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Space 2021 – A Star Saga

Space 2021 – A Star Saga

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Project Blog by onlyonepinman Cult of Games Member

Recommendations: 460

About the Project

Each year I like to try and set a challenge for the year, usually painting some Kickstart miniatures boardgame or other. Due to not being in a great place at the start of 2020, it wasn't really possible to make any sort of pledge (I was living in a room that basically had a bed, a clothes rail and a TV). Things did get better over the year, I got some furniture, a desk, some lights and eventually got the paints out of the storage unit where I had been storing most of what I owned. By the end of the year I was pretty much back in the swing of things and that leaves me ready to do something for 2021.

This year's pledge is going to be Star Saga. Not just the Eiras Contract game but the complete, all-in kickstarter pledge PLUS the additional Deadzone mercenaries! And to make this even more fun, because I backed Star Saga jointly with my brother (something we do regularly), we will be painting it jointly - and it's the perfect game to do it with. My brother isn't the world's greatest painter and to be fair it is not his main interest. But that gives him a skill that I struggle with - Batch painting. I really struggle to paint large batches of grunts and minions, he struggles to focus on and paint a single miniatures to high standard. So a game that by design contains a large number of grunts and a smaller number of characters is absolutely perfect. He will be batch painting the goons and I will be painting the heroes and Villains. I will also be designing all the test colours schemes for my brother.

Also, given that it's been sat in the box for a few years now it's perfect for the Spring Clean challenge, even if I am starting it early.

Because it's a boardgame and will likely be played with people who don't play lots of miniatures games the intenion is to stick to the artwork as far as possible so that what is on the board looks like the picture on the corresponding card. Each entry in the blog will be a single character or miniature type and a little bit of information about the painting of it and my thoughts on the miniature. I won't be doing progress shots and tutorials because there is so much to paint that taking progress shots and writing blog posts would be way too time consuming.

So with all that out the way, let's begin!

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4.3 - Shayo Silverback

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 3
No Comments

You created us, but now we will bring an end to your kind

This is the Shayo Silverback and this was an exceedingly fun miniature to paint. I love the model, I love the story he has.  Shayo is a super intelligent ape, and a ruthless rebel cell leader with a reputation for just knowing stuff.  He has cells everywhere and those cells have spies everywhere, even in other cells.  To top it off, you definitely wouldn’t mess with him.  The details were nice and sharp, well defined and really lent themselves well to washes and layer highlights

Shayo Silverback ArtworkShayo Silverback Artwork
Shayo Silverwork painted by PaulShayo Silverwork painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

Insight - Planning a phase (oh, and some bonus Deadzone)

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 3
1 Comment

I haven’t had chance to start on the final two boss characters yet and that’s because I have been doing a bit of planning and I thought I would share a bit of insight instead.

Whilst it is true that my brother has been the chief batch painter and has mostly been batch painting all of the minions, in most cases I have provided an example painted miniature that he could copy (and I have done a little touching up at the end).  So I spent the last couple of evenings working on some test paints for the Rebs in The Devil’s betrayal.

In this case I am deviating away from the stock colour schemes in the artwork slightly because of what they are.  I already have a decent sized Rebs force for Deadzone, likely enough to play firefight with (should Mantic choose to provide an army list for them) and I would like the Star Saga miniatures to stand beside them to expand the army further.  Although my Deadzone Rebs aren’t currently painted, I do know what they will need to look like and the reason for that goes back to my Deadzone GCPS models.  I will explain shortly.  However first, here is the test paints for each of the minion types.  I have tried to maintain a consistent theme across the 4 different types – mostly black and dark grey with black/red armour and spot colours in blue.  These were all finished off using a black glaze, rather than the more common aggrax earth glaze, to maintain the cool look but also to cover up any gaps that always seem to occur with contrast paints.

Insight - Planning a phase (oh, and some bonus Deadzone)

The reason behind this colour scheme is because last year I took part in a  Deadzone painting challenge – paint a Deadzone strike team in a month.  Rather than going the normal route and picking 6-10 miniatures and painting them to a high standard, I went the opposite way and challenged myself to paint ALL my GCPS – the faction starter and the faction booster.  To do that I decided to use contrast paints and brown wash which can get you a decent tabletop ready result very quickly.  To elevate that basic paint job to the next level I decided I would put a bit of extra effort in with the bases, but what to do?  Well the answer came from Steam and the release of the remastered Westwood Studios classic – Command & Conquer.  I loved that game back in the 1990s, I loved it just as much when they re-released it last year and I knew there and then, my GCPS were to become the GDI and the bases?  Well, Tiberium crystals of course!

