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Practicing on Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

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When I first started painting minis about a year ago, I was pretty broke. Mini painting is not an easy hobby to support when you're broke, especially when starting out. I didn't really play any tabletop games, I sure as heck couldn't afford GW models, and I wasn't yet aware of Reaper. To cut my teeth, I kept an eye out for cheap board games with pieces I could practice on. I stumbled across a half-price copy of Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu from Z-Man Games. While the minis included aren't really intended for painting, they were good enough for me, and once I'd gathered a little toolkit and some inexpensive paints I eagerly got to work on my slapdash painting training program.


Pics in the thingy!

I started out with the player characters...




The Occultist: My first attempt, and it shows. These are a bit small, and I was nowhere near confident enough to try and create eyes where there were none molded, so once it became apparent that she was gonna be a faceless old woman I kind of abandoned her. Not a proud start.



The Detective: A little better, but I really did abuse that quickshade wash. I'm not a great photographer, but even IRL his face has the resolution of a 1998 Playstation character. I had been watching a lot of Sorastro's Painting Guides at the time and tried out his cobblestone base technique. Not the greatest execution, but I was happy with it at the time. 



The Reporter: Started getting a little braver with my color choices and began to practice mixing lighter and darker shades of my colors. I always intended to go back and at least coat the bases in black, but once we realized that the game was nowhere near as fun as vanilla Pandemic I just couldn't be bothered. 



I was SUPER proud of the T-shaped shoulder wear on her coat. My first intentional attempt at any kind of cloth shading...



The Magician: ...which led me to dive in face first and totally abuse it. He looked pretty good until I tried to touch up something on his coat, which led to more mistakes which I then tried to correct, which made it worse, which....you get the point. I like his mustache, though. He looks...sweaty.



Honestly, the best thing about this guy was how cleanly I got his hairline to meet his neck. A good practice step along the way to finer details. 



The Hunter: My partner thought that all this painting looked fun, so she wanted to do this one, and of course she picks up a brush and immediately cranks out something twice as good as anything I'd made in half the time. I love that woman. I don't know if the color variation on the wooden gun grip was intentional, but it looks great. 



The Driver: My partner's natural skill inspired and mildly annoyed me, so I tried to let go here and be a bit less fussy and fidgety. I think I gave a little wet blending a shot on his vest really liked the effect, and went a little easier with the cloth shading on the pants than I did on the Magician. I also started thinking a bit more about how these characters would look in the context of their universe. Instead of a crisp white undershirt, I decided to give him a little more of a dingy, yellowed, incandescent street-lit look. 



The Doctor: This was the first model I was really happy with. I didn't wash him into a pile of mud, I was thinking about lighting a bit more, and my hand was becoming a bit steadier. I really should've done those bases. I don't know what it looks like he stepped in, but it is unholy.



I love that briefcase. The clasps, his glasses and the shirt buttons were great small detail practice. 


Having finished the player characters, it was clear that I needed some straight up mind-numbing, batch painting technique practice. The disease cubes in Pandemic are replaced by Cultists in Reign of Cthulhu.


Problem is, they're tiny. REALLY tiny.



Here's one with The Doctor and a Reaper Wereboar for scale. I really need a better Sir Forscale. Nevertheless, I persisted...



I came to love the little guys. Learned a fair bit about the order of operations in batch painting, documenting my paint recipes, a bit of freehand detailing and clean edges. They served me well. I finally felt prepared for my favorite piece in the game.



Good ol' Shoggoth! This guy turned out well enough to give me the confidence to continue with this hobby. Lots of layering, mixing various tones and shades, even experimenting with some mediums for the glossy, slimy look. All the tiny cultists helped me develop a steady enough hand to do the eyes. 



This was also when I started getting a grip on going back and forth with my shading and highlighting, taking it up and down in waves. I also wanted to see how undertones could affect colors, so I gave him a muddy brown basecoat to give him a more sickly, ooky green. Not sure how effective it was, but it was fun! He did come out a bit brighter than he was in my head, so I'll need to get myself a color wheel and study up. 




While I was working on these, I learned about Reaper Bones and started gathering some stuff that seemed cool, but I've only just started painting some of them. It's been fun looking back at these with my Bones 4 Core Set on the way. They're going to serve as my next wave of practice. After 50-100 of those (or whenever I feel ready), I'm looking forward to tackling the Dance of Death! Thanks for sticking with my silly little trip down memory lane. I hope your eyes don't hurt too badly. 



Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

Z-Man Games

A Game by Chuck D. Yager

Based on Pandemic by Matt Leacock







Edited by Zethia
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That's not even a bad start, I have seen worse, namely my own first minis.


You can see the progress over time which is great, you should be proud of the improvements you're making.

And the most important thing about it all is having fun.


I'm looking forward to see your next work.

Bring out those Bones!

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11 hours ago, golldan said:

Very cool, and your legion of little guys is a bit unsettling...


Yay, they work! 


7 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:

That's not even a bad start, I have seen worse, namely my own first minis.


You can see the progress over time which is great, you should be proud of the improvements you're making.

And the most important thing about it all is having fun.


I'm looking forward to see your next work.

Bring out those Bones!


Thank you very much! I can’t wait to get started. 

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Great job with your 'training program' - you started painting and kept going. Your story with the magician and the spiral of fixes sounds like 90% of my mini painting :>

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