Hot Takes: Champions and Khador ADR

Privateer Press recently spoiled some of their changes to the champions format, including the Active Duty Roster. And, like any Privateer Press release, that means there will be a deluge of hot takes, questionable analyses, and not-fully-thought-through opinions. Remember how all the Cryx players thought Ghost Fleet was unplayable trash and their faction was uncompetitive about a year ago? Anyways, I couldn’t let this go by without offering my unsolicited and uninformed opinions on the new format and the new ADR roster for Khador.

Format changes

There are a few format changes for the Masters and Champions tournament formats. First, Divide and Conquer, the requirement that everyone must play all of their lists at least once, is no longer a thing. This is something that may have been necessary in the past when one could just rock something like old-school Haley2 to victory on the strength of one extremely overpowered list, however now that balance is a bit tighter, character restrictions on lists are gone, and outliers are typically addressed through errata rather than being allowed to linger for years, there really is no reason for it to continue to exist and I don’t think it will be missed.

Masters also no longer uses ADR, which means that Specialists are gone from the format. Specialists are basically a sideboard that you are allowed if you bring casters on the ADR list. I like the idea of a format with a sideboard, and feel that there are a lot of underplayed, niche units which are good sideboard choices (hello, Assault Kommandos and Kossites!), however the economy of free points in themes meant it never really worked out. Either you had to create various legal permutations and combinations of your lists with whatever specialists you were afforded, or you had to spend ten minutes futzing around on War Room to get your lists to work out before the game started because you changed out a model which in turn changed the number of free solos from your theme.

They also made a lot of changes to the Active Duty Roster, the most notable being that themes are now a part of it. In addition to being limited to certain casters, you must choose your theme force from a list, and you aren’t allowed to play the same theme force for both your lists. This is an interesting idea, because it makes the ADR a truly limited format by disallowing more than 10% of the models in a faction, and I kind of like it. Further, they are increasing the number of casters available to most factions from four to five, and decreasing the number available to CoC and Grymkin to three, because ADR restrictions didn’t really do much to already limited factions and that helps balance out the big advantage that the limited factions got in the format.

They also discussed in CID the removal of the 15 second minimum turn, which is something that I am agnostic on. I don’t think the 15 second turn is as necessary given the hard turn limit in the game, but I still am not sure it’s a good experience when you’re that low on time and people are just throwing down focus and slapping the clock as fast as they can. However, it’s not something that has affected me greatly; I don’t usually have a lot of clock management issues, and when I do, I’m usually already screwed in other ways and on the way to a loss anyways.

Finally, they didn’t come out and make it official yet, but it’s been said during the CID process that PP is going to remove the painting requirement from Champions. This is probably a controversial statement, but I think it is good for Privateer Press to have a painting requirement on at least one of their tournament formats. It not only encourages painting, but it also means that people who like fully painted armies but aren’t good enough players to qualify for (and/or aren’t willing or able to travel to) huge national conventions like the WTC or Adepticon are more likely to have a chance at having a fully painted experience at smaller, more local conventions. The painting requirement was one reason why I chose to do Champions instead of Masters at the SOO, because it’s refreshing to have a whole day of fully painted games. However, I also think that a painting requirement and a limited format aren’t a great combination, as you could end up in a situation where players aren’t allowed to play their painted models due to the restrictions of the format. I think it would be a good idea to flip the painting requirement from Champions to Masters, or introduce a new format, or something so that painting requirements in Warmachine don’t go the way of the dodo. Dallas and the team at PP do a lot of work to promote the hobby aspect, and it would be sad to undermine that effort by eliminating all painting requirements from every official format and signal to the player base that it’s not important to at least aspire to play it painted.

Our Roster

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Anyways, onto the Khador ADR roster. Our caster choices consist of Kozlov, Sorscha3, Irusk2, Butcher1, and Zerkova1, and we are limited to two themes: Armoured Corps, and Jaws of the Wolf. Of course, I only play one of these casters and Armoured Corps has a lot of new models that I haven’t fully examined yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t spew my uninformed opinions out onto the Warmachine internet.

