Paints used – I will be applying the majority of paint with my trusty W&N Series 7 size 1; the deck highlights (Gorthor Brown) will be applied with a Citadel Standard Brush. The technique can be a little rough on the bristles, which I don’t want to inflict on my Series 7. All the paint will be thinned with my water/flow aid mix. The consistency of the paint mix wants to be like full fat milk. Most the paints I used for this work are from Citadel paint ranges (some are not in the current range); black and Sombre Grey are Vallejo Game Colors. Note that any areas that are to be painted in metallics will be painted Black first, at this stage. Metallics need a dark colour behind them to make them look right on the mini; light shades make them appear weaker. Also note that I will be re-painting the rotors; as they are being handled a lot, this has lead to the paint being easily removed. For the rotors I will brush on a new layer of primers before continuing work on them. Here is a list of the paints used, in the order in which they are applied to the mini. I usually use a handle to prevent me having to directly touch the mini, which I forgot to use. By handle, I mean a makeshift handle attached to the mini, which you can hold when painting. The one I used on this mini was made out of two old Citadel paint pots, with their bases super glued together and reinforced tape wrapped around them. I then place some poster tack on one end to attach the mini. Below are a couple of pics of the various other handles I use. The most common ones being wine bottle corks, with coins glued to the base for ballast. The type with wire sticking out of it, I use for things like medium bombers; I can attach in right into their flight stand. The larger ones are old spice rack bottles; these are great for larger minis.
Here is a list of the paints I will be using today. They appear in the order of their layers; so Black basecoat will have a mid-tone of Sombre Grey, highlighted with Fenrisian Grey.
Black – Sombre Grey – Fenrisian Grey
Scab Red - Mephiston Red - Evil Sunz Scarlet
Regal Blue - Lothern Blue
Dryad Bark - Gorthor Brown
In addition to these regular paints, I will be painting the metallic areas of the mini using Vallejo Liquid Gold paints. These are by far the most realistic looking metallic paints I have ever used. Most metallic paint contains tiny metallic pigments in then, to give them their distinctive shine; the Liquid Gold paints’ pigments are even smaller than most and contain even more, it’s like painting on gold leaf paint. The result of which means that you don’t need any shading or highlights, other than maybe some black lining; one coat and your done. The only downside to using them is that they are alcohol based paints. This means that if you thin them, it has to be with alcohol (Isopropanol) and use synthetic brushes. I use a 1:1 mix of paint to alcohol which makes then flow really well, I never use these paints un-thinned. The brush I will be using is a Creative Models size 1 Synthetic. The paints I will be using are Silver on the guns and Copper on the remaining metal areas. In addition, once work is completed, the brushes need to be cleaned with Alcohol, in much the same way as oil paints were cleaned with white spirits. Here is a pic of the Isopropanol I use, which comes with a handy dropper nozzle. On a note of safety, under no circumstances put this liquid anywhere near your lips, it’s not that type of alcohol and could make you extremely unwell.
Method used – The layering technique consists of applying consecutively lighter layers of paint to an area to create contrast. You start with a dark shade, through mid-tones and highlights. I will be using three layers in most areas; a basecoat, which will form the deepest shading. A mid-tone will then be painted on top, with only the deepest recesses left of the basecoat. Lastly, a highlight tone will be painted on to the upper/most prominent details. I will use a block painting technique to apply the basecoat, this basically means painting an area with a single colour, working from the edges then filling in the remaining areas. By carefully painting the extreme edges of the area your painting you ensure not to make mistakes; you can then speed up a little and fill in the rest of the area. Before starting to paint, a great tip I use is to pull your loaded paint brush across some paper towel, as you do this, slowly spin the brush. This has two benefits; it removes excessive paint from the brush, which can otherwise flood onto your mini with little control. Secondly, it will draw the bristles into a point enabling you to paint more accurately. One more tip which will improve your accuracy with the brush is not to hold it like a pen, gripping near the bristles. The grip should be about two-three inches back from the bristles, on the handle. If you’re not used to this, it will take a little practice, but will improve your work over time. These first couple of pics show the black areas basecoated; these include those areas that will later be painted in metallic paint.
