First off congratulations to the_red_eye and Whispe, both of whom have finished forces that are looking amazing. Their posts will follow soon, putting my painting to shame.This all seemed like such a good idea thirty one days ago. Or it seem achievable at least. Ah the benefits of hindsight. This was not meant to be such a last minute post.
For those of you reading this cold, unaware of what Tale of Wrath is then the bare bones of what you need to know is this; I had one month to buy, paint and play with an Intro sized force for Wrath of Kings. I'd had all of February to prepare myself for March, so I have had a serious running start on making decisions about choice of force etc. You can find a summary of much of that sort of thinking here.
For those not following that link, here is the last image taken of the force:
And here it is 15 days later:
So, how have I got on this month.
The three main goals for the month were as follows:
• Purchase a starter box for your chosen House (£60/$70)
• Paint enough models for an Intro level force
• Play an Intro level game
A big tick here, because the spending money part of the hobby has always been the easiest. It's all the other bits I fall down on. I picked up the Nasier starter box, as chronicled in previous posts.
A partially success here. While the models are undeniably (and possibly unfortunately) covered in paint (some of which may or may not still be drying), they are not at the level I aspired to. More on that below.
I have got one game of Wrath of Kings in against Hyperion Stooge. As with any first tries with a system it was a messy affair, and very educational. Sadly neither force was painted in time for taking to the tabletop, but otherwise it was mostly a success. The fact I lost will not be dwelt upon.
• Construct all models in the starter box
• Submit a photo of all the models from the starter set (1)
• Write a summary/progress post. Introduce yourself, and explain your choice of army (3)
Got all three of these done ahead of time, although there is basing still to do on the models for Month Two.
• Write an unboxing post (2)
I have posted many of these, a list of which can be found here.
• Write a painting guide (2)
You don't want a guide of how to paint like me. Not yet anyway. Next month may change things.
• Write a battle report post (2)
This is to come soon, but for the moment this is a fail.
So, not wholly good, not wholly bad with the Bonus Goals.
This month has been a very sudden return to the core of the hobby for me, and to an extent it has taken me by surprise. Despite using the previous month to prepare I have still mostly found myself incredibly rusty.
My main fault coming into this month was thinking I had more than enough time to get everything done. This has very much not been the case. Basing and undercoating the models should have happened way way earlier than it did, leaving me much more time to realise how out of practice I am wielding paint bush.
The biggest shock to my system has been actually getting a game in, something that has previously been incredibly rare for me, across any system. The actual Battle Report will be the subject of a separate post, but I do want to talk about the experience here; I had forgotten quite how much fun getting an actual game in is. Even hampered by being new to the system, and making stupid mistakes, it was enjoyable, and has served as a reminder of a whole section of the hobby that I have been missing out on. There's none Wrath of Kings news on this front but suffice to say that I've squeezed in other games in March and really enjoyed it.
The part of the challenge that I feel has gone least well is the painting. Positive points first however. I really like the way the colour scheme has turned out. A bastardised mix of the studio scheme and the art on the stats cards, it has come together to striking effect. I've been very impressed by Games Workshop's latest paints, with the base coats doing a lot of good work for the most part. And now the negative...
While the models are painted they are by no means finished. Even if I was happy with the paint jobs the bases need work to be table ready, and time has run out for that. As things stand the models are in a passably rough state of being base coated. While this has come off quite well (notably in the case of the Longhorn) all the models have a long way to go to be finished to the standard I'd like.
The most notable thing about painting the models has been the softness of the sculpted detail. Coming from Games Workshop models that really do lend themselves to the brush, the Wrath of Kings models do not take the paint as well. That's not a knock to the models, as I have seen some great painting work done with them, but something to note, as raised detail just does not catch paint as easily as on Games Workshop's sharper plastics.
I have learnt a lot from the last few days of painting, and I'll be doing my best to apply that next month. Speaking of...
Looking Ahead To Month Two
This month has certainly had more than its share of mistakes, which I'm going to do my best to learn from.
• Start earlier
I dragged my feet getting started this month and it has shown in the final result. I need to plan the month and get on with things as soon as possible.
• Better clean-up and assembly
I need to deal with mould lines far more rigorously going forward. Those that I had missed jumped out a mile once the undercoat was applied, and I lost time dealing with them. Far better to have the models properly cleaned off to begin with.
In hindsight I should have left the Ashmen unassembled to make painting easier, but that strategy brings with it its own problems. At least having the models assembled gives me chance to use liquid green stuff and the like to fill any unfortunate gaps.
• Undercoating black rather than white
While the white undercoat has made the red really pop on the models I think it has been a mistake. This is the first time in many many years I have used a white undercoat, and I am regretting it. While not too obvious on the army photo above there are a lot of models where the undercoat is flashing through in places. This isn't an issue with a black undercoat, but with white is stands out very clearly, both in places that the brush has missed, and where the paint is thin (most especially on the edges of red areas where I've touched the model it seems) . This sort of thing is reminiscent of my earliest painting experiences and it is not a time I wish to return to in any way. Next month I'll be undercoating black, gritting my teeth and putting down more layers of paint (much less of an issue with the new base coat paints, but still).
I should have painted the bases before I attached the models. Trying to get paint into all the nooks and crannies in the cork was a difficult job made much much harder by the model being already attached to the base. I need to take a different approach next month.
• Model handling
I have been painting the models by holding them as they are. A brief experiment with bulldog clips and then with blu tac to attach a model to an empty paint pot ended in failure, but I need to put that aside and find a solution before I start painting next month. The less I touch the drying paint the better the final paint job will be. It should also stop be dropping models, as is apparently my want these day.
• Better painting
My painting needs to improve. To that end I'm going to be aiming to find time to get in half an hour of painting in the morning most days (if this goes well I'll start tracking progress on Instagram), either working on Tale of Wrath or on the many other models in my collection needing paint. While practice is important I also need to look into tutorials, videos, etc to get to the stage of really nailing the basics before levelling things up further. Any recommendations/tips in this regard would be much appreciated.
This month has been something of a mixed bag, but ultimately, looking at the paint station set up next to me as I write and the 16 painted models upon it, all of which have seen use on the gaming table in anger I can't help but be pleased. It's 16 more models than I had painted at the start of this project, and each offers a solid foundation for better painting to come (or, in the worse case scenario, is a lesson learnt). Not that I expect the paint job will make any difference when they next take to the battlefield, but I'm going to get better at that too. I am looking forward to April, nailing the Month Two goals, and getting better as a painter and gamer.
It has been incredible to see all the work put in by those of you who have chosen to take part in Tale of Wrath over the last month. It's inspiring and humbling each time I've opened an email or checked a link. Well done to all of you that have picked up dice, or got paint on a model this month, no matter how you've fared on the field of battle, or how much of the miniature you got finished. The hobby is all about the doing.