Thursday, February 12, 2015

Alladin's "Step-by-Step" #1: Grey Knight Strike Squad (pt.9)

So here we are, the second-last part of my first Step-by-Step. Almost 2 years in the making, we are at the final countdown. This one will be a big one, as it encompasses pretty much all the remaining "fine-detail" work aside from the Nemesis Force Weapons. I have been trying to find the time to get this part written up for a while, but haven't been able to until now.

I finished up the parchment/bone sections first. They looked pretty good after my wash, but I needed to add a bit more depth with some lighter colours. The formulas are below:

Parchment Midtone:
1 :  1   -   Bonewhite : Magic Wash

This took a few coats as it was pretty thin, but gave me the effect I wanted.

Parchment Highlights:
2 :  1  :  3   -   Bonewhite : Dead White : Magic Wash

This was probably too thin for its intended use. In hindsight I would have liked the highlights to pop a bit more, but there is no stopping this train so we just keep on rolling!

This step took 30 minutes over 1 painting session.

Next, I finished up the remaining white highlights. This really doesn't add a lot aside from some subtle highlights on the white parts of the shoulder pauldrons, and around the helm edges. Same formula as last time.

White Highlights:
1 :  0   -   Dead white undiluted

Next up was doing the blue highlights and edging! This was a bit tricky to find out the ratios, but I settled on something decent I think.

Blue Highlights:
2 :  1  :  3++   -   Magic Blue : Electric Blue : Magic Wash

I added the "++" because the above ratio was still a bit strong, and unless you are very good at blending (aka not me) or in a hurry (aka kind of me), I would recommend a stronger dilution and more thin layers. The edging was more straightforward, just remember to wipe your brush down a lot so the line is controlled.

Blue Edging:
1 :  1  -   Electric Blue : Magic Wash

Finally, I finished up the blue flame Heraldry on the pauldrons by adding some light flecks using the formula below.

White Flame Tips:
1 :  1   -   Glacier Blue : Magic Wash

This step took 1 hour, 40 minutes over 1 painting session.

With that out of the way, I decided to add the blue tinge to the metallic armour. I forgot how I did this the last time so I had to go in blind, but was pretty happy with the result. My patience seems to get the best of me when doing this stuff, and instead of building up with many thin layers I go for a few thicker layers. The problem becomes tide marks. That said, on flat pieces of armour they are easy to fix, but I should really take the time. The formula is below.

Metallic Blue Glow:
1 :  10   -   Imperial Blue : Magic Wash

Quite dilute, as you can tell, but required to get that glow look. I had my brush loaded up fairly full, but again, thinner layers are your friend. To fix my hasty work, I used the formula below. Again. I needed a few layers especially were the rise marks really coalesced into thick bands.

Metallic Tidemark Fix:
1 :  2   -   Chainmail Silver : Magic Wash

This step took 1 hour, 35 minutes over 1 painting session.

Afterwards, I looked at the grey ribbing at the joints and felt it was too light for my liking. I went over it quickly again. It looks a bit better, but another set of focused highlights would have made them pop even more. That said, time is not on my side.

Grey Piping Highlights:
2 :  1  :  6   -   Somber Grey : Black : Magic Wash

This was a fairly dilute mix, and was lightly rushed on with a fine detail brush. Afterwards I finished up the gold highlights. This was pretty quick, just going over the areas I felt would get more light.

Gold Highlights:
1 :  1   -   Shining Gold : Magic Wash

This step took 1 hour, 45 minutes over 2 painting session.

The final step in the metallics section was to do the edging for both the silver metallics and the golds. For this, I just used slightly diluted Silver and lightly ran it across the edges I wanted to pick out. It may take a few runs with the brush to really get the effect to be noticeable. 

Metallic & Gold Edging:
2 :  1  -   Silver : Wash

I still find trying to highlight with metallics to be extremely challenging, due to the way light plays on the surfaces. You just kind of have to have a plan for each area and start dark and buld up to light. At certain angles it looks really good, while on others it just looks "silver" or "gold." I will still continue to do it this way, as it will improved overall shading skills.

This step took 1 hour, 35 minutes over 1 painting session.

