WTC 2023 Best Painted

Doug Hamilton: Last year at WTC, I was able to meet face to face for the first time with Peter Alsen of Sweden—we had some good conversations, and I was even able to get one of the great ABBA-style jerseys from him!

Seeing Peter again at this year’s WTC was great, though he was pretty busy playing games with a great-looking Circle army. It was no surprise when I saw the votes for best painted had him come out on top! So, congratulations to my buddy from Sweden on being voted best-painted army at WTC, and as always, I’ll look forward to our future chats!

Peter Alsen: The WTC is over…and what a time it was. I decided at the very last minute, the day of List-Lock, to switch lists from Thornfall Alliance to Secret Dominion. Why? Mainly because I wanted to paint my models I had built and converted so they all looked adorable. But where did that start?

Back in 2018 at the Battle at Lund tournament in Malmö, I saw this Stormwall, and I thought it was the cutest thing I’d ever seen in WARMACHINE:

It was from this year’s WTC Judge Cornelius from Denmark. Seeing it inspired me to imagine what could be done with such a work of art.

We jump forward into 2021, and I decided to finally purchase the most adorable model made by Privateer Press, the Wold Guardian. It’s a heavy warbeast but so tiny—and with those big hammer fists, what’s not to love? How can anyone look at the Wold Guardian and not fall head over heels in love with it?

But you know what would make it even more adorable? If it were sitting down holding a bug in its hand and pondering what it’s like to be alive for real, not just an animated stone monster. Said and done! Conversion work started! This is where it ended up after some sawing, drilling, and pinning:

Excited, I decided to paint it up and adding the bug, and then I immediately planned a buddy for him as well:

Now, painting these took a little time, as it was my first time doing them. So, they got to sit on my shelf for a good year or so before I did any more for this army. During this time, I assembled more Wold Guardians in different poses. I moved on to make a Wold Warden as well and even a Wold Wrath! Everything is pinned to fit together and to bend and look like they can stretch and so forth…

Of course, one needed to be dancing as well!

Woldwarden needed to be sitting down, and I planned this one to be holding a bird in his hand like Cornelius Stormwall did.

Then, of course, the big boy got assembled as well:

Now we fast-forward to this year and the day of List-Lock. I realized my painting needed to be quick. But I’d only focused on the @olds! What about all the druids? The warlocks? Uh oh…The 13th of October comes. It’s one week until I travel to Copenhagen and the WTC. I know this is the last weekend I have—this is the time I need to finish all the druids so the rest of the week can be focused on the Wolds.

This is the druids part of the army on the 13th of October, it’s time to get started! As you can see, all the models have already been based with sand and rocks before undercoating.

Undercoating everything black and making a zenithal highlight with my airbrush using light grey followed by drybrushing all the models with regular white paint. Result?

Now it was time to get out the paints. I knew I wanted to have a striking color scheme and though I was planning black cloaks, I changed my mind at the last minute. Just two days prior to starting painting these models, I had commissioned an Archangel and found a way to paint pink that I just loved. So, I decided to paint the Secret Dominion army in pink with striking green color as glow effects. The rest of the army would be muted earth tones, browns, and greys so as not to distract from the main paints. First evening of the weekend I did all the pink:

Quite happy with this result, I moved on the next evening to the armor, which I wanted a brownish/gold-like color.

Luckily, this all went quite quickly, so I did all the rest of the basecoats as well, including the green for the weapons:

Now it was time for the step I had never done before: Oil wash. It worked wonderfully, and this was the result after the oil wash had been wiped away in the areas that needed highlights:

Now it was Monday—three days until I was leaving for the WTC. Time to go back to the Wolds! I painted the wooden parts and started the green and glued all the cute animals on the models!

Now it was time to highlight the stone areas. Just as with the first model, I decided I wanted the light to hit at angle from the model’s left. So, I highlighted the entire model in a lighter grey tone but then moved on mixing this more and more with white to brighten it up and also decrease the area I covered to make it seem like the model was being hit with light from the models left side. After the grey was done:

At this stage, I took all my models out and decided to take out a brown pigment and cover their bases with—that way, all the bases look unified, and I could also use the pigment to dust up the models’ feel and such to make them look a little more naturally unified to their bases. I started doing this on all the Wolds, but after doing them, I realized I wanted the pink on the druids to pop a little more. So, I grabbed some foam and a bright pink and stippled some highlights onto the pink robes of the druids. This worked out beautifully and took about two minutes to do on all of them. Then I went on with the pigment on their bases as well as on the defenses.

I left this to set for about a day before continuing the army. If any of you have ever worked with pigment you’ll know it can get everywhere (like sand in Star Wars), so it was good to let it set before doing the last parts. I now have two evenings left for this army and the real fun work begins: basing and airbrushing!

I like my bases to be filled with grass, rocks, flowers and so on. I want them filled with this stuff so that it really feels like a landscape and not just a playing marker I simply glued my model on. I have two units of shifting stones—one got pink flowers while the other got yellow ones. The mannequins for the Shifting Stones also got one color of flowers each so it would be easy for an opponent to sa,y “I’ll hit the yellow mannequin” or such.

Basing all done on Wednesday evening!

One more evening before the WTC, and now it was time to pray to the gods for the airbrush to cooperate with me (you airbrush users out there know exactly what I’m talking about). It seems the gods answered (no doubt because our names were Asgård, Midgård, Utgård, and Hel), and the airbrush and I were best buds for the entire evening, sharing a good two-hour session of airbrushing all the glow effects for this army. The result?

And that was it. I had done it. I had painted this entire army in a week’s time. Every painting session in the evenings was between four and six hours, so in total I’d say it took about 35 hours to paint this army. Building it had already been done, thankfully, so with that we’re probably looking at 40-45 hours of total time for this army from box to table.

Again, thanks again to everyone who showed interest in my army and for all those nice hobby talks I got to have at the WTC! Much love to all of you!

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