Golden Smoke - Surviving Another Kingdom Death Monster

Kingdom Death – The Gold Smoke Knight is the newest Monster to grace my painting table. I believe this guy slots into a Kingdom Death Campaign as a replacement (or after-boss boss) for the Watcher. I could be wrong as it’s been quite some time since I was able to convince my group to play something other than Warhammer 40k.

The survivors are painted in the same manner as the others I’ve done. Pretty straightforward with some minor glow effects. I really like the variety of survivors you have once all the kits have been assembled. Being able to represent any item card in the game on your model is also a cool concept that’s harder to pull off.

I'm a Survivor - Kingdom Death Armor Kits

Kingdom Death – With these kits I believe I’ve finally finished up my clients core set of Kingdom Death: Monster. The armor kits are one of the most difficult things to build, not because the kit is hard to follow but more so because until you’ve played the campaign you don’t know how to best arm them or what you might make during the course of the game. So to take best advantage of the versatility of the kits you’d build a new model after each session. WHICH IS INSANE!

The more reasonable thing to do is build the complete kits and arm them to look cool. Then they can represent the model without having to BE the exact model. This is especially true when having the models painted by a commission artist and preparing to have everything done before starting the game.


The first kit in this batch is the Rawhide kit. Your settlement should be able to start crafting these items fairly early in the game. I stuck with a simple khaki and bone color scheme for these to reflect the White Lion which is the monster that will provide most of the raw materials to make the stuff the survivors are decked out in.


After you’ve built some structures tanning leather helps move your rawhide into a more durable good.


If you can take out the screaming antelope making this set will help your settlement succeed and thrive.


Eventually you’ll face the Phoenix and if you are able to get the right parts making a nifty birdman suit keeps you going in the right direction.


After fighting the big bad watcher you can craft a sweet set of armor.

Kingdom Death: Monster Core set almost done

Kingdom Death: Monster Core set almost done

Kingdom Death – Slowly but surely I'm wrapping up all the models in the Kingdom Death: Monster core box as well as the expansions. Of course these aren't my own models but it's nice to put some paint to them finally, when I get to finish my own it should be quick with all the practice I'm getting. 

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Fear the Gorm - Kingdom Death Expansion

Fear the Gorm - Kingdom Death Expansion

Kingdom Death – My own Kingdom Death campaign seemed to have faltered after the Screaming Antelope murdered most of my party, and since that day most of my play group has been interested in other things so I haven't had a chance to go back into the boutique nightmare horror realm that is Kingdom Death. 

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On the painting table ... Kingdom Death White Lion Armor

On the painting table ... Kingdom Death White Lion Armor

Kingdom Death – If you want to play a challenging game that has character development and civilization building Kingdom Death can scratch that itch. If your party manages to survive the various encounters with the nightmarish monsters that inhabit the world, they can scavenge the parts left over from the encounter to create gear, weapons and more to help them survive the next encounter. The cool thing about this boutique game is the core set includes miniatures for all the things you can make so you can actually build your characters as they are armed.

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On the painting table: King's Man

On the painting table: King's Man

Kingdom Death – The next model in the core set is the King's Man. This particular creature is incredibly annoying to fight based on my groups experience. Of course the same could be said for any of the monsters in this game. After fighting this beast we decided it might make sense to start over and focus on building weapons instead of building every settlement extra right off the bat.

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Kingdom Death - Surviving the Lion

Kingdom Death – After assembling all the core game monsters and basic survivors I was able to get a basic paint job on the models needed for the First Story. My play group has been anxiously waiting to play this game since I backed it on Kickstarter several years ago. So it wasn't hard to get three more players to join me on the first adventure into the nightmare realm of Kingdom Death.

The rulebook throws you right into the game it functions very similarly to a modern video game which walks you through the basic actions and teaches you through experiencing the game with minimal reading of the game rules. Essentially follow the walk through and you learn the basics of the game, this is brilliant because it makes teaching the game really easy. (Not to mention I didn't have to remember a bunch of rules right off the bat.)

