I am DONE. I have painted everything for DreadBall. And then some…
My gaming club (CORT) went “all-in” for the first two DreadBall Kickstarter campaigns, and I grabbed the 2nd Edition Kickstarter bundle. As part of our acquisition program, I made a commitment to my mates that I would paint the entire lot.
I initially anticipated twelve teams, a few giants, and a handful of MVPs. That was an ambitious, but manageable oath. Then, there was another set of teams, giants, and MVPs. Not to mention a new game. Then, there was a second edition. Not to mention new, second edition components. My commitment had serious “mission creep.”
Every team, MVP, Giant, Staff, Accessory… Done. 600 plus models. It was a hell of a project, and now I’m going to go drink a beer. Maybe more.
[returning to the keyboard after two pints]
In the five and a half years it took to paint these little galactic athletes, I learned a lot. Miniature painting is a peculiar past time that affords moments of clarity on various topics; health, wellness, legacy, relationships, endurance, persistence, and dedication to name a few. Practically, I did learn a bit about pushing wet pigment around on toys.
Below lies my assessment of DreadBall miniatures. I call the proceedings my “DreadBall Superlatives.” Fourteen Rushes, fourteen categories. These opinions are mine and mine alone. All of this took longer that I’ll ever admit. Please share your opinions on my purely subjective distinctions in the comments.
Bur first, there are preambles!
I. I chose very early to mimic the color (ahem, colour) schemes of Mantic’s production photos. In part because I wanted to challenge myself, and also because I thought it would be a soft promotional tactic when fielding the teams in public spaces.
II. I used Army Painter primer and paints. I used a combination of Army Painter and Citadel tones/washes.
III. I chose very early to strive for “table top standard.” My gaming club plays games. We don’t paint games. We’re middle aged men with eye glasses to see, and pint glasses to drink beer. None of us are scrutinizing the level of miniature detail from 30″ away. Also, time. With several hundred miniatures to paint, aiming for “TTS” quality helped move the process along.
[Lengthy diatribe] Despite being a professional artist, I only began painting miniatures in 2010 with Games Workshop’s 3rd edition of Space Hulk. This relatively new past time has been an interesting diversion from my normal studio practice of painting larger works on canvas. In one way, painting a miniature is instant gratification. I can finish a “TTS” miniature within a day, whereas a canvas may sometimes take three months. In another way, painting a miniature is like a glorified coloring book. I’m slapping paint onto a fully realized image that happens to be three-dimensional. The process is fun, but it’s technique driven and strictly complementary/secondary to the work of the illustrator & sculptor. As such, it’s no where near as rewarding or fulfilling for me as creating unique works from conception to final execution.
Form follows function. In Dreadball, this refers to a) the physical game, and b) the theme.
a) [Lengthier diatribe] DreadBall is a board game. It just happens to be a board game published by a miniatures gaming company. Consequently, DreadBall has many miniature game trappings. Nonetheless, there is a cardinal rule that must be observed in board gaming – FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. If Coaches are not familiar with this concept, it’s a phrase coined by the exemplary American architect Louis Sullivan. DreadBall is a tactical sport, and positioning is a vital concept for game mastery. Positioning is based on a hex (pun not intended). The hex is tantamount. The hex is the alpha and the omega. A DreadBall miniature merely rests on top of the hex. The miniature must be subservient to the hex in order for the game to function. If a miniature crosses the plain of it’s own hex, it disrupts adjacent hexes and the miniatures that rest upon them. An illustrator and a sculptor must be cognizant of this fact. Often they are not. It does not matter how clever/unique/original a player design may appear. If the physical sculpture breaks the hex plain – it sucks. Creativity must materialize within the parameters of game play. The parameter is the hex. Break the hex, and the miniature is broke. If that conceit reads broken to any Coaches – go play a war game with a ruler.
b) DreadBall is the greatest sport in the galaxy. It’s science fiction. The miniatures need to aesthetically complement the setting. Sculptors and illustrators have a wide berth in this case with only two requirements: science fiction and sports. Nonetheless, some DreadBall miniatures look like they belong in entirely different genres.
Also, humor. DreadBall is dealing with an absurd premise. Intergalactic warring factions of outrageously different species are competing in an organized and sanctioned sport. It’s preposterous. If illustrators and sculptors (and game designers and flavor writers) can embrace the ludicrous theme – so much the better. In my opinion, games that are heavily miniaturized need more levity. Coaches, check yourself and lighten up. We’re playing Space Jam.
Without further ado, here’s are Prof Wojo’s DreadBall Miniature Superlatives!
1. BEST TEAM SCLUPT = Marauders
WORST TEAM SCLUPT = Koris
2. BEST TEAM CAPTAIN SCULPT = Reek Rolat and Raiden (TIE)
WORST TEAM CAPTAIN SCULPT = Kal Terza and Supreme Leader (TIE)
3. BEST MVP SCULPT = Buzzcut
WORST MVP SCLUPT = ORABB1
4. BEST SUPPORT STAFF SCULPT = Fergus (Mercury)
WORST SUPPORT TEAM SCLUPT = Cheerleaders
5. BEST PRONE SCLUPT = Teraton
WORST PRONE SCULPT? = Nameless
6. BEST GIANT SCULPT = Brank ‘Boom-Fist’
WORST GIANT SCLUPT = Karadon
7. BEST IP (Intellectual Property) SCULPT = Hector Weiss