I’ve been pretty excited for The Walking Dead: All Out War miniatures game from Mantic for some time now and as of late last week, the first wave of Kickstarter pledges are shipping. Mantic being UK based, I’m not likely to receive my pledge for another week or so but I decided to celebrate by test painting one of the free promo Walkers I picked up at Gen Con.
Early on in the campaign, I decided that I wanted to paint the whole game monochromatic (black and white) in an homage to both the comics and the black and white Romero zombie films. I didn’t really do anything to this model to prep (didn’t even wash it) as I know this is basically just to test the concept and color palette.
I first saw the monochromatic technique in an advertisement for Miniature Mentor‘s painting series featuring Jennifer Haley doing this amazing ranger miniature. I won’t be painting anywhere near that level of detail but I did pick up the monochrome video Miniature Mentor made with Jennifer and the techniques were interesting. It mainly centered around the paint mixes and blending techniques.
So with all my prep and study done, I started out with a simple bit of painting the clothes to figure out what will work best. I use crappy hobby store craft paints and cheap brushes for all my work so my goal is usually “table top quality” and by that, I mean, it looks good enough at arms length. The pictures I have here will be much closer but that should help illustrate what is going on.
First, I took several of the stock grey paints I have and put paint to the model to see how it would look conceptually. The results were pretty bad. The greys that I picked up were “light gray” and “dark gray” but both of them had quite a bit of yellow to them against the slightly blue-ish light grey automotive primer I was using. Since I like the primer, I knew the stock paints had to go. The shoes were a last test of me simply mixing my craft black and craft white together (3:1 black:white).
This was pretty dumb of me as I watched most of that 3 hour Haley video and she only ever used two colors and mixed the ratios to get the different values. I’ll be doing the same from now on.
Mixing worked much better. I left the shoes from the last attempt but just covered the pants and shirt. The pants were a straight 50/50 mix and the shirt was stock white. Real painters rarely go full black or full white since it won’t leave them any room to shadow or highlight. I don’t really care since I’m not going to be highlighting and the shadowing will be taken care of in the wash. I finished out the model by diluting the dark mix (3:1) and filling in the wound holes in the zombie. To knock up the creepy factor, I dragged the brush downward a little after filling the holes to indicate the running of the open and old wounds.
I lied, I ended up highlighting his shoes a little, which likely isn’t even real highlighting as I was giving those kicks some laces. After that, I did a 50/50 dilution of water and Games Workshop Nuln Oil wash (my only painting splurge). I like the grey base so I ran the wash carefully with a soft brush only over the areas of the model, careful to not get any on the base. I actually prefer clear bases for models because I don’t want to mess with the extra work basing requires but I may keep these on their regular base.
As you can see in the comparison, the wash doesn’t really mess with too much but gets rid of that factory-clean look he had. Under this harsh work light, the model’s shape is easy to see due to the natural shadows. Unfortunately, on a darker or more evenly distributed light environment (like your playing table), those shadows will go away so the wash will help emphasize them.
So here he is on my dining room table in a more general lighting environment. The whole process was quite simple and more fun that I anticipated. It was refreshing to only use two colors and mix custom shades to bring the model to life. I usually hate painting because I don’t have a lot of confidence in my color schemes but having done black and white photography for years, I felt right at home. This will be important because I’ll have roughly 60+ figures coming soon and it will need to be both easy and fun to get through that first wave of content. Now I just have to hope the weather holds so I can also prime them for the long painting winter.