Seeking some diversity for my Dwarf army in Kings of War I’ve wanted to add some units of Earth Elementals for quite some time. Since they are the cheapest horde available on my army list with Crushing Strength 1 and unwavering they are very attractive. That I would only need three per unit and they should paint up quickly made them almost irresistible. The only problem was the Mantic doesn’t make any models for them. So it was going to be a quest!
It quickly became clear that I could easily spend a lot of money on some incredible models but that was not anywhere on my plan, the spending lots of money part. I wanted decent minis. These where joining my dwarf collection after all. The models couldn’t be larger than Duane either as he is technically a Greater Earth Elemental, listed as a Monster (50mm base) while these were to be Large Infantry (40mm bases) and I wanted to build four Regiments of the guys which would require twelve miniatures. I wanted a selection of sculpts and styles because I saw them as being very individual. So it was off to eBay.
I had already gone through all my Reaper Bones looking for any elemental or golem that might work and found none. There were a couple of metal models that looked the part on their website I’d have to watch for good prices on. Plastic Dungeons and Dragons figures from Wizards of the Coast showed a lot of promise as well, having a wide selection of both ranges and styles. Since I didn’t play anymore and paint my own toy soldiers I had only been vaguely aware of these prepainted plastic models so wasn’t sure of the exact sizes of any of them. Multiple finds from a couple of sellers kept postage down and gave me a selection to choose from and compare.
In the end one was too small, one was way too tiny, and one was too tree like but with a metal Reaper mini to round things out, I had enough to start work. Among the mix I had four nice solid looking fellows called Elemental Walls I could spread out one per base, a couple of Medium Elementals sporting green gems that looked like they were bursting through the ground, and even two that reminded me a little of Jack Kirby drawings of The Thing.
I cut unit bases out of thick plastic card and used super glue to attach the figures. I then used my favorite standby, lightweight spackling, to create the ground and hide the round bases attached to the feet of the minis.
As soon as this was in place I poured crushed charcoal (reclaimed from used up water filters) over it, pressed it down then tapped off the excess. Once these were done I set them aside to dry over night.
Painting was as straight forward as I assumed it would be. Bases were coated in a dark brown I touched up the basic paint job the figures had come with. Well, obviously the metal figure was primed before being base coated in grey and brown. All the figures were washed with Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil. Then it was matter of highlighting and weathering.
Here’s another place the wet palette came in very handy. Fresh paint of various greys and browns arranged in a circle for easy mixing made short work of the last three regiments, the first having been assembled and painted as soon as I had three minis I liked together. I glued down some mixed flocking here and there before spraying them all with sealant. When that had dried I glued on tufts of grass and small brush for a more natural look and to match my dwarf force. I had skipped adding the architectural bits and pieces my dwarf units have as I wanted these guys to work in a Forces of Nature army as well. I do have an antique army of painted Wood Elves packed away after all. So I have four finished Regiments of Large Infantry to bolster my army.
Not only do I have four regiments but I can also combine them into two Hordes.
Once I’d located the minis I wanted these units were fast and fun to paint. I think they fit together nicely as well and will look great along side Duane and Brother Stonebrow.
Hasslefree Miniatures’ dwarf hero Gromli had been sitting in my collection for quite a while now. As is often the case, I had liked him from first glance and picked him up with a random assortment during one of the company’s sales. I knew he would find a home in my collection one day and his stalwart stare and solid pose marked him as a dwarf possessing serious leadership skills.
Once I began thinking about building my regiment of crossbow armed Ironwatch I knew I wanted him to lead them, Gromli’s Gang. That he is armed with a great weapon and carrying a shield on his back rather than a crossbow seemed minor issues especially as Hasslefree has a great selection of bits and pieces for converting and personalizing miniatures. I’m still considering how I might best use the lovely sets of helmet wings they tossed into one of my orders last year. I try to add a couple crossbow armed dwarfs and some extra weapons packs to every order so have developed quite a little “bits box” of Hasslefree pieces as well as enough troopers to build another Kings of War regiment (twenty soldiers strong in the rules). It took little to no effort to shave down the nub on Gromli’s back, used for attaching the shield, and cover the spot with a crossbow and quiver of bolts.
