“The Knights Resplendent”: An Experiment with Chrome

I’ve been absolutely blown away and humbled by the response to my recent hobby experiment. Upon writing, the Instagram community have watched the short video I posted almost 18,000 times! Never before have I spent a whole day fielding questions and sending thanks. It’s really filled my bitter, grimdark heart with joy.

So I wanted to put together something of a tutorial/review for you all! I hope here I can answer some of the questions that have been flooding my way today.

I present to you: The Knights Resplendent

Chrome Space Marines
The Knights Resplendent in their chromed out glory

Witness Me!

There’s always been a little part of me screaming out for Space Marines that shine. The 41st Millennium is a very dark and grimy place but I think that, somewhere out there, there would have to be a band of super radical, 80s neon-bright warriors taking down the enemies of the Emperor while glittering like a He-Man hero. The release of the new, slick Primaris Marines (which I still refuse to see as a new “species” of Marine, rather an up-sizing for sake of scale), was the perfect opportunity to try bring my vision to life. I just needed the right tool.

I found the secret weapon in the form of a paint marker from legendary graffiti brand Molotow: the Liquid Chrome (20 Years Edition) Marker. I should mention off the bat, I’m in no way connected to the brand, or an “influencer” of any kind (*cough* not yet *cough*).

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Let’s break the marker down a bit, shall we? The marker is essentially a big tube of super shiny, alcohol-based paint that is pushed out by pressure on the nib (which comes in 1mm, 2mm or 4mm sizes). Of course, the bigger the nib, the bigger the pen (thus more paint), but for scale work, 1mm works spectacularly.

My first experiment with this super-pigmented paint was on a Tau Battlesuit, used to decorate the inner metal and icons. When I painted this in Australia, eBay only gave me access to the 2mm version of the pen, which made it difficult (impossible even) to cover some surfaces. In this case, I pushed down the nib into a small groove in my palette to create a pool of paint, which I quickly applied with an old brush. Of course, this method resulted in a lot of lost detail and an rough, bubbly finish.

Tau Battlesuit Chrome
My first experiment with Molotow Liquid Chrome

It should be noted, there are plenty of high-shine paints on the market, and a lot of chrome spray paints, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon this through graffiti culture and find it works very well with a minimum of fuss. No need for buffing powders or anything, just shake well, and apply. The main drawbacks are that the markers are relatively expensive, and would be a bit impractical if used to paint an entire army, as I will explain below.

Chrome Warhammer Space Marines Tutorial
The sub-assembly of the chromed-up Space Marine Sergeant

Putting it into Practice

As already mentioned, applying the paint couldn’t be easier. Of course, it’s best to keep your minis partially un-assembled at this stage because, unlike a brush, the marker is rather thick and will not bend to enter hard-to-reach places. I constructed the bodies of the Easy to Build Intercessors, leaving their arms and backpacks on the sprue until the coat was roughly even.

To apply the paint, simply shake well, press down a bit on a palette to get the paint running through the nib, and then draw onto the surface. Remarkably, the paint smooths itself out really well, flowing across the surfaces as a slightly glittery fluid then congealing as an almost rubbery, smooth mass. Naturally, you can’t really thin this (to my knowledge), so you’ll have to be content with a less-than-totally-crisp look. If you look closely at the photos of my painted examples, though, it hardly overloads details unless over-used or multiple coats are made to correct mistakes … no pressure, though!

I found, on my first try, that drawing over mistakes while the paint is still wet is a really bad move. Because the paint sets completely very, very slowly, drawing on the surface without waiting some hours will result in a rough, damaged and globby surface that is nowhere near as flat and shiny. For a truly mirror like finish, try and get everything painted in one quick go, and if you need to fix things up later, apply another layer only after a fair amount of time has passed (in this case, I only fixed up mistakes the next day or later). This restricts you a bit, and can result in some imperfect results (see, the results of clipping the backpack from the sprue on the image below), so be prepared.

Chrome Space Marines Molotow
A close-up in which you can probably see a bit of “thickness” appearing, specifically in the thick line of the backpack.

