My projects are just all over the road right now. Basically, to keep myself busy (as I have found myself both without a car and without a computer over the last few weeks - though I have both back now), I have been painting and painting and painting. Let me walk you through a few things I've been working on.
The defining characteristic of my latest thrust in painting enthusiasm has been extreme randomness. I paint a bit of something, while it's drying I move on to something else. No plan for the role it will play in my army. No plans to turn anything into a squad instead of a single model. No nothing. Just painting. Paint, paint, paint. Here's an example... a Defender Guardian I put together:
He's part Defender Guardian, part Wood Elf (as I'm sure most people familiar with the current GW model line will spot instantly). I like him. I like him a lot. The photo doesn't do him a lot of justice, to be honest; there's shading and highlighting in there which easily qualifies as some of the best - if not the best - I've ever done. The down side is that I took an entire night to paint this guy. Do you really think I'm going to do one per night for the next umpteen nights until I have a nice base of 24 or more Defender Guardians? Don't count on it. I already get hives just from looking at the amount of work that went into this one guy... let along the aneurism I'd give myself considering doing an entire squad.
The yellow lines are done first by laying down a black stripe. Then, I use white (Reaper Mini white) to draw a second line inside the black one. Then, I follow up with GW Golden Yellow (maybe mixed with a bit of yellow ink) and paint over the white line. It looks snappy, but now you understand why I'm not so sure I'd want to do a whole army this way (and yet I wouldn't be happy with anything less). The rest of the model either uses the Wraithbone technique I've described elsewhere in this blog, or simple techniques that everyone knows how to do. I got the inspiration for the conversion from... well... EVERY Eldar player came up with this idea when the Wood Elves came out, so there's nothing really special about me in that regard. I did check out the Canadian supplement in White Dwarf magazine for some ideas on how to make this happen (though I definitely took it in my own direction).
I've always liked the Defender Guardian model, and I'm also really into the Wood Elf stuff... so I'm pleased with what I have here. And it'll be just fine as it is.
One thing: The bases I'm doing are more desert now. I've been thinking of doing a table in desert style, and I have a lot of trouble getting the colors right. Everyone tells me how to do it, but the truth is I've had trouble finding a recipe that I like. At present I'm using Snakebite Leather, then Bubonic Brown, drybrushed with bleached bone and then a little white on top. The Bubonic Brown gives it the yellow it needs, the Snakebite gives it some "earth", and the Bone & White add a bit of "dust" that looks good (in my opinion).
You can see more of that on the base I used for this big fella:
As far as the base goes, I have added some Space Marine debris to give the base some personality. It's not quite as vindictive as it seems; I just had some spare Marine bitz to make into scenery and it's generic enough to use Imperial trash and wreckage that it doesn't pigeonhole the character of the model too much. For the Marine debris, I used a method shown to me by Ottawa-area painter/modeler Dennis Campbell. I won't bother describing it here just now... but it makes the stuff look nice and worn and old. I use that technique very often.
Now, where the Wraithlord himself is concerned... this guy has driven me nearly to my grave. Why? Because countless times during its gestation process I have wanted to shoot myself in the temple from frustration. I've described elsewhere the kind of things I did with Green Stuff and hacking him into bits, but this guy just does NOT want to stay in one piece. He's been as fragile as glass. I've had to pin him multiple times and have torn him down to ground zero and started from scratch at least five times. I haven't finished painting him yet, but notice that I have put some yellow and blue runes up his left side. I just liked the look of it. You'll also see some on his faceplate.
As he nears completion, I can see that he is a really nice model in a cool pose. He isn't the success story I hoped he would be, but that's ok. I did learn some good lessons about modeling and painting. I'm hoping the next one will be a decent step foward.
He's obviously not quite done. In an effort to discuss what he's all about, let me play a little game of "Good, Bad, Interesting".
I used Green Stuff on his face plate to create the Shrine of Asur icon that is characteristic of Iyanden (once I started a second Wraithlord I thought it'd be wise to leave the door open to Iyaden in case some day I won the lottery and became a shut-in and finished an Iyanden army). Now THAT worked out nicely. Despite the photos (which make everything look way worse than it really is), that raised emblem on his face is really nice.
One of the best things about this guy is that he is rock solid, unlike the other Wraithlord. His joints are firm, and he's even fallen a couple times and not shattered (that arm you see was removed on purpose by me, and not without having to use a little strength to get it out). I want to pass on to other Eldar modelers what it is that I did, and I am even going to type this in bold so that you don't forget (if you undertake to make a Wraithlord): Each arm and leg has a small divot which works like a ball joint that goes into the torso sockets to hold the limbs in place. Take a jeweler's saw or, if you don't have that, a dremel or a file, and saw cross-shaped grooves into that divot (or ball or whatever you want to call it). I don't have a picture, but it should look like you could use a phillips screwdriver on it. Then, use super glue and Green Stuff to get it into the socket and let it dry thoroughly. After you do this, the joint will be very, very secure. I wish I'd known this before I made the other... (counting on fingers) four Wraithlords I've made in my lifetime. The first Wraithbone-painted Wraithlord I've shown you probably wouldn't have benefitted much from this technique, as his joints were at such severe angles out of the socket (I used plastic tubing, Green Stuff and pins to get those to stay put), but most Wraithlords, even the ones in really kooky positions, will benefit from this.
