Alxraven’s Night’s Watch WIP Thread
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Thread: Alxraven’s Night’s Watch WIP Thread

  1. #1

    Default Alxraven’s Night’s Watch WIP Thread

    It’s that time!

    I had asked in one of my previous posts if something like this would be helpful, so here we go. Bear in mind this is my first attempt at a WIP thread, please be patient. Lol

    The intent is to post after every night that I paint with what I accomplished, and how (where needed). This should be almost every day, as I tend to paint a few hours each night while listening to TV. I am painting all I have for the faction currently, all at once. As such, there will be things I do a bit differently than I would if I was doing a smaller batch, or a single mini.

    Unless otherwise stated, all paint and primer is from the Army Painter line.

    So Night’s Watch. Black Brothers. With that in mind I began by priming everyone in Matte Black.

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    While not AS important here, the nice thing about Army Painter paints and primers is that they 100% color match to each other, if the same name. I’ve been relying on this for my simple basing, as I can use primer to paint the trays, and have them not stand out when units are in them.

    I also did did a heavier coat of primer than I typically do, ensuring all but the hard to reach places were fully covered. This is because I intended to take advantage of all the black when painting. Otherwise I tend to go with a “heavy dusting” level of primer. Just enough to help the paint stick.

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    My next step is to dry brush some lighter tones onto the minis. Dry brushing is done by applying paint to a brush, typically something wider and thin, then wiping nearly all of it off before quickly flicking it back and forth across the area you want covered. While in regular painting, you want to thin your paint to help it settle and spread more, when dry brushing it is better to leave it thick. Because you don’t want it to spread or run. With dry brushing, you want it to have the opposite effect of a Wash. sticking only to the high spots, to help bring out detail. Personally, I use this in place of highlighting later.

    Usually, I’ll start by figuring out a key feature to highlight on the piece, paint it the color I want, then apply the dry brush. With these mini’s, since they are already black, I went straight to dry brushing.

    I picked some minis at random from each unit, and began with Necromancer’s Cloak. This is a really dark gray, and my typical go-to when painting “black” on a mini. This is because the slightly lighter color will show the wash better later, allowing more detail to be seen while appearing black. I then repeated the process three more times, four total, with other grays. Though I did mix in the same Necromancer’s Cloak to darken them up more, so the contrast wasn’t as big. I did get a little too light on the one round, but I can fix that later.

    I applied the dry brush to the entire mini, with the intent of going back and picking the parts I want to keep as I continue to paint. Between this selection process and the different grays used, I hope that the minis will have some variation to them once completed. (That’s also why I’m not terribly concerned about the ones that got a bit heavier of a dry brush than I had planned)

    Here’s a close up of a few after the dry brush:

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    That’s all I was able to get to last night. Hoping to do more tonight after dinner.

    Let me me know if you have any questions.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  2. #2


    Last night was a short night for me, so I didn’t get as much done as I hoped.

    So so a tip that I got from a fellow painter when I first started was to paint how you get dressed. Or from the inside out. While a good rule of thumb when painting fewer minis, or ones that will all be painted the same, it’s not something that I can always do when doing large lots. This is especially true if you’re like me, and like seeing some variation in your minis, even if they are the same pose.

    All that being said, it is a principal I can use at the beginning. One of my first steps, and would have been a first step here if it hadn’t been for taking advantage of the black primer, is to paint the skin. Partially because of the above tip, but also because of how I choose to paint the skin. I dry brush after the base, to simulate highlighting, without actually highlighting. I didn’t get to it last night, but will show you the effect once completed.

    First things first, I picked the paints I want to use for my skin tones.

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    A couple of these are designated as skin tones by their name. The others are ones I have discovered make good skin of lighter or darker shades, or are good for the dry brush effect I’ll do after the base coat. So I begin by splitting the minis roughly in half and basing the majority with either Tanned or Barbarian Flesh. I’ll also do a few with Monster Brown and Iraqi Sand for more variety.

    For basing, I prefer the Tanned Flesh, as it will have a higher contrast with the dry brush, so it pops more. But for variety, I will mix it up. I’ll then dry brush most of them with various lighter tones, and leave a few to just use the wash on.

    Last night i made it thru one, and part of the second base colors. I hope to finish the base coats and the dry brushing tonight.

