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BURROWS AND BADGERS – IN SPACE! AND TRAINS!

BURROWS AND BADGERS – IN SPACE! AND TRAINS!

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Project Blog by fourtytwo Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

In this project, I will finally collect, assemble and paint miniatures for Star Wars Legion and explain some of my painting processes. Also, I'm opinionated in that I grew up with the Original Trilogy in the 1980s and also really enjoy some of the new stuff - like the Clone Wars and REBELS animated series.

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These are my colors

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
1 Comment

Since Sunday evening I’ve finally been sitting at the hobby table and painting my Rebel Troopers for the third block. Today, however, there are no WIP pictures, but something different.

You often see painters in our hobby – even many high-end painters – sitting in front of large shelves with dozens, sometimes it seems hundreds of pots of paint in all shades and nuances. And that’s okay. Here is the colour range – and I don’t mean the manufacturer, but the actual colours – that I have been using exclusively for many years:

These are my colors

Eight colors and a wash. From these I always mix exactly the shades I need at the moment. Green is in there because it’s more difficult to mix a nice dark green, and the lighter medium brown is in there for the same as well.

I often feel that many hobbyists are put off mixing colors themselves – and the learning curve is indeed steep to begin with – or simply enjoy the convenience of the huge range of color tones on offer for our hobby a bit too much. I have been mixing my colors for over 30 years now. I started when I was a young teenager because there weren’t that many good acrylic paints for our hobby and I preferred to spend my pocket money on minis instead of dozens of colors. For years now, I don’t have to think about which of my colours I have to mix together in which ratio to get a specific tone – it’s like playing an instrument regularly for decades.

It has some great advantages in my opinion, which I can only recommend to any hobbyist: You pay less money for paints because there is no more paint that sits mostly unused on the shelf and maybe even dries out. You are no longer dependent on specific colour ranges and annoyed when a color that is important for your army is no longer available in the middle of a project, and in the end you have acquired a skill that opens up a whole new understanding of colours and their nuances.

Preparing the remainig minis for my first Star Wars Legion army

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
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On Friday I want to start painting the remaining 5 Rebel Troopers and 2 DLT-20A specialists. To avoid duplication of minis in the force, I’m using Rebel Commandos here, of which I’ll then mix 1-2 into each of the three units of Rebel Troopers – they wear the same clothes, helmets and carry the same weapons, and differ only in the overcoats and ponchos. The Mon Calamari on the front right of the picture actually aims with a sniper rifle, but since I’m strictly WYSIWYG, he got the DLT20-A from a second specialist in an elaborate plastic operation, whose first out of the box version I painted as a Gooti. I removed the Mon Cala’s sniper rifle in such a way that his hands, including trigger finger, remain undamaged. Each of the three units of Rebel Troopers gets a DLT20-A specialist.

Now a third is missing – another box of Rebel Troopers Upgrade Expansion is coming today, so I have a third DLT20-A available for the last conversion for this army.

Preparing the remainig minis for my first Star Wars Legion army

Clan Wren goes to war!

Tutoring 7
Skill 10
Idea 10
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Twelve Mandalorians of Clan Wren – including Spectre 5 Sabine Wren, her mother and clan matriarch Countess Ursa Wren as well as her younger brother Tristan Wren have geared up for war and stand ready to support my rebels with training, firepower and attitude.

I love these minis – they are my favorites so far and I can’t wait for Atomic Mass Games to release a Nite Owls-expansion which can be used both in the Clone Wars era and the Galactic Civil War era with Bo-Katan as a commander figure which will make it possible to field a force consisting only of Mandos as we could see in REBELS.

Clan Wren goes to war!

Seven more Clan Wren Mandalorians are finally painted

Tutoring 6
Skill 10
Idea 10
No Comments
Seven more Clan Wren Mandalorians are finally painted

A SAGA Battlereport!

Tutoring 9
Skill 12
Idea 12
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Work continues on my 7 additional Clan Wren Mandalorians. All have received their markings and the helmets are now complete – all details, shadows, highlights and glints done. Now I’m working on the rest of the armour and after that, the gauntlets, belts, pouches, holsters and grenades will be tackled.

A SAGA Battlereport!

Seven (more) Mandalorians...

Tutoring 9
Skill 11
Idea 11
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Work has begun on 7 more Mandos who will complete the maxed-out mandalorian aspect of my Rebel-list. I converted a few of these to get variants in poses and/or equipment, so that each of my 12 Mandos looks unique. Variations in the colours and types of markings will further contribute to making each unique.

