Sunday, March 4, 2012

Final (for now) tranche of Ariadna

This post will cover the final Infinity miniatures that I have painted up currently. In the future I plan to add more, both to get some options into the army (such as a Wulver Grenadier to get a good medium/heavy infantry choice and a Cameronian Irregular to get some werewolf options) but also to fill out options for some of the miniatures I already have (some more SAS and another Dog Face would be good.

This first photo shows the completed Dog face and Dog Warrior. I think the Dog Warrior has actually turned out quite well, and the painting was quick. The Dog face is actually a chap with trousers and a flowing tunic, rather than a girl in a dress (as I had at first assumed!)

These chaps have been done in line with previous miniatures - a white base with a dark brown wash followed by base colours and then appropriate washes before going back with several highlight stages. Something that I always try to do when I am highlighting large amounts of flesh is to try and paint in the same direction as the underlying muscle fibres would run. As an illustration on the right arm of the dog face: the pectoral muscle starts at the sternum and runs across the ribs and finishes under the deltoid muscle. I therefore make my brush strokes run left to right with the muscle. The deltoid itself runs from the shoulder down to the upper arm, so the brush strokes again follow this. I find it helps to give a bit of texture to the skin and I find it flow more naturally.

In game the Dog face is merely a delivery device - he is nothing special until he transforms, at which point he becomes a very scary close combat monster. What appeals to me most is his super jump skill - the thought of basically jumping wherever I want, landing and shredding my opponents sounds too good to pass up.

Ariadna also has the appeal of several different potential Dog Warriors (up to 4 - 2 Dog Warriors or Cameronians, McMurrough and Duroc) which would probably not be effective, but would be quite a sight to see!

This miniature is a chasseur armed with an adhesive launcher and demolition charges. This makes them quite able to destroy TAGs in very short order - immobilize with an attack from camouflage, walk up, several charges on an immobilized enemy, blow them up.

All the merovingian models have a light blue/dark blue uniform style. I find blue a very easy colour to work with, and it tends to give good results. I have used Vallejo blues for my Infinity models because it is very matt, very subdued and real feeling. The light blue has been highlighted by mixing in small amounts of grey with an eye on where the light would fall. The dark blue however has been left largely unhighlighted.

The model itself is very nice, if a little bit cheesecake in pose (seriously, on a battlefield you have slightly unzipped your kevlar vest and then thrust your bosom forwards?) but the weapon looks good and she at least looks like she is within the bounds of normal human proportions. Construction was straightforwards and overall a very easy build.

This is an SAS member equipped with an assault pistol and a chain rifle. In game he is a fairly cheap infiltrating camouflaged warrior who is pretty vicious in close combat and has the ability to use speculative fire to knock out strong points.

I have attempted where possible to use consistent colours for each of the sectorials within the Ariadna army, hence the English Uniform trousers (ref. Scots Grey of two posts ago). The miniature is very understated and a very quick paint, but excellent. This is a good example of the difference between Infinity and some other Sci-Fi miniatures - there is no extraneous detail or detail for details sake, but lots of fantastic, appropriate, little details like the gas mask strapped to the back of this miniatures right arm.

Here we have the man himself - William Wallace, or at least the Aleph reconstruction. A word of warning about this miniature - I had a great deal of difficulty getting the arms to fit right. It required a lot of bending and twisting of the arms to get them to a reasonable position. This is not onerous or difficult but it does require a bit of experience and care. I found I was able to get the required bending with my fingers, but caution is required in case you twist an arm off!

The only thing of note on this miniature is the kilt. This has been painted Vallejo Scarlet and then washed with a dark purple (this takes the colours towards blue, which due to its position on the colour wheel can be used to shade red) before building the colours back up. Once this was done the tartan pattern was laid down before it was itself highlighted. The photo seems to have washed the colour out a bit. I always find that free hand painting is the real challenge of miniature painting. To get straight lines paint must be wet enough to flow well, which then demands increased brush control skills which then demands a fair degree of confidence.

This miniature also illustrates one of the frustating aspect of Vallejo paints - on metal miniatures looking at it funny can rub paint off, which is very frustating when you have just laid down four or five layers. If using Vallejo, try to ensure you do not need to touch the miniature while painting!

The next thing on my plate is a small undead force (all Games Workshop) and then that will probably be followed by some Perry Brother War of the Roses based for Impetus.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First expansion of Ariadna

The first expansion for the starter pack I purchased was a small number of support weapon pieces. Ariadna does not have access to the high tech toys of other factions (no TO camouflage, no hackers, no guided missiles, no TAGs, no drones etc.) they do have access to a fair number of heavy weapons and often at a very good price. Also, you get werewolves. What  more needs to be said?