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    Barbarian Flesh on the left. Tanned Flesh on the right.

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    Group progress shot. You can see already how just the base skin tone is adding a lot to the pieces.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  3. #3


    Day three of painting:

    So to make up for the night before, I actually was able to further tonight that I had planned. Enjoying those small victories!! Lol

    I began by finishing up the base coats for the skin on all the minis. Base coats were mostly Tanned Flesh, some Barbarian Flesh, and a few each of Iraqui Sand and Monster Brown.

    I then followed this up with dry brushing Iraqui Sand over the base coat of most of the Tanned and Barbarian Fleshes.

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    Group up shot of the various skin tones after dry brushing.

    The next step step was to apply Army Painter’s Flesh Wash to all the areas of skin. I did this unthinned, so as not to dilute the effect.

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    Above are those same skin tones after the wash. I do apologize that it didn’t occur to me to try and keep them in the same order until it was too late.

    As as you can see, just these subtle differences do a lot to individualize the minis, which I prefer.

    With some one time left over in the evening, I started to go back over the minis to add some further variety. I began with straight Necromancer Cloak and pick a different aspect of various minis to cover. Boots and gloves here, pants there, etc... As part of the selection process, I tried to cover areas that I was unhappy with how the dry brush effect looked, because of it being too light of a color, or too heavy of an effect.

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    This is helps do a little more to allow the minis to stand out as individuals. I’ll continue this process though the entire batch, leaving some untouched. Once this color is done, I will pick another dark grey and repeat the process until I’m happy with what I’ve got. (I’ve made it through all the uniques/attachments, and one set of the above pose so far)

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    End of the night group progress shot. All the skin is done and on to clothing!!
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  4. #4


    Friday and Saturday’s paint progress:

    Friday night saw me finishing up the run of Necromancer Cloak started Thursday night. So not much to show that hasn’t already been shared.

    Saturday, I had a good bit of time to make progress. The original intent was to continue doing passes with various dark greys, like I had done with the Necromancer Cloak. However, after some thought, I decide to shift approaches a bit and go with some dark browns.

    I know that that based on the books, EVERYTHING would be black. I wanted to veer from this a bit, to add some color so they would pop more. I also wanted to get some of this color on the mini before I continued with the dark grays, so that I didn’t go overboard when I did do they grays.

    So so with that in mind I was able to complete two passes with some dark browns. Targeting hair, leather, armor, fur, etc. I will be leaving boots, gloves, cloaks and clothes (along with some of the other areas) black or dark gray.

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    These are are the two browns I started with. Dark Stone is almost black itself.

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    Here are an assortment of minis after the browns were done.

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    Here is the end of the night progress shot.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  5. #5


    Sunday did not see any painting done, as I spent the day playing Song with my son and the evening watching the show.

    Monday night, however, saw a good deal of progress!

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    I started off painting just the hair on a few minis, using colors that I was not planning on using elsewhere. The Fur Brown makes a good redhead, without going overboard. The Sand Yellow is one of my favorites. I’ve mentioned it a few other places, but this is the best yellow I’ve run across yet. Typically, when painting yellow, it can be hard to get good coverage. To the point where I’ve had several people mention that they base coat in a light brown first, to make it easier. That is not needed with this yellow. Even painting over black I at most needed two coats for good coverage. 10/10, would recommend. As my kids would say.

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    I then went back to my passes of various browns, using the above colors. I’m beginning to run out of bits to paint, outside of hair and fur, after these two passes. I’m also slightly regretting that first pass with Necromancer Cloak, as the browns have done a great job of toning down even the lighter colored dry brushes I began with. There probably still would have been areas I would have wanted to cover, but I possibly could have held back some.

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    Here’s some random minis after the most recent passes, with a blonde and a couple redheads to show how they turned out.

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    Here’s the group progress shot at the end of the night. This is going even quicker than I had thought, thanks to not having to paint so much of the black. It could have gone even quicker, for those not concerned with details popping as much or adding variety, by going straight from the first dry brush I did to doing skin, hair, and metal. I like my variety tho.

    Being so close to done with browns, my plan for tonight is to shift back to grays to do some touch ups, hit some hair and fur, and a few other details. This will help me to see just how much more brown I want to do.

