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BurnyBurns

Painting Descent after ten years of mini painting pause

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I finally finished the shadow dragons.

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That concludes the base game monster groups. The bloody beasts for some reason nearly took all wind out of my sails in terms of painting. Happy enough with the result, but for various reasons I didn't enjoy painting them. They're comparatively large for starters and nearly completely consist of soft, rounded curves, which I found hard to highlight well. Also had to repaint the wings after realizing I just couldn't make my initial idea for them work and had  chosen a poor color combo.

Hopefully the four remaining base game heroes and lieutenants will be more enjoyable! :)

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Posted (edited)
On 9/16/2019 at 10:05 AM, BurnyBurns said:

I'd like to eventually collect all Heroes and Monsters Addons. The Guardians of Deephall sculpts are definitely not on the same level as the Visions of Dawn and Stewards of Secret ones. I guess FFG has improved since. 

hello ,

awesome paints . good job .

I want to get Guardians so is it better or worse than the others (the minis i mean) .

Edited by cal72

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Posted (edited)
On 3/2/2020 at 7:03 PM, cal72 said:

hello ,

awesome paints . good job .

I want to get Guardians so is it better or worse than the others (the minis i mean) .

Thanks! :)

The Guardians of Deephall Minis are a bit of a low point in the whole Descent collection for me. I'd say they're more or less on the level of the base game and earlier boxed addons. Starting with "Visions of Dawn", the hero and monster addons and the two last boxed addons "Mists of Bilehall" and "The Chains that rust" are of better sculpt quality imo.

Edited by BurnyBurns

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Good job on the rats- probably not the easiest to paint due to smallness - I actually quite like rats as a creature but you've managed to capture the less appealing aspects that suit their adversarial nature in the game- the grimy slimyness and hints of pestilence, these aren't the cute'n'cuddly kind!

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Posted (edited)

Merick's got more detail than I thought then- haven't looked that close at the mini at magnified level yet as painting's further down my Descent to do list with the game projects I'm working on for Descent/ Genesys RPG community expansions- waiting to see how that might flavour how I want to paint things.

 

Was he tricky to do as it's always seemed one of the weaker minis in the range- the quality improved a lot over time with the releases.

 

But then sometimes minis can seem a bit lacking in detail but when you get in really close there's subtleties you missed.

 

I recently found a proxy kraken to go with The Sea of Blood and anything it inspires in my projects- thought it deserved better than cardboard- and I've a spare merriod so I'm thinking the unfortunate merriod might be sculpted into the Kraken as its soon-to-be next meal. Which should underscore how menacing the kraken is- merriods are quite an intimidating threat, so something that snacks on them...

 

I'm quite excited Descent-wise currently as I managed to get a mint (only slightly dented box  in one corner, contents undamaged), still shrinkwrapped and  unpunched 'Road To Legend' (Descent first edition range) as well as a second hand Altar of Despair so I have (as long as the house move hasn't lost any bits of the core/ expansions I already owned) all of the first edition main sets now to go with my now complete second edition (not bothering to get all the first edition lieutenant minis- they're overpriced really now due to rarity and costs of import tax/shipping/charges- they're usually not available in the UK- on top of sellers asking too much- so just a couple key to my ideas)

 

I've even got a second edition 'Shadow Rune' quest guide now so I've got both the campaigns- until I got that I just had the newer 'Heirs of Blood' one. Not a completeness freak, honest 🙂

 

So I have plenty of painting/ 'collection management' to do 🙂

 

Just need to finish my Runewars Miniatures line-up to go with the above, been collecting those too - mostly for the minis to go with the Descent entourage/menagerie so I can make use of those characters/ beasts like Ravos, the beastmaster, Kethra, the leonx.... - but a few others I've not yet got aren't available currently, so hopefully I'll still be able to get the last few sets. If not I've got the ones I most wanted.

