Dragon Bones

Clockwork Dragon Face

I’ve been very quiet around here, but not inactive.  We had Dragon Wars a month ago, and prep for that occupied a good week’s worth of hobby time.

Fundamentally, the tournament’s about dragons.  Every army can (and must) take one and scenario rules are always built around them.  This is the tournament I built the Ratwyrm for four years ago (and painted two years ago).  This has shifted from folks taking dragons if their army allows it and taking a generic dragon if their army doesn’t… to everyone getting a Storm of Magic Dragon for free and then being able to spend some portion of their points on Storm of Magic Scrolls of Binding (which is a thing we do with other tournaments that I love).

Anyway, this year the rules encouraged taking as many dragons as you possibly could, which is great.  Except I only have the one painted dragon.  Fortunately, this is a problem for which my poor judgement and tub of Reaper Bones has me well-prepared. I figured I’d definitely knock out a second dragon and, if time permitted, see if I could squeeze in a third.

So, I started painting some Bones.

I tried painting them unprimed.  This was a disaster. I’ve read that you’re not supposed to use primer on them… fine, but unthinned Citadel base paints on them were a runny, ugly, tacky mess.  Days after getting a basecoat on, the paint was still tacky.  Gross, and not acceptable.  This led to me learning two things:

  • STRIPPING – Yes, you can strip Bones with Dawn Power Dissolver… for the most part.  It got most most of the paint off, but no amount of soaking and scrubbing could get paint out of the deepest cracks. Vexing, but better than nothing.
  • PRIMING – The key to Bones not sucking is priming them with acrylic gesso.  Gesso is a parchment primer; you slop it on (no, really, goop that junk on there) and it dries with hardly any loss of detail… while leaving you with an excellent surface to apply paint to.  As a bonus, the acrylic gesso I picked up way back when is black; I vastly prefer painting over a darker surface than a white one.

So, I ended up stripping a dragon and, while that was soaking, prepping and gooping gesso all over another.

Really, the way the figures paint with gesso is so different I want to say that painting Bones without it is probably doing it wrong.

(We’re getting a bit long here, so I’ll throw up the actual painted dragons in another post later this week.)

Casey‘s noted he’s had some issues with model integrity and temperature: specifically that his Fateweaver went all weak-in-the-knees after a hot Virginian afternoon.

This tracks very closely with my experiences: the legs on one of the dragons I painted were all over the damned place: yes, you can use hot water to reshape things, but 1) that doesn’t work as well as it could and 2) that’s easier said than done when working with four separate things you need to get to line up.

So, I said screw it and used Apoxie Sculpt to make the ground meet the feet instead of the other way around.  Needless to say, I was nonplussed to learn that the legs shifted/bent/whatever between that sculpting and actually gluing the bastard down.


Salty language was used.