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JoeK's fast and furious Dark Angel paint-up thingy. COMPLETE

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5. Basecoating


I tend to have a different train of thought to what a lot of folks like to do with basecoating. I should say that there's nothing wrong with anyone's interpretation of it, but this is what I do. For me, a basecoat is really just a placeholder for the colour(s) I want to use. The majority of the figure is going to be completely painted over, so for my way of thinking there really isn't much point in going too crazy with solid colours at this stage. Nor is it an absolute necessity to be as neat and tidy as you can. Sure, if you want to, that's fine, but quite honestly it's a faff.

So, take your basecolour (this one is Caliban Green, the new GW equiv. to Dark Angel Green). Shove a whole load on the pallet, and put in a couple of drops of blending medium to loosen it up. I'll probably add a drop of water to it. This should flow lovely, and you can splash it on the relevant areas. As you can see from the picture, it almost looks like I've just done a wash - the fluidity of the paint has gone into the recesses and made a natural shadow point. What I should say is it will take a bit of time to work out just what level of fluidity is best. Obviously, too thick and you're stuffed when it comes to defining details later on. Too thin, and you're painting with coloured water, and whilst I do like things a little thin you do need a fair bit of colour on the figure!

It'll take a while to dry - the medium being the culprit!

What is also clearly apparent is a main reason why I don't undercoat in black - this method just won't cut it efficiently. It'll take a fair few layers of paint to work it up, and - for me at least - that's a waste, and a bore. So, leave this to dry and when it does so, it'll look...well...a bit green!

Oh, a big argument that is levelled about using a black undercoat is this - it'll cover those hard to reach areas. Well, yes, but if you've done the above, the paint is going to flow wonderfully well into those areas anyway. But, to make life really fun, the next stage will pretty much stop all objections. It's also the stage when things kind of take on a certain amount of life! Stay tuned folks!

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6. Washing


I love this bit, as it's incredibly easy and once again there's really no major need to be excessively careful with it. The GW washes are what I use - and if you've still got the old version, or the newer one it really doesn't matter as long as it's green. Heck, if you use more tradition ink, then that's fine too (although bare in mind that traditional artists' inks are very, very intense on the colour front, and shine like buggery if you use too much, so definitely water it down before use). Anyway, I was using Biel-Tan Green. Slosh it on the figure! Don't be stingy with the application, but just be careful if the wash starts to pool too much in the deeper recesses. You want it to do that a bit, but not too much. If it does, use a clean (and slightly moist) brush to clear it up, or move it around a bit. You should be able to see now why it really doesn't matter if you don't use a black undercoat, as the washes go all over and will nicely hide things.

You just now have to wait a while for it to dry. No getting away from it, I'm afraid.

I should point out that I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to this sort of thing. I've always done the wash thing on my figures. A lot of my chums don't touch the things, and prefer to simply paint on all shades and variations on stuff. Yup, you can do that - and if you're feeling particularly artistic, you can experiment with weird stuff in the shadows and smooth out to the base colours to see what happens. But, for the majority of things - if I'm going with a vaguely 'EM look, then washes work fine. We're talking about a happy mix between speed and effectiveness here.

And nothing's stopping you from experimenting later on the figure too. As long as you keep the paint fairly thin, you'll never find you make a mistake that can't be fixed.

Now, based on the fact that you've applied a thinner base coat than you might usually have done, and then washed the thing. You may well find that when it's dried you're happy with the result. Basically, you've done the equivalent of dipping. Bung on a few details and you've got a perfectly respectable figure for gaming with.

However, that's not what we're here for, and it really doesn't take a lot more effort to go from here to end up with something that should stand out a bit better!

7. Starting to highlight and define.


Apologies for the naff pictures by the way. I don't have a 'proper' area for taking snaps, so I'm doing them on the fly. Hopefully you can see things okay at least.

So, you figure is now basecoated and washed. It's time to start building up the definition, and getting highlights on. Make it properly come alive I guess. The great thing is that I'm still not going to be overly fussy with the painting. I'm once again plotting in colours - definitely avoiding the recesses and other areas of interest, but ultimately we're not anywhere near the fine detail stages yet, so don't worry.

