I’d planned to keep the details of this project fairly close to my chest because I’m painting it for my next workshop ‘Dirt, damage and decay - weathering a Kastelan Robot‘. However, as the workshop has been postponed (for obvious reasons), I’ve decided to share my progress in more detail. I’ll also be posting a series of tutorials, focused on different aspects of the weathering, over the coming weeks.
Why a Kastelan Robot?
My choice of model for this project has been a long process. The weathering workshop grew out of my previous Abyssal Warlord workshop. That was focused on painting the amour and especially on texture and damage. I’ve been on the lookout for a model that:
- had lots of armour/hard surfaces;
- was lighter and easier to handle than the warlord (he’s very heavy!); and
- was more economical to use as a workshop model.
I very nearly settled on the Easy To Build Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought. But then I took a closer look at the Kastelan Robots and they fit the pill perfectly! In addition to meeting my criteria they had the benefit of being particularly appropriate for a weathering workshop. The model represents a ‘huge ancient robot built ten thousand years ago’ so it’s more than likely to have picked up a scratch or two. On a more personal note, with it’s rounded form and curved surfaces, the aesthetics of the Kastelan appealed to me more than the boxy Dreadnought.
With the model selected it was time to think about how I was going to approach painting it for the workshop. Broadly speaking this meant how much and what type of weathering was I going to demonstrate. Over the years I’ve expanded my repertoire of weathering effects and I wanted to go well beyond what I’d demonstrated in the Abyssal Warlord workshop. Off the top of my head, the Kastelan afforded me the opportunity to explore corrosion in the form of rust and verdigris, dirt, staining, battle damage and general wear and tear. I decided to go all out and maybe even over-the-top with the weathering. This would enable workshop participants to thoroughly explore the subject, it would also be fun!
The very first thing I did was to sit down and make some notes. These are simply a series of random jottings on my thoughts for things like techniques, materials, colours and the workshop’s structure. As and when I have a relevant idea it will get added to my notebook so that it’s not forgotten. And then it was time for my least favorite part of any project, preparing the model for painting.
Preparing the model.
If there’s one drawback with my choice of model it’s that there are a lot of parts to prepare and assemble! However, I think the model is worth the effort required. The process was a straightforward enough matter of following the instructions. But first I removed the mould lines by using a scalpel to scrape them away and then lightly sanding them with fine grit sandpaper. I like to wet sand a plastic model because I think it gives a smoother finish; it also stops dust getting into the air.
It’s well worth taking some time to study the instructions before you start, because later parts often cover up the mould lines on earlier parts as you assemble the model. This can save a lot of time and it’s most frustrating to carefully clean a part only to discover that it gets covered up! The same principal applies to gap filling. A little bit of planning and test fitting can go a long way towards making the job easier!
It’s also a good idea to think about the model’s pose early in the process. The Kastelan allows some degree of choice in the final pose so you need to consider the situation and setting the model will be in as well as the overall composition. You want to create something interesting and dynamic but you also need to be mindful of how easy (or not) the pose will be to paint. It was at this stage that I decided to leave the arms off and paint them as sub-assemblies. This would enable me to access the side areas of the model. I also considered keeping the legs separate for painting but decided against this. I wanted to establish the pose before I had committed to painting, and the relationship between the legs, hips and torso was crucial. It was more straightforward to assemble these parts unpainted. All in all I found the model quicker and easier to assemble than I’d expected and I’m very pleased with the pose I’ve created.
To prime or not to prime!
It was time to start painting and that meant I had to consider primer and basecoat. I know it still shocks some people that I don’t always prime my models before painting. This is very much my own personal preference not some rampant crusade against priming! I want as few layers of paint between myself and the detail as posible! I make my decisions on a model-by-model basis.
My models will not be handled once finished so I don’t need a primer to help protect them from wear and tear. For me primer is most useful in helping the paint adhere to the surface of a model. This is only really an issue on large surface areas which can be more difficult to cover with a basecoat alone, and may be prone to rubbing during the painting process.
In the case of the Kastelan I decided to go without primer. Although it’s quite a large model (for me) it’s made up of a lot of smaller surfaces and I didn’t anticipate any problems with paint coverage. When I paint a basecoat onto a model I prefer to use Citadel base paints, slightly diluted and applied in three to four thin coats. The first coat will look like a patchy mess but, as long as each coat is thoroughly dry, the coverage gets better with each successive coat.
|The ugly truth! These are my basecoating brushes. |
I've used them on all my slayer sword winning models!
I apply the paint with a dabbing (dare I say stippling) action. Spreading the paint as far as it will go before I reload my brush. A little dilute paint can go a very long way and this will help to ensure the finished result is smooth and even. The Kastelan posed a particular challenge to this process because the model has a lot of nooks and crannies. Getting paint into all these tricky areas took a lot of concentration and was a little frustrating. Repeatedly checking the model under different lighting and studying it from every angle are the best ways to deal with the issue. It’s very important to spend time and effort getting a good basecoat down. You do not want to be finding any spots of unpainted plastic halfway through a project!
In my next posting I’ll be looking at my choice of a colour palette and how I use that to create an overall color scheme for my Kastelan Robot.