Tuesday, January 23, 2024

A Quick Walk-Through of How I Paint

 This post was originally posted on Reddit after a user asked me for it on the r/HeroQuest subreddit, then I thought it would be good to keep it here on the blog too, also as a complementary post to the quick guide to paint HeroQuest.

This is the finished mini: 

I had received it from Pablo at Minis3d as a bonus to one of my orders. This is how it looks like, unpainted, on the website:

The mini I got was this same model, except for the base which was square, original HeroQuest style, and it was one with the model.

I have the new HeroQuest which has round bases, so I took a round 25mm base and checked how it went with the mini... and I hated it because the corners of the square base went outside the circle of the round base, so I simply clipped the corners (with regular pliers from my home toolbox) and ended up with a more than decent looking "broken dungeon floor" base. Yay!

I also glued the broken corner bits around, and also used some to tilt the figure a bit, as I thought it looked better like that.

The following pic shows the mini after I primed it with a full layer of matte black (brushed on, with a "2" brush, because it's too cold and humid right now here to use rattle can primers), then a layer of dry-brushed grey and finally, when I was sure the grey was dry, a gentler layer of dry-brushed white. Both done in seconds with a cheap make-up brush, about 1/2" large.

The paints were Vallejo black, grey, and white surface primers.

This is the starting point of the "slap chop" technique. The dry-brushed grey-scale highlight makes it super easy to discern details, which is a boon to my limited sight.

Once the mini is ready, the most important thing I do is searching for image references of the model to take inspiration for the color scheme. For most miniatures, you can find plenty of images and see how other people painted the same model, which colors they chose, which details they focused on. For me, this step is VERY important, and really helps and speeds the whole painting job. Choosing colors as you go is generally a bad idea. Having a general plan for the main areas is really important.

And of course for this particular model I could not find a single pic :DDD

So I just googled "female elf wizard" just see some color combinations that I might like, and then decided to go for brown hair, blue dress, green tiara and corset, yellow staff, and light brown book, etc (you can see the finished model). So I decided for blue, brown and green, in short.

With a general plan for colors, I started the actual painting.

I use Vallejo Xpress colors, which behave pretty much the same as Citadel Contrasts, or Army Painter Speedpaints (minus the reactivation issues!).

The pic below shows a simple layer of: Fairy Skin, Forest Green, Martian Orange (the jewel), Nuclear Yellow (staff and bottle), and Wasteland Brown (belts and pouch).

If you are not familiar with this kind of paints, in the pic you can see their magic at work: a simple layer creates a nuanced effect, which is further enhanced by the black-grey-white priming below.

You can also see I missed the small rings on the staff between the hand and the... garlic bulb or whatever it is.

I chose to start with those areas because I felt it would have been harder to paint them after the others.

The most common general advice is to paint as if you were "dressing" the mini, so start with the skin, then clothes, then details etc. I'm not really sure why I felt it was easier for me to start with those parts. Perhaps it was because I knew the rest was going to get a darker color?

As you can see above, some of the pink on the sides of the face went on the hair. Since I was going to use a dark brown for the hair, that little pink lines would be easy to cover.

I then painted Wasteland brown on the book cover, and Bag of Bones on the pages. Caribbean Turquoise for the "garlic" thing.

Next I panted the hair with Muddy Ground, and then decided to try the eyes. I guess I was lucky! Eyes are hard if you don't have REALLY steady hands, and are VERY experienced on how much color to load your brush with. I just used a small (000) brush with a hint of Caribbean Turquoise, and dropped a dot in each eye. That's it. Luckily, they came out really nice and straight-looking at the first try.

I chose to go with Forest Green on the second bottle (same color as the tiara and corset). This is important to me: trying to reuse the same color on different areas, so as to end up with a chromatic harmony. Too many different colors often produce a chaotic effect.

By this time, I was a bit tired so I didn't bother to check what were the exact hues of the blue colors I have, and chose my the name alone, so I went with Mystic Blue, which felt appropriate for the lady wizard.

