It’s not just a review, and it’s not just a painting guide; it’s a TGN Review N’ Paint! Ravage Magazine‘s Enrico Nardini travels to the post apocalyptic world of Thunderchild Miniatures to scrutinize the Wasteland Pilgrims and take you step-by-step through his painting process.
3 Minutes to Midnight
Our planet will experience a global catastrophe in 3 minutes. What? You’re not ready for an apocalypse. Well, according to the Doomsday Clock, you need to get your preparations in order. Start digging that bomb shelter!
Thunderchild Miniatures stands at the forefront of end times anticipation, and by looks of these figures, life is going to take a turn for the strange. Their figure range depicts a decidedly more irradiated and betenticled vision of future, complete with pig-faced outlaws and a giant crab-like monster called Bugfoot. This is the “comic book” approach to nuclear holocaust: less cancer and more eye lasers. It may eschew the rules of science, but it is also more fun.
2 Minutes to Midnight – Miniatures
Thunderchild’s packaging generated an immediate positive first impression. Clamshell packs with professionally printed backing labels are nothing new mind you; they just tend to be more of a rarity with the small-press/start-up miniature companies. I honestly would have been less surprised if they had arrived in an unmarked plastic baggy. Packaging does not make or break a product for me, but a professional appearance buys an item a degree of respectability.
The Wasteland Pilgrims clamshell contains 2 pilgrim models and their beast of burden. These miniatures are cast in an off-white color resin. This mix feels light, durable, and high quality. Though the figures had some mold lines and other small imperfections, the casts were clean and almost completely bubble free (often a problem in other resin figures). Care was obviously taken with the casting process.
The Thunderchild Miniatures website refers to the figures as 35mm in terms of scale. This seems accurate. They scale well with ranges like Warhammer 40,000, which tend to be around 32/35mm these days and feature “heroic” proportions.
This is the “comic book” approach to nuclear holocaust: less cancer and more eye lasers.
Judging the artistic merit of these (or any) figures is always subjective. I like them a lot. I dig this style of figure, which I find reminiscent of another post apocalyptic range I enjoy (from Ramshackle Games). My personal preferences aside, these are not as technically sound as figures from some larger companies like Games Workshop or boutique style companies like Kingdom Death. This can be hard to describe – the easiest way I can explain it is that details sometimes lack refinement. Is that the pilgrims thumb or the top of his bottle? Is that a strap from a pack or a skinfold on the beast? Whether this bothers you is going to depend on personal taste. That’s not a cop out either. The comic book industry has artists like Jim Lee and artists like Sam Keith for a reason.
The poses are a bit static, but considering what they are depicting (wandering pilgrims) that seems appropriate. They have just enough weird mutation going on outside the robes to hint at the horrors radiation has worked on their biology. The tentacle protruding from the back of the one pilgrims robe was a particularly nice touch. The cow/bull mutant animal is simply awesome. It features tons of wrinkly skin folds that are fun to paint and the juxtaposition of male horns and female udders gives this animal a familiar yet alien appearance.
Painting – 1 Minute to Midnight
Assembly was a breeze. All these figures are single piece miniatures with small integral bases. I generally base models like this anyway; the base molded onto the figure is almost always irregular and too small for gaming purposes.
After cleaning the mold lines with a hobby scalpel, I glued the figures onto wooden round bases. The molded on base will leave a raised impression on if you do not fill in the area surrounding it. I often apply Liquitex Resin Sand to the bases of miniatures with this problem. It’s a quick but effective solution.
I imagined the pilgrims wandering through a dusty, blighted, and sandblasted landscape. With that in mind, I decided to play with variations of browns as my base for painting. I spray primed all three figures with Leather Brown Colour Primer (The Army Painter) and was ready to go.