Kozlov

Ironically, for a caster who is supposed to be an Iron Fang, Kozlov is probably best in Armoured Corps. Fury and Tactical Supremacy are both excellent support spells for Man-O-War, particularly Shocktroopers, and I’ve been running him in Armoured Corps already with my patented “just take two of all the good models in the theme” list. Double Shocktroopers, double Drakhun, double Kovnik, and double Forge Seer, then season your battlegroup to taste. Once our new releases come out, I think that will open up a lot of new tactics and list builds with models that have previously been not that great such as the Demolition Corps and Bombardiers. Also, Atanas is going to unlock a lot, because the ability to move through your own models allows for a lot of options on the battlefield.

Jaws could potentially be interesting. Kozlov has some battlegroup support spells and his feat affects all models, including warjacks. The problem is that after spending three focus on upkeeps, and without any free charges or other forms of focus efficiency on the feat, he doesn’t have the focus to support a large battlegroup. However, PP has proposed allowing journeyman warcasters in Jaws of the Wolf, so bringing Andy1 and Sorscha0 and throwing a jack on each of them, plus perhaps one on a Forge Seer could solve some of those focus inefficiency issues.

Sorscha3

Sorscha3 is the latest iteration of Sorscha to be released in June, and she is my most anticipated model in a long time because it’s Sorscha in a Man-O-War suit and that is awesome. She grants Flank [Man-O-War] to her battlegroup, has a cost 1 jack support spell, Iron Flesh, and a cloudwall feat with clouds that hurt. I think there are a lot of tools here that could potentially be unlocked, but it’s pretty clear here that she’s a Man-O-War caster, so for my money, it’s Armoured Corps for her.

Also, she can take Beast 09 and Forge Seers can now cast Winter’s Wind on Beast. You’re welcome.

Irusk2:

At first glance, Irusk2 seems like he doesn’t really synergize with the themes available. He’s an infantry support caster, but his tools don’t seem to support Man-O-War as good as some others — I mean, how many Man-O-War can you fit in an Artifice of Deviation anyways? And with almost none of his kit doing anything to support warjacks, Jaws seems like a bad choice.

That is, until you remember that there is more to Jaws than just spamming warjacks. Irusk2 is a great infantry caster, and there are some interesting infantry choices in the theme. If you stack Battle Lust on top of the Kayazy Assassins’ minifeat, they can do a lot of damage with those little knives. Between Stealth, Tough, and Artifice of Deviation, they’re going to be difficult to remove on the way in. And just to add on an additional level of obnoxiousness, throw on Alexia1 so when they do finally kill one of your dudes, they come back as a zombie.

Butcher1:

I also think Butcher1 could be interesting in a combined arms Jaws list, if only because stacking Gang, Fury, mini-feat and Butcher’s feat on a unit of Kayazy Assassins allows for some truly hilarious damage potential on those tiny daggers.

I’m probably the only Khador player who has never actually played any of the Butchers (because I’m on Team Sorscha), but over at Avatar of Slaughter, Robert McCormick has been making some noise about Butcher1 in Armoured Corps, so… I dunno, go over there and read something from someone who actually knows what he’s talking about.

Zerkova1:

I don’t know, she… has a cloudwall, I guess? To be honest, I’ve only played Zerkova1 a couple of times, and I haven’t done particularly well with her. She doesn’t really help warjacks or help infantry hit hard, and she seems to lean more towards either Legion of Steel or Wolves of Winter as she would want to use the cloudwall to deliver something that packs a bit more of a punch and has a higher volume of attacks than Man-O-Wars.

On the other hand, countercharging Drakhuns through a unit of Shocktroopers behind a cloudwall seems legit, Ghost Walk could be fun combined with Demo Corps or Drakhuns, Hex Blast can more or less risk free take an enemy upkeep off a unit of Man-O-Wars, and Frost Hammer can be used to spray down single wound infantry jamming your Man-O-Wars without being so powerful that it can actually hurt the guys in the big metal suits.

Okay, I take it back, try her out in Armoured Corps.

