Nurbald the Sculptor

I am what you could call a « Confrontation » addict. I love that game and the minis that came with it and kept playing the game, collecting and painting the minis long after the company that edited it collapsed (would you like to know more?).

I shared a lot of pictures of my work on twitter and it caught the eye of theantifunk. This fine gentleman once told me that he had a hobby crush on Nurbald the moment he saw a picture of him in a Confrontation rulebook he bought (because of me I think).

Nurblad the Sculptor (in all his collector card illustration glory).

Nurbald is Mid Nor dwarf, weird little guys from the Confrontation universe. Mid Nor dwarves are the only faction I do not collect for myself, but since the antifunk mentionned his feelings about this mini, I kept my eyes open for it when digging the internet for Confrontation minis.

I eventually found it and bought it for him. After discussing it we decided I would paint the mini for theantifunk and then send Nurbald to live on the other side of the ocean.


I went for a rather « classical » colour scheme. My idea was to stick to the dark metalics, dirty brown and pale skin aesthetic of Mid Nor. Since TheAntiFunk had liked the picture of Nurbald I tended to use it as an inspiration. I just went for a lighter brown than the illustration suggests as I wanted to draw the eye to Nurbald’s oversized head, hence the dark metalics (on the outside of the mini), the clearer jacket and the pale skin. Then, as I realized the mini will be too dark to my taste, I kept the dark & dirty metal for the base and went for lighter metalics on the arachnid legs. In the end, I think it sill works.

Here you have a pic of the completed mini, just for you to understand what I meant above.

I decided to push myself a bit on the paintjob, since I was painting for someone else and wanted that little guy to be « special ». I decided to work more than usual on metalics and tried to use more diluted paints than usual, to get a deeper finish. I also decided to try a zenital pre highlight, like all the cool kids out there (it really helps seeing how a sculpt works actually, what they is indeed true…).

Last but not least I wanted something special for the base, so I ordered a couple of « industrial like wheels » (how do you name these in English anyway?) and…I committed heresy: I went for a round base. This is only because of TheAntiFunk allergy to square bases (and the fact that it would look better with the wheels). I would never EVER put on of my Confrontation mini on a round base. NEVER.

Step by step

Next you’ll find a kind of step by step of the work on the mini. I took the pics for this post but I kept them off twitter as I wanted TheAntiFunk to have a nice surprise when Nurbald arrived, so these are some exclusive (and pretty bad as I took them with my phone when I was working on him) pictures.

Nurbald just out of his paint removing bath (I bought the mini painted and had to strip him before I could actually work on him) and assembled. Confrontation minis are beautiful sculpts but I have to be honest, there are a PAIN to assemble (most of the time), even more painful than most old metal minis out there. Since, they are rewarding when done. Still, I can’t tell you how these legs were painful to attach. I had to cheat a bit to stabilize the mini by stiking the little whell at the bottom of the mini inside a hole in the wheel on the base. I was VERY affraid that the legs would not support Nurbald’s weigh (or transportation to the US for that matter).

I was also pretty happy with the base, which allowed to give the feeling there was some movement in the legs and reinforce Nurblad’s « crazy scientist » look.

Zenital highlight, very subtle to be honest, I could have been a bit more obvious. Still, it helped during the painting process.

Base colours on the jacket (Zamesi desert if I am not mistaken), very diluted to keep some contrast from the zenital highligh (I basically working with sade like paint only here) and base colour on the metalics (very dark).

Base colour for the skin (elf flesh), still using « shade like dilution » to keep the contrats from the zenital highlight and silver metalics on the legs. I wanted them to look like they were from a different metal than the lower part of the body as they are supposed to « move » so in my head the have to « look » like they weight less than the « armour ».

More work on the metalics parts and base. As I said I wanted to push myself on the metalics with this one, so I brought different tones: the little chimney in the back is bronze, I add some nuln oil on the rivets and lower parts of the legs and highlighted the lower part of Nurbald’s body. Same kind of work went on the base. My idea was that different parts should look like they were made of different materials but I did not want to go as far as making them look like an Ork vehicule of sorts. Agrax earthshade and Nuln oil and the use of « silver » highlight for the lower body helped tie all the parts together.

