My son expressed an interest in Warhammer 40,000 over Age of Sigmar, so he got a treat (for good behaviour) in the form of some Necrons. In order to have something to play against him, I dithered over the armies that didn’t even exist properly last time I played the game and eventually picked up a few boxes of Harlequins. I will admit that it was a real retail pleasure to walk into the GW store to pick up a bunch of toys and chat with the redshirts about them. This chap is a Harlequin Troupe Master. Considering that he comes in the box with the regular Harlequins I had assumed that he was the equivalent of a sergeant or champion, but it turns out that Troupe Masters are the ones in charge and take up an HQ slot accordingly.
I had forgotten how easy to assemble and paint GW miniatures are, even a dynamic one like this with plenty of detail. Looking at the ‘Eavy Metal team pictures of Harlequins and many others on the internet clearly demonstrated that me successfully copying the colour scheme was about as likely as running to the moon so I picked a much simpler approach. The ‘lowest’ level of clothes (i.e. those closest to the skin) were black, then white above that, and finally then a bright colour. This chap got red but if we go far enough down this rabbit hole then I might need more Troupe Masters and will give them blue or green coats or something to keep them distinct. I vaguely remembered something about Eldar (of which the Harlequins are a part) using some magic stuff called wraithbone instead of metal so I went with that style for the weapons. Overall, painting the Troupe Master was a real pleasure.
Next on the painting table: Harlequin Troupe.
These unhappy looking chaps are Onryo, more Spirits to go in my Malifaux Resurrectionist crews. They’re cheap minions who don’t really do too much exciting except pass on fairly minor conditions when hurt. Still, they pack a surprising punch when needed and more importantly are quite mobile thanks to Incorporeal. I mainly use them as Black Blood bombs with Molly if I need to stack damage onto high defense enemies, or just send them off scheme running. Onryo are cheap enough that I don’t mind too much if they get killed (which will happen if anything actually seriously has a go at them since their defensive stats are terrible).
I hadn’t actually intended to paint the Onryo to match Molly’s colour scheme but now that it has happened I think it looks quite nice. As befits their status I kept a limited palette without any needless flourish. I’ve seen Onryo out there with amazing freehand work on the kimonos but that would be way beyond me even for a master, never mind doing it on a minion.
Next on the painting table: Harlequin Troupe Master.
Here is Molly Squidpiddge, another Master for Malifaux this time representing the Resurrectionist faction. She’s a summoner with a side order of crippling enemies. Molly’s way of summoning is quite inventive, bringing in models with a number of wounds equal to the number of nearby enemies when they appear; in addition she grants Black Blood to nearby friendly models with the appropriate keyword. This, combined with the short range on the summoning action, indicates a highly aggressive playstyle that I very much enjoy. In terms of builds, Molly has two competing upgrades which align her either with the Spirit or Horror keywords. When I picked up the Resurrectionists for the first time I was drawn by the entertaining prospect of having ghosts that bleed over the other crew and I was highly gratified that this is an effective approach.
Molly is technically undead, but after my unsatisfactory attempts at zombie flesh painting I decided to do more of a living skin tone instead. I’m quite pleased by the look here as her skin tone works rather nicely with the red and white dress. I sort of feel like she needed to be leaning forward a little more but without some modifications around that ankle (that I wasn’t keen to try considering how slender it is) I couldn’t quite get it to work.
As an aside, I’m delighted that Molly was first introduced to the lore of Malifaux via the highly-talented hand of my friend David.
Next on the painting table: Onryo.
Here are a pair of Dead Doxies for my Malifaux Resurrectionist crews. I love these little ladies on the table and rarely leave home without one. The main draw is the (0) action to push things around; being able to hussle your master an extra walk up the table before they activate can be really useful in turn one. Since Malifaux is principally a game of positioning, anything that gives more control over this is helpful. They’re surprisingly good at fighting too, which is handy since mine often find themselves in harm’s way after repositioning something through the middle of the board.
