Slapchop v Zenithal


It's been longer than usual since my last post, and it's not because I was being ultra-productive and have the largest cache of newly painted gaming whatnot to share. Nope. I just wasn't in the mood to paint. Part of that was due to trying something new (for me). I finally jumped on board and tried a couple of priming/prep techniques that everyone has been using for years - Slapchop and Zenithal priming.

Thus, an experiment was begun using the Walking Dead Saviors expansion pack. 6 minis, which I would split into (my version of) Slapchop and Zenithal priming. Since I normally prime white and then get to painting, both of these methods just felt weird.

First up: Slapchopping

My version of Slapchop starts with priming black, then a heavy dry brush of some Vallejo dark grey that I randomly picked out of a box. While this really did bring out beginning highlights of raised areas and left the recesses with dark, well, black, shadows, the highlights came out very chalky. I know this is from the paint for dry brushing being too dry on the brush, but that's just the way I dry brush. I used Speedpaint and a little Citadel Contrast on these minis, which I also did for the Zenithal batch following. I think the end result is kind of a comic book style. The jump to shadowy black is a little too harsh and at times inconsistent (see Dwight's blonde hair). With some work on my dry brush method this could be better, but as it is I don't care for my end result.

Next: Zenithal Prime

Zenithal priming felt a little more natural - prime black, then from above spray with white to emulate a natural light source. This wasn't just picking a spot and spraying from there, but more of a 180° from above to also include reflective light from above. Since this ended up with mostly white that wasn't chalky, like I'm used to painting, the follow-up printing process felt more normal. I may have sprayed from above from too many angles, as the dark shadows underneath weren't really there like I was expecting. This method worked better than Slapchop for me, but I don't really know my end result shows anything to make it worth the extra effort.

So, what do I think? Slapchop isn't for me, which is a shame because for everything it's hyped to do it sounds perfect for me. Zenithal priming is close to what I'm used to once I start actually painting. I may do another Zenithal test later and keep the highlight spray more vertical and see if that beings out shadows more like I'm expecting.

The next batch on tap is more Walking Dead - this time the Kingdom expansion, which will give me 3 horses with riders to paint. This will be a return to classic white priming, as I'm always unsure how animal painting will go at the onset.

gaming miniatures walking dead

More No Longer Produced Walking Dead


Continuing my admittedly slow progress into finishing out the Walking Dead minis, I worked on another batch of duplicates from before. Boosters of Tyrese and Chris & Julie. The only real item of note here was that I used the new Army Painter 2.0 Speedpaint set, save for bases and what ended up as red-beanies.

Since I'd painted these figures before, it really was just a test of the new paint. I got the entire 90 bottle set at a decent price online and wanted to go ahead and use them to convince myself I hadn't wasted money. Luckily, I think this was the case! I liked using these. Speed paints are the equivalent of Citadel contrast paint. I like the contrast paints, but I have a problem with smearing/pooling. This happens less so with speed paints - I'm not sure how much of that is the paint and how much is me getting ever so slightly better. I'll say it's a combo, though, and just keep using the speed paint when the color I want is available.

That testing of various colors is also a big part of the colorfulness of this batch - how often am I going to use orange, much less for a shirt? And in the end I think I liked the range that I picked out. While it would be a little blinding in real life, it works for picking minis out of a potentially cluttered map.

One negative from all of this is that I found my wet pallet generates some mold after a week or 2. This is the 1st time said mold has actually ended up in the paint I added to the mini. Or at least noticeably (see orange shirt zombie). I've tried multiple internet hints on preventing wet pallet mold, but none work 100% with this set up. Maybe I need to revert to not-wet when stored away pallet.

gaming miniatures walking dead

Delve Into Out Of Production


This is not one of my usual "trying out new things" painting posts. This is just sharing some pics of the last batch I did. Not every painting session has to be a dive into learning and trying to get better. It's ok to just whip something out, too.

Around March of last year, 2 things of note happened in my hobby related world. Mantic Games no longer had the license to The Walking Dead, and 4Ground was ceasing production/folding into a parent company.

Walking Dead has been my go-to for the last couple of years when I actually follow through on playing a game. I like the rules, as they allow for quick play time and can be expanded to whatever depth I want (so far). Mainly, it feels like a good base on which to build house rules for most things I would play. Being a fan of the franchise, I've also gotten almost everything for the game as it came out and enjoy painting the minis. If my spreadsheet is to be trusted, I've painted 197 minis from the game.

Mantic had a sale (last March) for what was remaining in stock for their Walking Dead game(s). I went in and ordered whatever I was missing, most of which had made their way to Mantic's 3D printed product instead of old fashioned cast-in-molds. Once everything arrived, there was a missing part here and there which the company managed to eventually replace.

With all of that said, I now have everything I'm going to get for the Walking Dead game. Unless I go to eBay for the Negan and Governor special sets, and the last time I looked those were asking for more than $100/set. Not worth the price for my circumstances. But the point this ramble is getting to is that I really should finish painting what I have for the game. I came close to having everything painted, and then a new wave of minis was published. The only other "game" I've painted is Zombicide Invader. I could double the painted-game count!

Outside of that last-March purchase, I've got duplicates of minis I've painted before. These are the last of the mold-instead-of-printed minis. I grabbed 3 packs and primed them... and didn't keep track of "who" they were. Normally I would make a note of the cards, or google the stats and match up with the pics, but since the game isn't published any longer that info requires a little more digging to share here. And in the end, it doesn't matter who these guys are supposed to be. I've already painted them once and they're in some past post. Now, they can just be "Walking Dead Folk".

