Sunday, 17 July 2011

Horse Archers - a painting guide

So another week has gone by and I've finally managed to have a couple of games with the newly minted Tomb Kings. Unfortunately, both games did not go entirely (or even partially) my way.

The first game was against a high elf army that consisted of two bolt throwers and a big block of Seaguard with a wizard and battle standard. I had a big block of skeles, 3 chariots, a casket of souls, 3 Necro-knights, a Tomb Prince and Heirophant. Basically I died crossing the table and ended up with very little by the time I reached him. Magic didn't really work and flame spells are not my friend.

I then played Kelly's skaven, and although I faired somewhat better in the kill stakes I still ended up with just the Tomb Prince and heirophant by the end.

Looks like more practice is needed.

Anyway, down to the painting.
Firstly the horse archers - as in the post title.
As mentioned earlier I said I would do a step by step guide as to what I did, so here goes.

Step one - the horses:
I painted the inside of the ribs while the parts were on the sprus as once together this would be difficult to get at.

I snipped off all the horse pieces and then used a knife and file to remove the mold lines. Once done I glued the two parts of the horse together and painted everything scorched brown.

Next I used a heavy dry brush of bleach bone over each entire model. I was reasonably careful so as not to go into the crevises but as this is the first coat I'm not trying to completely hide the brown underneath on the ereas I dry brushed. Once this is dry, which is once I've done all the horses, I put a second coat of slightly thinned down bleached bone, but this time I am very careful to mainly stick to the raised areas. This gives good coverage and means the brown is not bleeding through the bone. Here's a closer image:

The hooves have been painted black and that is just about it for the horses.

So next are the bases. As I'm matching the bases throughout all the army I repeated what I did for the other skeles.

So I painted some thin card in a variety of sandy colours - yellows, reds, browns - and once dry, cut the card into squares and rectangles.

Next, I glued the pieces of card to the bases. I did a number of bases all at once, the cavalry and the necro-knights, as its easier that way. When gluing down I was not too worried about gaps as I was going to use sand to fill these in and simulate the desert sands reclaiming the lost Nehekaran city.

Once the bases were fully dry I used a craft knife and steel ruler to cut the card to the edge of the bases. This required a few sweeps of the blade and firm pressure on the ruler to make sure it didn't slip.

I now added sand by dabbing PVA on the bases in the patterns I wanted and making sure it covered any mistakes I'd made and then pushing the stand onto the glue. Shake off the excess and then use a big brush (I used a No 5) to dab water onto the sand. This mixes with the PVA and glues the sand down more thorougly. Once dry the sand is painted bubonic brown and then highlighted with a mix of bubonic brown and bleached bone. I then added grass tufts I got from the Gale Force Nine range to add a bit of detail by showing desert grasses forcing their way through the cracks in the pavement.
I painted the base edges in dark green and that was the bases finished.

So with the horses and bases done I turned my attention to the riders. Firstly I repeated the bone painting technique detailed earlier over all the parts of the archer. I then painted all gold areas with dwarf bronze. The bows were then painted scorched brown and the horn ends, bleach bone. The head dresses were painted bestial brown so that they all matched, and the headbands different colours to not match and add a bit of individuality. The bow cases were then painted ice blue with bleached bone tops and bottoms, bubonic brown arrow shafts, and white fletching. Next I washed the bow cases with devlan mud and all the metal, bows and straps with Windsor and Newton brown ink. I've found the ink is exelent on crevices but does add a sheen. However, this was the look I was after.
Now the bow cases were carefully painted with thin layers of ice blue, bleached bone and devlan mud to give a worn appearence. This was done by drawing the brush down or up and trial and error until I got the look I was looking for. Shining gold was used to highlight gold areas.
Once this was done the horses were glued to the bases and then the riders were glued together and checked to make sure they could rank up.

And there you have it.

So now onto progress for this week. Well I finished the horse archers, as you can see above. I also painted and finished the foot archers:

And a really old screaming skull catapult I found:

This needs a base making but that will be done at the same time as I make the base for the casket of souls.

So that's it for this week and maybe for this month on the Tomb Kings. I've put the necro-knights together but may leave the painting until next month. I've recently received some DnD figures that I'm itching to have a go at and will post once they are done.

In the meatime here's a few pictures of what is done with the Tomb Kings so far all together:


  1. Still gonna get crushed against my Elven steel! See you in battle!

    Out of interest what paints did you use for the sand stone bases? I want to make some roof tiles and that colour is exactly what I had in mind...

    Also did you remmeber that paint pot last night? Let me know how it looks!