Blood Angels Painting Guide: two ways with red

I’ve painted Blood Angels before for my boyfriend, namely two Death Company Marines and Mephiston, and with the new Blood Angel Tactical Squad and codex on their way I thought I’d try out two different “recipes” for red- one using oranges for Blood Angels and one using pinks for Flesh Tearers.

Both methods use the same black undercoat and Mephiston Red first layer (and it’s back as a spray can thank goodness- there are times when painting red is almost as bad as painting yellow).

Angels front

Blood AngelRed 1 (Blood Angel)
For the Blood Angel, I washed the model with Carroburg Crimson. I then highlighted the red with a 1:1 mixture of Mephiston Red to Trollslayer Orange, followed by a second extreme highlight of Trollslayer Orange.

Red 2 (Flesh Tearer)
For the Flesh Tearer I first added a layer of Wazdakka Red before washing with Carroburg Crimson. I then highlighted the red areas with a 1:1 mixture of Wazdakka Red to Emperor’s Children, followed by an extreme highlight of Emperor’s Children. This is a bit too bright even for my tastes, so I added a final layer of Bloodletter glaze.

Flesh Tearer

Eyes
Glazes were also used on the Blood Angel’s eye lenses. I paint the eyes on both models with Caliban Green, highlighted with Warpstone Glow and White Scar. For the Flesh Tearer I left the eyes at that but on the Blood Angel I added a touch of the Waywatcher Green glaze which seems to soften the harshness of the white and gives the lenses a more gentle glow.

Black Areas
backpack in blackI used my previous attempt at painting Death Company Marines for painting the black areas, using a 2:1 blend of Abaddon Black to Caliban green, which I then washed with Nuln Oil and highlighted with Caliban Green. I then got cocky and decided to do a second highlight of Warpstone Glow, which was far too bright. This was the second time that a glaze saved my bacon in this experiment. There is no black glaze (why would there be) but it’s very easy to make your own by mixing a little Abaddon Black with Lahmian Medium which tones down the highlights and ties the highlights together. You can leave the highlights at Caliban Green if you want but personally I like the effect that the second highlight and black glaze has.

Metals and Parchment
This was done using the same method that I use for my Space Wolves. For silvery coloured metals I used Leadbelcher washed with Nuln oil and highlighted with Chainmail (Ironbreaker). For brass areas I used Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper) washed with Nuln Oil and highlighted with Shining Gold (Gehenna’s Gold) and for gold areas I used Shining Gold highlighted with Burnished Gold (Auric Armour Gold). Parchment was painted with Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone), washed with Seraphim Sepia and highlighted with more Bleached Bone and a final highlight of White Scar.

There you have it, two ways of painting red for Blood Angels and their successors. The first method is the easiest as it involves two fewer layers but I think the second method gives a nicer crimson colour and I’m going to use it for my Inquisitorial Tech Priest counts as. As far as my boyfriend’s Blood Angels are concerned, well, there’s a can of Mephiston Red with my name on it!

L.o.F.

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Blood Angels: Painting Mephiston Lord of Death

I mentioned recently that I had a box of Blood Angels to strip and repaint for my boyfriend. There’s a nice mixture of troops and HQs and a few other odds and ends. Any sensible hobbyist would start by painting a squad or two of Tactical Marines. Not me! I dived into the box and grabbed Mephiston. I then spent the last few weeks pottering about, painting a bit of cloak here or a few skulls there. However, he’s all finished now, bar his base, which I’ll paint up as soon as I’ve a few more guys ready, so I thought I’d post him here.

Mephiston front

He’s an old metal model (circa 1995) and the paint does tend to chip in places, so I’ll have to varnish him some time. For the body I used Wazdakka Red over a Mechrite Red undercoat. After washing it first with Baal Red (Carroburg Crimson) and then with Nuln oil, I highlighted it using: 1) 1:1 Wazdakka Red to Blood Red (Evil Sunz Scarlet), 2) Blood Red, 3) 1:1 Blood Red to Troll Slayer Orange, 4) Trollslayer Orange.

Mephiston back

For the coat I started with Abaddon Black followed by highlighting using: 1) a 1:1 mix of Abaddon Black to Xereus Purple, 2) Xereus Purple and 3) Emperor’s Children, before adding the freehand work. I then washed it with Nuln oil before touching up the highlights and freehand. The bone and feathery areas were painted as usual with Bleached Bone (Ushbati Bone), a wash of Gryphonne Sepia (Seraphim Sepia) before being highlighted with more Bleached Bone and a touch of White Scar.

