Friday, October 14, 2016

WIP - Goblin archers

The following photos show my good intentions to build out my Goblin army for the local Redstone Rumble gaming convention this weekend.  Spoiler:  I didn't finish even one unit! 

Not even the chariot (although I still have a chance to finish that tonight -- we'll see...).

After many sessions of cleaning, prep, assembly, deflashing, etc., the horde is set up on the assembly line for painting.

It's been a while since I've done assembly-line painting.  As a matter of fact, I don't think I've attempted this many models before.  I've probably come close with a unit of Saurus Temple Guard or a unit of Dark Elf Spearmen quite a few years ago.  But for those units, I had the benefit of using only one color scheme.  When I paint goblins, I make it harder on myself.  I ponder individual color schemes for each individual model.  That approach is not conducive to batch-painting!

Halfway through zenithal priming.

So, I have to say, after working with Mantic Games' goblins, I am unimpressed with those models, to put it mildly.  It's like they're about 15% melted.  I almost abandoned them, and I even considered just throwing them out.  But I have two motivators to press through with them. 

One, the studio paint-jobs do show them in a relatively good light, where the figures convey a sense of character and personality.  After all, those photos are probably what convinced me to buy the models in the first place.  If I can manage to bring out that personality, I might be happy with them.

The second reason to persevere with them is that I spent some real money on them!  Yup, these guys go all the way back to Mantic's first Kickstarter, if I'm not mistaken.  So it's taken 6 or 7 years to finally bring these boys out to the painting table.  But I bought a lot of these stinking goblins, so I need to give them a fair shake, before I decide to kick them to the curb.

I assembled 8 of the Mantic goblins to mix into the 4 archer units.  I'm going to see how they look in the mix, before I decide their ultimate fate.  This plan forces me to prepare 8 back-up models from other ranges, in case I decide against the Mantic goblins.  Which creates even more work to get through this project!

I laid down base colors for a variety of skin tones.

One of my favorite steps -- washes. 
The wash step would be very fast, if I didn't spend so much time experimenting with the washes! 

I find I'm still trying to master how to craft and apply optimum washes.  For example, I compare my home-made washes to store-bought washes.  I experiment to see what type of pigment works best:  opaque paint, transparent paint, or ink.  I experiment with different mixes of water, medium, and flow enhancer.  As always, I end up with mixed and inconclusive results!

The by-product of exploring different wash solutions.

It took quite a few sessions to get through the first strip of goblins.  I spent a lot of time comparing techniques, bouncing back-and-forth between full-on opaque techniques, like wet-blending, and more batch-oriented transparent techniques, like washes and glazes.

On the back-up models, I even tried out the Kevin Dallimore approach of 3-step colors.  I am not a fan of that technique, I decided.  I'm glad I finally got around to trying it, but it is not for me.  It takes more than 3 steps to bring the contrast to where I need it, and I find it more laborious than applying my preferred techniques.  As a matter of fact, it was such a grind, I began to understand why some people hate to paint models for their armies!

The first strip of goblins are done. 
8 strips  to go!

Hopefully, all of this experimentation will lead me to some default, "go to" methods, which I can rely on to crank through certain decisions and thus pick up my pace.

A classic Kev Adams sculpt, a wee Red Box goblin by Tre Manor, and a cool "signaler" for the unit.
I just love the character in all of these little guys.


  1. Yeah, that first Kings of War Kickstarter remains my greatest Kickstarter regret: I doubled down and got a bunch of Orcs AND a bunch of Goblins and, as regrettable as those Goblins are, they look amazing compared to the Orcs.

  2. To Mantic's credit, their models have improved over the years. I was studying their ogre models at the Redstone Rumble event this weekend, and I was pretty impressed with the sharpness of detail and the general aesthetic. And it was a metal model, to boot -- a plus in my book, but I know not everyone likes the hell out of "restic", though.

    Anyway, Mantic models are hit-or-miss. Derek Osborne, of Throne of the Angels YouTube channel, explained to me that the original sculpts are actually crisp -- but the process to create the master molds screws them up (or something along those lines -- I forget the details).

    1. It's weird, I think their best models remain some of their first: their plastic undead kits are tough to beat.


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