Ursa Miner Group Shot


I decided to take a photo of the Ursa Miners project as it stands to date.  Its currently thirty-one miniatures strong, which is more than enough for any skirmish game that I can imagine.  I am still enjoying the project though, so I am going to add a few more things before I count the project as finished.  Quite a few more are planned actually, which may be unwise, but who said that painting toy soldiers was sensible.  Im living on the edge.

I have yet to play a game with these models and even if I had its unlikely to have used all of the miniatures at one time. so I wanted to see them all laid out together.  I took a second photo of the force from the rear, to see if the camouflage cloaks and backpacks that feature on a lot of the figures brighten up the overall effect when seen from that side.  They do a bit, but not hugely.


The criteria for the project paint scheme were set last year in this post.  In summation they were: 1) quick to paint, 2) the force had to stand out a little on the table.  It had to pop a little at least and 3) the colours used had to look sci-fi rather than fantasy.

The scheme was chosen with criterion 1 in mind and has been reasonably fast to paint, by my standards at least.  The camo pattern is the closest thing to a time sink and even that isnt too tough, plus it also helps a lot with criterion 3, so its worth it.  The camo effect plus the bright yellow piping suggests a sci-fi rather than fantasy look to me, which was very important.  It was driving force behind the project really, so criterion 3 is dealt with satisfactorily too.  So far so good.

Criterion 2 is a little bit of a problem.  The force is possibly a little too dark overall, even with the bright yellow flashes on the models.  If I had to paint these guys over again Im not sure if I would change the colour scheme though.  As planned its at least semi-plausible looking, which was the original driving force behind the whole project – I wanted to make the quite obviously rooted in fantasy Forgefather models to look sci-fi.  I think that I succeeded at that at least, but maybe at the cost of some visual “pop”.

Funnily enough the Ursa Miner Bruins DreadBall team that I painted has that pop even though I used almost exactly the same palette, I just added more red.  They needed it to look like sci-fi sportsmen, while the fact that I wanted to ground the Ursa Miner military in some sort of reality made them a little more sombre.  I can see myself adding a little more red to the remaining units as time goes on, just to get that little bit of extra visual interest.

The next addition to the Ursa Miners will be some old school GW squats that I traded for recently.  I am looking forward to getting stuck into them.



11 Responses

  1. Great to see pictures of the entire force which look great to be honest.

    They are a little dark I guess but then that suits the ethos you envisioned for your grimly greedy self-centric Space Dwarfs. The Lord Prowse model reinforces this theme a good bit also – assuming that he has not changed sides in order to throw the White Dwarf into a reactor core.

    As you tend to base things the same to fit your gaming surface and that basing scheme has a black base edge you are ending up with more black on the model which adds the the overall tone of the model IMHO. I would be interested to hear how you would approach basing one of these chaps if you were not locked into your basing scheme.


    • Further to what I was saying, I would totally rock on with this force and build it up some more. It seems to be developing a momemtum (personality?) of its own now. With those vehicular additions you are onto a winner. You should stick in your Balrog Commissar for the laugh in a future photo shoot as in imperial observer.


      • I have a few more things planned, some of which are terribly old school, some not as much.

        I am enjoying it, so I might as well stick at them while the enthusiasm lasts. I can see the force getting gradually bigger in fits and starts over a period of years, which would be fun in its own way.

        I was holding off on including the Commissar as I was planning on having him be in charge of an abhuman company (beastmen and ogryns). I do have two Commissars painted though, so I will see what I can manage.


    • Thanks for the feedback Otto! The photos are a little shabbier than usual as I dont really have a clue how to take images of more than one or two figures, but they do the job all the same I think. The Ursa Miners are a satisfying not-quite-an-army-project. They need to go toe-to-toe with the 1989th sooner rather than later…

      Trying to get bases to match terrain is a tough proposition, As preciously discussed I have gone with a largely generic brown/grey sand as recommended by the hobby section in the back of the Rogue Trader rulebook funnily enough, although it took me twenty years to come around to that way of thinking.

      I have been edging all of my bases in black since about 1998ish. Its a reaction to the fact that there isnt a satisfactory way that I am aware of to cover the edges of a slot base and still have it blend into terrain (gluing flock or sand to the edges usually looks shit), so I use the edge to define the playing piece rather than blend it in, which will never work anyway. In conjunction with this issue is that a painted slot base edge often looks sort of cheap and nasty to me, particularly if painted in a bright colour (Goblin Green anyone?).

      In the case of the Miners (and a large percentage of my miniatures) which feature a lot of black, the black base edge can have a negative effect overall. Im not sure that I have come up with a better option though. Maybe if I rebased e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g on nice flat, washer-like bases like these then that would be a solution, but I am in too deep for something as work intensive as that.

      If I were putting together the Ursa Miners in a metaphorical vacuum I would seriously consider painting the edges of the bases in a light grey/brown, similar to the colour of the sand on the base. It would help with the darkness over all, but would also up the cheap/nasty factor I think.


      • Never seen those flat bases before, good to know I can buy some if I need them!

        Indeed, flocking the edges of bases is generally right out!

