Wednesday, 30 March 2016

[RACKHAM] Saphon the old pilgrim.

I love Rackham miniatures.
Actually I've fallen in the painting hobby with the game Confrontation. To be honest, I've never really played to the game but I bought a lot of mini. As often happened to us, painter, we buy miniature to play with them and finally we spend more time painting than playing.
Today I still have a good number of Rackham miniature in my drawer waiting for some paint job.

I was reading one the Grath Ennis' comic "Just a Pilgrim" and I though to Saphon, one of the character of Confrontation. Not that the likeness is evident but the profile is very similar: an old pilgrim with a huge rifle preaching in a desert infected by some post apocalyptic monsters.

So, Instead of painting the usual Saphon in medieval inquisitor version, I tough to change the profile for a post-apo profile.  

Before staring painting, I place my mini together with my base to prepare a general scene.
My intent for the base was a desertic atmosphere, something very orange redish, more a canyon actually (like the comic book "Just a Pilgrim").

I've build the base with some cork, coating, sable and piece of egg's shell. I've painted it mostly with layers of washes and drybrushes applied on white on black priming fondation. The effect was very cool, pity than I accidently let my base out of my windows after varnishing it with Vallejo matt varnish. Do you know what happens to matt varnish with cold weather? It becomes glossy.
I've put an other layer of matt varnish to reduce the glossy effect but as you see below, my desertic base is remained a litlle bit reflective instead of dried/dusty as I wanted.

See the gloss effect? Varnish accident.
For the painting of Saphon, I've choosen a western colors scheme. The coat painted like a cowboy windbreaker, the armor in matt black to give a modern look (and also to break the general brown hue due to all the leather elements) .
The face has been painted with a burned skin, so with strong glazes of red. You know, the sun of desert should be strong, even more in a post apocalyptic world.
For the rifle, I've prefered True metalic metal. I used Metalic Black from Warcolours highlighted with Silver. It's a pretty cool product, a kind of darker version of the old Boltgun metal from Citadel.

I've painted the inside of the cloak with typical Steam punk pattern. Just to create contrast with the brown. 

The last element was the banner. The sculpture is the typical religious scroll with an angel on top, you know the kind of banner you're used to see on some spacemarine chapelain. Classic but not compliant with my vision of a modern pilgrim post apocalyptic.
So I though to paint it like a flag instead than a religious banner. What is more indicated than the Stars & Stripes  for an old american preacher?
Of course, the banner is not exactly like the american flag, just something that gives the idea.
Concerning the litlle angel, I've choosen to paint him in metalic tin in order to stay on the steampunk atmosphere.
I'm quite happy with the result. The banner creates the right ambience and the blue and red have also created a break of hue with Saphon.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

[ENIGMA] Painting Lathiem in Bisley style

Some months ago, I painted a very nice miniature from Enigma.
Lathiem Oak Leaf sculpted by Latorre.

I have to say that I was so pleased by the sculpture that I really wanted to paint something different.
Actually, I had a clear idea about what to do...painting Lathiem like Bisley painted Slaine.
If you compare the miniature with Bisley's art, the likeness is evident. I don't know personnaly Latorre but I have the feeling is also a fan of Bisley.

Of course, the things were not easy because Sir Bisley has his own style and I was not really sure to be able to reproduce it with my limited painting skill.

So as I often do, I tried to focus a little more on the artistic side to compensate my technical limits.
The first step was the skin. Bronze flesh with some juices of orange brown.

Then, following the good advice of most experimenting painters, I've increased the contrasts pushing the higlights towards the pale flesh. Then adding some glazes of green in the shadows (same colors used by Bisley for Slaine) and red on the lights, finaly my Lathiem was a little bit more contrasted.
At this step, I've added some grey/black glazes on the face to simulate some shave skin.

The second step was the most difficult: painted a celtic pattern on the trousers like Slaine so Yellow with brown pattern.
I've started by the fist layer of yellow, painted some shades just to create the first volumes.
Then, I applied the first stripes in brown. As you see below, the issue was the diagonal leather stripe on the legs because they're generating confusion with the pattern below.
The only solution was to increase the contrast of the leather stripes to separate the different elements.
Ok, I love Latorre but I really hated it during this step. The leather stripes had been a nightmare to higlight. As I was not able to reach extreme highlight to create the wanted contrast, I had to use blacklining to separate the stripe from the trousers. As always, the good painters have right: better too much contrast than not enough. It's even more true with this kind of scale.
In fact, I added also some blacklining for the fabric stripes on the belly.
For the metallic details, I painted everything in NMM because it was more similar to the comics style I wanted. I've chosen cold color (mainly blue grey) to contrast the yellow and brown.