The standard bearer was a pretty straight forward conversion being a weapon swap (for the banner pole) and removal of another shield nub from his left arm. That was just a matter of drilling out the hand when I drilled the wrist for a connector pin and gluing a griffin headed top on the pole. After he was finished and primed I realized the banner pole was way too tall to fit into the foam tray I already set aside for storing the unit so had to remove it from the hand, cut it down, and reattach it. That done, he was ready, again, for paint. The banner I drew onto a nice piece of 100% cotton paper then painted. After it and the bearer were dry and sealed I cut it out and attached the flag to the pole.
The drummer was a slightly more involved conversion job but very basic in the skills and problem solving employed. The drum is part of a set of instruments I ordered from Reaper Miniatures online store and glued to his front . You can even order individual sprues from the set in the Boneyard section (thanks again, Necron99, for spotting that resource!). I cut the weapon from a right hand before drilling out both hands to hold drum sticks which I made from the discarded spear butts I had cut off to make my longer spears hafts. With a little cutting down they turned out to be perfect for the job at hand, so to speak. Again, a coat of white primer and he was almost ready to start the long roll.
While I was getting the command squad sorted out I was also working on the base. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that standards and musicians no longer serve any purpose other than aesthetic in Kings of War but I think units look much better, more complete, when they are included so will continue to do so in my constructions. Maybe it’s my Oldhammer roots showing, I don’t know, but it is too deeply ingrained for me to change now. So, as before, I used an old, plastic movement tray as the foundation of the unit and combined layers of cork with Scibor Miniatures bases and sculptural details from the same line as my previous units and characters. This helps tie all the units in my force together visually, despite being of mixed manufacture, and adds to the back story of my force patrolling the borders of a shattered dwarf realm. I built up the back half of the base as I pictured the rear ranks aiming over the heads of the front.
After the glue had plenty of time to dry I began coating the surface with Light Weight Wall Spackle. This smooths out rough areas and hides the joins between parts. I also use it to cover details I don’t need, like a lot of the skulls that are scattered around the bases of the statues. Once I start my Abyssal Dwarf units I’m sure I’ll want more of them showing but prefer to keep them to a minimum with my traditional dwarfs. While the spackling was still wet I pressed in ground charcoal I harvest from water filters. It makes for great surface texture and when combined with the spackle creates a solid surface for painting and gluing to. Once everything has dried for twenty four hours I spray primed it white and began applying color.
I am finding that these bases are less about painting and more about weathering, using washes and stains, rather than dry brushing and stippling. I did try to match the tiles and mosaics to what I have already completed but other than that go with my gut reactions for the rest of it. When it was done I flocked the base with an earth tone mix I make before spray sealing it. The plants and grasses would be added after the figures were glued down.
Breaking with my usual habit of only painting a couple figures from any project at once, I worked on six to eight crossbow armed dwarfs at a time as I was excited to get the unit assembled. Besides, my games of Kings of War so far had shown I needed more ranged attack regiments to deal with the hordes of cavalry and pike that Ryan usually fields. This had the side effect of really speeding up my painting through repetition. Now I can churn through four of the quarreler dwarfs in about two hours. That’s going to be helpful as I have a second regiment’s base ready for priming.
Each miniature has the plug on their feet clipped off during prep, a hole is drilled in one of the heels, a wire is glued in place, and the entire thing is attached to an old plastic base with white glue. This holds the figure in place during painting yet comes right off before I attach them to the unit base. Much easier than trying to paint everything already attached to begin with. It was at the stage of gluing soldiers down that I realized I needed to paint two to three more to fill in some gaps. The unit just looked a little under manned, so to speak. I’ve got several minis on the table almost finished that I plan to attach as soon as they are done.
