Weird Plastic - More Malifaux Madness

Malifaux – I've been spending some time going through my box of unassembled models and realized I own a ton of Malifaux. Most of my Malifaux gaming as of late has been more of the demo variety which means I'm not using some of the cooler models available to me. I've decided to make an effort to get these models built. Even if I'm not using them having them assembled and painted near my demo table set-up draws more attention.

Before I continue I just want to say I find the new plastics to be easy to work with and much more dynamic than anything else out there. Reproducing the artwork so faithfully is a really amazing feat. As I put together more of these kits I continue to be impressed.

That said whoever designed the cuts for these models should be tarred, feathered and strung up. Good lord putting together the Masters of the Path set was an excercise in frustration. Yan Lo's goatee caused no end to the pain of having fat fingers, even with tweezers it was had to manipulate. And really WTF is up with having to glue together a tiny spear shaft, putting tiny ribbons in the nieces hair etc. Once you get it together and don't lose any of the tiny parts they look amazing but getting there, well it's something.

In addition to the Res/Thunder box I put together McCabe and his band of ruffins, not quite as annoying as Yan Lo's box but still a bunch of tiny parts. Same with the Orian and Riflemen.

Malifaux models have always been fiddly but the plastics take this to a whole new level. No longer can you work at a messy hobby table with a pile of parts to put together and have any hope of making the final thing look like the photo (or render in this case ... which is annoying I miss the well painted photos of finished models). 

Instead I'm working on a clean mat with a tray and towel to catch anything I might drop. Trust me take some extra time with these and work in a pristine space if you drop one of the tiny bits in a pile of plastic shavings you're never gonna find it.

Once you get over the assembly process the models are amazing. One concern I have is transportation of then. With the dynamic sculpts they're not fitting in my Battlefoam case with standard cuts. I fear I may have to shell out for some additional trays and might even need to do the custom cut option to protect the thin parts that extend beyond the base. 


On the painting table ... Cowboy Up

Malifaux – Another Guild commission finds its way to my table this week. This time around is a basic 35 Soulstone crew led by Lady Justice. My client picked up and assembled a Lady Justice crew box, Alt. Executioner, and Sam Hopkins with the Ghost Town base inserts. The nice thing about have the models provided assembled and "cleaned up" means I can solely focus on the paint job and get it done farily quickly. 

It seems that The Guild is the go to faction of choice for most new players. Which honestly makes alot of sense they're very straight forward, have fairly high damage output and a minimal amount of "tricks." The fact that most of the demos I run feature Guild vs. Ressurectionists probably also comes into play. 

With this crew I was asked to stick with a black/brown color scheme. It feels very dark and brooding to me. To paint the gray/black I used a dark gray base and built up the color using a black wash which creates a nice effect for black cloth. I broke down and picked up a few more of the new brown colors from GW's line as it's nice to be able to grab two pots and have your base and highlight spelled out for you. I usually mix my own colors but the new GW color system has its own merits (namely being able to replicate colors at a later date with very little trial and error).

I went with a deep red on Justice's hair this time around and am very happy with the result. Again I'm finding the GW paint system to be convient with the variety of premixed reds that allow you to build up the highlights quickly and easily.

All that's left on these is to apply some gras tuffs and clean up the eyes. Once they're sealed I'll go back in and add some gloss varnish to the water troughs.

On the painting table ... C. Hoffman, Iron Man?

Malifaux – I've begun work on a C. Hoffman crew. This is the first time I've painted up this particular box and was surprised at the amount of flash that I had to remove. Typically Wyrd miniatures come fairly clean with light mold lines and minimal flash to trim. With all the tiny mechanical bits on these there are a ton of vent lines and other types of flash that need to be trimmed up. 

To go along with the crew box I'm also working on a Steamborg, Guard Captain and Scales of Justice totem. These will all eventually find a home with the other Guild masters I've painted for the same client. 

Most of the construct heavy crews I've painted in the past have been mostly silver and chrome. While that is a good look for most metallic bitz, this time around I wanted to do something different. According to the fluff the Guild has all the money due to controlling traffic in and out of the Breach, since Hoffman is a Guild officer I figure he would have a bit more flash in his retinue of machines. I started with a brass/gold feel and thought it was a bit much, after adding some red to tie in with the Guild colors I realized I had essentially created a Malifaux Iron man. I'm digging the look a feel so far and am hoping I'll be able to translate the look into any other constructs my client might want to add in the future.

Off the painting table ... Guild Avatars

Malifaux – I finished up the two Guild Avatars I was working on for a client last night. Overall I'm happy with the way the models turned out. I need to fix my pop-up light box to get better final photos. The iphone is ok for some WIP shots but when it comes to finished models I'm having a hard time getting shots of similar quality as I was able to get with my Cannon Powershot. I suppose the dream of using one device for everything isn't really that feasible. I plan on taking some better shots of these to add to the gallery. Stay tuned for updates.

