Hobby Highlight: More Crystallans


So in the wake of my last article where I talked about how I painted my Crystallan team, I now find myself painting MORE Crystallans.

“Paint Us!”

For the previous article I pulled out a brand new bag of Crystallans so I could take a picture of what the unpainted translucent blue minis look like. And then they sat on my desk. Normally I’d have grabbed a baggie and shove the minis in it and put them away. But I’m moving in a month so a lot of my supplies (such as baggies) have been packed away already. Thus the Crystallan minis sat on my desk. Staring at me, whispering “paint us”, “paint us”. So… I decided to paint them. ūüėõ

I thought about painting the new Crystallans to match the original ones I’d already done, bolster the team and give myself more options. After some consideration I thought it would be more fun to paint these minis up in a different theme and make them a separate team of Crystallans.

Step 1, deciding what colors to do them. Using Photoshop as shown in a previous article I mocked up a few color schemes. Ultimately I decided on a dark grey/black rock, red crystals, and golden armor.




Step 2 is assembling the minis. While the Crystallan DreadBall minis come assembled, I use my own custom base system (see this article), so I need to cut off and replace the bases the minis come on. I also wanted to change the look of the minis a bit so I did a few arm swaps, cutting off the arms of some of the minis and re-positioning and switching the arms between them.

Arms swapped and re-positioned, primed, ready for painting.

So far I’ve only primed these new Crystallans, but in the next article I do, I will show you the finished minis as well as the how-to-paint instructions for how I painted them.


Hobby Highlight: Painting my Crystallans


In this article I breakdown how I painted my Crystallan DreadBall team. As always any colors I refer to, unless stated otherwise, are Army Painter colors.

If you weren’t aware the Crystallan DreadBall minis come in a translucent blue plastic.


You can achieve a neat effect by leaving part of the models unpainted. I knew I didn’t want to leave the translucent plastic of the minis showing through since the (then MVP) now Team Captain wasn’t also produced in the translucent blue plastic.

Using Photoshop I decided I wanted to go with grey rock and purple crystals.


I started as I usually do by priming the miniature grey. Since I painted this team before I had an airbrush I used Army Painter Uniform Grey spray primer.


Having the grey base was a great start on my grey rocks. I washed the minis with Dark Tone followed by several progressively lighter dry brushes from Uniform Grey all the way to White.

The armor parts I based in Wolf Grey. I applied a Dark Tone wash which I then re-highlighted with he Wolf Grey. A further highlight of Game Color Wolf Grey was used before a final glaze of Crystal Blue.

Finally the crystals. I based the crystals in Game Color Squid Pink and then applied a wash of Purple Tone. Finally using White I did fine outlining of the crystals.

Here is a gallery of the results.


Hobby Highlight: The DreadBall Trophies

The trophies of DreadBall.

The Stanley Cup. ¬†The Claret Jug. ¬†The Yellow Jersey. ¬†The All Valley Karate Championship Trophy…

All sports celebrate their best with a trophy. ¬†DreadBall is no different. ¬†Under Digby’s first edition regime, the penultimate award for winning was a GOLDEN BLAINE.

Editor’s Note: I won TWO Golden Blaines

Showcasing a trophy in your display cabinet is not optional. ¬†It’s mandatory. ¬†Perhaps a display cabinet is not within reach of every coach. ¬†Alternatives can be made; on top of your icebox, fireplace mantel, or even car hood are perfectly fine locations. ¬†Regardless, it must be visible.

Any yet, trophies have little practical use during DreadBall game play. ¬†Beyond the psychological effect of their presence near an opponent – ¬†they’re too large, too precious, and too heavy. ¬†But there is a solution. ¬†It’s a micro-solution. ¬†It’s the DreadBall Trophy miniatures!

There are six.

[1-3] Previously available only from the first DreadBall Kickstarter, three metal trophies are now included in organized play kits.

[4] Previously available only in the Azure Forest expansion, the planet’s metal trophy is now included in the exceptional Galactic Tour expansion. ¬†Go ahead and buy it. ¬†You’ll want the Medi-Bot and cheerleaders…

[5] Previously available from the first DreadBall Kickstarter and organized play kits, the restic DreadBall Pitch trophy is still available via the Mantic Points system.

