A little bit of hobby: Martian models

Posted: October 6, 2014 in Gaming, Mantic
Tags: , ,

I’m probably not going to be on here as much as I have this last six weeks, as I’m reaching the “Panic! Must write every available second!” halfway point of my next book. But I will be posting more regularly than I did last time I was in the thick of the narrative storm, meaning more than not at all.

Here are a few models from Mantic’s Mars Attacks game that I’ve painted over the last few days. They’re a quite realistically proportioned 28mm(ish). At least the humans are realistically proportioned. Who knows how true the aliens are to the real thing?

They’re made in soft plastic. Although they hold paint better than your old Airfix 1/72, the weapons can be a touch bendy. This is only really an issue on those with swords and staffs. I’ll be replacing the staff of the Martian General Tor with wire, for example. Some of them have mouldlines, and these can be hard to remove as the models are so fine, and come preassembled. Otherwise, I think they’re nifty. The sculpts are good and the Martians in particular are characterful.

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Ak! Ak-ak-ak-ak! Ak!

I painted them using a bit of a cheaty technique. After years of painting over black (and by that I really mean decades), I’ve been using a white undercoat for some models. I started doing this with my Second Age The Lord of the Rings Elves, mainly because the colours are much brighter than those I usually work with. But I’m sad to say that my eyes aren’t what they were, and I found white makes it easier to see the detail.

Sheesh. Age.

For these Martians, I followed the colours of the painted models in the rulebook. The Martians in the paintings have green or turquoise armour, but I prefer the blue. There were only two stages. The first is a thin basecoat; thin enough to allow the white undercoat to show through on the raised parts. Almost a wash. After that, I tidied them up and gave them an ink wash of the appropriate colour. Job done.

I allowed the green wash of the face to bleed into the red wash on the brains to mimic the pictures. I applied a second wash of brown ink to pick out the features on the faces too. I noticed that the very finely painted models in the rulebook have a tiny white highlight dotted off centre on the Martians’ pupils. I think it really brings the faces alive. The helmets were very carefully stuck on with PVA.

After a couple of disasters with spray varnish, I’ve taken to varnishing my plastics with Windsor and Newton Galeria Matt Varnish. You can get this from art shops. You paint it on, and one bottle will last for ages. I’ve been using it for ten years, and am on my second bottle. This protects them, and takes the shine off the inks. Until recently I was using it to remove the shine of gloss and satin varnishes, but with plastics now I omit the initial spray.

My little boy Benny loves this game (okay so the original trading cards caused controversy for gore and implicit sexual content but, you know, alien invasion!), and so yesterday he had a go at painting. He didn’t do too badly, and he’s eager to finish his Martian off. He’s got no chance of not being a terrible nerd in this house. I am thankful that it is now socially acceptable.

Next week I promise I’ll finish my Black Templars command squad and post it up here. Honest. I’ve just been distracted by Uruk-hai, Saxons, Martians… Too many toy soldiers to paint!

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The one on the left is straight out of the box. Just in case you need telling.

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