In addition to finishing up a few more troops to fill in some gaps I’m going to keep painting them for the second regiment so I can choose to combine them into a horde. I’ve also started a regiment size base for a unit of berserkers I’ve had in mind for a while. Then there are the brock riders I just primed oh and the Warsmiths. Good thing my Abyssal army is still on a boat heading to the US because I have no idea when I would paint them.
Since they are such a good price I had picked up two of Mantic Games’ Dwarf artillery pieces, planning to assemble one of each the Organ Gun and Cannon. Once my friends and I started playing Kings of War I knew I needed to base them as complete units, besides, the Undead catapults had been so much fun to make and paint. I started with the same wooden discs I had picked up for the Balefire bases I had made previously and the assembled miniatures to draw the outline of the siege works I wanted my dwarfs to be entrenched in. I tried to plan for some of the extra bits like powder boxes and beer tankards. I decided this project was the perfect opportunity to paint and use the ancient flame cannon and crew I’d been saving for years so added them to the queue.
While the machines and crews were being painted it was time to start building defensive positions. Back in the day, dwarf armies had engineers that could build fortifications so I’ve always liked the idea of hiding my fragile artillery behind defensive works. Yet another project for using up the scraps and clutter on my desk is always a good thing. I assembled the walls first out of bits of wood and glued planking down where the war machine would be seated. When the walls were dry, I attached them to the base using cork to help hold them in place. This would also be the foundation for the piled up dirt.
Once the glue had all dried I applied light weight spackling to fill in gaps and add texture. Then the extra details were glued into place before priming everything white.
Then I painted them up and textured the bases with mixed flocking. It was while they were drying a thought began forming in the back of my mind.
The units had been through the regular painting process and were waiting to take up residence in their new homes. The flame cannon crew had been finished before I even started their base as I was so excited to have a reason to work on them. I had cut the disc bases off of the feet of the miniatures so they could be glued directly to the base.
First the cannon and crew
Then the Organ Gun and crew were ready to take their posts
First unit painted and the last base finished but finally it was time for the Flame Cannon crew to move their advanced weaponry into place, preferably without any explosions.
Now that I had one of each of the artillery pieces available to my army (the Driller and Behemoth are both Monsters) the earlier thought came to the front of my mind. What about all the war machines I had already painted? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a couple of empty emplacements for pieces from my finished collection? So I built a couple more siege works with beer steins and weapons handy for any crewman I temporarily assign duty there.
So once I saw the power of Indirect Fire used against me by the Kingdoms of Men I knew I was going to need some dwarf bombards of my own and rather than make more bases I think these two will be drafted into use. Of course that means I have to get and paint some Mantic Jarrun Bombards. I’m sure I will end up making more of these especially as Kings of War Second Edition recommends 50mm square bases for war machines. Then again, my attention is already shifting toward Berserkers and Hordes of Bulwarkers so it might not be right away.
Now that I’ve seen what Duane, my Greater Earth Elemental, can do in Kings of War it is clear I need another of these guys. Heck, I need a Horde of Lesser Earth Elementals but am still seeking the right minis. Until then Duane and the guy above will have to hold their own. I am really pleased with these castings and it just reinforces my belief that big things with shallow details is what Bones plastic is best at. Even though they tower over the rest of the army (not hard as they are dwarfs) they are light weight. Add their low cost and they are the perfect choice to add some punch to my dwarf army.
Duane was a fun one to paint and fairly easy to prep not to mention very fast paint job. As with other Bones figures I find it easiest to shave along mold lines with a brand new x-acto blade. The rocky surface made it easy to see most of the imperfections. The new guy on the other hand is all textures and shapes. Of course that also made him quite the enjoyable undertaking. Too bad I don’t have any 25mm squirrels to add on to him.
Finished painting Belit and her first officer. They have other names on the Hasslefree website but they currently escape my memory. I also finished the two dwarf spearmen I glued to my new plastic Micro Arts bases. I have to say I am so pleased with them I am looking to purchase more especially the Graveyard line I skipped first time around.
The last two Hasslefree dwarfs I had armed with my extended spears were finished so got glued down to two more of the Ancient bases. I like how scattered bits of masonry and tile work look a little like my Kings of War army bases. Ties them all together even though they aren’t for the same game system. All from one great kingdom no matter what system or scale. I’m a bit odd that way.