Then, I started to paint the fur coat. It was the most fun part for my concern. I love to paint the leather skin texture, you can play with the weathering of the leather and the different hue.
Usually I start with a first layer in wet blending to create the different leather colors (orange brown, grey, White). Then I added the texture with some cracks painted in white. And finally I add the washes to unify everything and give a general hue to the coat.
For the fur on the shoulder, I worked with same techniques: wet blending,  highlights, glazes and finaly washes.
The blade instead, has been painted like a large piece of flint. For the ornements I used the same colors than the metallic piece on the trousers.

Some wars painting on the eyes and the skin (just to give to Lathiem a little more of the Slaine aspect), a simple base of rocks and grass and here the result.
Probably not the best version of Lathiem around but I am pretty proud because so far, it's the first time I've dedicated so much time on a miniature and, most important, reach the result I wanted.

Friday, 25 March 2016

[Zombicide] Painting horde of undead for total noob in painting

I’ve just bough the 2 sets of walking dead for Zombicide with all this fantastic zombies miniatures. They’re very cool but they ‘re grey…just grey. As I want a little bit of immersion, I’ve searched for some tutorial on youtube to easily and quickly paint them.
I’ve found a lot of video but mainly the technique is always the same and is just a copy of the excellent Sorastro's Zombie PaintingGuide:

It’s a great method quite quick with a great final result, I cannot wait to play with my painted Z!!.. But, unfortunately, there is 2 problems:

1/ you need a lot of stuff: Spray of necrotic flash, Army painter quickshade, white spirit, Matt varnish, Tamya red-X27 or Citadel “Blood for the gods”, transparent bases (even if it’s optional, you need stuff if you decide to paint your base) without talk about the acrylic colors.
If you’re miniature painter or a wargame player used to paint his army, this items probably sounds familiar for you. If you’re just a guy who wants to paint his zombicide box, we’ve certainly nothing of this stuff at home and no idea where to find it, also because not all of us have a hobby store near to home.

2/ Ok, the zombies are pretty cool even more if painted by a talented painter like Sorastro, but all this painted minis are just creating a big confusion in term of gameplay.  I know it sounds strange but once your minis are painted, it’s very easy to lose your survivor in the middle of a bunch of zombies and I don’t even talk of the different type of zombies (classic, toxic, berserker..). So painted minis are nice but not very comfortable.

Now, it’s possible to fix this 2 problems thanks to the tutorial of Sam Lenz (aka Samson) on Tabletop Minions channel

The Sam’s technique provides a good way to paint zombie almost monochrome and without using too much painter stuff. Sam Lenz uses some material you mightn’t have (like airbrush or some washes and inks) but I am going to explain you how to reach a similar result without them.
For this tutorial, I 'm going to indicate you if the different steps are:
_ [mandatory] meaning you cannot skip it.
_ [advisable] meaning you can choose to skip to use an other method (probably more longer)
_ [optional] meaning it's just if you want the things nicer.
now I assume if you are interesting by this guide, it means you don't plan to jump into the painting hobby and so you just want to do the job without spending too much time and money and with material easily available in any craft store or superstore.
What you need:

Brushes [mandatory]: small one size 1 or 2. Go on synthetic brush to save some money. Just try to choose one with a good tip.
A larger one with flat and soft hair. By large I mean large for a miniature, not for your wall.

Acrylic colors [mandatory]:We're talking about colors you can dilute in water. You can find them in bottle or in tubes. The first one are easier to use because pre-thinned meanwhile the tubes are cheaper (considering the quantity) but need to be diluted with water.
For the colors, it's your choice but for the zombies I recommend to pick at least black, white, brown, grey...nothing too saturated or flashy (excepting red for the blood).
If you're really want to go on saving just pick this 5 colors:
_ black
_ white
_ red
_ blue
_ yellow

Why? because you can mix them to create all colors you want.  Take 13 minutes of your time and watch this tutorial and then this other to understand how to create desaturation.

Acryilic color spray [advisable]:
Pick black and white. Don't worry to much for the brand, just check that the spray works on plastic support.
Now, if you don't want spend too much money, you can give up the white color. If you're really out of cash, we can also give up the black but without colors spray, the process of painting will be much longer and very unclean. It's up to you.

Blue tack [advisable]:To fix your miniature during the priming with the colorspray.
Of course it's useless if didn't buy our color spray (even if I warn you it's easier...)
Spray of matt varnish [optional]:the varnish is for the protection of your paint job. For my concern it's optional for zombicide because the minis are made with light plastic and so it's difficult that any kind of shock can damage your paint.
At least your friends are more similar to a band of orcs used to eat and drink on your gameboard and launch your minis after a bad move, you shouldn't need it.
White glue [optionnal]:It's simply white glue, usually used to glue wood or paper.
Its feature is the consistency very liquid perfect to be diluted with water, an other feature is its transparency once dried.
It will be useful for do some details on the base...just if you want do the things nicer.

