Monday, 15 May 2017

Hobby update - the challenge of painting white.


Greetings all, here's a quick look into the rubble-strewn landscape that is my painting table this week. Today, given the models that I've been working on this week, I'm going to take a quick look into a question that has vexed many a gamer over the years. How do I paint white?

Well, first things first, I make no claims that I am a pro-painter, though I like to believe and have been told that my efforts are above average.

There comes a time in a gamer's/painter's life though that they have to tackle one or both of those tricky colour schemes, and end up plumping for a black/white army.

Now is that time - I've previously painted Raven Guard Space Marines, and had a couple of attempts at painting a white army (one marine list and one Tau), but this time I'm going to do it properly, there will be concentration, determination, and an unwavering refusal to give in and do something differently!

So, where to start, those of you who follow the blog and my hobby updates in particular will have already noted that I'm taking up Age of Sigmar, and have plumped for the Slaves to Darkness faction. Somewhat foolish one might say, since they actually don't have a book yet (anyone have any inkling as to when that might change?) but what the hell, the models are exceedingly awesome, and as a bit of an elite force I don't have to drop too much money into getting a viable list on the table.

I decided to go with a white paint scheme, because quite frankly I'm like that, and just because these guys are 'evil' I don't automatically associate that with them having to wear dark armour. So I painted up a couple of practice models and we're away.


So, here were my first two 'test' models (yes, I know, they're hardly bog standard warriors are they) and let's therefore look at a few key concepts in the scheme I've devised.

White armour.
This is absolutely key, I want the whole army to look like a white tide on the table, but equally I couldn't just paint everything white and ignore the rest, there had to be colours to offset the white, which led to the following decisions. After much playing around, I've settled on the following combination. Celestra Grey basecoat, followed by feathered layers of Ulthuan Grey and White Scar, with the joints in the armour having a little Drakenhof Nightshade applied.

Martian Ironcrust base.
Now I've applied this 'cracking' paint to all the bases of the models in my collection so far, and I have to say, there has been very little cracking indeed. However, Looking back at it, I'm actually pretty happy with that, as it gives the bases a more dustbowl feel than baked red mud. The texture that the paint contains is brought out with highlights of Ryza Rust and Eldar Flesh dry paints

Deep blue/grey robes.
The white armour gives a very cold feel to the models, one that I quite like based on the whole 'Northern Wastes' aspect of where the Chaos Warriors came from before they destroyed the old world, and I didn't want to stray too far from that cold colour palette. In the end I plumped for my tried and tested 'three colours + wash' combination, going with Abaddon Black, Dark Reaper and Thunderhawk Blue, all toned down with a thin wash of Nuln Oil when necessary.

Armour banding.
The final main element of the scheme was the various 'edged' or 'banded' parts of the armour. This is most evident on the Sorcerer Lord above, which is a more recent sculpt and more reflective of the rest of the models I would have to paint. Again, I wanted to contrast with the white armour, whilst retaining a cold colour, so this time I've gone with an initial wash of Drakenhof Nightshade (blue) to give the impression of the cold blue seeping out of the metal over the armour, layered over with successive coats of Warplock Bronze, then Sycorax Bronze, before adding a final highlight to the very edges of Runefang Steel. I'm contemplating adding some Nihilakh Oxide to this to give a bit of verdigris effect, but I want to test that on a less significant model first.

Other details.
Loads of other little details on these guys too, some that aren't evident from the pictures above because they've been added more recently. Let's start with what you can see though! The Sorcerer Lord's exposed head was a bit of a puzzler for me - I don't usually like doing skin tones, and I most certainly didn't want this guy to look 'normal'. I started with a Slaanesh Grey basecoat, washed over with Drakenhof Nightshade and blended up to White Scar at the tips of his horns. Horns and Skull on the Hero were done using Zandri Dust, Ushabti Bone and Screaming Skull, whilst leather and wood were done with Mournfang Brown (I like to mix up shades with leather though, so will sometimes use Rhinox Hide instead). The furred part of the robes on the hero's back was done using my favourite three-step brown method. Steel Legion Drab, then Rakharth Flesh then Pallid Wych Flesh. The next step was to dirty it up a bit, so I picked up a pot of Blood for the Blood God to add some splatter (not too much, just enough to appear brutal) and I dirtied up the robes and boots of the models to make it look like they've kicked up some of the dust from the bases. This was done using Tuskgor Fur to get a close match to the Ironcrust colour, then Ryza and Eldar Flesh again for upper layers. That's these guys finished therefore for now, I've yet to find anything else to add to them, though I wouldn't put money on me not coming back to add more detail later.


So, having essentially been very pleased with how these came out, my next challenge was to apply the principles to the rest of the army.

Recapping, that means:
White armour, dark blue/grey counter colour, red earth bases, blood splatter

I decided to paint all the bases prior to mounting the models on them - it would be a bit of a pain to then paint the models on a finished base, but I could live with that instead of trying to apply the texture paint at the end of the process.


I figured stage 1 would be to get some batch elements of the model done, and I started with the shields, applying the Drakenhof Nightshade to the sigils attached to them. You can see from the central shield in the picture the finished effect prior to blood splattering, and how the shade just about stains the base shield around the metal. This doesn't yet have Nihilakh Oxide applied, but does have the Runefang Steel highlight applied to the bottom edges of the star.


Next up I set about doing the shield from the Knight Champion. Here, I decided to add a little more colour to the model - the rest of the unit will stay very pale but the Champion is getting little red details here and there. Most notable will be his sword, which I'm planning on blending carefully to give a very fiery effect to the blade, but the daemon boss on the shield also got a pair of red eyes, finished with a dab of gloss varnish to give them a bit of a shine. The other colour on the shield is the tongue, which was painted in the same style as the rest of the boss but finished with a Bloodletter Glaze. You can also just make out the base layer of Celestra Grey I'm applying to the armour as the basecoat on his foot.

 My next stage was to move onto the horse, as I wanted to try out their colour scheme too before getting too far in and realising it didn't work.

The horse has been painted with the same scheme as the cloaks (my intention is that the Gorebeasts for my chariots will also get this treatment) so starting from Abaddon Black and working through Dark Reaper to Thunderhawk Blue.

On thing I am planning to add to the Gorebeasts that the horses won't get though is a blue glaze/shade, to give them that little something different.
At this point, the horse hasn't had the Nuln Oil wash yet, but will get that then some finer highlights to pick out the musculature.

I've done most of the base bronze on the rider, and I think I'll be doing the chainmail on the horse in the same colours, again to restrict the palette and keep the model 'cold'.

The big focus of this guy is of course the sword. At this point I've only added very limited detailing and will be working on it a lot over the coming week, hopefully the finished result will be worth the effort!

So there you have it, that's the full sum of my painting progress this week - tonight I'll be doing a little on my Space Wolves commission to bring it to a close (it's taken a bit longer than it should have done) so I'll be open for more commission work in a couple of weeks!

I'll leave you then with a pic of something that's coming in the not too distant future (once the editing is complete that is)!


Keep an eye out for an announcement soon!

Till next time,
TBE