Another very important note: keep your grubby mits off the model! While it’s drying, the finish is incredibly fragile and even after it has dried, it remains easy to damage. Simply touching the model (leaving trace body oils) will result in a dulled shine, closer to Games Workshop’s brightest silvers rather than a true chrome. As such, I don’t think I’ll ever risk gaming with these fellows, or extending the project into a full army (because of cost restrictions as well).

Once the coat is on and dried, you can pick out details around (I used a lot of White/Celestra Grey, because dark objects seem to appear as holes rather than details against the chrome). The paint itself dries so smooth and shiny that properly thinned paint simply balls up and separates like water off a duck’s back. Because of this, plan ahead and only paint the areas you want to be shiny. I found that using another art marker (a 0.03 Copic Promarker) actually work better than paint to draw in black lines, such as grooves in the armour or between the shoulder pad and trim.

I have yet to experiment with varnishing these models (to tell you a secret … I have never varnished a model) and so do not know if the coat of protection will affect the shine. My guess, from just touching the finish, is that it probably would. Perhaps a gloss varnish might serve to enhance or alter the effect in interesting ways, but you’d have to take care to not make the whole model glossy.

And that’s about it in terms of tutorial! Elegant, right?

Chrome Space Marines Back
The mirror-like effect is more pronounced on large, flat surfaces. You can see a bit of the yellow tarp I use to protect my painting table reflected in the armour here.

Fact File: The Knights Resplendent

++ 002.M42 ++
++ Database of Potentially Renegade Adeptus Astartes ++
++ File: The Knights “Resplendent” ++
++ Thought of the Day: What fear of death have we who know there is immortality in the great and noble deeds of men? ++

In psychotropic warzones across the Imperium Nihilis, a highly ostentatious Chapter of  Adeptus Astartes have been recorded launching shock-and-awe assaults that have, more often than not, resulted in the total disruption of enemy organisation within hours. The chapter bears no codex-compliant livery upon their armour, and little numerical or rank identification, though all known members operate in armour shined to mirror-like brightness (for reasons yet to be explained to the Adeptus Administratum [file appends: Attempted_Blockade_of_The_Knights_Resplendent]). Though their uniformly dazzling armour is highly conspicuous, The Knights Resplendent are a reserved chapter, operating in secret until their brutal method of warfare (consisting of sudden, excessive barrages of high-ordinance, surgical drop-pod strikes and [REDACTED]altering [REDACTED] [file appends: Weapons_of_Sensory_Overload_and_their_Application]. Further to these troubling claims is the fact that the Gene-Seed source of the chapter has yet to be catalogued and ratified, suppressed by agents of His Holiness, Forge-Lord of [REDACTED], [REDACTED].


Rounding Up

So I think I’ll call this little experiment a wild success! There’s still more to be learned in this process, such as: how varnishes will affect the finish? Will the shine hold for years? How many models can you paint with one pen? Can you paint with a brush straight from the ink refill bottle? (My guess on this last one is: probably not smoothly).

For now, I’m planning to leave The Knights Resplendent here. I want to, perhaps, paint a Gravis Armoured Captain (or better yet… another Dreadnought), but that will be it for the marker I have, I reckon. Apart from Space Marines, I think this ink/paint would look amazing on Necrons, some neon Skitarii (one of my first thoughts when playing with the paint) or any other miniature that is smooth, futuristic and cyber-punkish. Though Infinity minis might be a little small in scale to apply this to, I also reckon the possibilities for use in that universe are endless!

I hope this helps and answers some questions. If you’re keen to see more of my work, follow this blog and my Instagram (@illuminator_hobby) and be sure to let me know if you find a cool application for this awesome marker!

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Miniatures of 2017 in Photos

So 2017 has come to an end, the world has made one more lap around the sun and my pile of “to-do” miniatures continues to grow.

