By Jace Thomas– June 22, 2011
So, my latest hijinks were inspired by the Dynamic Duo of Josh and Jeremy Gremillion. At MonCon I had the wonderful fortune of being shown by Josh during our battle just how easy it is to enrich some of the more bland figures in the Monsterpocalypse world – the Sewage Plant and, um, the green amplify truck thing that I don’t own. I mean, the colors are just so boring and flat on those – what’s the big deal, Privateer Press? At least the Series 1 Oil Refinery was made of shiny stuff, this one’s not only green, but has no shading at all! SO, according to the Gremillions, there is an incredibly easy way of rectifying this. Introducing… Quickshade!
Thanks again, guys – I’ve had tons of fun playing around with this stuff! First, to get my feet wet, I tried it out with something I knew would work, (the sewage and civilian unit) and also with an extra publishing house. For the record, it works AWESOME on figures with texture – the more, the better. While on smooth buildings with little, like the publishing house/apartment building what have you, it gives it a nice smoky coat, you don’t really get the cool settling effect.
And thusly, I had much fun that afternoon dunking all sorts of things into that primordial goo of wonder. But a few nights down the week, as I was deeply admiring the beautiful greenness of my recently acquired Martian force, my mind started to wander to the clouds (as it often does) “Hrmn, I wonder what would happen if I dipped one of these bad boys in here? Because surely, a Martian, though beautiful and green, is made of the same plastic as a building.” I was slightly reluctant to risk a figure, in case it didn’t turn out as I thought (and of course, who would want to risk tarnishing the beauty of the God of War? The sculpts in this game are among the best I’ve seen; ever) (even if the paint jobs sometimes leave much to be desired) (I’m lookin’ at you, Ubercorp) But then I realized that I had a handful of extra despoilers that I had gotten randomly through All Your Base boosters, and at about 4 bits a pop on the TC store, I figured “What’s the worst that could happen?”
And when I finally did conjure up the gumption, I was taken aback by its majesty. Instead of obscuring the green and tarnishing the silver as I had feared, as is it’s magical nature the grey goo only served to enhance the ferocity of the mighty menace.
The first thing I thought of when I saw it was “Whoa, Mega!!” after the lone Martian Mega I own, Phobos – 7. Like in the official model, the metal is a lot darker and the green is.. dirtier? I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but the green is definitely a different shade (disclaimer: I am not an artist and therefore claim no responsibility over the misuse of the term “shade”) which I think looks wonderful. I always did find the bright green of the menace appealing, but the darker tone fits the invader theme so well!
The difference between my dippings and the mega, however, is a positive one – they just have that warm, unique, homemade feeling, like the knit sweater gramma gits ye for Christmas or an apple pie that doesn’t come from McDonald’s. The way I see it, no matter what you do to a figure, as long as you do anything at all, it makes it all special and yours! How neat.
And my most favorite part of the dip is that it fills in the unseen cracks that the Martian figures are riddled with so splendidly. It’s basically the principle that Clay and William tried to get across during their painter’s panel at MonCon when they were talking about a wash – it flows over the high parts and lightly enhances it, while collecting in the grooves to really make them pop.
It is simply breathtaking to behold the amount of effort that went into sculpting these Martian figures. It’s enough to make me wonder why the painters did absolutely nothing to enhance it in the first place! I never would have known just how cool and intricate the runes really were unless I did this; the Martians are absolutely riddled with them. If you’re a fan of the Martian Menace, or of the game in general, or even of cool stuff and art, you definitely owe it to yourself to grab up a model, if even a seldom-used one, and splash it, dunk it, or even shine some light on it to witness the glorious beauty shading brings to these figurines.
And as you’ve no doubt noticed by now (unless you’re colorblind, and for good reason as I’ve heard it’s easiest to mix up red and green) I’ve added a bit of flavor to the otherwise bland bases of my units. Don’t get me wrong, I like the classy black (it’s the new black, after all) but the Martian faction is just so full of flavor, how could I resist such a simple sprucing-up?
I figured as far as bases go, the Martians’ would be the most obvious. The dusty red rock of Mars! I achieved the effect by applying some very fine ballast (basically a plastic tube of rocks you can buy for use building model train scenery) with some Elmer’s glue. I basically just painted the glue onto the base with an old paintbrush, put the figure on a piece of paper, and dumped the rocks all over it. Leave it to dry for a while (I just let it sit for a few hours while I ate and played a video game to be sure it had dried completely) and shake off the excess!
Now, after the glue is dried you want to seal the rocks so that they don’t loosen up and fall out (there aren’t any bare patches between the red rocks on Mars, after all!) and I have this special pre-mixed stuff I got (also at a train terrain hobby type store) that is basically the same Elmer’s glue and water mixed together so it is very fluid and runny to flow between the cracks of the rocks. It’s got enough glue to hold them together, but is thin enough that it doesn’t take away from the sandpaper texture (which is important when it comes to painting it) If you don’t have any or can’t find any, you can mix the glue + water yourself; I’d go for about a 50/50 mix. It should be watery enough that you can dip a paintbrush in it and it collects in a little dewdrop on the bristles, then you just have to touch the drop to the gravel and it will just run in automatically. Surface tension or something, dawg.
As far as the painting goes, for all my model needs I use Citadel Miniatures brand paints. If it matters, in this particular case I used Red Gore, and drybrushed over the top with Blood Red. Basically, I created a 50/50 mixture with a dark red color and water, then did the same thing I did with the sealant – daubed it on so that the red soaked in all over. Once all the figures dried, I took the lighter red color and drybrushed over the other coat – you can probably look up how to do that online if you don’t know how, but it’s basically dipping your brush and paint and then wiping it off on something like a paper towel (I wipe it off on the rim of the lid so that it drips back in because I’m crazy conservative of my paint) and then brush over your textured area with the almost dry brush – since there’s not that much liquid, it won’t get down in the cracks, and only on the raised areas. The way I did it with the rocks is very subtle as it’s almost the same color and I did such a light coat, but it really breaks up the color tedium and makes it pop! For instance, if I had drybrushed it with white it would probably made it look even more 3d, or perhaps like a light dusting of snow had fallen depending on how I did it.
Welp, this blog has gone on long enough! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as I know I’ve enjoyed working on the project. It’s very satisfying fielding this army, and I urge you all to be creative and do the same! By the way, it’s probably worth mentioning that it only took about 20 minutes to apply the rocks to the bases of the minis with Elmer’s. You could probably base your units in that time too – and you wouldn’t even have to paint them if you used flocking instead of ballast, which is basically like grass! Far-out.