In a brief deviation from the norm, the workbench has been invaded by Orx (yes, that is the correct spelling apparently). I have been cleaning up and painting the starting roster for my initial Dreadball team; the “New Hades Buccaneers”.
The ‘Striker’ pledge level for Mantic’s Dreadball Kickstarter came with all manner of team goodness last week, including all four Season One teams fully filled out. Some of the alternative sculpts won’t arrive until the second wave spring next year, but it still leaves me with more than enough to get painting in the meantime.
This is the first time I have ever handled miniatures from Mantic and in particular the injection plastic resin they use. I have to say, I am more pleased with them than I thought I would be. The resin is harder and more resilient than what I am used wo working with, entirely unlike the soft resin Games Workshop use for ‘Finecast’. It also doesn’t feature the air bubbles and voids that finecast regularly seems to, nor does it need straightening. Detail is nice and crisp, don’t be put off by the early resin photos Mantic showed on their blog. In this instance that didn’t do them any favours as the end result looks an awful lot better. To be fair though it also does not quite capture the extraordinary level of detail Finecast manages. Their recent Space Wolf character Arjac and the amazing Bolg from the Hobbit range are two examples in particular (for me at least) which have done much to repair its reputational damage.
The Dreadball miniatures are also generally free from seam lines, what very few there were easily removed with the back of a craft blade. Judging by the reviews online however, not everyone is as enamoured with with the sculpts which is understandable, everyone has their own views. Personally, I like them as they are largely intended to be gaming pieces rather than wargaming miniatures per se. For me the extra durability the hard resin provides ideally suits their intended role and the likelihood of lots of handling.
On to the painting, I opted for a fast and efficient scheme to get gaming with them. At the end of the day I invested in Dreadball to play, not enter the team into a painting contest and have them languishing in a display cabinet. These guys are destined to get out there and hurt the completion (sorry Kev) . Starting with a light white primer so I could keep the colours bright and see the detail, I worked the flesh first. Dark Green followed by a Warboss Green shade and a single Dark Green/Gretchin Green highlight. Keeping it as simple as that.
The armour was a mix of red, black or silver and the whole lot given a thinned wash of GW brown shade before a single re-layering of the red and edge highlights on the black metals. At this stage, player numbers were added from the included decal set as well as a few from my own collection. Details like teeth and eyes were done last, as were a few tiny point highlights in mithril to catch the light and make the armour pop.That is pretty much where they are now in the photos. I would still like to add some chipping back with Charadon Granite and silver to give the armour some wear and tear prior to varnishing, but other than that they are broadly game ready.
As these guys are going to get handled a LOT, a good coat of gloss varnish is going to be essential, followed by a couple of coats of matt acrylic to finish. The integral bases I will keep a satin shine though to match the acrylic pitch. It was sort of nice not having to think about base textures and colours this time, the Dreadball playing surface being black. The integral ‘small’ bases the figures are mounted on are, putting it bluntly, a pain in the arse when it comes to keeping them upright. Kev made a good suggestion about sticking coins onto the bottom to give a bit of weight. As I don’t want the extra height though, or the look when lying prone, I am instead making use of the clear hex bases mantic have provided. These actually do significantly increase the models stability even without sticking them down.
With the ‘Buccs’ starting lineup done, the only remaining task was to paint the Ref-Bot and of course the game ball.
Job done. Now all I need is a wealthy corporate sponsor or two and I’m ready to play ball. Dread-ball. Sorry, couldn’t resist that last one. Next update, back to Epic and the end of year Winter Challenge group photo.
Until then, have a great holiday, whatever you are doing.