On the painting table ... Fire Breathing Mexican Dragons

Malifaux – Avatars, love them or hate them they are part of Malifaux. Some are very strong and add much to their original form others not so much. Regardless of how good they are in game the models are all pretty impressive. Whenever I'm running a demo I like to have some of them out next to the table as the inevitably catch the eye of on lookers and lead to a bevy of questions.

While I like to use them most of the time I find myself distracted with trying to meet the manifest requirements and forgetting about my actual in game goals. I imagine with time I'll get better at balancing the two and find a god use for these models.

Anyway on to this weeks project. My Guild client continues to add to his collection and has really found Malifaux to be a game he truely enjoys. Recently he picked up the avatar forms of Sonnia Cridd and Perdita and needs them assembled and painted to match the rest of his force.

Most of the Avatars are difficult to assemble with more finiky pieces and joins that require gap filling. I'm not sure why some of them are partially resin and partially metal as opposed to being made of the same material for all the parts. I assume its a cost savings (however if they were all resin weight would be less of an issue in assembly). 

Once I finished putting theme together I had to go in and do some gap filling. Pretty straightforward simple stuff with no need to resculpt details. A quick shot of primer and I was ready to begin painting. Rather than follow the color on the box I decided to go with a red base for Perdita's mount. I think this takes it into the more demonic looking as opposed to the studio scheme which reminds me of The Neverending Story. Sonia's dragon began with a yellow base and orange wash to bring out the details.

Next steps are to go in and pick out the details. 

On the painting table ... You want salsa with that?

Malifaux – I just started yet another Ortega crew for a commission. It's really not surprising as Perdita is one of the most forgiving masters out there for new players. Pretty much point and shoot, literally.

It turns out Tuesday nights, as my FLGS suggested, is probably the worst night for the players in the area that are interested in the game. So I'm trying to work out a better day that isn't so busy that we can't get any tables. I ran a demo for this client and his friend on Sunday which seems like it might be a good day for the player base (not so much for me ... but we'll see). 

Both players were very excited about the game and had a ton of questions on thing they might want to add and the strengths and weaknesses of the various factions. I think I might need to do another series detailing my thoughts on each faction as quite a bit has changed since the last time I did a faction breakdown.

After consulting with the client he wants a darker version of the crew. He really liked the scheme on my demo Lady Justice crew so I'm modifying it slightly to work with the family. He wanted Perdita in all black leather which is going to be a bit of a challenge to make the model not look flat in an essentially two color scheme but I think the grey with wash technique I've been using for black fabric will work to bring out the detail.

This time around I pinned Nino's coat to the protrusion on the base I mounted him to. I think this is going to increase his durability significantly. Most Guild players I've met have had to do multiple fixes to the leg of the model as the attachment point is very thin and prone to breakage when there is stress put on the model.

After seeing the WIP shots of this crew my client asked that I add in a Convict Gunslinger and Hans. One thing your can't fail with is more firepower. I'm looking forward to painting Hans as he hasn't come across my painting table as often as the Gunslingers have.

On the painting table ... Lawmen

Malifaux – I've been going through my demo kit to be sure I have all the most up to date materials and realized I sold off all the Guild crews I typically demo with. Luckily I still have a Lady Justice crew as well as a nice contingent of Guild Guard. They are however not quite up to the standards of the Seamus Crew I like to use for demos so I needed to get painting. Finishing my Resurectionists is going to take a back seat for a minute.

While I've painted the Guild up in numerous colors in the past for commissions, for my personal crew I feel that the black, grey, red and brown scheme is going to be the best look. Since the Guild is a governmental body I decided to stick with a uniform look for all the models. (minor exception for the more characterful unique models). 

A good "first look" demo usually consists of a master and one or two minions. I prefer to run Seamus with a few Belles against Justice with some Death Marshalls. So they are the models I focused on finishing first. The models were already based coated and shaded when I got back to this project, however the color scheme didn't fit with my new direction. So I stripped them down and started over. 

The coats were all painted with Adeptus Battle Grey, I really like how the foundation paints work once they've been significantly thinned down. The pigment covers nicely and at the proper consistency it goes on smooth. The reds were all painted with a deep crimson I had mixed up for a Khorne army I painted as a commission last year. I really like this color as it shades well with Devlan Mud and when I apply my "any-color red" fluorescent highlight it looks pretty sweet.

Mid-way through my saturday of painting I ran out of Devlan mud and had to drive over to a local store that stocks GW paint. And unfortunately they didn't have any of the old like left so I picked up the new version, now called Earthshade Shade. It works pretty much the same although without the funky smell and a slightly browner hue.

