Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Dark Angels - A Slightly Sulky Conclusion

And so the painting of my Dark Angels Devastators (plus a couple of Sternguard) has drawn to a somewhat slightly unhappy close. I've upgraded from the position of very unhappy yesterday because, after having 24hrs to distance myself from the figures I'm slightly less frustrated by my work. Actually, if I were to quote my former boss, I'd say that I was "less than extremely satisfied" by which I believe she meant that unless she was "extremely satisfied" by something, it wasn't any good. I'm not sure I've set myself a bar that high, but when you work for someone like that, their behaviours do influence you.

More angst and analysis after the cut.

I can't quite place what has annoyed me most about painting these figures, although I think that it comes down to the green armour. I just can't shake the feeling that I haven't got the contrast of the green right. It doesn't go as dark as I'd like and the result of that has been a slightly higher contrast at the brighter end, which isn't what I wanted. What I really wanted to achieve, contrast wise, has rather been neatly illustrated in Ron's recent post on Painting Ultramarines Dark and Very Fast. What I've managed is Dark Angels that are not so dark at the end of a lengthy process.

But it's not all bad. 

I'm pleased how the Devastator Squad symbol has turned out alright on the right shoulder pad. I had some initial frustrations with the transfers (which I haven't used in a while), eventually I got them on ok and was able to paint them to be consistent with my zenithal lighting. I think the glow effect on the plasma coils turned out ok as well.
This figure is from the plastic devastator kit, whereas the one before is a metal one I won on ebay. Although I generally like the plastic figures, I do think they lack some of the definition the metal figures have in places. The plasma coils on the metal miniature look better than the plastic.
The Lasgun I'm happy enough with, once I repainted the black elements to improve the contrast. In the photos the shading on the metalwork hasn't turned out as clearly as I'd like, but I think thats probably more the fault of my shonky macro photography than the painting.

On the Plasma Cannons, the Multi Melta above and the Heavy Bolter, I've had a go at using the heat distortion effect as per Ron's helpful guide. I really like how easy this effect is to achieve and I've happily applied it to some older miniatures in a moment of fancy. Despite my non-specific frustrations with painting this figures, I did find a little time to paint in a little viewscreen on the Multi-Melta. I do like a little viewscreen.

The squad numbers over the devastator symbols were painted freehand, hence the inconsistency, but they're not too bad. I hasten to add that when the transfers went wrong on Sunday night, most of the figures nearly went flying towards the wall with some force. Such was my ire.
The pose on the Heavy Bolter figure came out rather well. The Marine is either just in the process of lowering the weapon after a bout of combat or about to raise the barrel to spew terrible bolter death at his foes. The bases have turned out better than I expected as well. I wanted to recreate the effect of a semi-arid/plains/steppe envrionment and I think that's what I've got. I've also made use of a Forgeworld Weathering Poweder to tie the figure into the base.

The Sternguard are very detailed figures and one of the challenges is getting a chapter symbol onto the figures. For the guy to the left, I've used a little brass forgeworld Dark Angels symbol on the right shoulder, which I've painted up red. Not much, but I'm guessing the dark green armour and gloomy disposition will make him readily identifiable to his comrades.

For some reason the metal figures seem to have a darker green tone than the plastics, which is more to my liking. They've also got lots of bits of detail which I can paint a nice bone colour. *sigh* I do like painting bone.

One of my few bones of contention (no pun intended) with the metal figures are the helmet mounted optics. They are not well molded and painted the actual lens is really fiddly. Eventually I just gave up.

And so there you have them. Not as terrible as I thought they were on Sunday, but still not as good as I'd have liked. Still I've learned a few lessons from the experience, which I'll apply to painting Dark Angels in future. The key lessons are:

1 - Paint less figures in one batch. Ideally no more than five, otherwise the whole task becomes far too onerous.

2 - Use inspiration from Ron to change my approach to painting the green.

As for my next project, I feel I need a break from the forces of the Emperor and my eye is turning towards the large box on my shelf on which are write the words.......Gundam OO Raiser Master Grade.


  1. i think the shoulder symbols are come out rather well, if thats any consolation. and having just done some sternguard myself its nice to see someone else having a crack at the same figures.

    the plasma glow effect is very cool - i need to try that out, if i can pickup the courage.

  2. As far as getting the right green, you're going to have to keep experimenting until you find that just perfect blend of colors that matches your taste. Maybe the technique I listed will work, maybe not... I may try my hand at A dark Angel model to see what I can do.

    I love the ehat effects you applied to the multi-melta, very nice touch there. And the targeter screen is perfect!

    Ron, FTW

    1. Cheers Ron. I think your technique will work, but as you say it is about using the right colour green. Despite the name, I'm of the view that "Dark Angels Green" is not the right green.