[6] Never before available until this BreadDoll post, the restic Golden Blaine! ¬†Pulled from the DreadBall Xtreme game, sponsor Blaine is the same sculpt as the coveted LARGE Golden Blaine. ¬†It’s time to convert him from his role as MVP and sponsor to a miniature trophy.

These six trophies can be used for any sideline role. ¬†A score maker and rush tracker make most sense, but they can even proxy for a cheerleader or coach. ¬†Regardless, they’ll need to rest on a DreadBall base.

Coaches, prep your bases! Fill 1st edition bases with filler and sand smooth. Wood putty was used in this image.
Bases were prematurely primed with Army Painter Matt Black. Metal trophies were initially primed with Rustoleum Universal Bonding Primer. Afterwards, minimal flashing was removed with an x-acto blade.
All trophies were glued to bases with Loctite Go2 Glue, and primed black with Army Painter Matt Black.

With models prepped and raring to go, it’s time to slap paint on them. ¬†With the exception of the Azure Forest trophy, these models are very easy to paint. ¬†For those coaches unfamiliar with the technique of dry brushing, this is a friendly project to begin learning. ¬†In the event of an “accident,” it’s very simple to course correct.


Using Army Painter’s Greedy Gold, and a very inexpensive hobby flat hobby brush, load a brush with paint only to remove the majority of it over a dry paper towel. ¬†Even though ¬†all of the paint may appear to be wasted on a piece of disposable towel, pigment still exists on the bristles. ¬†Lightly swipe the brush over the model, and the paint remnants will adhere to the high relief. ¬†It’s a subtle effect over black primer, and that’s fine. ¬†Cover the entire model. ¬†Then, do it again. ¬†The next step is not necessary, but it does offer some additional depth; after the second pass at dry brushing apply a dark wash over the entire model. ¬†Once dry, apply a third pass of gold dry brushing. ¬†Clean up the base with Matt black and varnish with a Matt spray. ¬†Done!

Do the same with the other models, experimenting with other metallic colors as desired.
An unnecessary step, but it does add a bit more ‘bling,’ dry brush a layer of Metal Medium over the metallic trophies. Keep in mind; a spray varnish will potentially conceal a portion of this layer.

The Azure model is a bit more challenging. ¬†Using the same dry brushing technique, pass the entire model with a layer of dark gray, followed by light gray, and finish with a white. ¬†A nice achromatic model is ready for some detailing! ¬†Cover the front of the shield with a watered down white. ¬†Once dry, maybe apply another coat of watery paint – but this time use a combination of white, green, and yellow ochre. ¬†Follow up with an application of two or three very watery passes of white over the center of the shield. ¬†While the shield dries, block in the spears with gray, brown, and yellow ochre. ¬†Once that brown is on the palette, water it down and streak it from the edges of the shield towards its center. ¬†Apply some thin green paint to the leaves, and dab some warm colors into the torch. ¬†Almost done! ¬†A tint of green can be dry brushed over the leaves, and the entire shield and spears can receive a wash of brown. ¬†Once dry, apply some war paint streaks of red to the shield’s front. ¬†Clean up the base with Matt black, and spray varnish to complete.

Almost every coach has the same score marker, rush tracker. ¬†And while coaches and cheerleaders offer more variety – these trophies are stand outs. ¬†During league play, they may serve as constant reminders to your regular opponents, “I’m better than you.” ¬†During tournament play, they can be excellent conversation starters.

“How did you win that All Valley trophy? ¬†It’s awesome!”
“My Coach told me to kick my opponent in the face.”

Hobby Highlight: Better Tokens

DreadBall Team Tokens
DreadBall Team Tokens from the original Kickstarter

Here’s a quick tip on how to improve your engraved acrylic tokens. Often these tokens are simply laser engraved and delivered as is. They usually look pretty good but colouring in the engraving really improves their look.

2018-05-01 22.06.29
Uncoloured Token

Using a regular crayon of the colour you want the engraving to be, fill in the engraved area. Don’t worry about getting crayon on the non-engraved part.

2018-05-01 22.07.03
Colour in the engraved areas with a crayon.

After the engraving is coloured in use a paper towel or a dryer sheet to wipe off the excess crayon. Lay the paper towel flat on a table. Place the token, engraved side down, on the paper towel and rub it around to clean it off. You want to keep the token flat against the paper towel so only the non-engraved surface is wiped clean, leaving the crayon filling the engraving.