Mephiston left

I went with blue as a spot colour as I felt that it looked better than green for the sword and plasma pistol. I started with Kantor Blue and then highlighted using: 1) Macragge Blue, 2) Altioc blue, 3) Lothern Blue, 4) Fenrisian Grey and 5) White Scar. For the sword blade I started with a layer of Boltgun metal (Leadbelcher) before washing with Nuln Oil and highlighting with 1) Boltgun metal, 2) Chainmail (Ironbreaker) and 3) Mithril Silver (Runefang Steel). I then applied a Guilliman Blue Glaze. For the lightning bolts I used Ice Blue (Lothern Blue), Space Wolves Grey (Fenrisian Grey) and Skull White (White Scar). For the muzzle of the plasma pistol I first painted, washed and highlighted it in the same way as I did the sword, but then I applied a Lamenters Yellow Glaze and a coat of Gryphonne Sepia (Seraphim Sepia) to try to make it look as if the metal had got pretty hot.

Mephiston right

So, there you go. I’m back onto painting Space Wolves now (or will be when I get over my latest cold).

L.o.F.

Paint Stripping: A comparison

So I came back from the UK with these:

Blood Angels in box

They’re my boyfriend’s old Blood Angels from when he was a teenager along with a couple of other interesting bits (Eversor Assassin and Rogue Trader era Inquisitor). I need to strip them of any old paint and undercoat and tidy them up before I can repaint them for him. They’re not an urgent job, just something to potter along with when I need a break from my Wolves but I’d like to do it well, which is why I need to figure out the best way to strip them. Now metal is fairly easy to strip but there are quite a lot of old plastic arms and banner poles mixed in with the metal so I decided to do an experiment to compare different ways of stripping miniatures.

I’ve tried to keep this experiment as fair as possible, but my bathroom is not a chemistry lab and I don’t have things like ultrasonic baths or a collection of measuring beakers and “stripped” is not a definite term. I’m also conscious that not all brands are equal and not everything that I use is available everywhere else. Conversely, I cannot get the classic stripping media Dettol and Simple Green (well, not without travelling to a specialist shop in another city) so I’ve had to miss them off my list. Therefore this experiment is far from comprehensive. I am also going to put up a couple of warnings and disclaimers before I go any further:

 Disclaimer!

The data given below are for the brands/varieties of products that I have used. I cannot guarantee that every brand will work the same way. This article is just a guide. Before using any medium to strip your miniatures please, please do a test piece first! I do not take any responsibility for any damage or destruction of models due to use of the information on this page or for the use of any products in a way not intended by the manufacturer.

 Warning!

Read the instructions on the bottle before use! Some of the products used below are irritants and/or produce fumes. Always work in a well ventilated environment and keep any solvents out of the reach of children and animals. Protective clothing such as gloves and goggles may also be advisable.

For this experiment I decided to test the effect of the following five solvents on plastic, Finecast resin and Forgeworld resin:

  1.  Control: water
  2. Acetone-free nail polish: I used Etos Nagellak Remover zonder aceton
  3. Brush Cleaner: Revell Aqua Color Clean
  4. Brush Cleaner: 4Art Penseelreiniger: Sunflower oil based brush cleaner for oil paints
  5. Foaming Kitchen Spray: C1000 Keuken Powerreiniger Lemon: I know that traditionally Fairy Power Spray is used but having discovered that normal kitchen spray is good at cleaning paint residue from the sink I wanted to see if it worked to clean models. There are lots and lots of generic degreasers out there so I recommend shopping around to see what’s best for you.

I prepared the test samples by spraying with Chaos Black undercoat and coating with a layer of Citadel Layer paint.

To run the experiment I simply soaked the test pieces in the solvent and periodically tested them by scrubbing gently with an old toothbrush.

In the table below I have put the results of the experiment along with the cost per litre, whether the cleaner is reusable and any notes.

stripper results table

* Cost per litre in euros calculated 19/05/13 for the products used.

† Converted from cost in Pounds Sterling

Discussion

The cleaners used above were all suitable for plastic, Finecast and Forgeworld resin. Surprisingly, the two resins were far easier to clean than plastic, possibly because they do not hold the primer so well. From the results I recommend picking the cleaner for the job. The nail polish remover and the Revell Aqua Color Clean brush cleaner worked the fastest of the cleaners used, however they do produce a lot of fumes. They also evaporate quickly. Indeed, the Aqua Color Clean is so volatile that it evaporates faster than it can be used, particularly in a shallow dish. For this reason, as well as the cost issue, I prefer to use nail polish remover out of these two solvents. For single models or situations when quick cleaning is required I would say that nail polish remover is probably the most effective. However, I would recommend testing it out first as not all nail polish removers can be used on plastic models (as I know from experience).

The only cleaner to not produce fumes is the oil based brush cleaner, which is also the most reusable of the cleaners used. Its performance is similar to that of the cleaning spray. For cleaning large numbers of models or regular stripping of miniatures, these two cleaners are probably most effective, especially as, since the cleaners are non volatile, the models can be left to soak quite happily. Cleaning Spray is also the cheapest option, particularly as it’s an everyday household product that you may already have at home.

Conclusions

So, hopefully this article gives a few different ways to strip plastic, Finecast and Forgeworld resin. There are several things to consider:

How much are you going to strip? If you only have one model to strip, I’d recommend the nail polish remover as it’s quick and relatively cheap (you need 20ml rather than a litre of the stuff). For a lot of models, the kitchen spray or the oil based brush cleaner are probably more economical, while for somebody who regularly buys things off Ebay or Bring and Buy stalls, a tub of the reusable oil based brush cleaner might be most practical.

