Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Age of Sigmar: Stormcast Eternals Army Painting WIP 3

Back for more on the AoS army.

After Natfka generously posted some screens on his "What's On Your Table" Feature over on, I got some great feedback on increasing the strength of the dark areas and highlight the top most edges more.

Sometimes it's great to take photos of your models, even if you aren't blogging or sharing. You can not only get great close up views and see details you normally miss, but they can give you an 'honest' perspective on the model. This was definitely one of those cases.

After adding some more washes and thin layers of blue to the shaded areas, I also went back with some extreme gold highlights to several edges. The key here was that using an airbrush for your highlights will only get you so far - for example, I needed to add more blue around the helmet, but using celestial highlighting with an airbrush couldn't achieve that effect easily - a brush could.

I also took some time to add some more layers and detail to the Lord Celestant. First was the base, as I needed to work on something other than armor for a bit.

Really, really simple concept above, using only 3 paints. I applied GW Gorthor Brown to all the dirt and mud areas heavily, then GW Dawnstone to the rocks as a thicker than normal dry brush - focusing on only 'dry brushing' the areas that would have shadows, i.e. the sides and bottoms of the rocks. The tops pretty much got smooth, normal paint as they should be more colored in direct light. I then gave a super heavy wash with GW Agrax Earthshade and let dry. I'll end up going back and dry brushing up two more colors on the rocks to get them to almost a white in feel, and the dirt and mud will be kept dark with hints of green put to mimic moss and also the colors caused by the brush and grass I'm putting on later. My Imperial Guard army really uses just the technique above though - super quick, and super easy to paint LOADS of guardmen's bases.

Oh, and because someone asked, the base is just two large pieces of garden mulch with some sparkling or green-stuff equivalent puddy to create the feel of dirt around and between them. Then some PVA glue and different size of rail road ballast for the rocks and sand. Start with the biggest rocks, carefully placing them, then work your way down keeping each size adjacent to the larger one. I've personally found this looks better than just a container with everything mixed together and dipping the base, but to each his own.

On to the LC, still lots of work to be done on him. I am painting him in pieces (unassembled), to help make sure I can get a good coat on the clock and also cleanly paint around his helmet and torso. This means that his mount is much farther along in the paint job than he is. 

Cutting off the base portion attached to his foot was way too tedious, I should have done it before I started painting. So for now it's staying on, and I'll have to paint it separate from the rest of the base. I'm not too happy about it, but it's solid plastic and the thickest part of the model, and cutting was just not going to happen for me today. 

I hope you enjoyed the update, comments and critiques always encouraged!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Skitarii: Cult of Neptune Underwater Theme

No WIP step by steps shots for this, but one of my many half-completed projects is a Cult of Neptune themed Skitarii army, themed after a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea / Bioshock Theme. Hopefully I'll get around to converting and painting up the vehicles, as I have some cool ideas for them.

The cloaks are covered with milliput, then I used some wiring mesh to create the 'scales' pattern. The armor is a simple bronze layer with the oxide technical paint on top, that's it. Simple and quick is what I'm going for.

Comments and criticism encouraged!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Age of Sigmar: Stormcast Eternals Army Painting WIP - Celestant Dragon

While most of the ScE army is the same painting wise, the Celestant's dragon poses a unique palate opportunity, as well as a much more rough and colorful option. Doing so helps draw attention to the Lord, and helps also distinguish between the many similar-looking models in a ScE army.

In my personal opinion, you have to choose whether you want the rider or the mount to be the focus on your model. While a large enough model can have multiple points of focus, from a distance your color choices and paint scheme will draw the eyes to one point first.

For me, the model is about the Lord, and not the dragon. Knowing that the LC's armor was the light, airy-esque blue gold I'd started I wanted the dragon to fit into that scheme while also being a darker color. This way the super bright highlights on the help of the LC would be the main focal point. At the same time, the dragon couldn't be too dark, nor too contrasting a color, otherwise it would draw attention for the opposite reason as above.

Step 1: Basing Black and Washing Burgundy

Knowing I wanted the model to be darker than the LC, I went back and painted over all the skin area with black. I then mixed a custom wash of red / blue / purple to create a deep burgundy color. It look rather intense in this picture, and it also is still wet so it looks glossy. But the main effect here is what I wanted - The darkest parts of the dragon will be this color, wash with some Nuln Oil, and my layers will be thinned down enough to show this color through. 

Note on skin and base colors:  Lots of people don't know this, but the reason that some painters can achieve super realistic skin and flesh tones is because of the undercoat. By applying red, blue, yellow, or green to the model, you can drastically change the look and feel of the creatures skin. For healthy, 'good' characters some form of red or pink is a great choice. For dead characters blue works great, and for rotting characters green works well. Doing this gives the skin a feeling of 'depth' which you can't achieve in a single layer. Anyways...

