PART 1 – BUILD AND PAINT
One of the joys of Fighting Pits of Baad Tibera is to take a favourite miniature and write them into the rules, translating their weapons and armour, deciding what skills and Signatures they might have, whether they’re charismatic or wilful, and making them play the way you always imagined they did. Indeed, the rules were written with this in mind. The second part of this blog will guide you through character creation if this is the case.
What if you came at it from the other direction though? If you had a strong concept for a fighter but no appropriate model? Or what if you have a few unbuilt models, still on their sprues or in their boxes, and a few options for building them?
With so much choice available, and because I found myself in just that situation, I thought it would be both fun and instructive to write up a guide on fighter creation that takes in every step along the way – and I mean every step.
In short, how do you get from this:
I had a few potential miniatures that I could build here, but after a process of elimination I decided that, as the Rulebook doesn’t feature any Hew-man or Trow starter Fighters, I could use this opportunity to plug that gap.
My Hew-man choice was straightforward: the third edition of Games Workshop’s Warhammer: Age of Sigmar has brought with it a glorious new sculpt for their flagship faction, the Stormcast Eternals. I’ve seen some wonderful takes on these models online (always worth checking around for inspiration) and thought that, given their bare head options (very welcome) and the ease with which prominent, faction-specific markings can be filed off to be replaced with your own heraldry, these would make great, generic armoured knights. I considered swapping the spear out for a spare sword but decided against it as I don’t have too many spears in my Fighter collection right now. A word of warning – Stormcast Eternals are a kind of super soldier, meaning that the scale of the miniatures is purposely quite large, but lean into that and you’ll be fine (see Part 2).
I had a couple of options for my Trow but settled on another Citadel miniature, this time from Games Workshop’s Warcry range. The thigh-high boots provided that nautical feel I wanted, and while I considered swapping the masked head out for something a little more straightforward, in the end I thought it was a very theatrical, piratical flourish that suits the Trow nicely.
Unlike the Stormcast, this miniature came with a choice of weapons options – either two spears, or a whip / dagger combination – and in the end I opted to split the recommended load outs down the middle. The spear is clutched like a harpoon, appropriately, and the whip is just a fun weapon to wield in the Pits, so that what I went with.
When it comes to painting I make no claims to expertise – my level is best described as perfectly adequate – and I will happily add some links at the end to far more accomplished artists on Youtube who can offer much better guidance for those looking for some. That said, I have one or two notes about what I did here for anyone who is curious.
I started both models with a zenithal undercoat; that is to say, I primed it with a black spray can (in this case from Citadel, though other brands can be cheaper and just as effective) and then sprayed them again from above with an off-white, super light grey, to very quickly establish shadows and highlights on the model.
The reasons for using a grey and not a white are simply that if you so wished you could then add a further, white highlight to your miniatures to really push the contrast (best to use a brush for this), and the grey is Citadel’s Grey Seer, specifically designed, or so they tell us, to sit under their range of Contrast paints which I’d decided to use predominantly on my Trow model. The zenithal highlight didn’t do a great deal under the largely metallic paints that I used on my Hew-man, but was still preferable to painting over a solid black or white base.
The metallics on my knight’s armour were painted first using a dark metal paint (below left), to which I added the same yellow (right) I would be painting onto her pauldrons and poleyns (the shoulder and knee plates respectively) in order to produce a dull gold colour, which would allow me to add details and highlights later with a ‘standard’ metal paint (centre). If you prefer your miniatures to be a little brighter than mine you could start with a standard metal and progress to a silver with the same effect.
I then ran a dark brown wash over the metals, allowing it to settle in the recesses before largely removing the wash from my flat surfaces. Usually I would use an oil paint wash for this, removing the excess with a cotton bud dipped in white spirit but for various reasons couldn’t do that here, and so created a similar effect with very thin Contrast paints removed with Contrast medium on a cotton bud. This worked out ok but used a lot of the medium and so was probably ruinously expensive. My recommendation would be to use the oils, and if you’re unfamiliar with the process I believe both NJM and Ninjon, linked below, cover it very well.
I added some freehand heraldry to my knight in the form of checks and simple geometric shapes which always look good at this scale. The checks proved tricky as I made them very small and then chose to stick with it rather than starting again. Going back and forth with a small brush and my two colours, tidying first one way then the other, was tedious but rewarding.
The heraldic device, a bare tree against a rising sun on a yellow background, was chosen for its simple shapes and strong contrast, allowing me to reproduce it on a pauldron as well as on the shield and still have it look acceptable. The trick here is to block your shapes in one at a time, going carefully with thinned paints. Up close my work looks patchy, from a distance it looks pretty good. Perfectly adequate, as I said.
By contrast (ho ho) my Trow miniature was painted more fantastically, with brighter colours and a couple of bold blends to draw the eye. The whip that I had armed her with was an unusual sculpt, appearing like whisps of shadow or smoke, befitting the warband that I had pulled the model from. I wanted to run with its obviously magical nature, making my Trow fighter a spellcrafter who can enchant her weaponary. I painted the whip accordingly.
Contrast paints are excellent for ‘cheat’ blends, being quite thin and liquid in form and they run well into each other if you work quickly. I went from a dark brown (left), representing dark leather – the whip proper, if you like – through a dark turquoise (centre) and into Nilakh Oxide (right), a wonderful Citadel technical paint that you can use to produce patina effects for old metals on your models, or which can produce strange magical effects like this.
I used a similar technique with her hair, and used Contrast paints to block out all the clothing, returning with a quick highlight colour once dry. I used standard paints over her skin and metallics as I prefer these areas to look a little more solid than the almost shade/glaze effect that Contrast can give.
After painting the bases to look like warm red sand I considered these two done – not award winning by any stretch but certainly good enough to pop on the gameboard. Now it was time to decide exactly who they were…
Want to see how the professionals do it? Check out these amazing artists: