As promised, I’m posting a few shots of my completed Stormwall colossal. What this post will mainly do is serve as proof that just because you own a hobby game company, it doesn’t mean you’re great at the hobby! Even though I have little time these days to paint and model, I still love doing it. More importantly, I can’t stand playing with an army that isn’t painted, even if it’s painted poorly! And with my upcoming game against Chris Kluwe at Mercenary Market this Sunday, I’m not about to go out there with unpainted models. If I’m going to get my butt kicked publicly, I’m at least going to do it with my own, fully painted army, which of course MUST include my very own Stormwall.
I haven’t ever written a hobby article and this doesn’t pretend to be one. But I will share with you my own technique for getting models ‘table ready’ in a short period of time. Mind you, this isn’t going to get any awards, and it might even raise a snicker or two, but what might be impressive is that the whole thing took just under six and half hours to complete, from unboxing to basing.
Essentially, my recipe is to liberally prime the entire model black and then dry brush the hell out of it with Privateer’s Formula P3 paints, naturally. I started with the metallic bits, then the white, then then the blue. The white and blue each have a darker base coat and a lighter top coat. (Morrow White over Menoth White Highlight for the white, Cygnar Blue over Cygnar Blue Base for the blue, of course).
I dry brush fast and loose, with full intention of destroying the poor brushes I’m working with. The goal is to mottle the color a little, giving it a worn and beaten texture. When it’s done, I do a little cleanup and hit some small details like eyes and bolts with a fine brush, then finish it all with some ink washes. The ink washes really bring it all together. First, they knock back the vividness of the whites and other colors, and they dirty it all up. But the best part is that the wash sort of blends the dry brush mottling together, smoothing it all out, and then of course it gets into all those littles cracks and crevices and pulls out the detail of the model. What you end up with, hopefully, is not something that looks like a pile of slop, but rather, something that looks like it’s been in the field for a while and needs good wash.
Disclaimer: this is not a studio approved technique and if anyone from Privateer is reading this, they’re probably falling out of their chairs laughing, or groaning and trying to figure out how to keep this from becoming a PR scandal! But painted is painted, my friends, and that’s a hell of a lot better than unpainted!
But it’s not finished yet — a model needs to be based. I’ve never been an elaborate baser, but these colossals have so much surface under them, they’re screaming to have some beautiful diorama constructed at their feet. Time is of the essence right now, though, and I needed to get this done fast. I also discovered that my basing materials didn’t make the move to California last year, so I had to improvise. In a pinch, I raided my son’s sandbox (Does that make me a bad daddy?) and then scavenged some interesting crumbled gravel from the backyard that was broken up in a consistently angular fashion. The idea was to try and construct something that resembled a low, rock wall that the Stormwall might have just absent-mindedly walked through. Again, it’s not beautiful, but it fills up a little of the space on this massive 120mm base. The rest I covered with sand, then I hit the whole thing with a mottled brown, yellow, green and black wash of the P3 inks to keep it from looking like he was just taking a stroll on the beach.
For someone who used to spend several days painted a single, man-sized figure, pulling this off in 6.5 hours was a minor feat. Actually, a major one. The big trick is to stop worrying about the nit-picky details and just to get it done. Unless you’re winning the Grand Master painting competition, no one is comparing your stuff to anything except unpainted pewter and plastic. This isn’t pretty, and there are a few embarrassing mold lines that I didn’t catch before the paint was on there, but if you are in a crunch for time and don’t think you can get this stuff done, believe me when I say you can. A couple hours a day for a few days and you can have a beast like this table ready.
All that said, I think there’s another one of these in my future. These colossals are, in my humble opinion, are the best models Privateer Press has ever created. The detail and craftsmanship of the sculpts is amazing, and I’m almost sorry to have insulted such a beautiful piece with such a sloppy paint job. It’s been so long since I designed the Stormwall that I’ve completely disassociated any ownership of the design from the final sculpt and I’m enjoying the piece as a true fan. Someday when I’m not feeling the time crunch, I’ll take another stab at the Stormwall and try to do it justice.