Friday 23 February 2018

Cold-Blooded Ferocity

Things have been pretty quiet here for far too long!

I've had a lot of things going on over winter - trying to sell/buy a house (ongoing), pass exams (successfully), and polish off a D&D campaign amongst them. This has been combined with an absolute varnishing nightmare where every can I've used has ended up frosting, causing a lot of wasted time and reworking. Overall, I just felt I lost my creative mojo a bit which is a great shame as I have some fantastic minis to paint!

But I finally got a big chunk of painting finished off and I'm very happy with my two new units of saurus with spears. There are two fairly chunky 6x3 blocks that will serve as a strong backbone for my army.

This projevt weren't helped by the fact that I felt obliged to make things different for myself in two different ways.

Firstly, there would be no crab-walking here as I wanted my disciplined saurus to be in neat ranks. Everyone is going to be facing forwards! Unfortunately, they were clearly designed to fit on the diagonal slotta bases that were in vogue at the time.

This meant that every saurus had its tail bent out of the way so it can square up with the one behind him, and even so ranking them up proved a bit of a challenge.

Note the spear arm on the champion

Secondly, despite this being an old/middlehammer project, I really prefer the newer shields to the old round ones. They evoke a far stronger reptilian theme and it seems a more realistic use of materials than the strange 'metal' ones the 5th edition models come with.

Each model had to have a little metal trimmed off above and below their shield hand to make the new ones fit, and there is occasionally a little gap where things get a bit unsightly, but you wouldn't know if you weren't looking for it.

Overall, I'm happy with the way they turned out and I like that I was able to use them to contrast the skin tones being used.

I decided to go with obsidian weapons using one of my favourite paints - P3 Coal Black - to maintain a low-tech feel. The green scales had multiple successive drybrushes to to really give an aged, weather-beaten look and distinguish these predatory fighters from their more nimble and brightly-coloured brethren.

When basing the unit, I tried to flock them such that the grass ran from one base to the next consistently. The aim is to help me remember how to rank them up in the future (because there is a rather specific order!) but we'll have to see how well that works out.

Earlier on I mentioned varnishing issues, which I can only assume were a temperature thing this winter. I just couldn't get it right consistently no matter what I tried  I've now fallen back on the trust Coat d'arms brush-on varnishes and am pretty happy.

So, things look to be getting back on track a little and I have to decide what is going to cross my painting table next. At the moment, I'm thinking I need to add something beefy to treat myself for getting some rank and file done.

Stegadon maybe?


  1. Damn, frosting is just so gutting. A real quick way to lose mojo. I've had issues with it in high humidity before. I like how the basing turned out, particularly the flower patches that span multiple bases.

    1. Cheers, I'm hoping the rattle cans will work better once the weather warms up a bit! Really hoping to have everything done by August for Bring Out Your Lead!

    2. I've thought that doing a 'test fire' might be worth it with varnish. It's hard to remember though. I reckon something black (base primer) but with a complex texture (more coarse than chainmail but that type of peak and trough) to make it easy to see if frosting starts. I think you'd only get one crack at the item, so a mini would be a bit of a waste. Maybe some sort of 3d printed sheet that is perforated so you can bust off 1 inch squares....

    3. I ended up using spare saurus shields for testing. They have quite deep grooves between the 'scales' and various sizes of flat surface. It's really obvious when the dark recesses frost over.

  2. I feel your pain with regards to varnishing. I stopped using spray varnish in 2006 after an incident with a unit of Ellyrian Reavers. I stick to brushing on two thin cots of GW’s ‘Ard Coat followed by a brushed on coat of Vallejo Matt - works like a charm, but more time consuming. I did dip my toe back into spray varnish last week when I sealed two AT-STs with W&N Professional Gloss Varnish - it worked brilliantly (you only have to spray lightly), but I don’t think I’d use it on infantry.

    Sweet Saurus by the way - I love the attention to detail with the flocking!

    1. I'll definitely give the spray varnish another go in the summer - on some non-essential minis this time though! Do you just tend to thin down your varnish with water, and if so then how much. This is my first time using the brush-on stuff.

  3. Great work--I love these classic old Lizardmen models.

    1. Thanks! They were my first army as a kind so I'm finally getting round to doing a proper job on them. :)