OK, I must start out stating the obvious (at least to me). Every time I see this model, it reminds me of a man riding an ostrich. Which is hysterical. So… bonus points for that. Anyway…
When I “discovered” that building Warhammer miniatures was a lot of fun, that led to searching Youtube for videos pertaining to the subject. Which, in turn, led to videos about painting gaming miniatures in general. And that, in due course, brought me to a fellow named Sorastro, and his tutorials about painting a variety of tabletop gaming pieces- one of which was from Fantasy Flights Star Wars Legion game.
Now, I’m not a gamer, but I am a fan of Star Wars. And finding that there are miniatures from that universe certainly grabbed my attention. After watching Sorastro’s “Star Wars Legion Painting Guide Ep.3: AT-RT“, I decided to take the plunge and order the kit. It was only $19.96 on the Amazons, and I figured that was worth giving the series a try.
The kit consists of fourteen nicely cast styrene pieces, some “game stuff” (cards and tokens and whatnot), and a base. The casting is nice, though not quite as sharp as the Citadel Warhammer 40K pieces I’ve been building. Comparing it to my aircraft build experience, I’d say it’s somewhere in the newer Airfix/Italeri style. Certainly nice enough, with no reason to complain.
While my initial plan was to try and mimic Sorastro’s technique as closely as possible, reason set in, and I decided to take a somewhat simpler approach. While I’m experienced in building aircraft, hand painting minis is a new game, and I’ve seen it has its own set of realities. While I’d love to paint as Sorastro does, it occured to me to live by the advice I give other modelers- don’t short circuit the basics trying to accomplish the advanced. Crawl, walk, run, as we used to say in the Army.
I started by airbrushing the vehicle parts in Badger’s Stynylrez Gray primer. This was followed by a coat of Vallejo Model Color Sky Gray (70.989), also applied with an airbrush. A few decorative elements were adding using Ammo of Mig French Blue (A.Mig-062), and then a bit of drybrushing was added with Vallejo Mecha Color Off White (69.003).
With the basic colors on the walker, I turned to the figure.
Though I’ve built hundreds of aircraft models, it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve started building figures. And I find it very frustrating. I get the basics- lay down the base colors, add a shade, and then bring up the highlights. But for me, it has been a matter of “easier said than done”. This figure was no exception.
The problem was not the figure itself. The problem was squarely on my lack of experience with painting by hand, getting colors to blend and fade, and not looking contrived or quilt like. I actually painted this figured three times, stripping the first two attempts off with Simple Green. My third attempt, though still not what I was wanting, was finally declared “good enough”. I’ve realized in my modeling career that sometimes a point is reached where I must admit “it’s not happening”. It’s not so much giving up on the whole thing- I’m still painting figures- but rather realizing that my frustration with this one had exceeding my enthusiasm for seeing it through.
So to move things along, I accepted it as a “learning experience”.
As to the particulars, it was primed in Stynylrez Gray, and given a base coat of Citadel Zandri Dust for the overall uniform, and Castellan Green for the jacket. The boots were painted in Vallejo Model Color Leather Brown (70.871), and the backpack was painted with the previously mentioned French Blue. Other bits were picked out in… well, various colors I can’t recall… but as there are no painting guides for the kit. you can make it up as you go along. (Which is one of the aspects I love of scifi!)
With the base colors painted, I added a shade of Citadel Agrax Earthshade, and the did edge highlights with Citadel’s Ushabti Bone and Straken Green. A few final highlights were applied with Screaming Skull, also from Citadel, and some Straken Green mixed with Vallejo Model Color White.
The face was painted with Citadel’s Cadian Fleshtone, Agrax Earthshade, and Kislev Flesh.
I did learn quite a bit through this process. Proper thinning of paints, understanding how brush stroke impacts paint placement, and methods for blending all came into play. (Well… I learned loads of ways that DON’T work, at the very least. 🙂 )
For the ostrich, errr…. vehicle weathering, I added a shade of Citadel’s Nuln Oil, and applied various streaks and stains with several brown and gray acrylics, highly thinned with water and/or Vallejo Airbrush Thinner. I wanted to focus on the use of acrylics for this build. While I am quite comfortable with using enamel and oil based weathering products, I thought it would be a good experience builder to attempt techniques with acrylics, as the faster drying time seems very attractive. Overall, I felt things went nicely, and I do plan to continue the foray into that area of weathering. Paint chipping was added with Ammo of Mig Chipping color (A.Mig-044).
With the vehicle and rider finished, I tackled the base. This was a first for me, as I’ve never done scenery and bases before at all. I decided to take a simple approach. I grabbed a few rocks from our backyard, and glued them on with super glue. A gray primer coat was then applied. The base received a coat of Citadel’s Stirland Battlemire, a very thick, clumpy paint that leaves a muddy like texture. Various rust colors were heavily thinned and dabbed on in a haphazard fashion. (I had a Mars type surface in mind, for some reason. Rusttooine, perhaps? 🙂 ) A heavy shade of Citadel’s Agrax Earthshade was added, and a final drybrush with a yellow-orange color was applied. All of these colors were from Vallejo’s Rust and Chipping Effects set (71.186). With that finished, the matte coat of Vallejo Matte Varnish was applied.
I can say two things without a doubt- I really enjoyed this kit, and I really need more experience brush painting miniatures. Happily, between Warhammer and Fantasy Flight Games (and others yet to be “discovered”), there are plenty of opportunities for growth!
If you’ve gotten in a rut in your present genre, or just want to do something different, give some of these Fantasy Flight Games miniatures a try. There is a huge variety available, not only from Star Wars, but from other gaming franchises as well. They are a great way to work on new skills, and to simply have some fun on very nice models.
And be sure and check out Sorastro’s Painting on Youtube, and consider becoming a supporter on Patreon. His videos are very detailed, descriptive, and imminently helpful!
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