This opening image is by way of an explanation about what this little series is about. First and foremost it is about how I go about painting Deathwing. Secondly and secondmost its about how I'm going about painting Deathwing bone armour in a different way.
On the left in the picture above is my old style of painting Deathwing armour, which produced a bone effect, that was a little too warm for my tastes. Too creamy even. Although the technique isn't bad, there is scant regard on the bone armour for light sourcing. It is not a bad figure and not bad for my first year getting back into painting. There is a lot of it I'm happy about, especially as it was my first conversion. I'm not thrilled about the badly drilled gun barrels, but otherwise its ok. Apart from the gun barrels. And the bone.
Earlier this year I finished my first ever 40k tank and being fairly ambitious, I decided to start big and painted a Deathwing landraider crusader.
I took a different approach to painting the armour on this, as I figured the creamy bone just wasn't going to cut it. I used different paints, used my airbrush properly for the first time and also played around with weathering powders. I'm much happier with how the bone effect for the armour came out, I changed the colour scheme for other elements of the armour from the way I normally did them and generally had a blast.
This led to me painting the guy on the left in the topmost picture and also directly above here, the Deathwing Angelus Mortis. This was a much more ambitious conversion for me and I'm again happy with the results. The bone armour is painted with much more attention to light sourcing and is much cooler than the creamy bone. There's a lot of other elements included as well, like battle damage. They're not perfect but, it was my first attempt at doing them on a figure.
The long and the short of this is I have a new way of painting bone coloured armour and I'm still refining the approach. So lets get started.
First up we have wait we're painting, the assault squad from Black Reach on shiny micro-arts bases. Some of the models have slightly shonky green stuff additions, which are my first attempt at sculpting extra features on armour. After cleaning, prepping and assembly, I've drilled the barrels and added a few additional features (extra purity seal and terminator honour). I've also either replaced all of the shoulder pads with those from the Dark Angels bits sprues, or moulded my own emblems using green stuff and instant mould. Basically this just an image of unpainted plastic figures. Woo, guinea pig!
Next step is to prime them with grey. I find white to be too bright and difficult to work with in the early stages and black is too dark for bone. Once they're dry, I apply a wash of Devlan Mud to pick out the details and establish some contrast. I know washing at this early stage is odd but I find it helps build up the depth as I go.
You might also notice that the squad sergeant has a helmet rather than the default bald head. This is because I really don't understand the GW convention of indicated officers or characters by removing their armour. It MAKES NO SENSE to me, so I tend to do away with wherever I can.
I then break out my trusty Badger 150 airbush and get to work on my colour scheme. First coat is of Reaper Master series Bone Shadow all over the miniatures, followed by a coat of Reaper Polished Bone. The latter is applied from the direction of my lightsource, so various parts of the model don't get hit by the slightly lighter shade.Apologies that my macro photography is the best, but hopefully you can see on the arm how the lighter paint has sprayed onto the upper areas of the model and left underarm, back of the shoulderpad and other areas darker. The contrast is stronger than it appears here, but I still don't have an ideal light set-up for pictures so some of the colour has bled out.
I then applied another wash of Devlan mud and here things went slightly wrong and by wrong, I mean pink! Basically I used an old bottle of wash, thinned it and because the paint was old, the pigments separated from the wash and I wound up with a weird pink residue all over the model. Hopefully you can see that in the left model.
Now the pink wasn't a total disaster as in some areas it did add an interesting element of colour to the recesses, but in others I was just left with an odd, brightish, pink shading. Lots of rewashing and tidying up with Polished Bone followed, until I got to the figure on the right.
Once that was all done, I then carefully went back over the figure with the Polished Bone, applying a thinned layer to those areas that were not in darkest shadow. You can see the detail in the picture above and also areas (like the vents at the back of the armour) where I haven't applied the lighter colour. At this point the contrast isn't too great, partly because of my sub standard macro photography, but mainly because I've only applied a base tone, mid tone and shade. I've got two more tones to apply yet, the top tone and my edge highlight, at which point the contrasts should pop out more.
*edit* - I missed out a step!
After the tidying up with polished bone, I then applied a very thin wash of Gryphonne Sepia evenly over the entire model. The reason for this is because it takes a little of the coolness off the bone colour and also helps tidy up some of the transitions.
The final part of this early stage was to put my details in, to help bring the composition together. I find once I've got the basic details there, it is easier to go forward with the rest of the armour. The long standing theme for my Deathwing recognises the Dark Angels chapter, where elements of the detail are painted in green. This stems from the original Deathwing boxed set.
I've always though the green was a neat touch on these figures, as it ties the Deathwing back to the parent chapter and generally I think it looks a bit more interesting than just painting the guns red (as they are in the current DA codex) or leaving them black (which to me is preferrable to red, but not as good as green).
Pretty much all the black areas will, eventually, be painted green (accept for some areas that will stay black). Then I have red, which to me is as much a colour of the Deathwing as the bone is, as it ties back to the pre-heresy DA colour scheme. For the red I start out with a very dark tone, Brick Red from Reaper Master series, which provides a nice brooding contrast to the later highlights.
All of the skulls get a coat of foundation Adeptus Battlegrey. I used to do the skulls using the Reaper Bone tried, as it contrasted nicely with the creamy bone armour and I felt the skulls should look like skulls. However, as I'm now using the Bone Triad for the armour, that approach simply doesn't work, so I've gone with the traditional stone look. I've also painted elements of the Crux Terminatus in grey, but left the skull element unpainted as of yet. I'll explain this in due course, as the reasons are also drawn from the Deathwing background.
Getting to this point has actually taken a fairly long time (I'm actually painting two other Deathwing figures alongside these five) and the next stages should go slightly more quickly. I'll crack on with these over the week and with luck, have another update ready for Sunday.