Not only am I going to need to some of the Graveyard bases they just released but will need more of the Ancient for my growing dwarf force. Then there is the Frostgrave gang that will need to go on the Enchanted bases so I’m sure there will be more pictures in future.
Some of the first figures I tackled when my box of rewards from Reaper Miniatures second Bones campaign on Kickstart arrived were what I called the Hero-on-Big-Base figures. Very characterful figures mounted on large, sculpted bases. Fairly easy to see why they appealed to me right away. The names I use are entirely of my own making so don’t try looking them up in the catalog.
The first was a ghoul like character whose visage was miscast to the point of offending the camera. No, really, it is a terrible casting with a concave face that I was able to build a bit of a nose onto with green stuff. Came out alright but the rock is my favorite part, truth be told. I don’t see him leading my Kings of War Undead anytime soon.
Since this guy is covered in pieces of castle and appears to be standing on a tiny tower I thought of him as The Rook. There is just something fun, goofy really, about the exaggeration of these minis and wearing big bits of architecture seems perfectly acceptable. Sort of medieval meets anime’ really. Just look at the size of the blades. Despite all the masonry, Rook is a fairly simple figure so I kept the paint job simple and finished in just under an hour.
I’m no sure why all the male knights in this set are bald but it is what it is. Must have something to do with the helmets none of them are wearing. Demonblade ,or DB to his friends, has lots of fancy armor so I figured the shoulder plates should be differentiated and went with bronze. Weathering them was half the fun. Like Rook this fellow was kept simple and finished in just under an hour.
If there was any doubt as to the influence of anime’ on these sculpts then this cleric’s hammer should banish them. I’m guessing it would weigh more than the holy warrior and his armor combined. Must be some divine inspiration or magic that makes up for the physics. It was the rough stairs of the base that first drew my attention to this miniature and where I started work. A dunk in a mug of hot water before a bath of cold to straighten the shaft of his weapon and he was ready for painting. I had such fun with his various layers and materials that I went well over my self imposed time limit. The shoulder pad was especially useful for some heraldry.
Chaosgrrrl! and Rojo.
One of the last ones I painted from this set as I really wanted to spend some time working on her charming shield. Another massive weapon but at least she has some armor covering the side of her not protected by the tower shield. With the anime’ influence it seems that female costumes can often be as small as the weapons are large so this was a step in the right direction. Her navel maybe exposed but those spiked plates on her armor aren’t just for show. I named her shield Rojo and saved the bound demon for last. I liked the idea of him having opinions, arguments, and conversations with the lithe chaos warrior so tried to paint them eyeing each other. Sort of a twist on the whole Elric/Stormbringer relationship.
The heavily armored warrior woman looked rather Greek in her crested helm so I opted for a Spartan color scheme besides, I had intended to patina her armor when I saw her picture in the campaign and there was already a lot of red on my wet pallet from working on Rojo. That I got to play with the natural aspects of stone and ivy was a bonus really.
She was looking pretty good but just not complete and it wasn’t just the bad photos. She needed something else but I decided against adding any outside materials. I was also trying to keep each Bones mini under an hour but regularly stretch that on fun figures like this one so I compromised and put her aside over night. After coffee and breakfast I picked her up and just began painting. The wet pallet I’ve started using was very helpful with this I can tell you. It is super useful for unit painting but that’s a whole different post. I might still add a red gem to the hilt of her sword but all in all I think she really came out well.
