Tuesday 30 November 2010

Return of the Republican Romans

So, having promised myself I'd do it "next" for the last three weeks, I'm finally going to write some commentary on what I did with the Romans that I posted pictures of.

The bases seem to get a lot of attention when anyone sees these models, so I'll start there. The bases were actually the first thing I did - I could try and claim that this was part of a grand master plan to build the units from the ground up or something, but actually I just wanted to get started on the army and the models I'd ordered hadn't arrived. Since I didn't have anything else I could do on them, I put more effort into the bases than usual.

The first thing I did was to build some texture onto the bases. I started with polyfilla - the ready mixed stuff is easiest to work with because you can keep sealing it up in between jobs without it drying out too much. I was trying to get a sort of stepped outcrop kind of feel, and to help mark the edges of the small steps in the polyfilla I added some small patches of gravel and sand.

On bases I've done before I've left the gravel as is, reasoning that gravel is made of rocks so must logically look like rocks... the problem with that though is that the colours won't blend very naturally, so this time I painted everything, filler, gravel and sand, in the same colours. I started with a thinned down black undercoat, and then drybrushed three progressively lighter sand shades onto the the bases to get a bright look to them.

Obviously having done the bases first I need to blend the painted models onto the bases - so I do this by hiding the join with more sand and then drybrushing over the top as before. To finish it all off I added some patches of foliage and flock to try to suggest dry scrubland - I'm aiming for a sort of "North Africa/Carthage/Southern Europe" sort of look... 
On the cavalry you can sort of see the larger steps that I did on some of the bases. These were very easy - it's just some foamcard stuck to the base and cut at an angle before I applied the polyfilla. The effect is quite good on models at this scale though, and sort of suggests that the army isn't just advancing over the traditional perfectly flat wargames battlefield.

So, onto the painting of the models themselves. The Xyston miniatures are very nice - the details are quite exagerrated, so I took advantage of that and picked out the majority of the detail with brown ink. Again, I started with a black undercoat so that I could drybrush the metal areas, then basecoated everything and applied the ink to pick out the details. This then showed up the best areas to start highlighting with another drybrush, and I did the same with the metal areas in a lighter metalic colour to get them to shine a bit more. The whole thing was then varnished in GW Purity Seal - I'm sometimes a bit nervous about using varnish as it can leave a cloudy finish, but I stuck religiously to only spraying the varnish on dry days and it seems to have worked out ok.

The other thing I'll just mention quickly about this army is the colour scheme - there are actually 4 legions in the army and I considered using different colours for each, but I decided I'd rather get the "implacable wall of Roman shields" effect and kept everything the same colour - the only difference was to make the helmet plumes black instead of red for my penal legion. 

Oh, and finally, on the subject of shields - another Republican Roman army at the club has transfers on the shields to give them all patterns. This does look very nice, but I decided to leave these off to keep everything looking uniform - I wanted to try some psychological warfare by having a wall of blue shields visible clearly from across the table and I think adding detail to the shields would have detracted from that. So, as they are, the only thing detracting from the effect is my tendency to move units around basically at random.

So that's it! Watch this space for an update on the Saxons once I've got some pictures taken of them...

Monday 29 November 2010

Excuses excuses

So, I didn't get as far as I wanted - I have eight models base coated, and the boat is assembled but not painted. And I'm not even at my pc now, so as I don't have any pictures on my phone I can't post any here.

Still, I did most of my christmas shopping today, which surely must count for something.

Definitely definitely going to do a proper post tomorrow. I really mean it this time! But it's utterly crucial that I go to the pub tonight instead...

Thursday 18 November 2010

My painting plans for the weekend

So I'm sat here in a hotel room in Los Angeles, with about 20 minutes until I need to head into the office, and of course I'm thinking "the best way to spend that time in a foreign metropolis thousands of miles away from home is to sit at my laptop and make another blog post, even though I don't have access to any photos that I could use to talk about something I've done, and can only fill space by talking about my plans". And here is that blog post.

This weekend I want to really set things in motion with the Saxons. I got some bases for them, and I've pretty much figured out how the boat is going to go together, so I want to aim to have the boat and the first 5 or so warriors ready by the time I go back to work next week.

To do that I'll need to do a little research into how I'm going to paint them, so I'll have a look around the intertubes and see what information I can find about colours etc.

Also speaking of colours, I think I'm going to colour code the bases so that it's easier to see which unit is which in the Triples game - I still need to find out what the rules are going to be for that though (and even if things will be organised into units!). I'll also try to decide how I want to do the bases. I'm sort of thinking I should go for a "muddy field" kind of look, but I might have a go at making some sort of beach effect. Maybe even a mix of the two would work, but I normally like all the bases in the same army to have a similar style to tie them all together.

Other things on the workbench at the moment that will almost certainly distract me are my Deathstrike Launcher and Penal Legion for 40k. Having said that I've yet to decide how to do the Penal Legion - I'm using Necromunda gangers for that but I'm really not sure what kind of colour scheme to go for.

Once I'm back in the UK there should be more photos, and that's not all! I'm going to finally put up some discussion of how I painted my Romans, which I sort of planned to write about here, before I decided I needed photos to show what I was talking about.

Well, that filled some of my 20 minutes, even if I didn't say anything useful with it. If you've just read this, more fool you I suppose, but at least I'm promising to put up something a bit more interesting in a few days...

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Republican Romans

Here's some gratuitous pictures of models I've already painted, to make it look like I've put more effort into this blog than I really have...

Saxons - First Pictures

So, two things have happened - first, I've finally done something with the Saxons, having put eight of them together. Second, I've taken some pictures, so here we go...

Here they are heroically defending a coffee table. One thing I've discovered is that because of the tiny bases on the bodies, any sort of dynamic pose causes these models to fall over, hence they're all lying down here. I'll be getting some bases for these soon enough, but so I can paint them in the meantime I'll probably stick them together in strips, which I'd normally do with smaller scale models. Hopefully that'll make painting these a little quicker, which would be handy given I don't have too long to get them done, and I'm going to get distracted with lots of other things in the meantime.

I haven't had anything from Wargames Factory before, these look pretty nice. There's a fair amount of detail to them, but what I like most is there's a great variety on the sprues. There are plenty of weapon options on there, and enough heads that I'll hardly need to do any repeats in making every model from the box. Since the idea for Triples is that the Saxons have been caught off guard by invading Vikings, I like the idea that they aren't organised and have just grabbed whatever weapons were near at hand.

Hopefully I'll get some paint on them soon...