So, colour-wise I've gone back to the original basecoat (Caliban Green/Dark Angels Green). I added a small amount of Warpstone Green (Snot green in old school - or just a brighter green will do fine!). You're probably looking at a 3:1 mix here. Once again you need it fairly fluid, so add in medium, and possibly a little bit of water. And start paint over all the major areas apart from the recesses. Do it LOOSELY!!! It doesn't matter if you miss a spot! Honest!

What I always look for at this stage is this: the paint is fluid enough to go on, and be visible, but at the same time being translucent enough to show through some of the darker colour underneath. When it dries up, you find it almost automatically blends itself. This also allows for variety in the tones you're doing as well. When it dries you'll be able to see if there are any clearing areas which need touching up - and again you just use the same mix and sort it out.

Take out drying time, and all the above has taken under an hour to do. Probably 30 minutes to be honest. It doesn't take long - just be a bit more casual about it!

More soon!

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9. Highlighting...3rd round



This is really the stage where I'm starting to reign in the chaos a little and start to do more detail work. Alas, those of you who have steady hands have got an advantage, but as long as you are patient then things should be okay.

We're now moving from a predominantly Warpstone Green to one with quite a heavy dollop of 'Moot' Green in (or Scorpion Green). I was having a gander at a GW guide for a Dark Angel, and this pretty much what they decided was to be their top highlight layer. I can certainly see why they would go for this - and you probably can on the photos. It's clearly a step-up. However, I'm not so keen on having so much of this yellow/green colour as a final highlight myself and we'll definitely go another level yet.

Anyways, so we're putting this on in very much the same way as the other highlights - definitely keep the medium in there and water - because it's such a vibrant colour, you'll notice it if you make a mistake and it dries too quickly to sort out!).

It doesn't have go absolutely everywhere, and as you can see from the photos, there are places on there which probably will need to be gone over with a darker shade, and we'll most definitely glaze this down a notch as well. However, we're moving in the right direction here, and I think the colour is pretty much a Dark Angel one!

So, now I'm thinking about the next round of highlighting, with a specific requirement to take a bit of the yellowness out of those highlights. The next highlight might be the last one we need, but we'll judge it when we get there.

I hope you realise that I'm postponing the inevitable application of red to the eyes for as long as possible - as to do it right, it's always a right pain in the arse :P

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10. Highlighting...4th round


This is now probably as far as I want to go with the highlights for now. It's possibly just a little bit too much in certain areas (the arms especially), but until I've got the rest of the parts on and other details filled in, we'll stop and review later one. The mix on the highlights here is mostly Bleached Bone with a spot of Moot green in. It takes a fair bit of the yellowness out, but still keeps the tone balanced with the other colours I've used. I've also started plotting in a few bits of metal and other stuff - just to give me a bit of variety in the painting. Slightly deviating from a standard Dark Angel colour I guess, but it makes things more interesting I think.

If those highlights are still looking a bit too bright for me, then I'll tone it down with a slightly stronger glaze - which might be a mix of green and a small bit of purple - but we'll see.

Next up...the breast plate thing, plus the eyes on the helmet.

It's at this point in the proceeding where I have a terrible tendency to rush if I'm not careful - always wanting to stick things in place before I should...Hold me back.

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11.Some bits other than green!


Nice to have a change. I've chosen to use a bronze/copper effect on some of the studs and the skulls. It's a better colour for the green, and it's a much, much easier metal to work with than bog standard silver metal - namely because it's much more interesting for me.

Mix 1:1 Dwarf Bronze (or another copper/bronze type colour) with Scorched Brown (Rhinox Brown in the new range) and simply paint it on - NOT TOO THICK! Use a bit of water to thin it out a little. After it's dry, give it a wash of Brown. When that's dry, use pure Bronze to highlight. Gently go over skulls and other areas of interest. After that's dry, I always put on a thin purple wash to give a bit more variety in colour to the proceedings. I'll then use bronze with a little added mithril silver (well, actually I use a VALLEJO MODEL AIR PAINT - Chrome) and re highlight a few areas. I'll then do one more very thing purple wash, and finally use pure silver to literally just dot a couple of areas. Nothing much, otherwise it'll completely wipe out all the copper.

