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CMON Zombicide: Invader

Al Capwn

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After a long wait, my Kickstarter pledge finally made it to my doorsteps. I know what you are thinking:
"Didn't you just move?" Yes, yes I did.

"You haven't finished Black Plague yet!" Also 100% correct - and at some point I will certainly finish it up, but the cult of the new calls! 




Now on one hand, this project will be a little easier as the aliens will predominately be toned with a single color with the attention being paid to the little details on them. It won't be as intensive of a slog compared to painting individual outfits of clothing.


On the other, we have a bunch more specialty aliens and a slew more heroes to go through. Who knows if I will get around to painting them all! So this weekend's plan will be doing some prep work, priming and whatnot on a few of these.


As always, comments and critiques are welcome - I am here to learn. My goal for larger projects such as these is Tabletop "Plus" (not quite display, but a little above a standard base/wash/highlight) for the hero and big units, and tabletop standard for the rank-and-file units (totally fine with base coats + washes + a few details here and there). Ultimately these are game pieces that will be played, so I don't want to agonize over anything getting messed up too badly.

Edited by Al Capwn
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Wow! So many minis :wub: 
For sure batch painting here is your friend.

I would start with the base colors on all the "troops" adding then shades and basic highlights;

then I would paint the base colors on the "heroes" and the bosses, paying a little more attention;
back to the troops to a second hi-light and some details;
I would then work on the heroes still on batch, shading and givin them first and second hi-lights, same on the monsters.

Finally I will start working on them one by one adding details and pushing the highlight to a level between tabletop and display.
This metod will give you a "ready to play" minis in reasonable time; you may always go back and add more and more detail if you want.

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8/25-27 - All Your Bases Are Belong To Us


So before I get neck-deep in aliens, I figured I would try to determine what base work to do. I'd like to do a bit more this time around and actually add some texture of some type. That being said, I also have  a boat load of minis to paint, and I really don't want something that will take too much time. I.e. re-basing every single one.


So I ran some tests to see what I could come up with on some spare bases (thank you Reaper!) to see what looked OK.


The first option was the Catwalk grating stamp from Happy Seppuku. Thematically, this is great!



I also was fortunate enough to have the 2018 ReaperCon Genesis stamp that would work for the Spoiler Abomination.


From left-to-right, I tried PVA Glue + Coffee grounds, Kitty litter, and some scenic gravel. Not pictured below, I also tried some Vallejo Mud texture and GW Agrellan Earth.




After a bit of paint and some dry brushing, none of them were really giving me the look I was wanting. After watching a video from Kujo Painting on Martian bases, the light bulb went off. I didn't have any sand, but someone posted in the comments about CA Glue (Superglue) and Baking Soda. After applying some quick under-shading with the airbrush, and some quick glazes, I achieved the effect I was after (bottom-right).



The fine grit of the baking soda is really more along the texture size that dust and sand would be, making it perfect for this application. The added benefit is it is very quick, the CA glue cures almost instantly the moment the baking soda hits it, making it ready for applying primer and paint extremely rapidly.The cat walk grating looks pretty good too, all in all, but my concern is the amount of time to re-base the units. Even if I only did the heroes, that would still be 35+ bases. Not sure if I want to go that far or not, but it would help the hero minis stand out more.

Edited by Al Capwn
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8/28 - Worker Xeno Test #1 





With one idea in mind, it was time to have a guinea xeno be put to the test. I started with my usual zenithal priming routine, and then applied a glaze of GW's The Fang, which is a blue/gray/purple color. I mixed some Vallejo White + Reaper Heraldic Red to make a pink for the tentacles and spores-things. For the face area, I layered up with some of The Fang + Reaper Ghost White. Finally, applying a wash of Agrax or Reikland Fleshshade to the face. I also took some Reikland to the arms, which is a brownish-Red. It honestly looks closer to the base skin tone in the artwork that way, so that might be a good way to color adjust a bit. Apparantly the tentacle vent thing is a hood and needs to be shaded red inside, and I will need to touch up the spikes with a bit more dark red to get them to stand out with some more contrast.




Tone-wise, he looks a little more purple than the artwork. The artwork seems to have it be closer to brown-ish blue. I may still experiment with the colors to glaze to get a more accurate match. Or I might attempt to apply a wash over the top to mute out some of the purple and bring it closer to the blue/grey spectrum. I also need to allow more time for each glaze layer on the bottom to cure, as you can see, I was too aggressive and ended up simply lifting colors off, leaving some lighter spots. I will have to touch them up later.

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8/29 - Worker Xeno Test #2


So after seeing numerous posts using Citadel Contrast with Zombicide Invader (most notably @Brianuk but also some work over at BoardGameGeek ), I figured that this would be the appropriate time to test them out.