    Again, if anyone has questions, feedback, advice, minis you’ll like to see, etc... feel free to post.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  6. #6


    So for about a weeks worth of work, things are rolling along fairly nicely, considering it’s about 60 minis at once. I foresee no issues getting these done by CMON Expo at the end of May. Which is my goal.

    As as stated in my last update, I began my passes with grays last night. I only had time for one pass, but it’s already making a difference. It’s amazing how each color makes them come alive more and more!

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    Seeing as most of my touch ups will be with Necromancer Cloak (the really dark gray), I opted to begin my gray passes with Uniform Gray. This is a good medium gray color, that takes washes well. So it should darken up a bit in the final stages, and show good detail as well.

    My approach was similar to doing the brown passes, with a few exceptions or additions. I’m still changing what parts I paint on each mini, for that varied effect. However, I’m taking items, such as leather bits, out of the rotation. In there place I’ve added dry brushing to the furs and some of the bottom layers of clothing.

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    This is included the fur trimming cloaks and sleeves, and the raised trim on one of the molds gloves and clothing.

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    Here’s the end of the night progress shot. I’ll be away on a small vacation in Gatlinburg, starting Thursday and coming back Sunday. So I’m not sure how if I’ll have more to post until after the weekend.

    Hope you you all are enjoying this!
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  7. #7


    Really enjoying your paint thread. Thank u for doing so. The effort is definitely appreciated. I just ordered some Night's Watch myself and I will likely incorporate some of your techniques to get mine up to above tabletop standard asap. Quick Q: What do you plan on doing differently, if anything, for the heroes/commanders/NCUs?

  8. #8


    This is going great, you are to be commended. Quick question. I have a few AP paints (love the huge range of colors) but I've found their pigment consistency decidedly inconsistent. I get great coverage with some and water-thin with others. What has your experience been and what (if any) tips/tricks have you used to address this?

    Thanks in advance. Happy painting!

  9. #9


    I am back from mini-vacation, and ready to share some progress that happened before I left!

    But first lets address some questions that have been asked!! (I love discussion and debate. Theory crafting helps us all grow, as you never know when you might get hit with inspiration)

    Quick Q: What do you plan on doing differently, if anything, for the heroes/commanders/NCUs?
    Were this another game, such as Zombicide, I typically put more effort into the details of unique figures. I’ve done that to some degree with the characters for Song I’ve previously painted. But I have not done much to them to intentionally make them stand out unless something comes up as I paint. I’m still nervous about attempting highlighting, and have not tried anything special for bases (although that’s something I’d like to try down the line). Btw, you can see what I’ve done so far with the names characters in a few of my close-ups, and they are lined up in front on my large group shots. I’ll try to get a close up of all of them in my next update for you.

    I’ve found their pigment consistency decidedly inconsistent.
    Honestly, I have had the same issue. Typically with newly purchased paints, which I have found need a REALLY good shake to mix them up and maybe a few uses dealing with the thinness to get to where they work better. I have heard of some people putting tiny ball bearings in the bottles to help with this, but have not tried it myself.

    Ive also noticed that some just require less thinning than others, and that was the issue. Time and experimenting help here.

    There are some colors tho that just have not gotten better, no matter how much I mix or use them. Desert Yellow being one that jumps immediately to mind. I’m not sure if it’s the color, or just those particular bottles that’s the issue. I haven’t bought another of those colors to try and compare. In these cases, I take a couple different approaches. All of which I’ve done with the aforementioned Desert Yellow. One is find another line with a similar color and use that. Another is to mix it with other colors to try and compensate. Usually something similar on tone. Lastly, use the inconsistency to your advantage. Sometimes happy accidents come from issues like this.

    For example, I first noticed the issue with my Desert Yellow when painting zombies for zombicide. I tend to use them as my experiments anyway, because I figured they’re zombies, they are supposed to look bad. Lol. I slapped a couple coats on a few as a skin tone and just could not get good coverage no matter how hard I tired. So I decided to try putting a green wash over it to see what would happen. The result was my favorite zombie skin tone to date!! VERY sickly and gangrenous looking.

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    Typing this out out made me think of an idea. I think I’ll try painting a base coat in another color and apply the poorly covering paint over that to see what happens. Maybe the base will show through well enough to have an interesting effect!

    So in short, try to fix it or compensate for it. If not, replace it. But try working with it on some experiments, you might find a use for it yet.

