Confessions of a Warmachine Noob: Painting the Khador Battlegroup

Within the hobby there are few things that feel as good as arriving home with a new toy and diving right into it. I make it a rule to never buy more stuff for my hobby unless I’m ready for it so when I brought the Warmachine Khador Battlgroup home I was able to indulge myself immediately.

In the box I found parts to make two different ‘Jacks and Sorscha, my warcaster. There were stat cards for all three models, a poster with quickstart rules on one side and all the cards from the various starter sets on the other and a miniature issue of No Quarter, Privateer Press’ inhouse magazine. It was a neat addition but I think that a selection of tokens, even on thin card stock, would have been more useful.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was that the plastic miniatures weren’t on a sprue as I was expecting. This has become normal for miniatures and usually indicates a lower quality of plastic. My previous experience with this was Mantic’s Deadzone miniatures which are cast in a type of plastic known as “restic.”

Privateer Press’ plastic was harder which made it easier to clean up. Unfortunately terrible jagged mold lines in inconvenient places made this a pain, especially on the armor plates covering the legs where raised detail made it impossible to smooth out the surface properly.

Painted Privateer Press Warmachine Khador Destroyer
I didn’t try to pick out trim detail and instead used chipping effects for interest.

This is probably a good time to mention my philosophy for painting these miniatures. As this is not a game I am terribly excited about and am only playing because there’s an active community near me, I am not going to spend too much time painting these miniatures. Prep and painting will be at my lowest level of effort. My goal is to have these ready for battle sooner rather than later.

Of course, if I had planned on painting these to the very peak of my skills I would have immediately abandoned that idea the moment I saw the miniatures. I enjoy painting more than I do modeling and reserve my efforts for miniatures which don’t require hours of cleanup, filling, filing and sculpting.

For example, I wanted to replace the cast grab handles on the top of the two ‘Jacks. The standard handles are solid pieces with the handle a suggestion. On the box you can see that the centers are painted back to give the illusion that there is a hole there. When I clipped them off and tried to smooth the surface I found that the entire top plate was concave instead of flat.

Dutifully I filled the area with a mix of cyanoacrylate and talc but when I sanded this down I found that there’d be no way to get a proper surface unless I used some sculpting putty to fill an area that would otherwise be impossible to sand. There’s no way I was going through this much trouble and on the second ‘jack I didn’t try to fix the warped surfaces.

Painted Privateer Press Warmachine Khador Juggernaut
I spent a little extra time airbrushing a frosty effect on the axe to represent its crit effect.

Primary painting was completed with an airbrush. I first painted the entire model green, then sponged a layer of liquid masking and airbrushed the model red. Later when I rubbed off the masking it looked like to paint was chipping down to primer. I brushed on gunmetal grey to show where the damage had penetrated through the paint into the metal.

I think painted the bottom edges of the chip and any upper edges of armour plate with a very light highlight. This gave the chips some depth which, while completely unrealistic for the scale, looks interesting and makes the green look like it’s below the red.

After giving both ‘jacks a gloss coat of Future Floor Polish I used some oil paints to add some grim and depth to the model. This is a technique I picked up from building model airplanes and decided it would fit well on these miniatures. I just coated the miniature with the oil paint and pulled most of it off with a rag before it dried. If you use this technique you need to make sure that you are working in a well ventilated area. Even if you can’t smell the solvent doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

The oil paint takes a long time to dry so I left the miniatures for a couple of days before giving them a coat of matte varnish. When this was dry I added green flock for a simple base and then painted the edge of the base glossy black.

Meanwhile, despite underpainting Sorscha with black and white primer followed by layers of red I covered up almost all of the airbrush with standard brushwork. Again, this was a very quick paint job, I really disliked this miniature and wanted it done as quickly as possible.

While it’s easy to point at some of the over-the-top poses and accessories within the Warmachine product line as reasons why I’m not a fan there is a pervasive aesthetic that I just don’t like. Sorscha is wearing what amounts to a heavy jacket over a corset, garter and hose. In the art this is an armoured breast plate and leather chap-like pants worn over leggings but it is obviously meant to make the viewer think of a corset and garter.

Painted Privateer Press Warmachine Khador Sorscha
I spent the least time on this model because of how much I dislike it.

