Against Grey Tides – Part II

It’s been two weeks since the start of this series and the big question is: what did I get done? Well, what I’d usually say is; I only managed to get a test model done, I had so little time in-between responsibilities, or various other negative statements that serve to only send me back into a place of hobby shame. But that’s not what I am going to say. I will instead say that I completed a full model; from concept, to methodology, to completion. I managed to squeeze in whatever time I had in furtherance of this, winning multiple battles against instant gratification activities. I’m working smarter, not needlessly harder on getting an army from grey plastic to painted greatness. This entry is going be about keeping positive, as well as how I personally learned to get great results without losing the bigger picture.

I chose to leave the base undone till I have the other 4 in his squad done, to get a feel for how to do it properly in a group setting.

One thing I experienced over the years is that test models can be traps. Traps for us to make paint schemes we have no ability to faithfully follow through on. We see a single model, and we try and squeeze every drop from the proverbial plastic stone. All that does is put us in a position where the hours and tricky techniques we used must now be done on the other 49 miniatures (and those are just those from the same unit!) This often makes us move to a different project, because the scheme itself became the most daunting obstacle. I’ve done this to myself enough times and with this army I went in wanting a scheme I could see myself doing on 50 or more miniatures. Making a paint scheme that looks good and doesn’t cost unnecessary time starts not in the colors and application of them, but starts in the mind: expectation. Specifically, being realistic.

On the test miniature featured in this article, there are mistakes and oversights where I chose not to go back to. Why? Simple: Only I will likely see them, especially when he’s in a unit with several other completed models. Taking pride in your work isn’t hindered by knowing you missed a spot here or there, it is in fact a greater expression of passion to press on and finish a project than to labor until we reach “perfection”, which we never do, and never even finish the project. Be in love with the product, not the ideal of the product.

Okay, so we’re cool with there being mistakes. So, what do we do when it comes to actual application to keep pressing on? For this project, I used a technique that is great for speed: Drybrushing. Now I know I’ve given drybrushing tough love in the past, as it was in my mind, “great for terrain and basing, but not the primary technique I’d use on infantry”. But this time I went against my previous belief and discovered I can get great results with it. It’s not a “lazy man’s” solution. Drybrushing was the main ingredient for the armor and the skin of my Blood Warrior, and it was tied together with a smidge of edge highlighting or glazing at the end. And I got the same, if not better results, than if I had layered and more extensively edge highlighted.

Don’t be afraid to use “quick” techniques, regardless of the level of quality you want your miniature to have. Contrast paints from Games Workshop, for example, can be used without any other paints or techniques, but its real strength lies in when you use them in tandem with other methods or paints. The red skin of my Blood Warrior is a perfect example: Mephiston Red, washed with Druchii Violet, given a heavy drybrush of Astorath Red, little edge highlights of Evil Sunz Scarlet, finished with Blood Angles Red Contrast thinned with medium to be more of a glaze. What I achieved in minutes with drybrushing I could have substituted for traditional layering, but because I knew how to blend the colors together, I got a much better result for the classic red of Oni.

In completing this test model, I not only have a model done, I have a foundation for the entire army at its core, which is undoubtedly the biggest boon out of all of this. The key to getting a project done is really taking objective looks at what you’re doing. The next time you do a test model for an army, think positive. It makes everything else easy.

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