Saturday, 8 January 2011

Blood Angels update and a scroll painting tutorial

Greetings all, thought I'd bring you all up to speed with how project Blood Angels is going for me.

Given that they are a weekend and "drying time" only project they are proceeding apace! Just finished are the second Assault Squad and the Death Company. Lets check out the raving nutters of the Death Company first hmm? Might upset them otherwise:

I painted each of these individually rather than as a batch. Partially because I was working on these while waiting for commission models to dry and partially because they are all so individual that I would have missed details if I had tried to churn them out.

I have already written about methods used in painting the Death Company in the original post on the subject so I'll not go through it all again, instead I'll talk about any interesting features that have arisen. For example, the skin on the model above. I've been vaguely dissatisfied with the skin I have been painting lately, something was missing. I decided, as an experiment, to add more contrast and a glaze layer to tie in the highlighting stages. If you are following the current Book of Jeff method for skin add a thin Devlan Mud wash to the eye sockets, nose shade and mouth. In addition, once the initial highlighting is done glaze the face with thin Ogryn Flesh and re-highlight. This does add about five layers to the skin painting but is worth it for models that need to have the face stand out. I wouldn't - for example - use this method on every one of a 30 strong unit of halbardiers, Space Marines though are so small in number that it is worth putting the extra effort in.

This is just a piece of colour blending that I happen to be very happy with. The smooth transitions on the gem and saltire were simply thinned paint "feathered" to avoid hard edges. Feathering is a technique where you take a clean, damp brush and remove some of the wet paint from an edge. It is incredibly hard to explain, I am currently trying to figure out how to keep my camera focussed on the model while I work so I can put up a video tutorial. Harder than it looks.

Here, I thought I would talk about oath papers and the like, when magnified like this they can look very scrappy so I've posted a near as damnit actual size picture below so you get the idea of how they look on the finished piece:

Generally when people teach how to do writing on scrolls and the like they say "just paint a bunch of wiggly lines". Unfotunately this looks like example 1 below:

It's just too regular, looks ok but not "right". Contrast that with Example 2, this has been painted identically to 1 except that breaks have been inserted to simulate words. Be careful to think of a passage of text while doing this otherwise your words will end up the same length and you won't improve on example 1. I used the opening of "Jerusalem" as my text (And did those feet in ancient times, walk upon England's mountains green) but anything will work from Shakespeare to Smells Like Teen Spirit. This instantly gives a more believable appearance. This is what I do for purity seals, no point going any further there. If you have a bit more space you can add pseudo capitals at intervals as on example 3 (mine were on 'And' and 'England's'). This improves matters further, an easy final step is to add tails and stalks to the lines to indicate b's; p's; q's; t's; k's; etc. Again, use the text in your head to imply placement as you won't get it right automatically. Example 4 now looks like text rather than lines. Going as far as 4 is only necessary when you have a nice big scroll or a tank to paint on. Well with that class out for recess we are on to the Assault Squad:

Again, this is the second Assault Squad I have posted so I will stick to the details and areas of interest. Firstly, the sergeant's sword:

I don't have a lot of time for the Sanguinary Guard in the army. The models however, are just gorgeous and bits of them turn up everywhere. The torsos and wings are on the vanguard veterans, the legs are on the death company and the weapons are on the assault sergeants. Like the previous squad I wanted to paint the power weapon like Asteroth's axe. Following the advice Eavy Metal gave and adapting it to the sword gave another nice weapon crackling with electricity. I like to think of these weapons as being obsidian - black in mourning for their lost Primarch - that leap into charged life when a son of Sanguinius grips the hilt.

Just a nice pose, it is cool sometimes to shout "to hell with what the model is supposed to have" and just go with what looks funky. So long as you are clear about what the model is supposed to be and thus can expect what it is capable of it is all good. For example, putting a second sword on this figure changes nothing in rules terms. Putting a meltagun on him when he does not have it does change matters. Show good judgement and your opponant shouldn't mind. If they do... find another opponant!

The kneeling marine is pausing to check the readings for the way ahead. Just as faces draw the eye and thus should be carefully painted, little screens do the same. People always look at the scanners to see if they can see anything in them, so it is a good idea to make sure they can! In this case a base coat of Dark Angels Green with thin lines of Scorpion Green highlighted with Scorpion Green and white make up the base of the screen. Mixing a little red with the green mix gives a subtly different tone for the blips while not making them stand out too much. A wash of Thraka Green to tone everything down and then a flood of 'Ardcoat (gloss varnish) once dry finished the job. On that note, when using varnish to indicate glass or gems use lots, a thin coat leaves brush strokes, a pool has its own surface tension to smooth it off perfectly.

Finally, it wouldn't be me without a little weathering. Drybrush stippling a little black around the vents gives them a sense of scorching that fits nicely with the image of the jump packs. I am still debating whether to go back when the army is finished and add dust and paint chips. Not sure yet, jury's out.

So where does this leave us in the overall project? Well the original 2000 point list is below (it has expanded to 3k so I can get everything I want in it):

And below is the list with strikeouts on everything I have currently painted.

Next up is the second Tactical Squad to get all the "basic" troop types out of the way. I usually do this to force myself to get the bulk of the work complete before I paint the shineys. I will also paint that librarian I converted as that will give me a legal army for smaller points games. Next update though will be a bumper one with all the Death Korps I have been working on, till then:



  1. Great job on the Death Company, but I have to say the weathering is by far my favourite. Congrats.

  2. I love your blog. This is a cool site and I wanted to post a little note to tell you, good job! Best wishes!!!