As of late, I’ve had a couple somewhat arbitrary painting goals. First has been to paint the models that I have on the shelf which are assembled but unpainted, in an effort to clear out that shelf of shame before I start buying assembling too many other models. Second, I’d like to paint all the warcasters on the Active Duty Roster. One of the models that resides at the intersection of those two is Supreme Kommandant Irusk, also known as Irusk2, also known as that guy with the annoying heavy pewter flag that always tips over and breaks.
As mentioned above, I had assembled Irusk2 previously as I had tried him out for a brief stint back in Mk.II. I liked him, but found that I was getting assassinated a lot, so I ended up shelving him in favour of some other casters. In the meantime, he had shown himself to be quite the powerhouse in Mk.III, as one of our top-tier infantry support casters and one of the few really capable of bring a lot of melee infantry across the table and into your opponent’s face.
As any owner of this model will attest, there are two serious challenges with it, both of which relate to the flag. First, the flag itself is made of pewter, which makes the model very top-heavy and easy to accidentally knock over. Second, the model comes in multiple pieces, and there is a joint between the upper portion of the flag and the hand which is not very large and kind of tricky to glue. These two issues combine to make the natural state of the model something like as shown on the left.
As a result, this model is just begging to be pinned, which I did, spending a lot of time carefully drilling to try to get as long of a pin as I could in between the two sections. One of the other things I did when I assembled him the first time was that I had filled the base with lead fishing weights and PP’s brown stuff, in an effort to make him a little less top-heavy. This was a good idea, but I had to clean it up a little, filing it down to get the bottom surface flatter so the model is a little more stable. Had I known about them then, I probably should have just used one of PP’s metal bases, but as they say in my French classes, c’est la vie.
Fast forward about a year, and as with the previous Spriggan project, there were a few things that I had to do clean him up and bring him up to my new standard, as my hobby skills have greatly improved since then. There was some mold line removal and re-priming that had to be done, so I pulled out some files and got to work, fixing up the worst of the results from my careless assembly.
As you can see on the studio picture, Irusk2 is a relatively ornate model, with all the decorations and accoutrements befitting someone whose title is Supreme Kommandant. This can make him an intimidating model to paint, as you sit down and try to figure out which colour everything should go, in order to end up with a model that has balanced colour choices and sufficient contrast between distinct elements of the model.
One of the themes with my army so far has been that I’ve been using purple as a base army colour, and relatively higher ranking models have had more and more pink on them. As a result, I knew that Irusk here was going to have a lot of pink, but that I was going to keep the purple going on the flag and base rim, which meant I needed to leave a little purple on the model in order to keep it balanced. I did so by painting his chest plate and his trench coat purple, and making all the rest of the armour plates pink, while leaving his sash and some of the exposed fabric of his uniform a neutral grey.
This model used a lot of standard techniques, and to be honest, there are a few flaws so it is solidly tabletop standard, but if there is one aspect that I would like to focus on, it is the flag. Often times, what one will do to get a tabletop standard model banged out is to just use the standard basecoat, wash, highlight method. There is nothing wrong with it, and I continue to use washes on most of my models, however the trick is that there are some places where washes just don’t work. Large, fairly flat surfaces like capes and flags don’t tend to take washes too well. Instead of going where they need to go to darken the shadows, they tend to pool in unnatural places, so that instead of a nicely shaded model, you end up with a model that just looks flat and dirty.
So, how do we approach this? Instead of basecoating and washing, we’re going to have to take this section of the model and manually paint in the shadows and highlights. Here, working with my usual Reaper Royal Purples Triad, I started by base coating with Imperial Purple. Then, the next step is to look at the model and figure out where the light is going to be hitting the object. On a wavy flag like this one, it’s going to be darker inside the folds and on areas where the flag has draped over, while the highlights go on the ridges and on the places where the fabric is on such an angle that the surface is facing upwards at the sun.
From there, you can use your shadow colour (in this case, Nightshade Purple) to blend the shadows. There are a variety of techniques that you can use here, with two-brush blending being popular, but my usual technique at the moment is to take a brush, apply paint to the model in the center of where you want that second colour, then quickly rinse the brush, apply a little saliva, and drag the edge outward. Do the same with your highlight colour, and don’t be afraid to mix colours on your wet palette and highlight up or down in multiple steps if it becomes too difficult to get a nice smooth blend all the way from your darkest shadow to your brightest hightlight. These blending techniques do take some practice to get a smooth blend, so if you’re having trouble, picking up a unit of men and women with capes and keeping at it is a great way to learn.