Here are some images documenting the progress on the painting front:

Seven (more) Mandalorians...
Seven (more) Mandalorians...
Seven (more) Mandalorians...
Seven (more) Mandalorians...
Seven (more) Mandalorians...
Seven (more) Mandalorians...
Seven (more) Mandalorians...

The Rebel-Mandalorian Alliance - halfway done

Tutoring 10
Skill 15
Idea 15
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In the past couple of weeks, I managed to assemble, sometimes convert for new variations in poses and gear, and paint 5 Rebel Troopers and 2 Clan Wren Mandalorians. I now have 14 minis of the 28 in my list finished, and have started assembling, converting and painting another 7 Mandalorians which I must finish this month.

The Rebel-Mandalorian Alliance - halfway done
The Rebel-Mandalorian Alliance - halfway done
The Rebel-Mandalorian Alliance - halfway done
The Rebel-Mandalorian Alliance - halfway done
The Rebel-Mandalorian Alliance - halfway done

The Alderaan Guard

Tutoring 10
Skill 15
Idea 15
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I have to paint 15 Rebel Troopers for my Rebel/Mando-force. Frankly, I find the typical colour scheme of greens, browns and tans boring, so I did some research and came across the Alderaan Guard, who wear the colours we know from the Fleet Troopers on the Tantive IV (who also were Alderaan forces). This is great, because some of these already fought for the Rebellion when Alderaan was destroyed, so it makes sense to have them proudly wearing their colours after the destruction of their world. These guys have a HUGE bone to pick with the Galactic Empire…

Here are the first two I finished painting today as a proof of concept for the colour scheme – I love it:

The Alderaan Guard
The Alderaan Guard

Specialist Gooti Terez, reporting for duty!

Tutoring 11
Skill 14
Idea 15
No Comments

I painted my first Rebel Trooper – the female Theelin DLT-20A specialist and I painted her to look like Gooti Terez from Iron Squadron, who joined the Rebellion in Star Wars REBELS season 3:

Specialist Gooti Terez, reporting for duty!
Specialist Gooti Terez, reporting for duty!
Specialist Gooti Terez, reporting for duty!

Leia joins the Wrens in battle

Tutoring 10
Skill 14
Idea 14
2 Comments
Leia joins the Wrens in battle
Leia joins the Wrens in battle
Leia joins the Wrens in battle
Leia joins the Wrens in battle

Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de

Tutoring 14
Skill 15
Idea 15
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Since I strictly go with WYSIWYG and Leia has a gear upgrade in the form of a portable scanner in my list, I need to adjust her mini accordingly. I also wanted to give her a helmet.

So, the first thing to do was to take off a helmet from an unused Rebel Trooper and prepare it, and also to scratch-build a portable scanner. For the scanner, I used the scanner used by Han Solo in the first act of The Empire Strikes Back when he searched for Luke on Hoth.

The scanner is build from a block of plastic card which I carved and cut into shape, and pieces of fiberoptic cable for the antennas as well as the dials and buttons on the device. The build consists of 10 seperate elements.

Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de

With the helmet and portable scanner prepared, the next step was to convert the mini of Leia into a new pose and modify the top of her head so the helmet neatly fits over it. I changed the left leg to be a bit more straight, the right arm with the pistol as well as the position of the left hand holding the scanner. The pose of the head was also changed so that she now checks her scanner while giving the troops a sign with her pistol.

The first picture is of the mini straight out of the box, and the four pictures following that is my conversion:

Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing Leia for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de

Preparing for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de

Tutoring 10
Skill 10
Idea 10
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Each summer, over in our german forum tabletopwelt.de, there is a 3-month event from juli to september where the goal is to at least paint 6 minis each month, so 18 in total. I’m entering this event this year to finish painting my first 800 points-force for Star Wars Legion, which will be an alliance of rebels and Mandalorians.

I’m currently preparing everything I need to get started, and the first thing to do was to fine-tunbeand polish my list, so I know which minis I need to order and how they are equipped, so that I can build and where required convert them accordingly.

