Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Painting Black Dragons: The Process

So having finally gotten the entire army assembled I have finally been able to start the painting process and establish a fully painted test model.  This entry is as much to help anybody else who wants to paint a black model as it is for me to remember what I did!

So first up it is primer time.  I still love the GW black and have not found a better more consistent black primer.   If you are planning on staying with black I can't imagine using another primer based on my experiences.

So we've got everyone set up and ready to go.  This process can take some time if you want to do it right.  I basically did about 4 light passes per guy.  First I did a front and back spray of the whole army and let it dry.  Then I laid them all down on the back and did a spray to get a bit 'under' them, the after drying did the same with them laying on their front.  Then I got out the plastic gloves and picked each guy up and did whatever nook and crany area's I still needed to get to cover evenly.  The trick is these have to be light coats from about a foot away.  This used almost 3 cans of primer as there is a lot of waste but you don't want to get the primer on too heavy.

So great now they are all pretty black.  I added one of the guys that I had tested into the mix here as he needed to be updated.

The next step was a thinned mix of Administratum Grey in the Airbrush.  From my earlier test I was going for a nice heavy coat but really directionally point down as much as I could.  I can't really airbrush straight down but it was probably thereabouts a 45 degree angle.  That way the undersides would be staying much darker.

The shade in that picture doesn't help as much, but here is a better close up of that.

I wonder now if I didn't want to use the grey or the airbrush if I had just used more white primer how this effect would have worked.  They would obviously be brighter in the end but that might have been even better.

Anyway the next step was airbrushing on straight/uncut Badab black wash.  The real trick here was to try to get and even coat that also wasn't too heavy.  I found it hard to get that consistent across 80 marines! Here is a series of pictures from the final outcome of my day of airbrushing.

So at this point I'm feeling nice and excited and I cant wait to get in to do some painting.  I wanted to get pics of each step, but I was so excited to get done I missed a few steps.  I've spent the last few months thinking about how I was going to do this so I had pretty much ironed out the basic flow of how I was going to do these guys.

First up here we see my now dry airbrushed model.  He's a bit darker than some of the other guys but I figured a non discript tactical marine was a good place to start.  So first up was doing a layer of Leadbelcher.  I hit the rims of the shoulder pads the vents of the backpack, and the joints.  I should and will do the bits on the helmet going forward but forgot about it in my excitement.

Here we can see that step done (including the skull which I decided against).  Next up I wanted to do the Base Ceramite White.  I love this white but it dries out quickly, but it covers so well when it is good in the pot.  This is for the chest iconography as well as the dragon on the shoulder. 

Next step is Chardon Granite which I cover the entire rocky outcrop that he is standing on the base.  The outcrops were the one area that still had a few blips that didn't get fully primed because the cork is so jagged.

Here I missed a picture of that step but it is basically just dark and consistent on the base.  I thin painted a light wash of Badab Black all over the model.

Ok so here we are well washed.  The guy has enough depth in the black and no extreme highlights.  He's a little dark but overall I'm feeling pretty good.  Time to get to the highlights and details.  First up I move to Ironbreaker to highlight the previous metal sections and also to pick out some piping in the backpack, helmet and on the foot.

I missed another picture in here but after the Ironbreaker I also drybrushed a bit of this grey paint I have on the rock.  This pops it out a bit, stays in the color palette but is also a slightly different color.

I also do a final Runefang steel highlight on all the silver bits.  I also pick out all the rivets on the backpack.

Again a little overeager and I've already done the White Scar white to lightly highlight the white chest iconography and the dragon.  Next I do a layer of Ushabti bone then Screaming Skull for the horn.  For the guys with bigger horns and blades I may do a brown Base first but I skipped it on this guy with the tiny horn.

Mostly done and it's time for the color!  I had decided the only real color I wanted to be on the models was from the eyes and the lava base.  First up is the eyes with Caliban Breen base, and Warpstone Glow.  I used a bit of white with the Warpstone for the final bit of the eyes as well, and used thinner to make sure my glow was pretty light on the helmet.

Amazingly I'm happy with the eyes on the first pass.  Maybe I did learn enough from doing the eyes on my 1ksons!   Next up is the lava base which I've never done before.  I start with these 4 paints in the order they are placed.  I end up adding in some orange.  I end up redoing it several times.  I use the colors to drybrush bits of the rock.  Then I repaint the rock.  Then I try again.  I'm still not entirely sold on the lava I have done.

I also a day later decided to grab some thinned Administratum Grey to do a few highlight lines, but I try to be as light as possible.

When I finally am reasonably happy with it I Dullcoate the model. 

Then I brush on some glossy 'Ardcoate for the Lava and paint the rim of the base black.

I'm pretty pleased with the way this looks.  I think the one knee is a bit too highlighted.  I think I didn't really need the line on the right shoulder as I still plan to do the skull decal (in theory).

You can see here I thought about doing some color highlights on the base but it looked terrible.  I've decided the rock highlights are enough.  I used some thinned black to cover it up but clearly a bit shows through.  On this guy it is fine as nobody will really notice, but that will obviously be ommited going forward.

Finally a shot of the backpack where you can see the vents, rivets, and joints.

Not to sit too still I have also been working on the drop pods.  First I finished up the outside of the two new drop pods paint jobs.  I also added some new details across all 9 (pipes and tubes).

I've been doing lots of testing with printed decals to get the icons right for the doors.

I also finished up two of the insides of the drop pods.  One had a whole center console that I could pull out, another one was glued in place so these were the two 'tough' pods to do.

A bit of a close up of the inside.  I admit the doors are a bit lazy just being all metal.  I might go back later to add hazard stripes to the doors and some 'glow' from the center console blues.  For now this will certainly do!

I think this is pretty good as hey it is some nice details for the inside of a vehicle.  Thankfully the rest of the inside bits are all in pieces so I can paint them outside the drop pod then do the assembly in the inside.

6 of the storm bolters are finished but I seem to be missing my 7th.  So I'll work on these a bit in between all the guys.

So there you have it!  I have 81 more guys to go, 70 to get done for 1750.  There are 7 weeks basically until BAO is supposed to happen, but I have to be gone two of those weeks.  I am not sure if I want to push out 14 guys a week.  It isn't impossible but I don't want to rush.

Plus I would like to finish up the last of Anthony's Necrons.  Orks will also be out soon, so maybe I'll do a quick update of a few models and that could be an alternative options for BAO as well.