Insight - Planning a phase (oh, and some bonus Deadzone)

Needless to say I was successful in my attempt to paint them up.  They’re not stunning, they won’t be winning any competitions any time soon but for anyone who was there in 1995 when C&C revolutionised the real time strategy genre with its FMV cut scenes and it’s rock music sound track, these are great fun.  I had so much fun with them that rather than do loads of gallery photos and all that stuff, I made a video instead

So what the hell has all this got to do with the price of Tiberium I hear you ask?  Well, the GCPS colour scheme has had a direct influence on my choice of colour scheme for the Rebs.  What would the GDI be without their erstwhile adversary, the Brotherhood of Nod!  The primary colours for most of the brotherhood of Nod is grey and black.  However I found that too boring so I used red to try and break up the otherwise monochrome look, which kind of works seeing as the badge of the brotherhood of Nod is a black scorpion on a red background

BONUS DEADZONE - The Piper

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 2
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Oh, no, this ship isn’t sinking and we’re not leaving.  In fact, I think we shall stay.  The future belongs to the rat.

As part of the Star Saga kickstarter, I opted to buy the Deadzone character packs, which basically gave you the metal mercenary models for Deadzone and accompanying Star Saga character cards.  This was a good move for someone who also has more than a passing interest in Deadzone (we will come onto that in the next project entry).  As I had just painted all of the Veermyn for Star Saga I decided to fish this character out and paint him somewhat out of sequence – the original plan was to paint the metal Deadzone mercs after the expansions were all complete.

This is a fairly old model I think and it kind of shows.  From the angle you’re looking at in the photo, and indeed from the reverse angle it all looks fine.  However the details on the areas that are cleverly hidden by the angle are somewhat lacking – areas like the chest and stomach.  Honestly that’s not really such a big deal and for gaming miniatues I generally hold to the ideal that if you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter.

Overall I actually had quite a lot of fun painting this, even to a basic standard, as it’s a colour palette I don’t normally use.  I also really like the deployable ratswarms that he comes with as well.  Much like Ogan Helkkare comes with deployable gun turrets and shield generators, the piper can summon rat swarms.

The Piper painted by PaulThe Piper painted by Paul

4.2 - Ector Zanchez

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 2
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You run a flip six, three hole and you score…

Conceptually this is one of my favourite characters. Ector Zanchez is a former Dreadball Xtreme player who, following a serious injury was saved by Blaine (the mysterious “fixer” behind all the missions in Star Saga) and now has to work for him as a merc to pay off the debt. Given that he has a robotic arm and his face is scarred on the same side as the arm, it would seem as the injury, and subsequent repairs were extensive.  As a merc, as well as carrying a fairly heavy duty gun, he is also a grenadier.

However, background aside, the miniature; I am not overly keen on the pose but the details were at least good.  Or at least that was until my primer decided to burp and laid down an awful, grainy textured undercoat.  Suffice it to say I was absolutely fuming.  During lockdown over the last year, primers have been in and out of stock and at the moment citadel primers are hard to come by.  So I was using an army painter primer and this is far from the first issue I have had with Army Painter primers nor is it the only issue I have experienced with them.  My honest opinion is that they are a vastly inferior product to the Citadel primers.  I don’t really have the time or inclination to strip the model down so I just had to go with it, how it had clogged some of the details and left flat surfaces with a very grainy, bobbly texture.  I took the photo on a lower resolution to try and disguise that

Ector Zanchez ArtworkEctor Zanchez Artwork
Ector Zanchez painted by PaulEctor Zanchez painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

4.1 - Nastanza

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 2
No Comments

In the right place at the right time, a single bullet can change the galaxy

The project has been quiet for a while, for a number of reasons.  A big reason is that we have been unable to obtain the Wraithbone primer we use under the contrast paints for many of the minion models.  Because the minions weren’t progressing I put everything else on hold.  However I did find a solution to that problem by getting a bit more creative with what primers we had.  Specifically looking to prime in greyseer for miniatures that have less skin on show and then picking out certain areas, like flesh, in Wraithbone from a pot.

