How to paint Space Wolves: part 2

Space Wolf Panorama: A mixture of models from my newest to some of my oldest.

Space Wolf Panorama: A mixture of models from my newest to some of my oldest.

So, after all the preamble in the previous post, here’s how I paint my Wolves. The colour key is in the previous post.

 Stage 1: Basic colours
I start by painting the armour SW Mix. The concertinaed areas at the back of the knees, thigh joints etc. are coloured Eshin Grey. Bare skin and the backside of furs are painted Bugman’s Glow. Areas that will be painted gold or brass are painted with Tausept Ochre, yellow areas are painted with Iyanden Darksun and red areas are painted Mechrite Red. Bone areas (skulls, fangs, purity seals) are undercoated Ceramite White. Leather areas are painted Scorched Brown. My cabling colour scheme doesn’t completely work with the new paints as they got rid of Mechrite Red and I use that along with Fenris Grey and Caliban Green for any piping. Silver areas are painted with Boltgun Metal.

 Stage 2: Next Layer
Skin is painted with Elf Flesh, red areas painted with Red Gore (weapon grips, purity seals, fabric/chords) or Blood Red (armour), yellow areas are painted with Yriel Yellow. For yellows you need to do several thin coats in order to get a smooth colour. Brass areas are painted with Dwarf Bronze and gold areas are painted Shining Gold.

Stage 3: Freehand
For large bits of freehand I really recommend planning in advance (shoulder pads for instance). For tattoos I tend to go with the flow and see what I can come up with. I like to paint freehand before highlighting as it is easier to correct mistakes. However, this can also disrupt the highlighting process a little as you have to paint round the details.

At this point my guys tend to look like this:

before washing

Stage 4: Washes
The new washes tend to stick a bit more to the models. I don’t mind this so much as it makes armour in particular a little bit dark and dirty. If you want to dilute it use a bit of Lahmian Medium as well as water as that improves the flow a bit.

For skin I use Ogryn flesh
For hair it depends on the shade. I usually use either Gryphonne Sepia or Badab Black
For bone, fangs, parchment, back of furs etc., I use Gryphonne Speia
For armour I start with a layer of Deneb Mud and then follow it up with a layer of Badab Black.

The models then look something like this:

after washing

Stage 5: Highlights
Oddly enough, I don’t highlight my Wolves quite as much or use such a complicated scheme as I use for my newer models. It’s mostly because I’m trying to have a vaguely coherent army and I started highlighting with my second set of guys and while I hope that my technique has evolved, I’d like to have an army that more or less looks the same.

For armour I highlight with Space Wolves Grey. I line highlight along any edges and panelling and then add other highlights where it looks like light will fall. For bone areas I start with Bleached Bone (the Gryphonne Sepia really does change the colour that much!) and then extreme highlight with a touch of skull white. Yellow areas are highlighted with YY+W while red areas are highlighted up in the order (BR+RG, Blood Red,) TSO+BR, Troll Slayer Orange. Brass areas are highlighted with shining gold, while golden areas are highlighted with Burnished Gold. Silvery coloured metals are highlighted with chainmail and then the “sharp” edges are highlighted with Mithril Silver. With the piping I highlight Mechrite Red with Blood Red, Fenris Grey with Hawk Turquoise and Caliban Green with Warpstone Glow.

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Stage 6: Glazes
For the power axe I used a Guilliman Blue glaze before adding the sparks with Hawk Turquoise, Ice Blue and Space Wolves Grey. For the heat damage on the flamer I used Lamenters Yellow followed by a final coat of Gryphonne Sepia.

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Furs
I’ve separated hair and fur from the rest of the instruction as I tend to deviate a lot here from model to model.

I usually paint furs grey or cream but it’s easy to mix and match these and the same idea can be used on other colours. I usually go

Eshin Grey -> Nuln Oil -> Codex Grey -> Celestra Grey

Bleached Bone -> Gryphonne Sepia -> Bleached Bone -> Skull White

Start with the darkest colour and wash it, then highlight the spiky bits of the fur with the second colour. Use the final colour for extreme highlights. If you want to add patches of different coloured fur simply move one shade darker or lighter for the starting colour.

 Hair
I’m only showing one guy with hair here. The process I use is: base colour, wash, highlights. I start with a colour very close to the base colour and blend colours together until I get to a very light highlight colour.

For the Blood Claw I went: Trollslayer Orange-> Gryphonne Sepia-> YY+TSO-> Golden Yellow-> YY+W

For Grey Hair I start with Codex Grey and work my way up to Skull White.

With hair I highlight as the hair moves, using the lightest colour on the tips and on anything that really stands out (sorry if that doesn’t make enough sense)

So, that’s how I paint Space Wolves. Sorry for the delay, I had camera problems. I just hope that this helps somebody!

L.o.F.

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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.

Citadel Texture Paints review

I have to be honest, the Citadel Texture paints didn’t really interest me when the new line of Citadel paints came out earlier this year. My boyfriend on the other hand thought that he might find them useful for basing his models, so I ordered a pot of Astrogranite for him. Then I was recommended the Mourn Mountain Snow and thought that I’d give it a go. I wasn’t overly impressed by it the first time round to be honest, it looked a bit, well, odd.

I thought that I should give it a bit of a chance though, so I decided to run a test. I’ve not gone much out of my way for this review, I’m afraid, as I’m just testing the two Texture paints we have: Mourn Mountain Snow and Astrogranite.

