Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Custom Grey Knight Grandmaster

Hi. I've completed my latest commission piece. Finally! Painting this 1 guy was like painting 4 single minis. The sheer amount of detail and freehand is out of control. I had to tackle him in 7 seperate pieces before finally assembling the finished product. Here he is, a Grey Knight Grandmaster worthy of the name.

More angles can be seen in my CoolMini gallery, here:


I would appreciate your vote on this big guy.

Here's a brief rundown of what went into building this guy.

He started life as Marneus Calgar in Terminator armor. The base, the legs, and the torso are stock parts from his mini. The only parts that come from an actual Grey Knight Terminator is the Psycannon arm, and the Heraldic Shield on that left shoulder. The helmet is the Company Champion head from the Command Squad box. The cencers hanging from his back are from the Dark Angels sprue, and the big purity seals on the halberd are from the Ravenwing sprue. Finally, the Force Halberd is built from a Termie Librarian arm, with the eagle cut off his staff and replaced with a blade from a Menoth Warjack.

There was a little bit of sculpting that had to be done to make everything fit. The shoulder pad rims made for an awkward fit, so some soft armor joints had to be sculpted around the armpits. The ammo feeds at the back had to be cut down, and some sculpting done to blend the cloak up over the holes. All of the Ultra symbols had to have the grooves filled in to turn them into simple discs. The censers had some extra rope sculpted on so they wrap around the chains. Finally, where the eagle was clipped off the end of the staff, I had to sculpt a plug for the cable to meet the halberd head.

It was all very simple stuff, but good practice for me, as this was only the second time I've tried any sculpting. The little extra work goes a long way to making a unique mini.

When it came time to paint this guy, after having made sure all the parts fit, I painted him in 7 parts. The base, the legs, the torso, the helmet, and both arms were tackled seperately. I just had to keep in mind the whole time the different angles that each part was going to be glued at, so I could keep my shadows and highlights coherent.

Once I had carved off the Ultra symbol from the rock, I tackled the base first, as it was the simplest part of the paintjob. Starting from a black basecoat, I painted everything Greatcoat Grey. Next came a heavy drybrush of Trollblood Highlight, followed by the same with Menoth White Highlight. The rock was then given a few good coats of GW Washes, Leviathan Purple and Thrakka Green. When this was dry I hit everything with a light drybrush of Menoth White Highlight again to make the edges pop.

Next I tackled the legs. I had never painted a Grey Knight with metals. The GW scheme uses a wash of Regal Blue to tint the metal. I felt like doing something a little more unique, so I went with a Turquoise tint. I basecoated the metal with Pig Iron, which covers so easily, and is a nice dark tone. Then I used a mix of Armor Wash, Mixing Medium, and water to define all the seperate armor plates. This is pretty sloppy, but the next layer, GW Boltgun Metal, cleaned everything up and defined the shadows. At this stage the armor was bright enough that I was ready to tint it. I mixed some P3 Turquoise Ink with some Mixing Medium and water, and slathered it on. After 2 or 3 layers, I was happy with the result. I came back with the Boltgun Metal again to start defining the highlights. The highlights were finished with the top edges being given a coat of Vallejo Air Aluminium.

I pretty much got my Golds figured on the Blood Angels Sternguard mini I painted last month. Basecoat Battlefield Brown, a layer of Rhulic Gold, a mix of Rhulic and Vallejo Air Gold, a layer of pure VA Gold, a wash of P3 Flesh Wash, and a highlight of VA Aluminium. Simple, and it works great.

The black leather was done with my stock Black technique. A quick coat of Coal Black with the pure Black left in the shadows. First highlight is Greatcoat Grey, followed by a layer of Trollblood Highlight. Good to go.

I think I've got my scroll and purity seal recipe down. I start with a basecoat of Battlefield Brown. Next is a layer of Gun Corps Brown, just leaving the BB in the deepest parts. This was covered with a layer of Menoth White Base, leaving a bit of GCB for light shadows. The Highlight is done with Menoth White Highlight, and the text is done with some watered down Thamar Black.

The wax seals are done with a basecoat of Sanguine Base, followed by a layer of Sanguine Highlight, and finished with SH mixed with Menoth White Highlight.

The shield, or giant beltbuckle as I have come to think of it, was given a basecoat of Sanguine Base on one side and Greatcoat Grey on the other. Some Khador Red Base was mixed in with the SB, and some Trollblood Highlight for the GG. I did a few mixes like this, getting lighter each time, until i was ready for pure KRB and TH. The Red was then given a fine line of Khador Red Highlight.

The Gems were painted with Beaten Purple. BP mixed with a bit of White for the reflection along the underside of the gems, a spot of Black on top, and then an even finer spot of pure White.