My Pairings:

So, what am I going to run? First off, I’m definitely running Sorscha3 in Armoured Corps when she comes out, just because Sorscha is an old favourite of mine and Sorscha in a Man-O-War suit is straight up awesome. For a second list, since I’m restricted to Jaws, the smart thing to do would probably be a combined arms Jaws with two units of Kayazy Assassins and either Butcher1 or Irusk2. However, I don’t own any Kayazy Assassins and probably won’t want to paint 20 of them, and I’m also not particularly smart. Which means I’m going to wait for Sorscha0 to release and then make some sort of weird Kozlov Superfriends list, taking Kozlov and both Juniors and relying on his feat and the ability to stack speed buffs to hit hard and fast and be ARM 22 against melee. Because screw it, Cygnar shouldn’t be the only ones who are allowed to have fun with their juniors.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am intrigued by the new format as I think it will be nice to have a truly limited format, especially for people who can’t be bothered to remember what all 1,200 or so models in the game do or are sick of worrying about the OP boogeyman of the week. For Khador, I think there are going to be two challenges. First is going to be our usual Khador issues with incorporeal and recursion. Fortunately, however, Ghost Fleet isn’t on the ADR so we don’t have to worry about basically autolosing if we didn’t bring mass RFP and mass magic weapons or because our opponent brought a Wraith Engine, so this may be less of an issue than it is in unlimited formats.

Second is the fact that we are restricted to two themes which are generally comprised of heavily armoured, low defense, SPD 4 models. This means that it’s very easy to end up in a situation where you have two similar lists that share similar weaknesses, which is not a good position to be in in a two list pairing. Further, these bricks of slow models could struggle into some of the very live scenarios that exist in a post-SR2017 world.

While this looks like it could be a problem and the first reaction might be to complain about being dealt a bad ADR following on an underwhelming CID because PP doesn’t like us as much as they like Cryx and Cygnar, I think this ADR could be an opportunity to force some exploration and creativity in list building. We could see some more experimentation with combined arms Jaws lists, as well as the use of mercenaries to supplement the weaknesses of Armoured Corps. Already, the wheels are turning for me regarding things like combining Kayazy Assassins with Butcher1 or Irusk2, or finding some mercenaries that may be useful as flanking pieces for Armoured Corps lists.

Now, to sit and wait until my next big order of plasticrack comes in…

Gunpla is Funpla

As part of my recent efforts to branch out in my hobby time and cleanse my palate a little from masses and masses of Warmchine models, I’ve been trying a few different things lately. As part of this, I picked up a Gundam model a little while ago and visited the local Gunpla club for a meeting or two. As they had a contest coming up, I figured I would put it together and see what I can do as someone who is completely new to the world of Gunpla and doesn’t know an RX-78-2 Gundam from an RB-79 Ball.

But first, a little primer on some terminology, because I had no idea what these Gumdan things were either when I picked up my kit.

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I believe the technical term is “robit”

Gundam is a media franchise that started with a TV show called Mobile Suit Gundam in Japan in 1979, and since then has spawned countless spinoffs, not just on TV but also movies, comics and video games. In the Gundam universe, wars are fought with Mobile Suits, which are sixty foot tall mechanical combat vehicles that resemble giant robots. These mobile suits are piloted, can fight on land or in space, and often have both melee and ranged weapons. The protagonists refer to their mobile suits as Gundams, while the antagonists call their mobile suits something different, just like how all Panzers are tanks but not all tanks are Panzers.

Gunpla is short for Gundam plastic modelling, which is the hobby of making models of things from the Gundam universe. This isn’t just limited to gundams, but can include other mobile suits and vehicles such as tanks and spaceships.

These model kits are also categorized in a system of scales and grades. High Grade is the most common and is your basic 1/144 scale model. Master Grade comes in 1/100 scale, and has more details and points of articulation than the High Grade. Additionally, the Master Grade models typically come with an internal frame construction that the panels are laid over, allowing for better posability. Real Grade kits are in 1/144 scale like the High Grade, but their construction and level of detail more resembles the Master Grade. Perfect Grade is the top of the line, and at 1/60 scale, can be pretty large and come with a commensurately large price tag. Finally, there are also Super Deformed kits that are basically mobile suits in a chibi anime style with stubby limbs and giant heads.

