Now that the ground floor of the Potham Mall is open for business, it was time to do something completely different.
A few months ago I ran across some pics from Zombicide Invader when Amazon decided one of the expansions would suddenly be 80% off. The original Zombicide was one of those games I really wanted to like, but the primary game mechanic seemed to be "run as fast as you can before the zombies that spawn every turn overwhelm you." In the umpteen variations that have been released since then, that game mechanic doesn't seem to be as prevalent in the rules any more and actually seemed like it might be worth trying out on a game night with Keith and Jer.
Of course, I've discovered the game a couple of years after its release during the supply chain issues of Uncertain Times. Even worse, the completionist in me wanted to track down the expansions. That 80% off expansion caught my eye enough to see how the market for the base game and expansions was, and it wasn't too bad.
While it was the pics of some painted alien zombies, or xenomorphs as the rules like to call them, they weren't paint jobs I thought I could pull off as most featured lots of blending. But that was ok, as I was thinking of trying more (1979) movie Alien inspired. Plus, I'd also gotten a lot of minis for the Alien game from GF9 so that in my Expanded Gaming Universe, maybe all of these aliens are related?
With the base set and expansions, there are at least 130 variations of alien zombie to paint. I've never really given speed painting a shot. I'm also not too good at non-human figures. With that in mind, I found a YouTube series that showed some good speed painting basics on the Invader minis and decided to try out that route.
I didn't know how far out of my comfort zone I was going to get when I started. Step 1 was not using my normal, go-to primer of Tamiya Extra Fine White Primer and instead went with the Citadel Wraith Bone that the speed painting videos used. I'm not sure how much I can blame whatever the humidity was, but the Citadel primer went on thicker, which didn't stick as well and seemed to run a little. Maybe I wasn't holding the can far enough away? I got better at priming after the first 10 I started on, but I never got to the point where I felt like I really knew what I was doing.
The next step was adding contrast paint on top of the Wraith Bone primer. First thing I learned here is that Wraith Bone isn't white, or at least it's not Tamiya Extra Fine White. Going back to the speed painting video, they were using Contrast Fireslayer Flesh for flesh color, which I've also been doing for people minis over the past year. The biggest mini is a Spoiler Abomination, which the video painted with flesh and guts. My flesh (Firelayer Flech atop Wraith Bone) looked more like dirty rocks than flesh. I went this route with a couple of other flesh-oriented minis (Hunters and Tanks) and got the same results. The generic, rank and file alien zombies were just going to get a dark grey contrast color, the brand name of which I can't remember. Here's where I run into a long time problem with how contrast paints work for me - they don't go on evenly. I know, somehow, I've got too much on the brush or I'm smearing around too much, but I always end up with a little more paint in recesses. While normally this works well to give an air of shading, it was making my alien zombies look blotchy.
Post contrast paint base color, everything was looking like crap.
For the rank and file, I wanted them to be more uniform in color instead of splotchy. I went back with some German Grey and essentially heavy-drybrushed them. That got more of the color I wanted, and a Nuln Oil wash gave the mini a little depth. Faces were Fireslayer Flesh, so the normal Earthshade wash on top of that helped lessen the rockiness. That wash went on everything else that was supposed to be flesh colored. I tried some different color washes on the tentacles to try and lighten them up, and while some worked better then others none really yelled "use me, I'm the one you want". I'm going to have to go track down a good tentacle color on the internet, which is what I should have done to begin with.
Everything got some small details accentuated from this point, which was very not-speed-painting. Each of the beasts looks to have pockmarked sores, so I picked some different colors to fill them in/highlight and give them a more alien feel. For the 2 Runners, instead of sticking to Earthshade washes, I gave one an Orange-based wash while the other got Purple. Both colors came out nicely subdued. I don't know the logic for orange and purple skinned baddies, but with another dozen-ish of these to paint an excuse to add a little color doesn't really have to make sense.
Over the course of the past month I got 37 of these critters painted. While I don't think that qualifies as speed painting, I know I spent half the time trying to figure out what color/how much to use, which was promptly followed by disappointment. Honestly, I wasn't satisfied (that halfway point between happy and disappointed) until I had added some texture to the bases and drybrushed highlights on.