2018-05-01 22.07.33
Engraving coloured and excess crayon cleaned away.


It’s pretty easy to do and the results are great in my experience. I tend to use white crayon on darker coloured acrylic and black crayon on lighter coloured acrylic.

2018-05-01 22.03.35
Forge Father tokens all coloured and cleaned. The white really stands out now.

Important: make sure the acrylic token has a smooth surface before doing this. If the surface is textured it will trap the excess crayon and you won’t be able to wipe it off.

Hobby Highlight: Painting my Marauders

Let’s take a look at how I painted one of the first few teams I painted, the Marauders.



Since these minis were painted back before I owned an airbrush, I primed them using Army Painter Uniform Grey spray primer.


Blue Armor

I started by painting the whole of the armor with Army Painter Wolf Grey. I then washed the Wolf Grey with Blue Tone. I dry brushed over that with the Wolf Grey again before doing a more directed highlight with the wolf grey. Finally I did a second highlight using a 1:1 mix of Wolf Grey and White.


White Armor

For the white armor I carefully painted white over the blue leaving the lines dividing the armor unpainted. I then did a light wash of Crystal Blue thinned down with water.




I started with Greenskin for the skin (obvious right?) and then gave it a wash of Green Tone. I did a first highlight using Goblin Green and then a second highlight using a 1:1 mix of Goblin Green and Necrotic Flesh.

Grey Armor Parts

I used the same armor grey formula I use frequently. The Uniform Grey base had a Dark Tone wash applied, then was highlighted back up using Uniform Grey again, followed by Ash Grey.



For the red I started with a base of 2:1 Pure Red and Ash Grey washed with Red Tone. I then did a second wash with Red Tone to really darken the shading. I did a highlight of Pure Red followed by a second highlight of 1:1 Pure Red and Skeleton Bone.

I also painted the eyes red with a tiny white highlight.


The leather straps where done with Leather Brown washed with a Strong Tone and highlighted using Dessert Yellow.

Claws and Teeth

I used Skeleton Bone for the base and then applied a wash of Soft Tone to the edge of the area. A white highlight was used to finish them.


And there you have it. The last thing I did was to paint a “J” or a “G” on the minis’ back to indicate the player’s Role.


That’s how I painted my Marauder team.


Tournament Time / Hobby Highlight: C-4 2018 & the BLAINE BAR

Sunday April 15, 2018.  Victory Comics.  Falls Church, Virginia.  United States of America. The North American DreadBall Circuit (NADC) sweeps through the region and offers four rounds of intense, intergalactic, competition.

It’s the Cocoa Castle Corporation Cup, or C-4 for short. ¬†Of course there’s a backstory, and it should be consumed before the Blaine Bar tutorial below.

The story thus far:

In 896AE, Chief Culinary Specialist Konrad Castle was stationed aboard the CCS Dread. His delectable prowess caught the sweet tooth of then Captain Jesus Ortiz, who would often encounter the chef during late night pantry raids. While enjoying chocolate petit fours, Ortiz would solicit Kastle for advice on his new recreational sport in hangar 91. A lifelong friendship blossomed in the Dread galley.

After military service, Castle became principal financier of an upstart corporataion specializing in explosives manufacturing. It was not a sound business decision. It was a bust. With retirement funds squandered, Castle asked long-time friend Ortiz, now Chairman of the DGB, for a helping hand. Ortize graciously replied, donating the funds to retool Castle’s corporate warehouses into a kitchen empire. A dream come true, Castle happily abandoned his efforts at armament sales for his life’s calling; Chocolate.

Reciprocating the generosity of Ortiz, Castle’s new corportation not only serves as the official Chocolatier of Digby, it also hosts a cavity inducing DreadBall tournament:

The Cocoa Castle Corporation Cup (C-4).

Konrad Castle wouldn’t reward the C-4 winner with just an ordinary trophy. ¬†No way! ¬†Instead, the Champion gets CHOCOLATE. ¬†Golden Blaine? ¬†Ha! ¬†The C-4 has a BLAINE BAR. ¬†There is nothing better in the galaxy that an edible totem of the infamous mercenary trapped in a casket of carbonite. ¬†I mean, cocoa.

Here’s how it was done.

