Finish Your Stuff Challenge

Etherfields, Part 1

Last year I took a punt on the board game Etherfields, one of those sprawling kickstarter board game/miniature game hybrids. This had been backed by someone at the local club (Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts) who had gone quite deep on the kickstarter pledge and ended up with several boxes of stuff that 3 years later was still unopened.  I picked it up for cheap, and joked that I might well be moving it on in another 3 years still in the same state.

To try and avoid this prophecy coming true I decided that I would paint Etherfields using the “slap chop” method. This involves a zenithal undercoat (a dark prime followed by a white prime sprayed from above to paint in all the tonal variation on the model) followed by inks, contrast paints and washes to stain, colour and add final definition to the model. It’s billed as a fast way to get pretty decent results, because it can theoretically achieve base coat, shade and highlight in one pass.

The models in Etherfields are absolutely stunning, and I got the zenithal priming part done almost straight away. But then they sat in the “to do” queue for 6 months and it was looking depressingly like another misfiring project. But this month, after my hobby mojo was fired by finishing my Acolyte characters, I dived in and ended up really pleased with the results.


I’ve not actually read any of the rules yet, so beyond knowing which models represent the players and which are the creatures we will encounter I don’t know what each creature “is”, what type of threat it represents or if any are neutral. But I resolved to use a limited and common colour palette across all the encounters, partly to keep them all distinct as NPC’s, partly to speed things up, and partly because I very quickly fell in love with this dark greenish blue contrast from Games Workshop, Aethermatic Blue. This is a really strong pigment that goes on like a dream.



I didn’t take any WIP photos on this project, largely because the “slap chop” process is so fast and pleasing that there is barely time or inclination to stop and document progress. In many cases, I was able to paint each miniature in no more than 15-20 minutes. On top of the basic technique I described above, I also used a few

  • Wet blending two colours together, contrast is particularly good for this for obvious reasons.
  • Removing or thinning contrast paint from the model while still wet with a damp brush or my thumb, letting the white underneath shine through more strongly to amplify the highlights or tone down the staining (this can be seen most clearly on the guy with the lantern where I tried a quick and dirty OSL effect, but was also used elsewhere e.g. on the beaks of the bird creatures).
  • Glazing contrasting colours over other areas to add subtle colour variation, e.g. I would often place blue or pink glazes over brown areas to add more depth – not immediately obvious but adds to the overall effect.
  • Sometimes I would go back in and use traditional layering to add some more highlights or make a particular colour pop a bit more, but this was kept to a minimum and so didn’t increase the time required all that much.



The player characters will be more unique in colour palette, though I’m not sure if they’ll follow the same colours or all be different.

This batch of models completes the basic NPC’s and one of four player characters (or “Dreamers”).  There are three more Dreamers to do, plus an alternative sculpt of each one, and then several more complex and impressive NPC’s.  Etherfields sounds like a truly unique, fascinating and absorbing game. If it lives up to half of what it claims on the website, I’m in for a treat when I get the opportunity to play it, and playing miniatures board games with fully painted models (as I have been doing over the last few months with my fully painted Hero Quest) makes the world of difference.

Post script: I found some neon grass tufts in purple and blue in my drawer and realised these Etherfields minis are perfect for them. Zing! Check out that colour!

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