My Zaku

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My first gunpla model

So, with that out of the way, lets get down to the not-Gundam Gundam that I built. The kit I got was a High Grade Zaku I MS-05 from Kycilia’s Forces. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what any of that meant but thanks to a little help from the local Gunpla club, I settled on it for a few reasons. First, I wanted to challenge myself with freehand, so I wanted something with a big shield to give me lots of room for intricate designs. On the shelf at the hobby shop, there were only a couple that really met this category, and I felt that I could do more with the rounded curves of the Zaku rather than the straight lines of the regular Gundams.

There isn’t much to say about the assembly of these particular models, other than that these Gundam kits do have a lot of pieces, but they go together brilliantly. They are made of hard plastic and come on sprues like model airplanes, only they are manufactured to such tolerances that you could probably just cut them off the sprue, sand off the nub from where you cut it, snap them together and be fine in most places. If you do use glue, however, it is probably a good idea to be careful which parts you’re applying it to as these models are engineered with many points of articulation and you don’t want to inadvertently glue a knee or elbow joint into an undesirable pose.

Fortunately, I only did this once, and since my plan was to glue most of these points of articulation into place instead of making it poseable (because I didn’t want to put a bunch of effort into painting cool highlights and glow effects only to repose the model and end up with the shadows on top and the highlights facing the ground), I was able to work around it by selecting a pose where it works. Apart from that, it’s a testament to the good engineering on the kit that assembly was sort of ho-hum, with only a tiny amount of annoying sanding and gap filling to do to get it right.

When it came time to decide what colour to paint it, I took some inspiration from Soviet tanks from WW2. A camo green with some red markings makes for a good theme as it takes advantage of complementary colours to get some nice contrast. I also took a little inspiration from the box art, deciding to break up the green with some black panels as well.

Finally, for the shield, I was initially thinking of carrying the Soviet theme forward and doing a star or some random Cyrillic-looking letters, but then I saw a picture of Kycilia in the instructions and figured why not? It would definitely be a lot more intricate than any freehand I’ve done before, but I knew that would make it a nice challenge, and if I nailed it, it would look amazing.

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Primed with black, then shot from above with white to preshade

When was planning this paint job, I also took a lot of inspiration from Angel Giraldez’ book on painting Infinity miniatures and how he gets his extreme highlights. As such, I wanted to really crank up the contrast and the shadows/highlights to emphasize the shape of the model and its interaction with the light, and the many curved surfaces on the Zaku would give me the opportunity to do so. I started with a zenithal prime by disassembling the model, priming all the parts with black Stynylrez, then reassembling it into a pose vaguely similar to what I would be going for. To complete the zenithal effect, I shot it from above and from the direction of the light with white Stynylrez. This does two things. First, just by shooting white from the direction of the light, it gives me a little pre-shading which could be useful later on, particularly if you choose to use a lot of translucent paints. Second, the white will naturally collect in areas that are going to be hit by direct sunlight, so by taking a few pictures of the model primed in this manner, I have a reference that I can use if later on I start having difficulty deciding where to place my shadows and highlights.

With the prime done, I sprayed some red first, let it dry overnight, and then masked off some stripes with Tamiya tape. After that, I disassembled it again and got a nice base coat of P3 Coal Black, which is a dark blue-green. I chose Coal Black as my base colour because not only was it dark, but because the hint of blue makes it a cooler colour, and by using it as my base, I can not only go from dark to light from the shadows in the highlights, but also from cool to warm. This adds a little more contrast, and is one of the reasons why when you’re highlighting green, it’s often a good idea to add a bit of yellow rather than just mixing in straight white.

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After applying the green. Note the contrast between light and dark

With a base coat laid down in my shadow colour, it was time to reassemble the model (again) and start highlighting. I used Reaper’s Olive Greens triad, working up through the triad and finally adding a dash of Menoth White Highlight (an off-white colour that has a bit of yellow to it) to the Pale Olive to make the highest highlight. Since we’re working up from our shadow colour to our highlight, I focused my fire with the airbrush on the areas where the white was present in the zenithal priming stage to get those highlights in the right place.

From there, I took out the brush and hand-painted in all the silver mechanical bits and the areas that I wanted to paint black. I suppose I could have used an airbrush for the black, but that was much more masking than I wanted to do, so I just made sure to use thin paints and get a smooth coat, which wasn’t too hard because black naturally has better coverage than, say, yellow or red.