There's another 24 alien zombies in the core set. I've got a better idea of how to handle overall painting them, although I've still got to figure out the tentacle color. I think I may slip in some generic town scenery while painting these, just to give me something easy that I don't have to think about too hard.
After 2 years all of the stores for the 4Ground Mall are assembled! Maybe not populated, but assembled.
I took the time to put everything together to see how it looked, plus get an idea of what's missing. Somehow I managed to not include any interior contents for anything on the second floor, while the only thing lacking on the first floor is tables and chairs for the food court.
I'll readily admit that having a second floor is impressive, but if it ever comes to playability I'm not really sure how it'll work. With the 2nd floor added, only parts of the main walkway on the 1st floor are accessible, and even then support pillars, stairs, and elevators take up plenty of room. This is why we can have a 1 story or 2 story mall.
Since the Food Court was the last addition, it's only fitting that Bathrooms be the next.
Not a lot to say about putting this one together. It was pretty straight forward. I was pleasantly surprised that the interior walls were blue (as shown in the box preview pics). I'm not sure why I thought the walls were going to be the same neutral/cream color as the rest. The one big mistake I made this time was not paying attention when I put the sinks together. Somehow, I managed to put the tops on backwards, so the decorated front of the counter is facing the back, with the unfinished back now facing forward. A trip to Hobby Lobby presented a fix - amazingly well sized mirror tiles. While I doubt a real public bathroom would have mirrors at waist level, it works well enough in a miniature setting.
And with that, all 2 stories and 20 "stores" (can a bathroom be a store) are constructed, a mere 26-ish months after I started buying all the parts. The vast majority still need interior clutter, but honestly I can put together what most people think of as a modern, sad mall now. In fact, that will be coming up shortly. But populating those stores with clutter is the next part of this project - for next year.
The 4Ground Mall now has a food court! No tables to eat at, but there's a food court!
Now that the actual building (of buildings?) for the mall is nearing the end, the food court got details included during the build instead of just walls and windows. This worked out well, as my meaty man fingers would have had a lot more problems gluing signs in kitchen areas once the walls were glued together.
In keeping with "things I remember from malls" motif, the 3-kitchen food court features Chick Fil A, a food court staple around here. A Sbarro, which I only recently learned also exists outside of malls. Burger King made the cut because I still end up going there when I go to Opry Mills. I haven't been to Opry Mills since Feb, 2020 but I'm pretty sure BK is still doling out double cheeseburgers without me.
I tried to have a little fun with the entrance sign. The obviously-Googled "Food Court" logo is printed on vellum and glued (around the edges) to a wooden nickel, courtesy of Hobby Lobby. I was trying to see how much of the wood would show through the vellum, and I think it's "just enough" to make it interesting.
I left the columns and support beams in the dining area un-glued. Thinking again of my meaty man hands, when time comes to play it would be a lot easier to just move that stuff out of the way. The slots they fit in are tight enough for support and to keep things from falling over.
The one thing, or things, left for later are the dining area table and chairs. From past experience I know the 4Ground table and chairs, and furniture in general, requires patience. With 4-7 tables, and 4 chairs per table, to glue together, I need to save up some patience before I start.
The lone remaining mall building to make is the bathrooms. That one may get finished by the end of the year, but realistically I'm in no rush to get it all done. My Black Friday order of extra stairs/elevator/walkway bridges arrived too.
And then there's all of those stores that are in need of some clutter to sell...
The only true, new addition(s) to the 4Ground mall is an elevator (or lift, as they say on the product page), stairs, and support/pillars to help hold up the 2nd floor walkway & bridge. The real reason all of this came together was to check if there was anything I needed while 4Ground is having a "25% off for November" sale. It turns out I need more bridges. Honestly I thought I initially bought more than 1, which is just what I do.
While everything (that's not in progress) was setup, why not take some pics and make a filler blog post?
And yes, those are meddling kids loitering (from Foundry) in the mall.
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
Tags have been added to posts back to 2005. There may be an occasional old blog that gets added to the tag list, but in reality what could be noteworthy from that far back?
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