One of the interesting things about the Midwest WFB scene is our dedication to painting and fielding amazing armies. At any given tournament, you can expect to see work that would rival the stuff that appears in White Dwarf (R.I.P.) or on the GW website. While having such a rich environment when it comes to painted armies, it also means that the standards can be pretty high when it comes to paint judging. To this end, it has become almost mandatory that an army has some level of freehand if it wants to earn maximum points at the majority of tournaments.
Typically when someone is doing freehand, it is done on a standard as they are a great way to add a little uniqueness to a regiment. Since another element of many local tournaments is to award points for a scratch built model, I decided to combine the requirement with free-hand details to create a custom gong for my ironguts.
When it came to picking the actual image, I debated for a period whether or not to do some kind of dragon. It seemed like the obvious choice and easily tied into the Asian inspired theme of the army. In the end, I felt it was too obvious and decided to explore other Japanese images that might work. I considered Kirin and phoenix pictures, but again they felt too obvious. As I was looking at various pictures, I started to notice that koi were a common theme among many of them. After a bit more searching on the topic, I decided to use one as the basis for the free-hand on the gong.
Using a picture I found on the website Quiet Forest, I drew a similar image on the gong I had created using plastic rods, wire and a wooden 40mm base. One the image was drawn, I traced over it using a fine detail brush and Vallejo Charred Brown. Next, I used Reaper Golden triad, Vallejo Brown ink and GW Sepia wash to color the fish. Once the fish was colored, I reapplied the Charred Brown to better bring out the details.
To complete the background of the gong, I first used a pencil and another 40mm base to trace a semi-circle. Next, I colored in the first part of the circle using a combination of Vallejo Hexed Purple, Vallejo Purple Blue, and Vallejo Dead White. As for the blue sections of the model, I used Vallejo Imperial Blue, Vallejo Dark Blue, and Vallejo White to shade and highlight the area around the koi.
To complete the model, I painted the outside ring on the gong using Vallejo London Grey, Vallejo Black Grey, and Vallejo Light Grey. The wood holding the gong was painted using a combination of Vallejo Charred Brown and Vallejo Vermin Brown. The base was painted using the same scheme as the army and flocked with a combination of Army Painter and GF9 products.