For this weeks "West" theme entry, I had a bunch of choices to work from. I had actually planned on doing some cowboys, but then thought of these other figures that I had kicking around that I have been meaning to get to for the last 2 years, and they fit perfectly! After all what would the Old West be without a group of Chinese Rail Workers!
To me these fit the west theme in two big ways. Firstly, if you take west as "Old West" then a common site in the old west was Chinese labourers. Secondly, being in North America, China is west of us.
The figures here are all from Wyrd miniatures and are some of their lovely plastics. While Malifaux figures are 32mm heroic scale (much like GW figures, even though they still say they are 28mm), they are made much differently than GW figures as they are far more realistically sculpted and proportioned. My wife looked at these figures and immediately commented that they look far more "real" than most of the stuff I paint.
I started these figures by airbrushing all the skin, using several different thin layers of colours made to a glaze consistency. To try and get a Chinese skin tone (which is actually quite varied from pretty dark skinned almost olive middle eastern'ish to almost a Caucasian skin tone) I started with some orange brown / camo orange brown mix, then worked in some sunny skin tone, and then some basic skin tone for highlights. I then used flat brown and red black mixed into the above to do shadow areas. Lastly I used the shadow colours to paint in with a brush the harder shadows and facial details. The pictures show them a little paler than they really are due to lighting and white balance, in real life they are a bit darker and have a little more orange to the skin tone.
After all the flesh I started working on the clothing. I tried to keep everything fairly muted, mixing in a khaki colour to everything to mute it down. The only exception being the bruisers pants as I figure that someone that big and strong, gets paid a little extra and can afford newer and better cloths.
After the clothing I went on to all the little details, including the mechanical additions to the rail workers. I painted these all in metallics and then washed them a few times to darken them down. I then went back to the skin around these areas and added in some blues, purples, and reds to make the area look inflamed and recently replaced. Painting the red last, made it mainly show red though, especially in the photos, but there are little hints of other shades in there as well if you look closely.
After everything was done on the figures, it was time to work on the bases. As rail workers (and probably more importantly, immigrants) the Chinese typically got the most dangerous jobs, so I imagined these guys as workers in a tunnel blasting their way through a mountain. With that in mind, I kept the bases very simple with just sand glued in and then painted black and highlighted a few different greys. Then to add some colour back in I added some bricks laying around, my thinking being they would have been used to build retaining walls or supports and been kicking around. I know, lots of assumptions here, but having a story helps my painting process and decision making (and justification).
The one exception to the bases, is the base for the factions leader. She comes sculpted jumping over a wood barricade or on top of an exploding pile of wood whichever you choose to imagine it as. I looked at taking her off of it, but she just didn't look the same, so I left it in.
Once the bases were painted, I then moved onto adding in some weathering powders to add even more colour around the bricks (using red and orange powders) and to dull down some clothing. I used blacks and dark brown powders to accomplish that, and then decided that the figures were still too clean, so went back and added some black powder all over the figures especially their skin.
Overall I am very happy with how these figures came out and they give me another crew to play in Malifaux. I had tried to finish the rail golem that can be added to the faction, but had some issues with getting the glow effects painted, so rather than rush it for the entry I am going to take some more time on him and post him later.