the brightest highlights. I then took Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Blue, which is a pretty dark blue, and shaded some parts that  wouldn't necessarily be total black, like the dip in the top of the hat or some parts of the pants.

Here I've added some neutral grey to the skin. I eventually added some light grey and white for highlights, intentionally not shading the grey to keep a light tone like an alien.

Here he is complete, I skipped a lot of steps without taking a photo but pics weren't my main concern. The pistol and arm/leg bands were painted black > GW Shadow Grey > GW Space Wolf Grey. The NMM was glazed with turquoise. The eyes were painted red > orange. The leather was painted using the guide from the Wood/Leather Vallejo paint set, which is (all VMC) Woodgrain/Orange Brown > Orange Brown > Dark Sand > Woodgrain Wash > Black lines and wash in deepest recesses. It's a pretty cool recipe and I've been using it a lot, as Brown is one of my weakest colors. This recipe has also allowed me to learn how to make any traditional paint into a successful wash as well (hint: use Vallejo Thinner and a touch of water for best results, approximately 4:1 Thinner to Paint).

I didn't paint the grass on the base but I don't really care to finish that before the tourney, some corners will need to be cut!


I started with a black base coat then did my traditional NMM spray of VGC Stone Grey > White with turquoise glazes in the recesses. This model didn't have too many places I wanted to spray, as I hate masking anything due to laziness and my track record with spraying folded cloth is hit or miss. I decided to do the rest of the model with traditional brush and see where it took me. I basecoated the clothing with GW Shadow Grey (don't remember the new name for it) and the leather with 3:1 VMC Woodgrain/Orange Brown (btw, OB is an awesome color!). This is essentially a breakdown of how I painted the Effigy's leather as well.

Here I highlighted the cloth with GW Shadow Grey mixed with GW Space Wolf Grey until it was pure SWG.

Here I highlighted the leather with VMC Orange Brown and VMC Dark Sand. Notice that it's super bright and can easily pass as a 90's era GW model now... talk about extreme highlights...

This step is where the magic happens. I made a wash with 4:1 Vallejo Thinner Medium and Woodgrain with a drop or two of water - don't add much as this disperses the pigments too much. This unifies the color and brings it back to that red brown color. These photos make it look lighter than it really is I think, but it's a darn cool color recipe that makes your browns rich and vibrant with a warm tone. When making a worn look you want to add some stippling and random patterns with your progression, which is evident with the Effigy's backpack and straps.

Just a few finishing touches like the base and half fingered gloves and he's done!

Viktoria Crew Complete!

Considering that my new year's resolution in 2014 was to have a completely painted crew this was long overdue, but better late than never! I'm pretty proud of these guys, and although list building in Malifaux is a bit more fluid I think I'll be sticking to this particular crew's build until I have more models painted. It's seemed to have worked well enough so far.

Hollow Waifs

So now I'm working on Leve's crew, and decided to assembly line the three waifs as they'll have similar paint progressions even if they have different colors for their dresses. I based all three with black (funny how I used to base only in black, then only in white, now I'm back to black!). I did a zenithal spray but instead of neutral grey I used VGA Sombre Grey and VGA Wolf Grey, just to give it a blue tint. I wanted their skin to look monochrome as they are empty husks of horcrux for Leve so I'm largely leaving their skin how it is. 

Once the basecoats are done I masked parts of the model with silly putty. I used Badger Minitaire Ghost Tints to spray a candy coat over the basecoat. This makes difficult colors like yellow a breeze, but the most useful reason to me is that it helps create really good contrast and shadows for these difficult colors. I've painted yellows easily enough before, but they don't quite capture the spotlight effect like this. Notice that these paints dry with a very glossy finish, which can be knocked down with washes but most effectively matte varnish. The finish helps with washes however as it creates less surface tension and allows the wash to move much more freely.

Here I heavily washed the yellow with GW Seraphim Sepia (which is vastly inferior to the previous GW Gryphonne Sepia... ugh I hate the new one) followed by a heavy wash of GW Cassandora Yellow, which is more like an orange really but light enough for yellows. With the zenithal/candy coat the washes do not compromise the black shades but tints and glazes the yellow, knocking back the cartoony brightness and overall grey look to the color. I also took GW Sunburst Yellow and did some highlights to the folds. With the frilly edges I painted VGC Heavy Brown highlighted with VMC Dark Sand.

I didn't do much after this besides finish the base and base the stocking/boots/hair black, I'm running out of time and figured this was well enough.