I like the Eldar Missile Launcher on the arm. I probably wouldn't do it again, but it was cool to get it nice and tightly glued to the forearm. I have some cool painting ideas for it, so we'll see how that goes. What you probably won't notice, however, is that I transplanted a flamer (pewter, no less) under the arm which normally carries a Shuriken Catapult. I even attached the ribbed tubing and everything. It worked out great.
Boring pose. I could have done better.
The brown ink wash (the same one I used on the other Wraithlord) didn't turn out so well. Why? I eventually figured out it's because I didn't add a drop of dish soap. Hard to believe, I know, but the ink behaves SO much differently when it's got a bit of that soap in there. The way it covered the Bleached Bone on Wraithlord number one was smooth and transparent, giving a little texture and character, but not overpowering the paintjob. The soap-less ink was much "harder", deciding to pool and gather and spread unevenly. We're not just talking about surface tension here; this is a question of actual consistency and pigment. Lesson well learned.
I'm working on a replacement for his power assembly (i.e. his backpack). I like it MUCH better than the standard antenna thing that goes on there, but it remains to be seen if I can make it into something special or not.
I also did a really nifty base for this guy, but I'll show you later.
Here's something I think is working out well:
This Wave Serpent has gotten one heck of a lot of tender loving care. I based it with my usual slathering of watered-down Snakebite Leather (which every model pictured in this post got a dose of) and applied the Bleached Bone to the panels in not one, not two, not three, not four, but... five very watered-down coats. I learned my lesson with the Scorpion Mark II Superheavy; take your time with the whites (or bone) because when you get it right, it's so very right. I remembered the dish soap in the ink. I took about a week to paint it up to what you see here.
A bit about that Snakebite Leather base: It's amazing. I didn't used to think of it as such a great color, but I'm a huge believer now. It makes an amazing wash; it becomes very organic and different hues, dark and light, settle into cracks and spread over highlighted areas making a crazed and rich texture over which to apply whatever comes next. I really like it.
I managed to do just a bit more than half of the Wave Serpent in the Bleached Bone and was preparing to do it all in that color when it occurred to me how luscious the blue would look next to the bone. In the second two photos you can really see it. The bright, jewel blue that's even and crisp (though some edging isn't quite finished) to contrast the organic, dappled Wraithbone was just perfect. I also thought it gave the Wave Serpent less of a "military" look and more the look of a work of art, which is how the Eldar see their tanks and skimmers. I will finish it with accents of Snakebite, yellow and, of course, several deep purple gems. I think this might be one of the best-looking things I've done in a very long time.
You'll also see that I've gotten started on some War Walkers...
(Notice that by their hooves I've also put in more Space Marine crap, and that I'm doing the Bleached Bone in layers, like on the Wave Serpent)
(BTW the glare on the gun isn't from the light; that's my highlighting. I'm very proud of that)
..and, of course, that pesky Farseer I keep talking about.
This is the Farseer, if you recall, that I'm painting up for the end of the month in competition with Bill (who recently told me to "suck this"). All in all, I like the way this guy is developing, but he's not quite there yet. I did some great highlighting on his robes, but ended up rubbing it off by accident while working on the scabbard and the helmet. Once I'm done the helmet I'll go back and redo those highlights. Doing the Wraithbone on the chest is going to be murder, but if I'm careful I think I'll do a decent job. There will be gems as well, and lots of runes by the time I'm done. The only thing that's actually where it will be when I am completely finished is the scabbard on his back, and even that needs a little Wraithbone and some gems.
Realizing that I will very, very likely NEVER have a complete 40k force in the Wraithbone/Blue/Yellow scheme I love so much, I've decided that my Epic and Battlefleet Gothic models will all be done in that style so at least I have SOMETHING I can put on the table in a unified Wraithbone theme. Here are some of those models for your perusal:
Same thing as the rest of the stuff: Snakebite base, Bleached Bone in many coats, blue here and there, blah blah blah. I really like BFG and I do want to get into playing it. I have a bunch of Epic stuff now, which is also really neat, but I have been mostly gluing, basing and priming (in white), so there's not much to see just at this moment. BTW, yes... I see the green smudge on the Flagship's sail. Thank you.
Unfortunately, you can see that I have started painting things which don't start only with "W"... but I do like where all this is going. I have a tournament to go to this weekend, so I'll be spending Saturday painting the old red, black, white and gold again. This has made for a great break, however, and if I ever get the time I may just dump the entire Deimhinn Sinn roster into a vat of Simple Green and start all over again.
Or I could just rub my head with a cheese grater while I chew tin foil. Either or.