Thursday, 28 April 2011

How Not To Highlight: Too Bright

There are many mistakes you can make while painting, and here is one that has just struck me down - highlighting with a colour that is far too bright compared to your base colours.  You can see on the far arm that it almost works in very thin highlights, but most anywhere else the huge colour jump ruins the highlight.

I'm going to have to go over the armour again with the basecoat colour and then retry the highlights with a darker mix.  That, or I might try washing down the highlights with a wash of the base colour.  We shall see how that turns out.

Other than that I'm pretty happy with the Warjack so far.  There are a lot of areas that need tidying up, and the metals could do with another layer or two of base and highlights, but overall there's no huge mistakes.



 Start of the colour scheme for my nascent Tyranid force.  I really need to start using the camera rather than the phone to take these photographs, the blue is much lighter than it appears there.  Glad the orange base for the plates worked out well, I'm hoping to try a slightly more advanced layering technique into yellow for the edges.  That's assuming it doesn't increase the time-per-model to something unsustainable for a Tyranid army. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Thursday, 21 April 2011

Steam Power - Part II

I'm such a slow painter.  It takes me around three hours to do one no-fancy-detail Tactical Marine, so when I explain that the Warjack I'm painting took two hours just to clean up the overspill and apply several layers of the blue basecoat colour (Cygnar Blue Base), you'll at least understand why.

So here we are after another two hours of work.  In fairness you could leave this model as is now and do the base and it'd be battlefield quality.  Well, it might need a little touching up in places, but you get the idea.  The next stages are the Cygnar Blue Highlight, erm, highlights.  This will probably take at least another two hours, followed by picking out all the rivets (and there are a lot of rivets).  I don't mind so much on a Warjack though;  When a force can number as few as four models it is fine to take your time on each one.

I'm hoping to have this model finished over the Easter weekend, and then I can start on my Hormagaunts for my nascent Tyranid army.  Probably going for a bright orange/blue combination on them, though I haven't decided if the blue will be the plates or the flesh yet. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Steam Power!

Having grown a little disheartened with my Space Marines (playing, not painting), I've decided to apply what I've learnt on my Tactical Marines and start painting my Cygnar force for Warmachine.

I've started with a Cygnar Lancer, one of the light Warjacks, in case I ruin the model and need to replace it.  Construction was easy, the model is a kind of plastic-y resin that is very easy to trim and drill.  It responds poorly to plastic glue so pinning and super glue was in order.  With the brass rods in place and the super glue set the joints are very sold - my Warjacks are probably the most sturdy models I've constructed.  This particular Warjack has already bounced several feet along the floor without coming apart.

I've started with a Chaos Black undercoat, as always.  The steel parts have then been drybrushed Chainmail first, then lightly highlighted with Mithril Silver (again applied by drybrushing).  For the gold parts I put down a coat of Scorched Brown, then drybrushed several light layers of Burnished Gold on.  This has given it a nice ornate-but-practical look, though the knee caps need a layer or two more.

One thing I found tricky was drybrushing the gold onto the knee cap plates as there is a silver bolt recessed into the knee plate that I really don't want to paint over.  I think with a newer drybrush this wouldn't be a problem, but mine is about five years old and has suffered mightily while rapidly painting Necrons.

All in all I'm happy with the effect so far.  Next step (after cleaning up the over-spill of the drybrushing with some Chaos Black) will be the Cygnar Base Blue armour plates.  This will be my first experience with P3 paints, so it'll be interesting to work with some non-Citadel stuff. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Monday, 11 April 2011

Lost in the Warp

No new painting over the past few days, British weather means that every time I consider spraying some models the heavens part.  Not to be set back, I've been assembling models in my collection.

First up, we have a Land Speeder Storm.  This one is apparently crewed by Mysterons, but with all the detailing inside the compartments I've decided to leave the Scouts out and paint them seperately.

The model itself was easy to construct, the only issue being a slight bend in the main chassis that has required the green stuff welding you can spot along the top edge.  There's also the bane of all skimmers, the flying base.  This one didn't come with the "ball and socket" connector that my other Land Speeders have.  Bummer.

Some marine conversions round out the modelling day.  The two in the middle are Sternguard Veterans armed with combi-meltas.  This brings my Sternguard squad up to nine members.  One more for a full house.

Flanking the Sternguard are two Tactical Sergeants, both armed with Power Fists to replace my current Power Sword weilding sergeants.  Starting to think all squads should have a Power Fist - the sword simply can't cut it as an assault weapon.


Lastly a bit of an oddity.  Found lost in the warp (read: hidden in an attic), were my Eldar army circa  1996/1997.  You can see how bad I was at painting as a kid.


It's kinda embarrassing how many of these models are still in service (Falcon, Jetbikes, Vyper, Warp Spiders).  Seriously Games Workshop, when the Jetbike be getting some love? Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Thursday, 7 April 2011

Freehand of Suck

So.  I spent my free time today looking for a decent tutorial on doing the shoulder-pad details freehand, and while I didn't find one, I did find advice to get a white paint pen and try using that.  So away to Hobbycraft we went.

