In today’s post we are venturing into the streets of Ulfenkarn where I’ll share stunning photography of my completed Cursed City boxed game. It’s always a celebration when a hobbyist finishes painting a boxed game and I like to celebrate in photographic style.
Right, I’m going to start by addressing the Vargphant in the room. Like a hungry Von Carstein, It sucks that not everyone who wanted a copy of Cursed City was able to get one and it is your Nagash-given right to rant about that on the internet. However, did you know? Games Workshop has an official Complaints Hub? If enough of you register your complaints there, who knows they might reprint it or make it Made to Order. Here’s the link. Just be polite.
Pictured above is my interpretation of Ulfenkarn. From the Deathwalker Graves at the bottom, working up through the Ulfenwatch Crypts and then up into the streets of Ulfernkarn where Vrykos and Vargskyrs prowl before finally reaching the gates of the palace under bat-filled skies. My idea for this photograph was computer games like Ghosts and Goblins where you work your way up through the game gradually facing harder to beat bosses before finally beating the final boss Radukar. It’s essentially how the Cursed City game works and I wanted to show that in photographic form.
The boardgames shot above is an homage to all those 1990s double paged White Dwarf adverts featuring the the big boxed games. I use to stare at those adverts for ages picking over all the little details.
The shot is quite hard to take. One of the challenges of a wide shot is curvature of the lens. I use Prime Lens (no zoom function) and there is a lot less curvature, all the board sections look nice and straight. Another challenge is using flash photography to light the boards and models without over lighting the black background. I used three flashlites slaved to a ring flash. The flashlites were all pointing up towards the ceiling (it’s white) and the light bounces back down and is softer, hence no shadows. Keeping the black cloth black is easy, it’s black velvet cloth which absorbs light.
The last challenge is getting everything in focus. To do that I took 4 photos moving the focus point throughout each shot from front to back and then used photoshop to auto align and focus stack the images. Simply looking image, but a lot of thought goes into it.
There are a whopping 60 miniatures in the Cursed City set and apart from the Zombies, Skeletons, rats and bats they’re all different. It’s not like Indomitus or Dominion sets where the models are different but all share the same paint schemes so you can batch paint and base coat one colour en masse. No, Cursed City is harder than that.
The main heroes and villains required character level painting, one at a time, no opportunities to batch paint these. I spent months just painting the characters, I was slowed down by stopping after each step to take a photograph for the tutorials (see below). It wasn’t until I got past the characters that I could crack on with batch painting the minions and hat’s when I started to see the light at the end of the Cyrpt tunnel. Hands down, this is the hardest boxed game I’ve ever painted and I’ve painted 40 2nd Edition Gretchen.
I like to break up huge projects by turning them into smaller projects. One of these smaller side quests almost destabilised the entire Cursed City project when I fell through the Warcry rabbit hole. The talented Sam Pearson of Games Workshop rules writing fame released free rules to use your Cursed City models in Warcry on the Warhammer Community site. That was all I needed to help me organise painting the rest of my Cursed City set. A couple of zombies here, a few skeletons there… then I started eyeing up Start Collecting sets and now I’ve added Black Knights, Grave Guard and more to my Soulblight Warcry line up. Oh, it doesn’t stop there, I’m currently painting up a Zombie Dragon.
The side quest has turned into a full scale Age of Sigmar army project. I’ve recently painted some Vargheists. I totalled up the points of all the Soul Blight models I own and it’s currently at 2420 points. How have I ended up with over a 2000pt army just by doing a little Warcry side project?!
The thing is, there isn’t that much more to paint. I already mentioned I’m painting the zombie Dragon at the moment. After that it’s just some Graveguard, Black Knights and Cyrpt Ghouls. Then I guess I can buy some Dire Wolves, Fell Bats and Blood Knights. I wonder if I can hit 3000pts by the end of 2021?