    Hope this helps each of you!!

    Now on to the quick update. This work was from last Wednesday evening.

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    I continued doing my gray passes with Model Color’s Green Grey. (Side note. All my Model Color paints came from the same box set. I THINK it was Earth Tones, but I am not sure. I got it way before I started painting minis, for use in making Steampunk items, but never used them till I started minis. Lots of good colors in this set. )

    Green Grey is a nice flat tone that is remarkably balanced between the green and the gray. Putting it next to one of those two colors, or putting a relevant wash over it, will bring that color out more. So I’m this case, the gray aspects will stand out more, since it will be with a lot of grays and blacks. I also hit some of the clothing, such as sleeves showing under the armor.

    I took a similar approach as before. Mostly focusing on furs, trims, and dry brushing over said areas as well, to bring out the details of the furs even more.

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    And finally the group progress shot.

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    The plan for tonight is to continue doing grays with a lighter tone.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  10. #10


    Appreciate the response and appreciate this thread more. I'm excited to follow your progress.

  11. #11


    Thanks! I hope it helped some. If there is anyone else reading these that has something to add regarding inconsistent paint coverage, feel free to chime in!
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  12. #12


    Another night, another almost completed pass over the Night’s Watch...

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    This is round was done with Ash Grey. A light gray color, but not my lightest, I mainly focused on furs, including dry brushed highlights, and hair.

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    Heres a shot of all the attachments and NCUs. Not all of which got touches of the Ash Grey, but I wanted to show where they are currently, for those interested.

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    Shot it of random minis to show where hair, fur, etc were done. Might just be me, but that guy on the bottom left is looking a bit like Odin. Lol

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    End of the night progress shot. I still have one row of archers, and the cav to do to finish this pass. I might go back to browns after that, or go with my lightest gray as there won’t be much to do with that.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  13. #13


    Some pretty good progress made last night, despite a late start. I finished the pass with Ash Grey.

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    I then used Spaceship Exterior to do Aemon’s hair. It’s a good bit lighter than Ash Grey. In fact, I typically use this in place of actual white paint, much like how I use Necromancer Cloak in place of true black.

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    I then decided to go back to browns.

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    To those of tou you following along, this is the paint I have used in place of my poorly covering Desert Yellow from Army Painter.

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    With this, I went back to including leather bits and armor in the rotation of items being painted. I’m slightly concerned it may be too light for some of the larger areas done, such as the chest armor. But I think a good dark wash should make it ok.

    A couple tidbits: I usually do touch ups as I go, but since most of my touch ups for this will be a single color, I’m choosing to wait till the end. Don’t feel you have to be too anal about fixing mistakes. Chances are if you can see it when held at arms length, you won’t see it on the table. Also, you’ll be surprised how much the wash will hide.

    Also, you’ll notice I haven’t painted any of the eyes. To me, they almost always never look right. Especially on small faces like these, where the eyes are not clearly defined. Go for the eyebrows instead, and that will help define the face pretty well on their own.

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    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  14. #14


    Another day, another update. Though that may slow down over the next couple days...

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    Last night I continued my brown passes with Monster Brown. A nice medium/light brown tone. This is also one I used for darker skin tones, so I had to keep that in mind as I painted. Avoiding areas close to the skin that was painted in the same color. While the different washes used would provide some differences in the final product, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

    I also painted over some of the larger areas that had been done in the previous update, due to the mentioned concern of it possibly turning out too bright on large or prominent areas. So some fixing there.

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    I can not stress enough the difference even a light dry brush on the fur has. It really helps to bring out the texture and depth of the sculpt. It’s a pretty easy step, even for beginners, that provides good results.

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    Tonight’s plan is to finally do some metallics on the minis. Depending on how far I get, I’ll try to also finish what rocks I haven’t already done in my gray passes.

    Friday night I will be gaming with a friend. So this should help make them look a little more “done”. It should also help me to judge better where I should go from there, as I have some second guesses about taking the added color a bit too far. I want them to still look like they belong in the Night’s Watch when I’m done after all. (What are your thoughts? Have I strayed too far, or do they still look like Crows?)

    So so it should be a pretty dramatic change in tomorrow’s update.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  15. #15


    Hello again!

    Last night I began applying metallics to the minis.

