Greetings vaqueros! Today I'll be telling you all about my adventures with the new GW Contrast range in the first month from when it was released (22 June - 22 July).
The new Contrast range of paints have been something of a galvanising force for my hobby. This year has been a quiet one for me, painting-wise, largely due to a lack of specific focus and no real deadlines or goals to work towards - and there's nothing like a good deadline to get a person moving. So I set myself a goal to see how many miniatures I could get painted in one month with Games Workshop's new miracle paints, and the results were quite surprising, but perhaps not for the reasons I was expecting...
For my 'testing the paints' phase, I opted to abandon my existing painting queue, such as it was, and spent a week assembling, prepping and priming miniatures from my staggeringly large and depressing backlog. Hundreds of guilty purchases lurk in the dark corners of Castle Von Crookenstein, and I dragged many of them screaming into the light of my unforgiving day lamps.
|These guys always go to work with a smile.|
Since I was able to have a go using the paints in advance on a poxwalker at my local GW, I decided that my own pile of poxwalkers would be a great place to begin. Given their gross, gribbly nature, they were a potentially forgiving choice if I messed things up badly. I based up all 16 I'd acquired from various 40k starter sets and started off painting 4 of them the day after I got my Contrast pre-orders, which took an evening to do. Then over the next two nights and one lunchtime I painted the other 12, which seemed a decent amount of time for 16 minis. It wasn't quite the 'full army in 8 hours' that some folks managed to pull off but 16 was approx. half my year's tally up to that point, so for me it was a big deal!
|"Traffic jam? Super duper! Aircon broke? Fantastic! Girlfriend left me because I'm a festering sack of stinky guts? Hurray!"|
My first impressions using the paints and the special medium was that it wasn't really something I'd use in the way marketed by GW - 'ONE THICK COAT' is a fine, amusing way of describing how the paint can be used, but it is also probably the worst way to use the paint.
|But not the worst way to use paint in general...|
Experimenting with adding medium in various ratios to the paint was a fun exercise, and the paint rewards a more careful approach to application - essentially, choose a limb, paint it fully, choose another, paint it fully, and so forth. Proceeding methodically and thinning appropriately allows you to avoid the excessive pooling of pigment that comes with the ONE THICK COAT approach of attacking the whole model with your biggest brush (or hosepipe, as seen in the advertising).
|...of smurf jizz.|
The next batch of minis were a big bag of 6th edition metal plaguebearers, whom I bought off a friend on a whim some years back and promptly decided I didn't like. I prepped 20 of them and then batch painted them in a big long line, using the same scheme as the poxwalkers. The plaguebearers have less details (no bags, shoes, PANTS) and painted up even faster than the poxwalkers, taking me 3.5 sessions to complete (the 0.5 was just laboriously painting 20 bases).
|I had a lot of duplicates, so here are the 6 unique ones.|
After a little experimentation with Death Guard marine schemes and Blood Reaver schemes, I attacked 10 cultists from the Dark Vengeance 40k boxed set from a few editions ago. I wanted to use colours other than blue and pink, so went with earthy browns and greys and greens. The results were quite pleasing, and best of all, lightning fast to complete.
|These may not make the final cut but they still count for the total because I based them up and shit.|
|Face the wrath of the Bröwn Starfįsh Cult|
Whilst working on some prototype schemes on expendable cheap Death Guard duplicates, I painted a grot that had been hanging around my desk for a while. I was so smitten by the result that I based up 20 more grots and they became the next batch completed. At this point painting 20 minis at a time had become fairly routine!
|I freakin' love these little guys. But not enough to immediately paint 20 more...|
Buoyed by this success, I next prepped 20 ork boyz from the Assault on Black Reach set that have been pining away in dusty boxes for over a decade (yes, 40k 5th edition turned 10 last year, FEEL OLD YET?). This was my favourite batch of minis yet, because I felt I finally had a handle on how Contrast paints work. The basic out-of-the-pot colours served as a means to replace several whole painting steps from my usual method in one go - 2 coats of base colour, 2 thinned washes and reapplication of the base colour to the raised portions of the mini. 5 steps in one, which is how I managed to get so much more done in the time I had. The process has genuinely made me feel like I was 14 years old again, learning the ropes in unfamiliar territory. Invigorating!
|These will likely be a modern variation on my 'Black Moon Mercenaries' because I am lacking in imagination as well as originality.|
I put the last drybrush on the last ork base on July 22nd, a full month from the Contrast release date. In that time I painted exactly 90 miniatures. They are not my best paint jobs but they are serviceable on the tabletop of battle, and that is fine by me - more than fine, in fact - 90 fuckin' miniatures y'all, 90!!! Last year I barely made it to 60 for the whole year!
And what's next? Well since I'm on a roll bulk-painting easy to finish models, why not a skeletal horde or three?
|"DEM BONES DEM BONES DEM MONOPOSE BONES"|
Adios for now!