Side note: This type of paints (Xpress, Speedpaints) often appear different inside the bottle from what they really end up looking when you use them on a mini. So I often use this image to check the exact nuance I want to use. (Not that I have all of them...)

My other option for blue was Omega Blue, which now I see was darker. Oh well.

The pic below shows I also painted the rings on the staff with the Mystic Blue. Due to their semi-transparent properties, the blue layer didn't completely cover the yellow, and so blue+yellow turned green.

...and this is about when thing could have stopped, frankly. It was looking good enough for me, but I still had some time, and didn't feel like starting a new mini. So I went ahead and applied Fluid Pink on the lips; two "c" lines of Plasma Red on the gem; and a gentle wash with Army Painter Strong Tone quickshade on the face and hands...


Then a gentle drybrush of white on the edges of the yellow potion and the upper part of the garlic thing; some dark tone quickshade on the book cover; metallic gold paint drybrushed on the belt and the book corners; and two tiny white dots on the c-shaped lines on the gem.

Some white on the green potion too; and then attempted some really bad free hand on the book pages. 

And that's it. Base still needs to be done but the lady is fine for me. You can always try and make things better, but I feel like this is more than enough for me. I paint minis for playing, not for display.

Final note: The slapchop technique greatly highlights details and in general is a boon; with this particular model, it has also highlighted some of the miniature's flaws. You can see a horizontal line on the gown and the sleeves, both on the front and the back of the model.

Monday, January 8, 2024

New Year New Game Sale 2024: The OSR Goodness

The New Year New Game Sale is on at DTRPG, and it's got a lot of cool OSR titles I recommend!

The theme of the sale is getting to start a new rpg, so a lot of game systems are on sale, along with low level or introductory scenarios. Here are my favorites!

Old-School Essentials Official:

The Old-School Essentials Classic Rules Tome, by far my favorite OSR game

The Hole in the Oak and The Incandescent Grottoes, adventures for level 1-2, by Gavin Norman

OSE compatible:

Wyvern Songs four-adventure anthology (level 1-6), Hideous Daylight by Brad Kerr

Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier acclaimed level 1 adventure by Gus L

In the Shadow of Tower Silveraxe and The Scourge of Northland, regional modules by Jacob Fleming 

Planar Compass Issue 1 zine by D. M. Wilson and Sarah Brunt

Other OSR game systems:

Errant by Ava Islam

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells  and also Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells by Diogo Nogueira

Worlds Without Number by Kevin Crawdord

Maze Rats by Ben Milton 

Other OSR modules:

Fever Swamp by Luke Gearing

Slumbering Ursine Dunes by Chris Kutalik

The Waking of Willowby Hall by Ben Milton

The Haunted Hamlet - and other hexes by Lazy Litch

Dyson's Delves and Dyson's Delves 2 by Dyson Logos

The Frozen Temple of Glacier Peak by Robin Fjarem

The Gardens of Ynn and The Stygian Library by Emmy Allen

Aberrant Reflections and The Seers Sanctum, acclaimed puzzle dungeons by by directsun

Friday, December 29, 2023

Quest Four, The Mysterious Letter

 New solo HeroQuest game with the Infinite Dungeon deck, continuing the "Goblinization" campaign to stop Skagor the Warlord.

[Links to quest 1quest 2, and quest 3]

I played this game two weeks ago, but I've only had the chance to post it now.

ABOUT THE CARDS IN THE PICS: For this game I've used the Italian version of the decks, but they are available in English too, of course.

So after the druid guest, the elf is back in the team.

I prepare the dungeon deck and this time I roll a 1, which means the dungeon deck is the smallest it can be, so hopefully this will be easy!

I choose to use the Loke Dungeon Books of Battlemats, a great twin set that offers a lot of combinations.

The main quest is The Mysterious Letter, which is particularly exciting because, until you find the fourth clue, you don't know if the letter, and the quest, will lead the heroes to a trap, an ambush, the dungeon collapsing on their heads, a big pile of treasure, an artifact, or a blessing for the next quest.