For the bases I used a mix of Dragonforge Trench bases with the Wastland bases. I think the combination gives a nice badlands/ghost town feel. For the grass I used Army Painters grass tufts, these are really great as it gives you a nice clump of grass that is standing up and ready to apply. I never quite understood the process of static charges to make your own tufts, so dropping $5 for a pack with enough grass tufts to do a small army is well worth the price. I just wish they had a larger variety of colors available locally.

After a solid day of painting I was able to finish up Justice, The Judge, (3) Death Marshalls, (2) Guild Guard, The Executioner, and a Guild Austringer. The color scheme seems to work well and they look good as a group. I'm not sure they are bright enough to catch the eye of any painting judges but they look good on the tabletop.

Off the painting table ....

Malifaux – Just finished up another Sonnia Crew. This one had an interesting red and purple color scheme which is a bit different than what I typically get requests for. I think they turned out pretty cool. The flame was interesting to paint as my client hates yellow so I had to vary my typical flame technique to skew more to an orange shade.


On the painting table ...

Malifaux – Ah summer, the joys of yard work and weekend events. Which means less time for hobby stuff. So while I have several projects to share/complete it may be a bit longer than usual between posts but never fear, there's stuff worth looking at.

I just started painting a Sonnia crew to go along with the Ortegas that I posted last month for a client. He requested a red an purple scheme for the models so they stand out on the table. So far I've got them assembled, based and the colors roughly blocked in. They're still in need of some serious shading and highlighting, but the basic color is there.

Off the painting table ...

Malifaux – Just finished up another Ortega crew for a client. This was my first time painting the Grandma Ortega model and I'm pretty happy with the results. You can see the full crew in the gallery.

On the painting table ...

Malifaux – I started a new commission this week. This time around I'm working on a full Ortega family. This includes the box set and Abuela. 

My client had a very lose idea of what he wanted:

"I want the Ortega clan to look like an actual Hispanic family. So darker skin tones, black or very dark brown hair. For the clothing, please use colors and styles that are realistic for the time and Wild West motif. No wild colors or unrealistic color choices like neon pink for the men's clothing. Purple is my favorite color, but that doesn't really seem to be a realistic color choice for the Ortegas, other than Perdita. I also really like red and blue. I do NOT like yellow. So please use yellow very very sparingly or not at all." 

Following these parameters I began blocking in the basic colors. For the guys I decided to go with blue jeans and brown coats. This is a pretty standard look for the Ortegas and fits with the time period. Painting "hispanic" flesh is a bit trickier and will require some mixing to get the right flesh tone. To tie the models together I decided to use a purple. Perdita is going to be painted up to match the drawing on the box, the guys will have purple patches on their coats and Abuela will have purple tied into the overall pattern on her wrap.

To start I primed the models black and used GW foundation paint to block in the colors. Using the foundation flesh color covers the black in one thin coat and gives a solid base to create the darker flesh color. I washed this with a sepia to begin to develop the overall tone I want. After blocking in the other colors a quickly applied a wash to match the base color.

This time around to do the jeans I'm experimenting with a technique that is similar to watercolor. I started based the model with my highlight color and am applying washes the slowly build up the color. So far it seems to be working really well and is giving a nice look to the model. 

Joining the Guild

Malifaux – I just finished up the Death Marshals and Ortega crew boxes. These were a commission for my friend Dave, he just moved to Wisconsin for an internship and is hoping to get the local store up there interested in Malifaux. Originally he was playing Arcanists using Ramos as his master. I think he's going to find the Guild fits his play-style better. He has a thing for the "red" armies, in Warhammer 40K he has a couple thousand points of Khorne Daemons and Bezerkers, Warmachine he plays Khador, in Necromunda he plays the Goliaths and in D&D he's usually a barbarian. So the in your face style of Lady Justice is really going to suit him better than the way Ramos plays. 

I tried to keep brown and red as a primary color scheme throughout all the models. For the Ortegas I stuck with a traditional Caucasian skin tone so as not to lose the flesh in the leather coats. I'm really happy with how Lady Justice turned out, the white jumpsuit makes her stand out on the table. I achieved the slightly other-worldly skin tone on the Death Marshals by applying a purple wash to the skin. This gives them a not quite human appearance without looking like undead flesh.

The bases were constructed from cork and a sand/litter mixture. Painting them in various shades of brown and applying a sepia wash gives them a nice earthy color. The grass is from Woodlandscenics. I've mixed flock, static grass and some coarse turf to give a more natural appearance. I've found that by applying brush on super glue, than dipping the model in a bag of the mixture and blowing off the excess, the grass sticks very well and will stand up.