Edited by Watercolour Dragon
rwm

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Posted (edited)
On 4/27/2020 at 1:33 PM, Watercolour Dragon said:

Merick's got more detail than I thought then-

...Was he tricky to do as it's always seemed one of the weaker minis in the range

To be honest, the mini is not that bad compared to other Descent minis. Neither is it good. It simply suffers from the usual issue most Descent miniatures have, before the later Heroes & Monsters addons and the last two boxed addons (Mists and Chains). A pretty small scale (~25mm? Edit: it's 28mm, later human minis from the H&M packs are 32mm), combined with rather "realistic" proportions, a surprising amount of minuscule detail and sometimes mediocre production quality due to the soft-ish materials, mold lines etc.. All of which combined can lead to pretty poorly reproduced details. Nothing a decent paintjob cannot fix, but you have to sometimes interpret what the individual details are and give definition to that small nub of plastic using paint rather than just coloring a detail already defined by the sculpt. Merick's sculpt also diverges a bit from the artwork, especially in details around his shoulders. The eyes are barely present, so you have to paint them on. 

As for...

On 4/27/2020 at 1:33 PM, Watercolour Dragon said:

Not a completeness freak, honest 🙂

Since I bought my Descent 2nd Ed. in 2013 (first print) on impulse at a local boardgame con (and never touched it for another 6 years, other than priming the minis in 2014...), I also have the Shadow Rune campaign booklet here. It's the campaign we were playing, which is currently on hold for a bit longer, due to the unfortunate Covid-19 situation. But I just had to get the Heirs of Blood hardcover book, too... 😅 Did I mention I also managed to hunt down all Descent 2nd Edition content that has miniatures by now? Not too soon, as a lot of the Descent boxes start to sell out now and there seems to be no info whatsoever on when or if there will be a reprint at all. Unfortunately had to get the last two boxes (Labyrinth and Trollfens) in English, while all my other campaigns are in German. That  fulfills my slight plastic addiction for Descent however, since I have no desire whatsoever to hunt down 1st edition content. A single play of the 1st edition around 2007/8 sold me on the concept of Dungeon Crawler boardgames, but also convinced me after around 6h and not having finished a single mission, that I'd never want to touch the 1st Descent edition again. Doesn't help that, although not super great, I find the 2nd edition miniatures in general quite superior to the 1st edition ones. I can also live without the 12 heroes from the 1st edition, that were never released in a Heroes & Monsters pack for the second edition and am happy that after a nearly 800€ spending spree, not even counting painting materials, storage solutions and token proxies (doors, chests etc.) - my Descent 2nd edition collection is "complete". Might still get the print on demand coop adventures, if I can find them anywhere at reasonable price. There's a charm in having so much content for a single, by now thankfully "completed" and self-contained game system like Descent 2nd edition. Looking back though, that was an awful lot of stuff FFG kept releasing for Descent for some years and I'm not willing to collect a second game of that magnitude again. Enough to paint as it is... Not to mention playing! Which I do notoriously less often than painting.

Not that the plastic addiction completely stops there. There might be some Kickstarters that should arrive in the next one or two years. One or two or three... Altar Quest, Trudvang Legends, Zombicide 2nd Ed., Arkeis, maybe (probably...) Ankh. One more (cooperative) Dungeon Crawler, two adventure games, a Zombie mashing game and a board control game should complete my miniature boardgame collection very nicely for the time being.

A larger Ikea Kallax is due as well as selling some things I never use. Anyone interested in buying my Runebound 2nd Edition set I painted in 2009 (German though)? 😜

runebound_2nd_ed_minil8kw5.jpg

 

Edited by BurnyBurns

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Posted (edited)

While I mention toke upgrades... An excellent Instagram post by Angel Giraldez (FFG should seriously hire these types of professional miniature masters to create both, their mini sculpts and painted reference miniatures) gave me the impulse to try my hand at the Mantic Games Dungeoncrate Doors, which have been sitting in my painting queue for a while.

A quick test paint later, I'm pretty happy what can be done with them:

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It's not quite finished, yet and there are 14 more to go. 😅 But they'll look very nice and moody, when they eventually make it to the game board.

Edit procrastinating painting the last base game heroes some more. The doors are just more fun than tiny 28mm people with sometimes poorly defined detail:

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13 to go... 

Edited by BurnyBurns

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35 minutes ago, thinkbomb said:

dwarves and ale go together like Elves and trees.  😜

"Why are there two of you now- there was only one. Two's not fair. Stop moving so much, now it looks like there's six of you. Not to worry I can still take all, erm, twelve of you on...."