This has been a rather special year, as some of my regular readers or followers would know, as it’s been a year in which I’ve moved from the quiet and damp Adelaide Hills to the sunny, colourful and lively south of Spain. I’ve had to leave a lot behind, almost my entire collection of miniatures and all my tools and paints, but have gained a lot in terms of focus, proximity to the world of the Mediterranean masters and easier access to some of the best miniature makers in the world. Giving up army painting (for the most part… I still have some Salamanders to finish and an itching to start some Spiderfang 😉) has been a pretty natural choice for someone who hasn’t played a proper game in two or three years. So it’s a win win.

The largest part of my WIP posts and discussion on process this year has taken place on Instagram, so if you haven’t already, be sure to click the link in the menu above and follow my Instagram page at @Illuminator_hobby

And rather than make multiple pages (waste not, want not!) I thought I would create a bit of a master-post of the display pieces I’ve been practicing on over the past year! It’s been a really productive year in which I’ve taken my miniature painting to the next level, inspired by the ‘Eavy Metal Facebook group and the amazing community of painters on Instagram. There’s still a long, long, long way to go before I’m going to be confident entering things like Hussar, Golden Demon or Silver Brush, but now I at least have a goal that I’m working towards every day.


December 2016/January 2017: Canoness Veridyan


January: Abaddon the Despoiler

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May/April: Salamanders Legion


June: The Chrome Suit


July: Greedo


July 2017: Slaanesh Daemon Prince of Chains/The Heirophant


August: Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders


October/November: SLAMBO

My first miniature painted with Army Painter War Colours


November: Papa Jambo Bust

And here we have him, my masterpiece for the year. Definitely the piece I’m most proud of so far, and something of a diversion from my normal work.

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Thanks to everyone who’s followed me here, on Instagram and given me support over Facebook or in real life. It’s been an incredible year of hobby, and I look forward to pushing forward into uncharted territory in this new one!

Raise your brushes for 2018!

Salamanders II (Horus Heresy – Legio Astartes) 2017

“Unless you are capable of enduring whatever hurt your foe can inflict, there will come a time when you will fail, and by failing you will have made useless the sacrifice of millions. We are the Salamanders and we will endure, for no sacrifice made in the name of this great empire we seek to build shall be made in vain.” – Xiaphus Jurr, Chaplain of the Salamanders

You come seeking our father, but he is not here. I searched for him on the field of battle until they struck me down with a sword of flame that scorched the very heavens, and yet I did not die. I searched for him in the endless vaults of the dead where the crushing blackness tore at my very soul, and yet I endured. I was tested once again through the crucible, and I tell you this — Vulkan does not walk among the dead!” – Cassian Dracos, The Dragon Revenant


I picked up the Betrayal at Calth box set while on my university exchange to Germany in 2015, and, until recently, I’ve been in a constant battle to decide what to do with them. The Horus Heresy “black books” were full of cool characters and pseudo-historical inspiration, making the choice of Legion an incredibly difficult one. At one point, I was going to paint Word Bearers, using my huge collection of Chaos bits and daemons to make a rather corrupted, evil looking army. After that, I turned to the idea of Emperor’s Children, seeking perfection in the same manner as the III Legion themselves. In the end, though, what really sold me on my eventually legion of choice was a single character from the Horus Heresy story: Cassian Dracos.

Who couldn’t love the walking-fridge-of-doom/unkillable-robotic-prophet? I’ve been a big fan of the iconic Warhammer 40k Dreadnought for a long time, so seeing the opportunity to build a playable (and deadly) army in the Age of Darkness using a whole bunch of them was just too good to pass up. So sorry, Word Bearers and Emperor’s Children. Sorry, Chaos. I’ve turned loyalist. Slaanesh forgive me.

Horus Heresy Salamanders
Cassian Dracos leads his brothers against the Traitors

Starting small

And so, I started painting. The first unit to come under the brush was my Tactical Support Squad Fuegon. I liked the tone of green right off the bat, but something didn’t sit well with the grey ash bases I originally placed them on. I ended up adding crackling lava patterns over their armour, representing the influence of Cassian Dracos and Xiaphus Jurr while they travelled through the warp upon Ebon Drake. In the end, I think I went a bit over board trying to create contrast. On future squads, I decided to steer away from this effect. Thus Support Squad Fuegon became distinguished as true “Disciples of Flame”, brothers of such zeal that they’re armour cracks and burns with mystical heat, much to the suspicion of the general rank and file of the army.

