Dungeon Tiles, Painting Gnolls, and a Study in Red

This month has been a little slow, hobby-wise.  It has alternated between cold and warm and cold and hot and freezing weather here in the Dallas area, often on the same day.  The wild fluctuation in temperature has played havoc on my health.  So chalk one up for the “it sucks to get old” meme.

Anyway, I don’t watch much TV anymore and the news just depresses me.  Instead, I’ve been watching YouTube videos (sorry Donald, I did not watch your inauguration).  Two of those videos have found their way into this post and another video caused me to purchase a book.

Frontline Games

I’ve been attending Texicon for several years and always look forward to shopping from Frontline Games whenever they attend the convention.  It is a family owned business and they are just great folk.  Mario’s main emphasis has been 28mm WWII miniatures, but he carries scenery, paints, brushes, and other games as well.

This past June, one of the scenery items I purchased was a small box of 20 2″x2″ Stones Dungeon Tiles.  They are made from a PVC material and are double-sided.  I purchased the ones that are cobblestone on one side and earth on the other.  They painted up quickly, I used a gray triad of Charcoal Gray, Medium Gray, and Pebble craft paints with a drybrush of Vallejo Stone Grey on the cobblestone side, and the Reaper Redstone triad on the earth side.

Stones Dungeon Tiles from Frontline Games
Stones Dungeon Tiles from Frontline Games
Cobblestone side
Cobblestone side
Earth side
Earth side

I don’t do much in the way of playing dungeon crawls, but dungeon tiles are useful pieces of terrain for several types of games.

Painting Gnolls

Years ago, when I first started reading fantasy and playing fantasy games, I did not encounter gnolls very much at all.  Today, they seem to be everywhere.  Every kingdom or nation visited by my dwarf character in World of Warcraft seems to have a gnoll infestation.  Reaper, Northstar, and a few other companies have all released gnoll warbands in recent years.  I have a warband of 10 – one metal female gnoll cleric and nine gnolls from the Reaper Bones line of plastics.

I was inspired to paint them after finding a how-to video from a gentleman I know only as “Engineer Jeff.”  I kind of followed his video to paint my gnolls.  I didn’t follow it exactly, since I don’t have the exact colors he used.  The video helped me to quickly paint up gnolls to a good tabletop standard.  Here is the video link, How to Paint a Reaper Bones Gnoll 

If you are unfamiliar with Reaper Bones miniatures, they are miniatures from their other lines that have been cast into a PVC-type plastic.  They are not as bendy as some soft-plastics, but they are also not as rigid as hard plastic such as what you find in model car kits.

Unpainted Bones miniatures
Unpainted Bones miniatures
They were primed with a dark brown & then painted with a thinned Vallejo Game Color Dark Flesh
They were primed with a dark brown & then painted with a thinned Vallejo Game Color Dark Flesh
I painted the skirts, green, blue, red, and off-white. I know Engineer Jeff calls it a loincloth, but it is a skirt! Used a shadow color, base color & highlight color for each one.
I painted the skirts, green, blue, red, and off-white. I know Engineer Jeff calls it a loincloth, but it is a skirt! Used a shadow color, base color & highlight color for each one.
At this point, I've painted straps, puttees, shield, metal parts, nails, teeth & muzzle.
At this point, I’ve painted straps, puttees, shield, metal parts, nails, teeth & muzzle.
Finished Gnolls
Finished Gnolls

dscn2410

dscn2411dscn2412I know I didn’t list all of the steps.  Watch the video!  I did pretty much everything he did.  It took only a couple of hours to paint the gnolls including the time to photograph different stages.  Now, I have a goal to finish the other six by the end of February.

A Study in Red

Red is sometimes a difficult color to paint, especially over a dark color.  Since I’ve started priming my models black, I’ve had to find a way to paint a red that has depth and a brightness that pops on the tabletop.  For this study, I’ll be trying two different techniques, both which start with a black primer.

One is inspired by the studio miniatures painted for Corvus Belli’s game Infinity.  After watching several Infinity videos, I ordered Painting Miniatures from A to Z Masterclass Volume 1 by Angel Giraldez.  This is going to be tricky for me for one main reason, I do not own an air brush.  So can I pull it off?  Maybe, but I have to wait for warmer weather.  There is a way to achieve “pre-shading” or “under-painting” using spray paint.cvbaz0001_1024x1024I know, the book is a little on the expensive side, but it comes with a “limited edition” miniature!  I bought mine from The Warstore, so I didn’t pay the full suggested retail price.

The second method, the one I tried this week is from the venerable Doctor Faust’s Painting Clinic.  Here is a video for painting red over a black primer: How to Paint Red on Miniatures

Infinity Nomad Hacker on left for Masterclass technique; GW Sisters of Battle on right for Dr. Faust technique
Infinity Nomad Hacker on left for Masterclass technique; GW Sisters of Battle on right for Dr. Faust technique
Sisters of Battle with Reaper Brick Red shadow or under color
Sisters of Battle with Reaper Brick Red shadow or under color
Sisters with Reaper Blood Red base coat - Note: Both the under coat & base coat were built using several thin layers of paint which help with shading.
Sisters with Reaper Blood Red base coat – Note: Both the under coat & base coat were built using several thin layers of paint which help with shading.
dscn2422
Thin layers of highlight colors : mixture of Reaper Clear Red & Daler-Rowney Volcano Red Pearlescent Acrylic
I mix a very small amount of Pearlescent acryllic with the Clear Red
I mix a very small amount of Pearlescent acryllic with the Clear Red
I could do more highlighting, but I'll wait until the model is nearly finished to see if it needs it
I could do more highlighting, but I’ll wait until the model is nearly finished to see if it needs it
A nice red
A nice red

I’m happy with the way the red turned out.  If you just try to paint red over black, it doesn’t cover due to the transparent nature of the pigments used in red paint.  Often when starting out we glop the paint on until it looks red, but then it looks unrealistic & cartoony.  One trick is to paint the areas white or with a white dry brush before painting the red.  Sometimes this approach also results in a thick mess because it is actually difficult to paint a smooth white over black.  Or, sometimes, the  dry brush technique looks chalky.

My eyes are too bad & my patience is way too short to ever do a Golden Demon level of paint job on a miniature.  However, with a little study & some practice, I can put models on the table top that look nice.  It’s when you take pictures that the stinking camera reveals all the spots you missed!

One comment

  1. About Angel’s techniques, don’t be afraid of not having an airbrush. It helps, a lot, but Angel uses them only for three things: Priming/basecoating, points of light and OSL. All of this can be done without one with thin coats and glazes, and in fact even the fancy priming trick can be somewhat replicated with rattlecans, here Sorastro demonstrates both ways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtHbIfyQHBU&t=4m7s

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