Monday, 7 November 2016

Dropzone Commander: Creating Bases and Painting the PHR's Medusa

Alongside the rather long winded process of painting PHR vehicles in a mimicry of Tron Legacy's vehicles I also have to paint up all of the accompanying infantry.

The Triton X from the previous post is a specially modified Triton dropship that has been designed to carry one stomping juggernaut of a chick represented by the Medusa and her tribe of nano machines that she controls using force of mind.

I decided to create one of the bases that I employ for all of my PHR and paint up the Medusa for the base as well.

Here is how it all happened:

Creating the Bases

It all begins with Litko bases.

I had started to pursue a type of base painting design on the vehicles that is very reminiscent of the Tron-esque look and decided that I needed to achieve something similar with my infantry.

You cant actually get these in the UK so I had to reach out and buy them from the USA. I saw one of the Hawk Forum members using these as bases and i knew that it would be the way forwards for my PHR given what I wanted to achieve.

I had an idea of what I wanted to achieve and felt sure it would work so I decided to take the plunge and buy them.

They seemed to take forever to arrive but arrive they finally did. I had also already purchased a hexagon grid stencil from Anarchy Models.

Step 1

The idea behind these bases is to create a black mirror effect so the process that I followed was aimed at achieving this.

The first step is to place the hexagon stencil over the base and airbrush the lower side black. This creates the body of the black mirror on the underside of the base.

Step 1 - The Result
 Unfortunately the hexagon stencil has sides that are far too thick for what I really wanted but after much searching I determined that I just had to suck it up and deal with what I could get a hold of.

It definitely detracts from the overall effect I was looking for but at the end of the day its still a bit different and so long as the painting effect is similar across the whole army it will be OK.

Step 2
 Whilst the underside of the bases is where the 'black mirror' effect is executed, the upper side of the base is where the surface detail is applied.

A stencil that provides an interesting surface detail is applied to the top of the base and airbrushed in white using a couple of different of different layers of white.

This will create something that is similar to the above photograph. At this point it all looks a little scruffy, but not to worry! This will be sorted out later on  in the process.

Step 3
 Once the upper side designs are dry, the lower side needs to have a coat of Vallejo Turquoise paint applied to it in order to colour the hexagon pattern in a colour that supports the overall colour of the army.

Step 4 
The final step in preparing the bases is to tidy up the stencil designs on the upper surface. This is best done with a cocktail stick that is cut to a flat edge. This flat edge is rubbed along the areas where there is a need to remove paint until the borders of the stencil are as sharp as you require.

Once this is completed the base is finished and you need to move onto the miniature itself! 

Painting the Medusa

In all of the PHR armed forces there is none that can compete with the wrecking ball that is the Medusa.

These models are supplied on a base which is a part of a one piece moulding. Unfortunately this base is also resin and none see through and therefore will not appear to be harmonious element of the army. 

Step 1
 The first step in painting the Medusa is to prepare the miniature itself. The base needs to be cut away so that the Medusa herself can be mounted on a specially prepared base and after hack sawing away with less precision than I would have aimed for the separation of Witch-Bitch from base was achieved...

...and on achieving this the miniature was primed and undercoated with matt white!

Step 2
 One of the biggest problems with painting the Medusa is the bloody great column of Nanomachines that she is being supported on. Now, thankfully Hawks digital casting that they use for their miniatures means that the miniatures are usually covered with really fine well cut detail.

The question was how to bring out this detail.

I decided that I wanted to keep with the blue, white and turquoise high key colour palette on this beast of a woman that I have been employing everywhere else and so I pondered for a while on how to best bring out the detail on the Nano machines.

I opted to use a thin wash of blue oil paint which I left to dry under lamps over night before wiping off the surface excess with cotton buds (or cue tips for our American friends) dipped in white spirit.

Once all of the excess paint was removed as much as possible a coat of varnish was applied to fix the oil paint and stop the remaining paint being lifted off through excess handling.

At this point you will have a somewhat muddy looking and very messy miniature! I can be honest here and admit that I thought I had blown the miniature, straight off the bat!

Step 3
Because of the fine detail that comprises the Nano Machine column, this miniature lends itself admirably to dry brushing. I don't normally like dry brushing as it does lead to some very scruffy appearing paint schemes BUT there is just so much going on on this Medusa's Nano Machine column that I figured it was worth the risk, and more especially because of the muddy look that I had been left with.

I chose a large high quality brush, put some plain white paint on my wet palette and proceeded to lightly dry brush the Nano Machines in a succession of thinly built up layers. The idea here was to apply the paint thinly enough so that it didn't occlude the indented rings on the Nano Machine bodies.

This was achieved and I also felt partly that it had definitely rescued the miniature! 

Step 4
Finally it was time to turn my attention to the Medusa herself. In truth I followed the same paint palette and patterns that I employed on my Sirens.

The basecoat for the outfit was Vallejo's 906 Pale Blue which was highlighted with Games Workshops Space Wolf Grey

The dark blocks on the outfits are employed using Vallejo's 898 Dark Sea Blue whilst the uniforms Neon strips have a basecoat of Games Workshops Ice Blue and are highlighted with plain white of any manufacturer.

The hair has a basecoat of Vallejo's Neutral Grey with white highlighting whilst the face uses Games Workshops Elf Flesh also highlighted by adding white to the Elf Flesh.

Step 5
 Finally the Medusa, having polished off the extra details such as lips and eyes, is mounted onto the base that has been prepared for it.

Step 6
...and finally we apply the gloss varnish to the entirety of the miniature to provide the finishing touch! 

... and there we have it! The completed Medusa with her Triton X dropship. Not a particularly good photo but I'm definitely happy enough with them in the flesh!

So... what do you guys think of these little gems then?


  1. Thank you... "Sehr geil(!!)"

    Gems is a good description - I will most certainly try to steal some of your techniques (not all of them - hell no - I don`t dig projects make you contemplate suicide as a way out)

    Looking forward to your future projects!


    1. Cheers Joe, I'm glad you like them. Sadly, these days every project I seem to do seems destined to push me to the edge of a cliff with the amount of complexities I seem to insist on putting in. It's hard to argue with the results though eh? :)

  2. That`s the problem: The results are impressive to say the least!
    But with a maximum of about 6-8 hobby hours/week I would probably need years to finish a single army + my "Scourge infested building" range takes up all of that time ;)

    1. Yeah only 6-8 hours a week would be a problem for me. On top of a full time career and a girlfriend who requires my presence I still manage to squeeze out another 35-40 hours a week on the brushes... but then I only sleep 5 hours a night so I manage to economise where I can... :D