Rebel Assault and the Shaltari for Dropzone Commander have remained the mainstay of this weeks hobby activities, with both progressing nicely. I’ll cover the Shaltari in a separate post, but to give you a idea of where things are heading, here’s a small look at the colour tester on a Jaguar walker. As you can see this is very much a stripped down palette which is a direct clone of the method demonstrated by Dave Lewis from Hawk Wargames. The goal here is all about achieving a simple but effective tabletop standard with minimum time and effort invested. Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t about slapping on a layer of paint and making do, this is all about ‘efficiency’; getting maximum bang for your hobby time. The method Dave recommends for the Shaltari cleverly combines the miniatures detailing and design with the properties of the wash to do the majority of the shading and highlighting work for you. The end result looks like far more effort has been spent on it that it really has. Minimal effort, maximum impact.
Using this approach I have fairly raced through the plastic starter army box and already have the armoured and anti-air Battlegroups done. The rest should be following along shortly at this rate.
Switching to Imperial Assault, I’ve been focusing exclusively on the Imperial forces and leaving the Rebel ‘Heroes’ until the end as an incentive to stay on target (sorry, couldn’t resist). The Stormtroopers, although a very simple palette of black and white are actually quite time consuming if you want to get any contrast and depth to the armour. The most straight forward approach is to prime white and then give them a black wash, this gives you a monochrome base to work from. The white I then built back up over three to four progressive layers using Vallejo Game Air White. At this point I’d like to give a shout-out to Sorastro whose YouTube Imperial Assault painting guides have been a huge influence in me choosing the approach to take. Highly recommended.
The Royal Guard and Imperial Probe Droids also broadly followed Sorastro’s method of applying a nice strong base colour, wash and highlight. One feature I particularly like is his selective use of gloss varnish to create a nice effect on select armoured panels like the helmets. It creates a nice contrast and interest for the eye. Again, just like the Shaltari this is an efficient but highly effective palette that brings what is effectively a board game miniature up to a really good gaming standard in no time at all.
Next on the painting station are the rest of the Stormtroopers, the Imperial Officers (including a Chiss) and the considerably less impressive E-Web gunners. All those finished to date have been given a coat of GW Agrellan Earth to create a simple base over which I’ll apply a number of pigments and static grasses to finish. I considered keeping the bases a neutral flat colour so that they didn’t jar too much with the various tile environments, but in the end decided I just didn’t like leaving the miniatures that way. In the end I chose a desert environment to frame them against. I guess I just have a soft spot for Tatooine.
It’s not all been painting this week as a couple of much anticipated parcels arrived and if there is one thing I love it’s receiving new hobby materials, which is exactly what was in them. I admit it, I’m easily pleased when it comes to parcels; it always feels like an extra Christmas to me. This time around it was a number of paints I’ve been running low on or were missing, such as VMC Cavalry Brown, some new spray primers I wanted to evaluate (not shown) and a pair of aluminium palettes. I have found the last couple of years I have moved steadily away from the trusty white ceramic tiles I’ve used for years to a mix of a home-brew wet-palette for acrylics and metal well palettes for washes or mineral/oils. Also rocking up this week was a copy of ‘Painting Wargame Tanks’ by the supremely talented Mig Jimenez and Ruben Torregrosa (Heresy Brush) and a 17ml AMMO storage system (paint rack to you and me).
I would love to say the thing was easy to assemble, but I would be lying. No assembly instructions whatsoever and to just rub it in the shipping address label was firmly stuck over the one and only picture on the box. Thanks for that Scale Model Shop UK *big thumbs up*. Joking aside, when (if) you eventually figure out how to assemble it it’s actually a really nice little rack and has helped free up what was rapidly becoming a worrying overload on my Carousels, as well as keep the painting station nice and tidy.
The final little gem to turn up this week was a Concord starter force from Warlord Games. There were a couple of nice touches that I’ve come to love from Warlord in that they bundled in the order dice as part of the deal and also a free printed copy of the Antares beta rulebook. There was even an added extra free random mini for good measure. Games Workshop take note; that’s what engaging with your customers looks like.