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