Well it's been a while hasn't it? I ran out of enthusiasm for writing blogposts late last year, my enthusiasm for the hobby was still there, but my painting was infrequent, and gaming was pretty much restricted to board games (Zombiecide, Descent) and Star Wars: X-Wing. Work was stressful and painting, my usual stress relief, just didn't appeal very much.
Thankfully, a combination of The Desolation of Smaug and a fantastic 2 weeks off at Christmas brought my mojo back. I've been painting regularly for the last month or so (as you'll have seen if you follow me on Twitter), and with the enthusiasm for that back it seemed like a good time to get posting here again.
You may remember, around the middle of the last year I picked up a couple of Reaper Bones models (I did a review of a Bones Dwarf for the last ever issue of the Ancible). As a quick recap, the Ogre was pretty much fine, but Michelle the Ranger suffered quite badly from the problems inherent to the plastic Reaper uses. Jeff over at Pirate Viking Painting has done a review of the Bones models too and we have come to similar conclusions:
- The material is too pliable, particularly sword blades, spears, etc which can be incorrectly curved straight out of the packet and require patient fixing
- Mold lines are a bugger to remove, sanding chews the plastic, scraping doesn't work, and by carving you are in serious danger of removing detail.
Bikkul the Ogre
The Ogre is a pre-kickstarter model. As it's a larger model, it doesn't suffer from the detail blurring that comes with casting in the softer plastic. This is a proper quick and dirty paint job - all the base coats were done at once, and then the entire model was washed with Agrax Earthshade. Each element received two highlights and I added some dirt and rust.
This approach works really well when speed is of the essence (which is what the Bones models are all about), and particularly if you can use a ubiquitous base coat like Charadon Granite, or Dryad Bark. The skin on the model is well defined so it made shading and highlighting a breeze. Pretty much the rest of the model lends itself to dry-brushing highlights, which is a blessing when you want to get something done quickly.
There's now a bit of a story behind Bikkul. Mrs Walker and I had a few friends over for a gaming weekend, and one of our friends introduced us to the Pathfinder Role Playing Game. In our introduction game, at the end of the quest we came up against an Ogre who had eaten our horses (I fell asleep when I was on watch and lost them), and despite getting knocked unconscious my character, a slightly evil Half Orc, managed to dispatch him. In honour of our fallen foe the ogre became Bikkul.
All-in-all the Ogre is perfect for the Bones plastic as he's big, solid, and there's nothing thin that would bend easily. The mold lines were OK but did require some work, hopefully they didn't show up anywhere on the model too much. I've not stuck him on a base, but I think if I was to use him for gaming, he'd probably work better on a round 40mm base.
Michelle the Ranger
Michelle was a pain in the backside to prepare and not much more fun to paint. The pliability of the plastic meant the swords were difficult to clean up and keep straight, and getting to the mold line down the leg underneath the cloak and body drove me to distraction.
Even more painful was the mold line down the hair. There's no way I could get rid of that cleanly, so I left it there - I'm hoping it looks like a stray hair, but even I'm not convinced...
To be honest the model just felt "wrong" from start to finish. It was difficult to clean up, and unlike the Ogre, the paint didn't adhere to the model very well. She was meant to be a quick paint job too, but in the end I had to try and blend the highlights as best I could. She feels like a toy rather than a finely crafted miniature (admittedly the varnish came out shiny which hasn't helped). Even photographing her was painful.
In review, although the Bones models are cheap, I will be very choosy about which ones I purchase. I would definitely recommend the Ogre, but avoid Michelle, she's not worth the pain and frustration.
I love Reaper models and I think this Sorcerer demonstrates why you're best off sticking with the metal versions...
As always, comments and criticism welcome!