The hip pads were basecoated with Sanguine Base, and then mixed with Khador Red Base. Unlike the shield, I wanted these to be a little darker and more maroon, so I didn't mix as much KRB in. I use pure KRB for the edge highlight. I then painted an Inquisitorial "I" in Gold, and did a little filagree around it.

The helmet is basically more of the same. The metal is done just like the legs. I painted the eyes with my reds, but using the gem technique. The earpieces on the helmet are done just like the hip pads, with the "I" freehanded on but no filagree. The golds are the same as above.

Next I tackled the Psycannon arm. Not much worth mentioning here, except for the cables. All other colors are the same as above. The yellow and black cables may look complicated to someone who hasn't tried it yet, or hasn't discovered the easy way to do it. Trying to get a Yellow color over Black would be a nightmare, and trying to paint each yellow stripe would drive you crazy. The simple way is to paint the whole cable Brown first. Once you have a nice solid coat of Gun Corps Brown, it is easy to cover with a Yellow like Heartfire. After I have a nice solid layer of Heartfire I come back in with the black and paint all the stripes. A fineline highlight of Trollblood Highlight, and you're done. Much easier, and very quick.

The shield was done freehand, without a sketch. I just winged it, and prayed for the best. I layed out the shape of the Cherub's body with Khardic Flesh, the wings with Greatcoat Grey, and the Snake with Gnarles Green. Then I cleaned everything up with Black. Everything was brightened up with Midlund Flesh, Trollblood Highlight, and Iosan Green, respectively. The highlights were done with Ryn Flesh, Morrow White, and Necrotite Green, and the hair painted with Cygnus Yellow. The black edges were highlighted as normal.

The Force Halberd was up next. The only thing I did different here was on the blade. A guy had painted a very similar conversion for the Golden Bolter contest, and I liked the fiery sword he painted. Since I usually paint Power Weapons with a Blue glow, I thought I'd try something different here. I started with a basecoat of  Sanguine Base, and then played with Khador Red Base, Heartfire, and Cygnus Yellow. I just did a bunch of different layers of squiggles with these colors until I had an effect I liked, and then highlighted the edges with Cygnus Yellow.

Now it was time to paint the torso and cloak. I had put this off  'til the end because I wasn't sure of the freehand designs I wanted to use. Once I had it all worked out in my head, I dove right in. I wanted a few different looks than normal here on things like the Black side of the cloak and the tassles.

I started the tassles with Sanguine Base as usual, and the layered on Skorne Red for my basic color. I highlighted with Khador Red Base, and then used Khardic Flesh for my fine highlight. I did the same on the tassles across the chest, and on the Force Halberd.

For the Black on the cloak, I used Coal Black for my highlight, and used a fine line of Greatcoat Grey as my fine highlight. I like the darker finish that it has over taking it all the way up to Trollblood Highlight.

The freehand on the back was sketched out with Battlefield Brown, and then given a solid coat of Gun Corps Brown. this was finished off with Cygnus Yellow.

The Red on the front was taken through my normal Red progression, but highlighted with the Khardic Flesh, instead of Khador Red Highlight or Heartfire, to give a softer feel.

The freehand design was worked out on paper first, and then sketched on with Greatcoat Grey. I started from the bottom corners and worked my way up and across so my design would look even all the way around. Once I had it worked out I brightened the lines with 50/50 Greatcoat Grey and Trollblood Highlight. I finished the design with a layer of pure TH.

Once all this was done, I assembled him and was happy to find I didn't really have to do any touch-ups due to the glue. Usually you get a little foggy line where two parts are glued together, but everything was hidden here.

A round of photos later, and this guy was ready for a few coats of Matte Varnish. I use the Vallejo brush-on Matte, as Portland is way too humid to trust a spray.

Now he is off to his happy new owner. Ready to kick ass and take names as the Emperor's strong right hand.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Epic Fail in April

Well, we are over a week into May, and I only finished one of the minis I had hoped to get through last month. I got a lot of painting done, but nothing resulted in a finished product except for the Blood Angels Sternguard Sergeant.

I had planned on entering the Under the Couch website painting contest with one of the Helldorado Immortals. He was coming along quite nicely, until I got to the NMM Gold parts. I've never tried NMM before, so there was no way in Hell I was going to rush it. I hope to bring the whole Helldorado Immortals range to GenCon 2011 for the painting contest anyway, so no hurry.

I didn't start on The Sanguinor yet. I'm itching to give Darren Latham's WD painting article a try though. He will have to wait until I turn out a few of the other BA Characters. I need to make some sales, so I will paint the guys like Astorath, Lemartes, and Seth first, since I know what i'm doing with real metals.

The Grey Knight Grandmaster Commission is almost done. I'm really looking forward to showing this guy off next week. He is a very cool conversion (even though it's been done by a few different painters before). The painting has been good practice with tinted metal and freehand.

We'll see if I can get more than one mini off the workbench this month.

Check back next week for pics of the Grey Knight.