For the painting I still couldn’t quite get the rotting skin tone to work as it looks in my mind. The one in the red dress is a bit better than previous efforts but the one in green just doesn’t really look very zombie-like at all. More work is required, but these are good enough to count as finished for now.
Next on the painting table: Molly Squidpiddge.
Here are my Shikome, another part of my Malifaux Resurrectionists. They’re Spirits and so I got them to pair with Molly and Kirai as they both have uses for that keyword. Flying options with a situational minimum damage 3 attack is quite tasty, and they recently were errata-ed to be cheaper which makes them even more appealing. In practice, I rarely summon Shikome with Molly as they’re the same cost as Goryo which fit her needs better. Kirai loves them on the other hand; they can get Adversary very easily (which turns on almost all their cool tricks) and have an even number of wounds (relevant when you take half damage from summoning). The most amusing thing I ever do with them is to charge miniatures who like to bring their own Poison around (McMourning, Shenlong et al) since they can do so for a (1) action.
I’m not really familiar with the mythology of Shikome so I didn’t spend any time making them look like any kind of traditional representation of them; if anything, I ended up going more for the route of Greek harpies. I used these Shikome as a bit of a ‘palette cleanser’ between brightly coloured projects and painted them with more naturalistic colours. The one standing tall got glues on directly to the little pillar ruin on the resin base so that her contact point with the base was more than a single talon of one foot. If anyone can explain why scary vengeance ghosts wear no clothes at all but modestly cover their nipples with a saucer then I’ll be happy to hear about it.
Next on the painting table: Dead Doxies.
These chaps are the Hanged for the Malifaux Resurrectionists faction. They’re helpfully Spirits among other keywords so can be summoned by both Kirai and Molly. I found them rather less effective as hired models rather than summoned since they’re such high priority to kill and so annoying when not killed that they’re almost always dropped at range by the other crew if at all possible. Their abilities mostly revolve around making the other crew take more Horror duels than usual, but the main draw is the Whispers From Beyond action that knocks half wounds off their target and stops it from being healed. Overall, they’re amazing when I use them and amazingly annoying when I face them. Being able to summon them into place with Molly and splash Black Blood on your hapless foes is probably the most satisfying way to use Hanged.
I decided to paint the skin tone for the Hanged as if they are freshly dropped through the gallows rather than greying zombie flesh. I see them as more like ghosts rather than the corpses of the condemned (the game rules slightly support this with their Incorporeal rule).
Next on the painting table: Shikome
This is Asura Roten, a henchman for the Malifaux Resurrectionists. Asura’s main trick is to create Mindless Zombies and let them (and other nearby Undead) use her actions rather than their own terrible attacks. I’ve found it quite hard to decide how much work she can get done, since a lot of the benefit she brings is filtered through other pieces. Still, she has generally made the cut if I’m looking to bring the Maniacal Laugh upgrade on my master (which summons even more Mindless Zombies) so I guess I must be getting some use out of her. In practice this means that she’s mainly been useful for Kirai, as I can use the Mindless Zombies as wound pools to summon other, more effective, Spirits out of. My experience with Reva is limited at this point, but she certainly does appreciate more corpse markers on the board so Asura is definitely still on the list for consideration.
I kept the painting simple, with at least slightly realistic colours on Asura. I switch between painting and not painting the pupils of miniatures’ eyes, but in this case it was a deliberate choice to suggest her magic powers over the undead. The kits comes with a pair of zombies flanking Asura but they got left off and will eventually appear as Mindless Zombies in their own right.
Next on the painting table: The Hanged.