The next step was to get all the parchment writing up. This was fairly quick, done with a fine detail brush and the formula below.

Parchment Writing:
1  :  1  :  2   -   Black : Charred Brown : Wash

Here, you just have to make sure your brush isn't overloaded, so that the lines are nice and thin. I also used undiluted Gory Red, and Magic Blue to add some colour to some of the pages on the various books.

FINALLY, we get to the rest of the blue glow. This part took a long while, because I was trying to get the ratios correct, and also a fair amount of touching up had to be done to the whites afterward.

First, for the areas that weren't already light (i.e. Stormbolter ammo clips, vents on the NFW, vents on the rear of the armour "hoods" (if visible), I painted them quickly with Glacier Blue.

Glowing Blue Basecoat:
1 :  1  -   Glacier Blue : Wash

This was the easy part - just go over it a few coats and make sure it's a nice solid colour.

Afterwards, I did a very dilute wash using the formula below. This is the main "glow." As with the metallic glow, I overloaded my brush in an effort to be expedient - this just meant I had to go over the tide marks with many coats of the Glacier Blue formula above to blend the tide marks away. It works, but probably not ideal. Anyway, forumula!

Main Blue Glow:
1 :  15  -   Imperial Blue : Wash

As you can tell, it is quite dilute, but when painting it over white it still shows up quite a bit. If you do it the proper way (i.e. without a loaded up brush) it should take multiple coats. Try and focus your brush strokes from the outside of the glow inwards, so that the paint collects closest to the source of the glow. For the small areas like the NFW vents, you just dab it in to get the blue.

After doing this, I spent a fair amount of time fixing the whites as best as I could. I have some "before and after" pics for reference:

Before (see area around eyes)

To finish up this step, and wrap up Part 9 of this Step-by-Step, I did the highlights for the glow, in two fairly quick steps.

Blue Glow "Highlight":
1  :  2   -   Electric Blue : Wash

Blue Glow "Edging":
1  :  2  -   Glacier Blue : Wash

I kind of messed this up, and is a evident on the first pic of the Psycannon, where the blue glow from the weapon is a bit sloppy. This is because I forgot about the middle step with Electric Blue, so I had to go in and re-do my work. However I was tired and grouchy, so the blue glow isn't as smooth as I'd like. Next time will be different!

In this stage I also did the glow for the Nemesis Daemonhammer. Basically followed the steps above, but then adding some "lighting" designs on each end. It looks OK. The pic below does not demonstrate this, but when I finish up the rest of the NFW's it will be shown with the rest of them.

This (MASSIVE) step took 3 hours, 55 minutes over 3 painting sessions.
Total Painting Time for Part 9: 11 hours over 9 painting sessions. 

Total Painting Time to date: 50 hours, 25 minutes over 41 painting sessions.


Wow... I just broke the 50 hour barrier. The good news is that all I have left is the NFW to do. The bad news is that I think those won't get done very quickly.
I will try and take my time on the final step, and will include more pics detailing each step, as I know the NFW glow is considered the trickiest. I don't assume that mine look amazing, but for a mid-level painter, they should rock the table-top standard for sure. 
...this weekend WILL mark the end of this Step-by-Step. With my wife abandoning me for 4 days to visit family (over Valentine's day, no less!) I will have plenty of time to get this thing done.

Until then!


  1. These are absolutely stellar Alladin. Having been watching you progress on these guys, they have gone from ok, to good, to fantastic! Lot of great tiny detailing you've done here. I'd consider entering these into a competition as a squad when you are finished.

  2. Thanks! That is high praise coming from someone who is an awesome painter himself. It's too bad I only have 4 Purifiers painted, though I could enter my 6 regular GKs... And that's if I could find a contest in my area to begin with!

    If I am disciplined, I should also pop out my Vinidcare and Jokaero models by next week. I will have 3 full days of painting time so I better use it wisely.

    1. Thanks, but I'm still just guessing at what to do. Well keep painting them at this level and submit a full squad when something shows up. :)

    2. Same with me, that's why I am documenting each step so I can hopefully stop guessing with the next batch!

      Finished up one NFW tonight, two more to do then I can cross an item off my list!