Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Guildball Showcase

Today's post is a bit shorter as I have limited pictures to share. I'll be sharing two team pictures of my current Guild Ball teams which I've been able to paint up. I grabbed some rough pictures during the painting process as I completed each model, sharing them with the Guild Ball forums. I then set up my light tent and spent time getting some pictures of both teams together. Considering the improvement to those light tent pictures over the cell-phone pics, I'll be sharing those.

Guild Ball models are fantastic to paint, with really nice sculpts which take paint and washes very nicely. The people behind Guild Ball have made some excellent choices to how the models are sculpted, adding in multiple textures to paint along with paying close attention to the details on the models.  This is the first time I've come across models that appear to take professional level paint jobs and amateur level paint jobs both resulting in a good looking model. Professional level painting will always look better, but the way these models are sculpted allows less complicated techniques (simple base coat, wash, dry brush) to still look really good.

Masons

The Masons were the first team I painted for Guild Ball. I made this decision for a couple reasons, primarily focused on speed of painting and color scheme. I aimed to get them to a solid tabletop quality so I could start playing with painted models. I had originally committed to only paint fully painted for Guild Ball, but ended up compromising in order to get games in early. Despite that compromise, the Masons were the first team painted and I only played a couple games with unpainted mini's.

I chose a metal and blue paint scheme which is similar to the "standard" color scheme from the creators. I felt I could knock out blue cloth fairly easily to compliment some basic steel color's for the metal. I was correct and the skin tones and hair ended up being the most complicated parts of the models to paint, which also went very easily. Overall I'm happy with how they came out, although if I was painting them later in the cycle I would put some more detail and layers on each part of the models.

Union

The Union are both the mercenary team in Guild Ball, able to play for other teams, along with a team of their own. There appears to be two schools of thought for the Union, one using schemes on each model based on the alternate teams they play for and the other going with a unified Union paint scheme. I decided I wanted to go with a unified scheme and decided to use purple and red as my primary and highlight colors, purple due to the established team color and red because it compliments purple and is a color I enjoy painting.

I was initially stumped in how I wanted to paint the models, starting with the Union captain Blackheart. I spent time looking the model over and trying to picture how it would look with a number of colors on it. I ended up becoming very frustrated and decided to use a black base coat then start building up my purple, red, skin, and metal accents and see how he looked. My ultimate intention was to add a new base color over the black once I had a look at how the color scheme showed up on the model. After getting that done I realized that black looked really good as the base color for the union, keeping the others as highlights. This made working on the rest of the models much easier, establishing a solid and fairly intimidating paint scheme overall. I've had the chance to try some new schemes on some of the models such as Fangtooth (to the right) which work well with the color scheme. Overall, I'm very happy with how my current set of  Union is coming out. The Union is the largest team overall, leaving me 3 of the 11 players consisting of 5 models to paint.

That's a look at my current assembled and painted Guild Ball teams. Once I complete the rest of the Union I'll be moving onto the rest of my teams. I have the Brewers, Alchemists, and Morticians left to paint, of which I'm looking forward to getting them all painted. I'm considering having a friend commission paint the Alchemists, as he is an amazing painter and I think the Alchmists will really shine when he is done.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Energised about return to painting

Frankly I've been torn on if this post is a painting post or a ramble post. I've tagged it as both, but will leave the paint brushes as the lead-in picture. Although a bit shorter, I will be touching on some of my painting experience that might help out others.

Along with my blogging dropping down to very little over the past several months I also lost motivation for painting and modeling. On receipt of my Wrath of Kings models I assembled and primed them, but could not get the excitement to paint high enough to sit down and work on them. Similarly I had to really push myself to assemble and paint my first Guild Ball team. This is not due to the models themselves, both games have excellent models. It was completely due to lacking motivation to sit down and paint.

I found this to be very frustrating overall and spent a fair bit of time thinking about it. Unfortunately my pondering the predicament of painting did not help with the motivation I needed. I really pushed myself to sit down and paint up my Guild Ball Masons team to a point where I was not overly embarrassed to put them on the table. Harmony (to the right) is an excellent example of where I was at. While she is at an acceptable level to reach a table-top painting standard I'm comfortable with, she is lacking details I have since put onto other models. Comparing her to the models I have painted since getting excited to return to painting shows a fair difference in overall quality.

