Thursday, 1 March 2018

They break through…

So, it's been a while since my last post. A long while. In that time a lot has happened. Most importantly for the blog, I've completed painting another faction for Cthulhu Wars. In this case, Opener of the Way.

This is the entire faction. The standard six cultists, plus assorted monsters, and of course a Great Old One.
 Only a little thing, but the power and Doom markers are important. In this case, for the Doom marker (the coin) I've gone for a heat discoloured metal look. I chose Titanium to model it off (instead of another metal) because Titanium has an interesting oxide gradient, from straw, to brown, to purple, then on to white. For the obvious reason I stopped at purple. The colours were achieved using a combination of washes and Vallejo transparent colours.

The cultists, and once again I've given everyone a different spellbook, and have tried to paint the Opener symbol on everyone's robes. Not too clear in these pictures, unfortunately.

 Another shot of the cultists. Of note is the variation in skin tones. As Opener can start anywhere, I decided their cultists should be a multi-cultural bunch, including light, dark, middle eastern, and Asian skin tones.
The mutants. These are the basic monsters, and I've tried to do them justice by combining techniques used on both the cultists (skin tones) and other monsters (tentacle shading).

Opener's units are special in that once a particular spellbook is acquired, they can upgrade through successive forms, culminating in the Spawn of Yog-Sothoth.
These guys are the Abominations. This is what mutants turn into when they survive a battle with the aforementioned spellbook. They're also pretty good in combat, and contribute to another spellbook that lets you rain hellfire upon any location on the map.
Another picture, highlighting the tentacle shading, and other wrongness—like extra eyes where no eyes should ever be. 

 The Spawn of Yog-Sothoth. These guys were interesting to paint, being mostly smooth surfaces on one side, and convoluted masses on the other. The tentacles were shaded as for the Abominations above, and then given a light coat of iridescent blue. Said light coat turned out to be stronger than expected, but I like the effect.

These are the backs of the Spawns. Simple shading on the purple, combined with a tar/slime trail on the bases made from 1:1:2 vallejo transparent blue:transparent red:water effect. These are some of the strongest combat monsters in the game, and costly because of it. When upgrading—if they choose to—they instead explode into as many mutants as you have available, allowing the upgrade chain to begin again. 

And here we have the great gribbly himself (itself?): Yog-Sothoth, the key and the guardian of the gate. He's unique in game terms in that he also counts as a gate, allowing monsters to be summoned through him, meaning a bodyguard is never far away. He can also move gates (friendly or enemy), along with Abominations and Spawns, allowing Opener to completely restructure the map if he wants to.
Another view, showing off the 'universe orbs' Yog-Sothoth is composed of. It took several stages to paint each orb, starting with rich purple, then using a drybrush to flick white paint on to create stars, then washes for nebulae, followed by a thin coat of vallejo candy black, and another thin coat of iridescent purple.

The veins were the old GW Hawk Turquoise, highlighted with vallejo off-white, rather than straight white.

The upper tentacles (blue-silver/red) were painted with a basecoat of medium grey, then a wash of GW red ink, then liberally coated in iridescent blue to give a shifting purple/pink appearance. The fleshy bits were painted to look as unnatural as possible—for why should something so large and strange have human flesh anywhere? The flesh is also to tie into the flesh colours of the other monsters in the faction, which were at one point quite disturbingly human.

The base is painted to resemble dark granite, inspired by the mention of the rocky hills in Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror". This was done with a very dark grey base, drybrushed with GW Adeptus Battlegrey, followed by Army Painter Uniform Grey as an even lighter drybrush.

The glowing symbols were done using simple OSL techniques, starting with a thinner than usual paint, then highlighting only the centre of each symbol. The 'tar' effect is the same as was mentioned for the Spawns.

And now, for those that stayed that long, the next item on my list: Sleeper

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Winter has come

So, I have (finally) managed to finish painting my Windwalker, using a ton of different techniques from two brush blending and wetbrushing to snow basing.

So, this is everyone (and thing) for the Windwalker faction. The shades of blue I had to mix, and mix, and mix again…

Anyway, I tried to keep the colours pale, and the palette somewhat pastel, to offset the very bright splashes of spot colours.
 Cultists; once again with unique spellbooks. My attempts at painting the Windwalker symbol on their tabards seem to have come out well enough.
 Rhan-Tegoth, the lesser of the arctic nasties Windwalker can summon. He's moderately expensive, but doesn't even need a gate. He's also pretty much unkillable.