With molten chocolate in hand (and a little in mouth), a steady pour and patience to dry resulted in…


May the best Coach enjoy this morsel of mayhem. ¬†And remember, even the worst Coach doesn’t leave hungry. ¬†Last place gets a BreadDoll. ¬†All coaches go back to the local room with a custom Home / Visitor card. ¬†And there’ll be some certificates and more chocolate delicacies to boot. ¬†Good luck to everyone attending the C-4! ¬†Interested competitors may still attend. ¬†Please visit DreadBall.com.

Hobby Highlight: Painting my Neo-bots

In my second article on painting a DreadBall team, let’s look at the Neo-bots.




I started, as always, with a gray primer. These days I use Stynylrez Gray Primer sprayed on using an airbrush.

2018-01-02 20.37.36

Orange Base

The armor’s orange hue was started by spraying a base coat of colors using the airbrush, moving from Dragon Red -> Lava Orange -> Light Orange -> Light Orange:White (1:1)



Base Colors

After the orange base was sprayed on I painted the other base colors. For the blue, a 1:1 mix of Deep Blue and Necromancer Cloak. For the grey, Uniform Grey.



On top of the sprayed base coat, I lined the orange areas using a thinned down Blood Red (Game Color)



Next, I applied Highlights along the edges using a 1:1 mix of Pale Yellow and Light Orange, followed by a spot highlight with just Pale Yellow.



The blue was highlighted using a 1:1 mix of Deep Blue and Crystal Blue followed by a further highlight using straight Crystal Blue.


The Uniform Grey base had a Dark Tone wash applied, then was highlighted back up using Uniform Grey again, followed by Ash Grey.


For the eyes I dry brushed Pure Red heavily around the visor and then put dots of pur white on the eyes over the red.


The base is painted in plain black.






Hobby Highlight: DreadBall Bases (Part 2)


Once you’ve decided on how you’re going to base your DreadBall minis, you have to decide how you’re going to paint the base. Some coaches like the unpainted, clear look, but for this post; we’ll assume you’re going to paint your bases.

You could just pick your favourite colour and slap it on the base.  However, a DreadBall base ideally needs to convey which edges are the threat hexes.  Painting your DreadBall base also provides an opportunity to show additional information.  Using different colours on your bases can indicate the Role (Guard/Jack/Striker) of the particular model.

There are a few different colour patterns which the DreadBall community uses to indicate a player’s Role.

Stoplight Pattern

  • Red: Guard
  • Yellow: Jack
  • Green: Striker

Patriotic Pattern

  • Red: Guard
  • White: Jack
  • Blue: Striker

Greyscale Pattern

  • Black: Guard
  • Grey: Jack
  • White: Striker

Below are several different pattern examples for DreadBall bases indicating the threat hexes and player Roles.  In these diagrams I used my Mark V base as the template being coloured (for more info on the Mark V base see Part 1 of these DreadBall base articles).

Hobby Hangout: Photoshop Magic – Testing Colors

Usually the first step, before I start painting a miniature, is to figure out what color(s) I want to use. For some time now I’ve been using Photoshop to do this, coloring underneath the Mantic DreadBall concept art.

In this article I will go over the way that I do this. I’m not trying to teach you how to use Photoshop, although I will try and keep it straight forward. The focus is more about how I use Photoshop to color in the concept art, to get a better idea how the final colors used to paint the miniatures will look.

For this article I’m going to use the Koris concept art.


Open the file in Photoshop.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.55.35

Duplicate the layer that was created and delete the original layer (it was locked when you opened it and we want an unlocked layer to work with.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.55.53Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.55.58Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.56.06

Create a new layer and fill it with white to be a plain white background for the final image.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.56.36Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.56.48Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.56.54Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.57.02

The most important step is to set the type of the concept art layer to MULTIPLY. This allows the colors applied beneath this layer to show through but the dark lines of the art are still visible.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.57.06

Next I select the shape of the art using the Magic Wand tool. This should get you almost all the way to the selection you want to fill with your base color.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.58.05Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.58.13Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.58.15

You can use Quick Mask mode to see if the Magic Wand selected everything the way you wanted. If not you can use the Brush and Eraser to manually fix the selection in Quick Mask mode.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 14.58.17Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.03.28