So having solved that I pressed on with the heroes and we are now into The Devil’s Betrayal, a campaign that sees the mercs raiding a Rebel stronghold to “confiscate” a sample of the Plague.  Like the other expansions it has two heroes, the first of which is Nastanza, an Asterian sniper.

I love the dark red armour on this and I ventured into Vallejo paints to lay down the base colours using black red.  I highlighted it up using a mixture of Vallejo and GW paints and then at the end gave it a glaze using thinned Nuln Oil to darken it down.

Now, while I really like the concept the model was, well, poor.  The details were incredibly soft and I found myself having to freehand highlights on where there should have been a definite edge.  It was a real challenge to paint.

 

Nastanza ArtworkNastanza Artwork
Nastanza painted by PaulNastanza painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.11 - So Hin

Tutoring 3
Skill 5
Idea 3
No Comments

Only whenthe last ocean has been turned to polluted sludge and last planet has been poisoned to a toxic wasteland will humans realise that they cannot eat money.

So Hin is an Asterian, essentially a Space Elf. Although the Asterians tend not to engage in warfare themselves, preferring to operate remotely through highly advanced drones, there are some among them, the Kalyshi, who prefer to take part personally. So Hin is one such person who operates as a Mercenary and reports back to his clan all that he sees of the GCPS.

As a model, I was really looking forward to this one, with its nice, bright colours. However the reality was somewhat different. It was an incredibly hard model to paint with lots of soft and poorly defined details, in many cases details had to be freehanded on (the leather cords and bands around the legs, shoulders and chest), it wasn’t possible to do good edge highlights; all sorts of problems. Overall I am pleased with the results and completion of him means that the Terror In The Deep expansion is now also finished.

So Hin artwork So Hin artwork
So Hin painted by PaulSo Hin painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.10 - Ota Sora

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 3
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A true warrior is always prepared for death. Their own or someone else’s. 

Whilst I may not be the biggest fan of the Nameless, I can certainly say that the two heroes that come with Terror in the Deep are probably my favorite two characters from the whole Star Saga game. This one is Ota Sora, a Matsudan, a species tricked into virtual servitude by the Greedy Corporations of the GCPS. Ota Sora seeks to regain his family’s lost honour by proving himself a capable warrior and leader.

I love the design of the Matsudan and I was very pleased see them released as a faction in Deadzone. Whilst a little cartoony, which is typical of the Mantic style especially in Star Saga, the armour has some very strong Samurai overtones; the large bulky shoulder pads reminiscent of Japanese armour and the two bits that stick up at the top look a little like Sashimono. And of course the helmet with the Oni mask design.

This took me around 10 enjoyable hoursto paint and I am sad to say that the camera doesn’t do it justice. The brightest highlights on the red seem to have been mostly lost.

Ota Sora artworkOta Sora artwork
Ota Sora painted by Paul Ota Sora painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.9 - The Goliath

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 2
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Just shoot damn it! Shoot it until you run out of ammo, then reload and shoot it some more!

 

This bad boy is the Goliath, I can safely say that I am not really looking forward to fighting against it! This beast came with a mission book all of its own.

For painting, the sams contrast paint techniques and colour palette were used as all of the other Nameless minions, the texture on this model was no less Pronounced and so it has been painted using the same contrast paint with a purple wash and finished with a Gloss Varnish to give it a wat look.

Goliath artwork Goliath artwork
Goliath painted by IanGoliath painted by Ian

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.8 - Assassins

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 2
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The last of the lower forms of the Nameless, the Assassins. I will say that the Nameless models were absolutely perfect for contrast paint.  Ian now has one more Nameless project to do – something a bit bigger.  I will be painting the two Mercs that came with the expansion.

Nameless Assassin artwork Nameless Assassin artwork
Nameless Assassins painted by IanNameless Assassins painted by Ian

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.7 - The Blight

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 2
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I have no idea what that was but it was one tough son of a bitch.

This is the final boss for Terror In The Deep. Known as “The Blight” he’s a particularly vicious example of what is known as a Calamiton. In terms of painting I think he was probably slightly more interesting than the previous characters because he brings together all of Nameless colour palette together, whereas the others tend to 3 out of the 4. I really like the splashes of red and purple on the dark blue background.

Now I get to paint the two Mercs that came with this expansion and I am really looking forward to them, two of my favorite miniatures of the whole kickstarter.

