Finished this bad boys! It was a full circle back to Dark Angels, in my journey to test and decide which color to paint the marine side of the Indomitus 40K 9th edition starter set. But not the usual dark green, gold and red like the Emperor little helpers… I stumbled across this awesome tutorial for grimdark white armor by SprayBlack Studios and had to test it out… with some twists.
This was supposed to be a test… But fell in love with the process, and they ended up being the closest thing I’ve ever achieved to be called “display quality”… (Ok, I’m proud of my Kitbashed Knight and the Great Unclean One… but one it’s huge and original, the other an spectacular sculpt by itslef) Many of the things I found work for this guys were my second try after testing on the blue, black and red marines I painted across the weeks prior… Stuff like glaces, edge highlights… and a conscious attemt at starting building volumes and lights with the paints, in a controlled way beyond my life of washes and drybrush highlights.
And since I’ve learnt from others, the least I can do it’s to share how I achieved this… Helps as a repository of what I did, and hopefully anybody out there can get a spark of inspiration to take their craft a step further, or even better, share with me what I could do better!
I started by having a collage of reference pictures of the squad under a heavy directional light, with the “above the sholder”, almost backlit angle I felt served the sculpt better, averaging it, so that the five would be attacked from the same angle, but at different rotations that suited best each mini… I never went back much to look at them, but there they were, frozen in time in case I had the need.
I used a transparent White Montana spray can over the Chaos black primer, to zenithal highlight them, mimicking the desired angle of light.
After protecting the priming with a coat of satin and matt varnishes, I gave the minis an oil wash with turpentine and a mixture of Black, Dark Siena, Transparent Red and Blue, as per the recipe.
Once the wash dried I used a microfiber cloth (a soft bag to store glasses) dumped in turpentine to clean away the areas I wanted lit. Looking back at them, they looked pretty well at this stage, but I felt like I wanted more contrast, and a richer white to start from…
I spent some time reinforcing those lights, using overspray of white again and some glaces of Vallejo Offwhite and some drybrush where I was sure the shapes would work for that… After watching a bunch of Artis Opus videos, I discovered I was doing a lot of that wrong… or could be done better. (stuff like “activating” your brush with some water, and using your hand to measure the wetness of the hairs by temperature were small gamechangers) I also reinforced the shadow area with a Nadir spray of semitranparent Black from Montana.
After painting too soon the red of the eyes I washed the whole thing with AK Interactive Track Wash… and yet again picked the light areas using the cloth. And for all those hairs that I don’t have to deal with by not using cotton ever again, I went a screwed myself by deciding to magnetize the arms when they were more than half way painted… And plastic drill chips… that… gets everywhere… and it sticks. The rest… I just painted, I guess…
With all painted I felt pretty attached to the result… And the Streaking Grime with another abrasive wipe of white spirit was looking dicy and I begun to think the test needed a test by itself… I grabbed the old Librarian I had “flat-painted” an aeon ago, full of chips (real chips, mind you… very convincing if a bit “out of scale”) So I “Grimed” him first… and it gained… a lot! So I took a deep breath and bit the bullet of having more highlights to do ahead, but more convinced that recipe was going to elevate the paintjob with a lot of grimdark unifying atmospheric enamel splattered all over. Also tried the energy blade (I had changed for a Katana back then) using four colors of spray cans… The final one I used just three. (the fourth spitted all those dots) A deep blue base, that could be painted with brush, and then just a quick-fast gradient of Teal, followed by transparent white.
I retouched and added the last details… Like a subtle OSL coming from the blade, by stippling a glace with my “big drybrush”.
It was then time to base, matt-varnish and call it done… Except those barrels… I need a pin-vise to drill those!
And now, thanks to Azazel, I know there is an obscure, almost forgotten chapter called The Mentor Chapter (later rebranded as Mentors) that could suit this scheme!