Having painted a fair number of Reaper Bones to date I have formed a few opinions. While the material has short comings it definitely has some big benefits. First problem issue I’ve found is that fine detail (like women’s noses, fingers, the Ghoul Lord’s nose and eye) can be mashed up or missing. The second is the mold release used sticks around and messes with paint adherence. The latter issue is solved by my better cleaning the minis beforehand while the former is harder to solve. Now the positives begin with the price of figures being downright cheap. So cheap I don’t mind taking chances on color schemes or painting techniques as well as picking up figures I might not otherwise (I’m looking at you Bugbear and Gnoll troops) so now have a big collection of dungeon dwellers ready to go When Dungeon Saga arrives. Another plus is the wide variety of minis Reaper has already produced so one is spoiled for choice regardless of genre’. Storing them before or after painting is aided by the fact that they are light weight and when you start collecting miniature war gaming armies that starts to matter. My favorite aspect, so far, is that once finished the acrylic paint seems to bond with the bendy plastic and flexes rather than chips. I do love how the terrain pieces paint up with the bases in the above post as examples. Honestly, I’m more excited about working on the ruins included in Dragons Don’t Share than either the adventurers or the dragon. All in all, I like the material though I think I may limit future Bones purchases to architecture and BIG monsters. Those come out wonderfully and really benefit from the light weight.
Though my Shieldbreakers didn’t survive their first Kings of War battle they proved to be both brave and effective. You gotta love those high Nerve Scores combined with Headstrong and Crushing Strength (1). Interesting that I never really looked at them as a first choice in my army lists before because they are quite a good value for their points. Many thanks to Skrapwelder for trading his unpainted Hasslefree Dwarf collection for my unpainted Oldhammer Dark Elves as it made me readdress some of my original opinions. That and I REALLY wanted the dwarfs! The smallest group in the collection were the dwarfs with great weapons (Nain is name given by Hasslefree Miniatures), provided with various heads and weapons they seemed the natural place to start to work. After I’d cleaned up the flash and mold lines I removed the tab on their feet, drilled a hole in the heel of one of them, and super glued in a piece of brass rod before using white glue to temporarily attach the figure to an individual base. I find the gel form of super glue easiest to work with and I’m less likely to get it everywhere.
While I was prepping the miniatures I began assembling the unit base. I actually built two bases at the same time as I knew I wanted to construct a regiment of crossbow armed dwarfs as well. Working on both simultaneously also helped keep them looking like they were set on the same battlefield. I used bases and decorative details from Scibor Miniatures just like my previous units as I love the appearance (they are second only to Secret Weapon Miniatures in my opinion) and want the army to look like a force that is reclaiming ancient dwarf lands. The mosaics and ruined statues go a long way toward that.
After playing miniatures games since Warhammer second edition and buying Mantic Games undead from their just about initial release (boxed sets used to come with Renedra movement trays), I have acquired quite a pile of standard size movement trays so find them the perfect starting place for building Kings of War units. After experimenting with different materials from my scrap boxes I’ve settled on wood and cork as a great combination for strength, texture (yes it matters!), weight, and ease of use. The wood is all reclaimed balsa and such leftover from various projects so each unit base cleans up a little of my workshop as well. Bonus!
I like to keep an appropriately sized miniature around to test the look and size of different parts and before I’d painted any of the actual Shieldbreakers I had a converted spear armed dwarf handy to do the job. Doesn’t hurt to test fit a few of the actual inhabitants, once their glue dries of course. Can’t have their temporary bases attaching to their permanent one.
After deciding where the bigger parts would be placed and gluing them down I covered the base with Light Weight Drywall Patch. While this was still moist I poured the charcoal mixture I get out of used up water filters. This makes for a nice texture while blending the various bits and pieces with the cork rather nicely. This also creates, after spray priming, a solid surface for painting and gluing whereas the filler alone can be a bit delicate and spongy. Just like the miniatures I base coat, wash, and highlight the piece before applying mixed flocking materials and spray sealant. Lots of spray sealant.
When I’ve finished painting and flocking the base it is time to start gluing down the finished individual soldiers. I suggest starting at the front and working back as it is easier to fit them that way. As I hadn’t finished the command crew yet I had to take a more freeform approach with the ones I had. Once they are glued in place and had time to dry I go in and touch up the paint on their feet as well as add more flocking and tufts of grass.
