Thursday, 27 February 2014

Officers and Gentlemen

Hi folks, this is - I think - the penultimate Leviathan project post. This time, there are quite a lot of other people's officers in the post...

You see, aside from the two on the left in the photo above, all the officers in this post come from armies of other bloggers - friends of my client - who are having liason officers represented as part of the command staff. I think this is a cracking idea. Gaming groups are great ways to have cross-pollination of armies. The Beard Bunker has things like zombies in the colour of Charlie's Empire, giants wearing trousers made of each other's banners. All sorts. It creates lovely instant visual stories. But first, lets take a look at the ones that don't "belong" to other people.

The first two had fairly straightforward briefs, one was to be a modern British Guards redcoat and the other was simply black uniform with green accents - he has a painted on armband that is almost invisible in the shots. Both got my usual trick of seperating areas of black by changing the highlight colour (Val German Camo Black-Brown for leather and Val German Grey for cloth), as always, much more apparent in real life than through the lens. With the black uniformed chap I decided that the faux-gold epaulettes that I had been painting for the others wouldn't work. He needed silver. That meant experimenting with not-really-NMM silver. I can't I have it quite there yet, need to prat about a bit more before I am confident giving a method for cloth silver. Essentially it boils down to deep contrasts. I think I could have pulled up the highlights a bit more, especially for photography, but it looked right so I stopped. One of these days I'll have it figured.

The not-really-NMM gold that I am using for the other epaulettes has mutated into a comfortable routine of:

  1. Basecoat XV-88 (stupid bloody name, worse than the fang, it's a tan-ish yellow)
  2. Wash in Seraphim Sepia
  3. Highlight two or three time with increasing amounts of white mised in with the XV-88, at a rough guess I'd say I normally go (XV-88:White), 1:2, 1:1, 2:1
  4. Glaze with Casadora Yellow, using the wash rather than the glaze imparts a warmer tone.
  5. Rehighlight with the top mix of XV-88:White.
It most certainly isn't NMM, that requires huge effort and not a little raw talent. This is a decent analogue for making gold coloured cloth so it doesn't look like you have solid metal shoulder plates. Incidently, I was struck by how nifty the "redcoat guards" scheme looked. Goes to show, when designing colour schemes, look at real world options. Someone out there has gone to huge effort to make it look good already, steal their work!

Speaking of other people's work. These two are the first of the other bloggers army section. They are both from the Palladian Guard belonging to Colonel Scipio (really hoping I've captured the look of all these armies by the way). My client had rounded up the reference material from his mates and got them to give me a nod about what colours they had used. Often, with the change in colour palettes I had to do some colour conversion jiggery pokery but I think they've worked out. In this case the interesting thing for me was the white. Ask any painter, getting black and white to work are real bears of problems. Especially if you want it fast. Well, I might have done it. If you have a bunch of white to paint on a model like this, use the following method: Spray undercoat white; paint with a thinned coat of Celestra Grey (you want it a little thicker than a wash but not much), finish with two thinned higlights of Ceramite White. Thinning the white gives it a translucent quality that allows you to build up intensity without the dreaded chalkiness. Seemed to work. Now working over a white undercoat creates other problems. Basecoats for other colours - especially dark ones - need about three/four layers to be solid. After this experiance I recommend mixing 50:50 basecoat and black for the first basecoat. Cuts the repeats down to two, three at worst.

The next is from the Glorious Mordian 7th. I don't have a blog to link to for this one but I was sent reference material. Worth noting that the black in this one is actually much more blue than the camera detected. I used Kantor Blue to highlight the black and gave the whole thing a Gulliman Blue glaze to really "blue" the black. Of course, the first thing the lighting does is shear through those delicate glazes and goes "Here ya go buddy, black. Enjoy!"

Finally, we have two Cadians. The first is from the Cadian 127th  featuring an almost leather brown uniform (Mournfang brown, shaded with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted with the addition of Skrag Brown to the Mournfang) and a curious green made from Caliban Green highlighted with Loren Forest. I rather like it. Filed for the future. I'm fairly chuffed with how the medals came out on this chap. Might finally have cracked how to make them look like medal ribbons (mostly colour selections and only vertical stripes).

And finally one of Admiral Drax's Cadian 24th. The two greens (Castellan and Caliban) work nicely together and create a decent soldierly look (not that the others weren't). Worth noting is that the Cadian Gate and the numeral were freehanded on both. I figured it would be quicker and easier to do so than applying transfers to curved surfaces, seemed to be right. If people are curious - and are fed up of transfers - here's a slightly "how to suck eggs" guide on getting the Cadian Gate in the right place on the shoulder pad.

Slightly counter intuitively, do not start at the top and work down, just like with lettering where you want to start with the middle letter and work outward so that spacing is correct, for example "CADIA":


Meaning that you know it will fit in the space. In this case it is the circle (I think it represents Cadia itself). Place it where it should go on the pad. Start small and add more paint until it is the right size. Taking back is harder than putting on. Next paint a straight line across the top of the dot, mark a point above the midline of the line you've drawn that is the height you want the triangle. Now, using that as a guide, draw lines from the two ends of that first line to join is up. You always want to pull away from the corners as that is where the sharpest mark will be made with the brush. Do the same at the apex of the triangle to sharpen that. Finally, fill in the white and add the supports for the "roof". You'll find that the proportions are always correct even if the size varies slightly from model to model.

And with that we are done! There's only 3 or 4 of the Leviathan command staff left to go so this project is almost over. Still some eldar tankage to paint but then we'll be moving into the very last PVP commission project. Its a doozy too, a whole pile of individual Inq28 warbands and some vehicles to go with them. Can't think of a better way to finish this little adventure. Until next time folks.



  1. Fantastic work! You've really captured the look of the Palladians (and I've even picked up a few pointers on doing whites).

    I selected my colour scheme purely on fluff grounds (more of a fluff player than a painter) so it's really interesting to see the colours looked at from a technical stand, especially the white.

    Ditto for the other armies as well, it's very informative to see how they are done from the ground up by someone with no prior knowledge of a colour schemes. If theirs are anything like mine they sort of evolved over time with no definite plan.

    Thanks for the shout out and thanks for doing my beloved Palladians justice with some fantastic models. Bookmarked for future reference, a fantastic post.

    1. Glad to have been of service Colonel, Sah! *salutes*

  2. Beautiful work, man! I love how they all turned out, and am absolutely blown away by your take on an officer from my 7th. I hear ya about photographing the blue/black, it never really seems to come out quite right. Here's a link to my blog, didn't realize I'd only sent along direct reference pics earlier:

    Keep up the fantastic work!

  3. Looking great!!! I think your scheme for the 127th makes them look much grittier and battle hardened than my lighter green version. How difficult were the campaign ribbons? It's something I've thought about doing but haven't tried yet.

    And the little tutorial for the Cadian symbol may be tried in the future as well.

    Brilliant work for all of them!

    Courtney @ Cadian 127th

  4. Oh and don't suppose you have shot of the left shoulder pad for the 127th? Would like to see how you did it. Cheers.