Here’s the list:

800/800
8 Activations

Leia Organa 90 + 11 = 101
–Vigilance (5), Portable Scanner (6)

Sabine Wren 125 + 24 = 149
–Tenacity (4), Personal Combat Shield (5), The Darksaber (15)

3x Rebel Troopers 40 + 28 = 68 x 3 = 204
–DLT-20A Trooper (26), Environmental Gear (2)

Mandalorian Resistance (Clan Wren) 34 + 88 = 122
–Ursa Wren (38), Tristan Wren (38), Offensive Push (4), Jetpack Rockets (8)

2x Mandalorian Resistance 72 + 40 = 112 x 2 = 224
–Beskad Duelist (28), Offensive Push (4), Jetpack Rockets (8)

Explosions!•, Coordinated Bombardment•, Symbol of Rebellion••, No Time for Sorrows••, Legacy of Mandalore•••, Somebody Has to Save Our Skins•••, Standing Orders••••

 

The Wrens – Sabine, Ursa and Tristan – are already finished, which leaves 9 Mandos including two Beskad Duelists, 15 Rebel Troopers with Environmental Gear including 3 DL-20A Troopers, and Leia with a portable scanner.

My goal is to make all minis WYSIWYG and unique, so I will vary poses and equipment from the standard assembly to achieve that.

As of today, I have 3 of the 9 remaining Mandos assembled, and I converted the Beskad Duelist into a gunslinger-pose. I will need to buy another box of Clan Wren Mandos once they are available again for a reasonable price.

 

Preparing for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de

I also bought one box each of Rebel Troopers and Rebel Trooper Upgrade and started assembling and converting for more variety. I will need to order another box of each soon.

Preparing for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de
Preparing for the Summer Project 2021 on tabletopwelt.de

A family photo of the Wrens availabe for Star Wars Legion

Tutoring 9
Skill 12
Idea 12
No Comments
A family photo of the Wrens availabe for Star Wars Legion

Clan Wren re-united

Tutoring 9
Skill 12
Idea 12
2 Comments

This weekend, I got Ursa and Tristan Wren finished, who can now join Sabine in the rebellion against the Galactic Empire.

Clan Wren re-united
Clan Wren re-united
Clan Wren re-united

Enter Clan Wren

Tutoring 9
Skill 12
Idea 12
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Okay – this is now becoming a full-blown, all-caps STAR WARS LEGION-project. I’ve put a lot of thought into planning out a rebel-force with as many Mandalorians as possible, which I will collect, assemble and paint alongside my clones. That’s one of the reasons why I re-based Sabine Wren.

I prefer a very pro-active, aggressive play style, and the Mandos with their Move Speed of 3, Jump 2 and many possibilities to deal consistent damage really fit well. I will focus on their melee-capabilities (Sabine, Beskad Duelists), because if played correctly, they will dish out the most pain there. The exception to this and thus a good support is a squad of Clan Wren Mandalorian Resistance with Ursa and Tristan, both of which can shoot at range 3.

So… since I got the Clan Wren Expansion last year already, I finally started painting them, beginning with Sabine’s mother Ursa Wren and her younger brother Tristan. Here’s what I got so far (WIP):

Enter Clan Wren

Blast from the past (or future?) - Sabine Wren

Tutoring 12
Skill 15
Idea 14
2 Comments

I painted this mini ca. 2 years ago, and I recently added some orange areas to her helmet which I somehow missed in the sheer volume of original reference material I have for almost all Star Wars characters. I also re-based Sabine today, and even though she is not part of my Clone Legion and not even of the era, I will eventually include all my Star Wars Legion-stuff here, and she still is my favorite figure for Legion, so…

I want to also start a rebel force some day, but I have an issue: The normal rebel troops are a bit boring, and also I think FFG missed a big opportunity here in giving the rebels an option to organize their forces a bit differently. It feels strange to have as much as or even more troopers on the field than the Empire. If I had a say in the design of the game, I’d given the rebel faction the option of either organizing their forces as is, OR create a rebel cell with more Operatives and Commanders allowed, but less elites and vehicle options for example. Oh well…

Anyways, here’s Sabine – I really like the character and her bold, striking artwork – so much cooler for a badass warrior than the lame, limp edgelord-grimdark which seems so popular with the unwashed masses. Yeah – I love bold colours and crazy-ass teeny-tiny freehand work, for real.

Blast from the past (or future?) - Sabine Wren
Blast from the past (or future?) - Sabine Wren
Blast from the past (or future?) - Sabine Wren
Blast from the past (or future?) - Sabine Wren

My process of and thoughts on painting OSL-effects, exemplified by my finished Anakin Skywalker

Tutoring 16
Skill 16
Idea 15
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On the subject of OSL:

The following paragraphs explain my approach and thoughts on the subject of OSL effects for miniatures that are otherwise painted in a typical lighting situation – usually with an imaginary light source above the mini.

