Tuesday, July 30, 2019

An Introduction: Ethereal Creatures & Citadel Contrast Paints

Just out the bath and ready for priming after drying
Followers of this blog already know I have an affinity for the macabre and the supernatural in my gaming preferences. As such, I've been collecting ethereal creatures for years: banshees, ghosts, ghasts, shrouds, spectres, spirits, wights, wraiths, etc. I've painted up some here and there but they've never been a priority.

Then Citadel's Contrast paints came on the market, and I became intrigued by their capabilities. I've watched hours of tutorials, read a jillion reviews and have come away convinced a solution exists here.

Yes, one can make them artificially for probably cheaper, but I have enough to do without taking the risk on working out the right mix of ink, flow enhancers, avoiding tea stains, etc, etc. Further, these are figures that probably won't get a lot of table time anyway.

Apathy had been winning for a very long time. But now, what the heck - I bought the fancy expensive primer (Gray Seer), the brush on version as well as Contrast "Aethermatic Blue". Why, I can whip out near a hundred models in one go, won't that be fun!

The store I was at did not have the Wraithbone spray. To my eyes, Gray Seer works best with cool/cold colors like the blue, greens and black. Wraithbone is best with reds, yellows, browns, and tans where a richer undercoat is desired. Website Bell of Lost Souls has my favorite guide to what Contrast paints will look like. Click here to see them all - here's a shot of what affirmed my color choices for this project (at A. below) :

Because the Wraithbone undercoat (B.) is warm and yellow, putting a cold blue color over it makes it greenish. Expected, but not desired for my purposes. Even the pure white is too cold.

Well I started poring through the collection, picking put figures here and there. I eliminated from play all the ones I thought shouldn't be transparently blue at all but mostly black - the grim reaper and wraith types. Putting those aside, I also put aside those that were not going to be predominantly blue - like figures where the body was ethereal but the clothing and gear wouldn't be. Probably an arbitrary result that was heavily influenced by my looking at other paint jobs online. Some just make more sense as not purely ghostly. I've been saying that these paints are really best for models that are largely a single color if you want to maximize the speed and simplicity factor. Trying to pick out small details with these paints could save some time here and there but I think their strength lies elsewhere.

As you can see from the top pic, 39 figures made the cut. As I was cleaning them up, I continued to narrow down which ones would be entirely monochromatic. So I will have to go get the black and a couple grays. (I can do the wraiths, reapers with those too.) I have a ton of other paints to pick from for spot details so many won't be purely in Contrast. but quite a few will. Planning on red eyes for clearly evil spirits, pupils for the neutral/good ones. I may even highlight with other colors to differentiate hair and clothing from skin and other articles.

Random notes:
  • It's an eclectic collection - some are clearly for fantasy games, others are better in a purely horror setting, many both. Hardly any of them look quite right with each other being either cartoonishly simple (the Reaper Spirits) or outrageously detailed. There'll be no giant ghost army here with this lot. 
  • I was going to do Old Glory's wonderful Ghostly Pirates as entirely ghost, but maybe those should be done with Wraithbone undercoat and Contrast Warp Green? Or maybe just the skin as ethereal, clothing and equipment as normal? When I got caught up in this indecisive thinking - I just excluded them. Speed is my priority here. 
  • If I think I can pull off OSL (Object Source Lighting) - the whole model being a light source, then I will try.
  • This Polish site also had great examples of what the Contrast colors look like over Gray Seer and Wraithbone. Really useful! And it serves as a reminder to not let this stuff puddle too much.

In any event, watch this space. Over the next few days I'll be tackling this lot and trying out different things, then organizing the posts in my usual rational way for easy searching and reference.

 Thanks for looking - questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged!