I entered my 28mm Inquisitor/Mordheim/Necromunda gang, the Desert Fathers, into Armies on Parade this year. It was a good project that pushed me to complete 18 models to a high standard, and improve my sculpting. The loose theme was ‘desert pilgrims seek forbidden technology’. We had a 2’x’2 area to work with, but I always wanted to made a display board from a motherboard, so decided to keep it small. We are also moving house, so small is easier to work with.
The motherboard is off an 18-year old Gateway PC (made in Ireland, pre-dotcom crash) and I recently decommissioned it. It was a fitting tribute to a venerable machine. Here’s the start of the project, with the models having base colours but no highlights. The board has had everything stripped off it.
I textured the board with plaster, PVA and fine sand. Small amounts of cork were mixed with the sand to represent rocks. I tried to work this into the mobo as if sand and rust was working its way through the desert. I sealed this with watered down PVA. I then primed the board with grey car primer.
I then hand brushed cheap brown paint over the board. About 5 parts brown to 1 part black. trying to match Vajello charred brown. This fucking sucked, took 3 coats and a solid hour. Paint kept flaking off the primer. I would love an airbrush for this kind of work.
Then I brushed a mix of brown, red, yellow and earth over the brown. Still lots of bare patches, these were touched up by squirting thinned black and brown paint with a syringe into the cracks and ports of the motherboard. This gave the board some depth also.
I then drybrushed bugman’s glow, a ruddy flesh colour over the board. Then I worked up to off-white. When that was complete, I added red pigments.
I was not completely satisfied, and asked the kind people on 4chan /tg/ what could I do to improve it. They told me to add some colour variance, pools of oil, and a central focus to the board. The edge of the base should also be painted black to give the eye a ‘border’ for the piece. I added pools of oil with black paint and gloss varnish, little patches of lichen stained with black and brown, and white pigments.
Almost complete here, but still missing a central focus.
I added a chained hatch I had from another kit, then painted it to match the board, but with a purple glow. Then I shaded the area with washes and black lines to give depth. This board was now completed. The Falcon posed some stuff on the board while I was in the shower, which was an improvement. Here is a closeup of the hatch, with the smallest character posed to go down it:
The completed board.
Sadly I did not win anything, as someone turned up with an entourage to vote for them, and took second despite having an unpainted board. But I got to see some amazing stuff on display and talk with great sculptors.
Time management was good. Planned to finish this a week ahead of time, virtually complete on the Monday. Added the hatch on the morning of the event, but no rush to complete. Good colours throughout. Strong highlights and some effective contrasts made this look less muddy. I learned to blend colours better, used a flow improve for hard highlights.
Less satisfied with the painting on some of the figures, my highlights are chunky and need refinement. Especially some figure painters are very ‘neat’ and ‘clean’ in competition. This helps the pieces pop more, and is something I would like to learn.