Tuesday, 29 May 2012

An experiment: Pre-shading Dark Angels

So, after looking around the net at various airbrushing techniques, I stumbled across the idea of pre-shading. The concept is to paint your shadows (panel lines, recesses, etc.) onto a vehicle in a darker shade of the undercoat before mist-coating in your chosen colour. Assuming you apply a number of thin layers of base-coat, your pre-shading should just be visible as a darker shade of your base-coat, essentially shading your vehicle very rapidly and effectively.

Great concept, but how the heck do I do it with Dark Angels Green? I need something that's going to match the way I paint my troops, else the vehicles just won't look contiguous with the rest of the army. My normal colour process for the armour on Dark Angel troops is as follows:
1) Black undercoat
2) 1:1 mix of Black and Dark Angels Green
3) pure Dark Angels Green, leaving the previous colour in the recesses
4) highlight with Snot Green (blend, edge highlights, etc. - depends on the detail-level I want)

So, given I start with a black undercoat, it's kinda difficult to paint a darker colour to pre-shade on a vehicle...What happens if I use a medium grey undercoat? That solves the pre-shade problem, but will it result in a brighter Dark Angels Green than my normal troops? Is there an alternative that will work instead?

Time for an experiment :)

I've used an old Rhino as a test vehicle, primarily because it has non-Chapter doors glued on and I've decided all of my vehicles will have DA doors from FW. I intend to compare the following:
1) A pre-shade using medium grey as the undercoat colour
2) Use my troops process on the vehicle to compare results

Without further ado, here's where I got to in a few hours of messing around last night. All paint is Vallejo Game Color and thinned with Windex. Numbers in brackets are droplet count for mixing.

1) Base-coat Cold Grey:Windex (60:20) at 20psi

2) Pre-shade Black:Windex (60:20) at 5psi
I noted here that pressure was too high at 10psi so I lowered it to 5, but still found it too high (it was blowing wet paint around). Not sure if this is a pressure issue or the paint was too thin, will need to research.

3) Light coat of Dark Green:Windex (60:15) at 15psi
I noted here the paint was waaaaay too thin!

4) Light coat of Dark Green:Windex (60:5) at 15psi
I noted here it was a little better, maybe even a bit too thick, but I didn't wait long enough between coats (I'm impatient!)

This is where I left it so it had a chance to dry completely. It probably needs two more really light coats, probably thinned somewhere between the two previous tests. Will post updates as I progress.


In the other corner, the progress is a lot harder to see, and not as far down the path. I managed to get one coat of the darker green colour over a black undercoat. The colour I mixed was absolutely perfect to match the first stage I use on my troops, so I'm pretty happy, but it needs a second coat of this mix before I proceed to DA Green.

You can't really see the colour from the photo, but here it is anyway :P

All in all, a good night of experimentation, certainly learned a little about my airbrush. You can see from the last photo I was also messing around with thin lines - I am far from perfecting this, but I at least have a starting point of knowledge to build on now (5psi, about half an inch or so from the object renders a line about double the thickness of a felt tip pen, which is good for a start).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

9 Months of Nothing!


It's been a long, long time since my last post, and even then it was getting pretty slow. Why? Lots of reasons - priorities in RL taking over, new girlfriend, two kittens that seemed to demand my attention whenever I tried to paint, and to be honest, the painting of my first LR in tiny components was taking its toll too - I know it sounds lame, but painting the same colours on 8 intricate Lascannon's was getting really boring. Thus, I took a 9 month break!

But here I am, back again! Not sure how much time I'm going to get to hobby, I now have a fiance who's about to move in and add a third kitten! But we'll see what happens.

I wasn't completely idle though - I bought a new fiance-friendly painting workstation, and I'm slowly getting that all set up and organized. I've built three Apoc army lists to focus my work (you can see them in the tabs on this site), I've built 23 of 3 Force Organization Charts to clearly show the companies everything belongs to, and I've ordered some bits and pieces from Forgeworld to set me up for my next project.

So, the workplan:

- Finish the LR Terminus Ultra...I've never airbrushed before (beyond some testing on internal components of the same tank), I've never painted a tank before (well, I've never finished one), and I'm still not confident on using weathering powders effectively, especially after my mess when I varnished over the mud inside the LR and turned it into ash. But you know what? The best way to gain confidence in all those areas is to bite the bullet and do it!

- Start building 5th Company! I'm going to start with the Chapter Master and Command Squad with their Razorback, and move straight onto 1st Tactical with their Rhino. I've ordered everything I need, and by the time I finish the LR it'll all be in my hot little hands and ready to go.

- Paint something different. I have a squad of Termies, 2 FW DA Ven Dreads, a Thunderhawk, a Warhound, 6 10-man squads of various types, LR's, LRC's, so much to choose from! But I will probably paint the Termies first, along with their LR Crusader, and go from there.

Keep your eyes peeled, there'll be more updates shortly.

To avoid the pic-less post, here's a happy-snap of my new painting workstation - it's a computer desk with doors so I can hide everything away from the kittens (and the fiance!) when I'm not using it. The keyboard tray currently houses my Alienware M17x so it is actually used as a computer workstation too. Neat eh? Now I just need to figure out where I can get some custom-built painting shelves :)