Operation Stormy Seas

I grabbed a Stormwall over 12 months ago, but only recently unboxed it. Partially because I was not sure how I planned to paint it, partially because the model intimidated me a little. Once I decided to work on it, I thought about how much I would want to play it – and Operation Stormy Seas was born.

The scheme came out of a desire to try something more grey scale in an effort to work on my contrast, shading and highlighting. After using this scheme across a couple of models in this army, I have now started going darker with many of my shades on other models. I think I’ll also start going brighter too.

I use 11 paints in total.

  • Abaddon Black (GW)
  • Eshin Grey (GW)
  • Dawnstone (GW)
  • Administratum Grey (GW)
  • White (Vallejo)
  • Leadbelcher (GW)
  • Mithril Silver (GW)
  • Balthasar Gold (GW)
  • Armour Wash (P3) and/or Heavy Body Black Wash (Secret Weapon)
  • Agrax Earthshade (GW)
  • Cygnar Blue Highlight

Before we get to the pictures, this is the army that I will be using with the Stormwall – see if you can spot a theme. I’ll add the rest of the models as I paint them.

@ 25pts – General Adept Nemo, Stormwall, Centurion, 3x Stormsmith Stormcaller

@ 35pts – General Adept Nemo, Stormwall, Centurion, 3x Stormsmith Stormcaller, Stormclad

@ 50pts – General Adept Nemo, Stormwall, Centurion, 6x Stormsmith Stormcaller, Stormclad, Ironclad, Journeyman Warcaster

Stormwall CenturionGeneral Adept NemoLightning PodsStormsmith Stormcaller

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Operation Stormy Seas

WinterCon

(No photos with this post, I forgot to take any)

Today was Day 2 of WinterCon, the little sibling of CanCon. Day 1 was a more serious 50pt Steam Roller event and today was a more casual 25pt Mangled Metal / Tooth and Claw event. Despite knowing about this event for months, I’d never really given much thought going – the TO contacted me and one successful guilt trip later – I was registered.

My intention going in was to have some fun – its a casual-ish format, I knew most of the people who were playing and there was nothing at stake. Despite that I knew I wanted to take competitive lists and I flip-flopped for at least a week trying to come up with lists I liked. Lylyth3 was on the cards for a while, but I didn’t have a second Angelius painted. In the end I decided to make one list anti-Hordes, and the other list anti-Warmachine.

Vayl, Disciple of Everblight
– Carnivean
– 2x Scythean
– Shredder

This was my anti-Hordes lists, and the caster I am more familiar with. With Chiller and Incite I could dish out some serious damage and Rampager and Talion to add insult to injury.

Absylonia, Terror of Everblight
– Archangel
– Scythean

I like Abby with the Archangel, and I was hoping that Warmachine factions would not be able to 1-round it so that I could retaliate and heal afterwards. I didn’t have enough to take advantage of Carnivore and Playing God, but Blight Field would be useful.

Let’s see how I went …

Round 1 – General Adept Sebastian Nemo
– Thunderhead
– Centurion
– Stormclad

Sam played a really aggressive game – using Energiser and Polarity shield to get up there quickly and deny me the charge – something I really need to get. With nothing else to do, I had the Archangel take advantage of Nemo with no focus to strafe 4 shots into his scrawny hide. I scored a hit, applied Critical Fire and dug in to weather the counter-punch. Fire left Nemo on 1, and the Thunderhead threw the Scythean away to clear the charge lane for the Stormclad. Abby was parked on her flag, and within striking distance. Two charges and a transfer later, she was still alive. Archangel flew behind the Thunderhead and shot Nemo to make sure.

Round 2 – Goreshade the &%^&^%^%% Annoying
– Deathjack
– Defiler
– Reaper
– Slayer

So typical of Cryx to bring Banes to a Mangled Metal format!
In hindsight, I grabbed the wrong list. With 3 heavies in both of Jon’s lists, I should have looked to match up. I killed the Defiler early, but committed the Scythean to tease out the Reaper and Slayer. Deathjack took care of him, and in the counter-attack the Archangel only managed to do about 12pts of damage in 7 attacks. Yep, the dice were that horrid. I was really hoping to kill the Deathjack AND the Reaper that turn. Goreshade denied me my feat, and it was going to be uphill from here. Abby killed 3 of the Banes and kept enough to transfer – that was the plan before she took a Slayer in the face.