I noticed something else about my painting. I noticed this as I was painting up some of my initial Aetherium models and found it carried over to the other models I painted. Painting my models was taking a lot longer than I anticipated based on my previous painting experience. I am not a fast painter and as such a "typical" man sized model (28mm - 32mm) takes me approximately 90 minutes to complete when starting from primer. I found that during my slump the models I did push myself to paint were taking 2 - 3 hours to complete. I can't point to exactly where I was moving slower, I just realized that when I would finish a model that much time had passed. This only added to my frustration and lack of motivation, especially when they did not look as good.

I wish I had some secret sauce or sage advice I can offer to others in the same situation I was in. I have found myself reenergized and excited again to sit down and work on painting up models. I can't say exactly when it happened, but I do remember some of what I was doing when I found myself "back in the groove". This may or may not work for others, but hopefully it helps.

I have an upcoming article talking in depth about painting Chibi models, it should post over the next couple weeks. One day I decided that I would drag my Super Dungeon Explore models down to my painting table and work on them. I had never painted up Chibi style models and was very nervous about not being able to paint in a new style. I've spent the entire duration I've been painting for the hobby focusing on a non-cartoon style that works for mini-wargaming. I was not involved in the hobby during the early GW days when all the bases were goblin green and all the models were painted in clean cartoon lines with extreme highlighting and black border lines. I got involved in this hobby and learned my painting techniques with an eye toward achieving a "semi-realistic" style to my models. Lots of washes and shadow-midtone-highlight blending to get a "natural" look to the models. Chibi style models were all extreme highlights, clean lines, smooth and bright colors, and very cartoonish.

I started with what I knew about painting and picked the models that I felt would come closest to my "normal" painting style while giving me an oppurtunity to try out some new techniques. I have spent a lot of my painting time working on fire through my wargaming tenure, and picking out the SDE fire monsters was the best place to start. I painted them up exactly as I would have painted a non-chibi mini, then looked at some other painters online pictures for reference. Starting with that base I went back over the model and cleaned up areas I typically left blended, hardening the transitions and lines on the model. I then added in some very extreme transitions and let the model dry. Although I was uncomfortable to start, I quickly found that the result was exactly what I was looking for. I then convinced my wife to play a game with me, pulling out my newly painted monsters for us to face off against. During that game my wife really enjoyed the way the monsters looked, and I also became excited to see them on the table. They were certainly not professionally painted, but they looked pretty good overall.

Starting at this point I began to prime other SDE models, moving into the heroes and adding in more monsters as I went. I found that the Chibi style was not as tough to achieve as I thought, and I was starting to become very excited to keep painting. Along with the SDE models, I became motivated to paint other models using my "normal" technique. Switching back and forth between models, both between painting sessions and during the same session, I started to see progress across my whole collection. I also began to pick back up on my painting speed and my overall technique. In only a couple weeks I have found myself reenergized to keep painting and move forward with that side of the hobby.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Aetherium Model Showcase

In a couple of the recent posts I mentioned both the new game Aetherium and my enjoyment returning to painting including the models for this game. Aetherium has two factions with models to assemble and paint, which I have nearly completed all of. The models are broken down into three different types of units, Avatar's, Functions, and Subroutines. Functions are further separated between "regular" functions and "omni" functions, with the omni's being much larger models.

I have collected nearly all the models available at launch for the game, choosing to not pick up the Axiom Slavhacs, Nanomei Rabble, and the Defector Militia. All of the remaining models fill in the available slots in the battlefoam which I bought for the inside of the Aetherium box. This point's to not picking up those remaining subroutines as I won't have room to hold them safely in my foam.

My wife has commented several times over the years that she likes the glossy look of my models with the clear-coat sealer on them. I typically seal my models with a generous amount of clear-cost and once that's dry spray them down again with a dull-coat sealer to bring the model back to a non-glossy state. I do this to provide some protection for handling the models while playing. During the sealing process for Aetherium I decided to leave them glossy based on my wife's feedback. It's a bit different from the typical table top look of my painting, and I admit I'm still getting used to the look. It's not bad per se, but it's different enough from my typical routine that they look a little off to me.