Very easy, and pretty effective!

The breastplate. Use something like Deneb Stone (Rakarth Flesh is the new version) and basecoat this on - because it's a whiter colour you'll probably find you need the paint slightly thicker, but still add a little medium for flow. When that's dry, wash it with a generous helping of brown. You may well (like I had to) repeat the wash to get it really into the recesses. Basically, you're going to be going for a bone-like effect.

Similar to the green, for your first highlight you just simply want a repeat of the original basecoat without going into those recesses. It's then a case of putting gradually more white into the mix on each highlight to get a nice smooth gradation on the thing.

Handy hint - I actually don't use white much anymore. All of you should buy the best colour in the world, and that is the Vallejo Model Colour paint - SILVERGREY. It's lovely and goes with everything.

Now, those eyes...

12. Those eyes

This is where that size 10-0 comes into play. But I say that with a word of caution. When you're using a brush that small, you just cannot use it to paint anything without the paint being nice and fluid. There's not enough hair on the thing for it to do anything when you're trying to paint directly from the pot. Don't do it. It won't work. And you'll bugger up the brush.

Use the medium - don't use water. It'll make the paint flow smoothly and you'll find that the brush works absolutely fine. Don't get me wrong - the eyes (and anything small) are bloody annoying things to do, and it's a right arse most of the time, but with the right mix and a bit of patience, it'll pay off.

So, first - paint the whole area black.It's a bit like painting gems.

Look at the face. Take the left eye (as you look at it). On that particular eye, I want black on the left side, with red to cover the rest of it (As a base).

Use a dark red (scab red, khorne red - any dark one will do), and work from near the centre of the eye toward the right side of it. What you then should have is black on the left, and red on the other side.

Take a brighter colour red and gently work this colour in - from the bottom of the eye to the right (leave out the black side altogether).

We're trying to get a 3d effect on the eye - attempting to get some sort of lens-type effect, and to get that concave thing, you now need to lighten up the bottom of the lens. So, we now take some orange and very carefully put on a thin line at the down the bottom. Again, work from the centre towards the right hand side.

Add a little white into the orange and do it once more.

Finally, put a very small dot of white directly into the centre of the black area and you should get the right result.

Look at this hastily drawn picture I did to show you what I mean.


I'm happy enough to stop with them now. They're not completely spot on, but they'll do in the time frame I'm working on.

On to the final stages of the figure itself - a few details and insignias, plus a few other odd and ends. And then we can base him (yay!). I like basing.

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Stage 13...A word on basing.

Thought I'd just throw in a few comments about basing. I was going to put the figure onto a fairly standard base - bung on some PVA glue, pour on some sand and paint it up. And that's fine - infact, I rather recommend those texture paints that GW do, because they actually are quite effective when painted up.

However, with very little extra effort, you can do something a little bit more interesting. Whether it's better, I don't know. Most of the time I use bits of cork, mixed with milliput to create rocks and stuff. A piece of cork on it's own can sometime not quite give you the shape you need - and it's a little bit too soft to reliably keep a figure stuck on it, so the milliput gives you a rock solid base to pop the figure on.

However, in this instance I'm going to use a product called 'Sculpti-board'. Well, I call it that - I'm not entirely sure what the real name is. I got some ages ago from a mate, but I suspect you can find it on line somewhere. It's basically some sort of resin/plaster mixed together into flat rectangles.

Anyway, it's the most brilliant stuff for making ruined architecture, stone flooring, broken slabs and other slightly more industrial stuff than the usual pure 'mother nature' effect I tend to go for.

Here it is:


You can cut into it - score it a few times and you'll find the bit you need will just snap off:



You can then score whatever you want into it - so we have the start of some flagstone paving:


You can shave it nicely (if you want to of course...)


The result is that in a pretty quick time you can make a fairly effective base, and this is what my marine's going to be going on:


In short, give basing a go. It's by far my fave part of the whole process - mainly because you can quickly get something effective sorted!

Nearly there I think.

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Cheers Joe.

I haven't got very far with my attempt at following your tutorial. I probably used too much thinner and spent most of the evening playing with the dog waiting for the paint to dry between the many layers I applied for the basecoat. Pretty smooth though!

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