Once the selection looks good turn off Quick Mask, invert the selection, create a new layer and fill it with a base color. The color(s) you pick initially don’t matter because you’ll be able to easily change them. What is important is the order of the layers and the shapes they fill in.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.03.35Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.03.43Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.03.50Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.04.04Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.04.07Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.04.13

As you can see the artwork is visible overtop the colored layer becasue it is set to MULTIPLY.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.04.19

At this point I often adjust the Levels of the art to make the blacks sharper but it’s not necessary.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.07.58

The concept art often looks like its on the little round base, if it’s not I like to add it in. I draw a black oval and move the layer to the bottom, just above the white background.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.08.14Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.08.33

I like to label my layers so it’s clear what they are.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.09.19

I then start creating new layers above the base layer, and filling in colors where I think I will like them.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.09.37

I CTRL-Click on the base layer to select it while I paint on the new layers. This ensures I don’t ever paint outside the original shape.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.09.43

With the Koris I started by using the Brush tool to paint the various hoses. Again use whatever color you like, here I chose a grey.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.09.58

You can use the Zoom tool to zoom in to make it easier to paint the areas you’re working on. Also adjusting the size of the Brush helps a lot. Use the keyboard short cuts for the Brush (b), Eraser (e), and to resize the brush and eraser ({) (}) so you don’t have to keep going back to the various menus and toolbars.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.10.19Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.10.30

If you paint over the lines, use the Eraser (e) to clean it up.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.13.39Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.13.50Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.13.56

There, hoses colored.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.18.18

Repeat this process to create as many different layers of color as you want.

I colored the lights…

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.21.58

the mouth…

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.25.59

the teeth…

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.28.51Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.29.36

and some armor panels.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.43.06

Once you have all the color layers you want, you can start changing the colors. Double click on a layer to open the Layer Style panel and use the Color Overlay section to change the layer color. I started by choosing a dark grey for the base color.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.43.27Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.43.38Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.43.42

You can also use the Layer Style’s various shadow and glow options to give your color layers a semblance of shading but you don’t need to if that seems too confusing at first.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.44.42Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.44.45

Repeat this process to adjust the colors how you like. Look through this gallery to see screenshots of the steps I took.

This is what I came up with for my first pass.

Screenshot 2018-02-04 15.51.35

You can play around with it and try all the different color combinations you can imagine.

I look forward to seeing the cool color combinations you can come up with. It’s a lot of information to take in, if you have any questions Follow the blog and post questions in the comments section or email us.

Good luck.

Hobby Highlight: Painting my Forge Fathers


I learned pretty quickly that it was a really good idea to write down the paints you use when painting your miniatures. You can use a computer or an app on your phone or a piece of paper. I use a spiral bound note book.

My Painting Journal

Writing my formula down in my notebook all that long time ago means I can now relay to you how I painted my Forge Father team.

Before I start painting a team I usually do a color test using the concept art and Photoshop. I will explain how I do this in a future article.

Photoshop Color Test


I primarily use Army Painter paints. Unless otherwise stated, all the colors in my recipe refer to Army Painter colors.

My recipe for painting my Forge Father team (NEVER call them dwarves) is broken down into 4 parts. I started with the grey armor and then painted the colored bits and flesh over the grey.

Before starting I primed my miniatures with grey primer. I prefer grey primer instead of either white or black primer.

1. Forge Father Armor


  • paint the entire mini Uniform Grey
  • wash the entire mini with Dark Tone (let dry)
  • dry brush the entire mini with Uniform Grey
  • dry brush the entire mini with slightly less Ash Grey
  • dry brush the entire mini with even less Matt White

2. Flesh


  • base coat the skin areas using the Fur Brown
  • apply the first highlight using Tanned Flesh
  • apply a 2nd highlight of Barbarian Flesh

3. Orange Cloth


  • base coat the cloth with Model Color Light Orange
  • wash the Light Orange with a thinned down Lava Orange (let dry)
  • highlight the orange area back up using Light Orange again
  • apply a final highlight using a 50/50 mix of Light Orange and Daemonic Yellow

4. Blue Areas


  • base coat the blue areas using the Deep Blue
  • apply a highlight of a mixture of 50/50 Deep Blue/Crystal Blue
  • apply a final highlight of pure Crystal Blue

You can also add on a few details if you feel so inclined such as painting the belt(s)  and boots brown and the eyes red like I did.