        The only time I have ever seen edge flocking work well was Andy Chambers Skaven army featured in an old White Dwarf where it seemed to create an atmosphere of “bedding” on the bases which quite suited the rat-men. From his army I guess one might get away with flock on the edges so long as you are using the group of models on a movement base or some such. Oddly enough its the tactile feel of a model with flocked edges which puts me off them the most, I hate handling the flocked edges.

        I find it interesting that you dislike painted base edges, especially brightly done ones as I in the past never have had a strong feeling about it one way or another. In my yoof I had always tended towards a generic sand colour or green for the base top and goblin green for the base edge simply because it was how it was done in White Dwarf in general.

        These days I work out a scheme for each force based on the colour scheme and atmosphere I am going for and it is now an enjoyable part of planning a force – not that I want to spend too much time actually creating scenic bases! My Genestealer cult is getting a rather exotic blue/grey base on the edge and little light blue gravel and some dark blue pebbles which works with it’s blue/purple/pink palette as green basing on these guys looks like crap and I really want to use that old colour scheme.


        I don’t think painting the edges in a colour harmonised with the base top would make your Ursas look cheap/nasty at all. Comparing your Necrons to your Ursas the basing looks really great on the Necrons where it complements the jet black equipment. With the Ursas the black on the base seems to add to the overall ambient darkness. I went with black basing on my current Imperial Guard project, in hindsight probably as I was reading your Necrons postings at the time I started them and really liked the way the black complemented the black on the equipment so I unconsciously (till I analyzed it now) took that on board for my project.

        In balance it’s probably not worth obsessing over at this stage, they are a well painted force which anybody would be pleased to game with which is the bottom line when it comes to painting many groups of models over a period of years.


        • A big driver for the neutral basing scheme across the board is that I dont really know what gaming system I will be playing with my models. In particular, skirmish games tend to feature a wide range of disparate miniatures. I definitely plan to have the occasional Ursa Miner hang out with my Inquisitors or Rogue Traders for example.

          A uniform basing scheme makes a big difference there I think. Importantly it stops the game looking like it was improvised with a bunch of things just lying around rather than a set of hand painted figures that take ages to prepare.

          I think that it will be a pity if your eventual Rogue Trader miniature doesnt have a basing style (or at least base edge) that matches that of your 1989th Guard for example.


          • Yes it is fair to say that things like Rogue Traders and Inquisitors who are planning to hang out with the 1989th for the purposes of a nice looking photo shoot would look best with the same basing style.

            When it comes to ad-hoc scenarios I am OK to have the moderately garish mix of bases in play, obviously if it causes problems with casual identification of force of squad membership then that’s a problem I would prefer to avoid in the process of picking models. I don’t anticipate this being an issue for me as the latest models I have been painting have come around to black base edged sandy coloured base tops like you mentioned in recommended in RT!

            I will end up with my 200+ Ork army with green basing (largely as this was just what was in vogue when I started painting it) and my 40+ odd Ork pirates having black edged ones (more piratical!). I suppose what I am saying is that the two distinctively different Ork forces with distinct basing schemes make it easy for players (i.e. me!) to visually distinguish the two forces is generally what I go for. I like having the my “armies” basing distinct from one another and hold the view that this is preferable to a homogeneous approach to basing.

            This is certainly a style/taste thing, I can totally see the value in the homogeneous approach and think that it is preferable from the perspective mixing and matching figures between forces, especially if planning to take photos of them as an army group.


  2. Another great example of a paint scheme tying different models together nicely. The miners look great! I’m all for keeping the base edges black, but I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to that..:D


    • Thanks Mikko. I think that you and I share opinions on the mixing miniature ranges thing. I actively enjoy mixing manufacturers and sculpting styles and even, to an extent scale in my forces as it helps me to avoid painting burnout. As long as I can tie the forces together with a uniform palette I am fine with it. Also, being too choosy often limits options in a negative way,

      Basing is an entertainingly contentious issue in the hobby and everybody has an opinion. After some experimentation I have settled on neutral, generic, not-too-busy, black- sided slot bases. They look tolerable in any setting (no snow, scrub and skulls in the cargo hold for example) and allow me to mix and match figures from everything I own when different gaming systems require different sorts of forces.

      theottovonbismark has a point about ambient lack of light in the case of the Mners though, but the short hairy guys are just going to have to take it on the chin. If anyone can take it, they can.


      • It is worth mentioning that the painted Ursas I have seen in person look much better than the photos. You loose the nice sense of detailed dinkyness Sho3box has acheived on these models. The black looks much better in person. Technically black just does not play well with digital equipment be it the camera or the computer monitor trying to display it. There is just no substitute for holding it in yer hand and eyeballing in the way it is intended to be enjoyed.


        • Im glad that you think that Otto, I find it hard to be objective.

          Although I am still a better painter than photographer (and there is plenty of room for improvement in both) these days I dont regard a miniature as finished until I have photographed it. Its as much a part of the process as basing or varnishing now.

          I havent quite got to the stage that I am painting miniatures for the camera rather than for gaming, but I have been known to put the less favourable parts of a model out of shot 🙂


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