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The left leg, before and after applying highlights to the black

With the base coat of black laid in, it was time to break out the airbrush once more and start highlighting the black. This time, I used Blue Liner from Reaper and Gravedigger Denim and Frostbite from P3 for my highlights. Blue Liner is a very dark, almost black colour, while Gravedigger Denim and Frostbite are desaturated blues that I often reach for when I have to highlight black. Again, I would just work up with the airbrush, applying the various blues from dark to light in the areas I want to highlight. Some areas I had to use tape or silly putty to mask off the green, but others I was able to use brush control, disassembling parts, and a business card or piece of paper to protect the already painted green from overspray. I also made sure to keep some of the black on all the pieces so that the finished product will still read as black to the eye in spite of the blue highlights.

 

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Colours used

Next, I did up my freehand drawing of Kycilia on the shield. This was the most ambitious freehand I’ve done, and it was accomplished by starting with basic shapes and adding in detail. Initially, I started by just getting the vague shape of her shoulders and head, and gradually added more detail and more colour until I was working on emulating the fine lines in the art. This is also where thin paints, good brushes and a wet palette come in handy; particularly on the skin, I had to use multiple thin coats to get good coverage as thick paint would have ended up looking patchy and not giving me the brush control I need.

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Freehand in progress. Also note the additional highlights on the black between the third and fourth picture

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It wasn’t easy to work up the courage to mess up my nice work, but the end result is worth it.

When I was satisfied with her, all that was left was panel lining, edge highlighting, and weathering. Again, use thin paints, dab away the excess, and use a brush with a fine tip when you’re trying to do fine detail work like edge highlighting and panel lines. Also, when it comes to edge highlighting, I like to focus the brightest edge highlights on the upper surfaces of the model because those edges are going to be catching more light and I’m not crazy about the old GW style where they would put extreme highlights on all the edges, including the bottom. For weathering, I used mostly the same techniques that I used on my Grolar of painting on scratches and sponging on some Pig Iron and Umbral Umber, and then following up in some areas with GW Typhus Corrosion to represent grit and grime. I focused a lot of the heavy weathering on the shield because taking hits is kind of what shields are for, but I was careful not to overweather it and ruin all the freehand that I had done. While it takes some courage to apply weathering over freehand painting, doing so really makes it look better and avoids the weird look where you have places that should be weathered absolutely clean because you are too afraid to ruin your nice freehand.

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Base detail — before and after applying texture and paint

The base was made out of a chunk of air-drying clay, with some bark chips embedded in it to represent rocks and textured artist medium spread over it to represent dirt. While I mixed some artist acrylic brown into the textured medium to get the base colour, I tried out something a little different in airbrushing a lighter tan colour over some areas of the base facing the light source. This was to highlight and draw the eye to the front of the model, and not have a harsh transition between a model with extreme highlights and a base that looks flat. With the dirt basecoated brown and tan and the rocks basecoated in a dark grey, from there it’s just a matter of washes, dry pigments, and lots and lots of drybrushing to get the highlights and the subtle colour variation on the rocks and dirt.

 

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That’s hot

Finally, the last thing to do was the axe and the glow effects. The blade of the axe was basecoated white with the airbrush, before going at it with reds, oranges, and yellow to get the glow effect. While I masked off a couple areas for part of this project, I wasn’t super worried about overspray because it can be used as part of the object source lighting. While I painted the axe separately, I also sprayed some reds and oranges and yellows on the hand that is holding the axe, the glowing areas of the jetpack about to activate and launch the mech forward for an assault, and the area around the mono-eye to get a nice glow effect. After that, all I had to do was touch up the mono-eye and I was done.

Conclusions

I would say that this Zaku turned out well. The freehand painting was ambitious and isn’t quite perfect, but it represents me pushing myself to do more complex freehand designs than I had ever done before and not totally screwing it up. In that respect, I would say that it is a success nonetheless.

