The Dwarven Throng Assembles!   Leave a comment

Gathering the Dwarves

Knowing I was eventually going to do Dwarves, I’ve been collecting them for some time now.  I initially picked up the Skull Pass starter box at GW.  Since then, I’ve added 2 more boxes of Skull Pass.  One thanks to loychan and the other one was from a Romanian drifter who only wanted some beads and beer in exchange.

There’s something special about going into a shop, looking at beautiful studio photos of minis, purchasing your units and then proceeding to build your force.  It’s that wonderful time of dreaming about how the army is going to look…how this next army may fulfill the promise of ultimate gaming pleasure.

If that’s the case, the miniatures I acquired are the story of unfulfilled promises and dreams forgotten.

If you want a pretty shot, see the Empire army. We're talking Dwarves here!

Our mysterious Romanian left the models in various states of assembly and painting.  A few are fully complete and some are just primed black.  The rest are in various states in between.  So, while the rest of guys get to start with clean models, I must make a key decision.  Do I strip or not?  It’s a question that every minis hobbyist will eventually ask.

At first, I was convinced I was going to strip the models and start again.  This blog idea was originally intended to take the Warhammer army building experience from new model to fully finished model.  Also, the figures are all primed in black.  Personally I am in the white primer camp.

But in the end, I decided against it.  Why?

  • The shadowy Romanian did a fairly good job of the models he completed.
  • The paint is thin and can easily be painted over.
  • I’ve only tried painting over black a few times, so this gives me another opportunity at it.
  • Stripping would take about a week and will set me back time wise.
  • I find that black primer doesn’t strip off plastic that well.

Ok, so that covers the infantry and the cannons.  The rest of the army was filled in with a quick trip to Meeplemart and some cunning trades at the GW Bits Bazaar.

Assembling & Priming the Priming

As this is my least favorite part of the hobbies, I’ll let my fellow Generals expound on this topic.

Fortunately for me, assembling the minis was pretty much just gluing the figure to the base.  Much of the work was also completed by the enigmatic Romanian, so I only needed to do some touch up and reinforcement gluing.  I’m not going to re-prime the black models.  For the bare plastic models I’ll be spraying those with Tamiya white primer.  It is the finest finish you can get.

Painting:  The Battleplan

Strategy – The General plan for painting the Dwaven Throng

Now we’re getting close to the good stuff…

As I’ve decided not to use Miner units in my army, I’m going to use those to represent the Longbeards.  The regular warriors with axes will be the regular warriors.

Finally, before I put paint to brush I’ll workout the color scheme I’m using.  Typically I’ll use the “canon” colors, but for dwarves I’m going to do something a little different.

Overall, the army will be bronze, chainmail and stone; this will unifythe army visually.  As I find the Dwarf figures very similar between units, I’m planning to use color to distinguish them.  Here’s the color strategy I’ll be using:

  • Warriors – Green with blond beards
  • Longbeards – Blue with grey beards
  • Heroes – Purple with various beards
  • Artillery Crew – Red with black beards
  • Slayers – naked with red beards…of course

 Colors are planned.  So how do i get em on the figures.

As with everything related to miniature gaming, you need a strategy when it comes to painting.  There are two forces at work here:

  • The desire to field your new army quickly
  • The desire to have a well painted army

I use the following method to get both an army on the table in the shortest amount of time AND have a very nicely painted force.

Here are the standards I’m going by:

Recruit Standard

At this stage I have one layer of paint on the entire model.  No primer is showing through.  Typically the paint is extremely thin allowing a kind of wash effect.  Shadows are the recesses where the paint collects and highlights are the parts where the paint is thinnest and the white primer shows through.  Only the base colors are used.  There are no details painted at this point…no eyes, no belt buckles, etc.  I just want to get stuff on the table that isn’t bare plastic.

Wargaming Standard

At this stage, I have shaded and highlighted the entire model.  All the details are painted on and the model’s base is flocked or decorated.  Typically this involves 3-5 layers of thin paint and washes.  Most of the figures will be painted up to this standard with only a few centerpiece figures getting more attention.

Museum Standard

At this stage, you’re afraid to play with the minis for fear of ruining your paint job.  I’ve only painted a few figures to this standard because of the time involved getting them to this point.  Also, with the wear and tear that wargaming causes on a model, it’s almost not worth it if the figure is going to get a lot of play.  Basically you are looking for a look akin to those seen in Golden Daemon competitions or Confrontation 3.0 paint jobs.  It’s at this point I add weathering, banner details, fabric patterns, weapon inscriptions and other cool special effects.

So how do you get a Wargaming standard or better army AND field the army almost immediately?  The key is to paint THIN!

The plan is to paint everything to a Recruit standard first.  This gets the minis on the table fast.  For a 1500 point army it would probably take 3 weeks of painting to get models of this standard ready.  500 pts should take me about a week.  After the whole army is painted this way, I’ll proceed to go unit by unit and improve them to a wargaming standard starting with units that perform the best in battle.  Getting up to that standard will usually take 6-8 months.

Tactics – How I take the pain out of big armies

I’m not going into too much detail on how to paint, but here are some guidelines I use:

  • I keep the paint thin!
  • I paint like sculpts together.  The repetition allows me paint faster.
  • I don’t worry about the edges.  In fact I paint over edges to make sure I don’t have primer showing through.  It may look sloppy at first, but the overlap leads to a better line later.

Sounds like i’m painting like kid just getting into the hobby and in a way I am. 

Here’s the progression from beginning to end for the Dwarf Warriors unit.  The colours in the sequence I painted them on are:

  • Bronzed Flesh – skin
  • Dark Angels Green – Cloth and shields
  • Bleached Bone – Beards
  • Boltgun Metal – Metal weapons
  • Chainmail – Chainmail
  • Dark Flesh – Armor trim
  • Tin Bitz – anything that is going to eventually be bronze
  • Scorched Brown – Boots and Gloves
  • Foundation Grey – bases

    Warriors - Fast and Furious

In total that was 9 fast passes with the brush.  I’m looking at about 1 minute per model per color.  So that adds up to about 90 minutes painting.  Probably more like 2 hrs real time if you add in the brush cleaning and trying to make dried up paint alive again.

As you can see, the models are in a pretty rough state, however at a distance of about 2 feet in the fury of battle, it makes very little difference to well painted figures.  Also, don’t forget that they will get a nicer touch up if they perform well in combat.

That’s pretty fast.  Another 3 hrs and I should have the rest of the 500 pts ready to field.


Posted May 14, 2011 by coffeedream in Dwarfs, Warhammer Fantasy

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