Beyond the Gates of Antares

Whilst finishing off my most recent unit of Epirote phalangites, I have done some thinking about 'Antares' (as I shall call it from now on).

I'm not sure about what sort of setting to use - urban (indoor or outdoor?), industrial, countryside, desert, ice-world, or what? There is some (okay, a lot of choice!) very nice laser-cut scenery/buildings available for science fiction gaming - a lot of it aimed at Corvus Belli's 'Infinity' - but perfectly useable for Antares too. I need to decide on my setting before I start work on the figures, so I know how to base them… Or do I?

It strikes me that I could use clear acrylic bases. They look 'futuristic' and they're compatible with any setting. They're easy to use with plastic figures (EMA Plastic Weld should glue polystyrene figures to acrylic, I think - if not, I'm sure I can find a solvent that will), but it's not so easy with metals - one has to either carve away the metal base and rely on superglue and relatively small areas of contact (pinning might be possible, with care?), or 'live with' the metal base on top of the acrylic.

I need to decide on paint schemes for the different 'factions'. And I need to decide on a painting method and techniques. Sad to say that I don't think Army Painter Quick Shadewill work particularly well - the Ghar in particular have a lot of flat areas on the models, which never goes well with 'the dip', unless I'm prepared to do a lot of highlighting afterwards (which sort of defeats the object of using Quick Shade in the first place). Of course, it might be that my white spirit 'dry-brush' technique works well enough. There's also the fact that 'the dip' works at its best on browns, reds, yellows and warm greys, somewhat less well on greens, and doesn't look very good on purples or blues. Which segues neatly into my Big Idea (™)…

Supposing I took a quantity of conventional clear polyurethane varnish, and added some artist's oil paint - say Prussian Blue for the sake of argument. That should, if my thinking is correct, make a dark blue equivalent to Quick Shade - with very similar properties, i.e being thin enough to flow easily, whilst still staying where you put it, 'sinking' into the hollows on the figure and creating a subtle, very 'organic', shading effect. It should work for green and purple too, given the right oil paints. That would make 'getting creative' with colours schemes for Antares a more attractive proposition.

Some of the models (chiefly the Ghar 'battle suits') have weapon options. Rather than gluing them in place permanently, I am thinking of using tiny rare earth magnets to secure them, so I can swap the weapon fits around as the mood takes me (or the scenario demands).

So, plenty to think about.

Copyright Dr. P.C. Hendry, 2010