Sunday, 2 September 2012

Hello Boys... It's the Iron Ladies!

It's a very rare thing to find miniatures that are not only beautiful, but also a complete joy to paint so it's a good thing that Warlord Games have managed to produce one of the most unique and visually arresting fantasy football teams I have seen in a very long time.

These rather short, large-chested ladies are the 'Sister Sledgehammerers', part of Warlord's growing range of fantasy teams and, though certainly not marketed for any particular game, when I saw them, I felt that they would be ideal for a certain popular little game called Blood Bowl.

The set comes with enough variety to be able to create the perfect starting line-up for a dwarf team of two Blitzers, two Runners, two Troll Slayers and six Blockers.  Though the pose and style of each miniature makes it a very easy job when playing to differentiate between the various playing positions, I decided that when painting them I would also use hair colour as another visual signifier of player-type.

For the Blockers, who would form the bulk of the team, I chose blonde hair as this fitted with the Nordic look of the miniatures better than any other colour, while going for brown for the Runners, and the ubiquitous red hair for the Troll Slayers.  Seeing them as being the more mature and experienced players, the Blitzers left the salon with a nice blue rinse.

Just to try something a bit different, and knowing that it was probably the largest area of colour on the miniatures, I decided to paint the skin first.  This is quite unusual for me because I tend to always paint skin last - as this includes the face of the miniature, it is easily the most important part of the finished piece so doing the skin last allows me to make sure that the skin stands out and is the most striking part of the model.

This time, I didn't do that and I have to admit, that meant a lot more work at the end to get things just right.

I used one of my favourite techniques for skin which I often use when painting my Space Wolves.  It generally gives quite a dark and ruddy shade to the recesses while being quite bright at the highlight stage, fitting these dwarf ladies perfectly, I felt.

I began with a roughly 1:1 mix of Vermin Brown and Scorched Brown as a dark base and then added an extra two parts of Dwarf Flesh to this to make a 2:1:1 mix.  Afterwards, I applied a layer of pure Dwarf Flesh for the first highlight.  Further highlights were then done by adding some Skull White.  The final highlight was then a 1:1 mix of Bleached Bone and Skull White.  The final stages, to give the skin a little more depth and colour were to firstly glaze all over with a thinned 1:1 wash of Gryphonne Sepia and Ogryn Flesh, before washing thinned Regal Blue into the recesses.

When it came to painting the clothing on the team, I decided I wanted to go for the classic Viking-maiden look, using mainly white with very light blue detailing.

For the white areas of cloth, I built up to a Skull White highlight from a Codex Grey basecoat, up through mid-tones of Fortress Grey.  This was a little too dark for my liking at first, so I applied several very thin glazes of Skull White to all but the deepest recesses to bring up the brightness a little.

The colouring of the blues were kept equally simple. I began with a basecoat of Enchanted Blue and followed this with a wash of Asurmen Blue with a touch of Leviathan Purple added.  Once this had dried, I worked all of the blue areas excluding the recesses back up to Enchanted Blue.

To build up the highlights, I repeatedly added more and more Ice Blue to the Enchanted Blue until I was eventually highlighting with virtually pure Ice Blue.  For the final extreme highlight, I mixed in a fair amount of Skull White to thisfor the very edges and topmost of the creases.

For the metallics, I chose to go for a gold / bronze tone rather than silver in order to contrast the relatively light colour of the uniforms.

I began with a 1:1 basecoat of Shining Gold and Scorched Brown before washing the entire area with a 1:1:1 mix of Scorched Brown, Chaos Black and Badab Black.  After this, I worked up the highlights in three stages, firstly with Shining Gold, followed by Burnished Gold, with an extreme highlight of Mithril Silver.  Finally, to darken the metallics slightly, I washed them with a thin layer of Leviathan Purple.

I often find hair rather difficult to paint, so I think I put off doing it for as long as I could.  In the end though, I think it worked out quite well.

The red hair of the Troll Slayers was once more painted using an old Space Wolves method.

I began with a basecoat of Bestial Brown before layering on a highlight of Blazing Orange.  This was followed by two Ogryn Flesh washes.  Following this, two simple highlights of, firstly, pure Dwarf Flesh followed by an extreme highlight of Bleached Bone were applied.  To bring out the redness a little more, a glaze of thinned Baal Red was washed over the area.

The completed Troll Slayers.
The brown hair for the Runners was probably the simplest of all the players.  I began with a Bestial Brown base and then worked it up by adding more and more Sunburst Yellow to the mix.  For the final highlights, touches of Bleached Bone were also added to the mix.  The recesses were then shaded with a mix of Scorched Brown and Badab Black.

The completed Runners.
For the Blitzers' hair, I began with a basecoat of Enchanted Blue, with a touch of Codex Grey added.  I then washed the hair (no pun intended) with a 1:1 mix of Asurmen Blue and Leviathan Purple.  I then re-applied the basecoat before adding more and more Fortress Grey to build up the highlights.  Two final extreme highlights of Fortress Grey and the Skull White were added before a glaze of very thin Asurmen Blue was used to finish off.

The completed Blitzers.
Finally for the Blockers.  I began by basecoating the hair with Bleached Bone before adding a Lamenters Yellow glaze.  Once this had dried, I followed it with a thinned Gryphonne Sepia wash.  I then worked the raised areas up, starting with Sunburst Yellow before mixing in more and more Bleached Bone until I was finally highlighting with pure Bleached Bone.  A final extreme highlight using a 1:1 mix of Bleached Bone and Skull White was used on the very tips of the hair.

I really enjoyed painting these miniatures and hope that you all enjoyed looking at them.

Keep an eye out for more exciting projects soon!

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