Tag: Airbrush

A Minor Diversion… Corvus Blackstars

I had intended to switch back to some Grey Knight units – specifically some Dreadknights – after finishing the Deathwatch, but I ran out of some of the paints I used during the first GK’s I painted and had to rethink my plans.

One reason I was building up both armies was to combine them into a 2000 point army for a small, one day tournament to be held in April. Or at least, that’s what I thought, based on last year. When I did get the information about the tourney, it was 1500 points and happening in March. Oh. That meant my plans had to be drastically altered! While I could field a combined army, it would have meant some big compromises, none of which seemed particularly good, so I decided to focus on expanding just one army to fill the points.

Deathwatch required fewer additions to reach 1500 points, so that’s where I focussed my attention. Listing out everything I had already brought me to around 1200 with upgrades factored in. I wasn’t going to have enough points for another squad or Kill Team, so adding one or more vehicles made sense.

Skipping ahead to make a long story short, I ended up reorganising things about to make a Black Spear Strike Force, and by changing some of the upgrades around, I had enough points to take 2 Corvus Blackstars.

I bought and built the kits on Saturday (it’s a really nice kit to build!), keeping as many of the metallic parts separate as I could, and magnetising the main weapon options. From there I painted them much the same as the Drop Pods:

  • Prime black: 2-3 layers
  • Layer with Vallejo Game Air Black
  • Red areas (in this case, the stripes) are given 3-4 layers of Game Air Scarlet Red
  • Mask off the red areas
  • Respray black to neaten up
  • Using heavily thinned Game Air Sombre Grey and a bit of card, softly highlight the edges
  • Neaten up with some black if needed, concentrating on the middle of panels
  • Paint all “working” metallics with Metal Color Burnt Iron, shade with Nuln Oil, then lightly go over with a drybrush of Necron Compound
  • Decorative metals are painted with Metal Color Steel or Metal Color Gold

I do still need to paint the lenses or missiles on the model, but I couldn’t decide how I wanted to do those right now, so I’ve left them undone for now. I’ll get them painted before the tournament. Both Blackstars were 95% finished on Sunday, and the remainder done in a couple of hours on Monday

Grey Knights – Finished for Now

On Saturday night I finished up with the Grey Knights, getting them to a stage I would be happy putting them on the table (this is the first time I’ve sat at the PC in days, for me to catch up on blogging). I intend to go back to them at some point, to bring them a bit further up the quality scale, but that can be done at any point in the future. By getting them to “tabletop” I at least have them available for games.

This ties into some things I’m trying to teach myself this year: it doesn’t have to be perfect, and finishing (to a point) quickly is better than going back-and-forth for weeks on models before abandoning them in frustration.

You may notice I’ve kept a few things very simple: not all the sculpted detail is a different colour to the armour; the heraldry is unique to the squad, rather than the individual; and the bases are done very plain. These are all intentional at this stage – I looked at some Grey Knights artwork, and much of the details were depicted as the same material as the armour, I didn’t want to spend days tweaking heraldry for 10 individuals at this point, and the bases match those of my Sisters of Silence, while still having the metallic Grey Knights stand out from the (mostly) metallic base details. I might add some dark brass/bronze to the some base details, but I’m not yet decided.

So that’s the first 505 points of 2017 in the bag. It may only be 11 models, but to get them done in around 2 weeks is a significant step up in speed for me. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going! The Deathwatch are up next…

Masking Miniatures for Airbrushing

When airbrushing miniatures, we often need to mask off different areas to protect from overspray. Working in sub-assemblies often helps, but more often than not it’s still not 100% unavoidable.

I’ve tried various different products and techniques for masking:

  • blu-tack
  • masking tape
  • liquid mask (liquid latex)
  • card/paper
  • specialist masking putty

All of these have their strengths and weaknesses, and are very useful in many situations. But one of my favourites – and the inspiration for this post – is using cling-film (which I think is also known as static wrap?) something I learned from both of the Angel Giraldez miniature painting books. It’s light, cheap, easy to use, reusable, doesn’t leave any residue, doesn’t lift up paint, and with a bit of manipulation can mask surprisingly small areas. That said, I tend to use it for larger areas, mostly for speed/convenience. One thing it’s very good for is masking off the rest of the miniature while poking a sword or other weapon through the film:

When I remember to use it, that is! For some reason it’s something I keep forgetting to reach for when I have a masking job…

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 3

I’m back to work now, so progress has slowed considerably. Tonight I painted the force weapons on the Grey Knights, and continued chipping away at the red areas such as weapon casings and the Librarian’s robes.

The swords were painted with Forge World’s Eidolon Purple clear paint, over a metallic gradient (Burnt Iron to Silver), focussing the purble towards the base of the sword. Hammers were painted in a similar manner, but with general highlights rather than a pronounced fade effect.

Purple is a common spot colour throughout most of my Imperial collection – the SIsters of Silence I completed in December have purple gems, for example – so I decided to use it here for the swords as a way to tie them in with the rest of my collection.

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 2

From the base coat of Burnt Iron [which I keep wanting to call “Dark Iron,” because I’m used to that from World of Warcraft :)] I airbrushed Steel, leaving the Iron in the recesses and shadows. The beauty of the Metal Color range, I find, is that a colour might not be all that lighter than the one before it, but because of how it interacts with light, it can appear brighter. In this case, Steel isn’t that much lighter a paint than Burnt Iron, when poured out of the bottle, but it reflects more light, giving it a noticeably brighter finish.


I then gave the armour a very light airbrush of Silver, from almost directly above. The swords were given a fade effect, from Steel/Iron at the base, to Silver at the tip. I’m planning to put a Forge World Clear paint over the top, but I’m not sure which colour yet.

The iPhone camera is really struggling with the shininess of the finish, so the pictures aren’t the best.

The last bit of progress I made up to this point is to paint in the various text areas with Metal Color Gold, then block in some of the red areas with Khorne Red (to match my other “Imperial Agents”).

The Gold probably needs a wash over it, to “pun

ch up the colour” and define the text better, but I kinda like the more muted colour as it is, and would just want to increase the contrast/definition. I’d prefer to use Seraphim Sepia, but doesn’t come in a gloss variant, so I’ll need to go with Agrax Earthshade (most likely thinned a bit). The rest of the armour will most likely get a recess wash with Nuln Oil Gloss for a similar reason.

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 1

I’m battling with bronchitis, so I had a bit more of a chance to make progress on the Grey Knights than I expected. (In between sleeping and coughing up large quantities of neon gunk)

Let me just say straight out of the gate just how amazing the Metal Color range from Vallejo is. These are without a doubt the best metallic paints I’ve ever used. They apply so smooth, and don’t look like glorified glitter paint like some ranges. In the hands of someone more skilled than me, I believe they could look like the model was actually made of metal.

The pictures above are the base coat of Burnt Iron, over the gloss black primer. I applied the paint mostly from the bottom-up, so I could be sure of hitting the recesses. The gloss primer really helps the metallic paint shine, so the finish was a little brighter than I was expecting, when held under the painting lamp.