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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Painting "The Hammers" and "Rhino" Part 1

It's time for me to get back to what this blog should have been about in the first place: my hobby.

It's dead easy to take a pop at the big games companies out there. When an organisation reaches a certain size, accumulates a particular mass, or otherwise grows to the point where their customers develop a sense of ownership, then your entire operation is more or less available for scrutiny by Joe Internet et al. I never intended to become one of those naysayer, herophobic people that use the net to criticize those that create and so it's goodbye to vitriol, (for a while at least).

I actually paint, build and play a lot more than my blog entries would suggest. It's just that there are so many other great hobby blogs out there, (A gentleman's ones and Colonel Schofer's OCD model blog to name but a few!) that I didn't see where my humble talents really fit in. I now appreciate the fact that blogging isn't about 'Cool mini or not' level painting on every outing. Many people can produce great hobby articles without actually producing something of the 'Chest of Colours' calibre, although that isn't to say that we should stop trying...

I haven't done a painting article since the Axis robots, so it's time to return to my favourite boardgame, Dust Tactics to share my first attempt at using an airbrush to paint small, heroic scale figures, (Obviously, I can't use the airbrush to paint every single part of the model, but it's still a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal!). What

I will warn you, is that this is not a tutorial! It's just a log of my experiments with airbrushing. If you want a fantastic airbrushing tutorial, then watch the Andrea Miniatures video where they paint 'The Old Fiddler'. This article is 'warts and all'. I've documented my mistakes, so that other novices can learn from them.

Here's the paint list:

Yellow Olive
Gunship Green
Medium Olive
Lightgreen blue
Flat Brown
Flat Earth
Oily Steel
USA Olive Drab
Khaki Grey
Medium Fleshtone
Flat Flesh
Vallejo thinner medium

Thraka Green wash
Devlan mud wash

Before starting this experiment, I looked for info regarding the exact tone used for the primer. The closest match that most people suggested was 'Catachan Green', but I found that Vallejo Olive, (while noticeably darker than the primer) just suited me better.

Step 1: I mask the decals with Blu-tac.

Always have some Blu-tac on hand when airbrushing. It's more malleable and versatile than masking tape, but remember, tape will always give you a crisper, neater pattern than Blu-tac, (see my 'Axis robots' article for details).

Blu-tac masks the decals
 Step 2: I inexplicably spend the better part of 15 minutes painstakingly masking the exposed skin areas...

... which have not even been painted yet.

You may also notice that I made an error at this stage. I had initially intended to spray the rubber kneepads with USA Olive Drab, in order to break up the armour area. Unfortunately, I had either gotten water into the mix, or else used too much thinner with the small amount of already thin paint. Either way, the colour simply ran off the target area as my airbrush spat water out in between fitful spurts of paint. Any suggestions as to how this could have happened would be greatly appreciated!

This step is optional and not recommended.
Why did I mask their faces when they hadn't been painted yet? I have no idea...
Step 3: I re-engage my brain and spray the mitts and backpack fins with Khaki-Grey; a versatile colour that you GW enthusiasts can associate with a darker, thicker, snakebite leather, (if they still make that). The colour was mixed with a small amount of Vallejo thinner medium in order to ensure a smooth, even flow of paint.

Mits and fins sprayed with Khaki Grey, (background)
Step 4: Mask the painted fins and mitts with Blu-tac, (See picture in next step).

Step 5: Watch 'The Old Fiddler' to see how this is really done, but here is my attempt at shading the model by short, sharp blasts of 'Gunship Green' from a 45 degree angle below the target. If your mixture is good, as well as your angle, (it's honestly very intuitive. Trust me.) then you should end up with the recesses nice and dark, but with a smooth blend between it and the base colour.

Shading from below. I actually managed to do it!
 Step 6: I mix Yellow Olive with the first highlight, medium olive.

This is why I prefer the open pot, Bottles are a hassle for relatively detailed work, but are great for painting large areas, or priming.

Mixing Gunship Green and medium Olive in the cup.
 Step 7: I spray the highlight from above in a variation of the method used in step 5.
Highlights sprayed from above.
 Step 8: I spray on a small amount of the nefarious, 'light green blue' which I have always been dying to use, but have never had the opportunity.

My airbrush spat again at this point, but it wasn't a total disaster. Once I had cleaned it out and achieved a more even flow, I repeated the step. It was neater, but I now had a slightly brighter model than I had anticipated.

Ah well...
Highlighted with a gentle spray of light green blue, from above.
Step 9: I use a blister sponge to apply 'flat brown' to the edges of armour, mitts, fins and exhaust vents. I also dab it on the unpainted fingers of each clenched rocket fist.

Weathering on Flat Brown with some blister sponge.
jetpack and rocket on rocket fist). I then use an Army Painter character brush to apply chips of Oily Steel to the already weathered brown areas in random patterns.
Metal areas painted with Oily Steel, which has also been added to weathered areas as 'chips'.
 Step 11: I add the base colour for flesh, ('Medium Fleshtone') and the base colour for the skullcaps, (Flat Earth). Once these are dry, I highlight the skullcaps with a mix of 'Flat Earth' and 'Khaki Grey'.
Flesh and skullcaps given their base layers.
 Step 12: I wash the green armoured areas with Games Workshop 'Thraka Green' and leave it to dry overnight.
All green armour areas washed with Thraka Green.
More to come once the Thraka dries in. Thanks for reading!

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