For his colouration I was inspired by the electric blue crayfish.
 The ice age. Windwalker has a spellbook that casts a map area into an ice age in order to impede your opponents. This is just a fancy marker for that.

I used a combination of blending, drybrushing, glazes, and washes to get the final effect—shared with Rhan-Tegoth's base, above.
 Ithaqua, the arctic wind. Okay, I'll admit, if I could I'd have made this guy transparent—he's meant to be ectoplasm/personified wind. A lot of drybrushing was involved here, and some subtle two-brush blending for the 'breath' which I was hoping to make look like the borealis, or maybe a nebula.
 These are Gnoph-Kehs. Their spellbook allows them to inflict a free kill if they get killed in battles. Berserkergang, and it gets very messy.

Also, getting blood on fur to look even remotely right is really difficult.
Last up, the Wendigos, cannibalistic monsters that can drive out enemies with a fearsome howl. Their spellbook also allows them to be spawned from other people's battles, provided at least 1 kill was inflicted.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Mid-winter Cthulhu-mas [Onslaught 2 Unboxing]

So, a couple of days back I got my Onslaught 2 kickstarter for Cthulhu Wars, rounding out my collection (no, it's not *everything* in the range, but it's close). So, without further ado, some pictures.

This is the Tcho-Tcho faction, who play quite differently to the others: They only have a single monster type, but they get 3 High Priests (which the faction abilities revolve around). Their Great Old One, Ubbo-Sathla, is actually free to summon—if you do so in the Doom phase. The faction as a whole is very powerful in the early game, but loses steam in the late game due to reliance on those High Priests for so many abilities.

This is Byatis, the Toad of Berkely. It can't move, but it's got good combat dice.

Byatis's unique spellbook allows it to sucker in nearby enemy cultists to capture or kill, so not moving isn't so terrible then.
Tzulscha, the great leveler. Tzulscha's signature ability is to grant you a bonus Doom, Power, and Elder sign if anyone has more than you.

Tzulscha's unique spellbook turns the normally costly Ritual of Annihilation into a source of power instead—but the ritual grants you no score as a result.

These two are the Great Old One Nyogtha, the serpent twins. Even while separated across the board they can still act in concert—whenever one takes action, the other may perform the same action for free; and if one is engaged in battle, the other gets to declare a battle for free.

Nyogtha's unique spellbook allows the second 'head' to be reawakened on the cheap if it gets killed.

This is Gobogeg, a complete unique Great Old One. He can only be summoned late game, but is incredibly powerful both in battle and outside of it. In battle he can cause all units involved to suffer damage if they haven't already got a damage result. Outside of battle, any time a Great Old One is awakened, the owning player gets a 6 power refund.

Gobogeg's unique spellbook is very meta: Whoever controls him at the end of the game gets to choose all factions, expansions, and so forth for the next game.

These are the Dreamlands surface monsters. Shantaks (the winged dragon-esque things) are super mobile—they can move anywhere on the board(s) in a single action, and carry a cultist with them for free.

Gnorri's (snake demons) are Doom generators. More of them in play, more bonus Doom points.

Moonbeasts (toads?) are disruptive little buggers, and when first summoned are placed on an enemy spellbook, negating it for a turn, or until they pay a Doom to remove it.

Underworld monsters for the Dreamlands. Leng Spiders are not major dice, but they convert 2 Pains to a Kill in battle, which has some interesting uses.

Gugs (the gorrilla-esque monsters) are cheap, major combat dice—but they're clumsy, and cannot capture Cultists.

Ghasts are horde monsters, good only for capturing Cultists or soaking damage. That said, when summoned, you always summon all 4 at once.

 The Yuggoth map. Like Earth, it's a contiguous map with wraparound left and right edges. On the left board is the slime sea, where Slime Molds can be summoned. One the right board is the Green Pyramid, where the Watcher slumbers. The gameplay dynamic seems like it will be quite different from both the Earth and the Dreamlands maps.
Yuggoth monsters. The six Slime Molds are only minor combat dice, but they can change allegiance depending on who controls the slime sea overlook.

The Watcher is much like the Bhole from the Dreamlands—just much scarier. If the Watcher is awoken, he attacks the Green Pyramid area, once per player in the game, and cannot be permanently killed.
A size comparison between map types (something I'd not thought to photograph last time I did an unboxing). On the left is a 6-8 player board for Yuggoth's Green Pyramid. On the right is the 3-5 player board for the same region.