After naming our characters we followed the instructions and set up the Lion AI deck and began the showdown. (Note: we didn't catch the adjustments needed to fight the various levels of creatures until we were deep into the battle. Fighting a 25 wound lion is way harder than fighting a 10 wound lion.)

 Right off the bat my character got mauled and I thought it was going to be the end for me. Luckily my compatriots were able to roll multiple critical hits to bring the Lion down to a more managable number of wounds. I recovered and got back into the fight. Miraculously we survived out first encounter and looted the corpse for useful materials.

The next stage of the game is the settlement phase. This is where you go back to your camp and spend resources to build things or innovate cultural events. The innovations allow you to move the story forward and grant access to new gear and abilities. We rolled up our settlement and have a total of 12 people. (It seemed like overkill at the time, but you do need every body you can get) Once of our survivors had to stay at the camp staring as the lanterns to gain insight. Which meant that player made a new survivor from the pool we have to go on the next hunt. We built a skinnery and bone smith with our initial endeavors as well as crafting a vest from the body parts we had.

Each settlement phase you fill in a timeline box and at various stages trigger a story event. Which you do immediately. The core rule book has a ton of these events and it feels like a choose your own adventure book when you have to flip through the pages to find your event. 

After the settlement phase is the ideal time to end your gaming session. You fill in what you have and make notes for the next time you get together.

Since it was still early and everyone was enjoying the game we moved on to the Hunt phase. During this phase you pick a monster to hunt and set up the hunt board per the description on that monsters showdown phase. The survivors move along the track revealing cards at each stage. The cards are events that can help or hurt the survivors as well as actions the beast may take while you stalk it. Once the monster and survivors meet in the same space you move to the showdown phase.

Each showdown gives you a layout to set up the monster and terrain cards. The terrain are heavy cardboard chits with a card that describes what it does. You then deploy your survivors according to that map and begin the showdown. The monster goes first and flips a card to see what it does. After it takes it's action the survivors take theirs. You can move up to your movement and then take an action. We pretty much just took turns swinging at the lion attempting to kill it. Each time you hit you flip a card from the hit location deck it lists the effects of your strike. These include critical hit events as well as what happens if you fail to wound. (Hint the lion doesn't like being poked in the ass). Each time you wound you remove a card from the AI deck when the deck is gone you've killed the monster.

This beast went down fairly easily and we salvaged some useful bit that we took back to our settlement. During the settlement phase we experienced an earthquake that gained us another founding stone. We took our body parts to the Bonesmith and made an axe and sword. We also made vests out of the useful hides we gathered. (Note the nifty paper towel vests one of my buddies created, a subtle reminder i still have a metric ton of minis to assemble and paint)

Some of our survivors aged and began gaining weapon proficiencies. Which seem like they'll help us in the long run. We also triggered the Screaming Antelope story event which gave us a new monster to hunt.

Eager to see what this beast will be like our brave survivors start the hunt for the Screaming Antelope. This hunt is much different and causes our survivors to spend all their survival during the hunt phase chasing down the Antelope. Eventually we catch it and begin the showdown.

The beast swallows one of our survivors in it's maw and dismembers her. It rams me and smashes my jaw three times and leaves me bleeding out on the ground near death. Our other survivors wound it, but as it eats the other arm of the survivor it swallowed it heals back up. Things are looking grim as we slowly reduce it's health and it vomits up our armless companion. It's next charge swallows our axe wielder and dismembers one of his legs. We fail to hurt the beast and it took his other leg. Outraged we began throwing our stones (not the best idea) and crit the thing to death. It vomits out our friend who will have to retire when we drag him back to the camp, but survived so we get the endeavor point to spend.

As it's now very late we decide to call it quits and make our notes for the settlement phase where we'll begin the next session.

