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Painting Descent: Ice Wyrm

Freddie Foulds
United Kingdom
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The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
So I've decided to paint my Descent miniatures. I used to do a lot of mini painting in my youth (mainly GW - Dark Angels and Warhammer Fantasy Chaos), but I stopped playing, and hence stopped painting miniatures sometime around being 15-16. Ten years one, and I've a stack of games with cool minis just begging to be painted. How could I not give in to temptation.

I started off by painting the beastmen from Descent, and they didn't turn out too bad... (apologies in advance for lighting in some of these pics - I do most of my painting in the evening!)

Next I wanted to try my hand at something a little more complex, that I could really put some effort into. The Ice Wyrm was the mini that sprang to mind. Not too complex in terms of colours, but enough to allow me to practice my highlighting and shading, and with a nice large base to play with too.

I started off by priming the mini using a matt white spray primer, making sure to get reasonable coverage (no matter what you do, the spray probably won't reach the belly, but no matter - no one will look at it too closely anyway )

Following this, I basecoated the Wyrm with ultramarine blue, straight from the bottle. I then created a wash using the blue and plenty of water and washed the scales to try and fill in any white that might be showing through and also to get some paint in between the horns.

Once done and dry, I carefully basecoated the horns and under side of the mini in bone white.

Again, I allowed it to dry. Then came the fun part... Mixing a little bone white into the ultramarine blue, I began to highlight the scales, adding more white in as I shaded up towards the top of the miniature. I was highlighted the plates on the legs and around the head. Once done, I used bone white mixed with a little blue to start highlighting the base of the horns, grading up to bone white and through to dead white at the tips. Along the under belly, where the plates are the biggest, I highlighted with bone white mixed with skull white and grading up to just dead white on the very edges. For the tail, I simply drybrushed with a mix of bone white and dead white, as there are far to many plates and they're too small.

I could then concentrate on the finishing touchs, painting the mouth in with black, and using a black wash, made by mixing plenty of water with black paint, to paint around the teeth. Once this was all dry, I painted the teeth in with a mix of bone and dead white, and the toungue with bloody red. I highlighted the tongue by mixing skull white and bloody red and grading up slightly.

The eyes were picked out in polished gold and the pupil painted in with black. Finally, the claws I painted in bone white and highlighted with a mix of bone and dead white.

For the rock, I painted it stonewall grey, washed with black and then drybrushed with stonewall grey mixed with a little black.

This is the result...

Leaving that to dry fully over night, I then got to do what I love best - basing. I decided that the Ice Wyrm needed a base that fitted it, and that meant snow. Forgoing snow flock (which just doesn't work for me), I decided to go with a tundra effect. I coated the empty areas of the base with white glue and dipped it in some coarse sand. Once dry, I coated some areas with more white glue, including the top of the rock, and dipped the base in a finer grained sand. This gave the effect of some drifting of the snow. I then painted the base in a mix of stonewall grey and dead white. When it comes to painting the base layer of any base, I like to thin the paint, so I added plenty of water. The advantage to this is that the paint will run into the sand, saving you time and meaning you don't have to make a mess trying to get to the more awkward nooks and cranies.

Once painted and dry, the next step was to drybrush the painted sand with dead white to give the snow effect. Now, once done, you could stop here, but I like to base with a bit of flair. I added a bit of slate to the middle of the base, under the Wyrm's belly, gluing it down with white glue. Then I randomly placed some patches of white glue around and applied some static grass to them, to give the impression of grasses poking through the snow. Finally, I took some brass leaves (these came from a Citadel fantasy basing kit), painted them beasty brown and drybrushed with a mix of beasty brown and orange fire, and glued then on.

Finished? Nearly - just to paint around the end of the base with some bone white so that I can tell this is just a normal Ice Wyrm. The master mini will get a red edge to their base...

So what did it look like? Here are some pics:

So that's about that! I've plenty more miniatures to paint yet, so hopefully I'll be able to do some more like this. I can say though that, without a doubt, this is the finest miniature I've painted to date

(N.B. All paint colours are given for Vallejo paints. There is a conversion chart to Citadel colours here for those who want it)
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