Continuing the World of Airbrushing
I really wanted to start out small with my airbrushing, as noted in my initial airbrushing blog. I had taken on a simple Werewolf and figured I’d maybe try another one of my smaller models. Maybe another one from my large Reaper Kickstarter haul. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out that way. While shopping at a nearby hobby shop for some new Vallejo Air paints, I came across a Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought.
When the “Primaris” versions of Space Marines initially came out, I remember seeing them plastered all over every Warhammer 40k fansite, forum, subreddit, you name it. They were larger than the older models hobbyists and gamers had gotten used to seeing for decades, and provided a lot more detail to cover. I totally understood the fascination and love they garnered, but I still had resisted the urge to buy them. I still have a massive backlog of 40k miniatures. I still never finished painting all my units from my original 3rd Edition and Dark Imperium box sets. But damn this thing was awesome looking, and looked like a perfect opportunity to play with airbrushing.
So I gave in. I bought the Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought. And man was it worth it. Unlike prior model builds, I also decided I’d finally actually pay attention to mold lines. I spent hours painstakingly removing pieces from the sprues and filing them as best as I could without giving up and rushing through it. The end result wasn’t perfect, but it is definitely the best I’ve done so far.
Once I had most of the pieces put together and kept separate (for magnetization later), I decided to give airbrush priming a try for once. Unsurprisingly, it was so much better than what I used to do with the giant aerosol cans. I also felt like I wasn’t piling on paint for once, which was fantastic. The only issue I found was that I would go through much more primer this way compared to a large spray can. That said, I’m sure I could get larger bottles of Vallejo’s primers as well.
The primer dried pretty quickly, and then I was faced with my first dilemma: what shade of green do I want to start with? Of course I was doing green again due to my obsession with the Dark Angel army color scheme, but would I start with Citadel’s “Caliban Green” or Vallejo’s “Dark Green”. They’ve very similar, but I noticed that Citadel’s tends to dry a lot darker and I’m not sure that was exactly the look I wanted to go for. As a comparison, my Imperial Knight was based entirely in Caliban and when you compare that to the images of my base green here, the difference is pretty clear. I ultimately decided to go with Vallejo due to laziness. I would have had to dilute Citadel’s green with the airflow improver as opposed to using Vallejo’s straight out of the bottle.
After spraying on my initial green layer, I started to experiment by mixing more shades together. I started by adding some Vallejo “Sick Green” (about 25% of this and 75% of “Dark Green”. This mixture was sprayed over the entire model from a distance, making sure to concentrate more on the parts of it that were higher up. I figured the nicest looking gradient would have the darker shades on the bottom, and I immediately saw a very pretty shift immediately. From there I added more “Sick Green” to thinly layer on the paint and further push that nice gradient that formed. Finally I added Vallejo’s “Verde Escorpena” to the mixture to really make the green pop. This instantly became the best thing I had ever painted, and I could not believe I waited so damn long to do get to this point. I did know, however, that airbrushing only gets you so far. I did manage to create an excellent and clean gradient in a matter of minutes compared to the hours of blending I did on my Imperial Knight, but the real detail that would make it work is the edge-highlighting.
I’ve never been good at edge-highlighting. Never. I’ve always been envious of the artists who can perfectly slide their brush against edges or in crevices without splashing paint all over the place. Either my paint on my brush ends up being too wet or too dry. I can never seem to get it just right. But god damn it did I try to this time. I started by going back to Citadel’s “Warpstone Glow” as a base around all the edges. Right off the bat, this made the panels pop. Thoguth I’ve never really like the almost Tron-looking edges of the official Warhammer 40k miniatures, there was no doubting that the highlighting really does amazing things. After I had the initial highlights done, I went back around and highlighted most of the edges with Citadel’s “Moot Green”. I also took the opportunity to paint over all the metal-looking areas with Army Painter’s “Gun Metal”. I figured I’d take the opportunity to try other metallic paints for once, as well as start moving away from Citadel’s pots and towards the more convenient dropper bottles that every other paint company uses. From there, I did multiple layers of Citadel’s “Nuln Oil” black ink wash to give it that awesome dark grey dirty metal finish that I fell in love with on the Imperial Knight.
The model was finally coming together, and I could not be happier. At this point I started doing more detail work, especially in the open part of the chassis. I was trying to be careful not to get stray brushstrokes on the green parts of the model, knowing full well that fixing those would be a huge pain in the ass. I suppose I could have tried glazing the shades in those areas, but at this point I had never really successfully used that technique. That will be for a future blog post, I’m sure. 🙂
This was around the time that I decided to test how the loose pieces fit together, and figure out what I would need to magnetize. Games Workshop designed the shoulders in such a way that they should be able to hook into the torso and be rotated freely. Unfortunately, I think my model was either defective or I wasn’t attaching them correctly because I had to shave down the connecting parts in order to be able to rotate them. In the end, I only magnetized the legs to the torso and the claw forearm to the shoulder. In hindsight, I wish I left the arm alone and better-measured the torso as the top half now leans back slightly because of the angle that I glued down the legs. Oh well, I’ll get it next time!
The last new thing I wanted to try for this model was give it a nice base. Not that I’ve neglected my bases in the past or anything, but I’ve always sort of stuck with a layer of sand, some tiny rock clumps, and a tuft or sprinkle of grass. This time I would try to give it a look. As I’ve been watching painting streams and doing a ton of Googling, I came across a company called Happy Seppuku. They sell really awesome and easy-to-use textured base stamps, so I figured I’d give them a shot. Instead of using some sort of clay or modeling epoxy or other smart option, I used Liquitex modeling paste. Now this stuff is great when you want to cover small areas on bases with a smoothed-out surface that you can let sit for a while. I didn’t realize that taking the shape of molds would not be an easy feat for it, however, as I kept having to test if it was dry enough to accept the shapes in the first place. I did finally get it to take form for the most part, but I wasn’t totally happy with the outcome. That’s when I thought it might be fun to give it a dirt covering. I carved out some of the bricks manually, and then smoothed out the paste in other parts to give it that feel of dirt covering it. From there, I poured a couple of thin layers of sand over the dirt areas as I usual. Finally I primed the whole thing black and painted it back up. I coated all the bricks in a dark grey and lightened it up in other areas. I highlighted the edges with a lighter grey and then stained the tops with some brown wash to dirty it up. When it came to the actual “dirt” parts, I started by dry-brushing a dark brown over it and then layered my dry-brushing with lighter shades (ending with a light grey). I think the end-result was fantastic, as the bricks look worn and the dirt looks old and dry. I love it. I could ot be prouder of this finished model.