Overall my group loved the game. It's really fun and the mechanics are very clever. The co-op aspect of the game really shines with the comradely and I can't remember the last time we laughed so much during a game. The stuff that happens is just insane. I like the fact that you play a settlement rather than a character. It opens up the opportunity for new people to sit in as well as making it easy to keep up if someone gets hurt or removed from the game early. I'm pretty sure it would be a good idea to rotate around the survivors to keep all of them around the same level but right now we're just going to wing it.

Building a Kingdom(Death)

Kingdom Death – My play group is super excited to try out Kingdom Death. Which means I need to get this assembled so we can play. I don't want to rush through these as the models are amazing and I want to take the time to paint them to the level they deserve.

Unfortunately the assembly instructions are not up on the Kingdom Death site yet. Looking at the sprues I was able to put the basic survivors and Lion together easily as each part was labeled with a letter number code. So all the "F" components make one model and all the "C" components make the other etc. 

The first sprue went together easily and I only had some gap issues with the Lion. I think these may have been user error rather than a case of the parts not fitting perfectly. It was easy enough to fill them with green-stuff and smooth it out. The survivors had zero issues and went together painlessly.


Insta-Mold or it's Cheaper Equivalent

Kingdom Death – Ceramic Faces are a theme in Kingdom Death. Unfortunately the Survivor box I got only has ten 30mm base inserts. They're super cool but the monsters are on bigger bases and I want them to match. 

Some time ago I purchased this Japanese product (Oyumaru) for $4 off ebay. Apparently its the same as another product sold by CMON which is branded as Instant Mold. Essentially it's some type of plastic wax that you heat and press the part you want to copy into. Once it dries it's very flexible but holds the detail. You then press greenstuff into it and make a copy.

Once you pull the greenstuff out of the mold you have a pretty decent copy of the detail. I've been triming it to fit on the base of the models. I'll fill in to blank areas with sand and ballast to give it a bit more insterest than the plain faces have. 

Kingdom Death - 22lbs of Awesome Arrives

Kingdom Death – The wait is over. I finally have Kingdom Death: Monster in my hands, and it weights more than my son. Before I even opened the box I was impressed. The shipping box is branded and labeled with exactly what's inside. Where you open the box there are two more boxes. One is the core game, the other is the Survivor Level bonuses. Both are well branded and fit everything perfectly. Almost every other Kickstarter I've backed the box arrived with a mishmash of stuff tossed in a box and covered with packing peanuts. Not the case here, no need for any packing materials because the box is exactly the right size.

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Kingdom Death Arrives ... sorta

Kingdom Death – After several years of waiting Kingdom Death has finally arrived, or rather part of it. The first box that came was the small box of rewards which included Candy and Cola, White Speaker and any extras I ordered. It also came with a t-shirt, and pack of gummy bears.

I haven't had a chance to put the models together yet but at first glance these ae really high quality plastics. I can't wait to get these together and get my brush on them

Paid in Full: Commissions - How much is your time worth?

Random – Lately the number of inquires I've recieved about commission work has dramatically increased. Many of these questions have been about how to determine a price when doing commission work. So in an effort to answer these questions for the larger population, here's the basic principles I use when putting together a quote.

1. How much is your time worth? When considering doing "craft" projects that you intend to sell to others the first thing you need to consider is how much is your time worth. For the most part you're not going to make $16-$30 an hour painting models or building terrain. Even when painting to a Golden Daemon or Crystal Brush winning level the amount of time you put in usually won't equate to "real job" money. Most gamer's won't pay more to have a model painted then it cost them to purchase so keep that in mind when putting together a price. Also remember if you have a wife and kids or girlfriend your hobby time is probably limited. When I started this site I was between jobs and had much more time to build and paint stuff. Now my time is limited so it's important I enjoy every project I take on and be as efficient as possible so I'm not working for pennies an hour during my free time.

2. What are your material costs and how do you recoup them? Paint, primer, glue, sand all cost money. Good paint brushes and glue cost more. While it can take a while to burn through a pot of paint, you have to consider the costs when figuring your price. One thing I've instituted is buying new pots for army scale projects and billing them as a line item. Once you're done with the project your can give the remainder to your client in case they need touch up or add models they don't need or want you to paint.

