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Al Capwn

CMON Zombicide: Black Plague

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Howdy y'all!


I know I am rather new to the forums but I thought I would introduce a bit of what I have been working on pre and post ReaperCon 2018. No doubt I have met with some of the forum denizens here, most notably @Green Eyed Monster for sure. Hopefully my presence here will be a welcome and fruitful one, and I look forward to talking and learning from all of you! 


A few months back I decided to pick up Zombicide: Black Plague, and before I knew it I was neck-deep in medieval zombies. I told myself I would save  the heroes for after ReaperCon to employ some of the techniques and improvements I would have learned. I... uhh... sorta did that. Let's just say I quickly became tired of the derth of zombies and wanted to focus on more...noble...aspirations.


The Goal: Get 'er done. Preferably by the end of October. Because what better way to say 'Thriller' like a box o'zombies. I am shooting for tabletop standard for the standard fodder zombies, with tabletop+ for the heroes. Not quite display level, but certainly a cut-above your bog 40k Guardsman (ifyaknowwhatimean hashtag don't_tell_the_commissar). I am loosely following the box artwork along with Sorastro's YouTube series, but I certainly am not married to everything. I will try to make a note of any techniques I employ that I have learned either from class, trial and error, or from online tutorials.


Since this is my first original content post here, please let me know if I am doing anything incorrectly or against forum etiquette, as this is not my normal venue for sharing!


So grab a cup and buckle up, cuz we are fixin' to see a whole lot of pictures of the scenic countryside of Zombicide: Black Plague.

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May 20th - Samson, The Blacksmith (Pre-ReaperCon 2018)


Using an airbrush with some Stynlrez primer, I give Samson a a coat of black followed by a quick zenithal application of white primer:




Unfortunately, I wish I had taken lots of photos in between, but here he is after a few basecoats and roughing in some of the highlights of the muscles. I know, his mouth-beard looks like he had a bad ice cream accident.



Again, I wish I would have taken more pictures, but I wasn't initially thinking of posting progress pictures...so here he is in his final form:



I ended up using some thinned down glazes to smooth out the blending of his muscles. At this point in my painting journey, eyes are still a problem (they get a little better as we go), so Samson does have a bit of a wild-eyed look to him. Probably OK given the madness going on.


What did I learn: Pre-shading with zenithal priming can really help, and in fact, can "cheat" some aspects of the lighting process. I added a little bit of wash to his apron, but aside from that I pretty much left the undershading completely alone. I learned to soften the rough blends of the skin tones with thinned paint to help ease some of the transitions of color.


What could I do better next time: I feel like contrast is the big one, a bit more time on the skin tone, and eyes...those madman eyes...



Edited by Al Capwn
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June 4th, Zombies (Part 1 of what will be many I am sure)




These are my experiment fodder. Most of them were done using zenithal priming + layering inks on top. Right now Matt DiPietro calls it Sketch Style, Vince Venturella calls it Value Sketching and Mr. Coulson's class on Underpainting went over the same concepts as well - all rooted in grisaille. The second-to-the-right was actually done by my stepson and I am well impressed with how he turned out!


The aqua-gal on the left I really liked - that was done with a thinned-down turquoise, and I spent some time applying some thin layers to establish some contrast.

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June 12th, Anne the Nun


Using the same zenithal priming as before, I prep Anne in the same fashion, applying basecoats of color to her. With her I wanted to apply @Clever Crow's Shaded Metallics techniques I picked up last year (great class). The key takeaways I learned was that metals need to be dull where they are in shadow, and this can be done via glazes. Now, I am a serious n00b at the technique - and Proctor is an expert at making the True Metallic Metals (TMM) look amazing. My goal was to try and employ some of those concepts into this model. I added darker metals where the shadows would be, and added brighter Vallejo Metal Color Aluminum to the highest highlights...



Then I began to refine the face and armor, adding more shading along the way, and adding the highest highlight along the leg armor to give that polished reflection appearance. I highlighted the face and then added a little red glaze to the cheeks to give a more feminine appearance. I also added a little bit of purple and blue to the robe to give it some subtle visual interest. Not sure if I succeeded, but I like the sheen it gives instead of a stark black:



Things I liked: I really liked how the blades turned out on this and (spoiler) I ended up using this same technique on another model to give contrast. I was also really happy with my first real forray into detailing regions of the face, such as adding red to the cheeks and highlights to the forehead, chin and nose.


