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Mice and Mystics» Forums » General

Subject: My daughter and I finally finished painting+basing rss

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After more than a year of on and off-painting, the daughter-daddy painting project is finally complete! This was our first time painting any kind of miniatures (not my kind of thing, but my small daughter begged to do it after seeing some of the paintjobs on this website!). We did do *a lot* of research, however, because that is my kind of thing . We decided to get the paint and basing kits from Army Painter, mainly because they had excellent paint guides and videos freely available on their website, which was especially good for prospective autodidacts like us. We also internalized Jerry's paint guide and also did lots of googling, youtubing, and studying the photos and paint articles in this game's forums.

The first image shows the heroes from the base game. Lots of experimenting. Nez was one of the first figures whose fur we drybrushed, and we did not yet have a feel for when there is too much paint or when the paint is too wet, how much pressure to apply, etc. Tilda's white gown was especially challenging because you can't have highlights on white, so it had to be a little grey, but kept coming out too grey. Also, shading made Tilda too dark, so we had to work hard to fix that. We also had no idea yet how to blend highlights, so highlights are a little sharp.


And here they are with a flash. This shows the details much better, but makes them look less natural. Do you prefer with flash or without?


Heroes from the expansions. By the time we got to painting these, we knew better what we were doing. Highlights are blended, eyes have more detail than just "white dot on black", drybrushed fur is much better. New experimentation for us included the snake on Ansel's shield, which is dark on a brighter purple. So, we did a kind of reverse shading with the brighter purple in the recesses of the snake. Still not sure if that was the right thing to do. Also, Jacobe and Ditty had a few places where the miniature had no detail, but their drawings on player cards had detail (e.g. the brown spots on Jacobe's head, and Ditty's cape pattern). For some reason drawing those was hard, they kept looking like stains.


And same with a flash. (Do you all prefer flash or no flash? I will continue without the flash but can include flash images if people want.)


Now on to the minions. The roaches were actually the very first miniatures we did, so you can see our learning curve! No real highlights here, and some of the shading is blurry. We also did our first experimenting with basing on the roaches. This did not come out too well the first time because we didn't use enough glue, so the basing gravel kept falling off. We postponed basing until everything else was painted. Also, we initially painted all the bases grey, which did not look very good with the color of the basing and seemed to clash with the color scheme of the board. So, we had to repaint all the bases brown.


The rats were the second set we painted, so still early in the learning curve. Drybrushed fur still looks like it was wet-painted in places, and there are not many highlights. Also, this was one of the first sets which we spray-overcoated, which initially was a disaster -- everything came out looking dusty, frosty, with all colors muted. After some research, we fixed it by painting a wet overcoat rather than spray. We also bought a different spray overcoat, and applied a slightly thicker coating. (I think the dusty look was because the surface was sparsely covered by overcoat particles.) By the way, as you can see we made the decision to paint with two different color schemes for better differentiation in case there are two different rat types on the board. Each rat also has a unique accent -- gems on their bracelets are all different colors.


Newts had three unexpected challenges. First, they are supposed to be very black and black of course cannot be shaded further. So, we experimented with dark grey, but in the end liked the look of pure black better. Part of the challenge is that their skin has no recesses, so it was hard to get shading right. Maybe we are just not skilled enough to paint black yet. The second challenge was that Newts are supposed to be wet and slimy, and we had no idea how to achieve that. We tried playing with highlights, but in the end nothing worked as well as simply applying a semigloss overcoat! Finally, the miniatures have no detail on the bellies so we had to improvise the orange pattern. For some reason, any time we paint something that is not a miniature detail, it is a huge challenge to make it look natural for us.


The faeries were higher on the learning curve, with us having a lot better control of shading and highlights. By this time, we were usually using two levels of highlights, and iterating between shading and highlighting as necessary. We also were using different shading colors as opposed to just doing a full figure "splash-on" technique. Blending highlights is still a challenge and we still don't know how to achieve a good blending effect without spending hours on it. The wings were a special challenge because when we tried standard shading techniques, the wing veins (which are raised) of course looked brighter than the wing membrane (which is recessed). That looked kind of cool, but it made the wings very dark and look like a film negative of what it's supposed to look like. We could not find any instructions on what to do in cases where the raised areas are darker than the recesses so we just painted everything white and then highlighted and lightly drybrushed the veins. Also, we decided to make one of the faeries purple to represent the Faerie queen.


