Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time to get out my paints.

This weekend I finished building the last model for my Skaven / Dark Eldar army project, and spent Monday afternoon priming everything.  My glue, pin vices and exacto blades are returning to their storage shelves, and my paints are returning to the desk.

Before I get into my latest mental conundrum, I should explain the photo above.  It is a picture of my Dais of Destruction conversion, about %90 of the way to completion, showing the profile of the model compared to a Rhino.  It also happens to be the last photo I took of my un-primed Skaven, so hence its use.  Now that I got that out of the way, on to my next steps:

I typically find the transition from "modeling" to "painting" a bit jarring.  I enjoy working on a whole army at a time, so I wind up spending quite a while on each step of the process.  Converting and building my Kabal of the Fursaken took a bit longer than I had planned, entirely due to an eye injury I incurred back in February.  Regardless, the models are resting in my "drying area", with a smooth coat of black P3 primer curing.  I am not at all concerned about the actual time it will take to paint the army, as I painted my original 2k points of Vraksian Militia in just under four weeks last fall.  I would like to get the army together soon though, as I am going to need some practice.  Perhaps I will break my "painted models only" rule for games at my home...  just this once.

Paint process aside, the only real concern I have is my "gestation period".  Whenever I prepare to paint a collection, I usually sit in my studio, staring at the army, meditating on color schemes and the order in which to apply them.  The fact that I have a variety of clear flying stands that need to be glued into place after each model and base has been painted, also adds a bit of thought to the process.  I think I spent last July staring at my armor and infantry for my traitor guard;  I know for a fact that I spent just as long planning out the approach to my daemons... 

While I have certainly been thinking about colors, I need to be sure the army has a cohesive feel to it, no-matter how rag-tag the actual materials may be.  I know that the metals on all of the models present an easy way to provide neutral colors, which will allow more rich tones to really pop.  I had originally considered the neutral metal elements to be a unifying theme to the collection, but I am starting to wonder if a neutral can really serve as a worthy "badge" for which to unify a force...  This also assumes that my Incubi and Asdrubael Vect models take on metallic tones for their armor as opposed to "painted" decorative plate.  I have already decided that the fur of the Skaven will denote rank and role.  For example, the Haemonculus/Warlock Engineer will be an albino rat with white fur, red eyes and pink skin, as I think this will lend a sense of "other" to a model that really does serve a "mystic" role.  Regardless, fur and metal aside, I am left with the cloth elements of the models to work with.  I had originally envisioned a rich purple tone, to bounce off of the green tones of the warp-stone.  Lately, I have been thinking about squad demarcation, and if these cloth elements could be used to clarify where one Wych squad ends, and another begins.

This is just a bit of reflection on my approach.  I would be happy to hear your thoughts!


  1. Seems like you know what you are doing. I'd stick to you guns and work through your process.

    That said, don't forget to take into account the Nova Open paint judging system and requirements. As this army is for the open. While there isn't an official scoring doc yet, you should be able to get a good idea of things from looking at the 2010 scoring sheets and reading the discussion about scoring for 2011 in Nova Open Forum.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing some of your models painted.

  2. Great to see you're back at the painting table, so to say. It's always good to spend a lot of time just thinking about the colour schemes for every model in the army as you'd bitterly regret your decision afterwards if you weren't totally sure about the choice of colours in the beginning. And then you have to choose between "Looking at an army you don't adore entirely" and "Stripping all models and to start from scratch".

    I'm really keen on seeing the first painted models but take your time.

    Kind regards,

  3. HuronBH: I am not exactly sure why, but to me, the idea of painting to match a scoring rubric just seems dirty. With the amount of time and effort I have already put into these Skaven / Dark Eldar, I would not want a rubric designed by a third party to make any choices for me. I also think it is fairly dangerous to go to an event with the intent to compete for a "best painted" title, due to the subjective nature of that part of our hobby. Also, lets be honest here, there are FAR better painters out there than myself. I just hope to go to NOVA and share with my peers an army that I am proud of. My favorite part of events like this is seeing just how hobby-crazy other people can get as well. Jay, listening to you speak at the BfS about the Arthurian roots of your Howling Griffons was not only interesting, but it also validated the care and thought I had poured into my own Vraksian army. Not sure if that makes sense.

    Stempe: Thank you for the support! I certainly do plan on thinking this stage through, and it should be a while before I have anything to share with you all, as far as finished models go.

  4. I didn't mean specifically that you should paint to what the Nova sets out, but having it in mind could not hurt. For example did you know that there are 3 stages to the Nova Judging (Long response, sorry).

    1st - They look at your army as a whole and make sure everything is painted and based and that there is not areas of primer showing. If they find any discrepancies like primer or non flocked basic bases (I'm sure custom resin ones would not need to be flocked) you get a 0 for painting.

    2nd - Once they have determined you are not going to be getting a 0 and have basic skills, they judge your army, a nominated best painted models, and best conversion all on 3 criteria. Last year it was Preparation, Presentation, and Coherency. Preparation being how well where models built (mold lines scraped, even primer,etc). Presentation is paint job and basing details, etc. Coherency was broken into three criteria. Easier to Quote it.

    Coherency--the collective appearance of the army with matching uniforms and gear and so forth;

    Organization-- how well the various components of the army are distinguished through the use of unit insignia and such;

    Theme--basically the army is something more than a vanilla representation of the codex, and it shows the player has made more effort to 'personalize' the army through things other than merely a unified palate.

    Last year my Howling Griffons army got strong Coherency and Theme scores, but low Organization score.

    3rd - The last part has to do with how your overall paint score is calculated. Last year your total score ended up being waited 60% Total Army Score, 20% single model, 20% Conversion Score.

    I got a slightly lower then I expected Total Army Score, a mid range single model score, and a low Conversion Score (very little of my army was converted) for an overall significantly lower score then I expect.

    After the show, I had the head judge look and my single model, which was my Librarian which I touched up for the show. He picked the model apart mention things like not enough shadow between sections, to thick highlights that did not blend perfectly, and what he though was in consistent priming, and lots of other details.

    I just wanted you to be on your game and not be caught off guard like I was last year and the level of detail and quality requirements the Nova Open's Paint scoring system goes too. It is much more detail and exacting then any other tournament I have ever attended.

  5. I guess it's good they are being accurate and judging to a criteria, that alone would rule out a lot of favouritism and bias, but it does seem quite harsh/cold when you have put in the effort to not get a '0' straight up and then get slammed all over the place on the other criteria.

    Unless you're doing something along the lines of a counts-as army or you have a lot of budget for hobby time/money I imagine most people would score quite low on the conversion section.

  6. Dan, that Dias of Destruction conversion of yours is looking amazing by the way, well done!!

  7. HuronBH: Thanks for the run-down. I have been following the forums to an extent, but you really nailed the summary. Thanks!

    Red: I hear you. I work full time, and just don't have the time to devote one week per figure. Again, I am more pumped to be surrounded by fellow 40k freaks than to compare my work to that of my peers, and beat my chest.

    Thanks for the kudos. I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment, with 2k points of converted and primed models flying in formation across my painting desk...

    Sick Red Scorpions, by the way!

  8. Thanks brother, I try my best.

    Keep up the great work.