What could I do better next time: Eyes. Did I mention eyes before? Because eyes. Not quite as madman as Samson, but still not precise. Also, some of the blending on the metals is not nearly as smooth as I would like. I also think that the model is still lacking contrast in a few areas. Namely the robe and the cloth around the neck. I am not sure how to do so, but I feel like it needs to work more through the range of light values. The belt. It just looks flat and boring, like a solid band rather than having that interesting color variance.

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June 16-20th, Baldric the Wizard


Baldric starts out with the typical zenithal priming technique to establish our light source, general shadows and highlights.







At this point, I am using very thinned down glazes of Citadel's The Fang, which is this blue-purple color. My khaki is a little bit more opaque and ends up covering up a little bit of my pre-shading work. Whoops!



So at this point I kinda had to fake-it-till-I made it regarding the fabric of his inner robe...I rough in the shadows and highlights. I also layered a bit on the large folds of his blue cloak to boost up the contrast a little bit. I block in the skin tones at this point as well. His eyes are just too tiny and he is squinting, so...yeah, that a'int happening. I highlight the eyebags of his to at least let the viewer know he is a sleepy old man.




"Wait wait wait, what happened to his cloak? Where are his highlights?!" Yeah...uhh...about that...I don't know. I goofed up and then went back in with the *ahemcoughahemairbrush* and smoothed out the highlighted areas. Looking back, I think the previous work was much better - it just needed smoothed out a bit. The staff with inked with Scale75 Inktensity Inktense Wood. Like Vince Venturella said, it does a great job of keeping the texture and contrast. I will say in photos it pushes more towards yellow, but in person, it really does look give a nice wooden appearance. The bottle was glazed over with ... something. I think it was Badger Minitaire Ghost Tint Plasma Fluid? Maybe Inktense Blue? Folks, this is why you should *always* keep notes on what the heck you are doing for future reference. Also, here is Anne again, with a bit more shading on the metals from previously.




I went out on a limb and tried some "magical mithril sword" on him. To be honest, I am not crazy about it - but hey, sometimes you break eggs making omelets.






What I liked/learned: I liked some aspects of the undershading, such as the staff. The glass bottle thing came out neat as well. Sometimes your first instinct is the right instinct.


What could I have done better: Take. Your. Time. Don't let perfect become the enemy of good. This model I rushed through a bit, and it shows. There is a lack of contrast in some areas, the airbrush spider-webbed on his knee and looks a bit rough. He isn't patently bad, but he certainly doesn't showcase my best work.

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Silas, The Ranger (ReaperCon 2018-Current)


Here is my reference picture of what I thought was a "good" Silas that I saw on Pinterest (Note: Not My Work):




I was like "dang that is a mighty fine Silas".


Well ReaperCon approached, and I had saved three heroes left. Silas, Clovis and Nelly. So with my stash of paints, a deep sigh, and a helping hand from James Wappel's airbrush (thanks again!) - he got them primed for me, and I got to work...


Hours in con, hours after con, hours back at home...and I finally get to this stage...(still not yet done)




This piece is probably my piece de resistance. It is my best work so far, and I am incredibly proud of it. I tried to apply the concepts of darklining from classes, layering and feathering from Kuro, shading the metal of the blade from Proctor, highlighting and shading the face, highlighting the hair, applying the dark line at the hairline like Derek Schubert mentioned, highlighting the knuckles and places where the skin is going to be the lightest as Corporea mentioned...



There is still some work for me to do on him, such as adding a bit more detail to the boots - but that really is if I am feeling froggy. At this point, he is at what I would consider a more than acceptable tabletop piece...once the base is complete, of course. This catches us up to present day! So moving forward, I will try to capture more details for those interested. If anyone has questions, comments, advice - by all means, chime in!


Things I learned: A lot. Too many things. All the things. Layering and feathering and brush control, how to airbrush highlights, how to darkline and add separation, highlighting hair mo' bettah (though I still consider myself a noob at this), how to do eyes (still not perfect, but they are slowly getting better) and getting better at shading skintones.


Things I could do better next time: Model prep. I am not showing the giant mold line I missed on the back of his cloak, as it would bring shame to my entire family. I am too lazy and proud to go back and try to fix it at this point. It will serve forever as a reminder that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I am not sold entirely on his red kilt/cape/skirt thing. It is ok, but I just..ehhh...compared to his green cloak, it just seems off. He is wearing blue jeans. He probably should not be wearing blue jeans. It was an experiment that went a little awry. Oh well, its fine, and seems like a pop color at this point.



