Sunday, November 6, 2011

HEROQUEST challenge

Wayne Ashworth commented he was thinking of tackling the Heroquest game on an old blog entry and it got me thinking.  Of all the projects- thats the one isnt it?  Thats right up there in our collective gaming consciousness that sits like a dark cloud.  Very few of us have painted the whole Heroquest box.  We all wanted one... but how many of us had the patience to repeat and rince all those figures?

I got a fair whack of the way through my heroquest figures in a few days... though as I do not have the game so I did not have the motivation.  I found mine in a flea market, looking desperately played with.  I had to rescue them.  Here they are some of the undead so far...

Brains... and corn...

I have to confess that I have only ever played one or two games of Heroquest at highscool.  It reminded me of Guantlet, but with more waiting.  ;)
  I actually found a mint, unopened Heroquest I found in a dusty old atiques store and sold it on ebay for squillions and bazillions a while back.  I now live on an island and drink ice tea all day.


Anyway, the challenge is this.  Todays the day.  Go dig it out your heroquest from your attic and fetch out the first batch of figures.  Today is the day you start your COMPLETED heroquest project.  Yes you are... stop complaining.  Your going to feel FABULOUS when you finish.

So here is my advice on painting your set using regurgitated pictures from my blog to illustrate.

First.  Treat it like a bunch of small projects.  Today, tackle your cleanup and priming for your skeletons and mummies.  Cleaning them up is a vital step, because we are going to be using a lot of drybrush and it will show up any seams.

Skeletons and mummies are the easiest figures to paint- any monkey with a pot of Bevlan mud citadel wash can do them in no time.  Here is tip 2.  Dont look at the other figures.  Put them back in the box.  They do not exist until your skellies are varnished.  Having the others lined up waiting like a factory line will suck hit points out of your morale.  Small, bite sized chunks of awesome gets the job done.

I strongly suggest priming with tamiya grey primer before you spray your undercoat.  The plastic they used is kinda shiney- so if you just put wash directly onto the model it will bead and look awful.  The primer will act as a strong glue between your undercoat and your model- so heavy gaming will not chip the paint off easily.  Here is a test.  Take a model that you sprayed chaos black.  Rub it between your hands like its a cold day.  Now look at the mess you have.  Now, do the same with something sprayed first with primer.   You will never look back!  By the way, dont clap... throw money.

I use a black undercoat to keep the lining strong.  For the skellies you may like to go white and shade down with washes.  Whatever floats your boat.  A soft drybrush of a lighter grey or white over this will bring out the details and make it easy to see what your doing.   I use vallejo model color deep sea blue for this.

Tip number 3.  The important trick when painting mass armies of figures is to minimise steps.  And, dear reader, handling time is a major step.  Though you probably don't notice it, you spend a great deal of time picking up, looking for and reaching for and placing individual miniatures.  Sticking your models on a strip of wood in batches saves you a massive amount of steps- at least for the bulk of the stages.  Yay.

Strips.  A factory for fiends.
Citadel 1980's Elric, Moonglum, Norse Dwarf,
Rogue Trooper Nort, Judge Dredd and Anderson

Tip 4.  If you start with the undead, your going to get a big morale boost early on- they are easiest by far to paint, and are pretty much entirely bone color.

Start by going from this...

To this... is a real morale boost early on

  I recommend base coloring all the colors on all your models first, before shading and detailing.  This is not the modern 'Eavy Metal way- but it will really help you feeling like your getting somewhere.  There is a big difference between a figure thats unshaded, vs one thats got great trousers but is otherwise jet black.  Both take the same amount of time, and a slip up will not mean distaster- you can easly fix a base coat- but not a richly shaded section.

Start with the skellies bone first, then do the mummies, then metals, then browns, then flesh.  Once thats all base coated, your most of the way to having your undead army sorted.  Put away the mummies.  Focus on the Skellies shading.  I used Devlan Mud and Gryphone Sepia mixed with a little water.  A couple of washes and then a few gentle drybrushes and I was pretty much done.  The nice thing with having all the base coats done first is that the brown wash can pretty much go across everything on the skelleton.  This cuts out steps, and as you know, we are all for that- right?

Once you wrap up your skellies, the mummies bandages can be done with the leftover mix.  I went blue/green with my skin so they would stand out from the skeletons and orcs.

Since your models are always kicking around a dungeon, it does not make much sense to put a flocked base on them, or even grit.  I have seen a few like this and it just doesnt work with the game board.  Now I went a bit swish and remounted mine onto round bases, then sculpted on some pavers in procreate.
The fastest way to tackle this problem is to buy some resin dungeon bases.  All you need to do then is slice your model off its base using a gentle rocking action on the blade (wear goggles)- and drill and pin the figures on.  This technique will allow you to paint all the bases for all the figures in one go.  Stick them all on a pole using bluetack.  Prime.  Black spray.  Grey drybrush.  Light grey drybrush. Spray varnish (gloss), spray varnish (testors dullcoat)  Done.  Drill your holes as and when you finish the models.  Having a prepainted base waiting for it is a joy.

Once you have finished a set, put them up on display.  This will help lift your morale enough to complete the box.  Leave your heroes till last as a treat.

So these tips should help.  Post up links if you take the challenge!


  1. A good challenge. I might have to adopt this, it will certainly be much cheaper than my plan to 'metal up' Heroquest by getting hold of, and painting up, a bunch of vintage Citadel.

    Task one, wait for the Welsh weather to get nice enough for some spray undercoating. I'll post my first update in June.

  2. Brilliant!
    Yeah its thunderstorms here at Bondi Beach too... and me with all these Space pirates to prime.

    Hey... Bargle... Bargle.... Oi... didn't you kill Aleena the Cleric?

  3. I took on this challenge in the summer. Not yet many projects...Sigh...

    However it is looking better and we have even had some games last month.

    I can highly recommend people to get a set painted if they have it. It has immense satisfaction seeing this painted and done.

    We all have projects, armies half done. This is a chance to get a project done that is on a small scale.

  4. Eeeeeeexactly... My current project list includes five warbands, one spacefarers set, the entire fiend factory, the entire fantasy adventurers, a rogue trader adventurer set, Judge Dredd set and my brother in laws Nurgle and Crimson Fists collection at some stage.... skipping from one to the other just does not satisfy as much as nailing a small, but complete set of something.
    Heroquest certainly ticks that box.

    I plan to cash up at some point and buy a beaten up old copy of the game, then deck it out properly if its worth playing.

  5. Hey Dave,

    Can't believe the timing of this post - I only just pulled out my Hero Quest barbarian thinking I would repaint him!

    I've been working at my Hero Quest set for ages - here's my progress so far with the Undead:

    I've actually painted all the Greenskins from the base box too using the Devlan Mud method, but I realised I never got a blog post up with photos (other than those test ones). I'll get one up just for you this week. :)

  6. Same here - got a Heroquest barbarian thats been on my painting table for ages I've just started doing again.
    Oh.....and some human henchmen with halberds

  7. heh, touched a nerve with a lot of folk- I just had an ebay seller tell me he started painting his Heroquest too! :)

  8. Just stumbled across your blog/post. I think like many gamers this had been a notional project for me for quite a while now (somewhere on the web archive I've actually put it to pledge back in 2009). I have made some headway, but maybe it's time to adopt it again.

    I cheat a bit, mind you, and have been using a 90% inks method of colouring them.

    Consider me in!