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    Darkest on the left, moving to lightest on the left. Rough Iron, while nice, was not quite the color I thought it was going to be when I bought it. It has much more coppery tones to it, and I was hoping for silver. Nevertheless, it comes in handy at times. Tho in this case I only used it on some of Aemon’s chain.

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    I completed one pass with Shining Silver, separating areas into Blade. armor/body. And hilt/sheathe. I painted one section on each mini. I then did the same thing with Plate Mail, being sure to change up the pattern so that it’s not the same across the board.

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    I almost completed that second pass. The gap in the group shot shows where I had to call it quits.

    No painting tonight, as I’ll actually be playing for a change. Likely not much painting over the weekend, as my middle child has prom (gods I’m old) and other household needs to be done.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  16. #16


    Sorry for the break. Life happened. One kid to prom, one kid coming home from college, unpaid chauffeuring... life of a parent. Lol

    I finished up the metallic pass I was in the middle of, as well as completed the pass with Game Color Gunmetal.

    I had purchased the Game Color paint, hoping it would be fairly close to the Army Painter brand of the same name. It is not. It has a bit of a blueish tinge to it that is not noticeable when looking at the bottle. It was also ALOT thicker. It held its shape outside of the bottle pretty well, and was a bit “gritty” without some help. Help came in the form of some water, which I tend to never add to metallic paints, and a bit of some light silver Army Painter paints. While this helped the consistency, it was still not as easy flow and coverage as I’m used to with other brands. I’m hoping it will correct itself in time as it gets shaken more. Fingers crossed...

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    I then went through and hit the rocks and stones I had not already painted in the gray passes, along with the sacklike pouches on some of the minis.

    After those passes were done, I now am beginning to get minis that are DONE! Well, at least until it’s time to do touch-ups and apply the wash. But still...we’re in the Endgame now...

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    Those are the ones currently awaiting touch-ups and wash. More will be joining them in fairly short order.

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    And heres some samples of the rest.

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    End of night progress group shot.

    From here I’ll be looking for spots I missed to help determine next colors. I know will be browns, because there are unpainted bows left. I also noticed a few missing eyebrows.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  17. #17


    It’s been awhile without an update. My apologies. Couple of reasons for it tho. I have had a downtick in the time I have to paint recently, prepping for visitors for my kids graduation, tho I’m hoping to fix that this week. The other reason is that what I HAVE done has been mostly finishing up painting areas missed to get everyone ready for final touch-ups and then wash. Therefore, updates are pretty lackluster at this stage.

    I will share group shots tho, to show some progress...

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    Here is everyone one that is done and ready for the touch-up stage.

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    Group shot. Everyone from the horses and to the right still need some work to get them ready for touch-ups.

    All in all, this has still been going rather quickly, despite taking some time off here and there. My usual speed averages about a mini a day, so this should have taken me over two months to complete. Without the time off, I could have been done in a month. Less than that even, had I not wanted the variety and additional color. Still pretty good for me.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  18. #18


    A couple more days of painting, and quite a bit of progress.

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    ALL of the small base units are done with paint, and have had their touch-ups. Touch-ups didn’t take too long, as I try to paint pretty cleanly during my passes. Most of the spots came down to spots where dry brushing hit the wrong spot or something went astray when trying to hit a tiny detail such as a buckle or eyebrow. (Said it before, and I’ll say it again. On minis this size, skip the eyes and do the eyebrows. Much easier to do. Easier to fix if you do mess up. And add just as good of an effect. Eyes on minis this size have a tendency towards “googly”.)

    All that needs to be done to the guys above is the wash stage, then a simple painted base. I’ll explain those steps as I get to them.

    Before I can do that, though, I need to finish the cav. They are actually MOSTLY done, but still need some paint here and there. I also want to try doing a bit more with the color of the horses than I did with my Outriders. We’ll see how it goes.

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    Here’s the group shot, with the cav off to the right so you can see how close they are to being ready.
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

  19. #19


    Wow, this is really cool stuff. Getting close to that finish line.

  20. #20


    Thanks!! Yeah really close. Now if I could just finish cleaning my house for visitors long enough to finish the minis!! Lol
    House - Ravenhurst
    Sigil - Black raven on a copper field, clutching paintbrushes
    Words - “We do not Highlight”

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