Edited by Al Capwn
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Welcome to the forums. Great work. Keep it coming. Cheers. 


As for mold lines, particularly on plastic minis, they are the bane. I've been painting off an on for quite a while now, and they still give me grief. 

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WELCOME ABOARD, Al!  That is a fine introduction. I hope your stay is a LONG & MERRY affair.

The Black Plague miniatures are beautiful creations. You are doing a WONDERFUL job bringing them to life. OUTSTANDING WORK!

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3 hours ago, Loim said:

Welcome to the forums. Great work. Keep it coming. Cheers. 


As for mold lines, particularly on plastic minis, they are the bane. I've been painting off an on for quite a while now, and they still give me grief. 


Thanks! Yeah, mold lines and bases are both areas where I need to put more effort. At least I am in common company!


2 hours ago, chaosscorpion said:

Welcome to the forums and what a great start.  Love the work so far.


Thank you very much - I hope I can inspire and encourage others, just as so many have inspired me.


2 hours ago, malefactus said:

WELCOME ABOARD, Al!  That is a fine introduction. I hope your stay is a LONG & MERRY affair.

The Black Plague miniatures are beautiful creations. You are doing a WONDERFUL job bringing them to life. OUTSTANDING WORK!


Thank you for the warm welcome! I wish I had taken some more intermediate pictures to track the progress along the way. I will try to make sure the rest of the minis capture the workflow a bit more. Not that I personally feel that I have a lot to teach, but perhaps I can share some lessons learned, both successes and failures.

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29 minutes ago, Al Capwn said:


...I wish I had taken some more intermediate pictures to track the progress along the way. I will try to make sure the rest of the minis capture the workflow a bit more. Not that I personally feel that I have a lot to teach, but perhaps I can share some lessons learned, both successes and failures.


The work in progress photos have a lot of appeal in this section. Folks like to see how you did things...I find it reminds me of how I did some things as well.

The Show Off section attracts a different group of people. Posting the W.I.P here & the finished product in the Show Off gives you a broader audience.

The "likes" & comments do wonders for morale & motivation.

Edited by malefactus
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September 20th - Nelly, The Barmaid


So as you have seen previously, the remaining 2 are still zenithal primed. I took some time to hunt down some wily mold lines this time and scrape them off before they become too problematic. I can come back and touch up with a bit of spot primer along the cloth area...




Next I basecoated her dress with an airbrush using Citadel XV-88, which is an brown that leans towards orange. I really like this color a lot for ... well, a lot of things. Just seems to be a nice rich warm brown. I added increasing amounts of white to push the highlights, then came back with a very thinned down XV-88 and went over the brightest areas to tie it back together. I am keeping the transitions really subtle, nothing fancy. Her dress is supposed to be a brown, so I am not wanting to push towards creme/white nearly as much as I did with Baldric. I will come back and clean up her front apron later.



I really like how the back of the dress transitions. Subtle, but nice.



That is all I could work on tonight. Not a lot, but one major piece out of the way.

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Nelly - Continued (Sept 22nd-23rd).


I spent some time working on Nelly's corset as well as blending her apron. I used Scale75 African Shadow and Indian Shadow for the corset, adding a bit of white to provide the highlights. Man the Scale75 paints are crazy matte, still trying to determine if I like that or not. It just is so different...


For the apron, I started with Reaper Cloudy Grey and then mixed up some layers with Reaper Ghost White. I wanted to go with a cool white to contrast the warm tones of the dress and corset, adding additional contrast.



Today was tiny detail work, mostly introducing a bit more red and shading and highlighting into her hair. I used Reaper Golden Highlight as the hair highlight tone, glazing back over with Vallejo Orange Brown. I mixed up a bit of Citadel Reikland Fleshshade and Agrax Earthshade to make a reddish brown, and introduced that to the bottom part of the hair, where it turns back towards the shadows. I then glazed over the transition lines with more Vallejo Orange Brown to smooth out the transition.



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Nelly - Continued (Sept 27th-28th)


The next steps were working on the skin on her arms and feet, blocking in the colors of her shoes/sandals, and working in the colors and shading of her sword. I also blocked in the colors of the knife tucked in her apron. For the great sword, I wanted to go for a more "worn" look than the previous ones, like it was stashed in some dingy corner of the bar - so I added a bit more shading and less shine than the other instances.






The next steps will be working on the white sleeves of the shirt, and finishing up her footwear.


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