Where are you going to work? The nail polish remover and the Aqua Color Clean require well ventilated areas. If you don’t have a well ventilated space to work in, I’d steer clear from working with these.

How fast do you need it done? 24 hours before you need the model painted, based and sitting on the gaming table is far, far too late to worry about using kitchen spray.

What can you get? I was trying hard to get Dettol for this experiment but I wasn’t prepared to travel to the next city to get it. Kitchen sprays are fairly easy to get from the supermarket, and, in the UK and The Netherlands at least, you should be able to get nail polish remover there too. If you can’t get hold of a product easily, you’re probably better off looking at one of the many alternatives.

This article doesn’t show every method for stripping miniatures but hopefully it gives you an idea about how to choose your stripping medium. Whatever you use, do try a test model first and good luck!

L.o.F.

A little side project: Blood Angels Death Company

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week, I was overseas and I left my laptop at home. I did some reading and some planning and sometime, when I’m more awake, I’ll talk about both of them. However, I meant to post these pictures before I left, so they’re first in the queue.

When I scrounged the Devastator squad that I used for my Long Fangs from my boyfriend, there were two more models in the box. Upon closer inspection they turned out to be Blood Angel Death Company figures.

I was going to just leave them in the box but then I looked at the models again and asked my boyfriend if I could paint them for him for whenever he decides to resurrect his old Blood Angels army. Fortunately he was ok with this so I did just that.

Death Company Front

Rather than adding blue to the black as I did with the armour for my Wolf Priest I used a 2:1 mixture of Abaddon Black to Caliban Green for the “black” parts of the armour. While using blue leads to quite a shiny looking black, green gives a subtler finish. I then used Caliban Green for highlighting the armour, which contrasts with the secondary colour used, which, as these guys are Blood Angels, is red.

For the red areas I started with a  layer of Red Gore (Wazdakka Red), which, after the model was washed with Badab Black (Nuln Oil), I then highlighted with a 1:1 blend of Red Gore to Blood Red (Evil Sunz Scarlet) followed by a second highlight of Blood Red. For the teardrop gems and the eye lenses I then used two more highlights, first a 1:1 blend of Blood Red to Troll Slayer Orange then finally a very little Troll Slayer Orange to make them glow a bit more.

Of course power swords should really glow, so after highlighting I painted on arcs using Hawk Turquoise (Sotek Green), Ice Blue (Lothern Blue) and Skull White (White Scar) and then used a Guilliman Blue Glaze to finish off.

Death Company Right

There’s a lot of “dark” about these models. Blood Angels Death Company are black and my boyfriend uses a dark grey base, so even before I started I knew that these models were going to be more sombre than my Space Wolves. I decided therefore to keep the models dark where possible and to keep the colour scheme simple, which is very different to how I usually end up painting my Wolves. To that end I decided to use a 1:1 blend of Abaddon Black to Scorched Brown (Rinox Hide) for the holsters and pouches, which I then highlighted with Scorched Brown.

For the bases I used greenstuff to make paving slabs to hide the slot of the slottabase, which I then painted using Eshin Grey and highlighted with Codex Grey (Dawnstone).

I don’t have transfers for Blood Angels so I had to paint the Chapter symbol which is why it is a little lopsided. Space Wolves are much more forgiving of wobbles in the painting as they are supposed to be wild individualists. Somehow I don’t think that I can use that excuse with Blood Angels!

Death Company Left

Anyway, my boyfriend now has his Death Company models back and I am back to painting Space Wolves (or thinking about it anyway). It was nice to paint something a little bit different for once and I think that I learned something about style and colouring while working on these guys. I really wanted to make them look as good as I could get them as I was not painting them for myself and because they did not have to fit in with my army I could try out something a little bit different.

L.o.F.

Legends of the Space Marines: The Returned by James Swallow.

Right, on to the next story in Legends of the Space Marines and it’s a good one. The Returned features the Doom Eagles, a Space Marine Chapter that is remarkably morbid, even for the grim, dark 41st Millennium! Their chapter oath starts with the phrase “We are already dead”. The Chapter marks each dead warrior with a memorial holding an artifact, and to them dead means dead, they don’t like ghosts. This makes the return of somebody already mourned as dead rather problematic and that is what The Returned is all about!

This is a pretty good story, one of the best in the anthology, it’s nice to see how the chapter works and how such a relatively minor problem can cause major problems. It’s a story about death and trust and loyalty and how far they can go.

I think that sums it up. I’d like to say more about this story but it seems that its easier to moan about faults than enthuse about a good read.

I haven’t read Swallow’s Blood Angels books but it seems that there is a possible link between this story and Black Tide. However it is also an enjoyable stand alone story. The Returned is a good read and I would recommend it.

L.o.F.