Monday, October 12, 2020

I'm Painting My Damn Lead Pile: A Project Log


It's time. I'm going to paint all my miniatures. Or at least, I'm going to paint as many miniatures as I can before I get bored of it again. 

I have a group of around 140 that are more or less based. The first half of these are a mix of scifi and fantasy figs either recovered from my childhood Eldar and High Elf collections or haphazardly collected based more or less solely on the rule of cool. They include some space marines, some werewolf bikers, some of my favorite Bob Olley reaper sculpts, some classic Jes Goodwin Rogue Trader Eldar, and all kinds of other minis that struck me as both cheap and individually cool or interesting in some way.

The other half are a small Quar army from ZombieSmith minis. 

...and I have another probably 80-100 or so that are not yet assembled. 

The plan is to experiment and improvise as much as necessary to keep it interesting for as long as possible. I would like to challenge myself to experiment a bit more drastically with methods and approaches, and I don't really care whether I have a highly polished final result in the end.

The inspirations I'm following right now are: 

Here's where I'm at so far.

Lingering Projects

There were a few minis that had already been greyscale underpainted and then colored with oils last year. They just needed some finishing touches, like a few washes, a couple highlights, teeth, eyes, and a drybrush of silver ink.

This wraithguard was mostly painted by my friend as a learning figure. I just did a couple final details and the base. The guardian was done using Dana Howl's Cyberpunk Necron scheme, except using glazes mixed with metallic inks instead of color changing paints. Both of these models received a zenithal splatter of gold ink to provide a more pronounced, shimmery texture to the highlights.

First Batch, step by step

Next I selected a small group of models more or less at random to try out a spray paint gradient using Montana Gold acrylic spray paints.

I sprayed these with deep purple red from below and shrimp from above...

...followed by a zenithal drybrush of white ink.

In preparation for the oil washing stage, I give any detail areas a value sketch in greyscale. Then I establish any OSL gradients using white ink glazes, and basecoat any metallic areas in silver ink. 

At this point I mix up a few different oil washes--a dark purple-black, a magenta, a warmer brown and a cool brown--and apply them thickly all over the models.

Next, I clean away all excess wash using cotton swabs, bringing back the original value near the highlights but leaving the washes in the crevasses and blending them out. I go back with more intensely colored washes for some areas, including the OSL on the warlock's sword and eyes.

Unfortunately my oil paints are breathtakingly cheap and the pigments are not intense enough to easily provide much coverage, so I switched back to acrylics to do some touch-up on details and highlights, plus some finishing touches like a last, gentle dry-brush using some of the various lightest tones remaining on my wet palette, some silver dry-brushing, and a very light zenithal gold splatter.

Upcoming Batches

I thought this group might look good with a greener gradient--signal blue from below and malachite from above followed by a couple successive drybrushes of yellow (liquitex yellow orange azo) and white inks.

I'm finding that drybrushing with translucent inks like yellow can lead to some incredible filters on the vibrant spray paint colors. The translucency can be modulated with the white ink (liquitex titanium white). 

These quar demonstrate this really well. I went signal blue from below and shrimp from above, resulting in a somewhat jarring blue to orange gradient. However, a few quick drybrushes served to desaturate the orange and filter some of the blue shadows to a really lovely green. This results in a lot of smooth tonal variation and definition on the figure with very little effort expended. I haven't had to apply multiple coats of anything, or lay down a single basecoat and these already feel almost table ready to me--but I know if I take a few minutes with oils I'll be able to easily add spot colors and reinforce the darker values to create even more visual interest.

Finally, I have another group of Eldar that are mostly underpainted. I'm going to go back to value sketch the gems and OSL effects, then try some more variations on the Cyberpunk Necron method.

Hopefully I'll have some more for you soon. Take care out there.