I don’t want to start a huge flame war so let’s just say that I find titillation in situations where I have no desire for it, such as wargaming, to be tiresome and demeaning. Putting sex appeal into a game to appeal to the male demographic is like slapping pink on something to make it appeal to women.

Now that I’ve painted the contents of the Warmachine Khador Battlegroup I am ready to head down to the local store and see if anyone is willing to play a small battle with me. Since I don’t have any friends who play Warmachine I’ll just have to introduce myself to the local group and hope for the best.

In the very worse case these models will go on my shelf and I will move on to my next project without any guilt over unpainted models. It’s a great feeling to buy something, fully paint it and be ready to move on to the next thing. Still, I’m painting models I don’t like for a game that is far down the list of games I’d like to play because this is my best chance to play any game.

Have you ever invested in a game you didn’t care for just because your group did? Leave me a note in the comments. You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+ where I usually share WIP pictures of my various projects. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for the next installment where I meet a bunch of strangers, and if you like my writing check out my regular blog where I try to only talk about the things I love.

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  • It’s a solid tabletop paint job. I’m with you though on painting and it’s honestly why I could never get into this game. I just don’t care for the general aesthetics of Warmachine or Hordes. I would have zero interest in painting any of the models and seeing as I’m very much a hobbyist, that rules this game out for me. I commend you though for sticking it out, even if it’s a quick paint job, and trying something new.

    • Tyler Provick

      It certainly helped that this was primarily airbrushed. Spending time with a brush on the ‘jacks would have been much worse

      • Good point. You can knock most of it off quickly with an airbrush. I agree with that approach on these things.

  • It’s rare that I will play anything I don’t love, because I have found that I become *that guy* if I don’t like the game.

    • Tyler Provick

      I am a little bit “that guy.” I was talking to one of the Warmachine group about another game I like and had to stop myself and say: “You have all this Warmachine stuff, you don’t need a new game”

  • Super props to you for painting warmachine stuff. One of the big things that put me off warmachine, was that every time I saw people playing it, at least one side (if not booth), had a bunch of un primed mini’s (or primed mini’s), even at tournaments. It was so rare to see anyone actually put a painted army on the table!

    • Tyler Provick

      I have seen a lot of that as well. I think it is a testament to how good the rules are that so many non-modelers play it. I mentioned that I don’t like the rules but it’s not because they are bad, they just aren’t my cup of tea.

      • It’s also a very familiar system to a Magic player and Magic players are certainly not hobbyists. It’s an all around good jumping point if you’re getting into table top gaming on account of cost and low model count; plus it’s really popular. Gives it a far bigger draw than something like 40K where those getting into 40K know it’s expensive and it really helps to be a hobby enthusiast from the get-go.

  • You may have guessed by my previous comment to your last article that I do dislike the warmachine aesthetic immensely. I have never been in a situation though where I had to play a game because there is no one playing anything I like around. Kudos to you for slogging through these mini’s. I am a big hobbyist so it would kill me to have to assemble and paint these (I have a few mantic dreadball teams, which were the most painful and frustrating things I have ever had to put together before. Mould lines in the middle of faces! cmon Mantic! I don’t think I could handle a similar thing for models I have zero interest in)

    • Tyler Provick

      There’s another game where I bought the starter, looked at a rulebook full of typos and miscast miniatures and just set it aside. It’s not worth the trouble.

      Once I decided I wasn’t going to care about the mold lines things were a bit easier. Although Sorscha’s outfit is terrible.

  • I a complete Warmahordes noob too. So I’m following your progress with interest. That’s a really great scheme, more battle damaged than the fire engine red you’d normally see.

    • Tyler Provick

      Thanks. I am also into historical wargames and love the look of chipped paint on armour. I do wish I had gone brighter on the red, the store where I play at is extremely dark so what looks good under bright light is flat when things are dim.

      • Khador are all big and industrial. It’s a great excuse to have to carry flood lights, right?

        • Tyler Provick

          You joke, but I’ve been considering bringing light. I have a couple of light stands with cfl fixtures I could bring.

  • Per Hagman

    A small tips from a former (but not perhaps for long as your post is giving me inspiration) warmachine player, paint the facing on the miniatures bases. It helps a lot when you start playing the game :)

    • Tyler Provick

      Good advice. I find that I tend to orientate Sorscha where her axe is pointing, not where she is looking. This has led to some LOS issues.

      • Per Hagman

        I´m happy that I could help :) Good luck now, I will follow your journey :)

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