Following last weekend’s OK (but no better than OK) experiment with the Army Painter strong tone dip, I tried again this weekend with another 20 early fifth century A.D. Saxons. This group included five “Big Men” and also a Saxon champion. The figures were all Gripping Beast, which are slowing growing on me.
Perhaps most fun of all were the “Saxon Killers and Characters” which I used for a couple of the Big Men. These are not particularly for the faint-hearted, although I imagine they’re a fairly accurate depiction of what happened on a Dark Age battlefield (and no doubt on many battlefields since). In the words of the (still-phenomenal) Talking Heads song, "Psycho Killer,... run, run, run away".
As for the painting, I took a lot more time and care painting with this bunch than the group last weekend. Quite a few people posting comments on this blog and at my local club mentioned that colour selection was key. I tried to make sure all the colours were toned together before dipping, selecting browns, reds and greys as the key colour themes.
I tried to shade the bolder colours before dipping to create a little more depth than was created on the previous batch of dipped figures. As before, I didn’t highlight any colours, reasoning that this could come later, post-dipping. I also spent a little time on painting in eye sockets and (on a couple of figures) some face detail.
I also tried a different approach with metallics, painting first with very dark Vallejo gunmetal (mixed with Vallejo black) and then highlighting with plain Vallejo gunmetal before the dip.
I dipped as before, brush-painting from the Army Painter strong tone dip tin as opposed to actually dipping the figures in. As before, the immediate post-dip stage looked hideous. But at least I was expecting that on this occasion.
I applied the matt varnish and was reasonably pleased with the results. They looked better as a group than last weekend’s figures and seemed to “gel” together more. I think the pre-shading of the bolder colours helped a bit with this.
So, on the plus side, 20 figures in a weekend to a tabletop standard, and 50 in a fortnight, was a reasonable result. I put nowhere near as much effort into these as into other figures which have appeared on this Blog.
On the minus side, they are still very much the ugly cousins of other Bloggers stunning and beautiful Dark Age work on the Blogosphere and internet generally. To try and elevate them from “ugly cousins” to anything memorable, I’ll need to do some highlighting, add some shield transfers and some banners. A project for the coming weekend, perhaps. As Benito so very wisely said in his comment on my post last week, it all comes down to effort in the end!
As to how the “ugly cousins” and the Saxon psycho-killers fight on the tabletop, I shall be seeing in about 7 hours time when we play our next Dark Ages game.
If you have a soft spot for psychotic Saxons, wish me luck!