Basically, I always paint on OSL effects at the very end, when the figure is completely finished. The emphasis here is on ‘paint’ – OSL effects benefit from very precise, targeted work with the brush, and I advise against dry brushing or airbrushing OSL effects altogether.

There are three factors to consider with OSL effects: brightness, light colour and the reflective properties of the illuminated elements, and the placement of the effect:

 

Brightness:

OSL effects always work better on darker figures than on lighter ones. This is because we simulate light with colour pigments and there is no lighter colour than white available to us. An OSL effect must never be darker than the colour of the surface it is painted on. The brighter the surface, the less strong and effective the OSL will be, and with very bright to pure white surfaces OSL is basically impossible to pull off effectively.

The intensity of the light source is also a factor – the stronger the light source, the more intense the OSL effect must be. Since we’re talking about figures we’re depicting in normal daylight, most light sources would be too dim to really justify an OSL effect. Flames, candles, torches – they all only really come into their own in darkness and their light intensity is basically completely lost in sunlight. Many artificial light sources are also much weaker than many believe. Even a glowing LED is virtually unrecognisable as glowing when in direct sunlight. But since we exaggerate a little when it comes to figures, we also exaggerate the luminosity of light sources for our OSL effects a little.

An OSL effect must never be brighter than the light source that causes it.

 

Light colour and reflection properties:

For OSL effects, it is always advisable to use a coloured light source, i.e. not a pure white one, because with such a light source the OSL effect can look more like misplaced standard highlighting. The more intense the light colour, the more colour-intensive the OSL effect. Surfaces should be lightened and coloured less than edges, and the sharper the edge, the more intense and sharp the colouring. For surfaces, it is often best to glaze with the light colour. How much the light colour dominates depends on the strength of the light source and the saturation of the illuminated surface. The stronger the light colour and the weaker the saturation of the illuminated surface, the more the light colour dominates. In any case, the colour of the light mixes with the colour of the illuminated surface.

Highly reflective material can be perfectly represented with very saturated and brighter OSL effects along edges and on peaks or sharper elevations. Here you can go as far as the colour and brightness of the light source.

 

Placement:

This is where targeted and precise work with the brush comes into play. OSL effects decrease in intensity the further away you are from the light source. OSL effects must never be placed on surfaces or edges that face away from the light source.

 

OSL effect from the lightsaber blade on Anakin Skywalker:

Finished miniature without OSL effect (and without matt finish):

My process of and thoughts on painting OSL-effects, exemplified by my finished Anakin Skywalker

Finished (and matt varnished) miniature with OSL effect:

My process of and thoughts on painting OSL-effects, exemplified by my finished Anakin Skywalker
My process of and thoughts on painting OSL-effects, exemplified by my finished Anakin Skywalker
My process of and thoughts on painting OSL-effects, exemplified by my finished Anakin Skywalker

Anakin Skywalker wears dark, and this makes him very suitable for OSL effects. A lightsaber blade is also a very bright light source with a strong light colour, which is very conducive to an OSL effect.

I first glazed all the dark, shaded areas at the front right side of the mini with a very saturated blue (Vallejo Game Colour Magic Blue). Especially on the arm, torso and the area of the black leather tunic below the belt. In the next step, I mixed the colour of each of the original highlights on the sleeve, tunic, leather tunic, belt, hair, trousers and boots with some Magic Blue and a little white, transparently painting over the original highlights where the OSL effect should be, and reduced the transparency the closer I got to the light source – the lightsaber blade. I also painted a very bright effect on the back edge of the jaw and on the neck. Finally, I mixed Magic Blue with some white, and used it to transparently paint a more intense reflection of the light on the more reflective elements – leather tunic, boots, and areas of the belt as well as the right forearm and saber hand, as well as slightly colouring the base at the front.

So, that’s my approach to OSL, exemplified by Anakin’s mini. I hope it helps a bit. I’ll be happy to answer any questions – also about concrete experiments with OSL – here.

Painting Anakin's clothes

Tutoring 10
Skill 11
Idea 11
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Today I painted the dark clothes. The dark brown elements are cloth, the black elements are leather and needed a bit of a satin shine simulated through a bit more contrasty highlighting and shading:

Painting Anakin's clothes

My process of and thoughts on painting faces

Tutoring 11
Skill 11
Idea 11
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The first thing I do is to apply the base colour of the skin. When it is dry, I mix the base colour in equal parts with a warm darker shade and a bit of thinner medium, and paint the very thin mixture where I want shadows: under the chin, under the nose, in the eyes, optionally under the cheekbones, and on the sides of the nostrils. Where I want the shadows to be stronger, I darken them further with a darker shade of the base mixture: Under the chin, under the nose, and in the hollows where the eyes sit. Please note: I’m painting the shadows specifically here, and not applying the mixture like a wash slapped all over the face.

