Saturday, 24 December 2011

Crowe & Kaldor Complete

Crikey, it really was back in July that I last updated on these guys. I finished Castellan Crowe and Lord Kaldor Draigo of the Grey Knights yesterday, after putting them off for months because I didn't feel ready to tackle Draigo's Nemesis Force Sword. The official GW rendition of the weapon is a stunning piece of work and while I didn't think I could recreate it, I wanted to do it justice. More on that later.

Castellan Garran Crowe first. I love the new Grey Knight Purifiers, they're great bit of additional fluff to the Chapter and I especially love the addition of the white helmet/shoulders that makes them stand out from the regular Knights. Crowe was fun to paint, partly because the core of a Grey Knight (the armour) is easy to do, especially if you're using an airbrush and going with a zenithal lighting approach. The shading on the figure is a little bled out here, but you get the general idea.

The detail on the cloak is hand painted on and yes, it did take a while and yes, it was somewhat fiddly to do. Usual rules apply, keep your paint thinned, your brush sharp and your patience in abundance. Have some thinned red to hand to tidy up any mistakes.

I tried something new for the cloak that I've not done before, but I was trying to be faithful to the GW rendition of Crowe so I figured I'd give it a go. For the sharpest edge highlights on the cloak, I've used a thin line of bubonic brown to get a sharp yellow highlight. I really wasn't sure this would work, but it appears to have done so. As ever, the paint was thinned, so I could lay down a transparent layer before building up the highlight, otherwise it would look weird. This way it blends into the cloak slightly. Feeling reasonably pleased with how the cloak turned out, I applied the yellow highlight to the banner.
White is something I've known for a while as being tricky to do. Giving the white a sense of depth without turning it grey is tricky, while at the same time you want the shading be clear but without being overly stark (unless ofc, that is the look you want). My first stab at white was on this Deathwing Apothecary above. I worked up from a light grey (Codex Grey) base, and used a blue wash for the shading, while gradually building up the lighter tones by mixing in white with the grey. Using a blue wash rather than black, creates a shading which doesn't flatten the overall colour scheme and avoids making the white look grey.
The technique for Crowe much the same, although I have a new weapon in my arsenal in the form of Reaper Master Series Ghost White. This is a beautiful bluw offwhite, which really helps blend the light grey/blue washed base up to a lighter tone which I can then finish off with Skull White. The other advantage of the white on Purifiers is that it makes the particle effect glow round the eyes really easy to do.
I struggled to get a good shot of the Blade of Antwyr and this is the best I managed. Although much simpler than Kaldor's sword, this still took me a little white to do to get the glowing purple effect as I wanted it. I painted Ghost White into the recessed rune areas of the sword, washed with Leviathan Purple and then tidied the sword up with Dark Elf Shadow. A quick drybrushing of Liche Purple followed and then I applied a thinned mix of purple and ghost white into the recesses again to create a brighter core for my glow. After that, another dry brush with purple to complete the effect before tidying up again with the Dark Elf Shadow.

Important note on the tidying, I didn't tidy all the way up to the edge of the runes, because I wanted some of the glow to be spreading over the blade.

And this brings us onto Lord Kaldor Draigo's blade.
Now I accept that this is nowhere near the quality of the official citadel rendition, but I am really pleased with how it came out (less pleased with my photography but, meh). It is broadly similar to the official version, just not as good.

The technique is basically the same as the one I used for the AoBr Deathwing Sergeant sword, with a few refinements. For a start I used a very light base (Ghost White again) for the sword, rather than a metal. After that, I used washes (Leviathan Purple and Asurmen Blue) at either end of the sword to build up a depth of colour which diffused towards the outer edges of the blade. Using the washes also made it really easy to blend the purple and blue into each other. This is the most time consuming part of the process by far.

After the colours were white, I applied a dry brush layer of ghost white to create a slight particle effect, before rewashing the blade with purple and blue. I then painted on my lightning effect using that light blue paint from the original citadel paint set I love so much, before using Ghost White to make the lighting brighter. Another quick wash of blue and purple to fade the lightning effect slightly, before reapplying Ghost White to some parts of the lightning, so the intensity of the lightning varies along the length of the blade. 

It is not perfect, but it turned out better than I expected and was much, much easier to do than I thought it would be.
The rest of Kaldor was painted in much the same way as Crowe. One thing to note is that, compared with my earlier Grey Knights, I made much greater use of blue washes for shading this time. This brings the overall effect much closer to the GW house style for Grey Knights. At the same time, I was trying to do this while working within my zenithal lighting.
There is a lot of detail on Lord Kaldor Draigo, which makes him an absolute delight to paint, albeit rather time consuming. Again the detail on his cloak and tabbard was hand painted and this was very fiddly. Definitely worth doing, although without it I don't think the model would have sufferred greatly as there is so much else going on. I think getting the shading on the cloak, scrolls and purity seals took me longest after the sword. 