I really love how this turned out, man is it a creepy shade! Although it was minimal effort on my part and really I was just experimenting with this recipe it created a look that I've never seen with a yellow. I think it's very dynamic.

This waif I thought would be the easiest and it turned out to be the most disappointing. I used Minitaire Plasma Fluid on this one and it looks really bland, although I'm sure it will look better once I work on it more. One of the reasons why I hate masking is evident at the waist. The silly putty hung over the stomach more than I though and masked part of the dress I wanted blue. Luckily this is fixable and I've just painted it a different color, but I need to try using liquid mask for this type of stuff. 

Here I used the Minitaire Green tint. I have used this before and prefer to airbrush the usual way for this color as you have more control over the look. I plan on brushing on the highlights then knocking it back with some green wash. This is my least favorite sculpt of the three so I'm not too concerned.

None of these are complete, but I finished their bases and they look well enough for the tournament.

Desolation Engine

Over a black base coat I sprayed an olive green (can't remember the name from VMA) and added VMC for highlights. I should have went for one more highlight as it's really dark, at least too dark for what I prefer. The pictures make it slightly brighter than it looks with natural light I think. But a simple remedy can be done later with a few glazes of a highlight color to make that contrast pop. For now I'll settle for the ninja turtle look...

I also basecoated the metal bits with VMC Woodgrain (I'm loving that color...) and the bandages with GW Khemri brown and VMC Dark Sand highlights.

Here you can see more progression. I painted the gums and tongue with VMA Electric Blue, added in white for highlights, and heavily washed it with GW Leviathan Purple. I painted the teeth with Dark Sand and heavily washed the bandages with GW Devlan Mud - also known as Brown Crutch. I stippled on VMC Orange Brown (such a versatile color!) on the metal bits to start the rust effect.

Here's where he's at as of now and how he'll look this weekend. Although he isn't done he's tabletop ready and I can move on to the rest of the crew. I highlighted the bandages with Dark Sand again and white, then glazed over the white with Dark Sand to knock it back a bit. I finished the rust by stippling on GW Blazing Orange and finished the base. Eventually I'm going to highlight the skin and put some metal chips on the rust bits, but for now he's fine.

Originally I bought this model as a backup in case I ever got the legendary 4 Abominations to Voltron into this monstrosity. I never thought I'd be using stones to bring him in as he's super expensive. But I recently realized he'd be a good replacement for Rusty Alyce for the time being, ultimately until I get Ashes and Dust, a model I loathe using as everyone and their uncle uses him with Leveticus. Alyce hasn't been proving her worth lately, and with the upgrade to summon A-bombs pushing her into super expensive territory she has been even more disappointing. Sure, she has a good damage track for shooting, but there are plenty of other cheap shooters with comparable damage. Her main ability is preventing charges within 3", but I've only seen that work out once for me and I feel I need a sturdier anchor for the crew. Also, her summon needs a 10 or higher card to go off, cards that the rest of my crew are starved for. That same card can go to Leve who summons when he kills, which is much more efficient. Another thing, having another Henchman makes Leve and Hannah fight for the same resources.

The Engine has Hard to Wound and a plethora of abilities for one more SS than what I'm paying for Alyce and her upgrade. When he dies he pops out two Abominations, making him SS efficient. He heals and causes disruption at the end of his activation. He's pretty good on paper as opposed to Rusty, who I've always thought of replacing even before I used her. We'll see how it goes, hey it's always smart to make major changes without testing before a tournament, right? Just like getting a new hairstyle a week before your wedding...

Mechanical Rider

And now, my favorite piece of all..

So this one I've thought about for a long time. I didn't want to paint her horse silver, as it's been done to death and I also have Hannah, who is also a model predominately NMM silver. I wanted to do brass or gold, but have never done it through airbrush before, or of this scale either. The NMM Gold I've done so far using the set from Vallejo has a very good effect but is super yellow-gold, but I've always thought it's because they don't show you nearly as much contrast as it requires, giving you only Sepia Ink to provide contrast. I decided to tackle this by adding more black into the equation for shading and less white for the highlights, taking it down a step from the royal gold look I've done before.

So in this first pic I mostly did airbrushing. I basecoated black. I airbrushed VMC Heavy Brown, leaving plenty of black in the shading. Then I highlighted using VMC Heavy Goldbrown which adds in some yellow tones. I then added white to the mix, but this proved too yellow for my tastes so I knocked it back to the VMC Heavy Goldbrown, luckily it's only in a small area so it's not noticeable. I did no masking to achieve the gold highlights, it's all in the angle of how you spray really. That confidence only comes with experience and experimentation. I then masked the horse so I could airbrush the NMM Silver for the rider and did the usual Black > Stone Grey > White I always do.