So I made a quick trip and ended up picking up Space Wolves Gray (a color also suggested by Vince Venturella for some NMM effects) and Flesh Tearer's Red, as well as some Contrast Medium. I did the usual zenithal priming routine, but this time I made sure to use some FW White Ink for the highlight color and went a bit more liberally with it. I used the FW White Ink to also tint the Flesh Tearer's Red to a pink to highlight the tentacles, and applied Agrax Earthshade and some of the white ink for his dome. In the future I might avoid covering his head with the blue-gray color.


Here were the results - most of the work was done in under 10 minutes, with some finer details and tinkering around with the Contrast stuff going on for another 45 or so...





So what are my observations and thoughts regarding Contrast? Well, I honestly had a pretty big bias against them originally. I thought they would be a gimmick, or at least not very good, or basically just another "wash" or "ink". I figured I would give them a try so I could honestly dunk on them for being overpriced garbage. However...I was wrong. I am actually quite impressed by two things:


First is the level of saturation. The Flesh Tearer's Red is insanely saturated. In its pure form, it could almost pass as real blood - with a a bit of the Contrast medium, it looks like you just had a bad Xacto accident.  The stuff on his arms had to be diluted pretty significantly to keep it from being a bloodbath. Even still, it was a bit overkill. The Space Wolves Gray really impressed me. It is pretty thin and has not nearly the level of coverage, so it is a bit more subtle, but still did a fine job of shading the model appropriately.


The second is the ability of the Contrast paints to completely tint a model like both a glaze/wash, but with minimal coffee staining. Washes have the tendency to somewhat settle indiscriminately and are pretty bad for any flat surfaces. The Contrast paints don't quite have that same quality to them. In some weird fashion they have more body to them than a wash, but still has a boatload of flow additive that it seeks out the recesses. Now, it doesn't hurt that this model has oodles of little crevasses and bumps to really make the stuff shine.


So while I won't be trading out my regular paints for Contrast, I will say there are some pretty good colors out there that really benefit from any Value Sketch/Sketch Style/Underpainting paint style. Something that I was actively using for the Black Plague zombies. In fact, I may end up going back and picking up colors for the flesh for those zombies in the future.

Edited by Al Capwn
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8/31 - Worker Assembly Line


With the main theme and concept put in place, now it is a matter of finding an assembly-line method and getting the order of operations correctly.


Step one is applying a thin layer of superglue to the base.

Step two is applying baking soda and removing the excess.

Step three is applying a coat of black primer all over.

Step four is applying gray primer at ~60 degree angle.

Step five is applying white ink at roughly ~80-90 degrees.

Apply base coats (Contrast Space Wolves Grey (Body), Agrax Earthshade (Head), Flesh Tearer's Red (Tentacles/Venthood thingy/Hands)

Apply Vallejo Cavalry Brown + Vallejo Orange Brown to the base; blending the colors to give some subtle shading.

Clean up the rim of the bases with black.


Extra steps that can be taken is to do the tiny details, such as eyes and spikes, etc. For the guys in the back, I added a bit of Vallejo Florescent Magenta to the tentacles to really push up that contrast and give it an "otherworldly" quality to them. Like @Cicciopiu mentioned, coming up with a process and working in "phases" where you can come back and add more later if you want but still have some definitive stop-points.


I also took a few and added some cork "rocks" just to see if that would do much and maybe help break up some of the monotony. I am not sure if that goal was accomplished or not, and if it is worth the extra effort.





You know...only a few dozen more to go...


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9/1 - Progress...


Today was mostly "Planning our work, then working our plan" and getting down to business. At the end of the day, I was able to get the all of the base coats, bases painted and rims cleaned up. I made a slight adjustment to the 'face' recipe by diluting the Agrax Earthshade by about 50% with some glaze medium and water. This helped retain some of the under-shade to be closer to that pale skin color in the pictures.




I also couldn't help myself and started to play with the fluorescent magenta, alternating layers of white and magenta  to push the contrast further and further up. As a last step, I applied some of the ScaleColor Inktensity Violet to the ends of the tentacles/tendrils. Below are a couple of examples; the first was one of the original 3 I was working on, the second is one of the newer ones.






I only did it to a few of them, but I really like the pop it gives and helps give them a bit of visual interest, without really taking too much time to apply. This will likely be part of the later "highlight" and details stage. Still to do are the little details such as eyes, and varnishing (to include a gloss varnish for the tentacles to really make them stand out). However, we aren't quite there yet!


So that is a total of 15 at this stage. There are 20 more workers to go, so making steady progress. 

Edited by Al Capwn
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9/2-3 - More progress...


I finished the eyes and applied a quick varnish coat on the first 15 to lock them into a "good enough for now" state and protect them a bit. The light is at the end of the tunnel, the rest of the workers have all been based, primed, and the base colors applied. If this looks familiar...you would be correct. I feel like it is Deja Vu. That is just part of the business of batch painting. A lot of the same steps, repeated over and over again. Personal anecdote for future me: I certainly enjoy painting individual units to a higher standard than just going through the motions and doing the same process over and over again. It is good painting exercise, and I am sure that I am developing better brush control as I continue to run through them, but does it feel like tedious work.




I ran out of mini solo cups and had to use a bottle cap for the last guy. Hang in there fella!


