I’m still working through photographing all the stuff I’ve painted over the last 3 years or so as I don’t see this new “paint tiny toys” hobby losing any steam. Today I look at a bunch of “war bands” that I’ve painted for the “actually pretty good” stand alone skirmish board game Warhammer: Underworlds.
Warhammer: Underworlds – Shockingly Playable!
Possibly the silliest thing about Games Workshop (aside from the ridiculous amounts of time, money, and energy it takes to get into the hobby…er…game) is the fact that Warhammer isn’t even really that good of a game.
Most of the time Warhammer games just end up in a big scrum around a victory point objective–and stay that way the rest of the game. There are still a few choices like who to attack first (before they can attack you back) and when to cut and run and maybe go after a different target. But by and large you are just running your armies to the center of the table and rolling buckets of dice to see who gets enough high numbers to win.
Warhammer: Underworlds on the other hand is a mostly unrelated game played on a board (with actual hexes! …I long ago realized that ruler-based movement is NOT the ideal method of movement for tabletop games), and limited to 12 short turns (easily played in under 30 minutes). It’s a weird mix of deck construction (you use a pool of cards to make two small decks of special actions and victory points) and objective-based tactical combat. Like all things GW, it’s a little rough around the edges (and quite random), but, due to the short play time and actual importance of positioning, it makes for a seriously fun game.
Bottom line, Underworlds is a game I would play even if it didn’t have the ridiculously cool miniatures. However, since it DOES have ridiculously cool miniatures, and I took the time to paint them all up real pretty-like, I’ve gone ahead and documented them all in today’s post.
Nightvault Core Set
Underworlds is released in “Seasons” which start with a core set and then are followed by a series of individual warband releases. I started out in Season 2: NIGHTVAULT, the Core Set of which consists of some super cool ghosts, and some lame medieval space marines, the Stormcast Eternals.
Actually, the Stormcast models are pretty cool, I just have always liked painting monsters and shit, so the clean armor with lots of little details was kind of a bitch to paint (I’m just used to slapping rust and slime all over my stuff), but ended up looking very nice:
I wanted to get away from the usual Stormcast gold and blue, so I went with a black and silver (and Khorne red) color scheme that looks pretty sharp. I also hate using black because it kind of just overwhelms the color palette, but with enough grey highlights it ended up feeling right on these guys.
I used a Nihilakh Oxide wash (what I usually use to put patinas on metals) for the swords and it produced a really nice contrasting pop with the rest of the color scheme. You can also tell I never paint humans because I didn’t bother to paint the eyes on the dude without a helmet.
The Thorns of the Briar Queen Nighthaunts were the team I was really excited about though. They looked super creepy, had lots of awesome details like that thorn branch lashing out from the queen, and, best of all, they paint up super fast!
I am pretty sure I’ll end up with a Ghost army at some point just because of how easy these guys are to paint. These are base coated with Ulthuan Grey, followed by a light (watered down) wash of Nighthaunt Gloom (same color that is applied heavily on the cloth/head areas), then drybrush it back up to whiten up the light areas. In fact, they painted up so fast that I went ahead and picked up two Spirit Hosts on the cheap so that I can make the Thorns of the Briar Queen into a 1000 point Warcry warband:
I don’t really like the standalone Warcry skirmish game all that much, but the idea of getting two for one use out of my Warhammer stuff is always appealing. Also, these models look super fucking cool (despite being a real bitch to glue together) so I was kind of hyped to paint them up anyway.
Warhammer Underworlds is a board game, but they have produced some terrain sets for the large hex boards (basically just purely aesthetic scatter terrain to put on hexes that are supposed to be impassible/dangerous). It is absolutely not necessary, but makes for great Warhammer/tabletop objective markers, so I grabbed some of it:
Once again I used Nihilakh Oxide to fill in the recessed runes (with a quick stone drybrush over the top to cover any mistakes)…really love how that color looks. You can also see I messed around with wetblending on those cracked crystals, a technique that really came off well on the larger pyramids:
I used a retarding agent to keep it wet and thick, and then a few strategic water drops swirled with the paintbrush made for a very cool effect here.
One annoying thing about the Nightvault terrain is that they have a few big pieces that represent hazards–ie, stuff that can be in the hex with you…even though it is so big you can’t fit most models with it. Oh well, still cool looking:
This is the “Hexwraith Flame” technical paint, which is usually too Slimer green for my tastes, but it worked well here. I tried to paint some silver lines on the edges of the backing crystal and then cover it with the green Citadel gemstone paint–it worked ok, but you can see how sloppy the lines are through the paint…I should have drybrushed the silver onto the edges instead for a more natural look.