The jacket was pretty straightforward. Shadows and lights were more or less already there with my first coat (thanks zenital highlight), I just « exagerated » the shadows the agrax earthshade. Nurbald is a pretty small guy, so you can’t be to subtle if you do not want him to look « bland ».

I am pretty happy with what I achieved on his face. He really has an oversized head which means it’s easier to paint than usual. Still, you do not want to screw this up since, in the end, he is more or less a giant head, so this is where the mini gets expressive. I went for grey hair, since crazy scientists are old. I was happy with what I did on the skintone, the wrinkles and the blue veins. I wanted him to look ancient and I think he does.

Now final assembly. I won’t bother you with the right arm (more or less the same metal as the legs) or the left arm (the glove is the same recipe as the jacket). Just have to tell you that I struggled again with assembly when gluing the left arm again and had to cheat by adding GS to hide some ugly gaps (which I hate having to do at the last minute).

The eyes I am proud of, eventhough they are big enough to be easy to do (big head, big eyes…). He’s really looking at that little stone he holds in his right hand and I think it is my big success with this mini. Now, what is this little stone?.. Well do not ask me, ask him. I painted it green because… I do not know why I painted it green. But in the end it makes the stone look alien to him, very different and I think it works.

Nurbald the Sculptor is done

Here you have some pictures of Nurbald just before he left for his new home. I was really happy with it, I had a lot of fun painting him and I feel like he is one of my best work.

And here you have some pictures of him just after he arrived (I was quite stressed out, but he arrived in one piece, which was good news!).

Here comes, true twitter glory!

Painting a mini as a gift for someone who shares your hobby and crazyness is very rewarding and I was very happy to do it. It really changed the way I worked since I was not just thinking about the mini and what I found cool but I also wished to please my twitter-friend. It changes the perspective and the way you look at your work, which is always fun (same thing happened when I painted Radoub for my friend Pigeon du Canal). On top of that I find that painting for someone else makes me up my game and push my limits, which I like. I tend to be lazy and tell myself: « well it is not as good as you wanted, but leave it there and move on to the next part/project », but when I am painting for someone else I just tell myself: « well it is not as good as you wanted, so let’s work a little bit more on it. » It is good to go the extra mile from time to time.

Well that’s all folks. Hope you liked what you read, see you soon.

All pictures in this post are mine except the ones by @theantifunk and, of course, the Nurbald card.

8 réflexions sur « Nurbald the Sculptor »

  1. That’s excellent – and what a wonderful present! I was always a big Mid Nor fan back in the old days, I’ll need to dig mine out and get them painted properly soon. The change to round bases really was the beginning of the end wasn’t it (that and pre-painted plastic – what were they thinking?!).


    1. Prepainted mimis was what killed the company imho and the fact that they tried to switch to large scale battle game without having a plastic range to support rank and file… Anyway, the minis are still awesome and the game is still fun. I always greatly enjoy painting the ones I own.

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    2. Yeah, they were a company far better known for the high quality of their miniatures than they were for their game (although my ability to speak French is shamefully poor and I’m even worse at reading it so I never had much of a grasp of the rules, someday I’d like to try it). Their appeal was to painters and pre-painted models were never going to interest them. There was no-one back then producing miniatures with even a fraction of the quality that they did (I’d say it’s only in the last couple of years that GW have come close to catching up, even with all the talent and resources at their disposal) – I’ll never understand why they threw it all away like that. On the plus side there were lots of retailers trying to sell off their stock double quick for next to nothing so at least I was able to get myself a little collection to paint (every cloud has a silver lining and all that!). 🙂

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    3. I totally agree, it was a mysterious move to me. I also agree that their level of sculpting (esp the late models) has been unmatched for years. I also very much enjoyed the lore of Confrontation but I know it was not well known outside of French speaking countries. I have a post in the making about it, but it always gets postponed…
      Anyway, same as you did I got a bunch of minis after the company collapsed and I now just have to work on the lead pile of shame 😉

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    4. I would very much like to read that, I’ll keep an eye out for it. The background lore always intrigued me but I never knew much about it – as I’ve noted before my ability to speak French is woefully poor and my reading is next to non-existent so I was left with just the snippets of English text that appeared on the rules cards – enough to hint that the background was really interesting but not much more than that. So yes, please write about it and explain it to this poor ignorant barbarian because I feel it’s a side of the game that I’ve been missing out on 🙂

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