This post has been a long time coming. In fact, it has been about a year and a half since I finished painting my version of Death Company Tycho. It should be interesting to look back on a paint job, so long after, and explore what I was thinking back then, and how I took a step up a level in my painting with this mini.
Hopefully you all will agree that this is my best piece to date, and maybe even the best mini I've ever built and painted.
Two posts down, you can see the unpainted pics, and read about the build. Once I had the mock-up finished, I broke it down into the parts I would paint separately. The Ork was painted, along with the base, as one piece. Tycho was painted in a few different pieces, the body, the head, the Combi-Melta, both arms, and the backpack. Usually, my minis are painted in 5-10 pieces, and I don't know what the whole mini will look like until I've already finished the paint job. It all works in my head, somehow, but you do have to keep your light source in mind while working on all the separate pieces.
Even though Tycho is black, painted over a black primer, I need the greys to be bright enough to show the battle damage. I wanted Tycho to look battered, but strong.
Painting started with the black armor. Once I had a solid base of Thamar Black, I started laying out my highlights with Coal Black. This has a nice blue tone that is not too strong. It shows enough to see how the highlights will look, but not too much that it takes work to paint over if you make a mistake.
Once I worked out where my highlights would be, with the sun directly overhead, I took a big jump in color. Normally I would have started with some Greatcoat Grey, maybe even mixing it with some Coal Black, and built up some gradual highlights. In this case, I knew that the highlights were going to be bright, so I jumped straight to Ironhull Grey. This looked really stark at first, but I came back over it with some washes of Armor Wash and Flesh Wash, both of which give a nice purple-ish sheen to the black, and tone down the Ironhull Grey. The next layer is Cryx Bane Highlight, followed by Trollblood Highlight for my edge highlight, both given thin glazes of my wash to tone the colors down a bit. This gave me some good sharp highlights, and a surface to paint some battle damage onto. The battle damage is just dots of Thamar Black, highlighted with Trollblood Highlight.
I know the description sounds really simple, but I try to keep everything very simple. The trick is just in playing with the contrast to attract the eye. Keep the light source in mind, and bring it to life. No fancy techniques, just lots of thin layers to bring the idea to life.
The head was an important part of the paint job, but once again, I keep it very simple. My normal skin recipe is to start with a dark brown, Battlefield Brown. The first solid layer is Khardic Flesh, followed by some thinned Flesh Wash. The proper layering starts with Midlund Flesh, leaving the washed shadows showing, then a layer of Midlund Flesh mixed 1-1 with Ryn Flesh. The highlights start with Pure Ryn Flesh, and finish with Ryn Flesh and Morrow White mixed 1-1.
The hair is done in the same colors as the rest of the yellow, with a slight variation on the Ork armor. Once again, I started with Battlefield Brown. The next layer is Bootstrap Leather, and then another solid layer of Rucksack Tan. The strands of hair are laid down with a 1-1 mix of Rucksack Tan and Jack Bone, a layer of 1-1 Jack Bone and Cygnus Yellow, then a layer of the same but a 1-3 mix, and finished with a 1-3 mix of Cygnus Yellow and Morrow White.
The Ork armor uses the same mix as Tycho's hair, but has been glazed with Bloodstone between each layer to give a bit of a dirty look. The battle damage is just spots of Greatcoat e Grey, highlighted with the 1-3 yellow and white mix.
The Ork's horns, Tycho's name banner on his shoulder, and all of the purity seals, are painted the same. Starting with Battlefield Brown again, followed by a solid layer of Gun Corps Brown. The next layer is Hammerfall Khaki, leaving the darker brown in the folds and shadows. The highlights start with Menoth White Base, then Menoth White Highlight, and finished with a fine touch of Morrow White. Freehands are done with thinned Thamar Black.
The golds on Tycho are done in my standard recipe. The base is Battlefield Brown. I use it as the starting point for a lot of colors, as it covers so well, and so easily, over black, and is also easy to paint over. The first layer is Rhulic Gold mixed 1-1 with Battlefield Brown, and then a layer of pure Rhulic Gold. Then I start to wash some interesting tones into the gold. I use a mix of Flesh Wash and Sanguine Base to add a red tone to the golds. This also gives me my shadows. I clean up the wash with pure Rhulic again, and then start hichlighting with a 1-1 mix of Rhulic Gold and Vallejo Air Gold. The next highlight is 1-1 Vallejo Air Gold and Vallejo Air Aluminium, finished with pure Aluminium.
The steel, both on the Ork and Tycho, have been done with another standard recipe. I start with Pig Iron, and then a heavy coat of Armor Wash. Once cleaned up with Pig Iron, I lay down some Cold Steel.Highlights start with Cold Steel mixed 1-1 with Vallejo Air Aluminium. I play around with the washes, using some Beaten Purple, some Flesh Wash, and even some Vallejo Smoke and Bloodstone on the Ork. Highlights and scratches are pure Aluminium.
The Ork leathers are Battlefield Brown, highlighted with Bootstrap Leather, then a 1-1 mix of Bootstrap Leather and Hammerfall Khaki. This was then washed with the Vallejo Smoke.
The Ork's black clothes are Thamar Black, highlighted with a layer of Coal Black, a layer of Greatcoat Grey, and then a layer of Cryx Bane Highlight. This was then washed with Bloodstone to make everything look worn and dirty.
The Ork's skin was a nice experiment, that actually worked out well. I started with a nice solid base of Thornwood Green. Then I began defining the muscles with pure Traitor Green. The shadows are an equal mix of Sanguine Base and Thornwood Green. Final highlights are a 2-1 mix of Traitor Green and Ordic Olive, followed by a layer of pure Thrall Flesh. I finished with a few light washes of Beaten Purple, followed by a bit of Thornwood Green in the deep spots.
The flames painted on the Ork's gun and helmet are just Thamar Black, While the red bits are painted the same as Tycho (see below).
The reds are begun, as always, with Battlefield Brown. Next is a layer of Sanguine base, followed by a layerof Skorne Red. This shaded with a wash of an equal mix of Sanguine Base and Exile Blue. The highlights start with pure Khador Red Base, then KRB plus Menoth White Highlight at 2-1, and finished with pure Heartfire. Everything is tied together at the end with a few glazes of Red Ink.
The white feathers are based with Greatcoat Grey. I built up the layers starting with a 1-1 mix of Greatcoat Grey and Underbelly Blue, and then pure Underbelly Blue. Next came an equal mix of Underbelly Blue and Morrow White, and finished with a thin layer of pure Morrow White.The tips are just standard black, like the armor.
Finally, the base. Quite a standard urban stone recipe for me. The first layer is Greatcoat Grey, followed by a heavy drybrush of Cryx Bane Highlight. The first wash is thinned Beaten Purple, and then a second thinner wash of Thamar Black. This is highlighted with a heavy drybrush of Trollblood Highlight, and then another light drybrush of Trollblood Highlight mixed 1-1 with Menoth White Highlight. One last Beaten Purple wash, and then a final light drybrush of Trollblood Highlight and Morrow White mixed 1-1.
The skull is painted the same as the base, but without the purple washes.
That should be everything. I understand that a description of the colors doesn't help a great deal, but I think that everyone paints with a different approach and technique. I can't really describe my process, since it is all experimentation, but I can share the recipe. I hope you find it somewhat useful.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for following my work.