IntroductionRecently I've been painting some heroes and villains from the Super Dungeon Explore board game. Now this isn't (quite) the first time that I've displayed such miniatures - my Rock Top Gang can be seen in part 1 of my "6 Projects" series - but I think I'm beginning to get the hang of these figures. There are some differences in the way they're painted from more "realistic" models that I have completed. More on this later, but first here are some example Chibis:
Marie-Claude is a hero who comes with the Stilt Town Zombies box set. She's supposedly an innkeeper who runs the nearest establishment to the zombie infestation; this makes her a tough woman quite capable of dealing with anything from Saturday night drunks to maurading zombie hordes.
By complete accident, the paint on the back of Marie-Claude's frying pan makes it look as if the pan has a big dent in it (it's actually flat on the model). Could this be a head-shaped dent after Marie-Claude has flattened some opponent? You decide...
I'm very pleased with the way that this model turned out. She was my first human (or humanoid!) chibi miniature and as such the model could have been awful. Not so, I think.
Next up is the Questing Knight. He comes from the Forgotten King box set (i.e the starter set for version 2 of Super Dungeon Explore).
The Questing knight is slightly unusual in that his face is covered and cannot be seen. Apparently, the original chibi were characters designed for low-resolution computer or arcade games quite some time ago. It made sense to exaggerate the head so that facial expressions could be made out, even when the entire character was only a small number of pixels high. Or so my 19 y.o. son has told me...
Since the Questing Knight is wearing a full-face helmet, there are no eyes to paint. This probably makes him a lot easier to finish than the other figures in this article!
Another character who comes with the Forgotten King starter set is the Royal Warden. He's a sort of cross between a Tax Collector and a Bow Street Runner (i.e. early policemen, bounty hunter and/or detective). As such, he has the full force of the law behind him and some "arresting" powers in the game!
Although I'm pleased with the way that most of this model turned out, I'm still struggling a bit with the bases. I cannot bring myself to cover the moulded detail with flock, but equally my quick "paint + wash" technique isn't producing a great result.
My 4th model tonight is a villain rather than a hero; a mini-boss, to be specific. Note that the model comes with stats to use him/it as a hero instead, but Jack Scarecrow is sold as a separate mini-boss and that's how I'll be using him.
I'm really not pleased with the way the pumpkin's eyes turned out. The trouble is that I just cannot figure out how I might have done them differently...
Usually with these models, I've noticed that the illustration on the game card(s) is a pretty close match to the physical model. However, Jack's neckerchief is sculpted very oddly, as if it was just part of his shirt or some other piece of clothing.
As with all of these models, I've attempted to follow the colours and patterns on the game card fairly closely. This is not because of some lack of imagination, but rather because it makes it easier to associate the figure with the relevant card when playing a game. For that reason, I've attempted to replicate the red/white checked neckerchief from the card's illustration, despite the model's little oddities around the neck line.
There are some significant differences between the way I paint "regular" 28mm figures and these chibi models. I hadn't really appreciated the need for this change of style when I attempted my first warband (i.e. the "Rock Top Gang") and I think it showed in the disappointing result for them. Now that I'm getting the hang of it, here's what I've noticed so far:
- Eyes are important. Indeed, they might even be the most important parts of the model! Paint them well (there are many tutorials on "chibi eyes" to be found on the internet) and the rest will follow,
- Chibi are essentially cartoon figures. They work very well with block colours applied using simple layering techniques (e.g. base coat, darker shadows and lighter highlights). I've had less success with complex blending or washes; the results just don't look right to me.
- Colours need to be vivid. This is a situation where the bright, primary colours are more useful, so put away most of those subtle, natural tones. I've also noticed that hair colours can often be very unexpected: Marie-Claude above has grey-green hair and the Royal Warden's hair is red . Not orange or ochre, but bright scarlet. Didn't notice that, did you?