In the next step, I lighten the mixture of the base skin colour, dilute it with water or thinner medium, and carefully apply it in several layers with the tip of the brush wherever more light falls on the face: the upper half of the chin, the bridge of the nose, the forehead, the area between the upper lip and the nose, the cheekbones, and the upper edges of the ears. A second layer is then applied in spots all over those areas that should be emphasised even more in order to bring out the character’s facial features. If the character has a strong chin, the upper half is additionally emphasised; if the character has a pointed nose, the tip of the nose is emphasised; if the character has a hooked nose, an additional highlight is applied to the first third of the bridge of the nose. In the same way, cheekbones can be additionally emphasised, the parts of the forehead above the eyebrows, the cheek areas directly under the eyes, and so on – depending on how the character’s face is to look. By deliberately placing shadows and highlights, you can shape features of the face beyond what the sculpt dictates.

Now we’ve reached the point that requires a steady hand, a very fine brush tip, and practice using thinned paint and a brush very lightly charged with thinned paint – but it’s all a matter of practice, as I said, so don’t be intimidated, just do it.

The first thing I do is take care of the eyes. To do this, I dilute white to a milk-like consistency, using a fine brush tip loaded just a little with the diluted white, I apply it to the small depressions that define the shape of the eyes. Here I only use the capillary action through the modelled eye depressions to bring the colour into place – I don’t paint with a brush here! It’s best to be very gentle and repeat the process several times if necessary until you achieve the desired brightness. The eyes should end up sharply defined and almost white. Now we come to the pupils. I always mix a dark, saturated colour in the tone I want the iris to have. This colour mixture is diluted again, a little of it loaded into the brush tip and then applied as follows:

I don’t paint the whole pupil right away, but first only a very small, transparent dot as a guide in both eyes. Then the dot is carefully widened step by step and both pupils are slowly built up. This way I can make small corrections in each step and thus avoid the figure squinting at the end. When you think of the pupils as a circle, the circle should be slightly covered by the upper eyelids and just barely touch the eyelids at the bottom. When I’m done with this, the eyes are accentuated with eye shadow. To do this, I again paint diluted black or black-brown in a thin line on the rim of the upper eyelid in an arc. If you are not quite sure, you can overpaint a little upwards into the eyelid, and touch up the overpainted areas by counterpainting with the colour of the eyelid – always with just a little bit of the heavily diluted colour in the tip of the brush! For female figures, make the eye shadow darker on top and emphasise it a little more than for male figures. Next, paint an eye shadow at the bottom in the same way, only it should always be thinner and less dark, and for male characters you can leave it out.

The eyes are not quite finished yet, because the eyebrows are an important part of the eye area and also contribute a lot to the character of the miniature in shape, position and strength. The eyebrows play a major role in shaping the facial expression of the figure – angry, determined, sceptical, amused, thoughtful, and so on. For the untrained, I recommend taking a look at pictures of characters from comics and studying how the artists convey states of mind through the eyebrows, because the knowledge gained from such observations can be excellently transferred to painting miniatures’ faces.

The mouth completes the painting of the face and can be designed to literally underline the desired expression of the eyes – smiling, pouting, lips pinched together, shouting or screaming, open mouth, and so on. As a general rule, paint the upper lip darker and slightly narrower than the lower lip. Make sure that there is some of the skin colour of the face left between the upper lip and the nose. On the lower lip I often apply a gloss effect in a much lighter colour. As a rule, the lips of female characters should be painted a little darker and more voluminous than those of male characters.

Painting Anakin Skywalker

Tutoring 8
Skill 10
Idea 10
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He arrived on Monday and today I got my new brushes and paints, so I started painting. Anakin wears dark clothes and doesn’t have as many small elements as the Mandos or the Phase 2 Clone Troopers, but there is a face to paint here, and I love painting faces (actually). I built Anakin with the grim looking head variant, because his design corresponds to the later seasons of Clone Wars as well as Revenge of the Sith. Accordingly, I wanted to give his face some intensity. I hope that I succeeded at least to some extent. Here are two WIP pictures of the current state of painting – everything is just basic colours, only the head is completely painted:

Painting Anakin Skywalker
Painting Anakin Skywalker

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