There’s nothing like handling a beautiful bust.


Meeplemart was one of the vendors at HotLead 2013, and they had a copy of Relic by Fantasy Flight Games – Steve said it had *just* arrived the previous day but he didnt know much about it.

I had seen a couple previews of the game – me being me I didnt pay much attention to the rules (skimming through the rulebook, it looks at least partially inspired by Talisman) but I was immediately drawn to the game pieces: each one is a small bust of one of the 10 characters in the game.

I had wanted to start painting larger models and busts for a while, and this game seemed like a *perfect* way to get some practice painting in the larger scale. 10 plastic busts for $50? Sold!

This sat on my shelf for about a year – which is the usual length of time something tends to sit before I paint it… I guess I like my models to ferment, or acclimate to the conditions in my studio before I do anything with them… I dont know, it just always seems to work out that way.

I had taken a prolonged break from painting through the winter – and also seemed to be sidelined by various illnesses more than usual – when I regained my inspiration (or mojo, as David puts it 🙂 ) I wanted to do 5 of the 10 busts as my first project.

For any multi-week project I always tend to work on models I like the least, or are the least important, first. That way any efficiencies I find, or new ways of doing things – or just knocking the rust off, as evidenced by the recent Zombicide models – will culminate with the models I am most looking forward to paint. Also, leaving the ones I really want to do towards the end helps motivate me to get through the ones I am so-so with. It was hard choosing models for the first wave – even though they are simple plastic, they are actually quite nice and characterful – so there were only 2 I didnt really want to do: the Psyker and the Rogue Trader (the Trader is a really nice model, but for some reason it just didnt grab me as much as the others, like the Space Marine, Battle Sister, Assassin, Commissar, and Ogryn). I knew I wanted to do the  Assassin, Inquisitor, Battle Sister and Space Marine in the second batch, so I just randomly picked 3 models out of the remaining 4.

So… photos! Presented in the order they were painted. 🙂

Rogue Trader

Rogue Trader







Tech Priest

Tech Priest

Once I got back into the swing of things these became a *ton* of fun to do. The Rogue Trader took me a few weeks to do – I was adjusting to the new scale as well as picking and poking at the Zombicide Survivors on my table (I also took a week-and-a-bit off to do some awesome stuff for the Orion’s Cup… which, sadly, I never made it out to 😦 )… and I messed up the yellow piping and braiding, and had to repaint it a couple of times. Honestly, I’m still not 100% happy with the result, but, the *primary* purpose of these is practice, so I just decided to say ‘That’s it, it’s done.”

(As an aside, one of my biggest problems is over-working and fussing with my stuff too much… I need to learn to say ‘It’s done.’ alot more frequently than I do.)

I loved painting the Ogryn and Commissar so much, that I ended up doing the last 4 models in about 2 weeks… I had anticipated taking a week for each one, I was surprised by how fast I worked once I had the proper motivation.

Another issue I faced was the basing: the bases that came with the models are simply little posts (picture below) in 4 different colours… and, there are only 4 in the game! The intended way to play is to choose your character, choose your colour, then put the bust onto the peg.


There is no way in hell my paintjobs would survive more than a few of such violations, so I needed to find a permanent solution for each model. The most logical solution would be to buy a bunch of extra pegs directly from FFG, so I contacted them. Unfortunately, they dont sell individual parts. 😦

Much sadness.

I explored a number of options: the first option I explored was to order plinth bases from model companies… I did manage to find some nice ones, but they were all too large, and prohibitively expensive ($10-$15 each in some cases).

Watts gave me the suggestion to create 3D models and print them – which I thought was absolutely brilliant! In practice, though, it didnt end up working out: the process was taking too long… and while I’ve been considering exploring 3D modeling, it’s not on my radar right now, so I am not willing to invest in any new software. Once I managed to find a free application that works on the Mac (with my older system software) the learning curve was waaay too steep… after 3 days of frustration I finally cut my losses. (I had even drawn a very nice profile in Illustrator – I thought it would be easy to simply import the wire frame and revolve it. Nope. *sigh* )

One of my earlier thoughts, that I had abandoned to explore other options, was to purchase some chess pieces and cut the heads off. With all my other efforts stymied, I revisited this idea.

I ordered some individual standard sized pawns, and did a quick test once they arrived:


Exactly the look I had wanted, but too big. 😦

My search continued and I discovered a smaller size of chess piece – ‘Analysis’ chess pieces  – from House of Staunton. Sadly, they didnt really offer an inexpensive shipping option to Canada, but after I confirmed the base diameter, I did a digital mockup with my Photoshop awesomeness. They looked perfect. To reduce my cost per unit, after factoring in the steep shipping, I order 48 pawns. (It took a bit of explaining why I wanted so many pawns, when entire chess sets would have been cheaper.) 😀

Here is a shot of an unmolested pawn, next to one as the full expression of pedestal:

pedestalsI prepared enough pedestals for all 10 pieces in the base set so they all matched (there is one expansion for Relic, with 4 more busts, so I was considering doing 14 at once… but, when I get the expansion, it will work basing them on a different coloured marble pedestal).

I sawed the top of each piece off with my razor saw, *packed* the hollow neck with Pro Create, and removed all the mold lines. They were then primed white and given a green marble faux finish.

So, to anyone else who is thinking of painting larger scale pieces, Relic is excellent value… you cant beat $5 a bust. You will just need to figure out how to do your own basing. 🙂

Cbag out!


~ by Chris on May 31, 2014.

2 Responses to “There’s nothing like handling a beautiful bust.”

  1. […] it dawned on me that I’ve never painted anything in a larger scale before (other than the Relic busts, of course). Luckily, I had just finished the Greebo painting contest entries, so I felt it would […]

  2. […] finished the last of the Relic busts in 2015, but never got around to photographing them until […]

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