After the red based dried I began picking out the transitions. The more transitions (i.e. colors) you can get on a model such as a dragon, the more 'realistic' and beautiful the model becomes. This is achieved through washes, layers, and dry brushing. 

I played around with colors in the palate I am using, and decided I wanted the beast to go from the red base, to a brown I'm using the leather of the models, to a 50/50 brown teal, to a teal which goes with the armor well. Using very thin paint and lots of reducer helps make sure that your paints don't dry too quickly but also don't become washes. We want the tops highlighted in the scales, not the recesses, so either don't thin you paint so much it runs, just enough so that it would take two or more coats to cover well - this way the base coat is showing through. 

After working through the colors, from bottom to top, I have the model at a stopping point. I also went through and repainted the horns, cloth, and other areas that were over-sprayed with my original base grey color. 

I also did some work on the base at this point, BEFORE FINAL HIGHLIGHTS, as the angle of the model is slightly different than it is intended out of the box. I also will need to add the rider before final highlights are done, as all these things influence the strength and location of those highlights. I will cut the foot off the supplied base / rock thing it comes on, and paint the base separately (again without final highlights), then put it all back together. 

I'll cover the base creation technique in a separate post. 

The whole model will now get a wash with Nuln Oil to give it some black linking, which will have a big impact on the areas where the armor meets the cloth and scales. Now to let the base dry a bit before I cut the dragon off and proceed. 

I hope you enjoyed this WIP, please leave questions and criticisms in the comments section, always looking to help and improve. 

Age of Sigmar: Stormcast Eternals Army Painting WIP 1 - Undercoating and Celestial Highlights

Note: All photos are of work in progress!!

I've personally been a little tired of the paint scheme's for Sigmarites. I know they are a new army, so the community hasn't had a lot of time to develop a diverse body of work, but I also felt that GW missed an opportunity to really offer something more angelic in a paint scheme. While gold definitely comes to mind, personally I much more imagine a softer, cooler tone to the stormcast eternals. So I set out to create this army to reflect that softer-tone.

I apologize for the bad camera and even worse lighting.

Tools used:
- Sparmax MAX 35 Airbrush and compressor
- Tamiya Acrylic paints, thinner, and reducer
- GW Washes and glazes
- Milliput
- Railroad Ballast, various sizes plus sand
- Gardening Mulch Chunks

Step 1: Base Coat / Primer

I started by priming the models with a middle grey. This was on purpose as the models top layers of paint will be effected by the base coat(s) that are applied. I want the models to be brighter, thus the avoidance of a black base. This color is almost indistinguishable from 'sprue grey', so ensuring total coverage was a tad tricky, but I did it as a batch of the entire Stormcast army from the starter box and by the time everything had one coat the first models were dry. The matte finish was much easier to see, and touch up coverage was done to finish up the models. 

Step 2: Celestial Highlight and Focus highlights

The models will have a blue/silver shadow color, which transitions to a gold highlight at the top. To help make this change more dramatic I am basing with two colors. Once the grey dried I did a celestial style highlight with white, making sure to always stay at least 45 degrees above the model. I also picked the few places I wanted the observers eyes to be drawn to, usually the head or the tips of the spikes of light, and made those solid white as well. It may be hard to tell from the image above that the step is completed, but that in some ways is the point - you are artificially creating what a larger object would naturally do with light and shadows. It should at least be easier to see greater details on the model, and the shadows appear 'deeper'.

Step 3: TMM Armor Spray

Now for the armor, I begin by doing a reverse celestial spray with a blue metallic, making sure to hit the model from the bottom angles. What I am going for here is any part of the model which is pointing down should be blue tinted. Anything which is flat facing the horizon will be silver, and anything facing up will be gold tinted, giving us the temperature feel of the lighting. I then do a top celestial spray of TMM silver, but allow the paint to also cover the areas on the sides. 
Finally, I give the top most portions a TMM light gold spray, while also using brushes at this point to edge highlight with the gold, as well as pick out points of the armor which I think should be gold regardless of angle and position. But, I greatly thin this gold step - first because it helps create the smooth transitions even when using a brush, but also so that the gold will be strongly impacted by the color underneath. So even in the tops of the shin guards, for example, the gold is cooler, while the tops of the helmet the gold has no blue tint at all, it is more white. 

For a sense of time, all of these steps took a total of about 2 hours for the entire starter box Stormiest eternals army. I can't stress how quick and easy it is to get great results from an airbrush. Many could throw a wash on and be done at this point, and your army would look great. All the future steps will require brush work, and are thus much slower. 

Hope you enjoyed the work, and please provide criticism and comments, plus questions welcome as well. More coming soon.