Alas, as it turns out, I'm even worse with a pen than I am with a brush, so I bit the bullet and decided to risk ruining my squad so far by painting the tactical symbol on their shoulder pads freehand.  Now, I didn't do this entirely blind, but spotted a really good video from Epic Duck Studios here.  Using the simple little trick at around 7:50, I attempted to copy this way of painting the symbol.


This is how it turned out.  I was pleasantly surprised that I could even get this close to a clean-looking symbol.  The edges are not as sharp as they should be, but look pretty good considering they're freehand (and considering that I hate transfers).

So, no new marine in the squad today, but the first marine re-highlighted to match the current scheme and the tactical symbols added.  A good day.

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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Return of the Fine Detail Brush

Popped in to the Walsall Games Workshop (so should you if you're nearby - Adam, the Store Manager, is one of the better GW employees around), primarily to pick up a new Fine Detail brush but also to find out what's happened to my Librarian.  Seems he's lost in the warp somewhere between Nottingham and Walsall.  Alas, I barely even had a chance to know him.

Melodrama aside, I was wondering if I could actually hold my hand steady enough that a fine detail brush would help.  Turns out it does.


















While the lines are still very wavy, and occasionally become thicker for no good reason, the fine detail brush really helped to keep the lines in check.

It hasn't diminished the overall effect, and stands up better under closer inspection than my previous attempts. Using the same ratio as before allows the edges to pop, but thinner lines control it better. Making the initial Ultramarine Blue highlight wider creates a bit more of a layered look, without sacrificing that pleasant comic-book effect.

There are some places on the armour I'm still unsure about highlighting.  Along the edges of the interior plates along the arm and leg looks good, but should there be a line across the top of the forearm, even though it's rounded?

Going to watch my Privateer Press painting DVD in its entirety tomorrow, and see if I can pick up any more interesting tips.  So far it has helped quite a bit, thought more in the way of pointing out that I really was doing it wrong. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Tuesday, 5 April 2011

How Extreme is Too Extreme?

It turns out the style I've been aping is called "Extreme Highlighting".  In the spirit of this I decided to go for an even brighter highlight colour, just to see how things turned out.  This time I used my 4:1 mix for the initial, broader highlights, and went for a 2:1 mix for the edges.  While looking at the paints on the palette I was worried I would end up with a hideous Tron-marine, but forged ahead anyway.

How did I get on? Well, other than having my detail brush split on me at exactly the wrong moment, it went like this.  Up close the edges really pop, more so than I had anticipated, but from a distance the effect is fairly good too.  There's a good few places on this attempt where the edge highlight is far too thick, but until I can replace my fine detail brush I'm fairly limited.  The highlighting on the back of the legplates came out quite well too.





I'm very pleased with the leather on the pouches.  It's just a Scorched Brown base coat with a Bestial Brown highlight, but it turned out very well.  Dab of Mithril Silver on the pouch buttons also helped a lot.  Traditionally I have such problems with leather than I just leave the pouches black.  Hopefully this will start to change.








Quick comparison from a distance shows how it compares to the previous "best effort" marine.  Without a doubt it looks better from gaming-distances than the more subtle, darker highlighting I used on the previous attempt, but that comes at a cost of making mistakes and wavy lines much more obvious up close.  I think I'll probably stick to this colour for the edge highlighting, but I really need to get more brush-time in with this technique.

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New Styles

I have finally decided that the reason I'm unhappy with most of my marines is not anything I'm lacking in terms of skill or technique (though I've learnt a lot from watching a recent DVD), but simply not taking enough care and time while painting.

To this end, I've embraced actually highlighting the armour on two of my rank-and-file Tactical Marines, just to see how this works out.  I've also started to water-down the Citadel paints slightly, and this has made working with them so much easier.  So far I'm finding a 8:1 paint to water ratio works well, or a 4:1 in the case of my older (read: thicker and dried up) paints.

My first attempts at armour highlighting
As you can see on the right, I'm no expert.  Having been inspired by some of the armies I've seen on the table recently and a friend's visible improvement, I've tried to take a little more care on these two marines.

The right marine is Mordian Blue base coated, then washed with Asurmen Blue.  The armour has then been highlighted with Ultramarines Blue, with a further highlight using Enchanted Blue.  The edges of the bolter have been (poorly) highlighted with Astronomican Grey.

The left marine is again a Mordian Blue base coat, but without a darker wash.  The armour was then lowlighted in Regal Blue, though not very well.  After this the armour was highlighted first with Ultramarines Blue then a 4:1 mix of Ultramarines Blue and Skull White.

Lessons learned:
  • Enchanted Blue is the wrong shade for a highlight on this base colour.  It actually looks like a different colour up close.  Looks ok on the table-top, but that's what I'm trying to move away from.
  • Astronomican Grey is far too light to highlight the black sections.
  • The Asurmen Blue wash brings little to the table other than making the Mordian Blue resemble Regal Blue.  This might be because I've little experience with washes.
  • My Fine Detail Brush is completely shot and I need a new one. I gave up trying to paint a highlight in the eye lenses once I admitted this.
All in all, I prefer the left marine.  The more extreme look to the highlighting brings out a comicbook-like style up close and looks good from a distance.  I think the right marine is overall too dark, and thus negates a lot of the work.  

Hoping to try to decorate the shoulder pad for the next step.
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