So, another challenging week where I did not finish as much as I had hoped I would. Too many distractions, it was difficult to concentrate. However, it is not all doom and gloom. I managed to finish a couple of things that have been lingering…
First up I think we finally got the Citadel trees how we want them. Several small details tweaked, and of course my poor photography fails to properly illustrate how they look in person.
In addition to working on the moderately expensive Citadel trees I also spent entirely too much time trying to make some “budget” toy trees look like they could fit our table.
They are as matt as I would like, despite several coats of brush on Vallejo acrylic matt clear coat. But they are not as glossy in person as they look in the photos.
These three trees are called Toyvian trees on Amazon.de, bought for 3 Euros each, with free postage. They also go by Stobor and Wenini trees depending on where you look. The feedback on them warned of them being packaged badly and arriving flat. I took the risk… as you can see in the first photo below, they arrived flat.
I soaked them in hot (almost boiling) water and reshaped them. The trunks got soft fast, so be careful if you try it, and reshaped well. The branches/leaves… not so much.
As you can see I then weighted them with metal shavings enclosed in modeling putty. Do not worry, I painted the putty brown… I just forgot to take a photo of that.
In the last photo you can see I shaved the edges of the join where the leaves/branches fit onto the bigger branches then painted that area brown. Originally I had painted it green an not shaved the edges, but it did not look quite right. I found this looked better to my eyes.
EDIT: For a bit more detail on how I painted the Toyvian trees…
First I used a Vallejo green brush on primer for the trunk and branches/leaves. Then I painted the trunk a medium brown (Army Painter Oak or Dirt Spatter Brown) and the branches/leaves Army Painter Commando Green. I then picked out the knots on the trunk in Army Painter Skeleton Bone. I also used random greens on various individual leaves to break up the uniformity, lighter colors gave me better results than darker colors. Then knots on the trunk then got an Army Painter Light Tone Wash (Sepia) while the rest of the trunk got an Army Painter Strong Tone Wash (Dark Brown) and the branches/leaves got an Army Painter Green Tone Wash. Then I dry bushed the branches/leaves with various light greens. I then painted the branches medium brown. And then gave the branches/leaves an Army Painter Military Shade Wash (Green-Brown) followed by a matt clear coat.
I hope that makes sense.
It would seem I am hardly the first to think of mixing these Toyvian and Schleich trees with Dwarven Forge. NiandoBG, a name I recognize from the Dwarven Forge forums has some cool videos on YouTube with Dwarven Forge builds
I also worked on some more Dwarven Forge Dreadhollow Forest pieces. My wife is a bit concerned about the time I am spending on what are supposed to be “plug and play” factory painted pieces but for what they cost I want them to be “just right”…. or at least as close to that as I can make them. It is still considerably less time than if I had to paint them from scratch.
Here is a comparison shot between the one I just finished and one from the factory (with the new 2020 paint scheme). The photo was taken outside to make the best use of natural lighting. Oddly my photo makes the factory piece look better than it does in person. The camera (an IPad) seems to autoadjust the colors to bring out differences in the greens from the factory to create a better contrast compared to what the naked eyes of me and my wife see… and it reduces the gloss of the factory piece, which I reduced on my modified piece with brush on Vallejo acrylic matt clear coat.
The next comparison shot is the same two, inside on our gaming table.
And here you can see it with the Dwarven Forge forest terrain trays…
My wife thinks that my painting makes it look a little to specifically autumn whereas the factory paintwork looks more multiseasonal to her. I do not necessarily agree although I am worried that it is a bit too busy. Seems to me you find fallen leaves lasting much longer than just the autumn months. Again the camera seems to exaggerate the contrast compared to our naked eyes when looking at them in person.
The join lines between tiles also look different in person compared to photos in our opinion. On the table they are not so glaringly obvious. I wonder if that is the contrast at play again?
In addition to this, our mate Tom of Messages in the Darkness…
….. has tempted us down a dark path…. by giving us a very good deal on some Dwarven Forge dungeon pieces!
Ah, how our backlog of painting work has grown! My wife has started chipping away at it with painting up some of the unpainted pieces to match the castle pieces we previously got from Tom.
You can see a couple of Tom’s painted pieces on the left, in the middle pieces painted by my wife and on the right the castle piece we are using as a template. We are going for a bluish grey and adding random tan blocks to the grey ones. We are a bit worried that they will not match any factory painted dungeon pieces we get in the future but I guess we will cross the chasm when we get to it.
I think we have well and truly been bitten by the Dwarven Forge bug. Looking at the information we are getting about Dungeons and Lasers 2 and 3 from Archon Studios I am increasingly favoring the DF designs. It is an expensive addiction to feed though!
So expensive that we are cancelling our Stellaris/Dropfleet/Full Thrust spaceship combat project. All of our various space bits will be heading for eBay in due course. Feel free to get in touch if you are interested in getting some.
Of particular interest to some might be our Ether Drake, Automated Dreadnought and Dimensional Horror that we got in the TT Combat Stellaris Kickstarter. They are resin and BIG because they are the 2 UP versions.
Why are we doing this? For me it is about creating a specific artistic look, building an image I have in my head. Shaping a fictional world where we will generate a narrative through writing, photos and gameplay. Our artwork may not may not be very good technically but it expresses our shared vision of this world we are creating, inspired by so many different influences but in the end uniquely ours.
And doing that, with what we want to use, does not come cheap. So sacrifices must be made. We only have so much time to build, paint and play anyway, so we have to focus on what projects are most important to us.
So what are your thoughts on this? Questions, feedback, advice and suggestions are most welcome! Feel free to leave a comment, the time you spend here is very much appreciated and we care what you think.