The first miniature below is a Tankhunter with an autocannon.

This miniature was started in my standard method for Infinity miniatures - a white base followed by a very dark brown wash. The base colours were then applied, but starting with this model I then washed these colours with an appropriate Citadel Wash (Thraka Green or Devlan Mud essentially as required), which worked very well to bring out all those little details. All armour and metals I have painted in a very similar way across these models. I start with a base coat of Vallejo German Grey (a very dark grey), wash it with black and then build up highlights with German Grey with increasing amounts of Vallejo White Grey.

I have not done anything to the miniature - I constructed it straight from the blister, leaving the gun off while painting and then attaching it afterwards. This is a good example of some of the fiddlyness of the Infinity miniatures - his offhand is seperate - so needs to be attached to the wrist, and then the frame connected to the gun! Worth it though, as the the miniature is very cool and rather effective in game. He carries arguably the most powerful weapon in the game and is camouflaged meaning he can often wipe his opponent out before they have any chance to do him any harm.

Below is the Zouave Sapper with HMG. This is another good example of the essentially real feel of a lot of Infinty Ariadna models - the gun is exaggerated but believeable; the armour is nicely understated and the pose is believable in a combat setting.

The decorative base is a nice touch and adds a lot to the look of the miniature with very little effort. I have gone for a relatively subdued tone, using mainly Vallejo which tends to come out a fair bit flatter than Games Workshop paints. The uniform is actually in two different blues - his trousers are very slightly lighter but I am not sure the photo shows this well. I have also given him a little tricolore on his right fore arm to add a little interest to the paint job. I must reiterate, Infinity miniatures tend to have very shallow detail, so a decent wash is your best ally.

This is the miniature which made me want to buy Infinity miniatures - his face is perfect and the whole pose is very believable. I read a lot of military modelling magazines when I was little, and I can almost see this miniature in 90mm scale (or 1/20 if you are a 'scale' pedant) and done in oils. It also helps that in the game he is a very tough defender with the ability to be aggresively deployed.

Below is my second Veteran Kazak (I actually own a third - another rifly armed Veteran Kazak), this time armed with an AP HMG.

Infinity sometimes perfectly illustrates the ancient greek concept of bathos that is, going from the sublime to the ridiculous (although it has to be said it is more commonly sublime over the past couple of years than at the very beginning). On one hand you have perfectly posed, sculpted, in scale, near future warriors in very real active poses. Then you will have a crazy pose bloke who looks like he has tripped over his own feet. I think this veteran Kazak teeters dangerously close to the hmmmm... end of the scale - the effeminate posing being the main issue here.

He was painted in the same manner as his compadre, and gives me a few options on the battlefield. You can actually field him as your lieutenant, and with a big gun he can certainly make use of the free order. Unfortunately you also paint a very large sign on him saying please kill me. Otherwise, a Veteran Kazak toting an HMG is never a bad thing to have in your force.

As an off topic point - I believe you could get a close approximation of the Infinity rules but using a D6. The game tends to use 'group's of three to modify the D20 result - cover gives -3 to hit, effective range is +3 and so on. This equates to a system where most modifiers are basically a 15% change - +/- 1 on a D6 equates to a 16.6% change.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Infinity Ariadna Starter Pack

Hello all.

As I mentioned I have painted several models for Infinity, one of the non-GW games which currently seem to be competing for the cash of the internet denizens.

This first post contains the contents of the Ariadna starter pack: three line Kazaks, a veteran Kazak with a rifle, a 3rd Greys with 2 light shotguns and a Chasseur with a rifle. Pictures are below.

3 line Kazaks with rifles

Chasseur with rifle, flamethrower and mines!

3rd Grey with 2 light shotguns, rifle, smoke grenades and grenades

Veteran Kazak with rifle and light flamethrower
 These miniatures provide a new player with an interesting variety of weapons, skills and special abilities, with flamethrowers, mines, grenades, shotguns and smoke grenades all making an appearance in addition to camouflage and Sixth Sense level 2. It is worthwhile noting at this point that in order to play the chasseur and the 3rd Grey you will need their rules from the Human Sphere book (this is available free from Infinity Website, so no great cost involved).

I was not one hundred per cent happy with these models as I felt that they did not have enough contrast in the colours and the layering did not come out all that smoothly. Overall I prefer fully painted to not, so still a worthy addition to the battle force.

I started with a white base which I gave a dark wash to before putting down the base colours.  The base was tarted up with little bits of rock (created by making a milliput ball and then giving it a light tap with a lump hammer to get all sorts of interesting shapes and sizes) and painted fairly dark. This received irregular patches of green ground cover and flock.

