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Back to Infinity pt3

Updating Progress

There has indeed been progress on the Chanthara project. The Yadu is now complete. I do need to improve my blogging, as perhaps I am too well-acustomed to the short, sharp posting habits of other social media. However, I have been working on improving my panting style and re-learning all the skills which have faded over time. To this end there has been a bit of trial and error with regards to techniques and colour blending.
As I move down the painting queue I shall try to update progress more often.

Finishing Touches

Higher ratios of Army Painter’s Matt White or a mix of AP’s Oak Brown and P3 Thamar Black were added to the base colours for edge highlighting and shading. The hex pattern on the leggings was given some subtle highlights with Angel Green (AP). I used Coal Black (P3) for highlights on the darker area of the helmet and the gun. Coal Black has quickly become my first choice for highlighting matt blacks, particularly on guns. I feel that sometimes the highlights could be too bright but when taken out from under my fluorescent lamp they do look more natural; perhaps it’s time to invest in a different form of lighting.

With the highlights done it was time to add some of those more characterful details typical of the Chanthara cyborgs. Things like hazard warnings, “caution” markers, etc. I added some characters in bright orange to the wrist unit and back of the helmet plus some orange detail on the satchel, inspired by a Crumpler bag I use for my laptop. I tried to add the “132” logo, which features on many of Chanthara’s works, to the jacket in such a way as to make it look faded, with limited success – ideally I should have added it before some of the highlight layers and then painted over the top of it to push it more into the background and not have it so prominent. The gun also had some assorted markers added with no particular inspiration.

There came a point where the details were starting to feel a bit too intrusive. I chose this as a good time to stop.

Conclusions

I feel that in the end I have deviated somewhat from the original reference image but that is not necessarily a bad thing; Creepy/M was more for inspiration rather than to directly copy. My intent, however, was to have the Yadu look worn and I feel some of the details distract from this.

Always in mind…

There is an appropriate quote from the fashion designer, Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”. With this in mind I may remove some of the markers on the gun – they really are surplus to requirements. They are also completely meaningless; it actually looked better without them.

The bright orange of the helmet and satchel could also do with a wash to dull them down. The dirt of the battlefield and even general wear & tear would certainly remove the factory-fresh sheen of such details. I’ll give it a try and post the results later.

I mentioned before that if I paint more Yadu I may have them darker and dirtier. This would be more in keeping with the concept- a trio would project the theme more than a single mini. That could be a project for another day. In the meantime it’s time to return to that Daofei sniper which I intended to paint in the first place!

If you’d like to try some Chanthara Yadu, you can find the unit box here. The Coldfront Yadu, which I’ve used, appears on the Split List. You can find the works of Nivanh Chanthara over on ArtStation – it’s worth a look!

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Back to Infinity pt2

Style Choices

Progress on the Chanthara project has been slow but there has been progress! Since last time there has been a slight change of schedule, in that the ALEPH Yadu with Multirifle has been prioritised over the Yu Jing Daoying sniper. A particular piece by Chanthara inspired me, the style of which was more applicable to the Yadu than the Daoying. The Yadu is also the easier model for me to paint.

This had “Yadu” written all over it!

The style of this piece, Creepy/M, is quite dull and dirty, setting it apart from most of the painted Aleph I’ve seen. A trend for painting robotic/armoured units is glowing LEDs or AV stalks but I shall not do this. My cyborgs shall have photoreceptors which do not emit any light. There is a risk they may appear too dull, so I shall apply subtle highlights and decals to offset this.
Chanthara’s decals tend to be in stark contrast, often in orange or yellow, so I shall need some very careful brushwork!

Painting the ALEPH Yadu

I’ve been using a mix of GW, P3 and Army Painter paints. Lately there’s been less use of GW as the pots keep drying up, so I’m salvaging those I can by pouring them into spare dropper bottles from my Army Painter set. I’ll signify which range each colour is from by adding a GW, P3 or AP in parentheses.

Starting with a matt black (AP) spray undercoat, to match the Creepy/M cyborg I basecoated the jacket of the Yadu with Army Green(AP) dulled down with some black. The armour sections on the legs and the head were based with Ash Grey(AP). The hex pattern on the leggings and around parts of the waist I left mostly black but with some slight colouring with Angel Green (AP) to try and maintain the dark, dirty look as best I could. Other armour sections like the back of the helmet, edges of the shin pads, the backpack, and the case of the Multirifle were based with Coal Black (P3).

Yadu after some simple high/lowlights.