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Posted (edited)

Tom Burrowell:

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I have no idea what the dwarf from Drakon is or what Drakon is, @Watercolour Dragon, but Lord of the Rings might've been quite formative for our image of fantasy dwarves. No idea if before LotR dwarves were considered Beer gobbling cave dwellers, but I never got that particular impression from fairytales.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the day that I've painted all the 28mm scale heroes from Descent*. As charming as all the sculpts are, 28mm with rather realistic proportions and a lot of often poorly defined details due to the soft-ish plastic and production artifacts isn't very fun. At least there are only two more base game heroes to go now. Will take a bit of a break from Descent minis after those. May still start on the Manor of Ravens in the meantime... And then I'll treat myself to some of the ~32mm scale Heroes and Monsters hero sculpts. They are so much better in terms of details due to the slightly larger scale and cartoony "heroic" proportions, it's not even funny.

 

* Real talk: That day may never come. If my last count was not mistaken, there are 60 heroes overall in the whole Descent 2nd Ed. mini range and many more monsters on top. 60. Six are finished. I honestly don't know if I can realistically finish the whole set at my painting pace. Ever, that is. Had three days of vacation and spend a not insignificant amount of time of those as well as the preceding weekend's evenings painting the two heroes above and those two doors. Once the base game heroes are done, there'll be significantly less drive to paint additional heroes other than a couple of sculpts, since I'll have a small selection of painted heroes for all classes. I may start only picking up minis I'd like to paint from there on and see how far I'll get. Or I'll have to try to get much, much quicker results at some point. That however would mean moving away from my self-imposed target level of painting characters or bigger minis to a standard, which wouldn't look too much out of place on a box art of the mini, if there was such a thing. Even then however, chances of me actually finishing the Descent set are slim to none. Not factoring in the other mini games that'll arrive eventually, I'd still be looking at a painting project for the next three to four years. Once I'm "in the groove", the painting is quite addicting, but I still need to focus on other things in life. Including playing the game at some point. 😅

So... Milestone for this month (and the rest of the year): Finishing the base game! Wish me luck. 😛

Edited by BurnyBurns

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Posted (edited)

I like the idea of taking it slow though - I've got computer games I've completed (or given up on) yet Descent still has plenty of mileage, probably for much of my life. I like that I'll still be enjoying it for a long time to come.

 

My campaign project will help me plan my paints as I can paint things to go with what I'll next be bringing to the table.

 

The time factor also helps spread the cost- all that paint in one go would be quite ouchy.

 

To make you feel good I have nothing painted yet- so you'll most likely always be ahead of the curve on my painting.

 

Great work again on Tomble, a great fantasy character- fits the genre well so deserving of a good paint.

Edited by Watercolour Dragon
Tom

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Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2020 at 10:35 PM, Watercolour Dragon said:

The time factor also helps spread the cost- all that paint in one go would be quite ouchy.

To make you feel good I have nothing painted yet- so you'll most likely always be ahead of the curve on my painting.

Great work again on Tomble, a great fantasy character- fits the genre well so deserving of a good paint.

Thanks for the kind words. If I consider the Descent collection a ten year project, painting all of the minis might be more realistic. I hope that I'll have as much interest in 10 years in playing the game as I have now. 😉 For such an elaborate painting project, interest in playing the game is somewhat a driving factor for me. That being said, I can well see me finding some group interested in running a campaign many years from now. It's not that good board games age poorly and Descent 2nd Ed., despite its flaws, is pretty good at what it does. 

As for colors, if you do actually intend on painting up a complete collection as diverse  as the Descent one and start from square one in terms of painting equipment, I'd honestly recommend going for a full set of Vallejo Game colors. Specifically the linked case, if you can get your hands on one and if money isn't the limiting factor, that is. Bonus: you get a rather space efficient and elegant storage solution on top of the paints. You're really trading time for money here. The Descent collection is varied enough that you'll find a use for nearly all of those colors before long. A (near) complete set saves you from hunting them down one by one. While I'm fan of the Vallejo colors, a cheaper option would be the Army Painter set. But my impression is that Vallejo Colors provide much better coverage with less layers, so I prefer them where possible. You just need to know for sure that painting minis is "your thing" before spending near 200$ on colors. 😅 At least there are some brushes in there, but I doubt that they'll last for the whole collection and a really good brush is around 10$ in itself. You don't even have primer sprays by then, although the grey Vallejo brush on primer is really good as well. 

