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A Song of Ice & Fire by CMON Games: Painting Poorly – House Bolton Cutthroats

Our Blades are Sharp...

Welcome back, Westerosi!  Today, we are going to be taking a look at one of the Neutral Units that you can use to buffer your Lannister OR Stark forces: The Bolton Cutthroats.

The Cutthroats are the main infantry for the House Bolton forces if you’re looking at running the Neutral forces as it’s own separate faction, however, they are a cheap 5 Point unit that can be included in any army that is looking to instill some PANIC across the battlefield.

Let’s get going!

1. Gameplan, Prep, and Prime

Okay, so I know that a lot of A Song of Ice & Fire purists out there are going to mad at me, but I’m not going to be painting these guys pink.  For those of you who don’t know, the House Bolton coat of arms is described as a red flayed man in the middle of a pink field, adorned with drops of blood.  Yeah, that just sounds ridiculous to me, too.

So, as I’ve said multiple times, I’m a late adopter to the world of Westeros, only reading the books AFTER watching the HBO series, and to me the Bolton coat of arms looks more like this:

Dark blue, almost black, with a red flayed man on a white cross.  My goal will be to try to merge hints of this aesthetic with the in game art:

With all of that in consideration, I’ve assembled the follwing paints for the task:

Alright, from Vallejo I’ve got Basic Skin Tone, Chocolate Brown, Field Blue, and Gunmetal Grey.  I also ended up using a TEENY TINY bit of Flat Earth, though it is not pictured here.  From the craft store/Target, I got some black and white for our 50/50 black/white mix, along with some dark red.

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Like always, I’ve gone ahead and primed all of the figures I’ll be painting today with some matt white spray on primer by The Army Painter.  So, let’s get to those basecoats!

2. Basecoats

Again, you don’t really want to paint more than four of these minis at one time, or you risk your paint drying out in the easel, and quick reminder, unless specifically stated otherwise, make sure you thin your paints with water to a 50/50 ratio.

The first thing we’ll be painting will be tabard and the flag for the standard bearer using your field blue.  Don’t worry about avoiding the blood drops on the flag or the tiny flayed man on the Cutthroats’ chests.  The dark red should cover it up well enough.

Next, use your gunmetal grey to paint all of the armor and the top of the flagpole.  This includes the knee armor, the chainmail, the shoulders, and the bracers around the wrists, for those figures WITH bracers.

I chose gunmetal grey for the armor instead of plate mail metal because it’s just SLIGHTLY darker, and gives us a better version of blackened steel.

You’d also want to paint the figures’ maces this same color, but avoid the wrapping on the handle.

After that, use your basic skin tone for the faces.  Don’t worry too much about getting it on their beards or mustaches, as they’ll be easily covered up.  Just make sure that you get their mouths and lips in the middle of their beards, and try to follow their receding hairlines as well as you can.

Then, get your chocolate brown and paint the pants, sleeves near the elbows, flagpole, and if you want to make them brunette, their hair and beards.

Now, it’s that famous time where we mix up our 50/50 black/white mix.  Just a reminder, this would be 1 part black paint, 1 part white paint, and 2 parts water.

Use this to paint their gloves, boots, belts, and make sure that you paint all of the straps that hang down from their belts.

You’re almost done!  Get out your dark red, and paint the flayed man insignias on all of your figures using your detail brush.  Don’t worry if you get a little red on the tabard, it’ll get covered up during the shading and highlighting steps.

This would also be the time when you would paint the drops of blood on the flag.  All I can say about this part is “I’m sorry.”  It sucks and it takes forever.  Just do your best and try to be as careful as you can.

The last part of your basecoat process will be using your gunmetal grey once more to paint all of the metal studs and rings at the end of the hanging leather straps.

Once all that’s dry, we get to move onto shading!

3. Shading

Today, we’re taking it easy with only two washes:

Dark Tone and Flesh Wash by The Army Painter.

Like I typically do, You’re going to start with the flesh wash.  DOn’t worry too much about whether or not it will get on the beard, as we’ll be going over that with our dark tone anyway.

After that, you’ll drench everything else in the dark tone.  I say the word drench because you’ll actually want to use a little more wash that I normally do for this step, since we’re not just trying to mute the basecoats we’ve applied, but we want to CHANGE the colors to mimic the bluish black of the banner above.

The armor, weapons, pants, gloves, boots, hair, and beard.  The only thing I would say not to apply this to would be the skin itself and the mustache, as you don’t want it to get ONTO the skin.  Once it’s all done and dry, time to highlight.

4. Highlights and Finishing Touches

For highlighting the Cutthroats, you can really do this in any order, as they don’t really interfere with each other too much, this is simply the order I chose.

First, I used basic skin tone to highlight the faces.  Just the nose, cheekbones, and chin, just like with the Stark Sworn Swords.

Then, using field blue, I’m going to highlight the tabard, but only the folds in the cloth.  Anywhere that’s billowing outwards.  I’ve circled the areas I highlighted in yellow in the picture above so you can compare it with the picture below as a reference.

Don’t worry TOO much about highlighting the flag as the folds and billows aren’t THAT pronounced, so you should be okay, but feel free to give it a try if you want.

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Then, you’ll take your dark red, and highlight the flayed man insignia and the blood drops on the flag.  If you want to REALLY make it pop, you can even mix in a little white, but I chose to keep mine dark red.

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For the blood drops, really just focus on highlighting the bottom round portion of the blood drop.  It’ll keep the flag relatively clean without you struggling to paint the teardrop shape again, and also give the drops a sense of roundness.

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Remember that tiny bit of flat earth by Vallejo that I told you about?  Well, mix in some of that with your chocolate brown and highlight the pants, sleeves, and hair.

For the pants, really just stick with the knees/thighs, and only again, where the light would naturally hit.  If you’re having trouble with this, looking at the figure from a top down bird’s eye view can give you some perspective (pun totally intended).

5. Flay Them All!

You’re done!  Base it however you like, spray it with your matt spray, and get those suckers on the battlefield!

Hopefully you found this helpful for you, and you can always find all of my tutorials on my blog and make sure you keep checking in both here at MeepleGamers and on my blog because there will be new tutorials posted on a weekly basis between the two sites!  I’m looking forward to journeying with you as we make our way through the land of Westeros!