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Support Squad Fuegon from the Disciples of the Flame

It took a long time to figure out where to move next. Obviously, I had to paint old mate Cassian as soon as possible, though now I’m starting to think I rushed into it a bit. Stripping and repainting him twice, I feel he is now not as magnificent of a centrepiece as he should be, a bit murky and mucky, but he’s still magnificent in his own way. I even went and added Vallejo Fluro Orange to his flames at a later date to enhance the burning aura. There’s nothing super special to note about the final paint job, apart from, maybe, my first attempts at making a realistic “overheating engine” glow by lightly painting orange over the lit parts of his armour.

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My first, underwhelming, attempt at my Warlord
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Cassian Dracos, after a few more licks of make-up

A long time past (three months, actually, ’cause I was busy overseas with life stuff) before I got to add much more to this small army. Of course, two tactical squads were absolutely necessary. I painted Tactical Squads IV (Diago) and IX (Vorshan) in a factory-line batch style, aiming to make them look rather spartan and uniform, a massive departure from my normal style. Of course, I can’t let flat areas go without some sort of free-hand or detailing, so I ended up adding a whole lot of flames, Cult markings and squad icons, including Freehand Salamander iconography. While this leads to a pretty hodge-podge look when put all together, I am pretty proud of the details I’ve managed to pack in.

The hardest part of painting these guys, apart from forcing myself to spend HOURS edge highlighting green, was to get the Salamander icons right. While a lot of them look messy, and no two look exactly alike, I’m one to normally stay away from transfers. I just like to paint everything myself where I can, even if it doesn’t come out exactly “factory made”.

To add to the Tactical Squads, I salvaged an old Inquisitorial Rhino (Mars Pattern, obviously, but I didn’t quite feel like spending money on a 25 point metal box when I didn’t need to). It’s hardly the model I’m most proud of in the army, but she’ll serve her purpose when it comes to gaming, and that’s all I really aimed for.

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Tactical Squad IX Vorshan, members of Jurr’s rescue mission force. Turned dark and vicious aboard Ebon Drake
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Tactical Squad IV Diago, survivors of Istvaan III, battle-scarred and embittered
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The salvaged rhino, before having a Heavy Flamer attached when I discovered point values had been made cheaper in the updated Legion book, freeing up enough space for another weapon AND an Apothecary!

Joining the Tactical detachment much later (in fact, I only finished painting him a night before posting this gallery!) is Apothecary Tor’uhm, a brother of Proximal dedicated to preserving the lives and strengths of his fire-forged companions. I just love painting the Celesta Grey/White colour, but didn’t want to start a whole World Eaters/White Scar army just to paint a few batches of white power armour. So, along with the Feel No Pain rule, Tor’uhm brings some contrast to the otherwise dark army.

METAL BOXES

The current centrepiece of the army is my Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought Zandar Ignis. I painted this venerable machine for my local Games Workshop’s monthly Paint Klub. It was my first proper go at dynamic shading through glazes. Instead of simply edge highlighting as normal, I made the effort to create deep shade along the flat armour panels themselves through the application of many thin, glaze-like layers and blending. I also used a lot of Fluro Orange to create the vibrant fire effects and, of course, the glowing lava base! Zandar Ignis managed to take away the “in-store” portion of the competition, so I think he deserves to be the “pretty boy” of the army.

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Revered Brother Zandar Ignis (Ignis Aurum Probat)

Finally, the trio of “Boxnoughts” that I always envisioned being the heart of my army, got to see a bit of paint. Using the same green I’d practiced across the army, the same technique to create firey glow and similar patterns for squad markings, I went to work on my second “production line” of the army. Painting three Dreadnoughts at a time was actually quite a lot harder and more time consuming than I’d imagined. The old Dreadnought sculpt is iconic, but it’s not the most detailed thing in the Citadel Catalogue. Still, I found I had to spend quite a few nights on these guys to get them looking suitably impressive.

