Thursday, July 19, 2018

Painting Malign Sorcery AoS models

The new AoS edition promised to iron out some oddities in the original ruleset (suicidal archers ignoring the monsters in front of them to shoot at some target in the back). And that's nice. But the true fun starts with the expansion of the magic rules. A system geared towards cinematic moments and dramatic play needs some things that go boom with panache. After briefly considering scratch building, I finally caved and bought the box. To be quite honest I was planning to buy the Core Rule Book and the new General's Handbook and leave it there, but I caved so badly in the store, my wallet is still crying... Anyway between too many other projects I've started painting the Malign Sorcery models and here is the first batch.

Presenting some persistent spell effects that remind me of the classic 'vortex of chaos' that is just begging to be reintroduced now.

Wizards in AoS have acces to two standard spells in the Core Rules and their own 'flavor spell' on the war scroll. Battle Tomes add themed spells to wizards belonging to that army. Malign Sorcery adds massive persistent spells to the mix. In matched (pointed) games you buy these spells. Some of the Malign Sorcery is defensive but some others are quite offensive (predatory in the jargon of the game). After they've been cast these spells get to move at the start of every battle round before the players have their turns. They are controlled by the player who goes second that turn, adding an interesting extra layer of strategy in the game (do I use the spell or do I take the first move?). In painting the models I'm trying to stray away from the look GW gave them on the box, and make an attempt to be a bit more original then usual.

You have to wonder where all the blood goes....
The first spell is Ravenak's Gnashing Jaws. A massive mouth that moves in from the beast realm of Ghur and causes mortal wounds on units it moves across (and lowers their bravery as well). I just felt a deep rooted need to make this one as bloody as possible. For the smoke I decided to pick a white with accents of blue paint scheme (it helps show of the blood). For the mouth I followed my favorite blood spatter technique. Having had a chance to maintain and upgrade my airbrush I applied the blood using a spatter cap, which is a fun tool to have. Also I had a fun road trip to Airbrush Services Almere (a wonderful store you should most definitively visit if you are an airbrusher in The Netherlands).

...perhaps it all splahses against the wallpaper of one hapless inhabitant of Ghur who should've built his house somewhere else....
The spatter cap, as the term implies, causes the airbrush to spatter the paint. This helps makes blood spatter more randomly. I will be using this same tool later on to chip vehicles and apply rust effects and the like. For now, making the mouth bloody was a nice first try. For those of you wondering, the persistent spells look frightful but there effects are not out of the bounds of sanity (i.e. game breaking). You can see Ravenak's Gnashing Jaws in action in my battle report here.

Not added: undead surfer 'rinding the wave'...
The second spell I painted is the Suffocating Gravetide. A wizard summons undead spirits from Shyish to - surprise! - choke the life out of opponents by washing over them like a tide...a gravetide! I started by applying an airbrushed layer of Vallejo Dark Earth on the model (the model air paint, not the paste). To add to the magic I added quite a lot of colors to the mix on top (bright greens and blues). Then I added Dark Earth Paste to the base and added bits of the textured paste higher on the model too. I then washed everything with Agrax Earthshade and patches of Athonian Camoshade. After this it was a simple matter of drybrushing and picking out the skulls.

Another destroyed building adds Sigmar-styled debris to the Mortal Realms.
It is not very well visible anymore but the greens and blues I added were rather prominently visible on the model (and made it look odd in a bad way). To distract from those colors I used Stegadon Scale Green to paint the slabs of ruined building. I gilded these with Retributor Armour and made sure to paint the blocks of debris Stegadon Scale Green (why isn't this called blue?). I followed up with a bit more drybrushing and the stark Stegadon Color succeeds in hiding the colors mixed in the brown. In the end the model looked a bit bland, so I added static flock to the bottom. Remembering an old tutorial on weathering military vehicles with mud I also added patches of the flock higher on the gravetide. I think that last detail actually makes the model really work.

There we were, happily charging the enemy when all of the sudden these rusty chains sprang up out of the ground!
The third spell I painted are Soulsnare Shackles. These pop-up from Shyish to hinder movement (and hurt) troops trying to move past them. These three bases consist of two parts on top. I left one part off during painting to try painting an effect . The shackles themselves were airbrushed with pretty clean metallics. I then washed with Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade and followed up with a drybrush of Ironbreaker to clean up again. After that I applied rust using Modelmates Rust (one day this bottle will run out, and I'll be sad as Modelmates is no more...).

I tried adding some purple lighting, but I was to subtle with my OSL effect...
On to the experiment. I airbrushed the rend in the earth where the shackles pop-up with purple, the color of Shyish. I also sprayed some MiniTaire Ghost Color Purple up along the chains to light them from below. That's how I found out that purple ghost color works as an excellent shade to rust (should remember that). Unfortunately it does not work as a light effect. For the effect I wanted I had to spray a bit of Vallejo Warlord Purple along the bottom. With effort I managed to keep this effect restrained. In the end, seeing the models finished, I think I should have gone a bit more overboard with the Warlord Purple. Ah well, live and learn. I covered the base (including the rend) with Dark Earth Paste, washed and drybrushed it and then added a mix of dead grass with green grass (and now I'm wondering why I bothered with the wash and drybrush ;) ). I think the base does imply that the grass dies where the rusted chains spring up.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who paints the shakiest edge highlights of them all?
The last model of this first batch are the Umbral Spellportals from Ulgu. You set one of these up on the table within twelve inch of the caster and the second one eighteen inches away. A wizard within one inch of a mirror can now cast spells through it and measure range from the other mirror. I airbrushed these in tones of grey and then applied differing layers of MiniTaire Ghost Tint Plasma Fluid to it.

I love the look of this spell, will have to bring it to all my battles.
After this had dried I airbrushed a gloss coat and washed the mirrors themselves to add shadow to the ripples. I added edge highlights to the ripples, airbrushed a bit of extra white to the end of the smoke and opted to paint the frame a simple silver. I started with Leadbelcher, washed with Drakenhof Nightshade, drybruhed Ironbreaker and finished of with a light drybrush of Stomhost Silver. I used some Middenland Tufts on the base so my Dark Earth Paste, Agrax Wash and drybrushes of Talarn Sand and Karak Stone would still be visible.

I rather like these models. They are quite heavy on the smoke effects, which works for spells (and begs for an airbrush). Moreover the persistent spells have character. Also I've always been obsessed with fielding wizards (and psykers) and this give me another excuse. On the tabletop they are not really all that effective, but they do offer style and when they manage to bring on the pain train it is quite a lot of fun. I'll enjoy working on the other spells between my many painting projects. Also I have some (holiday) free time coming up :D


  1. Really awesome work. I think I'll grab a box of Malign sorcery just to paint these cuties. The blood effect on the jaws is very impressive.

    1. Cheers, you should do that. Not sure if you need it, bu I wish I watched this video before assembling the models: To shorten the rather rambling long story: plastic glue takes up space so if you glue snap-fit models together cut off a bit of the stick you push in, otherwise you get horrible gaps.

    2. Thanks for the tip. I'll see that video right away. Regards