With subsequent miniatures I have then given a wash to the colours to add a depth of colour and shading, but these first miniatures did not receive this. I have given them several layers of highlights and have added several small marking to add a bit of interest to the models. The black was done with a simple base of black followed by a dark grey and then light grey edge highlight. All of the Kazaks (Russians per background) have received green uniforms, Merovingians (French) combined dark blue and light blue, and the Caledonians (Scottish/English) English Uniform. All of the miniatures are very fine and it is imperative that paint go on in thin layers as it is very easy to flood the details of the miniatures.

I am probably happiest with the Veteran Kazak - I think the armour has worked out quite well and the miniature itself is probably the most futuristic/ near future military in look. The 3rd Grey is arguably the weakest of the bunch in terms of pose.

Hope you enjoy

Monday, February 6, 2012

Infinity Miniatures

Something I have working on recently has been a bit of an Ariadna force for Infinity. I have already painted about seven miniatures and I intend to show these over the next little while. This post however is about currently being worked on miniatures. The first group of three miniatures is a chasseur, a dog face and William Wallace.

There is nothing special to note that I have done to these miniatures. The miniatures have not required much clean up at all; some small bits of flash between two masses and some very fine mold lines are the only things that have needed cleaning up. I have glued them to their base (with a little stonework for Wallace) and based them with some sand. I leave off arms where they cross bodies so that I can get at all the details quite easily, but otherwise have glued them together. I have green stuffed small gaps where necessary, both to conceal the gap but also to reinforce the join.

It is worth noting that Infinity miniatures are very fine in general. Next to Games Workshop miniatures they are very elegant and slim. This does mean that detail is often very shallow and small, but it is all there. I am a fan of these miniatures and the sculpting style plus the game itself is pretty good fun. A set of quick start rules are available from Corvus Belli (the manufacturers) and this gives a good introduction to the basic game concepts. Although I have not joined the official forum, it is also full of answers to questions both game and painting related, and there is even a rules wiki!

Below is a close up of an SAS (Special Ariadnian Service... I see what they did there) miniature. I think this perfectly encapsulates the aesthetic of the Infinity range, and what you need to be aware of before buying these miniatures. The body of the miniature is one piece, but the chain gun is a seperate piece, as are the left and right arms. This gives excellent dynamism and variety in poses in the model as it is not restricted by the technical limitations of metal casting. On the other hand, it can be fiddly and time consuming (the gun is ~5mm long and the shoulder contact point is maybe a couple of milimetres) to actually construct the little chaps. I also like to pin where appropriate which again adds to the time.

You can see I have added a small green stuff bed roll at the base of his back pack. I don't think these miniatures need a lot of extra work to look good, but it is always nice to have a personal touch. Apart from the gun, this SAS could easily be imagined preparing to storm an embassy somewhere right now. Proportions feel right and the pose is the epitome of restrained violence: he is trained and equipped to kill, but he does not need to prove himself and his skill unnecessarily.

Below is a Dog warrior - the obvious science fiction/fantasy element of the Ariadna faction. I personally like the concept of a science fiction werewolf (in game you start with a Dog face and he changes into the Dog warrior when wounded) as it just strikes me as kind of cool - everybody else in the setting is shooting and firing guided missiles, while this great hairy werewolf is just going to rip you apart with teeth and claws. The miniature itself is deceptively large - he is on a forty millimetre base and his chain rifles are about twice the size in every direction of the SAS chain rifle.

I have done a bit of work to this model - after constructing the model I filed back his latissimus dorsi (the large muscle running from the shoulder to the back, and which gives the torso the V shape) as it is sculpted inordinately large and bulged. Although he is a werewolf, it neither was anatomically correct, nor did it look cool. Therefore it had to change! I have also used some green stuff to just bulk up a few other spots. I thickened his bottom jaw (creatures that rely on their bite have very heavy jaws as this is what gives them a bone crushing bite pressure; teeth are much less important than a robust structure to resist pressure and anchor powerful muscles to) as well as generally bulking up his lower legs. The knees were too knobbly (leg muscles attach to the knee cap, not the thigh bone) and for my taste the calf and foot (the 'crooked' bit: canines actually walk on their toes) were too slender.

I like the concept of werewolves in a science fiction setting, and the Infinity justification is quite neat, but I don't know that I can whole heartedly recommend this model. I personally like it, but don't think it will appeal to all. A bit of work has already gone into this model, and until it is painted I am withholding judgement on the final result. On the other hand, Duroc, from the Mirage-5 team is a fantastic model, and the recently released Cameronian Dog warrior is excellent as well.