The Blight artworkThe Blight artwork
The Blight painted by PaulThe Blight painted by Paul
The Blight painted by PaulThe Blight painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.6 - The Fear

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 2
No Comments

Would you look at that, it’s Cthulu’s little brother

Well this is a weird beast, isn’t it? As before, the colour scheme for this isn’t new, there’s a certain uniformity to the Nameless and this is the same colour scheme I used on Project Oberon. To save time on these I actually bought a dark blue acrylic spray from Humbrol.

The Fear artworkThe Fear artwork
The Fear painted by PaulThe Fear painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.5 - Riflemen

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 2
No Comments

These guys really like tentacles don’t they? 

The Riflemen are the second variant of the rank and file minions they have exactly the same colour scheme as the gunslingers, they’re just more tentacly.

 

Nameless Riflemen artwork Nameless Riflemen artwork
Nameless Riflemen painted by IanNameless Riflemen painted by Ian

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.4 - Gunslingers

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 3
2 Comments

Huh, Tentacles in suits.

After not doing very much for a week a bit, Ian finally got round to painting the gunslingers, which are just basic line troops for Nameless (one of three variants).  I kind of like how the Nameless have tried to force there tantacular (is that a word?  It is now) forms into protective suits but their limbs are still essentially tentacles.

As with all minion level models these are done entirely with contrast paint finished with a purple wash and then a gloss varnish at the end

Nameless Gunslinger ArtworkNameless Gunslinger Artwork
Nameless Gunslingers painted by IanNameless Gunslingers painted by Ian

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.3 - The Terror

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 5
No Comments

These things just keep on gettin’ uglier

This is the first of the character for Terror in the deep, the eponymous Terror. The colours are broadly similar to those used on the minions only they have not been done using contrast paints. Well, technically they have but I used the contrast paints as a base coat and then gave a heavy purple wash to the whole model over which I then painted layers as normal, I am actually quite pleased with the results.

The Terror ArtworkThe Terror Artwork
The Terror painted by PaulThe Terror painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.2 - Nameless Ogres

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 5
No Comments

Great, just what we need. A case of mega-crabs

With the colour scheme nailed, we went with the big guys first. Also, all of the other miniatures have an additional colour that I need to work on a contrast paint colour scheme for.

I really like these, they remind me a great deal of the mirelurks from Fallout and, if I weren’t painting these in line with the artwork I would definitely be painting them like that too.

Nameless Ogre artwork Nameless Ogre artwork
Nameless Ogres painted by IanNameless Ogres painted by Ian

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

3.1 - Nameless Scuttlers & Inkers

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 5
No Comments

Jesus Christ, how manu of these things are there? I hope we got enough bullets

These little critters are the lowest form of Nameless lifeforms in the Star Saga game and perfect for testing out my colour scheme. All the artwork and display miniatures for the game have a very simple and consistent colour scheme for the most part.  Blue flesh, purple tentacles and deep red carapace. They’re also really highly textured and are perfect for contrast paints.

I also had an idea similar to brown wash trick. After all main colours were done I used a slightly thinned purple wash over the whole model before going on to pick out details using Tesseract Glow, which is listed by GW as. “technical paint” but is really more like a lurid greed contrast paint. The purple wash really helped to cover up some of those white patches that contrast paints seem to be plagued with as well as giving a nice shade to all of the colours, especially the red.

After doing one of each and proving the colour scheme I farmed the rest off to my brother to paint.

Inkers artwork Inkers artwork
Inkers Painted by IanInkers Painted by Ian
Scuttlers artworkScuttlers artwork
Scuttlers Painted by IanScuttlers Painted by Ian

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

BONUS DEADZONE - Project Oberon

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 5
1 Comment

As part of the Star Saga Pledge I also got all the Deadzone Mercenary characters with Star Saga and, with the Nameless models coming soon, I took the opportunity to paint Project Oberon using it as a test colour scheme for some of the other Nameless characters in Star Saga.

I don’t know much about this particular character but I think it’s an interesting concept. When you look at the Nameless they just look gribbly, betentacled hordes similar to the Tyranids of 40k but their lore doesn’t portray them that way. They’re a sentient race capable of reason and project Oberon seems to be an expression of that because he can be recruited as a merc in Star Saga and his Deadzone description describes him as essentially a spy who reports on the corporations that hire him.

