Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Painting in an unfamiliar, regular setting

Got some more painting in this morning.  I've been a nomadic painter for the last couple weeks, having finally gotten my traveling painting kit working properly, but today I was at home.  It was strange, yet familiar, an altogether odd sensation.  I had originally intended to break my squads up into five marine chunks, but I was getting a bit antsy doing the pre-wash red the other day, so I decided to take the three marines I had base coated to completion before starting in on another batch.  No in-progress pics this time, just "final" shots of where I stopped for the day.

Group shot, engage!
I'm starting to wonder if I'm just making more work for myself by base coating, then washing, then re-base coating.  In theory I'm adding an extra layer of shading, as I don't just recover the entire original base coat after the wash but leave some of the post-wash red showing.  In practice I don't know that it's that noticeable or worth the extra time.  Most of the extra shading is on the underside of arms, deep in the taint, in the crevices of shoulder pad sides, or other generally unseen spots. 

See how the paint rubs off on the top?
My other concern of the moment is pictured above: I'm still rubbing the paint off by handling the mini that I'm painting.  I got some blu-tac what feels like months ago, but I have yet to use any.  I keep meaning to and I keep an eye out for handy things to attach the mini to, but not luck so far.  I have these plastic salt and pepper shakers that I may resort to.  I had a bunch of GW paint pots of various ages that I cleared out when I started getting Vallejo paints, thinking that I'd never need paint that was dried into a solid, unusable mass.  While I was right about the paint, turns out the pot would have been handy.  Alas for hindsight.

This is the one I'm happiest with thus far.
Back on washes, you can see that I did some of the white/bone/parchment bits today.  I started with the Vallejo version of Bleached Bone, then gave it a hearty wash of Devlan Mud while I was getting the red areas.  I should have taken a picture because the white(ish) areas looked really good after the wash.  I went back with the not-quite Bleached Bone, then did a 50/50 bone and white mix, then went back with pure white.  Despite the work I put in, I'm not sure that it looks better now.  Some of that is down to brushes.  On the chest eagles in particular I could see what I wanted to do, but my brush was too big to hit just the parts I wanted, a situation I may have to remedy in the near future.  More troubling is this apparent trend of me putting in more time for a worse result.  I may start letting the washes do the heavy lifting, especially when I get back to the orks, as they seem to a better job than I do, plus they do it quicker and easier. 

See that right shoulder?  More concern.
My final bit of hand-wringing is all the Xs found on many of the Death Company bits.  I planned on just ignoring them, neither shading nor highlighting them.  They're more pronounced than I expected though, especially the shoulder above.  I had considered painting them black, a sort of reverse Death Company marking.  Since the codex marking for assault squads is an X, this would be doubly applicable.  They'll probably stand out like a sore thumb if I do though, and I don't know that I want that.

In the end, I think I'm encouraged by these minor bouts of painting angst.  I'm rather embarrassed now by what was a "good" paint job on my older Blood Angels, where they're 3-4 colors at best with no shading or highlighting and a smattering of flock.  What I'm producing now is much better, so much so that I can look at these smallish details and wonder how to do them better.  At the same time, I'm starting to enter a dangerous zone: nearly complete.  When I'm almost done I start to worry about stray brush strokes and the like messing up what I've already done.  It often stops me from finishing the mini, but I don't think that'll be the case this time around.  I do plan on doing a post about the best minis I never finished though, but that is farther down the line.


  1. The color rubbing off comes down to one of two problems- Either your priner isn't doing its job, or (more likely) the oils/sweat on your hands is dissolving the paint My suggestion is to only hold the model by the edge of its base. Of course, be careful not to knock the texture off the models' bases!

    Also, red is a cast-iron b*&#$ to work with. All you have to do is give it an excuse to go wrong, and it will. Be sure to clear coat your models AS SOON AS YOU'RE THROUGH PAINTING THEM. I cannot stress this enough- I've seen Orc Warbosses chucked across the room after hours' worth of work was messed up by a single careless touch. Just be glad you're not using those watery Citadel paints. It takes a billion coats, and they'll rub off instantly. But hey, at least you're not painting yellow.


    Your models are looking really good there. I just wish I had the patience to put that much effort into every model. For now I'll just settle for lavishing individual minis in attention and dip & flicking armies. It worked pretty well on my Skaven. My Deathwing on the other hand- well they've met with a series of tragedies recently. More on that tonight.

  2. It's definitely me rubbing the paint off through some combination of sweat and oils. I thought the problem was with the Vallejo Model Color, it being a weak pigment or something. I think that's the case, but not 100% of the cause like I thought before. Funny thing is that I never varnished a model before I started back up a year or so ago. All the stuff I did with GW paints way back when never needed any varnish and stood up to all sorts of play, handling, and general rough treatment. I guess they just don't make them like they used to.

    Re: red, I find it's not as bad as it used to be. I do 2-3 coats which works like a charm, and by 'coats' I mean I just go back over what I've done while I'm in the process instead of waiting for one layer to dry before adding another. It might be the strength of the Vallejo pigments, or maybe I'm just more patient now, but it's been a breeze doing red. Yellow is still a pain in the pooper though. Hopefully the helmets aren't so bad to do.

    I do enjoy taking my time and really working over my minis, but it takes quite a while to get things done. I'm always on the lookout for some way of doing things quicker while still having them look good.