These next pics show the rotors re-undercoated and ready for paint. I used the Vallejo Undercoat I initially airbrushed on, this time brushing on undiluted.
Here you can see Scab Red has been painted on. As with many of these paint layers, I have used 2-3 coats of the same colour to build up a good coverage of the mini’s surface. With each coat you can also narrow the area which you place it, to create gradually lighter highlights. On these rotors for example, the highlights concentrated around the outer edge, the shading on the inner.
Regal Blue has been used to basecoat the port holes. I Paint these mainly with the side of my brush. I place the point of the bristles in a corner of the port hole at an angle, so that bristles are resting on the rest of the port hole. I then draw it across to the other side, painting one half of the port hole. I work across a set of port holes, then flip the mini over and do the same the other half.
Gorthor Brown is carefully painted onto the decking (including those of the underside of the bridges). This is a fiddly job, as you need to get in between all those planes on the upper deck. I worked around these planes first, then around the edges of the deck; before filling in the remaining larger deck area. This way I could go slower and concentrate on not hitting the planes first then speed up to complete the work. I found if I don’t do this, I end up speeding up and painting something I shouldn’t.
With all the basecoats complete I next moved onto the mid-tones; the first being the Mephiston Red. This is my favourite colour in the current citadel paint range; it’s a vibrant deep/bright red which is full of pigments. This was painted over the Scab Red areas (leaving some Scab Red in the shaded areas) and for some decoration on the tiny flyer planes.
Here we can see the port holes highlighted. (I don’t use a mid-tone on these). I paint these in a similar way to the basecoat, with the side of the brush; this time though, the tip does not make contact with the mini. Once the tops and bottoms of the outside edges of the port holes are painted, I then use the tip of the brush to add a little highlight to their centres. The overall effect is to make them look like light is shining out of them. The cotpits of the planes also get some highlights; notice how I have left a ring of darker blue shading underneath.
Switching to the Citadel standard brush, I apply highlight to the decking. I use the damp brushing technique I used yesterday. It’s important here not to draw the bristles along any of the gaps between the deck boards, as you could remove the shading. However, a wash will be applied at a later stage, which should cover any mistakes. Also, further highlights will be added to the deck with the airbrush.
The red areas receive their final highlight of Evil Sunz Scarlet. This is applied to the upper-outer edges of the rotors and all the upper/hard edges of the other red areas. If ever you are in doubt about where to place highlighting, place your mini directly under your hobby lamp, were the light is brightest on the mini is where you should highlight. After a little practice this will become second nature to you.
The Black areas are basecoated with Sombre Grey. Then highlights are added with Fenrisian Grey (I don’t use a mid-tone on these).
Now it’s time to break out the amazing Liquid Gold paints. I will start with Silver on the gun barrels. It’s important to give these paints a thorough mixing, as their pigments tent to become separated. As with all my paints, I place a stainless steel metal ball in the pots when I buy them, this helps to agitate the paint when I shake it. Once shaken, I remove the lid (which I use as a pallet) and drop in some alcohol; mix it with my brush and were ready to paint. You will find that over time the paint will start to lose its consistency over a few minutes, at which point you should replace the cap and re-mix a new cap of paint. Hear are are a pic of the some of the completed silver areas.
Prepare to be dazzled with these pics of the Copper Liquid Gold. For me this colour goes hand-in-hand with the whole steam punk genre. With the alcohol mixed into these paints, they practically paint themselves, it goes on so smooth. As such I don’t wipe my brush on paper towel before applying the paint; I simply guide it along the area I want to cover. I really love how this colour contrasts with the blue-grey underside.
As previously mentioned, these metalics do respond well to some black lining; so after a blast from the hairdryer. I added some shadows. It was at this point that I realised I hadn’t painted the decking on the upper bridges. Here are the completed pics.
Conclusion - This concludes the penultimate stage in the work. All that remains to do is complete the deck markings/airbrush highlights, Object source Lighting on the engines, varnishing and mounting on the base. To see this final part join me here tomorrow.
As always if you would like a closer look at any pictures above, click on them. If you have any comments or would like to ask me questions or provide feedback, please fill in the comments box below (this will be moderated before being published on this blog).