Axiom

I decided to use a fairly straight forward paint scheme for my Axiom, taking inspiration and the majority of the scheme directly from the Aetherium rulebook and art book. This scheme uses whites for the leaders, accenting the models with black and orange. The bulk of the remaining models in the faction use a heavy black and orange color scheme. There are a few key models that I chose to use white as the predominant color instead of an accent, as they worked well in the overall aesthetic. Overall the Axiom have been a joy to paint, partly due to the simple color scheme creating an eye catching coherent look for the faction while maintaining a fitting air of intimidation.

Avatars

Here we take a closer look at the three Axiom avatars. Avatars fill the role of faction leader in a game of Aetherium, allowing on a single avatar when you assemble your collective. The three Axiom avatars (in order) are Pontifex Neuholm, Commandant Spyder, and Lady Mastrona. I'm happy with the way they came out, aiming for a less stark white on the Commandant as he is an Avatar but also has ties to the military side of the Axiom. The Lady and Pontifex are both rooted in the religious side of the faction, guiding the choice for a starker white on their clothes.

 Functions

Functions are solo-activating programs in the game, providing an individual activation that tends to be more powerful than a subroutine but not to the level of the Avatars.  Here we take a closer look at the Axiom Subroutines, not including the Ombi. After painting up the models I realized it may have been better to use a white robe for the Adept (second in) as he is on the religious side of the faction. Despite that I find his black robed look to have come out very nicely. I have a second adept model so may try the white color scheme in the future. Here we see (in order) the Grenadier, Adapt, Agent, and Long Shot. The Long Short model is the Kickstarter exclusive model which I really like.

Also in the Function group we have the Pacifier Omni program. Omni's are larger models which take up 4x the space of a regular model. They tend to be on par with the power of an avatar, and are limited to one per collective.  I kept with the Axiom military scheme of black with orange accents, a color scheme that works particularly well on this model.

Subroutines

Subroutines are the units in the game, consisting of 2, 3, and 5 models. I think the Axiom scheme comes across as particularly intimidating with the subroutines, as they are primarily military models. Here we see the Praetorians (bottom center), Triumvirate (top left), Alpha & Omega (top center), and the Venari (Top right). Although I like the look of all the models I am particularly fond of the Triumvirate and Venari.

Nanomei

I had a tougher time making decisions on a paint scheme for the Nanomei. I ended up using fairly direct color choices and schemes from the Aetherium art book for the models. In the end I am happy with the scheme, realizing it ended up making strong use of red throughout the scheme. Even my purples are shaded more to the red than blue. Overall this is fitting for a game faction that represents anarchists.

Avatars

I only had two of the Nanomei avatars painted at the time of this blog posting. I still have the third (the puppeteer) on my paint tray waiting for some color. The two avatars we do have (in order) are the White Rabbit and the Mask. Both of these were a lot of fun to paint and came together well. After completing them the only part I am unhappy with is the White Rabbit's mask, which I would do differently in the future.

Functions

The Nanomei functions are a mixed bag to paint overall. There is a wide variety styles across the models which are constrained in only a couple different textures (cloth and skin). The four functions we see here (in order) are Tov, Tinder, Hacktivist, and CyberBomber.

In line with the Axiom, the Nanomei also have an Omni Function they can put in play. The Nanomei Omni is the Goliath, a massive brute of a program who moves around the board to beat down the opposition. Goliath was a lot of fun to paint, with large slabs of skim textured with a lot of muscle. This sculpt took paint and washes nicely, allowing from some decent depth on the model without requiring a lot of advanced technique.  It was also nice to see 4 different head options to choose from.

Subroutines

I ended up with a challenge in regards to the Nanomei subroutines as two of the three are 5 model units. This made spacing them for the pictures a bit tougher, especially for the faction picture (at the top of this section). Here we see the Riot Girlz on the top center, with the Rioters bottom left and Pyromanatics bottom right. The Pyro's were the most fun to paint of this lot, having a ton of character and one dude who's simply on fire.

There you have it, my painted Aetherium set (minus 1 model).