On these Dreadnoughts, I started using a simple chipping technique that I picked up from a fellow Instagrammer (whose name I’ve now lost…). I’ll post the recipe below for interest’s sake, but it basically boils down to using brown and light green in the right spots. I think it looks far more realistic than typical splashes of silver and black.

But anyway, here is the fiery heart of the army to finish off this showcase: Dreadnought Talon Heliosa I.

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Since taking this photo shoot, I’ve fixed up a few niggling issues, such as replacing the Venerable Dreadnought’s brass front plate with more green, removing the excessive “dust” from all of the Dreadnought’s feet, adding a cotton-ball smoke plume to hide the gross blotching on the salvaged Missile Launcher (from my very first army in fact!), adding a Heavy Flamer to the Rhino and cleaning up a bit of the mess + more! Keep an eye on my Instagram (@illuminator_hobby) for the updates as they come!


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The Dragon Lance formation takes to the front lines on Mezoa

Recipes

I thought I’d post a couple of the recipes I used to paint my Salamanders Army. Hopefully they can be helpful or inspiring to someone down the track. Always good to see more green Battle Brothers. Into the fires of battle! Unto the anvil of war!

Green

Castellan Green base, wash with Agrax Earthshade. Highlight with Elysian Green, then Ogryn Camo

Chipped Green

Follow the recipe above, but add splotches of Rhinox Hide at intervals and along areas where the machine’s working would cause paint damage (around hinges, moving parts, etc.) Under this splotches of Rhinox Hide, add a thin line of Ogryn Camo to create the illusion of depth. See? Simples.

Fire (including crackling effect)

Outline with Khorne Red, fill in with Mephiston Red. Then go over halfway down the flame with Vallejo Fluro Orange. Thinner again, apply Yriel Yellow, then finally white at the hottest (lowest) part of the flame

Bronze Trim

Warplock Bronze then Sycorax Bronze. Wash with Agrax Earthshade GLOSS. Easy.

If you’d like any more info on how I painted these guys, feel free to comment here or on my Instagram! I’ll be happy to help out.


The List

All importantly, this is one of the few projects I’ve gone into with the hopes of making an effective and legal gaming army. As such, I’ve spent AGES pouring over the Horus Heresy army lists, tinkering with various ideas, such as flying Vulkan Deathstars, Obsidian Forged Dreadnoughts, Firedrakes in Spartans and other nasty Salamanders-only tricks. Of course, I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to tactics and list-building, so I don’t expect to go in and win many games, but I’m pretty happy with where this “starter list” has gotten to.

+ HQ +

Cassian Dracos (WARLORD)
275 Points

+ ELITE +

Legion Dreadnought Talon
1 Dreadnought with Twin Linked Lascannon and DCCW with inbuilt Graviton Gun, Extra Armour
1 Dreadnought with Twin Linked Lascannon and Twin-Linked Missile Launcher
1 Dreadnought with Flamestorm Cannon and DCCW with inbuilt Melta Gun, Extra Armour
495 Points

Legion Mortis Contemptor
Two Kheres Pattern Assault Cannons, Extra Armour
185 Points

Apothecarion Detachment
Artificer Armour
55 Points

+ TROOPS +

Salamanders Legion Tactical Squad
9 Space Marines, 1 Tactical Sergeant with MC Inferno Pistol and Melta Bombs
150 Points

Salamanders Legion Tactical Squad
9 Space Marines, 1 Tactical Sergeant with Artificer Armour, MC Plasma Pistol and Melta Bombs
160 Points

Salamanders Legion Tactical Support Squad
4 Space Marines with Flamers, 1 Tactical Sergeant with Artificer Armour, MC Inferno Pistol and Melta Bombs
135 Points

Rhino Armoured Carrier
Heavy Flamer
45 Points

+ TOTAL: 1500 +


Where to from here?