Round 3 – Kaya the Moonhunter
– Pureblood Warpwolf
– Feral Warpwolf
– Gorax
– Laris
– Winter Argus

Finally an opportunity to play Vayl!
Paris was super-aggressive, using his feat to get over the half-way line before the end of Turn 2. I knew what the plan was though, so unless the dice failed me, I knew I should be able to kill both heavies on the same turn. Chiller was up and I went for broke. Vayl cast Incite (god I love that spell), Rampagered the Pureblood (Paris has forgot to warp for Spell Ward) – who turned around and tried to attach Kaya – but she was sneaky and hard to hit. Scythean #1 put both Laris and the Feral under Chiller and all but killed both … dice were looking shaky. Carnivean, under Incite killed the Pureblood and left Laris on 1pt. With time running out, I used my extension and charged the Gorax with Scythean #2. 3 mins later, I’d killed the Gorax, killed the Feral and was just about to roll the chain-attack into Kaya when the timer went off!

Laris went for a “Hail Mary” play, and it looked promising when I missed the first free strike, but the second one smooshed the puppy and the game was done. Paris was a super-fun opponent and I wish him well for trying to build his local Geelong community.

Round 4 – Commander Coleman Stryker
– Ol’ Rowdy
– 2x Hunter
– Lancer
– Charger

Bobby is one of my favourite opponents, and he’d had a fantastic day going 2-1 with some really long and grinding matches. The key for this match was taking out Ol’ Rowdy, but I got so focused on clearing a path, I almost let Stryker achieve a scenario victory. The Hunters peppered Absylonia, so I shot one with the Archangel to teach it a lesson. Damn thing kept a cortex though, so I had to leave them alone while I focused on the Lancer and Charger and watched Rowdy skirt around the edge.

Stryker’s feat turn was non-eventful, but I did push my beasts a little hard in order to put a couple of boxes on the lights. The Scythean made two threshold checks this game – and the last one allowed him to get within 4 of the flag and stop the control points from accumulating. The Archangel abused a Blight Fielded Rowdy while Abby moved to dominate her own flag. Bobby moved the injured Hunter up to counter-contest, but Abby killed it next turn. With the Scythean in Stryker’s face but having an uphill battle to beat-face, I played the safer game and used the Archangel to fly at the remaining Hunter and get the alternate victory condition.

I finished the game at 3-1, and snuck into 3rd place!

Thanks to Andrew for running WinterCon, and all my opponents today. The vibe in the room was great, and there were some nail-biting battles, even at 25pts.

WinterCon

Destor Thane

20130708-165911.jpg

After painting up the battle box I wanted a change of pace and instead of painting up another myrmidon, chose the Destor Thane to do next. It would be a good test model for how the scheme would look for when I began painting Vyros2.

The scheme is the same as previously detailed (ad nauseum), what is worth detailing is how I painted the horse, as it was first attempt at this particular scheme. I knew that I wanted to try a pale horse to tie it back to the studio scheme, but didn’t know where to start. I primed white, as is my way, and choose to put down some Trollblood Highlight as the first shade. To darken it, I used a mix of Trollblood Base and Exile Blue, lightly applied. The darkest areas used a thin coat of Exile Blue to finish it off.

It looks a little icy, but I like how it came out.

Destor Thane

Retribution of Scyrah Battle Box

Retribution of Scyrah Battle Box

I took a badly needed week off of work, and this battle box was on my list of things to conquer. I’d already painted up Kaelyssa (see previous posts), so it was time to suck it up and paint the myrmidons.

While Kaelyssa focused on painting with thin layers, I found myself slipping back into blends and mixes. It did, then, take me a bit longer to paint – but I was really feeling the curves in these models and quite enjoyed the challenge. I’m trying out water effects for the first time, which is why the bases are not on two of the models. I’m trying to evoke a feeling of these guys on the edge of an overgrown river or creek.

The Chimera has a blue arm and leg because I’ve attempted to show off its “Apparition” ability – the blue is to indicate it either going, or coming out of it’s apparition state. I likely should have gone with an inverse-method (painting white as the shade) as it does represent the ghostly state better – but I’d already painted 90% of the model by the time I chose to try this out, and did not want to try and put down a solid coat of white over the top. Unless you know the model, you likely don’t know what I’m trying to convey – but I do like how the effect turned out, and it gives me hope I can do some OSL at some point.

I was worried that the brown scheme would not translate well onto the larger models. They certainly have little contrast, but I do like the visual pop of the lime shoulders. I think I’m going to like having this army on the table, now to hold off buying more stuff until I have what I have painted.

