Painting Hordes Miniatures


A few months ago…

Then again, now that I think about it, it was probably a year or longer. However, as you get older, time has this way of feeling like it is contracting. I can’t believe that I never considered it before, but a student in one of my classes pointed out that it is because for every year you get older, each year is less a percentage of your life overall. It’s so obvious, but I just never considered it before. Okay, what’s the point?

Well, some undefined amount of time ago, I got into miniatures. It started with a paint class that I signed up for at Modern Myths, but was only able to go to two of the lessons. Therefore, I only know how to prime and paint the base coat. I don’t know anything about dry brushing, washes, or other finishing techniques. I have been doing some research and talking with Kevin to get a better idea of how to do those things.

After taking the class, I found a deal on a two player battle box of Privateer Press Hordes miniatures. Initially, I had plans to paint the miniatures and, at least, display them until I could convince Chris or one of the boys to try the game with me. As happened too often in the recent past, life got in the way.

Not to sound like a motivational butthead, but I realize now that I let life get in the way.

I’m 42 this year. I never believed in arbitrary age milestones. Sweet 16, at 18 you are an adult and can die in a stupid war, but then you aren’t mature enough to drink for another three years? However, anecdotal evidence points to the mid life crisis as an actual milestone. I can’t say that is definitely what I’m experiencing, but other than the fancy red sports car (that I can’t afford), I check off most of the other boxes.

The one major adjustment that I’ve noticed is that I changed my outlook on life. Because, you see, another stereotypical midlife crisis trope that I’ve experienced is that I’m gaining some perspective and reflecting back on my life. As a result, I made that change mentioned in the first sentence of this paragraph. I came to the realization a few days ago that I’ve been living my life lately according to the improv credo of “Yes, and…”

Instead of saying “No” or “Maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow”, I’ve been saying “Yes, and..” It has changed me in fundamental ways. Instead of saying, “No, I really like my holiday break”, even though it’s way too long and I get surly by the end, I said, “Sure, I’ll fill out sub forms for your district.” That has led to an extra 200 or so dollars so far and a possibly very good offer that just happened today. Instead of putting the boys off until “tomorrow”, I’ve been playing a variety of games and toys with them as well as almost starting the podcast up again soon. That has led to me being happier, not feeling as guilty, and getting some of my creative energy out.

The Pictures

The back of the primed models that I chose to start my adventure. Across from them you see the enemy.

And, finally, we get to the point of this particular article. Instead of ignoring my miniatures due mostly to a fear of failure, I took the box that they were in out of the game room closet. I primed some more of the models and started talking to Kevin about the process again. That was mostly just to keep myself honest and engaged. I also sent a note to Chris for the same reason.

My first attempt at making an “icy” blue look for the creatures. I failed rather spectacularly.

In both cases, it must have worked because I started to paint the little dragon dog dudes or whatever they are. Even though they are the smallest pieces, they have the least intricacies when it comes to design, so I hoped that might work in my favor. I don’t have the official paints licensed by either Privateer or the Warhammer company, so I had to kind of work around and figure out how to mix the paints that I had gotten for Aiden so that he could paint his Bob Ross masterpieces for the family Christmas gifts.

Before (left) and after (right). The after is much closer to what I hoped when I started.

After my first attempt, I thought about how to improve on the color. I texted Kevin a couple of times and figured an easy way to mute the color would be to add some white to the blue before mixing in the pink. That still wasn’t quite working as well as I had hoped. It might have been because I left the dab of blue paint out on my easel and it thickened a bit. Also, some of you might be cringing at my technique and I don’t blame you. I went a bit heavy handed this time. I’m hoping to get some better brushes and a helping hand magnifying glass to refine my technique. I didn’t care at all about getting paint on the base because I’m hoping to do terrain effects there. I see those of you who weren’t cringing before are probably turning up your noses now. Hey, I’m not that bad!

Flash photo of what I’m going to call the final blue. I might try another coat, but I rather like the look of it.

To fix the thickened blue paint issue, I used a dab of paint thinner on the brush. That both served to lighten the color and make the paint go on less clumpy and preserve the detail of the miniature. It isn’t a perfect job by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I’m doing something with these models that have just been sitting around in a box for at least a year. I hope to keep working on them over the next few weeks and giving them a better look. I will share my process along with my failures that hopefully eventually lead to success. If not, laugh, cringe, and sigh along with me during the adventure.

Post Script

Both Chris and Kevin have said that I’ve done a good job so far. I can’t tell if they are just being encouraging or actually mean it. However, they’ve both expressed interest in the hobby. Kevin said that he’d like to get back into it and Chris mentioned that he might give it a try. They are both more artistic than I am by a lot, so it will be interesting to see how much better theirs come out than mine if they do follow up. Also, who knows. Maybe we can actually get some games going, either in person with Chris or via Skype with either of them. All I know is that I’m having so much fun with this painting and even if they are only display pieces, at least I can show how much better I’m getting. I hope!

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