The next recruits from Nocturne are set to arrive on my doorstep soon. Joining the remaining five Betrayal at Calth marines will be another five Forgeworld marines in MKII armour (to represent Great Crusade veterans) and a Land Raider Phobos. This mighty machine will eventually carry my Cataphractii Praetor and his Command Squad, who are built to essentially be budget Firedrakes (sans their double wounds, but plus inspiring hero bubble from the Standard Bearer and Covenant of Fire Rite of War). I also plan to paint up an old metal Techmarine with Servo Harness (and Servitor buddies) to accompany Cassian Dracos and make his Vulkan-made-Obsidian-Forged-AV14 hull even more ridiculously unbreakable.

To joining Cassian in a “fluffy” way, I also have Xiaphus Jurr to paint one day. Though he doesn’t yet fit into any list I’ve written, I’d like to have the two together for simple “historic” purposes. Plus, it was easy to convert him from the BaC chaplain! Maybe I’ll add Narik Dreygur and his turn-coat beep boops some day as well.

And what Legion force would be complete without their Primarch…


Anyway, thanks for taking the time to check out my first (and probably only) Horus Heresy era army! It’s been a blast to paint them, write lists for them and order the units I need to fill out the army list (ahh, that new kit smell). If you have any questions, comments, criticisms or praises to the Emperor that you’d like to share, please do! And if you’re a Heresy player in the area, hit me up. I need to practice my dice throwing arm again.

VULKAN LIVES!

Painting Veridyan – A Walkthrough Part 2

And so we’re back, from outer space, to continue this hobby journey. Thanks to everyone who showed interest in the first post in this short series. I hope it’s inspired some of you new painters to pick up a brush and brought some comfort to struggling hobbyists like myself.

It’s been a good few months since I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and paint anything, but I’m preparing to get back to it. I have a new brush, a couple of new paints (including Vallejo’s Fluros) and a number of minis to jump right back in with. But for now, I’m returning to Veridyan.

When we left off, we’d just finished discussing black. Surprisingly, this is one of the most difficult colours to paint or, at least, get looking “right” on miniatures. Now, rising from the glossy blackness of Veridyan’s armour, we begin to paint the gold and metal.

And that’s where the fun begins.

jb146c-sisters-of-battleStep 4: Heavy Metal

You’ll notice that, in the original John Blanche artwork (pictured), Veridyan wears black armour with gold trims. Because of the lighting of the blood red ground and flames around her this gold appears different on the various points of her body (see the shoulder trim compared to the kneepads and then the sword). This being the case, I did my best to replicate the effect.

I also ended up attempting Non-Metallic Metal (NMM), inspired by the ‘Eavy Metal box art. As said in the last post, I worked to replicate this as best as I could. Because I had this reference, I didn’t have to dive into my first NMM experience completely blind.

The trick to NMM is, as the name suggests, creating the illusion of light hitting and reflecting off of metal in a realistic way without using metallic paints. This requires a good eye, careful planning, practice with blending… or a bit of luck and washes/glazes. Whatever works for you.

2The kneepads, I think, turned out the best of all the metals. They were created by painting on a layer of ochre-ish yellow like Averland Sunset, then washing with our old friend Agrax Earthshade. This paint is referred to as Liquid Talent for a good reason. Washes pool in even the smallest of recesses rather than laying on top of details, creating great texture and shading with a quick brush over. From there, I worked back up to the yellow but, unlike usual, I left shade in very specific places.

When painting NMM, it’s important to exaggerate shadow just a bit. Light would be landing on the rim of the kneepad (all the way around, but particularly on the bottom and top), the top of the skull in the centre and also a bit on the detail within the trim. As such, I left the darker, washed areas with almost all the shade showing through (seen between the “flames” above the skull), while building up the bright areas to almost full yellow. From there, I continued to add layers to the bright areas with a bleach boned colour, then pure white. Again, don’t be afraid to use pure white on the very edges, but keep in mind where the light falls and bounces.

