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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Frugal gaming: Bulk painting for a megagame

Some friends of mine are going to be staging a megagame called Watch the Skies here in Cambridge in a few weeks' time. If you're not familiar with megagames, they're like a hybrid between a live-action game and a strategic board game; sort of like Diplomacy with a more complex system. They needed some models to represent spaceships or aircraft in the game -- human interceptors and alien spacecraft. I suggested the plastic spacecraft from em-4, which are very affordable at £2.55 for 12 models (scroll down to see them). These were originally from Silent Death, I believe.

I ordered the models from em-4 and had a friend pick them up at Salute to save on the shipping. On Friday I snipped them from their sprues, then gave them a wash in warm, soapy water and let them dry before hitting them with a coat of Halford's grey car primer. I then sorted them into alien ships ("saucers," although the models I got weren't very saucer-shaped) and interceptors and divided the interceptors up by nation.

Aliens -- I picked the weirdest-looking models for these. 
... while the interceptors look more plane-like. 
I picked out a couple to do some test paint jobs and send them to my friend Bob for approval. Once he'd OKed them, we were ready to begin.

On Saturday Bob came over and we made a few final tweaks to the colour scheme of the saucers. There were eight groups of four interceptors each (there are five in the photo above because I ordered five packs of ships), plus 20 saucers, for a total of 52 models. I had already done the three test models, so we had 49 to do. We started at around 10 in the morning, and quickly developed a painting routine.

Starting with the primed grey model, we gave each interceptor a drybrush of Vallejo Medium Sea Grey, then applied a wash of Army Painter Dark Tone. After that dried, we drybrushed with Medium Sea Grey again. Each interceptor then received accent colours in the colour corresponding to its nation in the game.

Interceptors washed (above) and after second drybrush (below), ready to receive their accent colours.
I think the planes on the left show the effectiveness of this technique pretty well. 
The completed interceptors with their accent colours. 
Next came the saucers. The process for these was a little more complicated. We did the same drybrush-wash-drybrush, but drybrushed part of the models with Vallejo Natural Steel to make them shinier, then added accents in pink and covered the whole thing with a wash of GW Carroburg Crimson, which is pretty pink.

Saucers pre-wash. 
We also put some shine on the cockpits and so on.

Two sets of alien ships after wash and so on. 
We then went back and did a few touch-ups, including lightening the blue on the US interceptors to make it easier to tell apart from the black on the British ones and adding some highlights on the cockpits.


Completed interceptors and alien ships.

Including a break for lunch, we did the lot between 10 AM and 3 PM, but the time got extended because we had to pop out to buy some varnish. Still, by the end of the afternoon we had all 52 done, which I think is pretty good. 

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