Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Zombie Skin Tones -- First experiments with GW's new Contrast Paint


as many other people, I as well have been very excited about GW's new Contrast Paint, maybe not so much about the promises they made but rather to try some new type of paint and what kind of effects one can (ab)use it for!

The large amounts of Zombicide zombies roaming my house in search for blood (or better some colour) are the perfect test subject for these colours.

Usually I prime my miniatures black (maybe with some zenithal white highlighting) and then paint the colours up from dark to bight. However, this approach does not work for the Contrast Paint, does it? But then, I did not totally want to give up on the dark (pre-)shading in the recesses. Therefore, I decided for the following approach:

First, I primed with black from below, and then with white from the upper angles. I used the black and white acrylic-polyurethane surface primers from Vallejo applied un-thinned by airbrush. The result looks like this:

Admittingly, the transitions are a bit rough despite using an airbrush. I think for "en-mass" miniatures (i.e., not characters), this is totally fine. For special miniatures one might want to do an in-between tone, i.e., grey before the white for smoother transitions.

Now, I applied the Contrast Paint un-thinned directly from the pot in one thin layer:

On the left: Gulliman Flesh and on the right Skeleton Horde.

On layer of thin Gulliman Flesh results in a relatively pale but rather alife (healthy?) skin tone. The dark pre-shading leaves heavy contrasts.

Interestingly, the Skeleton Horde leads to a little green hue, owing to its beige tone over the black in the recesses. This results in a rather sick, deseased skin tone. Maybe exactly what you want to zombies? I might reserve this one for the toxic zombies in fact.

Next, I experimented by mixing the Gulliman Flesh with either the Skeleton Horde or a bit of Aethermatic Blue. I chose the latter to give the "healthy" tone of the Gulliman Flesh some dead/cold tone (also in absence of any other blue or green contrast paint in my inventory).

Left: 1:1 Gulliman Flesh & Skeleton Horde. Right: ~3:1 Gulliman Flesh & Aethermatic Blue

Left: ~3:1 Gulliman Flesh & Aethermatic Blue. Right: ~2:2:1 Gulliman Flesh, Skeleton Horde & Aethermatic Blue

I have to say that I quite like all the results and it is difficult to me to choose my favorite for "typical" zombie skin. Certainly all of them would work well, in particular with the pre-shading. Here a comparison of all variants:

In general, this way of painting is very different from my usual paint style with rather opaque layers or saturated colours, highlights and shading but I very much like it! It is a bit like aquarelle to impressionist painting.

In this case at least, I applied only one layer of paint over the primer(s), and I would consider the skin done at a good tabletop level (no extra highlights or shades needed). So it is quite fast and well suited for painting many miniatures in a reasonable amount of time.

One thing to notice though is that if I would want to continue painting the rest of the miniature with contrast paints as well, the over-painting, i.e., mistakes due to non-clean appliance of the skin tone would become possibly a problem. In particular for other light colours. In other words, if you want to do this (one-layer) contrast painting style, you have to paint very cleanly, which again slows you down and also requires quite some practice (I still can not paint clean after 20+ years ;-)). Repairing previous mistakes will also be difficult with the black&white pre-shading.

So in summary, I am still excited about the new Contrast Paints and consider these first experiments very successful. More on this soon!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Zombicide:Invader -- Warhammer 40K size comparisons

Hi again,

the new Zombicide:Invader miniatures are pretty awesome and since the setting is similar, the obvious question that comes to mind is: how about using the miniatures in Warhammer 40k? Or the other way around?

So, let's compare the Zombicide:Invader miniatures to typical Warhammer 40k miniatures.

Good news is the scale roughly matches!

On the other hand, the Zombicide:Invader miniatures are "true-scale", i.e., they are realistically proportioned, different to the Warhammer miniatures, which are in "heroic" scale. In other words, the former have a completely different aesthetic from the latter! However, this might not bother everybody (as much as it does me). And anyway, this mostly (only) applies to the survivors. The xenos miniatures are easily compatible.