Green is the uniting colour of Creepy/M, so I added lowlights and shading to the armour sections with a thin wash of a mix of Army Green (AP) and Thamar Black (P3). I thinned the paints a lot, very close to the consistency of water, so that they wouldn’t be too intrusive on the layer of white I’d paint over the top. For the jacket I shaded the recesses with a thinned mix of Army Green (AP) and Oak Brown (AP).

Highlights and Maintaining Style

I added highlights by blending Matt White or Ash Grey (or sometimes a mix of the two) to the base colours. For the lighter armour sections I simply built up thin layers of Matt White. I highlit (highlighted?) the pouches and belts by adding a thin edge of Coal Black (P3) as I didn’t want them to stand out too much from the rest of the underclothing; combat accessories like these are often dark, dull colours.

And turn.

At this point I think I could have made the jacket darker by adding black and grey to the base coat but overall I think the Yadu is headed in the right direction. I may have to take some liberties with the highlighting and overall palette as I fear the Yadu may otherwise end up looking half-finished. That’s the conundrum with directly adapting Chanthara’s style on Creepy/M; it looks indimidating and characterful on paper but may not look striking or engaging on a wargames miniature. The results could be completely different if I painted a group of say, 3 Yadu looking battered and worn as the theme would be more apparent but for this solitary mini I may prefer it to be slightly more eye-catching. There is more work to be done!

Perhaps you’d like to try this, yourself? If so you can find the Yadu unit box here. You can usually find the Coldfront Yadu I’ve used in the Infinity Split Box Service section.
I also highly recommend checking out the artwork of Nivanh Chanthara over on ArtStation; you may be inspired!

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Back to Infinity pt1

A new year is a time for new beginnings: lifestyle choices, dining habits and, of course, personal projects. Personal projects like all the hobby-related activities I’ve been neglecting for some time.

Infinity is a game I haven’t been playing much lately but I do still admire the models for their aesthetic, which is what prompted me to pick up a Pan Oceania stater set and Squalo TAG back in first edition, years ago. Since then, while I have admired many of the minis, I wasn’t ever sure of what to do with them, myself. Thankfully, thanks to a certain Christmas gift, I’ve had a new wave of inspiration for painting which I may actually adhere to, this time.

I was given an artbook, Dreaming in Mech, featuring works by the artist Nivanh Chanthara which showcases a wide variety of cyborgs of varying styles: from near-future military hardware to ronin-esque machines, full of personality, wandering a dystopian hellscape. Some of these cyborgs look dirty and worn, others bright and vibrant yet still dangerous. The sharp angles of the headgear and armour of some of these cyborgs brought to mind a few units from Infinity.

The faction which immediately sprang to mind was the Yu Jing, the more recent sculpts for which has units of medium/heavy infantry with powerful, visually-impressive armour which I think, in battle, would be as intimidating as it is functional, particularly with the right paintjob. Secondly, I thought of the Yadu units for ALEPH who have headgear very similar to Chanthara’s cyborgs plus the loose, draped clothing which the Yu Jing lack.

Another aesthetic style which I would love to evoke is the work of manga artsit Tsutomu Nihei, particularly his BLAME! and Biomega series – it’s an idea I’ve toyed with for some time yet never acted upon. Nihei’s cyborgs are more organic looking, often being the result of advanced nanotechnology, but while more immediately humanoid in shape compared to Chanthara’s they do still project a very powerful demeanour, often frightening due to the use of colour giving them a more deathly appearance. The problem here has been which units could be painted to this style, or at least a very close approximation.

Now, in the dawn of 2020, I feel the time has come to finally act! First off I have assembled a Daoying Sniper for Yu Jing’s Invincible Army which I intend to paint in the Chanthara style. Assembly of the body was simple enough since there were only 2 parts but fixing it to the base proved to be slightly troublesome. I normally try to make any tags on a model’s feet fit into the slot down the middle of the typical 25mm base, but in the Daoying’s case this would result in an unstable position – the mini would likely topple forwards if you so much as breathe in its direction – so I drilled some holes just behind the slot, relative to the model’s facing, and carved myself a hole for the tag to fit. I probably should have chosen a spot closer to the base’s edge so the body would be more central, but I glued some scrap pieces of metal sprue to the underside of the base to add a little bit of weight and help with balance (the same effect can be achieved with lumps of greenstuff).

I have some other models waiting in the wings but first thing’s first! Next time, I should have the Daoying Sniper based and sprayed, ready for basecoating. Watch this space for my progress!