The particle effect on the eyes was the last thing I did and it worked out better than it did on my earlier Grey Knight Terminators. I just can't work out why.......

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Deathwing - Jehoel & The Meaning of Regret

Taking a few days off work to recover from a particularly hellish month and I've been able to get on with my painting. This guy has been in the works for a while now, but my recent impetus sped things up considerably. After some research, I've decided this fellah will be called Jehoel a.k.a The Angel of Fire.
He's one of the additional figures, the others being Castiel and Bob who I covered in my last entry, I've been working on alongside the AoBr squad.
Jehoel is a converted Forgeworld Huron of the Astral Claws figure, with some Deathwing inconography added on and the right arm replaced with a flame unit. The approach to painting him as been, more or less, consistent with that of the AoBr squad, although the overall shading is a lot more subtle in places. I really like the green scale tabbard on this figure, it looks like it is part of some sort of additional flame proofing.
Although it looks like a fantastically busy figure, there isn't that much detail to contend with and breaking it all down into a sensible structure allowed me to make reasonably swift progress. I think the blending of the red on the Flamer units went particularly well, particularly the left hand one. I should mention that the base is a micro arts 40mm tech base. I put some weathering power (Forge World Medium Earth) on there to create a rust effect and was really pleased with the effect, so I went and redid Castiel and Samael's bases with it as well.
So why have we got a Deathwing figure who is decked out with more than his fair share of flame weaponry? Is he a Salamander who got lost? Rest assurred there is a story behind all of this, as there is behind Castiel and Samael, the Angel of Death. I've got quite a bit of typing ahead of me but, this is not a long story to tell. I shall crack on with it tomorrow. For the time being, I'll sign off with a picture of my Deathwing army as it now stands.
In case you're wondering, no, I have no idea what the points cost of this little lot is, especially as it only really has two coherent squads in it and a lot of personality pieces.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Deathwing Squad - Finished

Actually I finished them over a week ago, but work and the festive season has been a major impost on my time.

As much as I'm not a fan of the Assault on Black Reach squad, I think they look pretty good with a few modifications and overall I'm happy with the final paint job.

The final few steps were quite simple, but add a lot of the finished look of the models.

1) Do edge and extreme highlights with P3 series Menoth White. This is an off white colour which blends superbly with the other paints and also has a great consistency. The Menoth white is applied to anywhere on the model I perceive as getting hit by the most light and along the leading edges of the carapace. I do thin the paint slightly so I can easily feather it onto the model.

2) I finished the skull and cross bones on the Terminator honours, by painting on a highlight of Reaper Master Series Aged Bone, washing with gryphonne sepia and badab black, followed by a final highlight of Aged Bone. This gives the Terminator honour a bone look which is distinct from that of the armour.

3) The bases I gave a fairly vigorous dry brush of GW Tin Bitz and then a lighter dryrbush of mithril silver.

4) For the Sergeant's power sword I tried a new approach which I'm rather pleased with. It needs some refinement, but I think I know how I'm going to evolve this. What I did was.
  • paint the sword mithril silver
  • wash the sword with Asurmen Blue, building up the shade into the recesses of the sword and thus creating a defined highlight at the centre and on the edges.
  • notice the shading is very dark, dry brush the sword with a very very light blue paint, which picks up the highlighting at the edges
  • rewash the sword and notice that the dry brushing combined with the wash has created a nice particle effect
  • drybrush lightly with the light blue again
  • paint on the lightning effect with the light blue
I think I'll modify this approach in future to use a couple of darker light blues for the particle effect and lightning before applying the final highlight.

But I think it looks good and different to my other power sword effects.

5) Paint the purity seals. I keep this simple by painting the seals bleached bone, washing all over with Gryphonne Sepia and then a further wash of Devlan Mud into the recesses. Then use thinned bleach bone to build up a highlight. The litanies and what not are painted on with a mix of brown and black ink.

And that's pretty much it. Although I recall I mentioned I was working on a few other figures.

This is Castiel (I'm a Supernatural fan, so sue me) and he's got a story behind him which I'll share at a later date. He's actually fairly customised assault squad terminator, in that his right leg is from two different sets of legs (amuptated at the knee) so he has a different pose. The gun has been modified with a scope and the right arm put out at an angle with a fair amount of green stuff masking the gap. 
I'm really pleased with how dynamic this pose is and he's a welcome reminder of how much better the proper Terminator figures are over the black reach set.

And this is Bob. I don't know why he's called Bob. he just is. I'm not so keen on this pose, although it does look like he's about to drive his chainfist into something in a meaningful way. I also did some battle damage on Bob, although I'm not sure how well it turned out.