Saturday, November 27, 2010

Forays into painting orks

I've been clipping along at a good rate on assembling my backlog of orks, down to about 15 boyz now, so it's past time to start painting these buggers.  I may have mentioned that I primed 10 shoota boyz a few days ago, and if I didn't before then I have now.  I grabbed 5 boyz last night and got to trying out some different methods for the skin.  I took some shoddy WIP pics while painting, but I have a bunch of them, so I'm hoping that quantity makes up for quality.  It's the ork way, right?

I used the Vallejo Game Colors, except the washes which were GW washes, but I'll run with the GW names mostly because I'm more familiar with them and I don't have the paint in front of me at the moment.  I started by painting the skin with Goblin Green.
Step 1: Goblin Green
I also painted the pants and some different bits with Heavy Blue, the Vallejo version of the blue foundation paint.  I had a packing error in my first Warstore order where I got the Heavy Blue instead of Beastial Brown.  I didn't want to go through reporting an error and shipping a single bottle of paint back, so I kept the Heavy Blue even though blue doesn't really need a foundation-type paint in my experience.  It looked fairly light in the bottle, but so did the Heavy Red and it dried much darker, so I assumed that the Heavy Blue would do the same.  It dried much lighter than expected, but that's part of the learning process.

I broke the group down into three subgroups at this point to test out different approaches.  I did the blue while the various washes I used were drying.  The first group got a Devlan Mud wash on the skin.
Step 2a: Devlan Mud wash
The next group I washed with Thrakka Green.
Step 2b: Thrakka Green
For the last one I tried out the "chalk wash" that EV suggested.  I was skeptical about this technique, hence my only using one model.  The proclaimed long drying time put me off on trying more, plus I figure I already have washes so I might as well use them instead of trying to fudge one out of regular paint.  I used Dark Angels Green, heavily thinned, for this last one.
Step 2c: Chalk Wash
And another poor-quality group shot, because I have it.
Step 2: Washes and blue
First impressions were in line with what I expected.  The Devlan Mud did fairly well, while the Thrakka Green was much less noticeable.  The chalk wash didn't get much attention in the next rotation as it was still wet, but while drying it looked less like a wash, which I think of as running off the high points of a model to settle in the recesses, and more like a glaze, which just colors everything more or less equally.

After the washes had dried, I went back with the Goblin Green to highlight.  I fully intended to give each model a quick and dirty drybrushing, but I have a shameful hobby confession to make: I'm a horrible drybrusher.  I think I may be too impatient with it, or it may be the way I load my brush, but in any case drybrushing never works like it should for me.  It's something I try to improve, but I always end up with what I think of as wetbrushing, but is more generally called overbrushing.  Whatever you call it, I usually go with a drybrushing-like technique with a regularly loaded brush which hammers the high spots, but also tends to wash out some details in the process, especially fingers in this case.

As I went along through the boyz in this manner, I took a second to think about time spent and the results I was getting.  I'm trying to find a method that looks decent, but more importantly paints quickly.  It felt like I spent a long time fumbling my way through drybrushing the first one, and I ended up just painting on highlights at the end anyway, so somewhere in the process I gave up the drybrushing and just went with painting highlights directly.  It took longer than I'd like, but the results were decent enough and it wasn't a monstrous time sink.  I went in the same order I started with, so the Devlan Mud boyz were up first.
Step 3a: Mud highlighted
They were followed by the Thrakka Green boyz.
Step 3b: Thrakka Green highlighted
Judging by how the pictures came out of the camera, I decided around here to abandon the chalk wash, which was dried enough to keep working on.  It had been maybe an hour or so since I'd washed the mini, which as noted above looked more like it had been glazed than washed.  I went after it in the same manner.
Step 3c: Chalk wash highlighted
I hope I'm getting my story straight here, as the chalk wash picture doesn't look like it's been worked on that much.  Then again, none of these pictures are of the best quality, so I guess that's what you get for taking a pass on setting up the soft box and going with the ghetto lighting set-up.  This picture is so unhelpful that I shouldn't even post it, yet I will anyway.
Step 3: Highlighting
Somewhere in here I took Ultramarine Blue over the blue areas in much the same way that I had just highlighted with Goblin Green.  The pants didn't offer much detail, so I blocked in some chunky shadows and called it even.  Some of the bits and bobs were more textured,  like the barrel wrapping on one of the boyz, and the highlighting showed a little better in those sorts of situations.  Ultimately I think the Heavy Blue was too close to the Ultramarine Blue, so I may take it a step back and use...Imperial Blue?  Whatever the darker blue is called.  This is a learning experience after all.