Retribution of Scyrah Battle Box

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper – Painting Guide – Part 3 (End)

It’s taken me a couple of days to get this post together; I got side-tracked finishing off a Griffon for Kaelyssa.
In this entry we’ll finish the details and base the model.

Details

Paints
Mithril Silver (Citadel), Warlock Bronze (Citadel), Gehenna’s Gold (Citadel), Agrax Earthshade (Citadel), Armour Wash, Rucksack Tan.
Kaelyssa - Stage 5 - Details

Left 1
I base all the leather pouches, straps and holsters in Rucksack Tan. It’s a warm brown and does not clash with the other browns and greens that I have used. I also paint the strap on the goggles.

Left 2
Now I do all the metals, including the goggle lens, arrow shafts and rivet’y things. Iron-based metals are given a coat of Mithril Silver, the Gold-y metals are given a base coat of Warplock Bronze. This will be the only time I don’t use P3 paints – I had a bad experience with them a few years back and switched to Citadel. I’ve heard their formula is better, but have not tried it. For coverage on golds you will want to base coat the areas with a brown (I usually use Battlefield Brown) as it gives a much better result (and is easier to apply) than multiple layers (or a single THICK layer) of gold. Here I have chosen Warlock Bronze – but don’t ask my why. I never planned for a secondary metallic and just grabbed the first pot I could see. I likely should have just used the silver.

Metallics are not my favourite thing to paint – I either make it too thin (metal paints don’t thin well, in my experience) or too thick. I really should learn how to use Non-Metal Metallics instead.

Left 3
Wash! Leather gets a heavy couple of coats of Agrax Earthshade (Devlun Mud). Metals get a coat of Armour Wash. You’ll want both to be quick dark and heavy to really bring out the details. You can see where I got sloppy with the application and my brush touched the right leg. Detail is not the part I like doing, so I tend to rush it – and these things happen, actually costing me time over all because I have to go back and re-do that area. Learn from my mistakes – and TAKE IT SLOW.

Right
Here we can see the base and the highlights. Once the washes are dry I use the corresponding base colour as a single level of highlight. On areas this small you can get away wit only one highlight.

This is actually the second base I made for Kaelyssa. My first was an abomination (it was some badly coloured ‘pavers’ sunken into some grass – not a bad concept, but the execution was … lacking). The base was some spare yellow foam cut into roughly cube shapes and then torn apart and stacked to look less like a wall and more like a pile. I base coated with Hammerfall Khaki, added daubs of Wurm Green and Battlefield Brown to add discolouration. The entire thing was washed with Agrax Earthshade then highlighted with Hammerfall Khaki again. Without that light, it does not look as wet.

Completed Model

Kaelyssa - Completed

Wrap Up

And here we are. The detailing look longer than it took to do the cloak, because it is more fiddly, I had to wait for washes to dry and then I had to make the base. I think all up, the model look between 5 and 6 hours from start to finish.

I hope you got something out of this series. Questions and feedback are welcomed – just leave a comment.

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper – Painting Guide – Part 3 (End)

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper – Painting Guide – Part 2

When we last left our anime/sci-fi inspired protagonist, she’d just had her armour painted and was looking for a new cloak to complete the ensemble.

I love painting cloaks. More often than not they have really obvious ridges and depths that make it dead simple to paint and automatically add so much to a model.

Cloak

Paints
Gnarl’s Green, Sanguine Base, Iosan Green
Kaelyssa - Stage 4 - Cloak

I’m going to apologise in advance for these photos – it was not until I was almost done that I found a good angle to use so you could see the colours.

Left 1
This is after one layer of Gnarl’s Green. I wanted to include this so you can see how patchy it is (priming white will show this more than black usually), and so you can compare it to the next image.

Left 2
This is after 4 to 5 layers of Gnarl’s Green – its a little patchy in places (look at the raised edges), but most of that will be covered by other paint so it’s likely acceptable to continue. It is important when layers coats to let the previous layer dry before starting the next. If you don’t you’ll likely pull the paint away and cause unevenness. It can be hard to be patient – but find something to distract you. Another model works well, or even watch some TV if necessary. Thinner paints will dry faster, but sometimes its cold enough that nothing seems to dry. It will, give it time.

Left 3
BAD PHOTO ALERT!
This is after I’ve put down straight Sanguine Base into the recesses. You may have noticed, I like to work straight from the pot and do my mixing later on. Thanks to a wonderful tool, Sanguine Base is the perfect colour to shade Gnarl’s Green. Go read that PDF, its a fantastic resource for those of us who don’t know colour theory – I’ve been using it for years. You just have to remember that the shades/highlights for flesh colours are to keep them looking fleshy – and you’ll be right.

