Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sense of urgency restored

Well, I found out on Thursday evening that there would be another tournament this weekend, but I put off doing almost anything about it until this morning. That's right, this morning, specifically around 5:30 am. At that time, my army looked like this:

To back up a bit, the tournament was being held at Games Workshop in Alamo, CA. Well, this is a good venue, but there are always limitations to playing in a GW store, which I am personally familiar with from having managed one and running many tournaments there. In particular, store hours is a big issue. In this case, the store was open from 12 noon to 6 pm. Also odd was the points level: 650. Upon prompting the manager, it turns out the rounds would be 1:45 long. Ooooo-kaaaaay. Grand Tournaments run 2:30 for 600 points, why would this be shorter rounds and more points? I made a quick decision that I wasn't going to paint any more models than I had planned on for the 500 point tournament, so I needed to crap some painted models. I decided on the following list:

Gandalf the Grey


17 Warriors of Minas Tirith with shields
4 Warriors of Minas Tirith with shields and spears
4 Citadel Guard with spears
4 Rangers of Gondor
7 Rangers of Gondor with spears

Eomer with horse and shield

5 Riders of Rohan (1 with bow, 1 with throwing weapon)

This made things easier because all of my Rohan are painted. Plus I didn't want to bulk out the army heavily so I could play it faster. And I already had my hands full painting the above models.

So back to 5:30 am. I knew my ride would be arriving around 10:30, so I had a total of 5 hours to crank out as much of this army as humanly possible. Oh, and get dressed and showered. Preferably not in that order. I figured I could get a passably painted army done in that time. Time to work on the Zen of the Tank Brush!

First step was an overbrush of Boltgun Metal on all of the armor. I love Boltgun Metal. It comes out nice and dark in a drybrush, but it's bright enough when block painted to look like steel. Twenty minutes later, my warriors looked like this:

This was a nice overbrush, achieved by putting a small amount on the tank brush then dragging it in circles on the palette until it could be seen through. By the way, I have found that a tile palette is a very, very useful tool. For a while I used a plastic one, but it was hard to clean and of limited use. But here's a look at what my palette looked like after loads of overbrushing.

One shortcut that I also decided upon was to just drybrush the shields metallic instead of going white. I can touch them up later if I really want to. Note the difference between the drybrushed shield and emblem and the overbrushed armor:

Next, I overbrushed the armor of the Citadel Guard with a smaller brush. This took me about five minutes.

By the way, I did take pictures with a couple different light arrangements. You can see all the pictures if you really want to at my Photobucket account.

A couple minutes later, I had the Guards armor washed with Badab Black, and by 6:40 I had all of my models washed black, including some on the rangers for emphasis of the textures.

Next, I did the overbrush of the two extra rangers, and tried to do a tank brush overbrush on them without using the tankbrush. This didn't work so well. Instead it left big swaths of Bestial Brown over the model. Hopefully I can shade that out later. After that, I block painted Boltgun Metal onto everyone's weapons. Here was the status as of around 7:20:

At this point, I took a break to shower, get breakfast, and type up my list. This also let the washes thoroughly dry.

I was back at the grind around 8:00. I did a heavy drybrush of Chainmail over the entire warriors armor, and this came out very nicely. Unlike the overbrushes, I removed some of the paint via a paper towel this time. I liked it so much I just decided to do the exact same thing with the Citadel Guard. Here is a shot of two of them, the left after the Chainmail drybrush and the right with washed Boltgun overbrush.

I also gave the shields of all the warriors a nice drybrush of the Chainmail to highlight their trees. Here was my army around 8:30:

I next threw a light drybrush of Mithril Silver onto the symbol detail, particularly the trees and gull wings on the helmets. I also did some onto the upper shoulders and raised arms. This is as of 8:45:

At this point, the messiest parts are done. In order to really make these guys look done, I needed to get their bases looking good. A couple of things about basing: First, you need to choose a base that complements the model but doesn't distract. With a pretty light model, I prefer a darker base. With a dark model, I'll go for a lighter base. In this case, I'm doing Scorched Brown bascoat, Graveyard Earth midtone, and Bleached Bone highlight. This step was the biggest pain. I'd already done the basecoats, but I have a really hard time doing good mids and highlights. The best ones are controlled overbrushes which leaves plenty of paint up higher and the darker color beneath showing. I always either seem to smear tons of paint over the bae or dust the base so lightly it's almost invisible. I finally managed to get something decent around 9:15:

Next step, skin. I'm starting to feel the crunch now, and I'm also sitting around in my bathrobe still. I just decide to get some Tallarn Flesh on now, and if I can shade it later then great. I whip out one of my kolinsky sable brushes and apply the flesh to my models. Around 9:30 I had this:

Now I took a brief break to pack up everything I needed (other than the models I was working on) and get some clothes on.

One note about my brushes. You may have noticed from my painting station that I have two sets of brushes in it. On the right on standard GW brushes, and on the left are some brown handled brushes. These are Vallejo brand kolinsky sable brushes. A couple of years ago I wouldn't really have been good enough to use these guys. They are incredibly precise – in fact sometimes it's hard to get everything you want covered if you're not very careful about it. For this reason I use my GW brushes when I want good general coverage, since they tend to slide down into crevices and flow around the model, while I use the kolinsky brushes for all of my detail work.

I sit back down around 9:45 and get to work on the cloth of the warriors. About ten minutes later, I had:

I decided against shadowing or washing – I just didn't have enough time to do a good job. Much more important was covering appropriate areas with black paint, such as the Citadel Guards' cloaks and the warriors shields. This took some time – I used the GW Large Brush for the cloaks (coverage), and the Vallejo #1 brush for the shields (control). With minutes until 10:30, I grabbed the Iyanden Yellow from my paint rack and put it onto the trims of the Citadel Guards. At almost 10:30 exactly, I had this:

I packed up and went to the tournament. I brought along some washes and my static grass in order to get some more work done with the models. Once we got there, I did manage to get static grass onto all of the models, and here they are, along with their Rohan buddies, on the first table:

Whew! From black models to gaming quality in 5 hours. I was quite pleased with myself. Over the next few days, I'll improve them, adding shading and highlights, plus making the details better. I'll write a report on the tournament itself in a little while.

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