Sunday, July 26, 2009

40 - Blood Ravens Sternguard Tutorial Part III

Rather than devote an entire post to basing (especially since at this point, all I've done is apply some watered down glue to the base and dip the model into decorative sand), I will move on to the actual painting of the model.

The photo on the left is of the model primed in Black. You'll notice that I've gone ahead and attached the power fist and the Heresy Era studded shoulder pad. I've left the left arm, the Sternguard bolter, and the backpack off (as well as any fiddly bits I might decide to add later) because I felt they'd get in the way of the painting. For this model, I brushed on the primer. My preference is always to brush on primer rather than use the spray can because I feel it gives me more control over where the primer goes. Now, if I have 4 or 5 or 6 or more assembled models that need to get primed, then I'll use the spray can on them, but mostly out of laziness. Overall, I'm just not a big fan of spray on primer or varnish. I've had too many bad experiences with them even in the short 7 months I've been at this hobby.

The Black primer I used was thinned down using one drop of Liquitex Matte Medium. The reason for using matte medium is twofold: 1) never apply acrylic paint directly onto your models because the paint will go on too thickly and blot out the subtle textures/ details; and 2) I've had no luck thinning paint down with water - the paint just loses its consistency and adhesion too much for my taste when I use water.

After priming the model and waiting for the paint to dry, I went to work on the basecoat. The paints I used, unfortunately, are craft paints of the Folk Art, Americana, Delta Ceramcoat variety, so I'm not going to be able to give you a "counts-as" comparison to any of the specialty model paints like GW, Reaper, or Vallejo. I'll use the exact names of the craft paints though just in case. Also, I afix the model's base to the top of a Delta Ceramcoat 2 ounce acrylic paint squeeze bottle with some Elmer's poster tack in order to avoid touching the freshly painted model with my fingers as I spin and rotate it whichever way during painting.

The first basecoat I applied was Delta Ceramcoat's Opaque Red on the power armor portions of the model. I thinned the acrylic paint down with one drop of Liquitex Flow Aid, so that the consistency of the paint (and I'm sure you've all heard this before) was like skim milk. Again, I prefer Flow Aid over water because of two reasons: 1) it reduces the surface tension of the paint and thus gives me more control over where it goes (watered down paint has a tendency of running itself all over the model); and 2) it reduces, to an extraordinary degree, brush marks on the model. The image on the right shows what the model looked like after 1 coat of thinned down Opaque Red.

One of the most important virtues I've learned since picking up this hobby 7 months ago is patience. In the beginning, I'd try to get the basecoat on as quickly as possible. As a result, I'd do myself more harm by not only painting wet paint on top of wet paint (which is akin to trying to dig a hole in soft sand), but I'd also glop on too much paint because I was so eager to get opacity on the basecoat. These days, I take my time. This first basecoat was done in 15 minutes, but I don't apply another coat until the first one is fully dried. Usually, it just takes a 5-10 minute wait for the paint to dry, so in the meantime, I'll work on anther model or read or watch TV or surf the net or something.

The picture on the left shows the model after 2 more layers of Opaque Red (for a total of 3 layers). Not quite done yet, but almost there. Red is a notoriously difficult color to achieve opacity, so it doesn't come as surprise to me that it might take 4 or 5 thin layers to get the proper coverage for the basecoat. With another color - say Blue (if I were doing an Ultramarine) - I'm pretty certain I'd be done with the basecoating at this point. But since I chose the Blood Ravens...

You'll notice that I've kept the non-basecoated parts of the model fairly neat and clean. What I'll do after, say, basecoating the legs is immediately go back over the knee pads or the belt or the purity seals with a damp brush and take off the inadvertent paint smudges. I find that this serves two purposes for me: 1) it trains my brush strokes to be as neat as possible; and 2) it introduces me to the very helpful skill of "erasing" paint with a damp brush. This second reason has really served me well as I've progressed in this hobby. Before, when I tried to get rid of stray paint, I'd end up destroying whole swathes of nicely painted surfaces. Now, I'm much more surgical with this ability.

The picture on the right shows the model after 4 1/2 layers of basecoated Opaque Red. The power armor's pretty much done at this point. Overall time: about 1 1/2 hours (15 minutes per layer plus roughly 5-10 minutes wait in between layers for the paint to dry). I'll start the detail bits next, which I'll save for Part IV.

Click here for more pics of the model in progress.


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