I ended up using more cork to cover up some of the areas where the superglue + baking soda didn't take, covering up some of the scarring on the worst offenders. Some of the other units still have a few missing spots here and there, but for me, it isn't something worth chasing. Just like I didn't bother with prepping for mold lines. Just too many units and it would have taken a lot of time for not a lot of reward. Heroes, yes. Fodder, no. Sorry worker xenos, that is just the way the cork crumbles.


Still to do is blend in (I have been wet blending it messily) Orange Brown to the front edge to give it that color depth (the far right ones in the pic already have it applied) like usual. The rest of the detail steps still need done, such as highlight the tentacles with the white ink+fluorescent magenta combo, eyes (used Linen White + the GW Green gemstone paint to get a glow effect), etc.


Oh,  I also need to get my whole camera setup to keep from taking potato pictures. I'll save that for when all of these guys are complete.

Edited by Al Capwn
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9/4-6 Wrapping Up Workers


So now the past few days has been doing a few touch ups as mentioned. I applied a coat of AK Interactive Ultra Matte Varnish (# 183) and then went back and brushed the tentacles and eyes with Vallejo gloss varnish to stand out.


Here are pictures of the finished workers. 




...and here is the entire gang of 35...




The "Mars" bases really help set them off. I am glad I took the extra time to do that step as it really helps give more pop to the miniatures. They aren't perfect. Some have paint on the knees where I accidentally got some on during the base painting. Some have a darker head tone. Some have some pretty glaring paint cleanup issues. Some of the hoods aren't painted the right color, and some tentacles in the shadows got missed - but as a whole, those little mistakes are harder to notice.

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4 hours ago, Highlander said:

I'm seeing a green tint on their heads.  Is that right?


It does look like it, doesn't it? I am fairly certain it is just the poor lighting in the kitchen where I snapped the picture. They are pretty beige in the daylight.

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9/7-8 - Xeno Tanks




These models had quite a few gaps near the neck joint as well as some pretty serious mold lines/flashing. I took some time to clean up the worst offenders, but again, I wasn't spending a lot of time in prepping them.



I took some of Reaper's Brush On Sealer and filled the seam around the neck. I forgot who mentioned that trick, fairly certain I read here on the forums. Could have been at ReaperCon...could have been both. I also hit a few areas that looked fairly dodgy from scraping mold lines or cutting away junk with the Xacto.


Afterwards it looked like this:



The usual basing + zenithal priming routine gets us to here:



About halfway through base coating I hear "Daddy, can I help you paint?" Sure, why not - this is a step that is pretty difficult to really mess up anyways, so might as well have some help in the process...



She actually did a really good job, avoiding the areas I pointed out and even cleaning off excess paint on the sides of the GW pot (without me saying anything)! She managed to knock out a solid 6 of them more-or-less by herself (I did a few touch-ups here and there) before she decided to bound off to another project.


I mixed up some Contrast medium and some Scale75 Inktense Green with a bit of Inktense Yellow, and applied it to his cranium.

I did the  same only with Yellow and a bit of Red for the spine...bulge...thing...and finally applied some Contrast Flesh Tearer's Red to the veins.

I diluted Flesh Tearer's Red about 50% and applied to his squid-face and under some of the squid tentacles to give a more pink vibe.


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9/9-10 - Tank Progress


Steps taken as follows:

  • Took some FW White Ink + Light Orange ink mix and glazed some highlights on the back of the tank's spine-blob thing.
  • Applied a wash of GW Reikland Fleshshade over the spine-blob.
  • Applied a GW Biel-Tan Green wash over the brain to darken the recesses a bit more.
  • Applied VMC Cavalry Brown to the bases.
  • Finished applying Flesh Tearer's Red on the brain-stem, face mandibles, claws and toenails.



I once again had help from my lovely assistant, who decided to help paint the rims of the bases...not bad, but will require wee-bit of touch up of course.




Edited by Al Capwn
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9/13-14 - Home Stretch...


Nearing the end of this "speed paint" of these tanks. The following was done:

  • Mixed up Reaper Linen White and GW Agrax Earthshade and blended it on the face, cleaning up some of the darker areas and giving a bit more warmth.
  • Added Linen White to the pupils, then glazed over GW's green gemstone paint for the glowing eyes.
  • Applied Reaper Dungeon Slime to the danger-noodle-mouth-tentacle. Glazed over with Scale75 Yellow ink. The artwork has it colored similarly to the skin, but I wanted something different. 
  • Finished the bases by blending in Vallejo Orange-Brown and Cavalry Brown. Cleaned up the bottoms a bit with another coat of Vallejo Black.




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9/15 - Tanks Complete


Final steps taken:

  • Applied dilluted Flesh Tearer's Red to the bottom of some of the tentacles and "spore" spots.
  • Applied AK Interactive Ultra Matte Varnish, then applied Vallejo Gloss varnish over the eyes, brain, spine-thing, claws, and tentacles.



...and the box is filling up...


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