I think my favourite part about Gundam models is that since they are based on a cartoon, you can go a lot of different ways with it on the finish. You can paint them in a very realistic style with plenty of weathering and battle damage, or exaggerate the light and shadow like on a wargaming piece. You can go for a candy coat of the sort you see with automotive scale models, or play around with things like metallic or colour shift paints. Or, since they come on pre-coloured sprues, you could even just sand off the nubs, snap it together, hit it with a panel line marker, and call it a day. All are perfectly legitimate and all are correct, and since it’s based on a cartoon, no one can really tell you that you did it wrong. And as someone who doesn’t want to bother researching the number of rivets on the glacis plate of a late-war model, that’s the kind of modeling I like.

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The finished product, and… oh crap, I just noticed the flaw.

Paintlog: Dana Murphy and fun with airbrushing inks

I’ve been falling behind on updating this blog, partly because I have a couple articles half-written that I haven’t had the motivation to actually finish. While those are still on the back burner, I figured it would be a good idea to update some of my readers with information on a recent project I did which involved some interesting techniques to accomplish something that most people consider to be very difficult.

Yes, I’m talking about painting yellow.

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Dana Murphy (72mm), Reaper #01407

Yellow is a colour that a lot of people struggle with, including myself. Until this project, my preferred method for painting yellow was “pick another colour scheme.” This is for a couple reasons; the main one being that yellow tends to be a very transparent colour with weaker pigments. As a result, you don’t get very good coverage, especially if you’ve punished yourself by trying to paint it straight over black primer or some other dark colour. And in trying to get good coverage, it is very easy to end up laying it on too thick and ending up with a patchy, horrible looking mess.

But what if we were to take advantage of that transparency? There is a trick that a lot of miniature painters use called zenithal shading, which is where you prime the mini black, then hit it from above and in the direction of the light source with a rattle can or airbrush to effectively preshade your model by making it lighter where the light is hitting it. Matt DiPietro of Contrast Miniatures has taken this one step further and developed a process he calls “sketch style” where one follows that up with transparent glazes to colour the model, and end up with good results quickly. By taking advantage of the natural transparency of paint, you can use the preshading you did in your initial steps and basically paint by numbers, automatically getting your highlights and shadows depending on whether you’re painting over black, white, or a shade of grey.

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Colours used – I used Reaper paints and FW & Holbien inks, but you could use your brand of choice for most of these. Citadel Casandora Yellow is on the far right.

Of course, shadows aren’t always as simple as adding a bit of black or a bit of white because of colour theory. So, knowing a bit about colour theory and being inspired by a couple things I’ve seen online, I decided that I wanted purple shadows, and the yellow to progress from purple into orange, yellow, and maybe a touch of white in the highest highlight.

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(1) primed mini, (2) first coat of purple

So, with the figure primed in my white primer of choice (I believe I used GW Corax White, with Reaper for touchups) (1), the first step in my journey on painting yellow was to load up my airbrush with a dark purple and began spraying from below (2). At this stage, it was more important to get it everywhere in the shadows than to be clean with it because I was going to cover up most of it anyways with more layers of paint.

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Step (3), front and back.

Following that, I grabbed a lighter colour of purple and went for my second coat. This time, however, I used a zenithal technique, focusing on spraying from above and leaving the dark purple in the deepest shadows (3). I also focused my fire on the front of the model, because when it comes to composition for a single figure, it’s good to have the main light source coming from the front. You can see this in the difference between the front and back. After that, I repeated the process with white, being a little more controlled with my spray and leaving some of both shades of purple present in the shadows but covering up the purple on the upward-facing surfaces, and again, focusing my fire on the front, where most of the light is going to be hitting her (4).

 

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Step (4) – note how the shadows are more readily visible from above

By now you are probably thinking that this article was going to be about painting yellow. Well, no fear, here is where we finally break out the yellow. I’ve got a couple different shades of yellow FW acrylic artist inks, one of which is a very bright lemony yellow, while the other is a little more golden. These inks, as I discussed in a previous article, are basically acrylic paints with a high pigment density and very thin consistency. As a result, they can actually go through an airbrush on a low pressure setting quite nicely; practically drop and shoot with a minimum of clogging.

