Painting Master Balthasar

Painting Master Balthasar

I’ve had the Master Balthasar model primed and shelved for a while now, along with most of the Dark Vengeance set. As silly as it sounds, I think it took me a while to get to the point where I was ready to try to paint this little bastard as he is more detailed and technically difficult compared to all the basic tactical Space Marines (even with the occasional robe) I had done before. I don’t know how obvious it is yet to anyone readying these, but I’m definitely not super confident in my ability to paint minis. I think I naturally hold myself to a massively high standard (we are our own worst critics, right?), and until I’m able to paint something at the quality you’d see on the box art, I just won’t be happy.

Okay, enough of that. So Master Balthasar. Despite being another Space Marine in a robe, I really felt like this one was going to be a challenge for me. I figured this should finally be the time I really attempt edge highlighting. At least in a better fashion than just aggressive dry-brushing (which I do not recommend doing).

For future reference, if anyone out there plans on just dry-brushing edges to get highlights, that is absolutely a quick and effective way to get a good-looking result. But if you do, remember to get paint off your brush as much as possible, and gently run those bristles on the edge of the model. Doing this multiple times will help really pull that color out. I didn’t understand this when I first started out, and would press the bristles harder than necessary. This would absolutely highlight the edges, as well as cover the rest of the model with the highlight color. As you can see from the counter on the bottom of every page on the site, though, I sure know how to destroy brushes!

I don’t think I was entirely successful in highlighting the edges by painting smooth thin lines, but it definitely was good practice for me. I can’t hold my hand still to save my life, but I found that if I thinned my paints enough and only applied a very small amount on my brush, that helped me trick myself into thinking I wasn’t going to mess up as bad. I think as a result, it made me more confident the more I went from edge to edge. Now that said, I think this paint job suffers from that neon edge look, a major drawback to caking on the highlighting paint as well as not getting my lines as thin as I would’ve liked.

One amazing tip I saw after finishing this guy was that if you find that you’ve also painted Tron, you should go back over that highlight with a heavily thinned layer of your darker paint so it muddies that highlight a bit. In this case, his color scheme is the typical Dark Angels combo of Caliban Green, Warpstone Glow, and Moot Green. A nice layer of Warpstone over the Moot Green would’ve even helped, and I’ll definitely try to remember that on my next project. I do also have the Biel-Tan Green shade in my arsenal, as well, and I imagine lightly brushing some of that on might have a similar effect. Something I’ll have to test one of these days.

The other two things I did differently on this model were using glazes for the first time as a sheen for his sword and giving his helmet’s wings a much cleaner white look than normal.

For the sword, I painted it with Leadbelcher as usual, followed by a slight brushing of Runefang Steel to help that silver pop. Then I splashed some Guilliman Blue glaze on it to give it that nice blue sheen. I’m not at the level yet where I can do some awesome gradients on blades, so for the time being I think this is a pretty effective way to just make power weapons look a bit better.

For the helmet’s wings, I based it with a coat of White Scar as normal. I then lightly ran thin lines of Nuln Oil around each of the feathers for a slight shadow. In some areas I put on a thicker coat for more shade, but got the same result regardless. Once that completely dired, I added White Scar back on, this time making sure my brushstrokes were from the top and downward, so as to only hit the raised areas and avoid the recessed shaded sections.

Finally I did a special base for him. By now, making pink extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) look like rocks has come second nature. I started by cutting a leftover chunk of it from another project so it was roughly the same dimensions as the normal rounded base with a bit of overlap. I then ran the edge of my knife vertically along the edge of the foam, and scraped away the top layer, giving it a rougher texture with some more natural-looking cracks and indents. After rubbing away any excess stragglers with my thumb, I glued it to the base with some PVA glue. Once that dried, I measured where his feet would be placed on it, dug out the foam in those areas, and then filled those holes with more PVA glue. The reason for this being that in past attempts at basing with XPS foam, I found my models felt a bit unstable and fragile on it, and though I do usually treat them like delicate snowflakes, I want to try to prevent disaster from happening if possible. Also, XPS foam hates super glue.

So after those PVA holes dried, I took some basic black acrylic paint and put a basecoat on the whole base, really making sure all the pink foam gets covered in all the nooks and crannies. After that dried, I drybrushed the whole base with some grey paint, adding a bit of black to darken it a bit and making sure not to fill the cracks so a bit of depth remains. I then covered the top of the base with this same shade of grey. I repeated the drybrushing a few more times with lighter and lighter shades of grey until I finished up with a final feint highlight of white over just the edges of some of the rockface. Once done, I spread a layer of PVA over the top of the base and superglued the model to the PVA-filled holes from earlier. I then dusted on my various grass flocks and statics to give it a bit of color variation.

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