Here is (or are?) Philip and the Nanny for my Resurrectionists in Malifaux; they are part of the thematic Molly crew. For those not following the game, Philip is the surprisingly talkative disembodied head who now has the indignity to be pushed about the streets of Malifaux by a zombie Nanny. The pair seem to be a highly popular inclusion in Ressurectionist crews I see, and I can certainly agree that they have a lot going for them. Of note, Philip can discard a nearby scheme marker to draw two cards and discard one which is obviously an excellent card engine. While some top players get a lot of mileage from this approach I find it quite dull to have Philip (and whatever I’m using for the scheme markers) just messing about in my own deployment zone for much of the game and have moved on to more aggressive pieces. Philip can also activate Chatty which is situationally superb and has surprisingly good defenses for a head in a pram. They do have both the Spirit and Horror keywords which give them some interesting utility with Molly and Kirai; indeed I’ve had most success using them with Kirai as she’s more defensive than Molly and is a good way to get the Take Back The Night upgrade into an otherwise Horror-less crew.
I picked a deliberately muted colour scheme here with mostly blacks and whites; this is the look that the miniature immediately suggested when I assembled it. The zombie flesh was not a success as I had hoped though. I wanted to have a slightly greying, green-tinged look to their skin but I just couldn’t seem to get the colour balance right and grey has dominated far more than I had intended. More work is needed there I think, though I have hope as I’m finally starting to feel satisfied by the more healthy skin tone I’ve achieved for other miniatures lately.
I don’t think that Philip is supposed to have a giant head, so I assume that this is another of Wyrd’s famous scale inconsistencies (in this case it does make the painting a bit more straightforward).
Next on the painting table: Asura Roten.
Following from the Seekers I posted last time, here are the accompanying Daemonettes from Games Workshop’s Chaos Daemons range. Like the Seekers, the miniatures went together very easily and painted up nicely without too much effort.
I deliberately chose garish colours since that was part of the fluff for Slaaneshi units back when I last actually read any of it (i.e. in Slaves To Darkness) and found it a nice change from trying at least slightly naturalistic colour choices for some of the Malifaux I’ve worked on (though admittedly some of that stuff is also somewhat bright). In the end, despite how easily they painted up I did find it a bit of a chore completing ten almost identical miniatures; I guess that this means that I shouldn’t go too deeply into any horde armies for any systems. Indeed, this is one of many appeals of skirmish systems.
Next on the painting table: Philip and the Nanny.
These are Seekers from Games Workshop. As part of my ongoing attempts to either encourage my children to follow my geeky path, or possibly to tone down their enthusiasm to the point where we ever talk about something not related to toy soldiers, we each picked up a Start Collecting box for the (new to me) Age of Sigmar game. Interest in actually playing Age of Sigmar seems to have waned in favour of Warhammer 40,000 (magic space guns > just magic, at least as far as I can tell) but I have tremendously enjoyed the process of painting my way through the Daemons of Slaanesh box. I’m aware that I could notionally play them in Warhammer 40,000 as well, but I’m looking into more ‘space-y’ armies to fit my perception of the aesthetic better and in any case a friend seems to have a potential use for the Daemons.
I will admit to having some issues with Games Workshop over the last decade or so. In summary, I love their miniatures and consider them to be pretty much the best manufacturer still. But the balance of their games (except Blood Bowl, which seems to have been a community effort) is almost universally terrible and this leads to unsatisfying games when played between adults of comparable skill levels. So it was with some trepidation that I jumped back down that particular rabbit-hole. Still, I suppose that if I’m mainly playing against my own kids then the balance is not really important as I can just modify things myself as needed.
I painted the Seekers, or as I recall them, Daemonettes on Steeds of Slaanesh, in two parts. I had already decided on a bright pink and purple scheme for the riders so I felt that something more muted would be suitable for the riders and eventually went for black hide and white underbelly. The assembly and ease of painting is significantly better compared to Wyrd miniatures and it is probably this that is at least in part leading to the dominance of Games Workshop in the industry. I found this lot even harder to take decent photographs of than usual as they’re big enough that my lack of skill with the camera shows up the short focus compared to the depth of shot I would need.
Next on the painting table: Daemonettes.