Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Screamer made from Magma and Lava

Screamers of Tzeentch can be painted in multiple styles and present an appealing look. The typical style and paint scheme is orientated toward a manta-ray. As usual, I wanted something a bit different. This screamer was therefore chosen to be painted in a lava or magma style and will complement the previous water-like one.

Aims and Model.
Why bother painting a screamer in this style? I had a couple of reasons including (1) wanting a screamer that stands out from the crowd so that within a game I can assign it a strength bonus (unholy might) and I don't have to look carefully to figure out which screamer has the bonus; (2) exploring different painting approaches on large "blank canvas" areas of miniatures; (3) I simply thought it'd look cool if I could pull it off. As with other deamons, the rationale behind such a manifestation might be that the screamer made itself from lava (perhaps the only abundant nearby form of matter?) when breaking through to the material plane. Or it could be as simple a reason as Tzeentch being fickle and changing its creations for the hell of it. I guess that is the beauty of working with Tzeentch miniatures: almost any paint scheme, and oftentimes conversion work, can be justified in that manner.

The model is a standard screamer of Tzeentch with only one item of conversion work applied: I turned it upside-down! This may seem completely superfluous. I did this to give the miniature a different flowing shape since screamers are only produced in a few different poses. This simple change makes it look like there are more sculpts in use than there really are. On an assembly note, I personally found the tail a little fiddly to glue into place and I had to work around the seam with a little milliput (green stuff) as a consequence.

Painting.
Here, I wasn't sure which way to go: black undercoat or white undercoat? I have a maxim that is something along the lines of: if in doubt, work the colours of a miniature up from darker shades to lighter shades. Sometimes this isn't always appropriate (e.g. the burnt-out Herald of Tzeentch), but I could come up with no good reason to start from a white undercoat in this instance.


The basecoat for the miniature was a solid red. I reasoned that if I started from a "central" colour, I could work lighter in some regions and go darker in others. At least that was the plan that I used and sticked to. Looking at a blank canvas (the "wings" of the screamer) I got a little stuck for what to do next. In the end, I choose a bright, livid orange colour and started to gently outline small, irregular circles on the wings. This was to prove the decisive move! With the circular features sketched in place, it was much easier to identify where other colours must necessarily follow and what shades to use. In areas away from the sketched lines, darker colours were applied and blended: orange through red, and down to black. The lines themselves were thickened up and yellows & whites were added to the mixture to create local hot-spots. Only some of the sketched outlines were heated up in this manner since I wanted an irregular pattern on the surface suggestive of molten rocks.

With the magma effect looking good, I finished the model off by applying some highlights to the raised portions of the body. The raised areas toward the front were painted in cream with a dark centre to attempt to resemble condensing and cooling rocks on its surface. The tusks and spikes along the body were painted in solid black given that they stand out from the screamer's main body and logically might have cooled off quicker.


Evaluation.
Positives: I am very pleased with the outcome here! I wasn't certain that the idea could work, but I think the paint scheme is enough to convey the idea I had in mind at the outset.
Negatives: The miniature took a comparatively long time to paint. I was repeatedly touching up small portions of the wings to get the look as I'd intended it. I'm also thinking that pure black for the tusks and spikes might not have been the best option, but they do stand out from the miniature without detracting from the main scene: the body.

I still need to get the third screamer finished so I can place it alongside this one and the previous one to see how they look in a pack / shoal.

2 comments:

RonSaikowski said...

This is tough, I like the water one too. I don't know which one I prefer more.
I've never painted anything in "lava" but to hear you say it takes a long time only confirms what I imagined. And I never thought about the constant touch ups to keep the whole thing in balance either.

I like the dark horns but is there any way to add a little detail to them? The rest of the model is finished to a high standard and those could be mistaken for not being completed yet since they are just black.

jabberjabber said...

You're right about the dark horns. I'm considering adding small cracks to them (i.e. thin lines of reds and yellows).

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