Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Journey Begins!

I didn't take a massive amount of photos because it was awkward going between air brushing and photographing stuff, but I think I got enough to be interesting/useful.

I started by base coating them a solid, dark blue.

You can see the little guy on the left is just blue. The guy on the right has already had the next step applied: gently airbrushing  some royal purple colour over it. I dilute the first transition colour enough that it takes a few quick passes to get an opaque coverage. Then I paint from the outside/edges of the model in, so that the outside has the most layers and thus the strongest purple colouring, and the inside the least. You can see below that it's a nice smooth transition.

I get annoyed spraying very thin paint through my airbrush (because I'm impatient when it comes to waiting for things to dry) so I mix my paint with a distilled water : matte medium 1:1 mix. This way it gains transparency, but I do not have to thin it more than I would a colour I wanted to be opaque. (Matte medium is thick but see through).

Once I had been round the edges of the main bodies I started on the tails. I want to have more than one colour transition on this so decided to have everything going to white/blue towards the back. I started right at the tip with a 1:1 mix of magic blue (VGC) and water. As I got closer to the purple and blue already on the model I thinned the colour more to get another smooth transition. I really like the VGC magical blue colour. It's very pretty, strong, and has a great texture/consistency. One of the best Vallejo paints, I very much recommend picking it up, especially if you've got an airbrush. (What with it being in a dropped bottle.) I added a couple of drops of dead white, and thinner to keep the consistency the same, and began to mist progressively less and less of the tails until I reached nearly white tips.

Now came my first ever attempt at freehand! I looked up some runes and started sketching them out on one of the models tail using my original deep blue colour. I made sure my paint was very thin, and using a 00 W&N series 7. My paint was thin enough that it was nearly dry by the time I got to the end of the line. Once I'd gotten shapes I like, I filled the lines in with a smaller layer of dead white, trying to keep some of the original line showing on the outside.


Where this didn't happen I just went back over or around the white with the original colour. It was a back and forth for a while until I got shapes I was happy with. Now with the base done, I have to work out how to make them look like their are glowing. I probably shouldn't have chosen blue for my first attempt at this, because blue is a solid opaque pigment and notoriously difficult to layer with! 

But the OSL is a matter for tomorrow. Today was a bad lot for just a couple of hours of painting.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Runes runes the musical fruit

In front of me I have six freshly basecoated Screamers of Tzeentch and an itching to do something new. I've decided to try my hand at some glowy freehand runs across their backs. I was ready to sit down and crank out another set identical to ones I had painted before, and realized that wanted to get them finished as quick and easy as possible was going to severely limit me as a painter. I have spent weeks painting my ork aircraft and learnt many things doing it - I should treat my organic models the same way I do my mechanical ones.

It took me a little while of sitting and thinking what I wanted to do. I do like the blue and white paint scheme but couldn't think of a way to make it engaging for the viewer. That's when I decided some freehand and maybe a bit of OSL would come in handy. Inspiration for both Tzeentch and freehand work comes in one handy package, the painter Ana.

Her freehand is always amazing and she has arguably the best painted Tzeentch models available for viewing. Going through her gallery steeled my nerve: it's probably going to take ages and involved scrubbing the models a few times, but I'll be damned if by the end of it I don't have my first glowy freehandy awesomey models.

In particular I like this model of hers:

If you look in the shell there are some beautiful runes in there. And I was in luck! She has on her own blog a series of photo tutorials showing you progress through the whole model, one of which shows her painting the runes from beginning to end.

Part of me - as always - just wants to dive right in and start scribbling on things. I know this won't work and I need to sit and sketch out what doddles I want on there. The temptation to do a tiny 'Tzeentch was here' on the underside of a screamer is strong, but I probably shouldn't...

I'm going to search about for some more excellent inspiration to share and a good ye olde runey resource to get designs from. I'm playing alot of Kingdoms of Amalur at the moment which is a gorgeous design resource, maybe I'll see if they have a made up rune language in there...

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Not only an amazing song but an annoying affliction. Steadily over the last two weeks my ability to sleep has drained away until I'm staying up for a couple of days in a row. On the second day I'm quite grumpy. This little sleep has left me with a dilemma; I've still got studying and so on to do and exams. But, if you've ever tried to do quantum mechanics with your brain functions 100% you'll understand why doing this with no sleep was less than appealing, and even less productive.

Some people might be able to see how much trouble I'm having writing normally. I'm trying but linking words together feels like my brain pulling out syllables through treacle and wedging the sticky mess together. The way my brain is running a lecturer could just yell 'And jabberwocks did it!' and my brain would nod and go 'omg makes so much sense'.

You know what I can do, though?


I picked up my airbrush and models for the first time in about 5 months last week, and I've been a painting MACHINE.

My ork bomber looks totally amazing so far. I'm really looking forward to finish everything and seeing what people think. Also my friend collected his DA that I had mostly painted. Unfortunately didn't have time to finish painting the army before he needed them for games and so on.

Here's some shots: click for big!

First up is the land raider. It's only a few steps past the basecoating stage. I'd just used oil paints to define  all the edges, rivets and indentations and started with the hazard stripes on the front. The metals were 99% finished on it. I'm annoyed with the pictures of the rear engine because in real life it looks really good: grimy, used, oily and smokey over the stacks.

Here's the other DA tank that I did finish, and then frosted with matt varnish :(

And finally some ork planes pictures! I've actually done a hell of a lot more work on this since the photo was taken, but this will do for now!