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Jordan Peacock

Specter Ops - Painted

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Okay, first of all, this isn't so much about, "Gee, look at what awesome paint jobs I managed to sloppily churn out over the holiday," as it is more about, "Wow, this board game has some rather cool minis that could be interesting for a cyberpunk campaign."


Anyway, every now and again I work on painting up board game minis for a friend with at least enough detail that they can be visually distinguished easily enough on the table.  As such, most of my effort goes into color-coding, and that's especially the case here.



(AGENTS - L to R: Orangutan, Cobra, Blue Jay, Spider)

The game has two teams: Agents, and Hunters.  The big catch of the game is that you don't just stick all the minis and move them around as playing pieces like you would in a normal game.  Rather, there's a hide-and-seek element at play, where the player of the Agents is secretly tracking their actual positions, and the player of the Hunters is trying to hunt them down before they can complete their secret objectives, with some predetermined missions and a lot of tracking required to keep things honest.

The cards for the characters have color-coded frames -- red for Agents, blue for Hunters -- so the first and easy part was just to make sure that the figure alignments are clear by the color of the rings.  The character art is nearly monochromatic -- the suggestion seems to be that just about EVERYONE is dressed in black, and so the main color elements of the artwork seem to be based upon the idea of bathing each character in a different shade of light.  So, maybe Orangutan is really dressed in armor that looks rather orange (or brown -- hard to say), or he just happened to be bathed in some amber-red light, or something like that.  This color-coded scheme serves me well for the Hunters, but not so much for the Agents: Aside from Orangutan, their artwork depicts ALL of them as dark with primarily bluish highlights.  Fortunately, their silhouettes are SO different from each other that I don't think anyone's going to mix them up.

Cobra suffered from having a hopelessly bendy sword blade that defied attempts to straighten it out.  I ended up fashioning a replacement out of a pewter sprue tab, and pinning it in place.



(HUNTERS - L to R: The Beast, The Prophet, The Puppet, The Gun)

See, here I had a bit more color to work with.  Beast's artwork is mainly purple-blue, the Prophet is all green, Puppet stands around in red light, and The Gun stands in a dusky sunset scene that makes him look all golden-orange.  I could have just dry-brushed them all with the requisite color and called it a day, but I added a few details here and there (skin tones for bare skin anywhere I got a hint that there SHOULD be any skin tone, for instance, and bright points of white -- usually the eyes).  I probably could have done the gun of The Gun in more of a gunmetal look, but I felt that it would detract too much from the otherwise one-color look that dominates the figures, since the gun comprises SO MUCH of the figure.

I suppose the Prophet could have gotten some skin-tone as well, but the artwork for him makes him SO GREEN.  I tried to compromise by mixing a lighter and slightly greyed shade of green for the head, but it doesn't really show up well in the photo.  Too subtle?  Probably.


For the bottoms, I painted them graphite-grey, then wrote the figure name in white acrylic, but that's only barely legible.  It's more a clue for someone who already knows the names but for some reason can't FOR SURE remember which mini is which.  ;)  I'm not showing THAT, since it'd just look painfully ugly in a photo.

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Very neat! You know the ancient proverb "A painted game is much better than an unpainted one." and your is no exception..


The game sounds cool too.. Should try it sometime I guess.. 

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On 12/27/2017 at 12:03 AM, VolksFest said:

Very neat! You know the ancient proverb "A painted game is much better than an unpainted one." and your is no exception..


The game sounds cool too.. Should try it sometime I guess.. 


It's a pretty neat concept, IMHO.  Long, long ago, I've experimented with ways to handle miniatures wargaming with some form of "true fog of war" (involving two identically-set-up tables, two locations, and a mediator to go back and forth -- or some variation on that) and the IDEA always seemed better than the EXECUTION.  This is an interesting compromise, by making the "fog of war" one-sided, and acknowledging that as part of the "price of entry."

Another detail that I find interesting (if not entirely successful) is how they approached the board.  It has some nice artwork on it, but as with many moody-atmosphere boards with really detailed art, it's rather DARK.  This has caused me some trouble with a few games, such as the original edition of Tannhauser.  (Very artsy, very dark, very hard to make out anything other than those brightly-colored position circles.)  One way they make sure that you can still read the labels (more or less) is that most of the board is done in a matte finish, but the letters have a glossy, shiny layer on them -- so when you're viewing the board at an angle and the bare shine on the table might start to obscure the details, the glossy finish makes those letters and numerals SHINE all the more, and stand out.

Or, at least, SOMEWHAT.  You might still have to move your head around to catch a good glimpse at the labels.  The photo seems to illustrate this point well enough.

Anyway, next up, I'm painting up some more Mansions of Madness minis, and then some Robo Rally 'bots.  :)  Those are both games that benefit from a bit of basic paints on the figures if for no other reason than to make them visually distinct from one another.  That, and with Mansions of Madness I also paint the names on the bases of the Investigator models, because sometimes it's hard to figure out which figure is supposed to correspond to which character card.  The monsters, at least, come with bases with inserts for little printed cards that make it abundantly clear what's what. 

For Robo Rally, there's really no difference between one robot and the next, despite the fluff and the illustrations, but I find it helpful to paint each one in a different color scheme so it's easy to identify which one belongs to which player: e.g., it's easier to pick out "the red one" rather than "the one that looks kind of like a steamroller -- no, not THAT one, but the OTHER one."

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I paint up every board game that I can.

One of these days I'll have to put up a gallery.

Great stuff here as well.

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