This is also where the natural transparency of yellows is an advantage. A thin coat of yellow won’t do much to change the colour of those purple shadows, however if we spray it on over white, we’re going to get a nice bright yellow. So, with my shadows established in purple, I wanted to work up to my highlights, so I took my darker yellow and sprayed it over pretty much the entire model, ensuring to at least cover up all the white. After letting that dry, I followed up with some of my brighter yellow from above, and finally, added a bit of white to the bright yellow to get the highest highlight (4).

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After the first attempt at yellow (4)

Here, I ran into a bit of a problem. The highlights and shadows were looking good, but the transitions weren’t that great. Going from purple to yellow is a very stark transition, and I felt it needed something in between. So, I reached for Citadel’s Casandora Yellow shade, which despite its name is actually an orangey wash. After putting a few drops in my airbrush, I fired it into the shadows and all over the mini, getting basically all over and allowing the wash to sink into the shadows and anywhere where I needed either the depth of the wash or  that midtone transition colour (5).

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(5) After the Casandora Yellow, it’s now a bit too orange. Just like a certain world leader…

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No problem, I can just fix it up by re-highlighting the yellow (6)

The Casandora Yellow did a great job of bringing the yellows and purples together, but it unfortunately made the entire model a little more orange than I wanted and kind of killed the highlights wherever it went. Which was no problem — all I had to do was load up some more yellow inks and re-highlight by spraying from above with the airbrush, and then mixing in a little white to the lightest yellow for the highest highlight (6). The end result was a very nice, rich yellow which really sold the illusion of light and shadow at that scale.

From there, the yellows were done and it was time to put away the airbrush and pull out the brushes, because with that done, I was happy to brush paint the rest of the model. Of course, in doing so, I was careful not to get paint on the areas I wanted to keep yellow, as it would be hard to colour match such a complicated base coat. Also, areas such as the cream-coloured bits on her uniform had highlights and shadows blended in to match the lighting and shadows on the yellow — after all, it would look strange to have this perfectly shaded yellow next to a strap or a belt with no shading at all.

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“Once you’re done with the yellow, just pull out a brush and do the rest. No big deal, right?”

Another little detail where I really like how it turned out was the tricorder looking thing on her left thigh. Here, I think the edge highlight on the top corner really helps sell the shape to the viewer, and I had some fun with the colours on the screens. The little heart monitor screen is actually painted on with white and then glazed with green, to give an old-school monochrome CRT monitor vibe, and I like how the contrast between the edge highlight and the transition on the blue square worked out.

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See: Tricorder

Finally, as soon as I attached her to the base I noticed that the composition seemed off. I had glued metal rods into her feet to attach her to a handle while I was painting her, and the last step in theory would have been to clip those rods down to size, drill corresponding holes in the base, add a little super glue and drop her in. But when I drilled the holes, I centered them longitudinally, faining to take into account the fact that she was leaning off to one side. So once I got her in there, the whole piece looked off-balance. And with a contest deadline looming, I really didn’t have the time or the desire to fill those holes, re-prime, re-paint, and try again. So, as a last minute fix, I grabbed a tiny switch from an electronics project, clipped off the legs, and glued it to the base near her left foot. After hitting it with some primer, I quickly painted some blue gunmetal NMM highlights and a big red button, colours which were already used on the figure in small doses, but would stand out enough to balance out the imbalance created by having her leaning to one side. I think it worked, and definitely helped save the model composition-wise.

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My little mistake in positioning her on the base is most apparent at this angle. Without the little button, she’s way too far to one side because I centered her feet without taking into account her pose. Also, see the shadows here.

Conclusion

This was a fun project for a lot of reasons. First, it allowed me the opportunity to play with my brand new Badger Krome, which I picked up in the recent Badger 54th Birthday promotion. Second, I was able to use the airbrush to, in a short time, easily accomplish an effect that would be very difficult trying to do with a brush. Third, it just turned out really well, and I’m very happy with the end result. I feel as though I learned a lot in the process, especially as I’ve been shying away from yellow because I haven’t had much success with it before. Also, I took her to the IPMS Montreal (Réal Côté) show last weekend, where she won first place in the fantasy figures category, so that was a nice result as well. I think it’s always a good sign when one of the pieces you are most proud of is your most recent piece, and I think as I look back on my hobby journey, this will be one that represents a big step forward.

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Also, insert gratuitous T&A here

 

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