With that, welcome to Byron's Point Bomb(?) Part 2 - Large scale madness....
NOTE: Sorry for the long post on this one, I just really like how they came out, and since that is rare for me, I wanted to go through some of the process.
My friend Steve picked up a new game a little while back, and after seeing the quality of the figs I just had to get some to paint up. That game is Arena Rex, a 35mm skirmish Fantasy Gladiator game. The figures are just stunning up close, the detail is amazing. The only down side, the price is stunning as well!
The rules are available for free though, and I tried a game with some proxy figured with Steve before I ordered my own. It is one of those rare games that looks super simplistic at first glance, but has an amazing amount of depth hidden in it. It has strategy, tactics, resource management, and more all rolled up in to what seems at first glance a simplistic smash-up gladiator game.
Anyway, The figures that I got done here are not gladiators themselves, but some of the beasts that the gladiators may have to face. Or, in my case they are the beasts that one of my gladiators can take as pets or minions to control. While I don't have him finished yet, I just can not hold back displaying these as I am very very rarely happy with my own painting, but I am thrilled with how these came out. Best of all they were done almost entirely with airbrush making them far faster than you would expect them to be.
Seeing as all of the beasts will see use in an arena, and that I picture that arena with a sand based floor I wanted to do something sand based. However, not wanting something as mundane as simple flat sand, I decided to try some cracked earth effects in parts of the base. I picture this as areas where the arena got wet from blood, thrown beverages from hecklers, or hell where a horse or bull took a leak, and now the sand and mud has dried and cracked. I also added just a few tufts of dead grass to the base to add a bit more interest. Again, probably not seen in a lot of arenas, but if you picture a weekend circus and then time passing before the next big event it is possible that some small tufts find a way to grow. especially around the dried cracked mud that has extra nutrients added. That's my story anyway, I don't care if you buy it, I can live with it.
Scorpion - Sereqet
First of the three beasts is a giant scorpion. The model comes as a mount for one of the gladiators in my Ludus, but I decided to built it as just the scorpion itself. That likely means I will end up with a second one sometime down the road to build it as a mount, but that is later. I wanted something that was semi-natural so started searching, but most scorpions are either black or tan, then I stumbled across one that has red pincers and barb set against a black carapace, and was sold.
Mine has a lot more red than the real ones do, but I decided I wanted that colour to make it easier to see what it was, and rather than try to shade a mainly black beast that may end up looking more grey than black due to the surface area. I painted it black and then worked in 6-7 layers of red glaze to build up the red areas in as smooth a blend from the black as I could manage. I then airbrushed in some dark grey highlights long the top of the carapace, and cleaned up some of the spikes that had been hit with some red. The only parts that were done with a brush were the gold insert on the top and the eyes.
Bull - El Diablo
Next up is the mighty bull "El Diablo", so named because Diablo is one of my favourite video games, and because I decided to base his skin on a chestnut horse scheme and then add a bit more red to it. Again, almost everything was done with an airbrush, starting with a black base and then adding in white zenithal pre-shading and highlights. I then went through the paints I used for chestnut horses a few weeks back, but thinning them to glaze consistency and working up from the black with about 3-4 layers of each of Black Red, Hull Red, Cavalry Brown, and then a single super thin glaze of Crimson Red. Each layer so thin that the white highlight areas still show through.
Once all that was done, I went back and added a bit of shadow back from the bottom still with airbrush, and then went on to some lighter pinkish browns to paint the scars, and then some black inks under them to accentuate them. I then did the horns and hooves pale bone and layered on first sepia and then devlan mud washes until they got to the level I wanted.
Rhino - Acerbus
Lastly, the mighty rhino. I don't know what it is about rhino's but I have always loved them, and once I saw this model I had to have it. Again almost everything was airbrushed on. I started black and once again laid in all the pre-shade and zenithal highlights with white. I then added several thin glazes of basalt grey and then neutral grey. I then went in with a few layers of thin brown and blue glazes to build up some depth of colour and interest, then went back over those with a few more thin glazes of neutral grey and light grey. I kept everything super thin and hitting it at an angle, so didn't really have to go back to get any of the texture to show up, the black still showed in all the cracks.
Once that was all done it was onto the horn and hooves. Here once again I broke from reality, as most rhino horns are the same colour as the hide, and I really wanted the horns to stand out a bit to add some contrast, so went with a bone colour. I used the same method as on the bull to deal with the horns. I then painted in the eyes and was done.
Between the pose and the paint job I managed on this rhino (and some of the blues and browns just do not show in the photos), he is one of my all time favourite figures! I was so tempted to use him for the Eastern challenge this weekend, since he is an Eastern Black Rhino, but in the end I ended up wanting to keep these three together in one post instead. Oh well....
Oh, and one last photo just to show how truly big these Arena Rex models are, here is the rhino charging down some British WW1 soldier who happened into his path!
Wow Byron, every time I think I might break down and get an airbrush, I read about how they are used and I am reminded why I stick with brushes...
But you can't argue with results, and these creatures look fantastic - really, really nice. A Gladiator riding a scorpion! Now THAT is an arena game that would be fun to check out. These are indeed huge models, and I really like that final photo of the poor WW1 infantryman staring down the Rhino...not sure the Enfield bullet will get the job done there...but that sinister scorpion is my favourite of the bunch.
45 points of airbrush-magic points for you, Byron - excellent work!