Welcome to the first Zatu Painted Miniatures of the Month Showcase! Here we will show you what kind of miniatures our bloggers have been working on recently and let them explain why they love the miniature and how they got it looking so awesome. Our little community is full of extremely talented people who painstakingly change the drab plastic grey of miniatures into ‘mini’ works of art. It’s often a gruelling process, and all of us are still learning, but when we see the finished product, it’s all worth it. So without further adieu, on with the show!
Bjorn (Scythe) by Dan Street-Phillips
I have always been a huge fan of Scythe. It was one of the first heavier games I played when getting into the hobby and more importantly it was the game that got me into painting my miniatures. I am really proud of the leader of the Nordic faction, Bjorn and his musk ox named Mox. The main reason why this one stands out to me is because this faction was the first to use a snow effect and I just love how it turned out. But don’t let me get ahead of myself. As I am still early in my painting journey I use a light grey base. Black I find is just too dark to get any kind of vibrancy in the colours and white just highlights any nooks and crannies I didn’t manage to reach. Grey works right in the middle for me. I was always taught, via endless YouTube videos, to block out the whole mini in its main colours first but I like to work on one element at a time. So starting with Mox I began building up the browns, adding details as each layer dried. I then did the same with Bjorn before finally fixing any mistakes and adding a final layer of detail over the piece as a whole. In order to get the lighter hair colours on the ox, rather than dry brush I instead used a rough cloth to rub some of the paint off which lightened the brown as the grey started to reveal underneath. I did the same for Bjorn’s beard. Finally, I put a light wash of Citadel’s Reikland Fleshshade over the ox and a Nuln Oil over Bjorn to bring out some detail. For the snow I bought some of Citadel’s Valhallan Blizzard. You can palette it on gently and it will set, creating a great three dimensional snow effect. You can also brush it gently over characters as I did here to add a snowfall effect too. I love this stuff! It also works well as water froth!
I'll freely admit I wasn't convinced by the point of this model...and then I got it. And, oh my, it is a lovely thing. As well as a spectacular (ahem) display piece you also get the amazing (sorry) alt sculpt Doc Ock and Spidey that can be removed and used in game. I did do a tiny bit of conversion work on this - the backs of the vertical beams are hollow, so that was some quick plasticard, because I'll KNOW There's a gap even if no-one else does - and added a couple more chains (gw chaos tank bits), but other than that, it's as it comes.
Paint wise, I am mostly a Vallejo guy over white primer (for supers, anyway). Their reds are very intense, particularly in the game colour range, though I often use the Model Air range brushed on: so for example Spidey was blocked in with VGC Heavy Red, then VGC Scarlett Red, then Model Air Red and finally some Flat Flesh to highlight; I often highlight red with skin tones to avoid pinking. I'm less of a fan of their yellows, so often I'll start with GW Averland Sunset and then blend in VJ Model Air yellow to thin and brighten, adding in VGC Arctic White and then a yellow ink glaze over the top. VGC sick green is my go-to (great for orks, too) and good old Ultramarine for the blues.
Skin and hair, well, don't knock Flat Flesh but shaded with some Druchi Violet before fleshshade; hair is where Model Air browns (Mahogany or Burnt Umber) really come into their own.
I also love a bit of rust. I will quite often start rust with VGC Orange Fire and then wash it with GW Seraphim Sepia, then drybrush any surface where there's contact with Gunmetal. If I want crusty rust (well, I do play Nurgle) I'll often start with a gw texture paint like Agrellan Badlands or similar. Finally, the explosions! These are done with a reverse highlight: so, started yellow (just thin yellow is fine) then slapchopped (like a quick, not-quite drybrush) orange / red and finally matt black.
For my showcase, I’ll be presenting the Lady in waiting herself, The Lady of Vines. Out of all the Sylvaneth miniatures I’ve painted, this has to be one of my favourites; as it’s so expressive and is brimming with character.