4Ground, makers of the mall I worked on for a year or 2, had been under threat for closing down for some time. Around last March, they announced a going out of business sale, also some things might still be available from their parent company (Tymeagain). This was going to be my last chance to get their product. Thanks to lots of planning, I had about everything I could think of for the mall. They had other lines/scales that always interested me. The church I have came from their Old West line. I came across some buildings under construction in that line and thought they would be interesting to fit into my minis city. Just the framework of a building could fit into most eras. I ordered 2, a large and small commercial building. Each was nice and straight forward - floor, 4 walls, and then fitting 6 triangles together for a removable roof. Looking at them afterward, they'll easily serve as under construction houses, strip mall shops, and other things of that ilk.

4ground gaming miniatures scenery walking dead

New Years Walking Dead


After wrapping up Zombicide Invader I had goals of not painting alien zombies. At least for a little while. The main thing I wanted to work on over my work-imposed holiday break was a parking garage from TTCombat, which would five people visiting the mall a place to park. It's a 3-story parking garage, so I decided to prepare and plan how and when to paint parts instead of gluing it all together and hoping for a scheme that would work. You never think about what color(s) a parking garage might be until you seriously consider painting something realistic.

After a little investigation through Google Images and visiting the parking garages of Grand Theft Auto 5, I had a plan. The key here would be putting some parts together (like stairwells) and paint, then add more parts and paint as needed. It was a good plan. I think it would work. I don't know yet, because the weather hasn't cooperated.

As I spray paint in the garage, with the door open, I need the weather to cooperate. Normally in North Alabama that means keeping an eye on the humidity. For Christmas this year, the weather decided to spend some time in the single digits, and I'm too much of a baby to go out in the open garage when it's that cold. This was followed by a jump to 70° and rain/thunderstorms. I knew "winter" was going to cut down on my outdoor/garage activities, but I really expected a window of a couple of days to work on this.

Instead I went to the last batch of minis I primed a while back. Random Walking Dead minis. These were all duplicates I've gotten over the years, and to be honest I don't remember what any of them are other than Sniper Andrea, Governor, and Governor's Zombie Daughter. I did a fair job painting these, but nothing exceptional. Nothing horrible either!

gaming miniatures walking dead

Zombicide Chapter 4: Expansion Abominations


This past week I started on the Sarissa Retro Americana Trailer, or "dumpy trailer park home". This was my latest adventure into masking and spray paint, with an emphasis on how to not peel off the paint with the masking tape. The answer appears to be paint + seal + mask and repeat. I did all of this with unassembled MDF as that was my best bet to get straight lines since there's an oddly angled front. The tricky part was also painting the interior walls, which happened to match the masked stripe of the outside, as there was a little bleed through holes/windows. It think I can cover it up with some interior grungy weathering. For something fairly simple I'm taking a complicated approach - so far I've sprayed 6 coats of paint/sealant between interior and exterior sides. My plans for adding windows are appropriately complex, and we'll see how that turns out later.

The weather was nice enough that I tried my hand at mass priming. Atop 2 cake boards with pseudo double sided tape I stuck 50+ Zombicide minis and primed. Primed like the wind! Most of the minis got about 90% coverage as I could not get the spray can to the right angle to hit all the nooks and crannies. When the time comes to properly paint, each one will get a touch up prime via my normal "stuck to a wooden block" method.

The above led me to stuck a dozen or so minis to wooden blocks and prime in my normal manner. 2 of those actually got painted! Zombicide Invader has 2 expansions - Dark Side and Black Ops. One of them was on sale for about $20, which is what got me interested in the game and then I subsequently went and got everything, as is my well documented way. The Abomination from each expansion piqued my interest enough to follow through with painting. My winning discovery this time was painting the boney bits. Thanks to Nathan at the Warhammer Store offering some advice, atop my white bones I added a 50/50 mix of Citadel fleshshade and sepia washes. While Daniel suggested some Screaming Skull highlight, maybe with some Steel Legion Drab mixed in to tone it down. I was happy enough with the washes to not add on Daniel's suggestion, but maybe next time...

There's changes afoot on the business side of miniature gaming that's going to affect me. Mantic Games is wrapping up the Walking Dead game - I'm guessing their license has expired. Mini-wise I think they've effectively matched the end of the comics, and that's what the game was based on. While I had fallen out of getting new boosters once The Kingdom and Whisperers expansions came out, their announcement that they were no longer going to produce items for the game after February made me think of how well I'd actually managed to keep up with the game. Although I don't game much, if you go back through posts for the past couple of years I think the Walking Dead game is the only one that shows any play time. As this has been a game I've actually enjoyed over the years, there's a good chance I will continue to enjoy it. I then did the "me" thing and ordered whatever I was missing that they had in stock. I think there's still a piece or three I'll be missing, and that's ok. For now.

The other news was that 4Ground, makers of the mall I've been posting progress pics of over the last year or two, will be shutting down in June. I've gotten a lot of 4Ground buildings (besides the mall) over the years, and I really like their stuff. Now that there's a deadline in being able to get anything from them, ever, I'll go through and make one last order. Probably a huge order. I'm glad there's no way to add more than 2 floors to that mall.

4ground walking dead Zombicide Invader

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