Monday, August 24, 2009

Fire Warriors Start to Finish Part 2

After getting the beginning of the bases done the next step in painting my fire warriors was their fatigues. This section of the model was the obvious choice as, like most painters, I prefer to work from the most recessed areas of the model to the highest. I call it working "inside out" but that is kind of misleading without an explanation.

I also only like to work in one color if I can help it. Meaning that I will base, shade, and highlight a color to completion before I move on to the next color. This is not always possible, as you will soon see even on these fire warriors, but I try to do as much as I can with each color. This preferential method is mostly just based of me liking to have all the different tones of the color I am working in at the ready, in case I make a mistake or miss a spot. I also like the sense of accomplishment from knocking another color out.

The down side of this style of working is that, after the first build, any other base coats or shades that are adjacent to a finished color have to be applied very carefully. This is where working inside out is not only handy, but almost necessary. You don't want to have a brush full of paint trying to get at those deeply sunken spots near a finished color if you can help it.

I use my GW Basecoat brush and some VGC Sombre Gray. I like the VGC a lot for this project. I am also quite fond of, and use quite often, the P3 line from Privateer Press. What VGC has over Privateer for this project is just that the color progression I am using already exists within their line, so I will not have to do very much mixing. This was done on purpose, as I need the rank and file models to move quickly and not make me feel bogged down. Other than the aforementioned, I also use two jars of water (One for washing my brush and the other for clean water.), a couple of folded paper towels, the GW cutting mat to protect the table from paint (This works for shit consequently and my wife has made me order the GW painting station. She intends to refinish the table I paint on because of all the colored spots.), and a huge friggin pallet. My painting pallet is eight round painting wells with long rectangular wells adjacent to each of the round ones. The reason for this vast acreage of paint holding and mixing surface? I am lazy, and do not like to clean my pallet. When the time to clean finally does come it involves a lot of scrapping, chipping, and plenty of swearing.

Basing the Fatigues

I base the fatigues as well as the sunken area of the Tau ingisnia on the left shoulder with VGC Sombre Gray. I use this gray a lot because I like how cool the tonality is. I am not a huge fan of the other darker gray in the VGC line (The name escapes me but it is the Codex Gray equivalent from Citadel.) as it is kind of flat. If I were looking for a warmer gray I would have to go to P3 Bastion Gray, which is also a very nice color. I digress, cool tones are what I am going for with these fatigues as the water theme of the Tau translates in my mind as cooler colors. Even though these are fire warriors...

From Stuff I Have Painted

I was looking for total coverage here, with no black showing. My high light colors are pretty bright so I knew the Somber Gray would be dark enough. Even in this stage, where I am just looking for coverage, I still add some water to my paint. You are going to hear this a lot from me, and I too was once a non-believer, but water and additives will speed up your painting. It only took two coats to get the coverage in the picture above, and you can already see that by thinning the paint I have some shade gradation in the recesses of the model. Make sure to use a Basecoat or similarly sized brush on this step. You want to be able to work quickly and have a lot of paint in the brush as you go.

First Highlight

I switch up brushes here, to the Citadel Standard brush. This brush is actually about all the smaller I will use. It can hold the same tip as any of the finer ones and holds far more paint. I know a lot of painters, especially starting out, who do far too much with those smaller brushes. I know I wasted a lot of time constantly having to dip back into the color that I was using, sometimes having to stop mid-line in a highlight. As this is a hobby, really you can do what you like. But I would challenge anyone reading this to try and put a tip on a bigger brush and use it in place of the Detail or Fine Detail brushes for most of the work that you would normally use the smaller ones on. Eyes and things of that ilk are a different animal. I know people who can use larger brushes for these things but I am not one of them. So the smaller brushes sometimes still do get work from me. If you give a bigger brush a chance I don't think you will be disappointed, and you can save yourself like 16 bucks. (If I am right feel free to use some of the money you saved on sending me six packs of Newcastle and letters of endearment.)

Using the Standard brush I just painted the raised areas of the fatigues with VGC Steel Blue placing my "light source" as coming from the top. Admittedly I have a little bit of a crush on this color and try to work it into as many things as possible. Keeping the paint wet is really helpful in this step so I have actually added some VMC Matte Medium to the paint as well as water. The medium works as a flow releaser and increases the opacity of the color, making it a slightly smoother blend. It should be noted that any blend that only uses three colors, like mine, is going to be abrupt. I am going for economy of time on these, so by using wet paint it at least smooths the blend slightly on each coat, causing it to look a little less abrupt.

From Stuff I Have Painted

What isn't shown is that I did not highlight the recessed area of the Tau symbol on the shoulder. I am going to leave this be for now, as any work I do on it runs the risk of getting muddled by the armor base coat and wash that it will be getting when the time comes.

Final Highlight

The final color in this build is VGC Ice Blue. This color is a little grayer than the Citadel paint with the same name so, if for whatever reason you were looking to recreate this scheme using Citadel paints, it may look slightly different. Again I used my Standard brush, making sure that it has its point. In this step I also thinned the Ice Blue down a lot further than any of the other colors. I hear a lot of painters say that they thin to the consistency of milk. I'm not gonna lie, that has always really pissed me off. What percentage of milk? Milk form what animal? We drink skim milk at my house, though I would rather drink paint, so what I can say is that my paint is thicker than skim milk, but not by a lot. As far as what I thin the paint with? Clean water and VMC Matte Medium, just like in the last step.

From Stuff I Have Painted
From Stuff I Have Painted

I used the thinned Ice Blue to bring up the highest spots on the fatigues, as well as force a few highlights where I liked them. This looks really bright on the models, and in the photography, but there are a few things that may change that. The green of the armor will match a lot of the tones of the fatigues, blending them down a little so it is not as stark a comparison as it is now against the black primer. Also the Purity Seal will bring it all together a little more as well. I am still a little wary, and fully prepared to hit this with a very watery VGC Somber Gray wash if the highlight still is that abrupt once the model is finished. Time will tell, but I think we will be alright.

For now, we are gonna call this color build done (except for the Tau symbol on the shoulder which will have to be revisited.) and move on to the armor. Which will be taken on in the next installment.

If you take nothing else away from this remember, big brushes and wet paint. Think of the sign, only the "Caution" isn't against wet paint, but for going forward without it.

Thanks for reading,

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