For this I couldn’t find artwork of Project Oberon but he’s similar to the Gunslinger miniatures so I decided to use that artwork.

BONUS DEADZONE - Project Oberon
BONUS DEADZONE - Project Oberon

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

2.5 - Sergeant Ugurik, Ork Commando

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
No Comments

I don’t walk softly, but I do carry a big gun.

Sergeant Ugurik, ork commando. I have mixed views on the Orks/Marauders. Because I have been a fan of Mantic for a long time, I understand why the Marauders exist. By the same token I feel like they have expanded their universe through games like Dreadball to the point where I would like to see them start to step away from their past as a cheap 40k alternative. However I do like this model and I think it stands out from the crowd in terms of Marauders because I think it better represents what I think the Orks in the Warpath universe should look like. Unlike the Orks of 40k, the Marauders in Warpath are described as being intelligent and have superb tactical and strategic acumen to go with their martial abilities. So much so that the humans of the universe were required to invent the genetically engineered Enforcers to stop the Marauders taking over the galaxy. However the models still carry that goofy, comedic look more associated with 40k. Big, boxy and bulky armour or virtually no armour at all. They don’t have the appearance of a species that came within a gnats pube of conquering the galaxy. Whereas this guy looks professional and exhibits a level of technology that is equal to the rest of the factions whilst still having a rugged and bulky look.

Again I followed the artwork for this one and because I couldn’t find the artwork I reached out to the Star Saga community and none other than the original artist got in touch and supplied me with the character concept art (he also gave me artwork for a few others at the same time). Absolute legend.

When looking at the artwork I don’t know whether it’s deliberate or coincidence but the colour scheme is very similar to that of Ogan Helkkare, the Forge Father engineer from the core set. Which could indicate a link between the Forge Fathers and Marauders, the former supplying the latter or just between those two individuals. Thematically I think both work, the Forge Fathers have no love for the humans of the GCPS, arming and equiping a fellow enemy of their enemy would have some merits. Regardless, I really enjoyed painting it and it didn’t take too much thought or effort as I was using colours already used on a previous model.

Ugurik also marks the end of the second expansion, Retake the Blackstar Station. Next on the desk will be Terror in the Deep.

Sergeant Ugurik artwork Sergeant Ugurik artwork
Sergeant Ugurik painted by Paul. Sergeant Ugurik painted by Paul.

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

2.4 Arkoline

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 5
2 Comments

Arkoline is another one of those miniatures where I think Mantic’s universe starts to come into its own. Although she’s bipedal and humanoid, the crystalineife form is really cool. And maybe Crystaline life forms can choose to assume many different shapes and they chose bipedal humanoid, it’s a pretty versatile form to take. Anyway whatever, it’s these fringe species, many of which you can see in Dreadball – in this case the Crystallan – that give the universe its charm.

To paint it I basically used a white undercoat and then covered it with blue contrast paint. I then gave it a drybrush before popping a blue glaze on to finish. For the metal I used the Iron Warriors base colour, which is a very dark, gun metal colour with a black wash over the top. I then just did some edge highlights using Iron Breaker. After varnishing with a Satin Varnish I applied a coat of Ard Coat gloss to the blue areas to give the crystal sections a nice reflective finish.

Arkoline ArtworkArkoline Artwork
Arkoline painted by PaulArkoline painted by Paul

Art Credits Rob Jenkins and Roberto Cirillo

Interlude - Scenery Update 1

Tutoring 3
Skill 4
Idea 3
No Comments

As well as all the miniatures, Star Saga comes with a wealth of scenic elements to turn that flat board into a more 3D environment and for me no Dungeon Crawler is complete without them. As kickstarter backers we got double the amount that the retail game gets because obviously everyone needs 30 plastic doors. Anyway, as I am painting the various sets I am trying to do a scenery pieces here and there. To date I have done 15 doors and 4 terminals.  I have only taken photos of the larger doors as it was hard to get a full set of 5 into each frame and honestly, there’s not a great deal of difference, they’re just smaller. The larger doors have the most interesting designs on them.  As I go through I will do each set of 5 doors in a different colour so on a board you can almost split it into coloured zones

The terminals were a lot of fun to paint and I think it will be a consistent theme throughout the whole set. Matrix code on the screens and somewhere there will be a red and a blue button for Hackers to press.

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