Finally, one of the board packs for which they did not release 3D terrain had some big cauldron things, so I went ahead and mocked some up from some Halloween party favors for the hell of it:
Just primed them black and then covered them with as many weathering effects as I could. The “lava” pool is just wood glue…which is still too bendy…in the future I’d probably just use greenstuff or something, but for a quick project these were fun.
The Skaven ratmen were my first Warhammer army, so this warband was obviously going to be my first purchase. Like I said, I love being able to use my Warhammer stuff across multiple games, and all Underworlds warbands come with Warhammer tabletop rules as well.
The models in this warband are really spectacular too, with very dynamic posing and lots of cool details, a real blast to paint:
I just used the same color scheme I used on my Skaven Clanrats (which these guys technically are), and called it good.
When this set came out I loved the look of the big guy with his weird collection of sentient cave things, and it really is a striking model:
Unfortunately, in-game, if you roll a bunch of critical hits, you’ll win, and if you don’t, you’ll lose, so as a play experience, this is probably my least favorite warband.
Also, I would like to go back sometime and do some highlighting on the big guy. I don’t typically DO any highlighting (not only do I have a weird fear of discernible brush strokes, but, also, who has time for highlighting?), letting my washes and scattered drybrushing take care of most of it–but this is one where the model is definitely missing that extra push to really make it look nice and ended up feeling like it wasn’t my best work. Hell, I even forgot to paint his fingernails (and could have been a lot more careful on those mushroom dots too).
I never loved the GW goblin models…just a little too cartoony with slightly too oversized weapon hafts for my tastes. But the warband itself is pretty cool, with a lot of versatility and fun units:
It took me forever to come up with a color scheme though. I ended up going with Ushabti Bone Hoods, and Zamesi Desert robes (with my usual Seraphim Sepia wash). It made for great contrast with the Sotek Green flesh, though the Sepia as usual made it a bit too dirty and uniformly tan on the clothing for my tastes. The mushrooms are a combination of Xereus Purple, Genestealer Purple, and Screamer Pink, a mixture that I use on a lot of my models (see also Mollog’s Mob). The Mournfang Brown shoes/leather worked well with the color scheme at least.
Like the ghosts, these guys are only one unit away from being a playable warcry warband, so I did a quick bluestuff silicon mold of a cave squig, fattened him up with green stuff, and made my own magnetized squig rider that could be switched out with the ball and chain guy:
I probably should have made a greenstuff leash instead of just painting it on, but this wasn’t really a project I wanted to invest that much time in–once again, I just liked the idea of getting a “free” Warcry warband.
With Nurgle as my second army in Warhammer (and Blightkings being actually really good), this warband was an instant buy for me. Just 3 models to paint, each with a cool unique look made it even better:
Look at that fucking DARING use of black! Seriously though, maybe I don’t need to be afraid of some kind of black color well sucking all the subtlety out of my paint jobs, the black armor ended up look pretty damn cool here even alongside the more naturalistic Averland Sunset and Skrag Brown cloth and leather. Another thing to add here, most of these Underworlds bases, which are already fantastic looking, pop even more with a bit of strategically sprinkled flock.
I picked this warband up from a buddy cheap, but didn’t have a lot of interest in them as a team simply because they have such a bad reputation (one of the more underpowered teams–I’ve played them since I painted them and found that the reputation is deserved). Still, they were my last unpainted warband (and make a good team to play against n00bs), so I went ahead and painted them up…and ended up really liking the results:
The more I paint, the more I try to push my color palette, both through contrasting light and dark, and contrasting colors. For these guys I went with Retributor Armor, covered in a heavy Druchii Violet wash, and then dry brushed back up with the usual gold colors. Then my main colors were the nice bright Moot Green for the skin, next to the Amethyst weapons (surely a poor choice of material for a battle axe, but it looks cool as shit).
For the Amethyst itself I mostly did Xereus Purple with a heavy Nuln Oil wash at the bases, then dry brushed it up with various shades of light purple/white, finishing it all off with an ‘Ardcoat to make it shine.
Painted up and ready to play!
I try not to play any of my Warhammer stuff until I paint it. It’s a good way to keep me on top of the painting, and it’s not like I don’t have plenty to play already until I finish it off. Luckily for Underworlds, the small warband size makes painting them up pretty quick, so I’ve been able to steadily play this game as I get new warbands. There are probably 15 or so warbands I DON’T own out there, but I don’t really feel the need to “collect ’em all” with this game. I’m just happy to buy a new one if I see one that looks super cool, but for now I’ve got plenty to play with.
And, the painting is really worth it too…not only is this a fun, fast-playing game…it also looks phenomenal on the table when you are willing to put a few (dozen) hours work into it:
That’s all I have for now, see you all next time when I take a look at my (finally) finished Skaven Warhammer army!