Earth Reborn is a fantastically detailed skirmish game set on a post-apocalyptic earth that features an incredible array of scenarios and a rich, tactical system. Like all good skirmish games, it comes with some very cool miniature figures, and like all miniature figures, they look a lot better when they’re painted! In the tradition of my Mansions of Madness Painting Guide, allow me to take you through the process of getting your plain plastic figures looking like proper post-apocalyptic warriors!
There are a couple of things about Earth Reborn that make the miniatures easier to paint, and there’s one thing that makes it a little trickier. For a start, you won’t have to worry about the usual wash-in-detergent-and-water and undercoating steps. Your figures are already primed and ready to paint, and I had no problems painting directly onto the figures. As usual, however, I did do a little clean-up with a sharp blade (watch your fingers kids!), removing a few mould lines and imperfections.
Another thing that makes the painting easier is the excellent reference material—in the Earth Reborn Scenario Book you’ll find some large illustrations that are a good guide to colour choices. I chose to follow these pretty closely, but of course you can pick any colours you’re happy with. The Mammoth Mark II has a camouflage pattern, for example, that I didn’t bother to paint on the miniature.
What makes these figures a little trickier to paint are the bases. The figures come glued to bases that already have stickers attached to them (showing the different coloured arcs for line of sight and damage). This means that you’ll either have to remove the figures from the bases before painting, or paint carefully around the feet. I originally removed the figures, but I must admit it probably would have been easier just to paint carefully near the actual sticker, because you can damage it by removing the figure if you’re not careful—and lucky!
Remember, what follows is just my personal approach to painting these miniatures! There are many different ways of painting—lots of people like painting on top of a black undercoat, for example—but I’ve found this technique gives me a nice balance between good-looking playing pieces for my games, and getting them done relatively fast so we can start playing! Some painters may choose more careful, slower techniques, and there’s no doubt these are very detailed character pieces that would benefit from that approach.
My technique, however, is based heavily around a little product from Games Workshop that pretty much changed my life when it came to painting figures faster—yes, I’m talking about that wonderful wash, Devlan Mud! I can’t tell you how much this stuff speeds up my painting. For most figures, all you have to do is paint your base colours, wash the figure in Devlan Mud, then do one or two quick highlighting passes, to get a great looking figure. The trick with Devlan Mud is, after you’ve applied it, use a dry brush to soak up any excess wash in or on the areas where you don’t want it to pool (wipe it on a piece of paper towel each time you soak up some wash). That way you have lots of control over how the shadows and detail are brought out by the wash.
Remember, check out my earlier article A Beginners Guide To Figure Painting, which covers the basics of miniature painting you need to know to get started.
So, let’s have a look at my results, which hopefully will inspire you to get these great figures painted!
First we have some of the Salemite figures; left to right: Professor John Kendall Jr, Jeff Keeler, Franck Einstein (groan!), and Jessica Hollister. With all of these close-up photographs the individual brushstrokes tend to stand out more, but at a normal viewing distance the highlights blend in nicely. Remember, I’m going for attractive playing pieces here, not showcase or competition paint jobs! As you can see, the Earth Reborn figures are absolutely covered in fine detail, which really benefits from a tiny brush and a steady hand at the highlighting stage. Luckily your Devlan Mud wash will have brought out all that detail and made it easy to see!
Next up we have some more Salemite faction figures: Jack Saw, Cherokee Bill, and two zombies! Yep, the Salemites are very much into re-using the dead for their own nefarious purposes, and in fact poor old Jack Saw has been dead for quite some time as well. The two zombies took a little more effort to complete, because unfortunately the cards for them (Zombie 1 and Zombie 2) are mixed up. So I went to the completely unnecessary trouble of swapping the zombies on their bases. Then I discovered that this changed the facing of the figures a bit, so I cut and shifted the heads so they were facing the right way! That explains why these zombies won’t look like the ones you get in your game, and the right-hand one is looking like a bit of a reject from Saturday Night Fever! Still, I like the results …
Finally, it’s time for the good guys, who have the biggest, baddest figure in the game—the Mammoth Mk II! The NORAD faction may seem to be badly outnumbered, but nothing is quite what it seems in this game as there are traitors around every corner …
With our giant robot is Colonel Nick Bolter, Lieutenant Monica Vasquez, and Agent James Woo. I gave Bolter and the Mammoth the same base colour so they go together nicely. Woo has a pretty sharp metallic-and-grey look happening, and Vasquez is in no-nonsense browns.
The Mammoth may look like a slightly daunting figure to paint, but the same techniques apply. A thin coat of GW Dheneb Stone, and some Chainmail on the machine parts, all washed with Devlan Mud. Then I went carefully over the miniature with two stages of highlighting. For machines like this ‘edge highlighting’ is particularly effective. With a tiny brush just highlight the edges of all the shapes, imagining a light source shining down from above the miniature as a guide. Don’t forget to highlight the bottom of those little battle damage scars, it really brings them out and gives the robot that ‘in the wars’ feel. The Devlan Mud wash I left pretty rough on this figure, as it nicely represented the oily, used look I was going for with this workhorse combat robot. I bit of a black drybrush around the weapon ports adds to the effect.
The spotlights are easily done: a base blue, with a dark rim at the top, a light rim at the bottom, and a white dot at the top for a highlight and you’re done.
You’re ready for combat in the Earth Reborn! Happy painting!