Monday, September 12, 2011

Ask the Bastards #1

In this first Ask the Bastards installment we will be providing some feedback for a couple of painted Vampire Count units. 

Rob P:

The dead empire army theme is strongly conveyed and I would love to see the whole army assembled on the battlefield.  I also like the skeleton banner and shields as they are very old school and reminds me of stuff from the 90's.  To bad you didn't paint the bases Goblin Green like a Garagehammer Co-host that shall remain nameless.  (j/k).  A couple of things I would do is to  wash the skulls to dull their brightness and bring out the detail (maybe a 50/50 mix of Devlan Mud and Baddab Black wash).  I would also put a heavy wash of Devlan Mud on the spear shafts to darken them up and help de-emphasize them. 

Love the grave guard. To add some contrast I would work in silver metallic color into the model.  I would have used it on the swords to save the green for the ethereal portion so the model.  I would also paint it on the armored hand to help break up the dark tin bitz.  There are also some small details on the armor you could pick out with the silver.  Finally, my personal preference is to do ethereal elements in a lighter shade of green, typically working bleached bone into the green for the highlight.  But that is just personel preference, they look great the way they are.  Finally, I wanted to share an excellent quick and dirty guide for painting ethereal elements.  This would be particularly good for wraiths or spirit hosts.


I think both units are decent. I think the ethereal effect was done well on the grave guard. At first, I thought that maybe the swords should have been metallic, since the rest of their armor and such is painted normally, but now I think the green swords really make it an interesting unit to look at. (and they are supposed to be magical swords anyways) However, it looks like a slightly different tone of green was used for the swords (yellowish instead of the pastel whitish), which is totally unnecessary. They'd look a little better with the same pastel green (and you'd save time by not having to switch colors/paint methods)

The metals are well done on the Grave Guard, but a little flat. I agrees with Rob's suggestion for some silver highlights. I would like to see the metals on the skellies done in the same way as the grave guard. Right now they don't look like they belong in the same army. 

Have you considered an ethereal effect on the actual skellies? It can pretty time consuming to get a nice clean white. If you did the ethereal effect it'd probably go a lot quicker for you and also tie everything together in an interesting way. Otherwise, you might try pastel green flames on their shields to better color coordinate. The flame bits are done well, but I'd suggest blacking over the stars/moons, since they detract from the nice flame freehand for me. (another time saver to boot!)

Overall I think you've achieved two nice looking table top quality units with a distinct theme.

Skeleton Unit
I like the use of red & black and it makes for an effective color scheme.

I do feel that the bone is too white and could use some thinned down washes to kill that "brightness".  I would use thinned down Gryphonne Sepia in multiple coats (less thin each application) and maybe mix in some Devlan Mud on the final wash(es).  The effect you achieved on the horns on the wizards staff is a nice one and would be what I would try to match.

The spear shafts also suffer from being too bright and a couple of Devlan Mud washes could darken them back up.  You don't want the spear shafts to be the focus of your unit.

Free hand - I personally feel the #1 rule with freehand is that less is more.  The flames are a great idea but I think the moon / stars clutters it up.  A red / black shield (using various split designs) with green flames coming up from the bottom (green to match the ethereal) would look sexy IMHO and further push the color scheme of the unit.  (see below rough example)

Lastly - I would add the gemstone effect to the blue gem on the wizards staff.  Little details like that can be worth a lot.  An excellent tutorial can be found on CMoN

Grave Guard
The metals you have done on this unit don't seem to work well side by side with the skeleton unit.  Maybe incorporate more of this style of metal over on the skellies to keep the force cohesive overall or add more of the silvers to this unit.  I also think the metals could do with some more shading / highlighting to help define the plates.  Quite alot of the armor definition is getting lost in this unit and a highlight would bring it right back out.

I like the green swords & faces.  Creates a very nice look.  I disagree with the Rodge here a bit and like the two different tones used.  Helps to keep the unit from being lost in a "sea of green".  I would push this even further by highlighting the faces again with more of a green-white.

Keep your paints thin and happy painting!


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