The figure I chose as the unit leader is actually one I already owned but with his huge, two handed hammer thought he’d be perfect to lead Mac’s Lads. I’ll probably end up getting another for use as a role playing figure. The standard bearer and musician were regular troopers with a bit of conversion work. The musician simply involved gluing on one of the horns I got in a pack of instruments from Reaper Miniatures. They have some great little bits and pieces and many of the sprues can be purchased separately. After all those spearheads and gripping hands I’d dealt with it was no problem to cut off one of the weapons, drill out the hands, and glue in some brass rod as the banner pole. I topped it off with a piece I cut off of an extra Iron Guard banner. In previous posts I’ve mentioned the wisdom off planning for storage while working on terrain. I didn’t take that into account with this banner pole and will have to add yet another thicker tray to my Army Transport bag. Of course that means I have room to make some more tall units now.
After I had glued a couple of troopers on with Mac I waited until the rest of the command staff were finished so I could attach them in front before adding any more regular soldiers. This matters if you make big flags like I do and don’t want to lose figures behind it or have bent unnaturally. Once touch-up paint and secondary flocking were done I added tufts of grass to break up the surfaces and add a further overgrown quality. As mentioned in the previous post, they weathered shelling, took a charge from heavy cavalry, and still helped take down said horsemen before succumbing to Ryan’s artillery and magic chicanery PLUS nothing needed re-gluing after the battle. All in all, a most auspicious beginning for this unit which, by the way, I think came out quite well. Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some crossbow armed dwarfs that need my attention… and another elemental.
The second edition of Kings of War is getting closer to arriving and I need a lot more ranged units for my dwarf force. I had seven Hasslefree dwarfs armed with crossbows and I figured with some Scibor bits that would be enough to form a Troop. Gave them a rough test fit and I started painting dwarfs and building a base for them.
With only seven miniatures, the painting went rather quickly. Hasslefree minis are such nice little sculpts they really are a joy to paint. That’s probably good as I have a dream of assembling an entire army of them.
With the soldiers finished they needed their base. I assembled it using a plastic movement tray (I’ve been collecting them for years), cork, mixed sands, and a resin fallen statue. The texture is actually the carbon and other grains from used up water filters. I glue it on the base after all the assembly is finished to add a natural texture and even out all my errors and odd shapes. I use superglue to add strength. Then it is simply a matter of primering, painting, and flocking like I would for any miniature. I think they make nice pieces even without miniatures on them.
After sealant, each figure has a hole drilled in the heel of one foot in which a piece of brass wire is inserted to pin the miniature to the base. I use the gel form of superglue as it is easier to control plus it is great for the lichen and grass tufts. After the figures have been glued down I touch up the paint and add small tufts of grass and little clumps of lichen around their feet.
Again, being a small unit with neither standard nor musician they assembled quickly. Being Kevin White sculpts they are quite dramatic and look great together.
They really make an attractive unit when all finished. In fact, I like them so much I’ve already started planning the Regiment of crossbows I want to build next as well as the Regiment of shieldbreakers. Then, if I can get those two units finished I’m already picturing a Horde of Bulwarkers that need to join my army.
Working on a couple of figures at a time, assembled from two different Reaper Bones Kickstart campaigns as well as a MOUSER action figure, I have completed my unit of Colonial Marines. I think they came out rather well. With the sniper and the drone they are starting to look like Deadzone Pathfinders and with Warzone around the corner I can always use more science fiction figures in my collection.
I was really trying to avoid some of my usual color choices and since I really wanted to use some of the Blasted Wetlands (http://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=79_30_59) bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures I chose earth tones.
As I have mentioned in past posts, I have a habit of painting a couple of any unit or project at a time. While this may seem to slow progress I have found it suits my limited attention span actually increasing my productivity.
There was a nice variety of poses though some of the goggles had some mscasts they were easy enough to work around with either carving or green stuff.
The special weapons offered some interesting opportunities.
I tried to weather the flamer thrower supply tanks.
When the second Bones campaign rewards arrived and could clearly see the details and could tell it was medic I knew I had a squad on my hands.