I love this miniature for its backstory and unique pose, but most of all I’m blown away by all of the small details that are included. From the Orc corpse and grasping tendrils to the rotting skulls in her cape, it’s almost as if this model has been plucked straight out of the forest she was created in. Furthermore, that’s precisely what I wanted to capture when I started painting the model.
For the colour scheme I wanted to stay true to the woodland scene, so with the use of citadel contrast, layer and dry paints I created the look of aged bark all over the model and highlighted the crown with a royal gold and brass combo to make it stand out. To finish off the model I used the stirland mud texture paint and added some grass tufts. The only thing I’d like to go back and add is some branches on the floor to create a woodland ground effect; which I can easily do with some spare dryad pieces from the start collecting kit.
With this model, I wanted to see just what I could achieve by using a slap chop effect, before layering on contrast paints and dry brushing. And it goes without saying that I’m very pleased. By basing the model in black and drybrushing with a light gray, it created an immediate shading effect all over the model which was then picked up by the contrast paint when it dried.
Sea Serpent (Blood Rage) by Seb Hawden
Well, isn’t this new, a mini of the month feature, how exciting. I have, over the last few years, really gotten into painting my board game miniatures. I started small and slowly, learning new techniques and have got better and better at it. As I have told a few friends who have also recently gotten into it, an average mini paint job is better than no paint job.
The Sea Serpent is a monster you can summon in Blood Rage. He’s big, mean and was a joy to paint. My copy of Blood Rage is totally painted now and really adds a lot when these massive, painted monsters come crashing onto the board.
I started the paint job by applying a Zenithal base primer. This involves priming the miniature in black first then using a white primer on top from one angle to create a shaded base. I find that not only does it help with shading but more importantly, makes all the detail on the miniature easier to see and therefore paint.
After the base, I covered the mini with a few base colours, dark blue for the water and a dark green for the Serpent. Then I did what I normally do with my minis. I start by using an ink on the whole thing, the ink used depends on the finish and colour I want and then highlight up from that with gradual tones and by working up the colour scales.
On the water I used a mixture of green and in places dark blue inks, to give it a variable finish on the water. I then finished it by applying lighter and lighter blues and greens, finishing with some white foam on the crests of the waves and a few speckles on the Serpent itself.
For the Serpent I roughly followed the same process. After inking it in a dark green I highlighted the raised edges and everything caught by the light in a gradual increase of lighter greens. I made sure it was very watered down though to give you good gradients and better looking colour transitions. In the end I finished off the teeth, some saliva, did the tongue and then worked on the tendrils. I was going to wet-blend the tendrils but in the end used the same technique as described above, gradually moving from green to purple, then finishing off with a pink blob on the end to really highlight the tops of them.
All-in-all, I found painting this mini fun and I did learn a lot while doing so. I have not been painting that long, I also paint very infrequently, but every time I do paint, I learn and get slightly better and that’s what we are all striving for.
Northmen with mail, cloth and sallet. The Karstark Loyalists from the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF link) miniatures game are a well sculpted and designed regiment available for Stark players. I painted them up using AK interactive paints and Vallejo texture paste on the base. Using the box art as a template I layered up neutral brown colours so it would contrast with the grey tabards. I then pumped up the contrast by layering a more vibrant blue on the tabards and a brighter red on the officers plume/banner. The armour was a flat metallic from P3 privateer press paints followed by a matte glaze of diluted tenebrous brown from AK. This darkens the armour and puts it more into the grim and gritty Asoiaf aesthetic. This gave me just the right mix of neutral and earthy tones as well as the more heraldic elements which give a bit of flair to them.
The regiment stands out from the other Stark regular units by being a bit flashier than the regular sworn swords and Karstark spearmen. They have a more modern combination of armour with segmented plates and sallet’s rather than the pot helms that the other Northern units have. They also have flails/maces instead of the typical swords and spears. This makes them a very clear unit to identify and it is nice to see more unusual weaponry being represented. I am particularly fond of how vicious this regiment looks and that fits their tabletop role as a sort of glass cannon unit. They also fit into the sweet spot of bridging the aesthetic between Stark and Tully units as well as Boltons with their spiky implements and sit nicely alongside all the forementioned.