“Azazel’s April Assembly” challenge. Now how’s that for alliteration? From Azazel’s Site “Not actually a painting challenge this time – the “theme” of April’s hobby challenge is to build or assemble something.“.
I feel like I bent the rules quite a bit on this one, as the assembling was more about getting things fit together and finishing painting up. Just don’t tell Azazel, and it can be our little secret! Let’s see how I did…
The miniature I chose to get assembled is “Barik Farblast”. He’s a Star Player character from Blood Bowl. Star Players are essentially mercenaries you can hire for a match that are usually used to help even the odds between a less experienced and more experienced team.
So what makes Barik special? Well, he brings a “ballzooka” with him. Dwarf teams aren’t known for their speed or throwing abilities. With the ballzooka, Barik can launch the ball far down the pitch. This makes the opposing team a bit more cautious about covering both sides of the field. Something you don’t typically have to worry about when playing against Dwarves.
Unfortunately….I somehow deleted all my early pre-assembly pics! I know I took some several months ago, which really frustrates me. Arghhhh! These are the closest I could salvage:
Early botched rattle can primer job (one of several). See: airbrush priming!
Primed, weaponless, headless. Calling in sick to work today.
Pic taken around early April. Better get assembling!!
This is the only pic where you can kind of see the red-ink targeting lens effect I used on his right eye. The ballzooka ended up totally obscuring that eye though. Props to Alex though, and his inspiring use of ink!
I also just noticed this pic has the original brown colored football in the ballzooka. I had planned on using the gold tipped ball in the ballzooka, but then thought people might not recognize it as a football. Later I changed my mind and went back to the gold tipped ball, because if you’re going to hire an expensive Star Player and have him fire a ball across the field, why not give him the best ball you got?!
Special Ball for Dwarves “Master-Hewn Ball”. Plus tiny magnet.
Not so much assembly of Barik, but I added a magnet to Barik’s base and drilled a small magnet into this special Dwarf ball. I later did another one, but put a paper clip inside. A bit easier, as you don’t have to worry about orientation of the small magnet. The magnet helps keep the ball in place when moving the mini around in game.
Barik himself is a ‘custom’ Dwarf. All his parts come from the Blood Bowl 2017 Dwarf box. His head was from the Runner model. His arms from two different Linemen. And his legs/torso from a Lineman. His beard is bigger than the other Dwarves, as I added two other hair pieces (basically flipped over). Might be a small amount of green stuff in there. I combined different miniature parts so that the weight and stance of the mini would look correct for one holding and taking aim with a large ‘weapon’.
The Ballzooka itself is a couple parts from Mantic’s Deadzone. I think it was the upper thigh of a Strider (mech) and some other piece which I can’t identify for the backpack, plus a metal washer glued on the end. Also a small amount of milliput for some joins and gaps. Again, really wish I had the pics I had taken at that stage.
The ball. You get two balls with every Blood Bowl team boxed set, and pretty much need two boxes for a complete team….so you end up with lots of balls! Simple enough, take one of those, slice it in half (careful with them fingers!) and glue inside the ballzooka.
There is also a trigger in his left hand with a red button on it. A small cable runs from this down and up to the ballzooka. I figured with his arms apart, his left hand could be used to press a “fire” button to actually launch the ball once he has taken aim. Also, there is the butt of a handle on the bottom of his right hand. All made with my meager green stuff skills.
Assembly wise, it wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best. I had the Ballzooka mostly assembled. I had Barik in two pieces: head/beard and body/arms/legs. I finished painting the pieces up, and went to start gluing…and things started to go awry. Some gaps that I couldn’t originally be bothered with or that I thought would get covered up, really bugged me. Also when I went to attach the Ballzooka…somehow it surprised me that it didn’t stay securely fastened with just glue. Looking at the model, anyone can clearly see it’s large and would likely need pinning. So, plastic filler, and milliput, and possibly green stuff, and pinning work was performed. Then some repaint to cover those up. If it had all been done on the spot at one time, probably not as bad…but each of these were “Oh crap, I discovered some other problem!!”, at different times while still applying the final paints.
I had also prefit all the pieces into a “perfect combination” quite some time ago. When I went to actually glue stuff though, it wasn’t perfect at all. So again, I had to go in and shave and twiddle with pieces. Eventually it got sorted out.
I’ll just shut up (for once) and share some pics for this section!
Quite a lot of lessons learned with the whole Dwarf team. It’s been a long journey! I’ll probably save all the lessons for once I get the team finally done. Here’s some items I’ll focus on with getting Barik ready before the end of April:
Dwarf stone base – this is taken from Duncan’s “WHTV Tip of the Day – Dwarf Blood Bowl Pitch Base.” Not really rocket science, but I wanted to do a stone base, and this looked fairly good. A simple technique. I used Vallejo equivalent colors. The dry brushed top shows up even less in my pics, but I still feel like I should’ve gotten a better contrast. Duncan is a way better painter than I am, of course. I also made the mistake of applying too much Agrax Earthshade at first, thinking I could use it to make a large shadow underneath the mini. Duncan just uses a little near the feet, of course he was smarter than I. The ‘big shadow of Agrax’, looked like a ‘big mess of dirt’ all over the base. I had to repaint that area again and bring back the Agrax to just around the feet. Duncan smart, Me dumb.
