Monday, August 8, 2011

Painting display models

Hey everyone,

Been very busy recently getting myself settled into my new life in Bratislava, Slovakia where I'm teaching English (for more info see here so not much time to do anything wargaming related. I've managed to keep up to date on blogs and internet news for the most part but haven't broken out the brushes or even taken my models out of their packed state since June 28th when I put them away before flying here. Since I haven't yet managed to find any gaming groups around here and I'm not sure I'll have lots of evenings free to play wargames, I was thinking of getting a fancy model or two to really go to town on and make into display pieces.

The two possible models that have caught my eye for now are:

Ruby from Studio Mcvey

...and the completely crazy option of Elspeth Von Draken on a Carmine Dragon from Forge World

Mmmm, insanely fine detailing

Now the difference between this two are primarily scale and cost. Ruby fits on a 50mm base and costs about £27 shipped, whereas Elspeth would set me back something like £80 shipped. Quality-wise I would trust Studio Mcvey more but then again this is a new model from Forge World so the moulds are likely to still be good.

The main concern I have with both of these is making sure that my painting lives up to the quality of the models.

Have any of you painted models that were intended almost entirely for display? If so, how do you suggest going about it, especially for something as big as Elspeth? What's the best way to maintain interest during such a long and complex project? What techniques should be mastered before going about such a task? Paint in pieces then assemble? Create a fancy base for the model in case I want to game with it in the future?

As you can tell I'm both excited and intimidated by the idea of either of these models. Who knows, with a good enough effort over time they might even be somethiing I can sell for a profit. I can dream right? ;-)

All the best,



  1. Your execution and techniques will depend on both your style and skillet and won't really differ, but...

    Have a narrative discourse, think about the moment, think about focal points, contrast, colour.. How you want to lead the eye around the model

    These are the larger challenges of display vs gaming pieces IMO.

  2. Thanks for the advice Karitas. I'll definitely consider all of the points.

    I guess the first draw on the eye would be the faces of the beasts and then the riders so those would be the key parts to focus on.

    With respect to the larger Elspeth model, perhaps some brighter, almost source-lighting effect done on and around the throne and rider would keep that part bright. I think the dragon would look good in more muted, but menacing tones with the head really being the part that stands out.

    Lots to think about whichever piece I choose.


  3. I don't have too much advice:

    a) Take your time, as it's not for gaming you can afford to spend that extra time and effort on it
    b) Have a practice model on hand to test paint schemes and techniques on
    c) Reference material - e.g. pictures of scaly things for the dragon
    d) Work on bits at a time, and vary it up so you don't do all the interesting/fun bits first
    e) Good brushes!

    Hope that helps.

  4. All advice is appreciated Andy, thanks. Very good points and I'll be sure to keep them in mind.

    The big question now is if I go nuts and order the dragon, or stick to a smaller model. ;-)