Friday, 1 May 2015

Speed painting a cyber samourai

Tuise Crom, the last samourai (of his village)

As ever weak, I've decided to dive in the popular practice of speed painting... You can see many examples from the Oldhammer community HERE and I have to say that it really terrified me to think I could only have one hour to paint a model even without basing it...  (the fact my friend Crooks did it the very same day motivated me to have a go myself though).

Hearing most people had learnt something in the process, I decided I wasn't worse than anyone and could try it myself. Trying to think out of the box and painting out of the comfort zone is always a good way to progress.

The plan I set during the minutes before the attempt were those :

- I took out all the paints I would be using and placed them in groups for each part
- I plugged the hairdryer in the bathroom in case I'd need to speed drying times for washes or anything
- I went to the toilets before (you do not want to urinate yourself just because you're almost done with your last details

and then at 19:59 I took the photo of the primed model and started when the 20:00 signal appeared...

That's the point where you know the beginning but not the end...

 2 while minutes just to add 3 drybrushes for the basing ! I'm already getting late (I really thought this would only take 30 seconds...)

add another 19 minutes and I had all the base colours blocked (photo of both sides just to show I wasn't cheating !)

Then I started adding washes everywhere (mostly black but brown on the leathers and skin)...

That's when Hell began...

I went to the bathroom to help the washes dry with the hairdryer but it took AGES, like EONS !

I gave up taking any picture at that point because I felt every second was precious. From the (mostly) dry washed basecoat, I started building my highlights in a very stark way using big brushes only to keep enough paint in it (and to avoid being tempted to refine my highlights too much)...

I was kind of silly on some parts where I spent a lot of time I could have spent on more important ones... (I told you I would be learning something in the process). A minute before the end, I had forgotten to take my mithril silver pot out and it took me 20 SECONDS to find it !!!!! 
I almost snapped at that point but hopefully, I managed to apply some final highlights on the metallics to take the final shot at precisely 21:00...

Honestly this was a rough experience for me, I was under stress the whole time and every brush stroke wasn't what I would have wanted to do... not excatly what I'd call a pleasant moment.
This made me realise that unlike a few years back I do enjoy a lot painting now. I know my style is not the fastest nor the most efficient but it's just the way I like to paint. Like those musicians who play music they don't necessarily want to hear all the time but which they like to play.

I must have spent as much time on the logo in the back as on the highlights of the whole suit...
Now if you look closely at the picture you will probably see like I do the places where some more attention would have been needed (the metallics are catastrophic). 

So what did I learn about all this if I were to make it again (unlikely but who knows) :

- I like taking my time and enjoy the models I paint
- Preparing paints beforehand really helps to keep focus
- A deadline can realy make you knock models in no time
- A wet palette could be used best by preparing mixes in advances for the challenge (on the verge of cheating I know)
- The less colours, the easiest really

Oh yeah, nice idea, let's make a sort of reflexion on this piece instead of painting it in a plain colour...
You might wonder why I opted for this model for this challenge, well I already knew there would be few colours on this one (I should have painted the hands in blue or black to save time) but on top of that I had a bigger project for this one.
The model was kindly donated to me by the excellent Sho3box when he heard about this little project.

Why did you paint me this way JB-sama ?
 But what is that project ? I heard you, well, you probably know I have a soft spot for japanese culture and especially Kendo which I practice so any model related to it is a good thing in my book. From the moment I painted my sensei I knew I wanted more of his kin. And if I was to have many, how many would be a good number ?

Akira Kurosawa's 7 samourai
Of course 7 ! Just look at this excellent concept ! Such a good number !

Another way to see things :

The magnificent 7
It even inspired this great piece of the oldschool repertoire :

Picture from Solegend

So that means I have 2 of the 7 now... where should I look now? 

Well space is quite a vast thing when you think of it and Lucas Stern, our renowned sensei, has had the time in his long life to find others like him, men of good, men of honour...
In the town of Holloo Weed in a remote sector of the galaxy, Lucas has encountered a peculiar character : Tuise Crom.
Tuise is a hot blooded youth always eager to show off but with a good heart. Tuise was immediately subjugated by Lucas' aura and though he is not always along his sempai, he responds as quickly as he can when duty calls...

"- You and me sempai !
-Yes Tuise, you and me..."

By the way you can see how bad the sensei looks after having been frosted with varnish and salvaged with another layer of antishine varnish... (original picture HERE).

Back on tracks, from the 2 first models I get a good vibe of future samourai and all but I still see things that don't do it for me :

- The samourai on the left (Tuise) has a horrible way to hold his blade and his stance is desastrous (try to attack like this and you will hurt your left ankle in no time...) 
- The one on the right (Lucas) has a good armour but lacks a good helmet and the bolter is a little out of place (though you want to be a practical rather than an idealist when you're a sensei...).

But this is just snobbery from me here, I just want my model to look like this :

or like this :

And I'd like the pieces of equipment to be a bit better like my own Kendo helmet (called Men)

Good thing is, there's one model which has just the perfect helmet and chest armour (must have been copied from a real one or good photos at least because every detail is here). This is of course the Blood Bowl Starplayer Hoshi Komi, I think very little is needed to make him fit just right in amongst his other 2 companions...
he will still not be perfect but after all it's a good thing, this way they will all have their own style and attitude just like in Kurosawa's film.

Just need to find another 4 now (I have leads already but I'm welcoming any suggestion !)

To relax a little I'll get back on less nervous projects (damn I'm getting old...).