Once the figures had been sealed they just needed something more. Taking inspiration from the title “Blasted Wetlands” I added some of Secret Weapon’s water effects and clumps of small plants. It’s a small change, literally, but it really makes a difference in my opinion. Just places them a little more into their environment.
I didn’t initially plan on them actually being a unit, I just wanted a cohesive look. The second Reaper Bones campaign had a few more similar figures that seemed to unify them all into one squad, especially when Tom gave me the MOUSER action figure and suggested I match the colors. The sniper was actually the first figure I painted in the color scheme though I left her on her “high tech” base as I figure she is perched on something keeping a protective eye on the squad.
All in all they make a rather entertaining squad. The drone rounds them out nicely. In fact, I like it so much I picked up a pack of seven. I have this image of the squad hitting the drop zone, sending the bipedal droids in all directions, moving like hunting velociraptors, to flush out the enemy and reconnoiter objectives. Of course they are way down on the painting priorities so for now I’ll entertain myself with this squad. Now back to the table glacier.
One of my favorite parts of KublaCon is the painting area set up just outside the dealers room on the edge of the foyer. I really like the location. Something about being tucked under the stairs adds to the industrious feeling, the Paint and Take tables being almost always full certainly doesn’t hurt either. Will really have to get photos of some of the hard working apprentice painters next year. It is inspiring to see so many people of all ages tucking in and trying their hands at minis painting as well as artists sharing their skills.
Friday found me entering the first of the Speed Painting contests as I was there and I like to maximize my opportunities to get into the final round. Always a fun way to spend time with creative people as we all have the same figure, the same paints, and the same lousy brushes. Other than the final round one never knows what figure will be handed out. If one places first, second, or third in any early contests then they can sign up for the Masters Round held Sunday night.
My first piece was a Rivet Wars figure I had never seen before. I don’t play the game but am vaguely aware of the visuals. Since the figure came with a stat card showing this color scheme I decided it was easier to match what I saw rather than create something from scratch. Fortunately I had just enough time to add the tartan to the kilt and crowns to the ammo belt. I think those were some of the details that took it over the top, placing first in the round. That meant I was eligible for the final one Sunday night. Now, there is no rule saying one can’t enter multiple times but once I’ve earned a spot in the final contest I’m done entering qualifying rounds. I’ve got games to play and friends to catch up with after all.
So this year’s mascot is a Dwarf Cleric version of Kubla and as has become tradition, the final round’s figure is that year’s Kubla mini. While I love dwarfs he is a VERY small figure whose finest detail is difficult for me to discern with my fifty year old eyes and the brushes we have aren’t very good. Since one isn’t allowed to use an Opti-visor in the Speed Painting competition it is obviously becoming a young person’s game. I will keep doing my best to represent the oldsters in the painting community but only time will tell how much longer I will last. While I was able to do some nice, basic color blending as well as pick out some fine detail there was a gem on his forehead I couldn’t even see and I was disappointed in my handling of the mace head. It is supposed to be a ten sided die but I just went with a straight (boring) metalic scheme. My hard work and patience did pay off as I won the Silver Medal in the final round for the second year running. The winner did a great job on his figure, painting the tiny jewel on his helmet and making the weapon look like the head was made out of a sapphire. I felt fortunate to be right behind him in second place as the rest of the field were quite good. That’s what happens when twelve winners sit down together I guess.
Next was the actual KublaCon Painting Competition 2015. I find the name to be a little misleading as it is really more of a miniatures painting Exhibition. Each entry is judged on it’s own merit, whether it meets certain criteria and awarded a medal if it reaches them. If five painters enter pieces that earn enough points to qualify as Silver then all five painters win Silver Awards or badges in the case of the Draconic Awards. This year saw KublaCon’s volunteers teaming up with the Draconic Awards adding yet more national cred to our little local convention. We are already a qualifier for the Crystal Brush competition so this seems a logical next step. Before I go any further I’d like to take a moment to thank the previously mentioned volunteers. The Painting area is hugely successful every year due in no small part to the excellent people who give their time and talents over the weekend. A huge Shout Out and hearty thanks to Wayne, Meredith, and all their volunteers for running a wonderful part of KublaCon.