The side quest is the cruel champion of chaos: rumors say a mighty dread warrior hides in the dungeon, and if the heroes kill it they'll receive a rich reward. 

So with the dungeon deck ready and the battlemat books on the table, I complete the set-up by putting the cards in the room and selecting the starting room. As I said, the the dungeon deck is only 15 cards, so this is a small dungeon with only seven rooms (including the starting room).

For this game, I also use the Furniture deck and the Dungeon Events deck.

The heroes head to the room in the northern corner. The dwarf finds a pendulum trap, which he aptly disarms, and the first clue.

Moving to the corridor, I place 2 doors, which are unguarded because no monsters have shown up yet.

Exploration continues to the room to the west with three cards. And one is a fire rune trap, which of course the dwarf fails to disarm (as he can't use his regular trap skill against these traps), so both heroes take 1 damage. And there's also an abomination waiting for them!

The elf reacts quickly, jumps into the room and dispatches the monster with a triple skull from her newly-bought long sword.

The dwarf proceeds to examine the weapon rack (card from the Furniture deck) and finds a useable shield! Too bad both heroes have already bought shields. Oh well, it's still treasure.

The heroes return to the corridor to explore the souther room in the twisting corridor, where a death log trap awaits, not to mention a dread warrior and a gargoyle!

Oh hey, that's the dread champion from the side quest card. Good! He's stronger than normal, but I'll get a reward for killing him! 

The dwarf disarms the trap before it activates, but his turn is over. The elf decides to use his friend as a human shield and casts rock skin on him. A few turns later, the monsters are gone, but the dwarf got 3 damage...

As the heroes move through the corridors with no monsters around, the roll for events finally kicks in and I draw a card from the Dungeon Events deck: the dwarf finds an abandoned meal and immediately guzzles it. The die is gentle with him and the food proves delicious, restoring 2 lost BPs.

Thanks to the first clue they found, the heroes already know that the north-west room with two cards has a zombie in it, so I decide to check what else is inside. And I'm lucky, it's another clue.

The zombie is quickly defeated, and the clue allows me to reveal to cards from another room...

So now I know that my best bet is to check the room with the three face-down cards, as I still haven't found the third and fourth clue.

And that's where both clues are, guarded by a simple goblin, no match for my duo of heroes!

As the goblin fails to stop the heroes, there's nothing left but to examine the clues and finally find out why the heroes where urged to explore the dungeon.

I roll a die and the result is that the spirit of an ancient legendary hero appears, blessing the dwarf and the elf. 

Ok, let's remix things up a bit to suit the campaign theme: the spirit that blesses the heroes is not the one of an ancient legendary hero. It is the spirit of a valiant knight that had been transformed into a goblin by Skagor's experiments, that the heroes have just "freed" (i.e. the goblin I've just killed in this very room!).

They both will roll +1 attack die for all the duration of the next quest. Very good, Skagor's plans will soon be foiled!

With both the main quest and side quest completed, I decide to ignore the only unexplored room and head to the starting room. As the heroes move, no further events are triggered, so the game is finished.

Conclusion (?)

This game was quick and quite easy, with just a few rooms, and really only one room with dangerous monsters.

There were quite a few traps, but the dwarf managed to disarm all the mechanical ones... and that's why he's in the 2-hero team, of course.

The dwarf got heavily wounded but the abandoned meal healed him enough to keep the game going without the need to use the elf's healing spell.

 Things could have gone very differently if the final roll to solve the mystery of the mysterious letter had resulted in the dungeon collapse or in an ambush, of course.

But I was lucky, and for the next quest the heroes have the spirit's blessing and will roll one additional combat dice with every attack!

If you've read this far, I think I can assume you've enjoyed the report as much as I have enjoyed the game.

Again and again and again, I forgot to take a pic of the whole board at the end... 

So quest #4 of the campaign is done, 4 more quests to go to stop Skagor's goblinization ritual.

I hope to play quest #5 in a week or so!

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