Magnetic base and football – pretty much explained above, but each Blood Bowl base has a small hole where you can stick a pegged football into the hole. In theory, a decent idea, but I imagine too fiddly during the game. Two, you’re left with a hole in the base. Lots of Blood Bowl players magnetize the base and/or football. I never thought it was that necessary, but my teen seemed to struggle a bit during our last game. So why not give it a go?
I glued a small magnet into the hole. Then on one football, drilled/glued another magnet. On the second go, I decided to just put a paperclip in the football, since there is already a magnet on the mini’s base. This is easier, and probably means the ball will be less likely to ‘jump’ from the pitch onto the mini’s base when they don’t have the ball, as the pull isn’t as strong. Testing during actual gameplay should determine which works best. We’ll see which works best when we get around to gaming next time.
Weighted base – more on this once I finish the Dwarf team.
Decals – never used them before! But my freehand is sucky, so I decided I better use them, and I did for the numbers on his left shoulder “41” (feel free to ask ‘Why 41?’). Between these two videos, I found all I needed to know about getting them things on the mini and how to use the Micro Sol and Micro Set that I bought some time ago:
Freehand – yes, the dreaded freehand. No, I couldn’t finish torturing myself by painting that tiny eye….nope, I also had to go and freehand lettering his full name across his base! The decal pack included in the box has all the position names available, and I’ll be adding those to each base. Mainly because new people get stuck with “Which one is the Lineman? Which one is the Blitzer?”, etc. But there is no decal for the Star Player names, maybe if you buy one there is.
So I let out a big sigh, followed rituals very similar to what Wudugast mentions in Comments, and tried to block out that the worst grade I ever got in Grade School was for penmanship! I then thought I needed something on the back side, and I suck at drawing stars for some reason, and decided to paint a gold star to indicate he’s a “star player”. Probably also did a star, because I really didn’t want to have to freehand his name a second time for the back side of the model.
Unfortunately, I can’t recall who gave me the tip of ‘Writing the lettering with pencil beforehand’. I spent a good 30 mins searching through blogs and comments, but no luck. It did help though! I kind of made up my own Dwarf letters, but I think most everyone would recognize them and maybe be able to read them.
I also wanted to crib IRO’s use of black/white photos during early stages for assembly. (We’re still BFFs, right IRO!?!). I really like that look for when the minis are starting to get assembled and go through the initial ugly painting process. Alas, I lost the assembly pics. Maybe next time.
Gem – he has one small black gem in his beard. Why black? Well, it has to do with position colors commonly used in Blood Bowl tournaments. Black isn’t mentioned in that article, but it is typically the color for ‘special positions’. I had decided early on to color the gems as an additional indicator for the miniature’s player position (Green for Blockers, Red for Blitzers, etc.). As mentioned above, new players have a hard time differentiating the player positions. When I first started learning Blood Bowl, I started to discover that most positions could be identified by stances or parts of the model, etc. Using spots of different colors for each position should also help. (note: back then we didn’t have decals with each position name, or we didn’t use them).
This is the first gem I’ve ever painted, and can’t say it’s great. I wanted to use some gemstone paints that Azael had mentioned in Comments, but they only have three colors. I could likely mix to get a black, but then would have to order, wait for them to get shipped, etc. I have some gloss varnish on order, and hopefully that will give it a decent enough shiny look. The gem is pretty small though, so I doubt most people would notice. If they do, I can always go “Hey, look over there!” *elbow smash to the head!*.
First off, a big thanks to Azazel for rallying people and getting them to try out these miniature challenges. This is my first, and it was a lot of fun being a spectator of previous challenges. The Challenges are a great way to kick yourself in the butt and get some minis done.
Secondly, a huge thanks to the community of miniature hobbyists. Every blog I follow has inspired me in some way. Some with direct tips that I then used, others just by being great people and making some great art. It’s funny, because my follow list is sometimes a bit eclectic, but each one of them motivates or teaches me something in different ways.
Challenges. Honestly, it takes me a lot of work and energy to do something like this and that can be taxing when trying to juggle life, the universe (aka the Toddler), and everything. Everytime I look at the mini, I see something else that I think needs to be done. Even this morning I debated over wiping out the freehand lettering on the base and just leaving it blank. At some point it will dawn on me that the end result was a finished mini and one of the best I have done to date. Right now, I’m just kind of glad it’s over and plan on taking a break for a bit. I’ll likely enter something into future challenges, but I can tell that I would get totally burned out if I had to do a challenge every month. Maybe as things start to become more routine and I learn more, it won’t be so bad. Oh, and I mean taking a break before another challenge. Might have a little breather before doing some more mini work, but definitely plan to keep painting. Because, Dwarves, you know, right?!
I had originally planned to finish two assembly projects. The other one being a bigger piece. Unfortunately time was not on my side, and I had to ditch the bigger one in order to actually complete Barik. It left me with what I feel was a “small win”, but at least I had something to show instead of nothing at all.
The miniature itself. I think I’ve talked a lot about this above. It’s not perfect, never will be in my eyes. I could spend another 5 pages picking it apart, but that could be pretty boring and overly negative. Mainly I’m accepting it is for what it is, and moving on. In some ways this whole Dwarf team has been a ‘test piece’ as I come back to the hobby of miniature painting, and relearn old things and try lots of new things. Dwarves are far from my favorite team, so as I move on to teams I like better, hopefully my skills will improve. Onwards!