Tavern Talk

Tavern Talk – Painting; Beginners and Beyond

Kuffeh asks:

A new starter to the hobby has approached you, their army has been selected (insert your own preference if needs be) and rather than ask you questions about how to game or army composition they instead ask you about painting.  Your reply is….

Basically, what tips would you give to a new starter in the hobby.  Everything from paints, to basing. What are your top tips?

The simple question here to start with must be: what do you want to achieve with your painting? If the answer is ‘to have awesome-looking miniatures’ then my advice would be to go see Forkbanger, so that’s nice and easy. If the answer is ‘to have a table-top standard army’, then that’s much more in my area of expertise.

I very much like simple, straightforward paint jobs so the first part is to decide on a colour scheme. It is important that it is one that you like, that isn’t going to require skills way beyond your ability and that you can live with painting on dozens or even hundreds of miniatures. I like to have an idea in my head of how I’d like the army to appear on the table, so then I can make sure I have the paints I want to use.

So the first purchase (or borrow) should be paintbrushes. There are many different brands out there, all with different qualities to recommend them. Although I have a load of paintbrushes, I find that I only really use three: a relatively big one for painting almost the entire miniature, a relatively small one for doing very fine detail (eyes in particular, but some miniatures do have other comparably tricky parts) and an old one I don’t mind wrecking that I use for drybrushing.

Next, we need paints. After picking out a colour scheme, it is a simple matter of finding somewhere that sells the colours of paint needed, and handing over money to purchase them. I’m far too lazy to mix paints, so my preference is to use a colour that looks good straight out of the bottle. For each part of the miniature, I like to have a dark(ish) base coat, a lighter coat for highlighting and then a wash or ink for shading. So in the case of the skin of my Beastmen, I use Astronomican Grey as a base coat, Badab Black wash to shade the recesses a little and the Codex Grey to highlight.

Now that we have all the required tools, it is time for the fun part of actually applying colour to our toy soldiers. I’m really untidy when painting, so I usually apply the base coat for whatever part I’m doing, then wash, then drybrush the area. If I get some colour on part I’ve already done, never mind. Once all the whole miniature is painted, it’s easy to go back and tidy up any mistakes. The important thing to remember is that even though any mistakes look horrendous when holding the miniature about 3″ from your eyes, or when blown up to giant size in a photo on a blog (as regular reader will know), they’ll look a lot cleaner when they’re in a unit of 30 guys on a table top 3′ away.

Finally, a little sand on the base will go a long way to completing the whole look, but even painting the whole base black will make the miniature look tidier by hiding the inevitable paint splashes.

So in summary:
1. Pick a colour scheme you like.
2. Get some paintbrushes.
3. Get paints that roughly reflect the picture in your head of the colour scheme you picked in part 1.
4. Paint the miniature, and have fun doing it.
5. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, then watch as they mysteriously perform better on the table top than unpainted miniatures.

In true Blue Peter style, here’s some I made earlier.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Tavern Talk | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Tavern Talk – List Building

Kuffeh asks:

After listening to a recent show of Heelanhammer I came across the idea of list building.  I wanted to see how people went about building their lists.  There are a host of methods people use.  Some start with the rare slots or their character choices, while others get the core choice out of the way.  Do you see a difference between a friendly pick up game list and a tournament list?  One thing it seems many gamers often appear to view and consider with their lists is the meta game – how much attention do you put on the local meta-gaming?  Are your lists consistent or do you change from game to game?  I have heard of gamers tailoring their lists to work against certain armies or lists, does this appeal to you?  How do you feel on the topic of tailored lists?

The main criterion I find I adhere to when selecting a list is that the army laid out before me must look like the way I see the army in my head. In the case of Beastmen, that would be a mob of unruly goat men surging across the table in their desperation to get to grips with their hated foes, In that regard, I quote Aramoro: ‘Effectiveness be damned!’

Even for me there are some subtleties for my choices though; I do like a little effectiveness. So the first to go on my army list is always the Battle Standard Bearer (BSB). A Wargor with gnarled hide, heavy armour and a shield; he has rarely let me down, especially in comparison to the single time I tried to use a Gorebull BSB. After that, a mighty herd of Gors to strain their leashes across to their victims on the other side of the field is the next to go on the list. I’ve used a lot of Bestigors lately (and after all, they are very effective for me, and the models are excellent), but I find that they are not an automatic selection for me in the same way as the Gors. The Bestigors have had to fight tooth and nail (or should that be horn and hoof) to win their way into my army lists. After that, it’s a matter of bulking up the core blocks and then trying to find the points to test out something new and (so far) untested, such as the Lore of Death, Harpies, Razorgors or a Ghorgon.

Ideally, I like to try out a list (or very close variations of a list) for a few games before making a decision about whether it is a ‘keeper’ or not. A few poor decisions, which are particularly common in my games, can make a good list seem bad so I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt. Equally, bad dice can influence one’s thought on units or lists. For example, Justinmatters was put off war machines in his Orc and Goblin armies after this game in which his artillery dice had ‘misfire’ written on all six sides. Sometimes, though, a list turns out to have so many weak points that it isn’t worth playing even one more game with it.

The question of tailored lists and meta-games is an interesting one. Ordinarily, all my army lists would be ‘take-all-comers’ type lists, since I don’t know who I’m facing. However, with the Border Princes campaign I am currently running, each battle is against a known opponent, with a known army (or at least, a known race to select his army from) so it would be possible to select a list which is specifically effective against them. Luckily here, my lack of knowledge of Warhammer comes in handy, since I simply don’t know enough about any army to choose better options against them. Perhaps the only consideration I would make is not to take any of the big rare monsters (Cygor, Ghorgon, Giant or Jabberslythe) when facing Furycat‘s Empire – he really likes his artillery!

Categories: Tavern Talk, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , | 8 Comments

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