Monday, 13 April 2020

Warlords of Erehwon Skeletons - Fiddly but fine - Part 2: Painting

So now you have yourself a mass of beautiful plastic Warlords of Erehwon (/Wargames Factory) skeletons (see: the previous article), and you want to get them "tabletop ready" ASAP. Because, maybe, you have a tournament in a few days....eep!

Or, in fact, you have any brand nekkid skellies, or mostly nekkid. Here is how I get them buffed up quick and easy for the table.

First up, you will want the right equipment, as per usual. For me, I was magnetising all the bases, and using metallic rubber movement trays. So step 1 was magnetising them.

I had some neat metal trays from the A-Case+ transport case, so I put a sheet of paper inside one of those to protect it. Next, I measured off a grid of 25x25mm squares (my skeletons are 20mm square based, so adjust your grid to be something bigger than your bases or else you will hit trouble). The, I popped a round magnet onto each cross point. Your choice of magnet will depend on how deep you model's bases are (you want them to fit inside, but not be so slim that a dab of glue on them will not reach the underside when sitting flat on the tray).

I then dab a spot of superglue on each magnet in a column, making a dome big enough to reach the underside of the base, and then place all the models down that column with their corner over the magnet. You want superglue this time as you are not putting plastic to plastic, you are doing metal to plastic. I go with the corners so that if a little glue dribbles down the side it gets a better contact with the base. You will also want the skeletons all facing the same way, otherwise you will have corners of miniatures trying to magnetise to each other when ranked up, which can be a bit annoying.

Let those sit for an hour or so to dry properly.

Next up, bust out the Army Painter Skeleton Bone spray can. Any bone or pale yellow spray will work, as long as it is matte. Different shades will give different tones, but it does not matter a huge amount. You'll be doing some shading and drybrishing later which will have a bigger impact.

I space my guys out on a tray and spray it in several light coats, rotating the tray 45 degrees between sweeps until the whole lot are covered evenly. The below is after putting two lots together on one tray. Sadly, I forgot to get an in-progress pic of my actual spacing. But about half of that number of models, spread out in the same area.

Once that dries (overnight if you have the time, or if you are in a rush an hour or so depending on ambient temps and humidity), you will pick out some colours. If you are wanting fast, like I am, you get all of one colour per model. So pick a nice one. I picked a different colour for each shield type, but painted them all in a batch together. Minimising colour changes increases your speed. The colour got used on shields and spear shafts. I did not bother with the inside of the shields or any other details.

If you have scabbards or something, you could probably use that colour on those, too.

To get the most of the later steps, try and pick a colour that shades well with a brown shade. Red, orange, yellow, green and even grey can work. The turquoise below was not a great choice, but I used a self shading paint for it so it was not too bad in the end.

After that it is the metals. Spear tips, spear butts, and shield rims and bosses. I also took this opportunity to throw on some decals that came free with some Warcolours paints orders I had made previously. The large plain shields were crying out for something, and I was not going to be freehanding that many shields. In the below pic, there is also a tease of the next step in the top left corner.

Dip! It is either a swear word, a cheating word, or just another weapon in the arsenal of the painter. I love a good dip, because it is a fast way to get a good enough look without finesse. I am a terribly slow painter, so I need all the tricks I can to get up to regular people's speed.

Army Painter will sell you expensive tins of dip. Or you can just got back to the roots of where Army Painter got their idea from, actual hardware store stain and varnish. Here in Australia I use Cabot's from Bunnings. Make sure you pick the waterbased one. Walnut is a good shade for skeletons. It will be about half the price of the Army Painter equivalent tin, or you could get further savings if you have a serious amount of skeletons to do and buy a bigger tin. Note, however, that the below is the tin I bought several years ago when starting this army, and it is not even a quarter used. I expect the seal will fail and it will dry out well before I can finish it.

Actually dipping minis in is nice and fast, but messy as hell as you have to flick off the excess stain. I just use a large size 6 brush (an old or cheap one, this is not going to be good for it), and brush it on, fast and sloppy. Just keep an eye out for pooling and dab out any particularly thick spots with your unloaded brush. And when I say brush it on fast and sloppy, I mean the whole miniature. Colours, metals and bone.

That will take a bit to dry, again, overnight would be best. But you can try and move on in an hour or so if you think it has dried.

The next step is to drybrush with a bone colour. I used Vallejo Skeleton Bone airbrush primer because I had it on hand and I like the shade. Go with a paler, yellower or darker bone colour depending on what "type" of skeleton you are aiming for. Ushabti bone, Army Painter Bleached Bone, etc are all fine choices. I also use a paint pen to edge in the base edges. This green was brighter than I wanted, but was all the shop had when I went and I was running out of time before the tournament. You can use a brown or black if you prefer, too. Or just paint them with a brush like a peasant.

Note that the colours and metals are untouched, we will not be bothering with them as they are not going to be noticed much on the tabletop. If you want to kick up an extra notch to the end result, now is the time to throw down a few highlights on them, though.

Then a quick splash of green on the base tops (as I was going to flock in green - pick your colour appropriate to your basing).

Some watered down PVA glue and a swish around in a bucket of static grass for decoration (note how by this stage the bars between their feet are pretty much hidden anyway, vindicating our earlier decision to leave them alone).

Then a few dabs of PVA glue here and there using a precision dropper bottle, and a dusting of coffee grinds to break up the green with some brown. Once dry, hit it all over with Army Painter anti-shine matte spray varnish (or equivalent in your brand of choice - GW do one, Testors Dullcoat, AK interactive airbrush ultra-matte, etc). This will take some gloss out of the remaining visible dip, and also seal the basing material in. Here they are all piled together with the rest of the army I was taking to Cancon.

To battle! Here is my deployment of one of my games from Cancon 2020. As you can see, once on the table, the difference between the ones I highlighted the spear shafts or not is impossible to tell. These are not display pieces, they are gaming pieces. And that is where they will shine. 60 painted and ranked up skeleton spearmen look much much better on the table than 20 beautifully painted spearmen and 40 grey plastic ones.

Of course, there is nothing in this method that actually paints you into a corner (pun intended). If you have time and inclination, you can come back to them and add additional highlights, or pick out extra details, and it will build on what you have already done.

So there we have it, how I added three mediocre units into my Kings of War army for Cancon in only a few weeks, when it had taken me months to get single units done previously. I came lower half of the standings, but that is probably more on me and my ability than whether the units were painted or not. Would it have helped to have a few practice games with them beforehand.....? Who knows?

1 comment:

  1. Im glad to see more on your blog- long live The Vampire's War Diaries !! after this plague is gone I hope you put up some more of your narrative battle reports.