Posts Tagged 'painting'

Painting a Black Templar Army: Not Exactly Black and White

This weekend, I did something that I haven’t done in months and months: I actually put paint to miniature. I started working on some test models for my Black Templar army, trying to figure out my paint process (step by step, including the list of paints used – what I generally call my “recipe”) and trying to figure out how I want them to look. I find it’s best to use some test models when you start this process.

An overexposed cell phone photo of the winner of the two paint schemes

An overexposed cell phone photo of the winner of the two paint schemes

For this paint scheme (my fledgling Black Templar army) I grabbed two generic Space Marine models from the 5th edition Assault on Black Reach starter set. These models are generally easy to find on eBay and are great for starter models as they go together very quickly and are pretty easy to paint. I primed them both black with my airbrush (using Vallejo Airbrush Surface Primer) and then dusted them from above at a 45-degree angle with a dark grey of my own mixing specifically for this project (known now as the ’special sauce’). This gives the models depth, as the lighter color of paint lands on all the raised areas and then naturally fades to black in all of the areas that the airbrush doesn’t reach. This makes the model look like the shadows have been painted on, which they have been to a degree.

When I got to the iconic white shoulder pads for this army, I wanted to try a few different options. I didn’t want the white to be a flat, bright white like I frequently see on Black Templar models online. I wanted the white to be either dull or dirty in some way, and this is where starting your painting experiments with several models instead of just one starts to pay off. If you have at least two models to practice on, you can split off your ’recipe’ at some point and see which look you like better. If you only had one model you were testing on, you wouldn’t be able to compare techniques.

At this point, I’m pretty happy with the model seen above. I still need to finish the eye lenses (traditionally red for the Black Templars) and the basing colors (mainly a mud color and some small grey rocks), but once I’m happy with all of it (and have it all written down for posterity) I’ll be able to start working on the actual real models in the army and use the pictured model as an example to paint from. I’m looking forward to it.

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Proper Photos of My First Chaos Space Marine Squad

I took these photos of my finished Chaos Space Marines quite some time ago, but they’ve been sitting on my hard drive, unedited, ever since. I’m not sure what took me so long, but it’s probably one of those “out of sight, out of mind” issues. The photos were in a folder and I nearly forgot about them.

The big class photo

As you can see, I went with a Black Legion paint scheme. I worked hard to make the black not too black, yet also not grey. I also wanted the black to be a “warm” black, instead of a “cool” black. A quick rundown of my process: I prime them black, then dust them from above with a layer of medium grey. This builds in some highlights and shadows. Then I drybrush Codex Grey on the upper bits to add even more highlights.

Three Chaos dudes with bolters

I then put a GW Devlan Mud wash over the whole model to darken up the armor, and it also adds a “warmish” cast to the dark areas. This warmer cast mixes quite well with the gold trim and the bone-colored horns and whatnot. The trim on the legs is mainly all GW Bolt Gun Metal, which is a dark silver metallic.

Two “special” troopers (plasma and melta) and a regular one in the middle

The metallics are all washed with either Devlan Mud (mainly for the gold) or Badab Black (for the silver trim on the legs and the silver on the weapons) and then highlighted with the same color again after the wash dries. I’m still a pretty slow painter, so it takes me a long time, but I’m pretty happy with the results.

Three more “regulars”… a bit boring

I finish up with the same basing technique that I’ve used all throughout this army project. It ends up being a bit of a “cooler” grey ash effect with some jagged rocks thrown in for good measure. These guys have served me well since September 2011, when I actually got them finished in time for a Combat Patrol tournament. It was mainly my own forgetfulness that has kept these finished photos off of the blog until now. Unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a holding pattern on painting my Chaos Space Marine army right now, because the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 will be coming out in early July, and a new codex book for my army should be coming pretty soon after that. The issue is that I don’t know if they’re going to disband any of the units I currently use or add crazy-useful new ones or what. Therefore, I pretty much wait. And play games. And build more terrain.

Beginning the Black Legion Paint Scheme

This time of year is a bit tough for me, as work gets really, really busy in a big buildup to one huge week-long event, and then three days after that finishes, I’m on the road to GenCon. So the posting has been slow, but I’ve been keeping busy during my not-posting time. Take a look at some work in progress Chaos Space Marines painted in a Black Legion scheme:

The first three Black Legion models - a work in progress (WIP)

This is still pretty early progress. At this point, the steps go roughly as follows: they were primed black and ‘dusted’ with grey primer (as mentioned previously) and then drybrushed in the raised areas with a grey paint only slightly lighter than the dark grey primer. Then they were washed with Badab Black wash all over except for tops of heads, tops of shoulder pads, tops of arms, etc. Next, Boltgun Metal wash added to the trim on the legs, feet, gloves and backpack exhaust ports, and Burnished Gold was added to the trim on the shoulder pads. Lastly, the entire model was washed in Delvan Mud (even the areas I missed with the Badab Black) and then highlights were picked out on the metal trim areas and painted with slightly thinned versions of their original metallic colors.

I’m mostly happy with the depth that the dark grey primer and drybrushing steps added to the main ‘black’ armor areas, and the layers of black and brown washes really helped make the ‘black’ areas seem less grey, yet not totally black and flat.

Before (primed black and then 'dusted' dark grey and drybrushed in the raised areas) and after (metallic details and black and brown washes)

Next, I need to work on the boltguns, which will be mostly dark silver with some scuffed black bits, and then I need to do the non-metallic details, which are mainly skulls and horns. Both will be painted nearly the same: a basecoat of a dark brown, then an off-white coat (probably Bleached Bone from Games Workshop), then some Delvan Mud or Gryphonne Sepia washes, and then some more drybrushed highlights with the off-white color again. Then I have to figure out how I want to handle the details on the backpacks, then a final run-through and it’ll be time to do the basing, which I already have figured out.

I’m really looking figured to having these first few guys done, because once you figure out a method to your paint ‘recipe’, it makes the painting go a lot quicker. And like most Warhammer 40,000 armies, I have a lot of guys to paint. As an experiment, I’m trying to paint in smaller groups now because staring at 10 nearly-identical figures that all need to be painted assembly-line style is pretty daunting, but smaller groups of three to five is much less so. I’ll let you know how it goes.


atom smashing

A gaming blog talking about miniatures games, miniatures painting and collecting, game design and other nerdly delights.


The Statistics – 2013

Minis games played:
• WH40k (1850 pts):
   BT/GK vs Kevin (Eldar/DE) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Jason (D.E.) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Kevin (S.W.) LOST
Minis finished:
 none yet
Terrain finished:
 none yet
Cons attended:
 Fire & Ice
updated 28FEB2013

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