Next up will be some pictures of ones I prepared earlier.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ulrik the Slayer

The final part of the Space Wolf trilogy: Ulrik the Slayer. Pictures are below.

There is much less to say about Ulrik than the other two. He has been painted in the same basic style and methods, and the base has been done in the same manner as Ragnar's.

To get his armour black I underpainted as normal and then went back and gave it a black wash using Games Workshops Badab Black wash. Once this had dried I gave it a second wash to ensure a sufficient depth of colour. Black is always hard to highlight because if you do too much it goes grey, and if not enough then it is difficult to tell anything has been done!

The only other thing of note is the amount of bone on the model. I paint this in a fairly standard way: first coat is graveyard earth and I then build it up with off white. The aim is to have the majority of the detail in off white, or just slightly darker. It unfortunately however takes a while to paint and can lead to slight variations between models. This is fine when you paint individual models, but if the army is bone heavy then I would look to a simpler method.

I have been looking at the Vampire Counts, and I think that the easiest way to get a consistent result would be Army Painter bone coloured spray paint, brown wash, bleached bone dry brush, skull white sparingly dry brushed. Experiments in the future all going well.

Next on my plate are some Infinity miniatures (Defiant Gaming does Infinity in Australia at a very good price). I will show some pictures in my next post.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Njal Storm Caller

Along with Ragnar and Ulrik the Slayer I have painted Njal Stormcaller, the most powerful Space Wolf Rune Priest. Pictures, as usual, are below.

Looking at the codex, he is a very powerful model, with a focus on interesting ways to destroy your enemy at range. His Jaws of the World Wolf is a nice way to get rid of low initiative tough models, and his Murderous Hurricane (I think? The spell that does hits and the target takes dangerous terrain tests if they move) looks like a good way to make sure that his target can only make bad decisions. If placed with a couple of Long Fang units he can make your long range fulcrum very effective while mounted Grey Hunters and Blood Claws act as the offensive lever arm.

The model is painted in the same method to start with as Ragnar: a dark grey to very light grey undercoat. With Njal I wanted to do a bit of source lighting however (Victoria Lamb is fantastic at this) so right from the start I thought about where I wanted the light to come from and highlighted accordingly. I decided that the staff would cast off a bright, firey light and that it would come from the whole staff. The miniature was then painted in much the same way as Ragnar, but again with an eye on where the light was coming from.

When it came to painting the source lighting I made up very dilute dark red, orange and yellow (seperately...) washes and starting with the red painted over the top of all my previous work. The red was fairly widely painted on, with not much finesse. I then moved to the orange and again washed it over the top of the red. This was a much more focussed wash, and was reapplied several times. I then took the yellow and hit the highlights with this. I then worked the lighting until I was happy with the look; if I felt an area needed to be darker I painted some more red on, with some orange maybe worked in while it was still wet. Overall I am happy with the look. Below is a close up of the face, which I am fairly happy with, and best shows off what I am talking about.

The base has been done in the same manner as Ragnar's although there is no static grass and some of the rocks where included in the source lighting attempt.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ragnar Blackmane

I am not dead, just having a very long lie down...

I have been painting, and shall shortly be showing some pictures of Njal Stormcaller and Ulrik the Slayer. For today though I have a couple of pictures of Ragnar, which are below.

He has been painted with a new (for me!) style. I base coated in black and then went over the whole miniature highlighting from dark grey up to a very light grey. The armour, bolt pistol and wolfshead shoulder pad have been left as this. Other areas however were then over painted with a couple of light coats of the chosen colour. These were then further highlighted. I found this process actually quite a bit quicker than my normal method of multiple layers of colour, and I am very happy with the result.

The colour choices themselves are not particularly exciting, although I am using a few Vallejo colours in my palette. The flesh was base sand, with highlights in flat flesh. I have found that for me this colour is slightly too flat and cold, so I washed a little orange brown over the flesh to get some warmth and depth of colour. The wolf pelt has been done with graveyard earth, with off white as the highlight.

The base is a 40mm round base from Games Workshop, with a couple of slate pieces and a skull from their Warhammer basing kit. I have put sand on the base and painted everything before going back and putting on static grass (Steppe Grass from Army Painter) and then over everything a light dusting of Games Workshop snow. Finally I have placed a couple of leaves (I found these, but a good option is Basecrafts). The overall look I wanted to achieve on his base was late Autumn, early Winter, the leaves have nearly all fallen, frosts are heavy with some snowfall on very cold nights. Hopefully I have achieved that!

More posts soon!