The Greatest Sport in the Galaxy has a cast of colorful characters. Thirty distinct teams have spent time on the DreadBall pitch, throwing strikes and taking slams. It’s a randy rainbow. It’s majestic mayhem.
But the sidelines cannot be forgotten. Cheerleaders rally the crowd, Elmer and Dobbs call out Events, and the Eye-In-The-Sky surveils. All in colorful chaos. Also present? Assistant coaches!
DreadBall has a deep field of unique assistant coaching models. However, adding additional staff is very easy and inexpensive.
I fancy some relatively bizarre things. So I found their miniature equivalent and turned them into coaching assistants!
Would BreadDoll readers like to create their own? It can be accomplished in short order. A step-by-step tutorial below:
Finished! Easy, inexpensive, and most important – FUN.
Would any BreadDoll readers like to receive an alternative assistant coach? Subscribe to our BreadDoll blog between 7/31/18 and 8/6/18. We’ll randomly select someone, and mail a mini after we return from Gen Con.
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
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.
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. 😛
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
 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…
 Previously available from the first DreadBall Kickstarter and organized play kits, the restic DreadBall Pitch trophy is still available via the Mantic Points system.
 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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Uncoloured Trontek 29ers token.
Coloured Trontek 29ers token.
The black crayon on the lighter coloured acrylic looks great.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).