Saturday, January 3, 2015

Reaper Bones: Cthulhu

Welcome to 2015!  With the imminent arrival of the core game of Cthulhu Wars, I thought it fitting to ring in the new year with the completion of one of the largest of the Bones I figures:  77194 Cthulhu.

Note that this figure was way too big for my normal photo setup, so the picture quality suffers a little.  Also, this post is going to be somewhat picture-heavy, as I had to take photos from multiple angles.  On with the show!

The miniature is very large (such that I'm not sure the term "miniature" is appropriate), and is an excellent example of how the Bones line is able to produce figures that would be cost-prohibitive in metal or resin.  The box lists the dimensions as 9 inches long and 9 inches tall, which would be an absolute brick of a metal miniature!

Cleanup was very reasonable, and the details came out very cleanly on this figure.  One of the challenges with this figure is the size, which carries into all later steps:  cleaning mold lines, painting, finishing, and even photographing.  The majority of the figure is very solid, with the exception of the tentacles on the head (which are very pliable).  I did not have any problems with component fit, though the base seems to be a little warped and stands up a bit in the back.

Inspired by Richard Luong's art for Cthulhu Wars (and Cthulhu in particular), I decided to use VGC Turquoise and VGC Scurvy Green for the majority of the figure.  To help give some variation, I went with VGC Royal Purple for the tentacles, and later added that to the wings.  Since there really aren't a lot of features on the bulk of the figure, I didn't want it to become overwhelmingly green.

The body was given washes of TAP Blue Tone Ink to help darken the skin, then highlighted with layers of a VGC Jade Green/Scurvy Green mix.  The blue keratinous areas on the hands and legs were also given a wash of Blue Tone Ink, then highlighted with a Turquoise/Scurvy Green mix.  The spines were painted VGC Dark Green, with a wash of TAP Green Tone Ink and highlight of Dark Green/Scurvy Green.  The tips of the tentacles were transitioned to VGC Warlord Purple and given a TAP Red Tone Ink Wash, while the bases of the tentacles and the wings were given washes of TAP Purple Tone Ink.

I knew I wanted to create a "glow" effect for the eyes (similar to the reference artwork), which I did using VGC Escorpena Green and VGC Foul Green.  The eye itself is Escorpena Green, with a mix for the "glow" which helps tone it down and keep it in the same range of "green" as the rest of the figure.

The base is simply VGC Earth with MSP Brown Wash, and the monolith is a mix of VGC Coal Black/Wolf Grey with a wash of TAP Green Tone Ink to help give it a slightly alien appearance.  The entire figure was coated with a spray gloss coat to give it a wet, slimy look.

Conclusion:  This was a very large project, and by far the largest figure I have ever painted.  Prior to this, I think the largest item I had painted with the Empire Steam Tank for Warhammer Fantasy years ago.  Cthulhu turned out better than I thought he might when I first started!  Large figures like this can be extremely intimidating (even for an experienced painter) just on the sheer size.  I think it's important to just think of it one step at a time, or even one portion at a time (though if you take that approach, you'll need to make sure the figure as a whole looks unified and doesn't develop an unintentional "patchwork" appearance).

I really like how the colors look on the figure, and I think the washes and mixes used for layering highlights really helped tie the colors together.  I could have done more layering for highlights, but I didn't want the colors to get too bright and shift the overall figure from a deeper hue.  The main thing I need to work on for large figures like this is ensuring that I'm putting on consistent coats.  There were a few times where I didn't do that (the paint was thinned a little too much), and it made it much harder to get consistent results on subsequent layers.  While that's important on any figure, I think it's much more apparent on larger figures due to the increased surface area you're working with.  Finally, I think the gloss coat worked really well and helps sell an aquatic look.  Spray coats are kind of a gamble on finished figures, as you never quite know how they might change the paint job.  Thankfully, this one worked out well and will (hopefully!) help protect the figure for years to come!

In closing, I'd like to wish you well as we head into the new year!  A lot of Kickstarters are poised to deliver this year, from Cthulhu Wars to Reaper Bones II to Wrath of Kings.  I'm really enjoying the hobby again, and look forward to completing more figures in my collection in the next 12 months!

- M:M