Let's paint:...or not. Because before starting with the first step, we need to wash our miniatures.No, I'm not a cleaning maniac, it's just that, even if you don't see it,  your zombies are full of products for the printing production and this stuff make impossible the application of any kind of colors on the mini. Goods news: it's easy to remove.
Just fill a bowl with hot water (not boiled water if you don't want melt down your plastic minis !) and liquid soap and wash them with an old toothbrush.
Rinse, dry and this time you're ready for painting.
Step 1 [mandatory]: how to create lightning on the undead.
This step is the most important because it will allow to create the general atmosphere, placing shadows and light on our zombies. If this step is well done, your painting job will be a success at 90%, believe me!
Fix all your mini on a large cardboard with the blue tack. How much mini?
the most you can, just think to let some space between each of the them in order to spray them easily.
Find an airy zone before using your colorspray. This stuff is not so good for your lung.
Now, catch your black spray and shake it !     Shake it again!    trust me, better to shake it one more time.

check this tutorial to understand how to prime your miniature.
As you see, it's important to shake very well (understood?) and put several light sprays to avoid that the acryilic covers completly the details of your miniature. Continue to spray since your minis are fully primed in black.
Now let's dry your black zombie. If you want to speed up the process, you can use an hairdryer.

Once dried, catch your White colorspray and follow the same process but this time just do a light spray on the top of your zombies. Do it very gently and don't spray to much White on the lower part of the mini.

mini primed with white on black
Normally your zombies should have the appareance of the picture on the right. You can notice how the black primer is located on the shadows meanwhile the White spray has just highlighted the upper part and the details.
Easy to do isn't it?

Now, it's time to increase the lights on the head because it's the most creppy part and for the horror atmosphere of the game, we want  to creat a focus on it.

We're going to use a technique called "drybrush".
It's perfectly explained in 8 minutes by Doctor Faust's painting clinic.

after drybrush of the top of the mini.
You've probably noticed on the tutorial the use of a palette. By "palette" we mean a flat support where to put your colors. You can use anything you want, of course choose a non absorbent material. Plastic plate, box of CD or even an compact disc itself (not your favourite album!).
So, put some white acryilic color on your palette, you can add a litlle bit of an other color if you want to give a general hue to your light. In my case, I add a drop of sky blue to give cold and night atmosphere.
Take your large brush and drybrush your zombies as explained on the video tutorial but only on the top of the chest, the shoulders and the head. The results should look as the picture on the left.
On the pic below you can see the effect on a group of zombies from a tabletop view.

Don't worry, I don't forget you guys who didn't buy colorspray.
We can reach a similar result like this:
_ prime your mini in black with your brush and your acryilic color. Try to not carry too much paint on your brush and pull as most as possible your color to avoid to fill the details with eap of acryilic.
_ Once dried, drybrush your entire mini with light grey (mix a bit of black with white). Try to move your brush with top down direction to concentrate the light on the top details and let the shadows aera in black.
_ drybrush again with pure white on the top of the chest, shoulder and head.

Happy like this?You could as we have already a horde of monochrome zombie. Some players have choosen to paint their zombicide like this, It's very comfortable for the game purpose, nicer than the grey plastic and very quick to do. The monochrome zombies on tabletop are pretty cool:

You can use different type of colors hue during the drybrushing to distinguish the different type of zombie. Green for toxic, red for berserker... or read the rest of the guide to learn how to apply colors to your zombies.
At this point the rest of the tutorial is "advisable" and explain you how to add colors and details to your horde.

Step 2 [advisable]: how to add colors to your undead.
for the following step, you also need:
_ a palette
_ a glass of water
_ some paper towel

At this step, it's important to remember what you want to do and what we don't.
_ We want keep our previous job of lights and shadows.
_ We don't want to cover the mini with thick layer of colors.

I specify it because it's very easy to ruin the paintjob during this step. So, how to put colors taking the previous paintjob?
Painting in transparency. That's why we've bough acrylic colors and not another type of paint, because it's easily diluable with water.
Here the method: put some acryilic on your palette, put a drop of water and mix it. Continue to add water and mix since the consistency of your paint is similar to the milk.
I cannot tell you how much water you have to add because it depends of the type of acrylic you've bought.
When your mix seems enough thin, test it on a piece of paper.
The image below explains perfectly what you're looking for:

If your mix is thin enough to create a layer of transparent color, it's ready to be applied on the miniature.
Just another tip before painting your mini: with this kind of consistency, your brush might be loaded with a lot liquid with the risk that all the paint flows down on the entire mini making impossible a controlled paint job. So better if you download first some liquid on a piece of paper towel.
transparent layer applied on the black and white priming
The thin layers applied on the miniature naturally become more darker on the black part of the zombie meanwhile the white part gives to the colors a most shiny color.
It's a kind of magic.
If your layer seems too transparent and the result too desaturated for your taste, just let the first layer dried and then apply another one since you obtain the color you want.
Some layers later, you should have something like the image on the right.   
Now, this step is the longer because we have to put different colors on a lot of minis and you have also to be a little bit accurate doing it.
So here some tips for speed up this step
_ work like on an assembly line. Don't paint completly each miniature one after another. Better to work in "color line". for example: paint first the skin of all the zombies. When the last is painted, the first one will be dried and so we will be able to start again with an another color.   
 _ Don't lose too much time on the details, we can even let some part unpainted, the black and white foundation will do the job.
_  Limit your palette of colors. Watch my zombies on the image below, I've replicated the same 7 colors randomly on the minis.

horde of zombie after application of the thin layers
_Mistake happens. don't go crazy, if your paint is well thin, it's very easy to remove the layer using a clean brush, a piece of paper towel or simply your finger.

Step 3 [advisable]: make them a little bit dirty
It's an easy step and it's also funny to do, it's time to add a little bit of credibility to our zombie with some dirty effect.
Prepare a mix of brownish color on your palette. If you haven't brown, mix red with green. We can add a drop of black or white since you obtain the color of your choice.
The consistency is the same than before: transparent thin paint.
Now have fun and splat some part of your zombies with your mixture. On the trousers to simulate some wet/mud, some dot on the shirt to simulate some fat spot, under the arm to create spot of sweat. It's up to you.
The image on the right show you how only a little bit of brownish wash adds relief to the zombie.

Step 4 [optionnal]: painting the base
This step is optionnal because none all the players paint the bases. Some of them prefer to paint it in one color to identify the type of zombie on the board game. My opinion is that considering the effort you put on your minis, it's a pitty to ruin everything with an ugly red/Yellow /green base.
For your information, you don't need much more time to make something nicer than the time you spend to paint the base in one color.
wet blending result once dried
Let's try with wet blending:
prepare on your palette grey, black and brown but not too diluated this time, just make sure than your paint is wet nothing more.
Paint your base in grey, while the paint is still wet on the base, add a little bit of black and mix directly on the base randomly to create some darker zone, do the same with few brown. Don't worry if it's seems ugly at the beginning, when the paint will dry all the colors will blend together and create an effect dirty but credible for the tabletop. As you can see on the image on the right, I have also added some mini newspapers just to do the job nicer.
you can download the ready to print on this link. Then cut them carefully (better with a hobby knife or cutter).
To apply it on your base, prepare a mix of white glue diluted with water + a drop of brown to make them dirtier.
Drop the newspaper on your mixture and then apply it on your base. You can use your brush to help the placement (this thing is very tiny). Just remember to wash your brush very well after the operation to remove the glue. Don't worry if the glue is white on your base, it will become transparent once dried.

Final touch for a cleaner job: paint the edge of your base in black.

Step 5 [advisable]: Gore time !!
Finally the last step but also the most important for zombie. Blooooood!!
How to paint blood? with red of course...but not exactly.
If you want something credible, remember than fresh blood is red meanwhile dried blood is more redish brown/black.
So for your zombies, it depends if you want to paint their own old blood, their own fresh blood (maybe your zombie is very fresh) or the blood of their victim.

Just prepare your mix on your palette with red + black. it's up to you to find the blood color you prefer. But remember you've painted your zombie in underton colors, so don't exagerate with pure red if you don't want too much contrast.
Consistency must be thin but not too transparent. I mean it's blood not fruit juice.
Some tips to apply your blood on your zombies:
_ "Less is more", don't exagerate or at least not on all the zombie. Try to let some of them "cleaned" and other more splatter to create diversity. If all the zombies are full of blood, the effect will be a big mess.
_ Use different type of application, string, dot, spot, runoff to simulate different effects like injuries, splatting, vomiting. You can easily do splatting effect with an old toothbrush washed with your paint (see the tutorial on tabletop minion at the beginning of this guide).
_ remember to add some blood on the base to make the things more realistic.
_ you can use different type of blood (old or fresh) to diversify the effect.
Most probably, the hands and mouth of the zombies will be full of fresh blood meanwhile their injuries will be darker.

At this point, your zombies should be finished. Of course you can apply a final layer of matt varnish to protect your proud paintjob if you really want.
I hope you'll have fun painting your zombies and maybe decide to paint something else the next time.

Special thanks to:
_ Table Minions and Sam Lenz for their tutorial
_ Doctor Faust's painting clinic.
_ The beast of war and Romain for his great colory theory tutorial