The frogs were also higher on the learning curve, so we were comfortable with shading and highlighting. What was new is the green color scheme. By this point, we had developed a lot of intuition for brown/earthy color schemes from the base set, but not yet for green, so we had to experiment with highlight progressions on green. Another thing that was new is that we needed to use two different color inks (dark green for the skin and dark brown for the rest) for shading as opposed to just doing the "splash-on" technique on the whole miniature. We also tried a special technique for the eyes that is usually used to paint gems. That was especially tough -- it came out very well for some, but others just refused to look right, and I'm still not completely sure why. I think it is because we still don't know how to blend well. Just as with the rats, we added a unique accent (different colors of the stars on the sand dollar shield) and used a semigloss overcoat again for a wet look.


The small bosses and bullfrogs. With the bullfrogs, we wanted a slightly lighter color than for the frogs, which we felt came out too unexpectedly dark because of the green ink. So, instead of basecoating green and shading green, we tried an experiment -- basecoat off-white (army painter skeleton bone) and splash on a green shade. To our great surprise, this not only achieved the shade we wanted, but it also created very natural-looking color variations on the bullfrog skin! That was one of the few times when experimenting led to an unexpected positive rather than negative effect. Combined with the semi-gloss coat for a slimy look, the bullfrogs are possibly one of our best jobs. Malador was high on the learning curve and was all brown where we had the most experience, so I think he was one of our best and most straightforward jobs, not much new there. We used a hint of metallic bronze on his shoulder pads and body armor. The biggest challenge on Glorm was to make his tail look luminous, which right now it only barely does. I think in order to achieve a luminous effect, the rest of the miniature needs to be made much darker, or the tail needs to be mostly white. Both options seemed scary and risky.


Finally, the large figures. The spider was early in the learning curve (our first large figure), and while I think it has a decent drybrush job, it does not have very good highlights. The centipede was the second large figure, and it was extremely challenging to get the right highlights and shading for the segments. The look we wanted was a blend of bright going to dark across each segment, but that seemed way too daunting at the time, so we went with simple edge highlights on each segment and a little bit of drybrushing. Drybrushing made the figure look very dry and matt (just like the spider), but that was fixed with a semigloss coat to bring back the slimy centipede look. Molox was high on the learning curve and pretty straightforward, except the blending of the snout into the fur took *a lot* of trial and error. For some reason my daughter originally painted gruesome blood dripping from the teeth, but I vetoed since she is only 7 and that is entering PG-13 territory . With the weasel was our first reasonably successful attempt at blending highlights (see the cape). It takes a huge amount of time and effort and lots of iterations and I am not sure how to speed that up. I feel there is a trick we are missing. Another new challenge was the white belly which has the similar problem to Tilda that it needs to be basecoated darker than white if we want drybrushed highlights. I think it looks a little darker than we want, but I'm not sure what to do about that without reducing contrast with highlights. A new thing we tried with the weasel (also with Jacobe) is we added a little bit of metallic bronze to the eyes, which seems to make them look shinier. It's a cheap trick that I think does not look as good as painting them with blends and white dots like we did the frogs.


We had no idea this was going to take us more than a year when we started (an average of about an hour or two per week, I think), but ended up a great bonding experience for us! Hopefully we'll find the time to paint more figures from our other games. (She's got lots of other extracurricular activities and I've got a demanding job and another kid who is not yet old enough to paint or play this game .) Any advice on how to improve and especially speed up our technique would be greatly appreciated.
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Grand Khan
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Wow!!! These look amazing and what a nice way to spend time with your daughter. I prefer the photos without flash, by the way.

Thanks for sharing!
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GrandKhan44 wrote:
Wow!!! These look amazing and what a nice way to spend time with your daughter. I prefer the photos without flash, by the way.

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! I also prefer the photos without the flash, but alas, then some of the details we worked so hard on remain hidden!
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Grand Khan
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rbelikov wrote:
GrandKhan44 wrote:
Wow!!! These look amazing and what a nice way to spend time with your daughter. I prefer the photos without flash, by the way.

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! I also prefer the photos without the flash, but alas, then some of the details we worked so hard on remain hidden!


Try to get more natural light or bring a strong external light, more light is better, but the more it is diffused the nicer it looks.

One way is to just put them outdoors. But don't worry they look awesome already.
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Andrew Brown
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nice job!

hopefully i can get mine done soon
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Hervé Balon
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I prefer without flash too!

DAMN, these are such amazing! I was planning to start mine too in a few weeks, I just need to go to the hobby store to get the painting sets from Army painter.

VERY VERY VERY nice job! And it's also really impressive as it's your first time painting!
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Stuart Heath
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Extremely impressive , better without flash I think - even more amazing that these are the first minis you have painted
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Ted W
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Looks great!
Also a very nice family time activity!
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