  1. This challenge is definitely not an easy one but for me, personally it was worthwhile just to rediscover how i like to paint ork/orc flesh - I've been struggling with it but it turns out sometimes simple is best! :) the samurai looks 'simply' great and I'm left wanting to see more of your magnificent seven come to life :D

    1. It's not all that bad in the end and that still means one more model in the bank, I'm just too romantic probably and I like it nice and slow rather than quick and brutal...
      I really hope I can source the 4 last models for this project to use them in a good scenario where their honour and fighting prowess will be put to the test ;)

      Thanks a lot Capt'n !

  2. Looking forward to see how your Hoshi Komi conversion develops. This will be a really great little band!
    For another potential lead, can I suggest using Chaos Warrior 06 in this image?(
    He's got a real pulp-oriental vibe, and with a little care and attention, would make a nice wild/poser samurai like Kakuchiyo from Seven Samurai.

    1. That's an intersting lead here, I already have n°6 in y battle army but n°13 would be a very good donor too, i'll see if I can get my hands on either or both.
      This will be a long haul so this project will just progress with opportunities. I have some ideas about adding some more "exotic" members to the crew too.

      Thanks a lot !

  3. Its nice to see the figure painted JB.. It looks good to me. I wont even be attempting the speed painting process, its sounds too much like work.

    Despite the one hour commitment, there isnt anything stopping you from spending another twenty minutes tidying up the bits that bug you.

    I got rid of over 95% of my unpainted Blood Bowl figs a few years ago, but I kept Hoshi Komi. It proved too nice a figure to part with, even though I didnt have any plans for it. Until now that is.

    For some reason I hadnt thought about using Hoshi for something other than Blood Bowl before now, but I definitely will add him to some sort of 40k retinue now.

    1. In all honesty, I did teh challenge just to know if I was able to do anything in 1 hour but now I have a slight idea, I know I like my way better.
      I will come back to tidy my samourai a bit here and there, with some black lining and a couple of fancy addiions just so he keeps in the same mood as the others.
      Hoshi is a really good model and I have many ideas for him right now, just need to give him a good place in the paintqueue.

  4. Excellent job with speed painting! I did a speed painting challenge with a friend some years ago - we went for a 3 minutes paint job... :)


    1. Just how on earth can you paint anything in 3 minutes ! It took me 2 minutes just to get the base done ! I suppose it's only washes and glazes over a white undercoat if you mean to paint anything in 3 minutes...
      I'd really like to see the result of this !

      Thanks Hans.

    2. Let me assure you it looked absolutely crap :)

    3. Coming from you, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a gem but somehow it kinda reassures me !

  5. I was just thinking about a project like this! I think it would be cool to take some Perry unarmored samurai and add some Necromunda-style bionic implants. Or take some armored samurai and add a chainsword and a jump pack and some tubes and stuff. Lots of possibilities.

    1. I totally agree with you and I have one of those unarmoured perry samourai earmarked for this ! Loads of possibilities indeed and 4 models to source yet so that means room for imagination !

      Thanks for the input Mattias !

  6. Looking good JB! Did I miss it, or did you not say what the new figure actually is? I don't recognise it. He fits nicely with your first, and Hoshi should be a nice addition too!

    As for other suggestions, Judge Dredd Slaughter Margin and Talisman Samurai could be worth looking at. And for a completely off the wall suggestion, what about Eldar Warlocks? Replace the heads and swords, then sculpt Kendo armour over the rune armour?

    1. To be honest, it didn't even occur to me to ask Paul... or maybe he did tell me and I forgot !

      I like your suggestions and the eldar option is already in progress as a matter of fact, I went for something a little different from what you suggest but there had to be an eldar obviously !

    2. The figure is from the Warzone Mishima faction from the 90s. Its a Kev White sculpt I think.

      The War zone range is chunky and pushes a little larger in scale than GW sometimes but there is lots of compatibility and there are some fun models in there. There are many sci-fi samurai types if you check out the range. Some are really nice.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Oh good to know, I'll check where he comes from to see if I don't find others to my liking !
      That explains the 'M' on his back too now !
      Scale wise, he doesn't have anything wrong at all for me, sculpting style is different I agree but honestly not more than between other sculptors like Goodwin, Olley, Morrissons, Perrys or others so all good in my book.

      Thanks again Paul, you amongst all know how important it is to build a cohesive group and to have that little japanese taste in your cyberpunkish setting ;)

  7. A bit late probably but Urban War’s Triad range* and some of the models from VOID 1.1 V.A.S.A. range** might be of interest for you, I was especially thinking of the Knight of the Balance #1*** and Shogun Bird of Prey #1****


    Also do you know the movie Six String Samurai? It migth be something for you

    1. Cheers !
      I do have plans to extend the project qso those ideas are more than welcome !

    2. Glad to be of help :) Maybe you know this but WarZone[1] had more future samurai figures then that one you used (and have technically[2], but the figures for latest edition are of a different scale to my understanding); there is also North Star Military Figures’ ronin range[3]; Wargames Foundry’s samurai range[4]; and some of the Psi-Paladin[5] figures might be along the line of what you are looking for?






    3. Oh definitely food for thoughts here ! I should be able to complete the band up to 7 heads now !
      Thanks !

    4. Glad to be of help, and hello again, I just remembered that the ‘Empire of the Blazing Sun’ set to Spartan Games’ steampunk game ‘Dystopian Legions’ may have some figures that you might find interesting, even if they are a bit taller (32mm) then the other figures you have used.

      Hope it will be of interest :)


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