Painting day: Rackham Dwarfs


So I just set up a new painting desk in my home and luckily I was able to spend a bunch of time yesterday breaking it in. Like most miniature collectors I have no small amount of models waiting their turn to get some colour slapped on, and I also have quite a sizable pile of figures in various stages of completion… this is great but it can also be daunting – when I make time to paint where do I put my efforts, to finish older projects, or to start new ones? Oh the anxieties of the model collector!

Check out all the unpainted figs on the Shelves!!!

Check out all the unpainted figs on the Shelves!!!

Well, for years now I have been amassing a sizable collection of out of print Rackham figures, to my mind they are still some of the most fun and interesting sculpts out there and I have models from a variety of factions, particularly Tir Na Bor dwarfs, Mid Nor Dwarfs, and various Cadwallon guilds and militia. Indeed, last year I traveled throughout Europe and I was able to rummage around in local game stores and find some sweet  Rackham stuff at better than ebay prices, so I finally decided to get started painting those up.

The only of these models that I had lying around which already had primer on them were some Tir Na Bor Forge Guardians, and I absolutely love these figures so the seemed an obvious place to start. I had already begun a few of them years ago in a fairly conventional paint scheme, but left them uncompleted – strong earth tones with deep reds and bright oranges to bring out the heat of the steam technology these little dudes wielded, and the forges they guard. However, recently I have been thinking about dwarfs in different ways, about life in the deeps and how it would affect a body, and about the alternate coloration that characterizes the duergar and the svirfneblin in the D&D universe. You see, traditionally the good races are coloured with warm and tones with an emphasis on white skin and the evil races are generally coloured in cold tones with an emphasis on darker colours and a stronger prevalence of darker or unhealthy looking skin. I kind of object to the ways that colour can be used to buttress racist ideas so I was thinking that I wanted to paint my little deep dwellers in a more unconventional scheme, and having just read a really in-depth article in Portal Magazine # 30 on colour and tone it seemed an interesting challenge to do something different with warm and cold tones on these guys.

So enough blabbing, here is my progress so far!

FYI these guys aren’t finished yet, I still have a bunch of highlights to do as well as the basing but I wanted to post something today so I will have to add the finished pics when I’m done

Skin: I used a 3:2:1 mix of Rotting Flesh (o), Screaming Skull, and Dawnstone Grey, washed lightly with Badab Black (o) and then Argax Earth Shade, and with highlights that again mixed the above colours but in different proportions, going from a mix heavier on the grey through a Rotting Flesh mid to Skull. I will probably do one more highlight  of only a thinned down skull (or maybe with a spot of grey…) to try to take away a bit more of the green in the skin, and there are a couple places where the muscles need a bit more definition with the wash.

Beard: 3:1 mix of Hawk Turquoise (o) and Scaly Green (o), washed with Thraka Green (o) and Badab Black (o), and lit with mixes of Hawk Turquoise (o) and Ice Blue (o) moving from darker to lighter. I might still add a touch of green in the beard, not sure yet…

Hoses and tanks: nose – Hawk Turquoise (o) with many light washes of Thraka Green (o), tanks – Orkhide Shade (o) lit with Snot Green (o) and Camo Green (o), ribbed weapon hose – Rotting Flesh (o) washed heavily with Badab Black (o) and Argax Earthshade, smooth weapon hose – Orkhide Shade (o) lit with Snot Green

Firey glow in Goggles, weapons and boilers: 2:1 mix of Red Gore (o) and Scorched Brown (o), washed pretty heavily with Badab Black (o), and then give highlights of Blood Red (o), Blazing Orange (o), and Sunburst Yellow (o), a couple spots on the weapons still need a black wash to darken the crevices.

All the areas below still need highlighting…

The Apron and gloves: Thinned Dawnstone.

Belt and Mask straps: Baneblade Brown.

Weapons and Boilers: Charadon Granite (o) and Stormvermin fur.

Wood casks and any other wood: Steel Legion Drab.

Mask and Pouches: Thinned Scorched Brown (o)

Cask strapping and other metal bits (buckles, goggle rims, etc.): Zandri Dust

Basically I was going for a very cold feel on the model with a sharp contrast in the fire on the weapons… the masks are still warmer than I’d like so I will highlight them in  pale colours… the skin is a bit more green than I had wanted, I tried this before on some goblins and got a really cool grey/green skin tone that still had some flesh hints in it (But I sold them before finishing them…) but this time it is just a very pale green really with highlights that are even more pale and less green. I will experiment on some of the other dwarfs to try and get the effect I am looking for but if it doesn’t work I’m not overly worried as I think it looks good regardless. The blue beard was really fun and I want to give it a few more touches to really make it pop, so all in all I’m pretty please with how these guys are coming along. It is the first time I have done something so specifically experimental with my colours in terms of temperature and I’m pleased with the result. The bases will get a rough underground broken cobbles sort of thing I think, we shall see what I have time for. I have a few more like these in the queue, and then some dwarfs with jetpacks which will mean no more skin tone experiments but I’ll be trying some NMM (non-metal metal for the uninitiated!) on those, keeping the same tones and temperatures.

Anyhow, that’s all for now! I’ll try to get these guys done soon and keep updating on my painting but I just got a very exciting contract to build a model for a film (I won’t be able to show any progress reports unfortunately but I’ll keep you in the loop as things start moving towards release!) so I may be absent for a bit as the timeline is very tight.

Take care for now and happy modelling!




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