A cheaper route to getting started is a color set (very much recommend the base set from Vallejo Game Color here, comes with 16 tones, but not a single good skin tone 😛), then get two good brushes (one size 0 and one size 2) and a grey primer spray.

When I took up painting again around April last year, I still had some old Games Workshop colors (some dried to a pulp), a black and a white can of spray primer and a couple of Vallejo colors. Got the Vallejo starter set, some new brushes, liquidified some of the GW colors by literally hacking them apart with a modeling tool and adding some water and went from there. This is where I am now (old wine box with a bit of cut up cardboard for organizing the dropper bottles): 

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If I didn't have some colors to start out, I'd have been cheaper off buying the whole set. 😉

As for how fast you can finish a collection - that entirely depends on your pace and technique. I'm generally slow and tend to experiment quite a bit or fail at some details until I feel I got a mini right. On the other hand, I'm watching some Instagram painters (https://www.instagram.com/bossepainter/) paint up half of the complete Descent 2nd Ed. collection within a year (really excellently, I should add!), whereas it takes me just above a year alone to finish the base set. 😛

Edit: On that note - the last base game minis are finally finished.

Captain Glittersparkles (Avric Albright)

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Leoric of the Book

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Edited by BurnyBurns

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I was watching Guerrilla Miniature Games yesterday and he showed his work painting up 80+ figures for Warhammer Quest in the last week. I was lucky to get 6 in a state I would call "playable, but not detailed". I've been alternating through working on my old Descent 1E stuff and newer Runewars MG stuff.

I still find myself digging around Kickstarter and thinking about buying more expansions even though I'm realistically years away from finishing or putting a real dent in my existing backlog. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, kris40k said:

I was watching Guerrilla Miniature Games yesterday and he showed his work painting up 80+ figures for Warhammer Quest in the last week. I was lucky to get 6 in a state I would call "playable, but not detailed".

80 in three days? 😅 That's impressive, no matter which technique you use. But with "classical" techniques and without using an airbrush that's night on impossible if you like to eat and sleep. The magic word there seems to be "contrast paints". With one coat you get a "play ready" mini with shadows in the recesses, highlights and all. He did still highlight on top of them however, so there was quite a bit manual work involved on top.

I might be trying to use a similar technique on some monster groups  of smaller models with many minis later on, but I wont be doing it for bigger monsters or characters. It does save you a **** of a lot of time however.

 

Edit: That's the best I could make of the base game collection and its six lieutenant addons with my phone, two lamps and some sheets of paper:

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Will try to take a better foto at some point.

Edited by BurnyBurns

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Posted (edited)

I see from your comments you managed to revive some old paint- any tips/info on how long the paint remains usable for- if you stock up will it become less usable/ deteriorate to a point of not being usable at all eventually (from your comment it seems optimistic on this front- water is indeed quite a magical substance along with human determination!)

 

Also does anyone have any tips for preserving the colours- was reading about how paint deteriorates on canvas paintings, so for minis that are being handled is there a way to keep the colours preserved and on a similar note has anyone who's painted theirs found the game use has had a negative impact on the painting?

 

I've seen some mention of matt (no gloss) varnishing I think I vaguely recall- is there some way like this to 'protect' the paint without harming the paint job? One decorative model I had which I did gloss varnish as it suited it has after a lot of years had the varnish yellow in parts. Guess you've always got the option of minor partial repaints if age does eventually take its toll.

 

Maybe that's my other reason cough excuse cough for delaying my painting- it will be longer before it ages- now I just need to figure out how to apply the same methodology to myself 🙂

Edited by Watercolour Dragon

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Posted (edited)