The 3-5 player board is 20" x 20", the 6-8 player board is 24" x 24", it might not sound like much, but it increases the play area per board from 400 sq in to 576 sq in.

 Next we have the final part of the Onslaught 2 Kickstarter: The Omega Rulebook. This has all the rules, FAQs, parts lists, and so forth for every expansion. It also includes a free bonus expansion for having unique High Priests (just ability cards, no models).

The book itself is an excellent resource (as it should be), the rules layout is clear and easy to understand, while there are also lavish illustrations and artworks throughout, along with pictures of all the shinies. (Sadly no gallery of painted sets—but hey, can't have everything).
 One of the artwork spreads, showing both line and final painting of a 3D gate model.

Art/summary page for The Sleeper faction, showing Tsathoggua, tips on stopping Sleeper, and their victory/epilogue brief.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Progress Update #7

So, some more painting progress to round out the week. Wendigos all have their fur done, and the first layer of their skin.
 Gnoph Kehs, the sculpts have much thicker fur than the Wendigos, so even though the same techniques were used, they have more of the base colours showing, which I actually like.
Rhan Tegoth, with some more progress. The colour scheme (or start thereof) is inspired by the electric blue crayfish. The tentacles hanging from his—its?—sides will be white/off-white.

Ithaqua is in the background, his breath painted like an aurora, and his eyes glowing a baleful orange. Not actually 100% happy with the OSL for the eyes, but we'll see what a glaze or two can do.
And some Infinity progress too, all camo base colours done on the Spitfire Asura and the Mk 12 armed Proxy Mk5. Next up, black-lining.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Weekly… well, Progress Update #6

 So, the smaller monsters and cultists for Windwalker. Not really anything yet, just basecoated. Wendigo on the far left has been drybrushed two stages.

In the front rank are some Infinity minis, still untouched from a fortnight ago. I need to rectify that.
 Power markers, trying to do an ice effect, yet to add power glow/OSL to it. Might try and show a translucent core effect.
Ice Age marker, Ithaqua, and the icy base of Rhan-Tegoth. Particularly proud of the ice effect, taking about a dozen stages each. Disappointed it won't work as well on the heavily textured regular bases for everything else.

Did some two brush blending on the ectoplasm/breath Ithaqua is exhaling. Still needs a lot more work.
A closer look at the Ice Age marker. I'm thinking it'll benefit most from a satin/semi-gloss varnish.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Sacrifices were made — Black Goat complete

So, finally finished painting up the last of the Cthulhu Wars core set, with Black Goat now done.

 Faction shot, everyone(-thing) in all their glory. There is much redness. I chose black as the contrast due to most shub-niggurath imagery being very dark in tone.
 Ghouls, eaters of the dead. These guys turn up after everyone else's battles, giving them essentially free movement.

Yes, they are holding severed arms.
From behind, a darker red on their backs, and black/grey pelts around their waists.
 Cultists, all with bloodied hands. Sacrifice is a large part of Black Goat's shtick in the game, so I though I'd give the cultists a touch of that 'personality'.
Black Goat faction symbol, painted on all banners. Annoyingly it looks almost as ant-like as it does goat-like. Still, fairly please with how well it came out against the black.
 The six spellbooks. As usual, all of them are different, and each of them relates to either a core mechanic, or a faction spellbook.
Fungi, wasn't really sure how to go about these guys, decided to go insectile in the end, with human brains. What they're carrying is up for debate, but I tried to paint it like decaying brain matter.
 Rear carapace on the fungi. Sort of a pearlescent effect. Similar for the wings, to be like certain beetle elytra. The mottling was attempting to blend the wing surface into the 'arm' it sprouts from.
 Dark Young, from the front? At least, I think it's the front… two legs and the biggest mouth.

Dark Young from the other side (and the other, other side, above). As you can probably tell by now, it's hard to tell which way is forward with these guys. A mix of varnishes was used to get various effects, Satin+Matte for the hooves, Gloss for the teeth, and realistic water (feathered out via two brush blending) for the tentacles.
 The great gribbly herself, Shub-Niggurath. Glorious 3/4 view.
 Shubby from the other side. The same varnish effects from the Dark Young are used here.
A close up of Shub-Niggurath's face. She doesn't have eyes, and I wanted to do something a little different, so each of those dark 'swirls' is supposed to be an embryonic predator of some kind, held in her egg-sacs. It is, after all, a fertility cult dedicated to monsters…