Tuesday 29 November 2011

Dark Eldar Diorama – Scourge Wings Step-by-step

I promised to post a step-by-step on the wings ages ago but I've only just painted them this last week. All the paints used were from Games Workshop.

1. Base colour: Dheneb StoneWash: Gryphonne Sepia + Ogryn Flesh mix
Things are rough & ready at this stage.

2. Wash: Baal Red
Beginning to refine the wash in the crevices between the fingers with several diluted washes. Let each wash dry thoroughly before reapplying. Paint the veins in with thinned down Baal red. Begin to build up a stippled effect in the shaded areas.

3. Wash: Baal Red & Gryphonne Sepia
Continue to build up the stippled effect with Baal Red. Wash the arm, hand and fingers with Gryphonne Sepia. One again it gives a more subtle effect if you apply several dilute washes in stages.

4. Wash: Baal Red & Gryphonne Sepia
Highlight: Dheneb Stone & Dheneb Stone + Skull White mix
Continue to build up the washes and stipple effects. Highlight around the edges of the veins with Dheneb Stone and Dheneb Stone + Skull White mix. Keep the lighter tones towards the edge of the wing.

5. Highlight: Dheneb Stone, Dheneb Stone + Skull White mix, Skull White
Highlight the fingers keeping the lightest tones to the tips & knuckles.
Build up the highlights on the arms. Washing with a Baal Red & Gryphonne Sepia mix.
Highlight the wings with several very thin layers of dilute Dheneb Stone + Skull White mix. Keep the lightest shade at the edges of the wings. This ‘glazing’ of light tones will also knock back and soften the look of the veins.

6. The outside of the wings are painted using the same sort of process as the front but using a slightly stronger colour mix and bigger dots in the stippling. These are applied using a cocktail stick.

UPDATE 02.01.2012
As an addition to this step-by-step I’d like to present an illustrated guide to stippling. It’s something I get asked about on a fairly regular basis so I guess there needs to be a bit of explaining done and it’s easier to show rather than just tell.

Spots before your eyes – a guide to stippling

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Dark Eldar Diorama – Scourge 2

I’ve put some time into painting the Dark Eldar Scrouge this week and made quite a bit of progress. So far so good but I’m itching to get the wings finished as they will really change the dynamic of the whole mini. 

I’m really enjoying experimenting with the brown/orange & blue/grey colour palette. I’ve always liked using warm/cool colour contrasts but using them to create a warm shadow/cool highlight effect is (for me) a totally new approach.  

This approach is inspired by the idea of reflecting the earth tones from below and the sky from above as seen in NMM. The trick has been in finding a way to do this that felt like a natural development of my own style rather than just copying the work of others. Things seemed to click when I started to work up from a brown base coat. I initially intended the overall look to have a far more neutral/greyish tone to it but as I worked the brown/blue contrast started to pop and that felt right for how I like to use colour.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Know your Snow!

Once I’d decided to give my diorama a winter theme I searched online to see what information was available on materials and techniques. There seems to be a general consensus on the best materials to create a realistic snow effect and this was a huge help in narrowing down my options.  I decided to test out Micro balloons, Bicarbonate of Soda and Crushed Glass to see for myself how they compared.
All these materials come in a powder form and proper safety precautions need to be followed to avoid getting then in your eyes or inhaling then.
For the purpose of this test all three materials were mixed with Games Workshop’s water effects and applied to a plain black plastic base with a small paintbrush. All three of these initial tests were mixed to a relatively fluid paste and a drier mix would give a bulkier more textured finish.
My initial reaction is that all three are perfectly good solutions and give an excellent snow effect. They each have characteristics that give distinct finishes.

Micro Balloons form a lightweight white powder that could easily get very messy as the slightest breath can send it flying. Once mixed with the water effects I found this one the easiest of the three to apply as it flowed very easily. This also meant that it had a tendency to settle and smooth itself out. There was also quite a bit of shrinkage as it dried. It dried to a bright white, fine-grained, matt finish.

Bicarbonate of Soda is far the cheapest solution. Once mixed with the water effects this looked the least promising as it formed a translucent gloopy sludge! However appearances can deceive as it became much more opaque when it dried out and developed a slightly shiny/sparkly finish. 

Crushed Glass had the largest particles and was trickiest of the three to apply. The crushed glass dried to a translucent sparkly finish and has a distinctly icy look to it.
Next it was decision time and that was fairly easy! The crushed glass had exactly the cold icy look to it that I wanted. I further experimented with different mixes of water effects and crushed glass to compare the finishes.  A is the driest and D the most fluid.

Finally I tried applying a little water effects to the base around the edges of the crushed glass before it had fully dried.

This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive ‘how to’ guide but rather an account of my own experiments as I explored several possible solutions. One thing that became swiftly apparent was that the permutations were many and I have in no way explored them all.

For more info on using crushed glass take a look at this tutorial from Secret Weapon Miniatures