Sunday, February 16, 2014

Firestorm Armada Revisited

One of the very first things I posted here was my Dindrenzi Battleship WIP for Firestorm Armada. I was pretty happy with the result, and Spartan's later releases took away the laborious assembly issues, but I still had a problem: That paint scheme was designed with a great deal of hand highlighting and paneling, and it was simply too much work for a table-top fleet scheme.

This month, I set out to come up with a revised scheme that would provide a similar look, but also come together much faster, allowing me to bring a mighty armada to the table in (relatively) short order.

Not wanting to strip down and re-paint a ship that was already table-worthy, I decided to start in on a destroyer squadron for my fleet. I never painted in the early days because, to be frank, they were less than helpful under the original game rules. In the second edition, Dindrenzi destroyers are a completely different beast, and well worth considering as a fleet choice.

I started in much the same way as the original battleship paint job. I sprayed the ship with black paint, and then went over it with a very heavy dry-brush of white to pick out all the details and panels. I went over the ship several times to go past a mere highlighting, and actually fill in most of the panels with white paint, leaving the engraved lines behind in black.

My next step was to, once again, spray the ship with a coating of green paint. I did change shades, from Vallejo "Scurf Green" to Reaper "Black Green". The new color is a bit brighter than the old color, and will, hopefully, also look better in the poor lighting of a game store.

I have to say that I actually quite liked the light green color produced by the first layer, and I might revisit it for a future project. This time, however, I wanted to preserve the darker look of my fleet. I also need to mitigate the uneven base coat produced by the rough dry-brushed under-painting. The result: Two more layers of paint air brushed on top of the first.

Another change from last time is that I invested in a few sheets of (fairly expensive) decal paper. I put together a massive sheet of ship names and hull numbers to cover a fleet, and printed them out on a good color laser printer.

The only catch here is that toner is designed for white paper, not green plastic, and it is quite transparent. As you can see above, I prepared the surface by painting white in the area where the decal was to go. Another change, for which I have no in-progress photo, was to lightly dry brush the whole ship with a mix of black green and yellow, to bring up some of the panel edges, and enhance detail.

Pretty good, but after getting everything in place, I decided that the label was just way too big for the scale of the ship. I went back to the drawing board, and reduced the text from it's already tiny size to a more appropriate form. It was a paint to scrape away the old decal and replace it with a new one, but it was worth it. Hopefully, I have the scale about right, so I can enter mass-production.

With the decal in place, I did adjust it a touch with a few tiny spots of yellow paint. So far I like this scheme. I will need to see it on the table to know for sure, but I think I will start pushing my fleet in this direction, generally. I have even started to paint some of my longest-languishing capital ships, so I can field them fully painted the next time I play:

Forces of the Kurak alliance beware!

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