Enough talk, here the comparison pictures:


First the soldiers in power amour compared to Primaris Space Marines:

As one can see, the Invader Soldiers are a tiny bit smaller than the Primaris and much less 'bulky'.

Now to the civilians:

So the civilians are taller than the Warhammer humans, roughly one head. So for me, this is too much of a difference. Although with the recent size creep among the new Warhammer miniatures, the difference to Rogue Trader or Necromunda miniatures (in particular Delaque) is probably less. On the bright side, the heads are the same size! :-)


I think that the Xenos would work as Warhammer miniatures much better:

Want some alternative Gene Stealers?! Here you go:

I think that the abominations would work particularly well (as Tyranids) in Warhammer 40k:

On the other hand, if you do not like the Zombicide:Invader miniatures (or can not buy them), you could also easily play the game with Warhammer 40k miniatures! E.g., replacing the Xenos with Tyranids...

Happy xenos hunting!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Zombicide: Invader -- the Miniatures

Hi everyone,

after a good start into the hobby year 2019, work life struck me HARD in April and kept me tight in its grip since then. Well, now I managed to escape into a short vacation, and I want to use this time to do at least some hobby catchup.

First up: Zombicide: Invader from Cool Mini Or Not 

Here the Kickstarter link with all information. As many of you know the game was finally delivered this summer to its backers and is now available for retail.

I actually did not participate in the Kickstarter campaign for different reasons but when people started selling the game and its stretchgoals on Ebay, I had a closer look at the miniatures and I fell in love! No idea why it took me so long but sometimes it is like that I suppose. 

Anyway, I am a big fan of the Artworks of Adrian Smith and he was in charge of the character designs for Zombicide: Invader, giving the game a unique style.

The excellent cooperative Zombicide games from CMON are known for somewhat cartoonish and exaggerated  miniature design. While I love it, maybe not everybody's cup of tea. Not so in Invader thanks to Adrian's rather serious and sinister designs. 

Another thing is that CMON really stepped up their game in terms of miniature quality! The material of the new miniatures is crisper and less bendy than previously! In fact the new miniatures look FANTASTIC! Easily on a similar standard than many other tabletop miniatures.

In total, there are something like 326 miniatures in all boxes and stretch goals of the kickstarter combined:

In particular, there are 80 survivors. 

The miniatures are in "true scale" (and not heroic scale as GW miniatures). This means that the miniatures are realistically proportioned. Despite that they fit roughly in scale to the GW miniatures and thus might be compatible with the Warhammer 40k universe (but this will be subject to another post).


There are 6 in the core box, 3 soldiers (from the White Squad) and 3 civilians (see here for details):
Jared (soldier, USA)

Magnus (soldier, Noway)

Baraka (Soldier, South Africa)

Vivian (civilian, Wales)

Mitsuki (civilian, Japan)

Cole (Civilian, Australia)

The survivors in the Core Game as supported by a Peacekeeper Bot:

and a remote Falchion Sentry Gun:

The Kickstarter features three additional members of the White Squad:

Massimo (soldier, Italy)

Jee-Hye (soldier, Korea)

Graham (soldier, UK)

Next up we have the elite Black Squad from the Black Ops Expansion Box:
Jean (Soldier, France)

Kyle (Soldier, Canada)

Maria (Soldier, Chile)

Andrei (Soldier, Russia)

Fiona (Soldier, Mars)

Solomon (Soldier, Sierra-Leone)

They are supported by the XN35 Crawly Bot:

as well Meteor Sentry Gun:

Next up, there is there are the veterans of the Green Squad contained in the Dark Side box
Miranda (soldier, New Zewland)

Drake (soldier, Germany)

Reese (soldier, Argentina)

Miles (soldier, Portugal)

Umkos (Thass)

Radka (soldier, Thailand)

They as well have a support bot and remote gun:
Vindicator Bot

Maul Sentry Gun

The Dark Side expansion also introduces three companions (only part of the Kickstarter though):
Olive (Companion, Explorer, Luna)

Lukas (companion, tactical expert, Lithuania)

Markus (companion, instructor, Netherlands)

Then, there are three survivor gangs as optional buys in the Kickstarter. 

