So, after nearly soiling myself with glee, I’ve sat down, beer and paints at the ready, and started to paint Angron, the primarch of the World Eaters legion. I’m not going to lie; he was pricey, as minis go, but I can’t say I regret the decision. Sure, clicking the buy button was a bit painful, but as I try to brainstorm justifications that my wife will surely need in order for me to purchase a titan without suffering dire consequences, I’m beginning to think it only hurts the first time… I’m normally a Privateer Press guy, and I can’t deny that as soon as I have access to my Conquest and an airbrush again, that shit is getting painted, but this Angron model is gorgeous. I’m happy to say, I got what I paid for. That said, I’ll be breaking this unit into 3 articles.
Preparation and Priming
I’d like to comment quickly on the fact that I’m not going to do much writing on the subject of assembly. It’s just not in the cards. Frankly, I wanted to get this guy together and get painting. I also figured that I didn’t have much to add to the “how to work with resin” conversation. If you’re curious, you can check out the reference (Forgeworld) at the bottom of this entry. In short, just remember that thorough prep work for any painting project is rarely wasted, and this goes double for resin jobs.
In any event, the old boy is put together, but not completely. I fully assembled his body, leaving the cape off. It’ll just be easier to get to those hard to reach places. (Editor’s Note: *wink wink*) Additionally, I pinned him to a temporary “holding stub.” You’ll see what I mean by that in Figure 1. I highly recommend this approach for anything that you really want to paint to a high standard. The process is just like pinning any other piece. To see information on this process, see reference (ThePaintingClinic, 2012).
Now down to brass tacks, let’s put paint to mini. I’m starting off by priming him a dark grey. Specifically I’m using P3 Ironhull Grey. I’ve become a fan of most of P3’s line over the last year or two. Don’t get me wrong though; there are plenty of other brands in my paint box. You can do as well with Reaper and Vallejo Model color, and in some cases a bit better. Really, you’re going to have to try different lines and see what works best for you. I always try to stop in local game stores if I’m visiting a town and I normally pick up a few paints. It’s partly a chance to try new things, and partly to support the biz. Anyway, I’m using Ironhull Grey because I don’t have anywhere to spray paint. If you’re going the spray primer route, check out Storyboard primer. You’ll be a better person if you do. Seriously, other people will like you more when they hear what you used to prime your minis.
I mainly espouse the use to two types of blending, those being wet blending and the layering of glazes. To a lesser extent, I make use of dry-brushing, but only circumstances where I feel that the resulting texture is appropriate for the visual effect I’m trying to create. In addition to blending, like so many other hobbyists who want a decent look to their miniatures while operating on time constraints, I also use washes and ink lining.
While writing, I’ve come to the realization that if I describe the techniques I used each time I applied a new color to Angron, this article series would quickly grow entirely too large. So in this first article, I’m going to carefully describe, in as much detail as I am able, what I mean when I refer to any of the techniques I described above. Along the way, I’ll link to references that I’ve found helpful so that you can get more information at your leisure.
Wet blending refers to any number of techniques wherein two colors are mixed, while still wet, directly on the surface of the miniature. The two ways that I’ve used on Angron are what I’ve come to call on-brush blending and on-surface blending, hereafter referred to as OB blending and OS blending.
OB blending is a technique used extensively by Marike Reimer. You can see a link to her video in the cool mini store in (Reimer, 2013) at the bottom of this article. I regret to say that the video isn’t free to download, but it is a wonderful reference to have if you’re serious about this painting gig.
OB blending is exactly what it sounds like. The two colors to be blended are placed directly on to the brush, which is then applied to the miniature’s surface to be blended. This is done in two steps.
In the first step, the two colors are “blocked out” on the miniature’s surface. By this, I mean that the two colors are painting on the surface and left to dry. This stage is motivated primarily by the need to mark where the two tones (shade and highlight) are to me located on the miniature, no attempt is made to smooth the gradient in between the two colors. I’m going to get a bit technical here, but think of “blocking” as simply painting isotherms onto your miniature’s surface, with the gradient running perpendicular to the boundary of the “block/isotherm”. You can see a representation of a “blocked” surface in Fig. 2a.
In the second step, the brush is loaded, first with the color that will be physically closest to the painter’s hand (that is, the one that needs to be higher on the brush). The tip is then dipped in the color furthest from the painter’s hand. Often times I’ve found that this will be the shade tone, but this is not always the case. Once the brush is loaded, the tip is aligned with the border of the color “block” with the central axis of the brush perpendicular to the “block’s” border as shown in Fig 1a. The brush is then drawn along the border to create a smooth gradient between the two colors as shown in both Fig 2b and Fig 2b.
You’ll note here, that this technique uses both the tip and the side surface of the brush, so it takes a bit of practice.
In OS blending, the “blocks” are applied to the miniature’s surface and then feathered together all while the colors are still wet. A good description of the process can be found in (Stariha, 2013).
Both techniques are great to have available when you need them as, in my experience, neither is appropriate for all situations. Often times OS is quicker to apply and easier to apply to highly textured areas, but may require the use of drying retarder additives. This can dramatically slow down the overall process if you’re not careful. Also both types of blending are not often easy to perform on small details like faces.
The Layering of Glazes
The layering of glazes, or sometimes simply called layering, is a technique used to create smooth gradients. In this technique, the gradient is achieved by painting on the “blocks” using thin glazes of paints. A glaze is similar to a wash in that the pigment has a translucent quality to it, but is applied evenly across the surface of the miniature and not in sufficient quantity to achieve “puddling” in the recesses of the miniature’s detail. In fact, this should be avoided. A glaze may be mixed by simply thinning down your paint until it becomes translucent. Fig 3 demonstrates the concept of the technique.
If this process is repeated enough and between colors whose differences in pigmentation are very small, a truly smooth gradient may be approximated. This process really shines when very sharp gradients need to be achieved with a very high precision. As such, I use it most on faces and other sharp details. This technique is quite common and a number of free resources widely available and a quick Google search will yield a number of great resources.
Drybrushing, Washes, and Lining
I’ve heard a lot of very serious painters say that the use of washes, inks, and dry-brushing is some how a “lesser” form of painting. These people are dicks. There is no lesser form of painting toy soldiers. Do what you enjoy and what you think looks good. End rant…
With that out of the way, the first two of these techniques are very common, and as with layering, there are more tutorials on the web than I can shake a stick that I just used to beat Matt Ward at. So Google them. No really, go do it now.
As a note, lining is essentially “conservative washing”. Simply apply the wash or ink only in the recesses of the details and nowhere else so as to avoid the change in pigmentation of the rest of the surface. You can also apply a normal wash, and then use a Q-tip to wipe away ink or wash that has deposited on surfaces that you don’t want darkened. And as you’ve Googled washing and drybrushing, you know what I mean.
I’ll have more info and get into the gritty details of painting Angron in the coming days!