These figures were painted with the following paints and washes:
The Army Painter – Angel Green, Ash Grey, Barbarian Flesh, Deep Blue, Dragon Red, Fur Brown, Greenskin, Gun Metal, Hydra Turquoise, Leather Brown, Matt Black, Oak Brown, Plate Mail Metal, Pure Red, Skeleton Bone, Tanned Flesh, Uniform Grey, Wolf Grey
Games Workshop – Pallid Wych Flesh
Secret Weapon – Algae, Dark Sepia, Ruby, Soft Body Black
Vallejo Model Color – Chocolate Brown, Iraqui Sand, US Field Drab
I started by applying an all over wash with the Dark Sepia. This brought out the details and provided shading for the different tones of brown that would be applied. Each model would receive a different flesh tone. The crab-claw pilgrims face and human hand were basecoated with Tanned Flesh. A coat of Barbarian Flesh was layered onto the raised areas with a final highlight of 1/2 Barbarian Flesh mixed with 1/2 Pallid Wych Flesh.
The tentacle pilgrim came next. His flesh began with a coat of 3/4 Oak Brown and 1/4 Matt Black. A highlight of Oak Brown was added and then a final layer of 3/4 Oak Brown and 1/4 Skeleton Bone.
I wanted to make use of the Leather Brown tone in all the figures, so that formed the base of the beasts flesh (with the Dark Sepia as a shade). The first highlight was a 1/2 Leather Brown and 1/2 Tanned Flesh mix which progressed to a Tanned Flesh highlight with just a bit of the Leather Brown added to tone down the contrast. I was particularly happy with the result – the flesh looked rather pig-like to me.
The horns and udders needed special attention. The horns were painted with a gradation from off-white through black. This was accomplished with Pallid Wych Flesh, Skeleton Bone, Oak Brown, and Matt Black. I feathered in a pure Tanned Flesh transition. From there Barbarian Flesh was added and then Pallid Wych Flesh.
The robes were attended to easily. The first highlight was pure Leather Brown. A second highlight of 3/4 Leather Brown and 1/4 Skeleton Bone completed the effect. This was also used on the tarp covering the beasts back. The rest of the rammage received a mix of colors. Some were painted with Deep Blue progressing to Wolf Grey, and some Angel Green-to-Greenskin.
The details on the pilgrims are their defining features. The beard was painted simply with Ash Grey followed by a wash of Soft Body Black; another coat of Ash Grey was added as a highlight to the raised areas. I like my crabs boiled, so a basecoat of Dragon Red was applied to the claw. This was followed by a Ruby wash and finally a highlight of Pure Red.
A Hydra Turquoise basecoat punctuated the strangeness of the second pilgrim’s tentacles, and an Algae wash provided the perfect shading. The raised details were picked out with a mix of 1/2 Hydra Turquoise and 1/2 Pallid Wych Flesh.
Little details came last. Metallic parts were picked out with Gun Metal, washed with Soft Body Black, and highlighted with Plate Mail Metal. Ropes were painted Matt Black and highlighted by adding small amounts of Uniform Grey. Books are best when bound in flesh, so they got a coat of Fur Brown, followed by highlights mixing in Tanned Flesh.
All that was left to do was finish the bases. They were painted all over with Chocolate Brown. They then received an overbrush of US Field Drab. A drybrush of Iraqui Sand brought out the texture. Finally some tufts were attached to add some additional interest.
Midnight – Conclusion
The Wasteland Pilgrims pack retails for 8.50 GBP. That is $12.43 US (as of the writing of this article)! It’s an incredible value. You may need to pay shipping, depending on your location. If you appreciate the aesthetic of these figures, you really cannot go wrong with a purchase.
This clamshell is packed with character and would make an excellent “world building” feature on any post apocalyptic game board.
This clamshell is packed with character and would make an excellent “world building” feature on any post apocalyptic game board. Personally, I plan on using mine for a scenario with the new Dark Heresy RPG. They certainly look like they have a bit of chaos taint about them!
One last thing to note is that Thunderchild Miniatures is currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign for a game of their own design titled Wasteman. The miniatures on offer are very similar in appearance towards the figures featured here. If that’s appealing to you, I’d check it out.
Have a favorite post apocalyptic figure range or miniature that I should check out? Let me know in the comments!