Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Eyes Have It

As I was oohing and ahhing over the latest post at Lead Legion, an interesting thought occurred to me: more and more, it seems that, outside of a basic flesh wash, people are not bothering with painting in the eyes at all on their 28mm figures.

Now, any smaller scale and it's obvious why one wouldn't bother with eyes. But I've always painted eyes in on my 28mm figures whenever possible, particularly as the scale has crept larger and larger over the years and sculptors have gone out of their way to sculpt "eyeballs" as it were. It's challenging and really easy to screw up (and just as easy to fix and try again, really), but a figure just doesn't feel done to me until something's done around the eyes.

Note that this doesn't mean I'm painting little white dots on every eyeball in a 30-man unit. For mass ranks, I'll settle for a bit of dark wash and maybe a splash of black paint. Nor am I advocating painting elaborate eye effects - just a hint of a glance or a look is what I go for. What strikes me about this latest trend, though, is that, as in the Escher models in the page linked above, no extra paint has been applied to "pretty up" the eye area. Just flesh-colored eyeballs ala an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

Also please note that I'm not taking Lead Legion to task, here. For one thing, he might be painting to the client's specifications. But even if that's just his style, I'm not judging it. It's just a curious trend I've noticed I've noticed among many miniatures painters, professional and otherwise, and I'm wondering if it has a source or if it's just one of those things.

This might be the first post in a series of my observations as a 20-plus-year veteran about changing standards in miniatures painting. We'll see how self-indulgent I'm feeling in the coming weeks...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ave Imperator!

About 10 years ago I ordered up a bunch of gladiators from Wargames Foundry with the aim of using them in a gladiator-centric RPG campaign. That project ended up aborting on the launchpad, and the figures went into a box and were more or less forgotten about.

Last year, while rooting through that dusty box, I rediscovered my gladiator collection and decided that they had toiled in obscurity long enough - it was time to get them out and slap some paint on! These were a lot of fun to paint, especially for all the skin tone work they required. Getting a good flesh effect is a standard I'm always aspiring to, so these were a fun challenge. In fact, I wasn't totally happy with how they'd turned out until I laid my hands on some Coat d'arms chestnut ink wash, which is an exact match for late, lamented Citadel shade of the same name. The bases aren't totally done, but it's close enough for vibrans ac volvens, as it were.

I made sure to get a nice mix; in addition to the usual suspects, we've got dwarfs and women and...a guy wearing a bull's head.

Ideally, I'll have a chance to put them to use in the service of a campaign of TWG's Red Sand, Blue Sky rules. If and when I do, I'll certainly blog about it here.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Fresh NSFW Amazons and Some Ghosties and Ghoulies

At some point last year I decided to add a few more units to our Armies of Arcana forces. I intend the army points values to stay the same (3000 points, for those of you keeping track at home), but I figure by having an excess of 3000 points' worth of figures, we can have a bit of fun building our forces before each battle so that it's not the same old units bashing away at each other each time and there will be an element of surprise when the opponent's force is revealed.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who play like this all the time, but for some reason I've never really done this in the past with my fantasy wargaming, always bumping up the total points value to correspond to available figures as they're acquired. So I'm looking forward to this change of pace once we start playing AoA semi-regularly again.

At any rate, here are the units I ordered and painted up for the Amazons: a unit of hoplite cavalry (Wargames Foundry) and a unit of Dionysian berserkers (Shadow Forge).

And here are the additions to the Undead forces: some rather outsized wraith-types from Black Tree Design, who I'll be fielding as normal Reapers to go along with my Great Reaper, and a ghoul escort for my troll-riding Necromancer (from the excellent Mantic range).

If there's one problem with the Mantic ghouls, it's that their flailing limbs don't rank up super easily.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Fresh Jocks

At last, I've got some finished figures to share from my 28mm World War II project. This is an infantry squad, a PIAT team, a light mortar team, and the platoon command squad, all members of the 5th Black Watch, 51st Highland Division. I'll be shifting gears and painting up a selection of 21st Panzer Division Germans, and then I hope to get in a game of Operation Squad, hopefully by Memorial Day.

At any rate, on with the eye candy. Figures are a mix of Warlord metal and plastic, Artizan, Crusader, and Black Tree Design (with some West Wind heads thrown in for good measure!).

The whole group.

The Bren section; I'll probably be replacing that Bren gunner with a model I like better from Black Tree Design.

The infantry section.

The PIAT and mortar teams. I've got a "deployed" mortar team yet to paint up.

The platoon command.

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