Well, this is an unexpectedly productive start to the year! I took up the 90 Minute Challenge on Monday to paint up Prisoner 01 from the Batman Miniature Game. Not being happy with the final result, I had another crack at the challenge on Tuesday, finishing my first proper Imperial Guardsman in my new army scheme.
Before we get to the pictures, a little background. I first saw the challenge in forum post by nerodine (who happens to also run a blog - go check out Quietly Raging!), who had been issued the challenge by a friend. The jist of it is simple - pick a model then paint it up in 90 minutes, primer to finished, not including the base.
Once you've done it once - congratulations, you finished a mini in awesome time! It might not be the best thing you've ever painted (as I found out), but when you take the challenge again, you can work out where to try something different and hopefully see an improvement as you rack up the finished minis. It has been suggested to give it a go once a month for a year. That way it can be run alongside any other projects people might have and hopefully gives people the mojo boost of a quickly finished figure :)
So, onto my challenge attempts.
First up was Prisoner 01, one of the inmates from Blackgate Prison and joint lowest valued model in BMG at 10 Rep. I initially picked him as he seemed a fairly simple choice with minimal detailing and a simple scheme - he also had the advantage of being primed.
Unfortunately, I didn't count on orange being such a pain in the backside. I rarely paint orange, so picked out a range of them and a couple of darker browns for shading. Half an hour in and I was regretting the choice of tones, as my Vallejo Red Orange, which was the initial base tone, was drying glossy, so a lot of time was lost recovering the glossy mess and forcing me into a bit of a rush.
Before I started painting him, I planned out what I wanted to do with him. I had the oranges prepped on the palette before choosing a cold blue grey to compliment it, with blue being opposite in the colour wheel to orange making it a complimentary colour (red&green, orange&blue, yellow&purple), while the warmth of the orange was balanced out the coolness supplied by the blues and metals.
I knew that, being a timed challenge, I'd have to plan beforehand, so looked the model over and worked out where I'd want the shades and highlights to fall. This allowed me to go straight in once the initial base layers were down to throw down the heavier shades and work back towards the base tone.
The downside of this approach is that due to the time element and not having access to a hairdryer to quickly dry him, washes and glazes to soften the shadows were out, so a lot of the shadows remain quite deep on him. This combined with the orange not behaving quite as I'd have wanted leads to quite a rough looking jump suit, something I'm not really a fan of and felt like a step back a few years in terms of quality.
The blues worked nicely particularly on the bandana. I didn't get the flesh tones 100% right though, probably due to time pressures so ended up bodging something together for them. With the clock ticking down I still needed to add eyes, which I tried but couldn't get right in the time left. Instead of leaving them as specks of white, I mixed up some purple with some flesh tone and coal black (one of the tones used in the blues) to create a black eye/bruise tone, which was then applied around the eyes and to the jaw. Someone who is the lowest rep in a game is probably getting beaten up regularly!
I was pleased to have finished him in just over the 90 minutes, and he definitely fits into "tabletop quality" in my book, but looking back I'm disappointed with various elements so he also fits into "could do better". I also realised that I hadn't prepped quite as much as I thought I had, so resolved to have another go to prove to myself that I could indeed do better.
Back in March I painted up a Lord Commissar for my Imperial Guard force, the Schindelheist 36th, and decided that instead of their current deep red and pastel blue scheme (which is striking, but also a pain in the arse), I wanted a new colour scheme. I'd half tone a tester model since then but never got around to finishing him.
In steps a lone guardsman. I figured if anyone other than Prisoner 01 deserved such a fate, it would be a lowly lasgun grunt, who costs effectively the same as a melta bomb in terms of points and is probably less effective.
I planned each of the tones I planned to use on the palette before I started.
Black Cloth - S75 Necro Grey base, highlight using GW Dark Reaper and Fenrisian Grey
Green Armour - GW Warpstone Glow base, Moot Green highlight followed by Moot Green and a little Pallid Wych Flesh, shaded with Dark Reaper.
Flesh - P3 Khardic Flesh base, highlight GW Kislev Flesh, another Dark Reaper shade (mixed in with the Khardic Flesh).
The metals would be using the S75 Silver set, while any trim on green would be painted up using the same tones as the cloth, but with sharper highlighting.
I also changed my brush. I painted all of Prisoner 01, apart from the eyes, with my Basecoat sized brush and didn't notice that I hadn't switched out for something more detailed until half way through, then kept going anyway. For the guardsman I moved over to my Large Detail brush to still cover the mini effectively but to also make the sharper highlights a little cleaner.
Safe to say, the plan worked! Again, I was slightly over the time limit, thanks to initially only using a Moot Green highlight on the armour. Once I'd taken a few pictures of him I realised it didn't really show up, so I added a little of the PWF to the mix, creating an almost yellow tone to the highlight.
Again, he doesn't come above "tabletop quality" but I'm a lot happier with him, as my planned stages appeared as I wanted them to rather than having to constantly reworking things. He was actually painted from a white basecoat, which lead to coverage issues to begin with but I think it helps the green pop a little more (and the S75 Fantasy & Games stuff covers brilliantly so only needed a couple of thin layers to get it up to the deep almost-black that I was after). Plus, who really needs grunt guardsmen painted above tabletop, given that they're back into the case as soon as they get to the table after they get eaten by the angry denizens of the battlefield.
And there we are - a surprisingly productive week with my first two miniatures of the year finished and an urge to see what a squad of guardsmen in this scheme looks like - it might just be project time soon ;)
So, does anyone else fancy taking up the 90 Minute Challenge? Let us know how you get on!