Sunday, 23 June 2013

Painting for Lazy Cheats Part I: Birth of a Tomb King’s Legion

I’m partial to many an aspect of tabletop gaming, being particularly enamoured with making my own fairly unique conversions, swapping the odd part here and there, and kit bashing my own HQ units. This coupled with the fact that I'm not all that artistic, and don't have a steady hand, has historically meant that my minis don't tend to get painted, as I prefer to move on to assembling the next exciting thing.

I've collected a few armies in my time: Dwarves, Eldar, Space Wolves,Thousand Sons and Lizardmen. None of them are even 10% painted, I always get disheartened by what seems like an insurmountable task awaiting me.  I made a decision last year to start a fresh army, Tomb Kings, to keep things simple, to finally have a completed Army. And by 'completed' I mean a 2400 points list all painted to a standard I, at least, am not embarrassed to field.

The first piece of advice I'd give to anyone in the same boat, is to not buy everything at once, do it a unit at a time, a mistake I've made in the past is to buy and assemble an entire Army and then just be too overwhelmed by it all to feel like I could ever get it done.

I haven't attempted anything fancy, I'll happily paint a single colour over a banner where the talented will paint each part beautifully in a different colour. I have used only basic techniques and some bulk methods to achieve the look, but I want to share it so that others, that feel as I do, know there are ways to get a decent tabletop standard army complete, and after many failed attempts it really does feel quite good to have an actual painted army rather than a hoard of merely primed mini's.

The big decision with this army was to use Army Painter primer and Quick Shade to essentially cheat and bulk paint big units in only a few steps, firstly undercoating with Skeleton Bone from the coloured primer range, then painting any extra bits and pieces with a single base colour, before plunging the entire model in to a tub of strong tone Quickshade.

My first Tomb Kings unit were 35 core skeleton warriors armed with hand weapons and shields, so straight off the bat I had a lot of converting to do, the weapons that the GW skeletons come with are pretty naff, being the same kit that was used back when there was only undead, so I set about finding a replacement, and settled on these:

I wanted my skeletons to all be totally naked, no fancy Tomb King headdresses or the like. I wanted this for two reasons. Firstly, from a fluff perspective, I didn't think that re-animated bone should really get magically re-assembled along with the odd bit of clothing. Secondly, and much more importantly, they would be much easier to paint.

After painstakingly pinning all those pesky metal weapons on to my skellies and getting them all assembled I started the dreaded painting stage by giving them a spray of Skeleton Bone

Their weapons were painted bronze, and then they were dipped in Quickshade. 24 hours later, now dry, I gave them a coat of Anti Shine Matt Varnish.

Now, there are tutorials on the Army Painter site of how to use Quickshade, they involve standing outside and quite vigorously flicking off the excess, I imagine this probably puts the average casual painter off using the stuff, I had neither the space nor the inclination to take this approach so I did the dipping in a well ventilated room, allowed the excess to drip back in to the pot and then after about 5 or so minutes used a brush and some turps substitute to remove any obvious thick pools of Quickshade, and do any re-distribution that seemed necessary.

I painted the skeletons shields separately, primed with skull white, gold parts painted with GW's Shining Gold, dry brushed with Necron Compound, and washed with the wondrous Gryponne Sepia. A single coat of Liche Purple for the felt, and a Steel Legion Drab washed with Agrax earthshade for the wooden backs to finish them off.

This brings me to my next piece of painting advice for a n00b such as myself, which  is to try and leave off things like shields or guns that cover chests etc, so you can paint them separately and not make awkward gaps for you to have to try and fit a brush in to. It’s tempting when you know you never get things painted to just glue everything together straight away, but you are only making it worse for yourself! Blu-tack works well to hold these bits on if you want to take them for a spin out in the field.

Here's the finished unit:

I know they aren't perfect but I think they look pretty good for the small amount of effort involved, and are of a quality that I'm happy with for gaming.

And finally, some pictures of my archers, again completed very quickly using the same methods:

The bows and banner were painted after the Quickshade step using the colours to match the warriors shields.

Next Up.... Part II: King Ra and his Jaffa


  1. I think i need to look at quickshade a bit more. results look great!

  2. blu-tac is good but not for anything particularly heavy. For example it won't hold up a Riptide over a day's gaming for exaple. I know.