Left 4
After a couple of rounds of blending. You should know my drill by now, and if you think your colour boarders are rough, just put down a thin layer of your base colour.

Right
After highlighting with Iosan Green. This should be fairly thin so that you can build the colour up over several layers without needing to blend. If you’re not sure where the highlights are, put your model under a light and see where it reflects. You can also see the horrible job I did cleaning this model with the flash line running down the cloak.

Shoulder and Hair

Paints
Necrotite Green, Iosan Green, Menoth White Highlight, Arcane Blue, Blue Ink
Kaelyssa - Stage 5 - Shoulder and Hair

I was getting a little tired (torn calf will do that), but wanted to tie off the main body of the model before going to bed.

Left 1
This is why I love priming in white. I apply a couple of layers of Necrotite Green over the prime and it pops! It also exposes any patchiness in your primer, so more often than not you should reclaim and messy parts and smooth out your area with a white paint before doing something like this. I didn’t and it shows in the later photos more.

Left 2
A reverse shot of the previous image. To this I will use thinned down Iosan Green as the shade, and a mix of Menoth White Highlight and Necrotite Green along the edges as the highlight.

Left 3
I applied a thin coat of Arcane Blue over the white primer.

Left 4
Once the Arcane Blue had dried I used a wash of Blue Ink. Unfortunately, the depth on the hair of this model is shallow so the ink acted more like a stain and went everywhere.

Right
Once the ink had dried, I went back and did a light dry-brush of Arcane Blue over the main part of the hair, and picked out the fringe to reclaim it. You cannot see it in this image, but the crown area was re-darkened with the ink to give some realism back to the area. If you have it, the Retribution of Scyrah faction book has great techniques for painting crazy anime hair that the Retribution are famous for.

Stay tuned for the last session where I’ll paint the weapons, pouches and goggles and with any luck – also base the model.

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper – Painting Guide – Part 2

Painting with Lazy

I’ve wanted to get down some thoughts about how I paint for some time, just never had the drive to do so. This is less of an instructive “how you should do it” and more of an informative “how I currently do it”. And I do mean currently. Painting, as with anything creative, should be worked, improved and practiced. I usually approach any new model or army with an idea of what skill or technique I am going to focus on. Some days its how to thin paint, other times its eyes, blending or even colour choice.

Environment

When I paint I usually have some music playing. I have a rather eclectic taste, so find something that works for you (I find I want music that calms me rather than makes me rush – some days that is trance, other days its rock). For Kaelyssa, I’ve been listening to Love Outside Andromeda’s self-titled album from a number of years ago. Its a little too aggressive in some places to paint calmly, but I do enjoy it.

I also use two lights – one warm and one cold, and I always seem to be blocking it no matter where I sit. The theory is that the warm and the cold cancel each other out and give a more balanced light to work with. Work with only one, and your perception of colour will be tinted accordingly. It’s all theory though, I have no real idea if it makes much difference. Every little thing helps.

Get a comfy chair, you’ll be sitting down for some time, may as well be pleasant.

Tools

For my tools I’ll be primarily using a #2 Winsor and Newton brush. Not cheap, but worth it from everything I’ve read. It is making a difference, but I’ve had good experiences with other brushes – you just want something that holds a point well and to look after it. I ruined my first W&N brush, but now I have some brush cleaner.

Get two sources of water on your table. One to wash your mixing brush and metallics in and one to wash your good brush in. You DO NOT want your metallic pigment in your really good brush – apparently that’s the path to the dark side and it will ruin a brush faster than anything else. I still think I’ll ruin it by being too rough before that happens. But if it is a small price to pay to put off buying a new brush – why not do it?

Get a palette for mixing paints. I use a $5 circle-thing I grabbed at some random store, other people use tiles. It doesn’t really matter in the end. I do own a wet palette, and it is useful – but not a mandatory tool. If you have trouble thinning your paint consistently, a wet palette may do the trick – it certainly helps me.

Time

Discover how long you can stand to sit down, hunched over a table. For me, its 1.5 hours of a night. Any longer and I start to get impatient/rough/lazy. Some nights that point arrives earlier and I put my brush down and step away from the table. Better to take a night off than have to strip your model. Also only paint when you want to – not when you HAVE to. Unless you have to and then … you’re screwed.

Technique

I need to think about this one a bit more – get some diagrams together. Stay tuned.

Painting with Lazy