The acrylic colors from Vallejo and Games Workshop are water-soluble. Basically hacking and mashing the dried pulp of GW color down to the pigment and stirring it with water helped revive the color. But it  took a lot of effort. I also later used Lahmian Medium/Vallejo Thinner to thin the color down. Both could replace the water. The color was more than ten years old, no less. My best tip for preserving colors is: Use dropper bottles and not Games Workshop style pots. The latter seem to let colors dry up rather quickly even while closed. Edit: Mostly if you open and use them regularly, however. Probably something to do with the bottle's large opening, exposing a large surface area leading to increased evaporation. Yet, other GW colors of mine remained mostly liquid for ten years without use. The Vallejo dropper bottles i had from ten years ago still had usable color in them from the get go. A lot of shaking was required though. I didn't have any at hand, but adding some rust free metal balls/small nuts to the bottle would have helped to stir the color back to life more easily in the dropper bottles. If you're concerned for the colors' life and if you must use Games Workshop colors or other acrylic colors from pots, I'd recommend also getting some empty dropper bottles and transferring the colors with a funnel (e.g. from Greenstuff World).

So far I've used Army Painter and recently Vallejo mat spray varnish to protect the minis. Can't say I'm seeing any color shift of the coat of (Army Painter) varnish on my 10+ years old minis. Any glossy varnish is a no go, since the gloss will make any details of the paintjob hard to discern. Other people are using the "Dullcoat" varnish from Testors to good effect (e.g. Sorastro mentions it in his videos). Just make sure to spray an even, thin coat in short bursts and avoid pooling of the varnish. Pools of the varnish may become opaque when drying. Both spray varnishes I use are well suited to being painted over as well.

Whatever effects the varnish will have on the mini, they beat out color pealing off from your minis due to the handling by grimy players' hands any day. 😉

Edit: Also, if you've got the time and generally enjoy painting, I'd recommend to start yesterday, rather than now or tomorrow. You seem also to be a bit of a compulsive collector, so your chances of ever having a fully painted collection are slim to none, simply because collections are more easy to amass than miniatures are to paint. 😜 See it this way: every single mini you painted looks better than an unpainted one on the table.

If you need to build confidence in your painting abilities, start with minis to which you have little attachment. Less nice sculpts, like goblins or zombies. From there you can progress to the bigger monsters. That's the reason I started with the goblins and zombies - to relearn painting and become more confident - only to work on the major sculpts like the shadow dragons and most heroes at the very end. It helped me a lot.

If you need a beginner friendly, near fool prove step by step tutorial, watch Sorastro's Descent painting series! I really, really cannot recommend it enough for people trying to get into painting Descent.

Edited by BurnyBurns

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I'm an 'enthusiastic' collector largely due to working on a big campaign series spanning the lore of Terrinoth. Others might say over-enthusiastic (us gamers often have something in common with dragons hehe) 🙂

 

The benefit though is as I say being able to paint in the order of the 'chapters'- along with my core Descent collection for the games- as some of the minis won't be coming to the table for some time.

 

I've got most of the minis I was after now- I'd been looking to fill specific Terrinoth-related boxes so I might (why are you laughing knowingly?) call it a complete collection soon notwithstanding future FFG products of course. My achilles heel could be scenery though, but I can design my own maps, so to avoid the 'too much' that can so easily happen with such a hobby, scenery is likely to be used rather sparingly just for key scenes. It does bring life to RPG sessions though- the 'theatre of the mind' approach is just as much fun, but actually having that world given some life on the table brings that extra energy to things.

 

As you say though, if that world's all grey or whatever colour the plastic bits are it sort of defeats the point- so I agree with the 'start yesterday' approach, which is why I plan on making painting part of the development and playtesting of each stage so I actually get stuff painted because it's part of each project and sets checkpoints to aim for of finishing the models that go with each bit of the story.

 

Descent's clearly a great game and engaging world: once upon a time long long ago I got the Descent first edition in that lovely big box then it sort of grew from there.....

 

 

Thanks for the very useful tips.

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I wish you the best of luck and a lot of fun with painting your collection! 🙂

Painting only minis used in current or upcoming games will probably never work for me. The painting simply takes me to long, so I have to deal with the fact that I may not have all or any minis painted, when we manage to play something for the first time. 8-10h for a hero, 8-12h for a big mini. I only managed to get "ahead" of the current Shadow Rune campaign, because it's been paused for quite some time now. But I really should work on getting  results for some of the monsters faster. Some of them however are pieces for painting practice of certain techniques. Descent's minis aren't exactly showcase pieces, but they are terrific practice pieces. Small enough to not take dozens of hours, even if you experiment a lot with new techniques, diverse enough to be able to try a ton of different things.

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