Thursday, 7 November 2013

Taking the Next Step

So the painting competition came and went (ToMG will be discussed later), and unfortunately I didn't win. But the result has put me in a contemplative mood, I know that I can paint to a good standard, but they lack that punch that grabs peoples attention it seems, and to be honest, I'm stuck.

I entered my Dreadlord, and I was happy with the way it turned out, but when it came down to the vote, the majority of comments went "I like X and the Dreadlord, but I vote X". So I'm sat here wondering what it is that turns people away from my models. Looking again, maybe I could work at the base. I'm trying to go for that defrosting snow look, not a complete snow base, but the Dark Elves coming down from the frozen North of Naggroth  into the warmer climate below and I am looking to translate that transition into my base. It can't be too difficult to reproduce, because I like to paint armies, so I need to have an effective but striking scheme without taking up too much time.

The winner was this model by Matt. As always is the case, it is well painted, and the base here is the display base for the miniature (it is removable onto a gaming base). It's simple, but frames the miniature well. Is this what I should be going for? I don't paint display models, because I use all my models for gaming, and I don't want to build too vertically, again for gaming (LoS) reasons.

I'm going to show all of the entries in this post. Not to shout arrogantly 'my miniature is better than these' but just to showcase everyone's work and try to get other peoples ideas as to why these models grab attention better than mine did. This Farseer for example was one of the ones that was chosen over mine after highlighting both in their post.

I'm not going to even start with this, no matter how well I paint, a huge Forge World Mammoth is always going to be more striking than a cavalry base. But again, this model didn't win. Is it a case of it stood out too much? It's painted to an exceptional standard, but didn't garner many votes. It's a mystery.

This Chaplain got a lot of interest. So much so that I thought that this would be the favorite to win. The quality of the paintwork is undoubtedly top notch, but, as is the question that I am asking throughout, what is it here that drew so many people to it? Personally, I wouldn't paint the base that way, my theory is dark model/light base, light model/dark base, but it didn't harm the popularity that it garnered.

The local meta after the Space Marine Codex dropped was 'I want to do Salamanders!', so I am a little surprised that this is the only Salamander on display.

This model was a nice surprise. The guy who painted it, lets say, hasn't always had a high quality style with the brush. But this Librarian shows that the talent is there and it is really impressive. He came up with his own chapter but sadly doesn't seem to want to continue with it any more. All I'll say is, it's your army dude, not anyone elses.

This is an eye catching model simply for the conversion work that has gone into it, and is also the first HQ choice for his ToMG army. Maybe increasing the amount of conversion in my miniatures will make it stand out more? Sadly, that is a costly way to go so I don't think I will convert too much. Also, Danny, that gap in the base is a bit distracting from the overall look.

Finally is the Chaos Lord, a damn good paint job, but didn't get any votes. I think this is also a lesson in why bases are important.

So once again I am defeated in a head-to-head with Matt. But, when there is someone better than you, you just raise your game. I know that since I have been back in the hobby, my standards have leapt up, but now I am looking for that next step. Sadly, that is where I am stuck, and also why I am asking you, the blogosphere, my miniatures are shown throughout my blog, so what suggestions can you give me to make that next model grab more peoples attention than the next guy?


  1. Nice competition. Looks like you have a number of excellent painters in your area. Here are my thoughts, based solely on a single picture of each model. Overall if this is the quality of the armies in your area you are very lucky. Now for the negatives.

    1. Coldone: Your metal is too solid, especially the gold. The ink job on top is just too glossy. Hit the thing with a matte clear coat and it will look better. I also suggest using a tin base for gold and just a drybrush with actually gold. The silver is a also a little heavy on the back of the cold one (looks better on his armour). The highlights are just a tone too sharp on the purple. Also a image/rune on the shield would be nice. The base is fine but I would probably have used a different color to paint the base instead of the edge of the base. Also can't tell if he has eyes or not.

    2. Necron: It is clean but wouldn't get my vote. His metal isn't as shiny, it is clean but nothing special

    3. Farseer is nice but suffers from the same contrast that your purple did but in reverse. His base is also distracting.

    4.Mammoth: Hard to tell about the mammoth, skin looks bland, wood doesn't appear highlighted but picture is blurry

    5. Chaplain is a nice clean space marine job.

    6. Salamander flames are distracting, not painted to same level as the rest

    7. Librarian is nice, not sure why the skin is blue. Bright red beard doesn't work.

    8. Techmarine: Best model by far but unfinished base is a killer

    9. Chaos lord: Details could use a little highlighting but mostly it needs a base.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I may experiment with the base edges, but I think the photo may have bleached the colours a bit as the ones around me don't appear too stark. As for the sheild, yes I am looking into a rune for it, need to find something appropriate though.

      I'll try and apply your suggestions on my future models.

  2. I think it's more of the pictures than the bases. Some of the models look completely different in person (the farseer for example). Even the pictures I've taken of my Iron Hands makes them look different than in person.

    I see what you mean about the gap in the base. I'll work on something to sort it out.

    1. Miniatures' paint schemes typically don't show up well in photos if you don't have them in a light box. Has to do with the camera sensors.

  3. My vote would have gone to that beautiful skull-headed Chaplain fellow.
    As far as bases go, cavalry/bike models can really have great bases because of the little extra real estate you get with them, as well as the implied movement. Though, none of the models shown really had anything special going on down there, so I don't think that sunk you.
    One thing that I think hurt your model is your color pallette. You have several colors that are competing with each other, and they don't tie into the rest of the model. The gold on the Cold One's head for example is visually jarring and doesn't jive with the rest of the metallics. I would have gone "all gold" or "no gold", especially for the barding. Additionally, because of the gold, your model can't decide whether it wants to be warm or cold in scheme, and I think that hindered its success.

    1. It's an interesting point, because I wanted to show the Dreadlord as someone who was of higher station compared to the lower Knights, and I felt the gold did that well.

      Have you seen the pictures that I put up of this model in the previous post? Because I feel the colours aren't as bright there.

  4. I did just go back and look at the post from the 30th. Granted that the more muted colors do help, my original opinion that the gold clashes still remains. To me, gold really wants to be the dominant metallic color in most cases.