I have mentioned the Beholder miniature from Reaper Bones in an earlier post. I love the sculpt and despite having no real use for him in any games I currently play, he was the first one out of the rewards I painted. His face is just so expressive and the details fun to paint that I wanted to show him off. I also think he came out quite well for squishy plastic. Turns out I was right and he earned a Silver. Maybe it was his hypnogaze.
Maelee, by Bombshell Babes is another figure with an expressive face who was fun to paint. Honestly, I find the majority of them to be entertaining and well sculpted. I coupled her with a Malifaux base because her massive wrench needed some massive pipes. I was delighted, upon entering her, to discover that there is a limited edition, alternative sculpt of Maelee battling robots. The three winners of the Final Speed Painting Round each won a limited edition figure from various manufacturer and first place was the alternate Maelee. As luck would have it he really preferred the resin vampire thing I had and we happily swapped. Thanks, Jordan! Back to this Maelee and my luck held out landing her a Silver despite her refusal to wash up before the competition.
My fondness for dwarfs is no surprise to any who know me and when they are mounted and highly mobile it’s just bonus. I showed pictures of my Berserker Lord on Brock in an earlier post but I enjoyed painting both him and the base so much I wanted to show him at KublaCon. I think it was the old school mushrooms I made out of milliput and toothpicks that tipped him to Draconian Gold.
Since I’ve just had a ball assembling and painting unit bases for Mantic’s Kings Of War I wanted to show off a couple of them. Besides being my current favorite, the Hasslefree Bulwarkers unit are an attractive grouping, carefully painted, and all those hand drilled spearheads and dwarf hands deserved to be in a display case at least once. The decorative Scibor bits really add a sense of narrative as well. So pleased when they won a gold as after the first two silvers I was worried nothing else placed because I’ve been a solid bronze and silver winner for years. Well I needn’t have worried.
Just like the Bulwarkers, the second edition Bugman’s Rangers are some of my favorite minis, ever. It was my college room mate’s paint job, with a tiny stein on each shield, on this unit that caught my imagination and made me not only want to play Warhammer but collect my own dwarfs. The Oldhammer, chunky stunties of the eighties are so different from Kev White’s anatomically logical work that I wanted to show something from both examples. I was floored when they also won Gold.
Okay, Slayer Girl, as I’ve come to think of this female slayer by Hasslefree is a wonderful sculpt that (I even have the scifi version of) has been off and on the painting table for over a year. As soon as I’d decide on one part of her I’d run into the massive force that is my own indecision on the next part. Once a section was done something would happen and she would get chipped or spilled on so I kept starting and stopping her. When everything was fixed I couldn’t decide on the tattoos. Finally, right before the con and after a base swap I felt she was finished. I have struggled with flesh tones and worked to get hers right. The miniature really inspired me to keep coming back to make things better, to push my comfort zone and work on new techniques, not accept “good enough” like she were a bulk trooper. It is also helpful to have Necron99 pointing out the obvious when I’m too close to see it (the previously mentioned base swap for example). Truthfully, I was really hoping she would place and felt she was my best chance for maybe a gold this year. Turned out she was one of four golds but she came in third in the Journeyman Class. Which is truly humbling because there were amazing pieces this year done by talented painters that I was just proud to be showing with so to place at all was more than I had even considered. To top it off, I won a full set of twenty-four Militiare transparent paints. Talk about exceeding any and all expectations.
So, I always said if was able to win another gold, especially in Single Miniature, I would move up to Masters Class the next year. When one enters six pieces, wins two silver and four gold then it is time to run with the big dogs or as Necron99 puts it,”enter the wasteland of no trophies”. Honestly, I’m so stunned by this year’s amazing results I’m sure the buzz will carry me through a few years of hoping for Bronze in future. Until then I have skills to sharpen, pigments to master, bases to create, and an airbrush to dig out of my garage because I know as long as I keep trying to learn, to improve, I will keep loving this art form. Hope to see you all at the KublaCon painting cases next year.