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Note the pure white on the gorget and the dark brow directly beneath it. This gives the impression that light is shining directly down on the piece of gold armour and the edge is casting shadow on the lower areas. A small amount of yellow is placed at the bottom of the gorget to represent light reaching there.

This idea can also been seen in the shoulder pads and fleur de lis patterns scattered around the body. The relatively dark brown of the shaded areas (that is, those places not hit directly by imaginary light) are left brown, while the very tips are highlighted white. I am a little less happy with the shoulder pads, as they ended up a bit thick and murky, almost tinged green for some strange reason. Remember, as the good Lord Duncan says: “PAINT IN MULTIPLE THIN COATS, NOT ONE THICK ONE.” Patience is key. Blend slowly. The smoother the blend the more realistic the metal will look. However, if you want a more exaggerated, cartoony look, by all means go and paint in layers.

weaponsThe same principal is applied to the areas of bare steel on Veridyan’s armour, except in greyscale. Starting from a dark grey (perhaps Eshin Grey) in the recessed parts of the armour and working up to pure white will create realistic looking metal. I particularly liked how this turned out on Veridyan’s ornate gloves (see left). For a grittier, heavier, meaner looking metal, go straight from dark grey to white/light grey (as seen on the pistol barrel). The harsher the contrast, the harsher the metal. You’ll see this effect used a lot on Ork armies or even my own Iron Wolves. This is when you can add little chips as well for a more realistic effect (simply make small, random stripes of the final highlight colour).

Step 5: The Holy Sword

Now this was the tricky part.

It was tempting to paint the sword in exactly the same way as detailed above, but that would make it blend in far too much with the gold. This is her principal weapon, after all, and a focal point for the whole model (what with it being a long, straight line in contrast to the curves and folds of her armour). Besides, in the artwork, Veridyan’s sword glows a sort of deep bronze under the hellish light. To recreate this effect, I turned to brown rather than yellow.

swordStarting from a flat base of Rhinox Hide, I gradually added Karak Stone to the mix. Keeping the principal of direct light in mind, I kept the lower half of the sword completely brown (where the light would not hit but which might reflect the ground around). Using my mix of Rhinox and Karak, I gradually blended along the length of the sword, eventually arriving at pure white on the tip. I then gave the whole thing a very light brown wash to smooth out the transitions a bit (a very helpful technique to try, especially if you’re just beginning to blend), before working a bit of white back in to keep it bright. Finally, I ran my brush at an angle over the edges of the sword (even at the bottom) to finish the effect.

To add to the piece and deviate from the artwork a bit (I hate doing what everyone else has done!) I decided to try a “power weapon” effect by painting on lightning bolts in orange (which you can still see in the photo to the right)…

I ended up hating it and having to redo most of the sword. Ah well. We learn by making mistakes, after all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

weapons

Step 6: The Devil is in the Details

I am, as you might be able to tell, a long-suffering perfectionist. I’ve stripped and re-painted countless minis over the years just because there was one little thing that niggled me about them. I’m also rather obsessive when it comes to the small details in things. I think you have to have a combination of both of these traits if you want to be a miniature painter. It’s just using them as a force of good that is difficult.

I love small details and tiny models (hence Goblins and Squigs) simply because it gives me the opportunity to practice laser-like focus. Painting a little chain dangling from Veridyan’s belt or dotting out small patterns on her robe, man, that’s the good stuff. I’m always trying to step up my game, getting finer and finer as I go along. I’ve ended up with Army Painter’s “Extreme Detail” brush in my collection just for this reason. Next step is, of course, “The Psycho“. (Great brushes, by the way).

When painting extreme detail, I find having a magnifying lamp or even cheap 2x reading glasses incredibly handy. I can’t stress the importance of good, natural light in this process as well. You need to be able to see where your brush is going.

Unfortunately, I can’t give many tips on developing a “steady hand”, as it all comes through practice and repetition. I’m still trying to master the art myself. I can, however, give you a couple of good recipes, which I applied when painting on Veridyan’s smaller details. They are quick, easy and without-frills.