For the white logo on the flag, I used similar techniques, starting with Reaper’s HD Concrete Grey as a base colour, and blending up through Misty Grey and into a pure white on just the highest highlights. However, I ran into a bit of an issue here. One of the side benefits of a wash is that it can also give a blacklining effect, whereby a bit of nuln oil in a crack between two bright colours can help break it up, which helps the eye distinguish where one colour ends and the next starts, and really helps make the miniature pop. Since I didn’t do a wash, I have to put those blacklines in manually, with some dark paint (it doesn’t have to be black — just something darker than your base colour is good enough). You’ll need to use thin paints and a decent brush to get it done right, of course. Personally, I have a 10/0 rigger brush that I use for this sort of thing. It’s nothing too fancy, just something I picked up at Michael’s, but I find that this very long, thin brush allows me to load it up with a fair bit of paint, and it has the right amount of flex to get deep into these sort of tiny recesses, so it’s a handy addition to my brush collection.
And there you have it. Normally, I like to do a lot of custom basing on my warcaster models, but in this case, the base that came with him was pretty good, and I didn’t really want to go taking things apart on such a tricky model, so I simply used the standard base and added a tuft and a little snow, to match the ice forming on the rocks on the sculpted base that was included. I added a little extra weathering on the beat up metal piece with the Cygnar logo on the base, and that was pretty much it.
Overall, I’m happy with this model as a tabletop piece, but not 100% satisfied. I wouldn’t say it’s my best work, and there are some flaws in certain areas, but nothing that would stand out from more than a foot away. At tabletop distances, the pink highlights and white edging on the armour does tend to pop, which is always good.. If I were to paint it again, I might like to do something so that his medals stand out more at tabletop distances, but that’s kind of tricky given the brightness of the pink.
As for what list to put him in? Well, Irusk2 is a great infantry caster, and can run in any theme. His feat grants his army pathfinder for a turn, and the ability to ignore clouds and forest for the purposes of determining LOS, which means they can come out of nowhere. Additionally, enemy models suffer -3 SPD when they begin their activation within his 14″ control area. He’s got a great list of support spells, with Artifice of Deviation, Battle Lust, Fire For Effect, and Solid Ground. If I’m playing this season’s ADR, the other casters on the list are probably going to want to run in Legion of Steel (at least for now), so when it comes to theme, that leaves Winter Guard Kommand and Jaws of the Wolf if I don’t want to have two completely redundant lists. As fun as it sounds to play him in Winter Guard Kommand and stack Bear’s Strength from Kovnik Joe and Battle Lust and apply axe to face, I’m going to try Jaws for my theorymachining.
Theme: Jaws of the Wolf
Supreme Kommandant Irusk
Greylord Forge Seer
Widowmaker Marksman (free from theme)
Kayazy Assassins w/ Underboss
Kayazy Assassins w/ Underboss
This list comes with a lot of stealth, because one thing more annoying than no-knockdown tough infantry with cover is no-knockdown tough infantry with cover and stealth. If you can stack battle lust and backstab from the minifeat on the Kayazy Assassins, you’ll be throwing a lot of dice at your target. With effective DEF 17 in melee, Eliminators tend to be a pain to remove, even moreso when they make a no-knockdown tough roll.
As for jacks, the combo of Behemoth in Irusk’s battlegroup and a Destroyer being marshalled by the Forge Seer is a good one. Irusk can slap Fire For Effect on the Destroyer, giving it fully boosted magical attack rolls on the bombard, good for sniping out incorporeal models. Behemoth only needs two focus to fire off two fully boosted shots, and since he gets one from power up, he can get the other from the Forge Seer. So, we’re talking three fully boosted bombard shots, one of which is magical, for the investment of just one focus per turn to upkeep Fire For Effect. This leaves Irusk with plenty of focus remaining for his other support spells and camping.
That said, this list does have some glaring weaknesses. First, there isn’t much to prevent Irusk2 from getting shot. With so many stealth models, there isn’t much that can effectively screen him. Second, sprays and mass eyeless sight could be a problem, so playing this list into Legion might be a bad idea.
Of course, I have a lot of painting to do before I can run a double Kayazy Assassin list, so…
(Note: Apologies for not having more WIP photos; I wasn’t originally planning to do a paintlog on this model)