Silver Tower: Ogroid Thaumaturge

As suspected, it was a huge relief to start painting these big, standout, singular models. Then, the worries kicked in. Every miniature goes through a phase somewhere in the middle of the process (or at least it does for me) where it looks terrible. This guy had that in spades. I went back and forth over the right way to do the glowing tattoos, and I know they could be better, but eventually I realised that I needed to stop when they were acceptable and maybe return to this model when I’m better at painting in general, even if that’s months from now, for a touch up.

I stuck to the colour scheme in the in-game art for the most part, as I have elsewhere, with one deviation: glowing purple hands instead of glowing orange. I haven’t used orange in the context of magic anywhere else in the set, and given how different this model is to the Kairic Acolytes and Tzaangors I wanted to do something to tie him in. The green flame’s part of that, too.

This is also the first time I’ve properly decorated the bases. In addition to the texture paint I usually use (Astrogranite) I added some gravel before spraying it all black. Then I highlighted most of the gravel as rocks but picked out a couple as chunks of copper ore. There’s a few reasons for this: copper and dark turquoise are naturally complementary colours, and I’ve got a vague inclination to put together a Realm of Metal-themed Chaos army somewhere down the line. I don’t like to go too crazy with bases because I think there’s a risk that they distract from the model itself, but I’m happy with the effect here.

Silver Tower: the Familiars

Familiars - Group

These guys are awesome, and loads of fun to paint. Warhammer’s Pratchettian silly streak is one of my favourite things about the fiction, and Chaos in particular. There are two of each model, even though the four familiars – Tweak, Pug, Blot and Slop – are all individual characters. I took this as an excuse to do two variants for each one, like player one/player two palette swaps in a fighting game.

Familiars – Pug

I gave Pug regular flesh-coloured skin to make it obvious that, yes, his bum is hanging out. I liked painting his little bum. Plus: he’s holding one traditional golden Stormcast helmet and one Celestial Vindicators Stormcast helmet. This is a little nod to something I’m planning to do with some of the other miniatures in this set.

Familiars – Blot

The text in Blot’s book (which is his face, I guess?) came out a bit manic and scribbly, but I don’t mind that too much: I might try to be more delicate with the Gaunt Summoner’s grimoire, but honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if all tomes of Tzeentchian knowledge were like this.

Familiars – Slop

Really fun to paint and super quick: just a Ulthuan Grey basecoat washed twice with a mix of Lamian Medium and Drakenhof Nightshade followed by green/pink washes for the accents. Then I painted some gills on and called it a day.

Familiars – Tweak

Also very straightforward. I used the same process for Tweak’s skin that I used for the Tzaangors’ skin, and then painted his feathers as a gradual gradient from Fenrisian Grey to Ulthuan Grey. I thought about doing another blue-purple gradient for his robes, but, y’know, didn’t.

Finishing this set of miniatures is a milestone: almost three months after I ordered my copy of Silver Tower, I’ve now finished painting every miniature that comes on the main sprues – i.e, all of the line units and duplicates. From now on, I’m painting individual character models only. And that big box of grey plastic is starting to look a lot more sparse:

Slightly less grey plastic.

 

Silver Tower: the rest of the Tzaangors

Tzaangors - Savage Blade and Arcanite Shield

Tzaangors - Two Savage Blades

Tzaangors - Group

I need a break from painting gold trim. I took on the remaining four Tzaangors in a batch, and with a few extended breaks they took two weeks to complete – including one all-day 10-hour shift right at the end. Even though I’m yet to touch the key hero and villain miniatures, the rest of the Silver Tower box feels like a downhill slope from here. The Tzaangors are densely detailed models and I felt compelled to do them ‘right’, which meant spending a lot of time on their accessories and armour and endless gold trim – and then doing it all in duplicate for each set of models.

I figured out late that I probably could have saved a bit of time by painting the gold trim first and then the turquoise armour second – I had assumed that light blue would not paint well over gold, so I did all of the interior panels first and then (painstakingly) painted the gold with a thin brush. I took the opposite approach for the shields and it worked fine. I think I’d like to collect a Tzeentch Arcanites army for Age of Sigmar should they ever release these models as a standalone pack, and if I find myself painting Tzaangors again then I’ll definitely take a faster approach.

Something I’m really happy with is the way my plan to create variety and consistency across the set worked out. There are three accent schemes divided between the six miniatures (purple to orange, green to pink, blue to green) applied to skin, hair and feathers. In terms of thought process and proportion this is equivalent to the range of skin tones I used for my Kairic Acolytes. Then beyond the turquoise-gold armour there’s a motif that occurs on every model – the blue-purple ‘space orb’ that is found on the greataxes, shields, and wrapped in gold at the head of each savage blade. Something I love about painting is the stories or themes that come to you as you work, and this sense of strange celestial energy, nebulae and fortune-telling is something I want to apply across all of my Tzeentch miniatures in the future.

Silver Tower: Tzaangor Greataxes

Tzaangor Greataxes

I had a work-enforced break of about a month after finishing the Deathrunners, only getting a few small bits of painting done in that time.

These were easily the most complicated models I’d encountered at this point. The Tzaangors in general are very unforgiving. In this case, the left arm of each miniature directly obscures the detailed front panel of the armour, necessitating a multi-stage paint job. First I painted the arms and weapon haft separately, then I painted the waist armour, dagger, skulls, bag, loincloth and so on. Then I glued the two halves of the miniature together and painted the rest. It took ages.

