Thursday, 5 October 2017

Diary of an Average Painter: My Guilty Secret

...I like Warmachine. Yeah, I like the models, and like painting them.  My brain says they are not always the best sculpts (and the Lucky 13th Gun Mages are tragically out of scale) and they are overpriced...

...but every time I see some on sale I buy some. And paint them....

...and never actually play Warmachine. (It's more like a CCG than a wargame; while I respect the honesty of its cheesy overpoweredness and it's so-unbalanced-it's-actually-balanced nature, I have no desire to play it. Also, sniper rifles that go only 15" trigger me somehow)

 Whilst I don't know much about the lore (most wargaming lore makes marking Year 10 essays look like fine literature) the absurdity of the factions is just fun! Undead dragons leading zombie pirates and possessed steam powered mech suits? Tick.  Magic-hating techno-elves in anime power armour? Yup, there's that too.   They have  bit of the sense of fun of my Confrontation minis (albeit not quite up to the same sculpting standards)

I think I could probably field proper lists of Cygar, Cryx, Mercenaries and those guys who ripped off Confrontation werewolves - Orboros? 

Anyway, a online retailer had these Legion on discount. And who can resist a bunch of mutated elf dragon-cultists who have katanas AND landsharks?  It gives me joy just to type the words.

This is the model that made me covet the faction. It was about a third the RRP as the new models were now plastic and it was "obsolete". Insanity.  There's nothing like the heft of half a kilo of pewter. Who'd trade that in for some "finecast" petroleum byproduct.

I think I merely drybrushed a few layers of grey, added some red and bone, and called it a day. Who says you need to spend hours on a model?  Honestly, there's no excuse for unpainted minis, besides "I was too lazy/wanted to do something else and couldn't be bothered."  I reckon they took 5 minutes each to do.

Unconstrained by a need to build a "competitive list" I merely buy the models I like/and or/are on sale. I do usually buy some line troops and some archers, so it seems like a "warband" before I go nuts on heroes or monsters.

As usual, I spend muuuuch care on the skin. I.e. I paint it, wash it and call it a day.  Painting eyebrows is for mugs!

One of the wizards is a Mage Knight clix I bought in a job lot of 100+ for $20....

Not a bad little warband. And it painted up in a couple of hours, thanks to my limited colour palette and disdain for "layering" (i.e. painting the same thing 100 times). I reckon effort in painting is diminishing returns after a certain point. 

When I said mutated elf dragon cultists, I meant it. Gives "mother of dragons" a new meaning...

She should have taken the red pill....

I like posting up my "painted only to bare tabletop standard minis" as I always found (for me) the most inspiring minis were from those old (d'Agnostini?) LoTR magazines. Their rather dodgy paintjobs made me think "I could do that!" in fact every time I reread them (I got about 60 issues with binder for $10 from a 2ndhand bookstore) I think "I could do that!" and haul out some minis to paint.  While I admire painters like the Infinity dude (Angel Giraldez?) it just makes me go "wow, that's impossible it makes my efforts look so lame, I couldn't be bothered."  In fact the talented Mr Giraldez is the main reason I have 5 unpainted Infinity factions (est ~$1500 of minis? hope my wife never sees this; sheesh this was obviously BEFORE I had kids) because every time I attempt them I get frustrated and end up giving them the old dip in nailpolish remover...


  1. Personally I think Warmachine's sculpting style is still very 90s/early 2000s. And metal, ugghh!!! I would see that as being stuck in the past, but for some it possibly represents the pinnacle of gaming miniatures :-) (see also the whole Oldhammer thing)

    1. Oh, my head says "these sculpts are not the best" but my heart says "oooh, a undead possessed mech suit" and I buy it. The chunky style makes them relaxing to paint - you get good results for little effort.

      But metal vs plastic. I've never really got the advantages of plastic. They're easier to "kitbash" by slicing stuff off and re-attaching: but at the price of most of them (you'd think it was pure gold not some sort of plastic/resin) I tend to be wary of kitbashing them - I can't afford a stuff up....

      ..and the multi-part ones are perhaps more pose-able? but on the other hand so are multi-part metals

      ...but when 90% paints their models the default faction colours it seems a bit disengenuous to ask for more differentiation....

    2. So many posable plastic kits just end up looking... badly posed. Things have definitely gotten better, but I remember making 3rd edition plastic Tactical Space Marine squads with lots of little bits, and while this was good for a degree of kit bashing and so on, the actual poses for regular troops always ended up being "Marines standing with bolters across their chest." I much prefer good poses with relatively little variation, though that may partly be my skirmish focus.

    3. Exactly. It creates more faffing around, but not necessarily more variation.

      A lot of the time I feel plastic kits have "needless" amounts of parts. I.e. instead of an arm with a gun attached, you have a arm + gun + another arm, necessitating a fiddly 3 part join that looks the same as if it'd been cast with less parts.

      Or the head that only goes on one way anyway - so why not cast it as part of the torso.

      Or just stuff that looks like it's been done multi-part for its own sake.

      If I wanted to model and glue needless amounts of plastic parts, I'd buy a 1/72 or 1/48 kit and do it properly. It's a wargame piece, not a Revell kit.

  2. I guess I like plastic because it's so easy to glue & kitbash - I'm a hardcore converter :-) Obviously the large amount of parts & options is attractive to someone like me.

    It's true that many of the older multi-part plastic kits end up looking badly posed due to their modularity, which is probably the reason GW has been moving back to more fixed poses. But with plastic that's not an issue since it's easy to cut & paste. Just for the sake of gluing convenience a range like the later, often very thin & fiddly, Confrontation figures would have benefited enormously from being in plastic.

    It probably comes down to what you enjoy about the hobby. I like putting figures together, puzzling with bits to find a good match, changing postures... fixing fuck ups is part of the fun :-) On the other hand I don't really enjoy painting, so these days I tend to have them painted by someone else. Compared to you I probably have a small collection (where possible I buy/trade bits rather than buy full kits), but I'm very very pleased with just about every completed model.

    1. I love converting too, only I am too poor to risk messing with "proper" models and tend to only slice and dice Mage Knight/clix - and the cheaper historical minis (the Perry Miniatures Men at Arms are awesome and I'm doing some dino-riding knights soon - you know, how the War of Roses was won by velociraptor cavalry who could run down the longbowmen...)

    2. If you carefully study your miniature before making the cut, pay attention to what you're doing and have some basic skills at filling gaps with greenstuff/modelling paste, it rarely goes wrong, and when it does things are almost never unsalvageable. GW miniatures aren't cheap, but I guess in my case that's balanced by sticking to only one project (sci-fantasy 28mm skirmish) and not building up the proverbial lead mountain so many gamers have lying around.