No Time to be Picky

I was one of 16,000 backers who supported the Conan Kickstarter by Monolith, drawn in by the quality of the sculpts, artwork and the sheer volume of loot that was getting unlocked.

Now I have received my pledge, which is effectively a completely new miniatures hobby game with several factions, all in all well over 100 figures. Not painting these is not an option, since the miniatures are one of the main draws of the game, but painting them in my usual way would take at least a year – assuming I was not painting anything else.

Therefore I have opted to paint everything in base colours only and then give it the Army Painter Soft Tone Quickshade treatment. I’ve never used this before and I wouldn’t use it for my wargaming projects, but for a board game it is a reasonable/necessary compromise.

In the first scenario, Conan is going up against the Picts, so I started painting those. I finished the 15 Pict Hunters (all identical sculpts) with 5 Warriors and 5 Archers in the works.

Painted figures for Pict Hunters on transparent round bases

Picts returning from the hunt

The sculpts are very nice, with few mould lines, plenty of detail and character. They easily stand up to any wargaming standard. This makes it hard to resist the urge to apply highlights after the shading, add war paint or other flourishes. Those will have to be reserved for the main heroes and villains of the game.

The Quickshade is leaving a layer of gloss varnish so it requires a matte coat afterwards. That results in quite a thick layer, but at least the figures will be protected in play and storage.

Painted figures of loin cloth clad barbarians carrying stone axes and shrunken heads

Hunters carrying their grisly trophies

As an additional step I am replacing the round bases that are moulded onto the miniatures with clear perspex. On a 2D game board this blends the figures in nicely. So far, hand injuries have been minor.

View from above onto an illustrated game board with Pict figures on transparent bases

Raven eye view of the Pictish settlement

17 thoughts on “No Time to be Picky

  1. Very cool! I was a backer too, and frankly I’m staggered with the quantity and quality of the minis… I have yet to even think about starting, but please do share your thoughts on the game when you get one in!

  2. If that’s a quick paint job I’m impressed – the figures look great. (The detail on them looks really great!) I love the clear bases – it makes a huge difference when using a game board/play mat underneath.

    • Thanks, it was really quite quick. I was trying to be neat with the base colours, but then it was just a case of applying the quickshade with a big brush. I had initially painted the plastic bases the models come on with textured brown paint, but they were dominating the figures’ appearance. Definitely looking better just ‘walking’ over the beautifully designed boards.

    • Thank you! I was putting it on a bit too heavily for the first batch, so they ended up darker than I anticipated. Will have to see how the brown shade turns out on different base colours – but a large number of the Conan models will be using earthy tones anyway.

  3. Ahhhh, “The Dip”. Much maligned by some, but it’s certainly capable of some lovely looking results. I must say that your Picts here are an exceptionally nice example. Did you highlight or shade their flesh before or after the QS? And which flesh tone paint did you use? I might have to copy you when (if) my bloody copy ever arrives!

    • I used Citadel Cadian Fleshtone on them, no highlights before or after, and the only bit of pre-shading I did was a drop of flesh wash around the eyes and mouth to give the face that extra focus. I hope the big box of awesome makes it to your shores soon. You’re a much faster and more disciplined painter than me, if you go for the dip method on these I’m sure you have a full set in no time.

  4. Nice stuff, I happen to be using the same technique and stumbled across your blog as I was gathering reference material. Can I ask – did you just use Super Glue to attach the minis to the bases? It seems to be leaving a bit of a ‘halo’ on the acrylic base?

    • I’m using super glue which I applied a bit too generously for the first batch. As the bond seems pretty strong, I am applying less now and it hasn’t been much of a problem anymore.

  5. Hi, great work. Brilliant idea about the bases, blends perfectly.

    Where did you get the clear bases, and do they match the same diameters? I know the base diameters matter for area stacking limits. Thank you!

    • Thank you! For bases sizes, the most common ones are 25mm and an exact match. I also got a batch of clear 30mm, 40mm and 60mm in, which I think will cover all creatures appropriately. I am not particularly worried about exact matches on everything, since the game is self contained and not so finely balanced that some differences in base size will have much of an impact I think.

  6. Great job! I overdid the shade on the base coat, so will *eventually* have to add lighter layers to them. Bleah. Wish I saw these pict pics when I was painting mine!

    • Thank you! It was my first attempt using Quickshade so I erred on the side of caution. In the meantime, I added some white and red warpaint over the top, which has worked well. Might be worth a try on yours if they are missing some contrast at the moment.

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