Masking Hate Rant: I still didn't cover everything for the horse and some of it got on the gold... doh!

I also did the base. In case you were wondering how I did it, I usually take 4 or 5 shades of grey in both neutral and blue variety and put them on the palette. I then messily paint them on the sand and cork very fast and mix them on the base to create a random pattern. Make sure to get in the nooks and crannies as well as to vary between light and dark often. Honestly it's not a very good effect and by the end you wouldn't be able to tell, but it's a very subtle effect and I think it's better than only using one base color.

Now we're cooking with gas!

Here's my favorite and painstakingly crazy part! With a few simple lines you transform that airbrush mess of gold into a coherent and impressive look! At this point I've only added blacklining and edge highlights, but it makes a drastic difference. For the gold I used Sepia Ink to carefully paint the recesses in the armor. Then I used 1:1 Heavy Goldbrown/White to carefully edge highlight every raised edge. It took a few hours as this model has a lot of edges, not to mention difficult rounded ones that are close to other surfaces. Luckily I have a band aid technique that's no real secret to most. If I ever get paint where I don't want it I just paint over it with a tiny slash using the highlight color, or with black or brown for a deep slash and then highlight. If you use this sparingly and add more to other areas of the armor you can create battle scratches. This hides mistakes as well as adds more character to your little horsie. Those deep scratches were already molded on the model, so it only helps to add to the illusion. Be careful with these scratches and don't go overboard, I messed up in plenty of places but I don't think it's too noticeable. I also used it to help draw your eye away from problem areas, such as an overly thick line of highlight or two (I don't want to tell you where because you'll be looking for it!). This step takes a looooong time, but by far the coolest one.

I also painted the skin's basecoat using GW Tallarn Flesh, just to block in the color and help separate the plates. Please ignore the terrible sculpt job on her right elbow, I never claimed to be good at sculpting, which is why there are a lot of gaps visible on my models. I only use it in unavoidable situations or easy sculpts like fur or mutations.

Here's the other side

On the base I add a heavy wash of GW Nuln Oil, otherwise known as Black Crutch. If you want more variance then alternate areas with GW Agrax Earthshade/Devlan Mud, or even Blue Wash. I'm lazy, so I didn't do that here. I then drybrush GW Ushabti Bone over the whole thing then drybrush white at the edges of the cork. For a more subtle look you can use a neutral grey first then bone sporadically and white at the edges. It's going to look very grey at this point, which I usually break up with some greens using flock and grass tufts. I'm not the best at basing as it's my least favorite part of a model, and some people just go way overboard with it. 

I also was having a tough time deciding what the mane and tail was going to be colored. I was thinking of using my usual light blue/turquoise color Plasma Fluid as it was a color I was familiar with. But seeing as the original art used that color and a lot of other people used that same color I kind of wanted to do something different. I then looked at my multitudes of paints on the rack and saw VGC Foul Green, a color I bought over a year and a half ago simply because I thought it looked awesome. Having been looking for an excuse to use it for a long time now I've finally found it was perfect for this.

The color contrasts very well against the gold. I've only done a solid basecoat for now to see how it looks I plan on painting it like flames (as per its art) and think this can be very interesting. For now I'll leave it how it is for the tournament.

Finally, this is how she stands as of today. I painted the base ring with GW Gretchin Green to match the rest of my models and basecoated the chains and spear handle with 1:1 Black/Stone Grey. I also added edge highlights of white to the spear as I forgot to do that earlier. I based the cloak 1:1 Black/Stone Grey as well and the hair Black/Shadow Grey. Not pictured here, I've also painted the fur/hair on her knee pads and spear head brown and bone colored, but it's not a huge change from this picture overall.

So that's all the work I've done over the last 6 days, not too shabby at all as compared to my usual sluggish pace. Tournaments are a great motivator, even though there isn't a requirement in this case to be painted I held myself to that standard and am pretty proud with the results thus far. I've only got to add to Leveticus to make him tabletop ready and will probably work a bit more on the Waifs if time permits. The craziest part of this is that in the last week I've done more work than I have in the last year for Malifaux!

Let me know what you think, or if there are any recipes or tips you'd like to ask about.