Shadespire and Nightvault – Undead Warbands

I haven’t played a ton of games of Shadespire or Nightvault yet, but I did finish painting the undead warbands. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from my Nighthaunt paint scheme, and I think it works well here for both the Sepulchral Guard and Thorns of the Briar Queen. Plus, since these warbands have warscrolls, they can pull double duty in Age of Sigmar.

Happy Halloween!

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I finally figured out a paint scheme for my (daughter’s) Nighthaunts

My daughter and I have been slowly grinding away at the Nighthaunts portion of the Soul Wars boxed set. It’s taken awhile, but we recently finished assembling all of the basic troops and have begun painting them. When I bought my copy of Soul Wars, I made a deal with her that if she painted the Nighthaunts with me, she could take ownership of those minis — an idea, as it turns out, that got her way more excited than I had anticipated. The Nighthaunt minis didn’t really hold much appeal to me at the time, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to give them up, and I was especially happy to see how excited she was at the prospect of having an army that was her own. However, now that I’ve nailed down a paint scheme that’s quick, easy, and effective, I’ve been having so much fun painting these guys that I’m beginning to think that I might want a Nighthaunt army of my own!

Night Haunts finished

Two of the minis that I painted, a chain rasp on the right, and a… uh… Well, hopefully between my daughter and me, one of us will know the names of all these guys by the time we play our first game.

 

For me, figuring out a color scheme for an army requires a lot more front-loading than with a single mini. With a single mini, you can experiment as you go along and add little touches and flourishes here and there. There isn’t much of a downside to not carefully planning out what you’re going to do and making sure it’s something you can replicate. But when deciding on a paint scheme for an army, the thing that needs to be foremost in your mind is if what you’re doing is something that you’re going to be able to replicate quickly and easily. If not, are you really going to be willing to spend 8, 10, 12, 20, or more hours on every single figure in your army replicating that paintjob? It can take a good amount of time up front to settle on a scheme, but coming up with something that is easy both easy to reproduce and looks good will pay dividends later on.

For the Nighthaunts, it was especially challenging because in order for it to be something that my daughter would have a good chance at successfully replicating, it needed to utilize only simple techniques and a limited color palette. I watched some videos to see what paint schemes other folks had done and tried a few of them before coming up with mine. To be fair, none of them were difficult or complicated; but they either required more brush control than my daughter currently possesses, involved too many steps for a seven year-old’s attention span and stamina, or went too far in the other direction and looked too monochrome. The challenge was finding the sweet spot of being quick and easy and still providing good results.

 

Night Haunt color tests

Two of my earlier color scheme experiments on the left and right, with one my daughter did in the middle.

 

I ended up utilizing the bog standard Hexwraith Flame, Nighthaunt Gloom, and Nihilakh Oxide that everyone else seems to be using for Nighthaunts, but I haven’t come across anyone using them in the exact same way that I am.

My chosen paints. And an iced coffee. All essential parts of this process.

 

Painting Guide

Colors:

  • White primer
  • Nihilakh Oxide (Games Workshop)
  • Hexwraith Flame (GW)
  • Nighthaunt Gloom (GW)
  • Charcoal (Anita’s craft Paint)
  • Ghost White (Reaper Master Series)

Steps:

0: Clean, assemble, apply base texture. I used Liquitex Modeling Paste + sand. White glue + sand is another easy and effective option.
1. Prime white. It’s important to make sure you get solid coverage (use several light coats) because with the exception of the base, it’s all washes and drybrushing from here, and you’ll need a solid white base on which to start.
2. Paint slightly thinned Nihilakh Oxide over the entire model.
3. Paint Hexwraith Flame onto faces and arms.
4. Paint Nighthaunt Gloom onto weapons, chains, bits of armor, chainmail, and other miscellaneous bits.
5. Paint the entire base with Charcoal (or any medium-dark gray).
6. Drybrush Ghost White over the entire model (including the base). If you’re looking for an equivalent color, Ghost White is an off-white with a hint of pale blue.

 

That’s it! Depending how meticulous you are with cleaning, assembling and texturing the base, the prep work may take you more time than the actual painting. One of the nice things about this paint scheme is that given the ghostly, ethereal nature of these minis, there’s a fair margin of error if the washes blend into each other — meaning it won’t look that bad if you’re painting these as a seven year-and some of the edges where the different colors meet bleed into each other. Similarly, since the entire model is drybrushed using a single color, you won’t have to worry about trying to paint neatly with what is an inherently messy, imprecise technique! As simple as this scheme is, it manages to produce good-looking results very quickly — exactly what you want when trying to get an entire army painted!

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My daughter’s completed mini on the right, with one of mine on the left for comparison. If you look closely, you can see some rough spots and areas for improvement, but I think she really did a great job with it!

My philosophy on tabletop RPGs in a nutshell

(Taken from a Facebook discussion)

The thing that sets tabletop RPGs apart from any other form of entertainment (including computer game RPGs): the collaborative storytelling process; the shared story that emerges from the back and forth between a skilled DM/GM and their players.

A good game is a lot like improv, and involves a lot of “yes, and” rather than “no.” A good DM strives to make the game fun for his players, and derives a large part of their own enjoyment of the game from the fun that the players have. A good DM runs with it when a player comes up with an awesome idea that totally thwarts his plans; a great DM makes it seem like it was part of the plan all along.

Played some X-Wing last night

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It’s been a really busy month, and I’ve been going especially hard the past two weeks trying to finish a big project. Nick came over last night to help me, but after a little while I decided that I wanted to knock off early to do something else — sometimes you just need to take a break to recharge with a good friend. Nick asked about playing X-Wing, so I dug the miniatures out of the closet and we played a game, Nick’s first ever, and my first one in longer than I care to think about.

It was a pretty basic game with Nick fielding a squad of five basic TIE fighters plus an Interceptor, while I took the classic Biggs, Wedge, and Luke with R2. I got first blood by shooting down one of his TIEs in the first round, but at a crucial point in the game, Nick knocked out Biggs before I had a chance to do any serious damage output. I kept recharging shields on Luke using R2’s special ability, but my tiny remaining squad just wasn’t able to put out enough damage and eventually succumbed to Nick’s TIE swarm.

A fun game of X-Wing using ships from the early days of the game, played just in time for the impending release of 2nd Edition!

Spiteclaw’s Swarm (Commission)

I’m decided that I’m going all-in with Shadespire. However, despite the relatively low model count, I don’t have the time or motivation to paint all of the warbands for this game, so I recently reached out to another Shadespire player and asked him to paint Spiteclaw’s Swarm for me in exchange for a set of terrain. I recently received the finished models and I’m thrilled with the job that he did. They’re better than anything I could do myself in the mere two hours that he said it took him, and just flat out amazing for a speedpaint! Besides the overall great quality, I really like the way the green turned out on these models — a deviation from the standard studio colors for Spiteclaw’s Swarm and a great color choice in its own right.

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Shadespire Ruins

I’ve still been mostly keeping my head down for the past few weeks, working on making new terrain and filling orders. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t done anything non-terrain related. I have been getting in a small amount of tabletop gaming time here and there.

One game that I recently got into, almost on a whim, is Shadespire. I plan on writing more about it some other time, but suffice it to say that it’s already become one of my current favorite games. Shadespire is a fast-paced, tense, tightly-designed, highly enjoyable experience that all comes in a neat little package (plus a bunch of expansions that you’ll probably want to get as well).

Gameplay aside, Shadespire also provided me with an excuse to make some new terrain pieces:

3D terrain pieces are not required to play, and I’m not the first one to make something like this, but they to enhance the experience and kick it up a notch, even when unpainted like the ones in these photos.