A few rough spots, but I’m happy with the result. I’m creating variation in the Tzaangors through the colour of their mutations, which follows a consistent pattern according to the accent colours I’ve been using elsewhere in the set. They’ve all got light blue flesh, and in this case one of them has dark blue extremities which transition into bright green feather-stumps. The other has dark green extremities, transitioning into purple-pink feathers.

Silver Tower: the first month

 

A box of grey plastic

A box of grey plastic

I’ve spent my summer painting the fifty or so miniatures in the Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower box. Warhammer was a big part of my early-mid teens, but I painted far more than I played. I never had the patience to finish a project, however, and I had a bad habit of switching over to something new with big boxes of grey plastic left unpainted. Then one day, for the normal teenage reasons, I put it all away and never looked back.

My partner and I both play a lot of board games, and I wanted to try a dungeon crawler. This new version of Warhammer Quest appealed to me because there’s no GM: it’s entirely co-op. I wanted something that we could share with our friends, not an adversarial experience like Imperial Assault or Descent.

She finds a sea of grey plastic pieces offputting and so do I. For that reason, I decided that I was going to paint the entire Silver Tower set before we played it at all, even if that would take months. This is a strange game, in that sense: it’s an accessible way in to Games Workshop’s new Age of Sigmar setting, and by all accounts a great standalone board game. But the hobby element is extremely complex: dozens of beautiful, intricate, multi-part miniatures with no easy way in for a new painter. Honestly, on that basis alone, I can see why people might give Silver Tower a miss.

This was part of the appeal for me, however. I wanted to end up with a set of miniatures that I’d be proud of. I wanted to finish a project. And, appealingly, the expandable format of the game means that if I want to pick up any individual miniatures from Age of Sigmar in the future, I can find a use for them here. I was in the right place at the right time to want both sides of this weird box of grey plastic: the fun co-op adventure and the huge hobby project.

Before I continue: hat tip to The War Gamer on YouTube – his tutorials gave me a place to start.

Pink, Blue and Brimstone Horrors

Pink, Blue and Brimstone Horrors

These were the first miniatures I painted. Inexperience shows in the Brimstone Horrors, I think, but I’m happy with the others. I want to create a consistent green flame motif across the set, hence going with green rather than yellow flame across the board here. I like the idea that each generation of horror ‘contains’ its successor, which is why the Pink Horrors have blue eyes and the Blue Horrors have green eyes.

Grot Scuttlings

Grot Scuttlings

Four legs, two arms, two claws and two weapons each made these surprisingly fiddly to paint given how tiny they are. I ended up painting the two halves of each separately before sticking them together and finishing off their cloaks. The blue-green feathers on their arrows match the feathers on the Pink Horrors: after all, where else are Grots going to get feathers in the Silver Tower?

Kairic Acolytes - Shield

Kairic Acolytes – Shield

It was a relief to get around to miniatures with a regulation number of arms and legs. I’ve followed the suggested colour scheme for the most part, here – I love the blue-purple gradient too much to swap it out. I did however decide to use these miniatures to practice painting different skin tones. I’d like to add diversity to the game wherever I can, and it makes sense to me that Tzeentch would draw his followers from many different places. I wanted the consistent thing about them to be their gear, not their flesh tone.

Kairic Acolytes - Adept

Kairic Acolytes – Adept

These were a lot of fun to paint. One of the things that drew me to Silver Tower is how colourful and interesting its villains are: I wouldn’t make this kind of investment if it was a game about skeletons and goblins and cave spiders. In this case I’m particularly pleased with the cape: there was no reference for this, so I went with my heart. My heart said ‘fabulous space drapes’.

Kairic Acolytes - Glaive

Kairic Acolytes – Glaive

A nice break after the two Adepts – I’m pretty pleased with how the cloth came out. The lighter-skinned miniature is missing the thumb on his right hand. I have no idea how this happened: whether it was a problem with the sprue or if I snipped it off by accident. I ended up running with it and smoothing down the break so it looks like he’s actually lost his thumb. I’ve got it in my head that this guy signed up for Tzeentch worship in the hopes that, eventually, after he was done being mutated into a golden-masked bird-man-thing, somebody would mutate him a new thumb.

Kairic Acolytes - Two Weapons

Kairic Acolytes – Two Weapons

A little more straightforward than the others thanks to a more open pose and fewer accessories. I tried to tie these into the rest of the set with a faint blue-purple gradient on the chainmail loincloth. I also painted a swirling blue-purple yin-yang effect for the jewel at the head of the axe.

Kairic Acolytes - Group

Kairic Acolytes – Group

I like to think I’ve successfully answered the question, “what would it look like if Liberace assembled an army of evil bodybuilders.”

Skaven Deathrunner

Skaven Deathrunner

About a month into the project, these were a nice change of pace. This was the first time I really needed to mix colours. I started off with Rakarth Flesh then washed the skin with a 3-1 mix of Reikland Fleshshade and Carroburg Crimson. Then I slowly added more Carroburg Crimson to create the gradient on the tail and pick out the brands and warts. I think I ended up somewhere in the vicinity of actual rat skin, which I’m happy with. There’s a faint trace of Coelia Greenshade along the edge of both blades. I’m not sure how perceptible it is: I wanted to hint at the presence of poison without committing too much to a green accent.