When I had highlighted the blue, I looked over the boyz again and decided I wanted more contrast between the shading, highlighting, and base color.  I mixed some Sunburst Yellow into the Goblin Green and went back to town highlighting.  This turned out pretty well, the chalk washed boy in particular.  I don't have any pictures of this step because I quickly decided that I wanted still more contrast, and that the chalk washed boy was actually a bit too bright for my tastes, so I went back and washed Devlan Mud over one of each pair again.  These pictures look to be the worst yet.
Devlan Mud boyz
In each of these final pictures, the boy on the left has gotten the extra wash at the end.
Thrakka Green boyz
I covered skin and pants with the second wash because the blue didn't turn out that well.  Hard to believe that a simple basecoat to leave some shading didn't turn out well, but there it is.
Chalk wash boy
The minis aren't that dark in person, my setup was apparently really bad.  Alas for quality WIP shots.  I took pics of the backs of the minis as well, since there is some detail on the back and the blue shows better when you can actually see it, which is mostly on the pants from behind.
Mud butts
In the end, all the boyz ended up looking pretty similar.  I didn't quite get the results I wanted, either in quality or speed, but I did finish the night with 5 boyz with finished, or finished enough, skin so I should take my small victories where they come. 
Green butts
This pic actually doesn't look terrible, which is nice.  I'll have to consider the rest of my palette at work tonight.  I'm considering doing a white/black/leather/tan setup, but I'm worried that it will be too chaotic.  Ideally I'd like to keep it to 3 or 4 colors.
Chalk butt
I think I'm going to abandon the red and blue on each mini and just embrace the horde nature of the orks.  I can scratch my itch to paint blue boy faces while keeping the red for the Kultists and I could even dip into some Goffs or Bad Moons if I wanted to. 

I have a group shot of the final products, but it's probably the worst yet so I'm not putting it up.  On reflection this took entirely too long to finish one color and start another.  I spent around 2 hours painting, while also watching hockey highlights on NHL on the Fly.  If I got the boyz 1/3 done, which seems like a decent estimate, and it took me 2 hours to do 5, then I'm looking at 6 hours for 5 boyz painted to completion.  For a horde army that will crest 100 minis easily, that's way too much time.  In the next round I plan on "trying out" my usual approach of starting with the shading color, then painting the base over it, then highlighting, then washing.  I don't know that it will go any quicker, and practicing drybrushing is almost certainly a better use of my time, but experimentation is the name of the game here.  However the results turn out, I'm making progress, so at least there's that.


  1. I went ahead and placed my own WarStore order. Mostly Reaper minis and a few paints. My mom and Heather should take care of the G.W. stuff. Depending on how things pan out over the holidays I will hopefully be able to make that AoBR trade with you.

    As for the washes, I told you the home made wash would take forever to dry, but in the end it's worth it as it gives you a deeper green that sits in the crevices of the model more than just staining the whole thing. The dry time is why I think it's best employed on big mobs of models. It could be the dip I've been using. The dry time on that stuff is in the 24-hour range!

  2. My Warstore order shipped today, so it should be here sometime. I'm kinda hoping it takes a little while, until after the semester is over, so I don't have a big pile of new plastic trying to pull me away from school work. We can do a swap whenever you're ready, I have plenty of orks to keep me occupied as it is.

    Re: wash, I may not have watered it down enough. It didn't really pool anywhere or run into cracks, it just kinda sat all over the place without moving a whole lot. I'll come back to it later for another shot.

    How does tomorrow around noon work for you for the Predator handoff? In related news, I don't know if I mentioned it but I dug through my transfers and found lots of Dark Angels stuff, but only one of the red chapter symbols, and that was a vehicle sized one. I also have some Deathwing termies lying around, though my cursory search just now only yielded two bodies and four arms. I don't know what the size difference is between the old and new termies, so they may not be of any use to you, but you're welcome to them if you want them.

  3. Tomorrow would be great.
    Too bad about the transfers, but I may have a line on some at the local G.W.