Terrain Projects can get tricky as sometimes you use found materials and other times you need to buy foam and other raw materials. Most of the time you're going to buy in bulk and have a bunch of stuff you need to store. If you have limited room you might need to invest in space to store that stuff. Right now I'm not quite at that point but it's getting close.

3. What are your customers expectations? This is a big one. Some customers just want a three color minimum. While other might ask for table top quality expecting to be able to enter them in a juried contest. Managing those expectations and delivering as promised is huge. I've heard many horror stories from painters about unreasonable clients that make requests well beyond what the initial request was and then want to pay less because the quality is what was expected. On the flip side I've also heard numerous stories of painters that send over a quick shot of the base coated model only to have the client "love it and want to know how quick it will ship." That second one is rare but important to remember as some clients dont' want you best work. They just want some color on the models. Knowing this you can save yourself a ton of time.

4. How are you going to get it to the client? Nobody considers shipping costs. One more then one occasion I've  had to deal with customers complaining about shipping, "DUDE the flat rate box is only $5, why does it cost $20 to ship to me in Antarctica? You're trying to RIP ME OFF!" You also see this all over several companies forums. The reality is shipping is expensive, foam and packing materials are expensive. Tracking and insuring packages is expensive. And even it you do everything right the post office, UPS or Fed Ex will inevitably screw up on a one-of-a-kind rare product. It happens, sending boxes across the country or world has risks. Most of the time it's not an issue but when it is will be the one time you didn't insure or track a package. C.Y.A. 

While the post office and FedEx provide free boxes the packing material is not free. Even cheap foam is a $1-$5 a yard minimum. If you're shipping painted models wrap them in foam and pack them well. Otherwise it's likely to be damaged during shipping. For an order of several models you can quickly burn through a large amount of foam and tape. So figure in the cost of shipping and add a few dollars to cover packing materials otherwise it will eat into your already tight bottom line.

5. Don't get burned. When painting models this isn't as big a deal as if you don't get paid keep the model and resell it. So long as it's nothing to obscure you should be able to get at least 40-50% of the retail cost, more if you're willing to wait. But terrain projects are another beast entirely. Custom terrain is hard to sell once its built. Particularly if it's custom to specific client. After getting burned a few times I put forth a 50% nonrefundable deposit. That way if I have to go buy a bunch of supplies for a project I'm not going to be out of pocket if the client changes their mind or "is broke this month bro."

6. Be transparent. Have examples of your work and the various levels of quality and pricing tiers available. Put them out there for the work to see. Eventually people will start to connect with your work and ask about pricing. For example for a table top quality miniature from a skirmish game I typical charge by model size: 30mm - $8-$12; 40mm - $10-$15; 50mm - $15-$30. This gives a good starting point. But for an army level game it's unlikely you'll get that much per model. At this point most people want a "lower table top quality" which falls more in line with the 25mm- $2-$3, and goes up from there.

For terrain projects it helps to come up with some designs you can quickly replicate and make a bunch of them at once. Assembly lines are good for managing time and if you make something that can be used for several systems you diversify your client base. For example the swamps I sell in the online store I typically make 6-10 of them at a time. Since they use water effects it's better to mix a larger pot of it and pour all at once than to make small pot and have a bunch of waste. Having an existing stock also lets you focus on other projects and have a reference point for custom orders.

Being consistent helps you to manage your time and be able to quickly quote a price to a potential customer. I hope this answers any questions for aspiring painters and potential clients.


How I felt

Finishing – It's important to me that my models be complete. You spend so much time painting and basing your models, why would you leave the bottom of the base plain? For me I use a compass cutter and some self stick felt to complete the base. Not only does this give your model a finished look, the felt will help to keep them in place on the battlefield.

Finishing – It's important to me that my models be complete. You spend so much time painting and basing your models, why would you leave the bottom of the base plain? For me I use a compass cutter and some self stick felt to complete the base. Not only does this give your model a finished look, the felt will help to keep them in place on the battlefield.