Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Metallics Tutorial: Painting the IVth

I’ve had a few requests to detail how I’ve painted my latest project – 30K MKIII Iron Warriors. I figured I’d put together a brief tutorial here, hopefully reviving my hobby blog in the process. I’ve got a few projects that are actually proceeding at reasonable rates, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll have some fresh material to update at a more frequent pace than “annually”…

First, Forge World has got me back into Warhammer with these models. Forge World and the crew that puts on the 30K events at AdeptiCon. I haven’t had the inclination to do an “army” in some time, but that has definitely changed with the advent of 30K gaming.

I chose Iron Warriors as I’ve always been a fan of siege warfare. I used to spend hours designing fortresses for AD&D back in grade school. In college, our EPIC Space Marine games generally centered around massive sieges. Plus, I enjoy painting metallics, particularly weathered metal, metal well-worn from campaigning in the harshest environs. So, put those two things together and there wasn’t much of a choice for me- it was to be the IVth! I also hate the Imperial Fists.
Airbrushing complete.

I start with three shades of Vallejo airbrush metallics - a base, then two highlights. The last highlight going on at a 45 degree angle, so I'm just hitting the highest surfaces. I'm attaching a pic of what they look like after airbrushing. The trick here is to paint them much brighter (shinier?) than you might think appropriate. This allows you much more leeway in toning down the shine with the next steps. It is much easier to bring down bright metal than it is to go back and brighten it.

About 80% done here.
Then, I do maybe 14-15 very thin washes. I have some special mixes I use, like a blue/grey and a burnt sienna. I typically use some Golden Fluid Acrylics for my initial washes ( They have a sort of interesting opaqueness that, when thinned down, works really well to “flatten” metallic paint. The GW Devlan Mud is also in there, thinned down. I mix in some different colors to get more interesting tones, like greens and purples. Each wash has to dry completely, so it takes a while. The end goal here is to create an almost “metallic non-metallic” look. By that, I mean that the actual metallic paint is so toned down and muted with acrylic washes that it looks very flat.

Another “trick” (and anyone who has taken my metallics class at AdeptiCon knows this) is to add a very small amount of white/PVA glue into the wash mix. This helps hold the wash in the recesses and add to the “flatness” of the finish.

Once that's done, I freehand the chevrons and do the gold/bronze detailing. The gold gets its own set of washes, including some patina/verdigris. I also hit some of the edges of the iron with highlights.

"Finished" model - until I decide to mess with it again.
I’m using the always fantastic Dragon Forge Design ( trench bases. I think the rotten wood and mud makes for a nice counter-point to all the metals on the Legionaries. Plus it sorta seems like siege works – perhaps just outside the False Emperor’s Palace on Terra?

These are “gaming models.” I guess this means that I spent less time on them than I would have if they were going to be “competition models.” But anyone who has ever seen Chris Borer’s or Damon Drescher's “gaming models” knows that time spent is all relative. I’m happy with the way these are coming out in relation to the time, and I’m starting to feel optimistic about finishing a smallish army. I even have a Rhino ready to build. I’ll continue to post about the force all the way up to AdeptiCon 2016. As always, thanks for reading and any comments are welcome.

Edit: I'm posting a few of the screen caps from 'Excalibur' that I used for reference. I've always loved the aesthetic of this film and the "undead" knights scared the shit outta me as a kid. I tried to pay a little homage to the gritty look the plate armour had.