Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Showcase: Urdaggar Tribes of Valor

My first studio painting commission is in the books!  The group I painted was the six starter set models (seen above in their box art photo) and an additional follower and leader model for the Urdaggar Tribes of Valor.  This was a truly exciting project for me as it was the start to my career as DGS Studio's official studio painter.  From here on out I'll be painting their first set of master sculpts, and then those models will be used for photos for everything from packaging to advertisements and rule books images!  This is what every aspiring painted hopes to achieve, and I'm very thankful I was the one chosen to do it!

Let's take a look at the models for this commission up close..

This is the Urdaggar's Bear Mystic, their resident spellcaster.  The Bear Mystic was one of my favorites from this batch of models, I love the sense of motion and dynamism of her sculpt.  

One goal that was given to me for this project was to come up with original tattoo ideas for each model.  In Urdaggar society a warrior accumulates individual tattoos as they achieve feats in battle.  For the mystic, I wanted to put forth designs that were uniquely bearlike.  I found myself doing things in three, mimicking the three claws on a bear paw.  That pattern was echoed on her face (three claw marks), arm (three bands), and torso (a bear paw under her breast).

The Urdaggar Hunter is another exceptional model from the range, I think the sculptor gave him the perfect look, that of a stalking predator.  For the hunter I did an eagle design on his shoulders and clawlike devices down his chest.

Two talon designs that I experimented with were the side-view of a desceding talon with lightning bolts shooting from it.  The idea of a ranged warrior's metaphorical "bolts" was a perfect match for the hunter.

The other talon design was a front-view of splayed claws.  This turned out to be a good design to incorporate with the classic "banding" patterns that typifies Urdaggar achievement art.

The Night Hunter is a veteran marksman within the Urdaggar tribe, and sports some pretty impressive tattooing.  This was one of the few models where I received specific instruction as to what the studio wanted done with the tattoos.  The unique wing-mask tattoo on her face is typical amongst veteran Night Hunters and ends up looking really cool in 28mm.

I found myself wanting to find a way that the ranged warriors of the Urdaggar would express their tally of kills.  I came up with the idea of finger bands and dots as a way that they would keep track.  A band signifies five enemies killed, a dot one.  These dots and bands can be found on the draw-hand, the one that delivers the killing blow.

Yet another exceptional model in the line, with all his broad musculature, the Boar Warrior is a great model for doing some elaborate tattoo designs.  Whereas the bear had claw marks, and the eagle had sharp talons, I wanted to differentiate the boar by doing something different.  While thinking about it I began doodling tribal designs on a piece of paper that included the curved horns of a boar, and then it hit me and I knew exactly what the designs would look like!  Boar tattoos are dominated by sweeping curves and loops that turn back on themselves and curl up to mirror the image of tusks.

Another little touch I added to this boar warrior was his flushed nose/cheeks.  I imagine that he's a pretty hard working guy and that swinging a battle ax around (not to mention a belly full of mead) would put some color on his face .

A novice in the ranks of the Urdaggar, the Unproven have the fewest tattoos of all.  For this guy I wanted to do wolf tattoos, tight knit designs that echo a wolf howling at the moon.

Another wolf tribesmen, the Wolfkarl is the only member of the freeband to wear chain mail.  The Wolfkarl is a veteran warrior who has weather countless engagements.  To depict this guy's venerable years I added a touch of gray into his beard and roots of his hair.  Though much of his skin is covered up, he has a bunch of tattoos peeking out from under armor and undoubtedly more hidden underneath.

The Slinger was a fun model to paint, and I wanted to try something a bit different for her.  Like many fair-skinned people with red hair and green eyes, she has freckles on her cheeks, chest, and upper arms.

The last member of the freeband is the Berserker.  Wielding animal claws and a fur cloak, this guy rampages into the fray with little concern for his personal safety.  I imagined a character like that would have more extreme tattooing, so this guy got a healthy amount of face tats.

Look for these models in game stores in north-eastern Kansas and western Missouri this spring/summer (those who participated in the latest DGS kickstarter have gotten theirs already) and at gaming conventions like GenCon!

Thanks for checking out my work, be sure to come back next time to see what we're bringing to life here at the Monster Lab!


  1. Very nice! They look really good. Congrats on the new job. That is very exciting!

  2. Thank you Cameron, I really appreciate that!

  3. Excellent work, and Congratulations!! Very well deserved. Anytime you want to do painting night, I'll be up.

    1. Thanks Aaron! I'll definitely let you know when I have my next hobby night over at my house.


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