Sunday, July 31, 2016

Are these guys for real?

I just received some more Knight Models in the post. Here's one of them right out of the box. By the way, this model's other leg is suspended and does not help support the model.

I've complained about Knight Models' poor casting quality and ridiculously delicate weapons before, but this is just too much. I mean, sculpting an entire soft metal model - that's a gaming piece meant to be handled, not a display piece - that relies completely on such a tiny little ankle to support it? What were they thinking? This is just unforgivable. A weapon is one thing, but the whole model? I have literally never seen such a stupid sculpt for a gaming miniature. I mean, it didn't even survive transport in it's foam-padded blister pack unscathed, how is supposed to survive cleaning, painting, transport, and handling? Pretty sure it won't, not if I don't install a pin for added strength.

I don't really understand how Knight Models was able to aquire and maintain the rights to all these licensed properties, when there's much bigger companies that are much better at casting. Well, OK, Knight Models' sculpts are usually (in my eyes at least) as good as most and better than many given the scale and subject matter, so I won't fault them for that, but... sigh. Maybe I've just been spoiled, but I can get great sculpts with better casts for lower costs from at least a half-dozen other companies, so I'm just not feeling satisfied with Knight.

Oh well. Let's just hope the end result is worth it I guess.

Monday, July 18, 2016

In the immortal words of James May: "It's the Rozzers!"

With the whole "MkIII" thing going on, I've been somewhat demotivated when it comes to Warmahordes lately, so I took the opportunity to paint these fellows. I actually think I could have finished them quite quickly if I hadn't been quite so busy with Real Life (TM); as it was they took far too long, and I got bogged down with annoying details and stupid mistakes at the end.

I figured these guys would be a good chance to experiment with painting cloth, which I'm not very good at. When painting the ninjas I used simple drybrushes, but I tried a slightly more involved technique for this lot. Basically, I started off by painting the cloth in the shade colour, then drybrushing lightly with the highlight colour, then actually painting the highlight colour directly onto the raised areas that were now easier to see, before finally applying a heavier drybrush with the same highlight colour to soften the transitions. I think the results are pretty decent. The jackets and trousers are Regal Blue highlighted with Enchanted Blue, while the shirts are Enchanted Blue highlighted with Ice Blue.

This is Reginald
Or "Reggie" for short
Named after Reginald VelJohnson
Who played Sgt. Al Powell in Diehard

I actually tried applying a wash of Asurmen Blue to one model ("Reggie" here) before highlighting to further increase the contrast, but I decided that it was too much and did not do it on the other three. I painted Reggie's skin the same way I painted Zeddemore's: Doombull Brown, a wash of Devlan Mud, then a drybrush of Doombull Brown.

Here we have Danny
Named after Danny Trejo
You may not remember this, but Machete was originally a cop
Although I can't image Machete using a tazer...

In order to introduce some contrast I used Vallejo Model Colour Black highlighted with Codex Grey and Vallejo Model Colour Black Grey highlighted with Fortress Grey on different materials. On Reggie and Danny I then washed the blacks and greys with Badab Black, but didn't on the other two. Not really sure which I prefer here. Danny's skin was just Dwarf Flesh washed with Ogryn Flesh. The yellow on his tazer is Iyanden Darksun washed with Gryphonne Sepia (I think) then highlighted with Sunburst Yellow.

Meet Kelly
Named after Kelly Hu
Who played an awesome Kung-Fu cop in Martial Law

Kelly's hair was painted with Vallejo Model Colour Black Grey and highlighted with Shadow Grey (which is somewhat bluish-grey) then Blue Horror; I hoped the blue tones would help her hair stand out from her hat, but I don't think it worked quite as well as I had hoped. Her skin is just standard Elf Flesh washed with Ogryn Flesh. Her lips were Elf Flesh mixed with Scab Red (although it seems I accidentally painted Elf Flesh back over the top lip without noticing, I might have to go back and fix that some day). I had initially tried lighter shades of red but once mixed with enough Elf Flesh to start to blend in with the skin in it would get too light, using Scab Red gave me a decent red/skin colour.

And last but not least is Bruce
Named after Bruce Willis
Who has of course played more cops having a bad day than I can count
Here I was specifically thinking of Detective Jack Mosley from 16 Blocks

Bruce's skin is the same Elf Flesh/Ogryn Flesh combo. As you can see in the photos, I tend to have trouble getting Elf Flesh to look smooth. I like the colour though, at least in conjunction with Ogryn Flesh. I might have to try different paints in similar colours; maybe the new GW version will be smoother, or perhaps I should see what PP has (I've never tried their "liquid pigment" paints, I really should). I think his hair was Iyanden Darksun highlighted with Sunburst Yellow, but I don't really remember. I should have done something to increase the contrast further as it looks a bit flat right now, but I wasn't sure what to do and just gave up in the end.

The bases were Doombull Brown with a generous wash of Devlan Mud, same as before. Badges were just Gehenna's Gold over Doombull Brown, highlighted with Auric Armour Gold. I tried Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Gloss Varnish since I've been having trouble with Citadel's Gloss Varnish and the Winsor & Newton is available locally; it went on fine, though I'm not sure how it compares in terms of protection given. Eyes were painted white with a simple black dot, done before skin was washed. While this looked fine on Reggie, the lack of a strong outline didn't look as good on Kelly and Bruce (Danny didn't get eyes as the model was basically squinting); they kind of look as if they haven't been getting enough sleep or something.

I had considered laying down a black or dark brown layer first, then painting the eyes on top to leave a stronger outline, but decided against it because a) it would have taken a lot more work (when working on eyes it takes a lot of back-and-forth between colours to get the shape right; adding another colour into the mix adds a LOT of work), and b) I was afraid I would not be able to get a fine enough line at this scale and it would end up looking bad.

Speaking of the eyes, I found their eyes harder to do than usual. Often when painting miniatures you can get the model to do much of the work by allowing the brush to glide gently along seams and edges and things. When painting these four's faces however, I found problems with the casts (or maybe with the sculpts) meant that the model was working against me instead; the underlying topography did not match what I wanted the eyes to look like. It was very frustrating.

That wasn't the only casting issue I had. While I typically like Knight Model's sculpts, so far I have been quite disappointed with their casts. I've never has as much trouble simply assembling metal Games Workshop or Privateer Press models as I have with these simple grunts. There was a lot of cleanup needed, and quite a bit of reconstruction; separate pieces such as arms often don't really meet very cleanly and need a lot of gap-filling (more than I'm used to).

Take Reggie for example: even though his left arm was not seperate from his body, his left shoulder was such a mess that I had to cut off a lot of extra material and try to sculpt a decent looking shoulder area myself. His original nightstick was of course a hopeless lost cause (why do Knight Models keep sculpting these tiny weapons that they must know won't last five minutes of casual handling, much less actual gameplay?) and had to be cut off and replaced by a length of paperclip, of course the same was true for Kelly's. And by the time I had finished cleaning the mold lines off his head, he no longer had a right ear. I'm not sure if it was actually there or not to begin with, but I don't remember seeing anything except a nasty mold line. I had to sculpt him a new right ear, which didn't really match his left in the end. Oh well, I guess he just got a cauliflower ear from boxing or something.

Overall they just took more work than I expected them to. Well, I guess they look pretty good in the end, at least for grunts. I'm fairly happy with the cloth considering this is quite a low-skill technique, and I expect I shall be using it on most clothing moving forwards. Funnily enough I actually haven't painted a model from my either of my current Warmachine factions all year so far; I should probably do something about that. Meh, I'll think about it.