Red (for example, cloth and wax):

Mephiston Red > Wash with Xereus Purple > Mephiston Red > Evil Suns Scarlet > Highlight the very edges with Jokaero Orange.

Purity Seal Paper:

Karak Stone > Wash with Agrax Earthshade > Karak Stone > White > Dot on/scribble some thin lines of watered-down Rhinox Hide to represent text.

Bone:

Start with Rakarth Flesh > Wash with Agrax. Essentially the same as the purity seals, but leaving more contrast between the washed Rakarth and final white highlight (you can also use Ushabti Bone, a slightly yellower bone colour, to further differentiate the two).

White:

DO NOT start with white. Instead, start with the foundation paint Celestra Grey (seriously, a life saver). To give the impression of a white with depth instead of pure white, only highlight the edges of the armour/hair/whatever with pure white. Use a mix of white and Celestra to create a mid-tone where appropriate. Shade with watered down Nuln Oil (very carefully) if you need extra depth.

Pale Caucasian Flesh:

Kislev Flesh > Shade with Agrax or Reikland Fleshshade > Kislev flesh > Kislev Flesh/White > White on very edges (noses, etc.). Mix in a tiny amount of red to paint the lips (only paint the bottom lip of any scale mini, this gives an impression of make-up or flush without going too far).

And really, that’s all there is to it! To finish off Veridyan, I used these simple, basic tricks over the finer details, making them pop while not taking too long. Of course, there’s room for experimentation even here, like producing more realistic flesh with blue tones and deeper red with greens. For now, though, I think we’ll leave it at that.

eyes
Always watching

Ahh, one last thing on details though: Eyes!

Everyone learning to paint miniatures comes across this problem sooner or later, discovering that even with the thinnest brush in the world it seems impossible to paint realistic eyes. But there are some easy tips.

The biggest mistake to avoid is creating a “startled” look by placing the iris/pupil in the very centre of the eye, detached from the border. In reality, the iris is obscured, top and bottom, by eyelids. In miniature form, all you’ll likely see of the whites of the eye are the very corners. As such, it’s best to paint most of the eye black.

Eyes:

Paint the whole eye black, or very dark brown > Very carefully, paint on a strip of white in the eye socket, leaving a ring of black (suggesting eyelashes) > Over this, paint a black dot, big enough to reach the black edge of the eye, but small enough to leave some white visible on both sides (depending on where the model is looking).

It’s tricky, sure, but eyes are a focal point that deserves the attention. If you do not have the space to paint eyes, however, don’t be tempted to just splash paint over the eyelid. Instead, paint a thin line of wash to give the impression of dark eyes between the eyelids. This looks a whole lot better than bulging, cartoon eyes. Trust me. I have far too many of this sort in my collection from the early days.

Step 7: Watching it all Come Together

img_20161229_152814235And so, apart from a few extra things here and there, Veridyan is complete.

There are, naturally, a number of things I’d go back and change if I had the time and energy. Firstly, I’d take more time on blending the metals smoothly in thin coats. I’d pay closer attention to the proportions and shading of the face and also avoid the gloss wash that turned her black armour all shiny in the wrong places.

Never-the-less, Veridyan was a massive learning curve for me, someone looking to take the next big steps in the mini painting field. I got the opportunity to try out a number of advanced techniques, including NMM and blending, in the safe shadow of a number of reference pieces. Even writing this walkthrough has been an educational experience in itself!

I truly hope you’ve gotten something useful from it, even if it was just a bit of a laugh. You can find the completed model in the gallery section of this site, or by clicking here!

To wrap everything up, in this series we’ve covered or touched up:

Thanks again to everyone who’s supported me in my painting over the years, especially in recent times! Please continue to enjoy my site and check me out on Instagram if you haven’t already. I’m rolling out a number of past projects there at the moment, but expect to see a lot more works in progress and new models next month.

Happy painting!

Part 1

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