First, the Plague Gang with 5 members (these are actually designed by Stefan Kopinksi):
Pat (civilian, Norway)

Carmen (civilian, Spain)

Finn (civilian, Czech Republic)

Tuck (civilian, Northern Ireland)

Sydney (civilian, Canada)

Then, there is the Orphans Gang (which I am missing because don't like, sorry!)

And finally, the Kabuki Gang:
Ieman (civilian, Japan)

Naosuke (civilian, Japan)

Oiwa (civilian, Japan)

Takuetsu (civilian, Japan)

Yomoshichi (soldier?, Japan)

Samon (civilian, Japan)

Then, we have a large number of additional, promo survivors which are all (?) inspired by famous characters in the pop culture (many of them Kickstarter exclusive):
Gavin "Greaser" Morley (Paul Bonner, Zombicide Artist)

Allyson Cardenal (civilian, Nicaragua)

Rea "Tank Girl" Varella (civilian)

Dr Fischer (civilian)

"Frank" (xenos)

Kilgore the Headhunter (civilian)

Commander Amadi Senai (soldier, Bane, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises)

Captain Warlock (civilian)

Val (civilian, Diva Plavalaguna, 5th Element)

Corporal Inshish Vak (soldier)

Sergeant "Ook Ook" Svoboda (soldier)

"Butcher" Carl Steiner (civilian)

Feydra Kahl Feydra (civlian)

Nura Satar (soldier)

Morton Luckless (civilian)

"Eightball" (soldier, Thiago Aranha from CMON)

Mercedes Palomares (civilian, Mo'Nique)

Dorian the Grey (civilian)

Trooper 19-82 "Squierelly" (soldier, Roy Batty, Blade Runner)

Trooper 20-19 "Pink" (soldier, Pris, Blade Runner)

Lara Hansen (civilian, Leeloo, 5th Element)

Trooper Carlota Mendez (soldier, Vazquez, Aliens)

Morty (civilian, Marty McFly, Back to the Future)

Doctor Whutt (civlian, Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future)

Katie Benedict (soldier, Starbuck, Battlestar Galactica)

Richard Kindred (civilian, Rick Deckard, Blade Runner)

Ix-nix-zik (civilian, shrimp, District 9)

Preacher Karl (civilian, Karl Urban, Judge Dredd)

Major Sharp (soldier, Rita from Edge of Tomorrow)

Doctor Stakefrieze (civilian, Morpheus, Matrix)

Madame Singleton (civlian, Aunty Entity, Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome)

Cloud (civilian, Nebula, Guardians of the Galaxy) 

Lieutenant Emma Vogel (soldier, AI?)

Count Hugo Harker (civilian,  Raban Harkonnen, Dune?)

'Doctor' Dick Morton (civilian, Rick, Rick and Morty)

Commander Morton (soldier, Morty, Rick and Morty)

Gold Coast Gary (civilian, Ruby Rhod, 5th Element?)

Doctor Falconer (civilian, Stephen Hawking)


In addition to the survivors, there are of course many different xenos miniatures.

First, there are the "normal" xenos, which are in the Core Box with a few additional sculpts as part of the kickstarter: 

Xeno Workers, of which there are 7 different sculpts in total in the whole Kickstarter

Xeno Hunters

Xeno Tanks

Xeno Seeker Workers (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Xenomoths (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Xeno Spoiler Abomination 

Juggernaut Abomination (Black Ops Expansion)

Babyface Abomination 

Stomper Abomination (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Widowmaker Abomination (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Mother-In-Law Abomination (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Xenium Horror (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Shadow Abomination (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Brood Mother Abomination (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Brood Children, I.R.I.S. Sentry Gun, and Flinger (all Kickstarter Exclusive)

BuddyBot (Kickstarter Exclusive)

Finally, there are the "Driller" Xenos as part of the Dark Side Box and Kickstarter exclusives:

Driller Workers

Driller Hunters

Driller Tanks

Driller Blitzer (Kickstarter exclusive)

Driller Abomination