I prepared the square base by priming it with two coats of Imperial Primer. I then divided it into four quarters. On one half I used Mourn Mountain Snow, on the other I used Astrogranite. I used a both a brush and the scoop part of the Citadel modelling tool to apply both paints.

The paints themselves consist of some sort of grit or sand suspended in thick paint. The paints are largely odourless and washed off the brush easily. They have a jelly-like texture, unlike the normal Base and Layer paints, and this makes them a little difficult to apply by brush.

 

A= Mourn Mountain Snow + brush

B= Mourn Mountain Snow + scoop

C= Astrogranite + brush

D= Astrogranite + scoop.

 I have to confess that I think that Astrogranite looks a bit better than Mourn Mountain Snow. It would work either as a layer across the whole base, or in blobs to add features to a base. It would be quite good for a gravelly urban base or combined with some green flock to resemble the verge of some country road.

I think that Mourn Mountain Snow would be most effective on scenery, particularly scenery that might get bashed around, when flock is less suitable. It might look good used in conjunction with either Astrogranite or Stirland Mud to make a snowy urban- or battlefield- style scene, where the snow and the gravel and mud all combine to make a slushy mess. I don’t suggest mixing the paints, rather using splodges of several different Texture paints on the same base.

If you’re lazy about basing, or dislike it, or are very pushed for time, these paints offer a way to get properly based models quickly and without too much fuss.

In conclusion, while I still can’t think of many reasons why I’d personally want to use the Texture paints, they do work quite effectively. Mourn Mountain Snow is slightly less effective than Astrogranite, but both have potential to speed up basing if you’re not so keen on that part of the hobby. A potentially useful product, if limited by the use of the same texture medium in both paints tested.

Citadel Glazes Review

When the new Citadel Paints were introduced earlier this year I was quite excited about the glazes, and I actually find them quite useful. The glazes are very watery paints and come in four colours: Bloodletter (red), Lamenters Yellow (yellow), Waywatcher Green (green) and Guiliman Blue (blue).

So far I’ve used them for lighting effects on metallic areas such as the power axe on this guy and the headlights on my Land Speeder and they work pretty well. The photos don’t do the effect justice as it is angle dependent, so as you move the glow does too.

The other time that I have found them useful is when I’ve needed to soften highlights, which I used on the hilt of the sword on the scout below.

I decided to try and do a systematic study on the glazes for a project. In the picture below you can see a chart of colours. I’m just using colours from my box, so some will be missing. For instance, neither me nor my boyfriend own many purples.

 

The columns represent the paints used with the new names following in brackets wherever I used the old style Citadel Paints:

1) Monochrome: Chaos Black (Abaddon Black), Eshin Grey, Codex Grey (Dawnstone), Celestra Grey, Ceramite White

2) Reds: Red Gore (Wazdakka Red), Blood Red (Evil Sunz Scarlet), Troll Slayer Orange

3) Yellows: Iyandun Darksun (Averland Sunset), Yriel Yellow, Sunburst Yellow (Flash Gitz Yellow)

4) Greens: Calibran Green, Warpstone Glow, Scorpion Green (Moot Green)

5) Blues: Ultramarines Blue (Altdorf Guard Blue), Hawk Turquoise (Sotek Green), Ice Blue (Lothern Blue)

6) Greys and purples: Elf Flesh (Kislev Flesh), Liche Purple (Xereus Purple), Shadow Grey (The Fang), Space Wolves Grey (Fenrisian Grey)

7) Browns: Scorched Brown (Rinox Hide), Snakebite Leather (Balor Brown), Tausept Ochre (erm… Balor Brown?)

8) Silvers: Boltgun Metal (Leadbelcher), Chainmail (Ironbreaker), Mithril Silver (Runefang Steel)

9: Golds: Tin Bitz (Warplock Bronze), Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper), Shining Gold (Gehenna’s Gold), Burnished Gold (Auric Armour Gold)

 

The rows represent the glazes used:

R: Bloodletter

Y: Lamenters Yellow

G: Waywatcher Green

B: Guiliman Blue

 

First a note on the test. In order to try and make it fair I did it on a uniform flat surface which meant that the glazes pooled differently than they would on a model. None of the test swatches looked as good as any of my less scientific try-outs of the glazes, however they are all equivalent, so I can compare them.

As you can see, using glazes changes the colour, which can either be used to create an entirely new shade, or bring two colours closer together (dealing with over-highlighting)

They work particularly well on metallics. I actually really like the effect of the yellow glaze on metallics, it makes golds look really warm. The other colours look less good on gold.

I don’t know what’s the matter with the Bloodletter, it doesn’t seem to have worked as well as the others. That is probably due to my painting rather than the glaze though, as all of the glazes look less good on the swatches than they do on models. The glazes tend to pool on surfaces and with a flat horizontal object, that’s exactly what they do- which is why it all looks a bit ugly!

The glazes can also be mixed to create other colours, particularly oranges and purples. The long silver and white bar down the edge has examples of orange and purple (and a couple of streaks of yellow and green which are there by accident).

So time to wrap this lot up. In conclusion  the glazes are pretty useful and can be used to make some nice effects when used in conjunction with metallic paints. However, as they do change the shade of painted areas considerably, I’d really recommend doing a test piece first.

Citadel Paints Imperial Primer Review

I was looking forward to the Imperial Primer from the moment it was announced. It is a primer in a tub rather than a spray can. I could think of many uses for it and I’ve already used it for many of them. So, in order to review it I decided to primer two barricades that I had, one using Citadel Paints’ Chaos Black Primer spray paint (it’s what I have, other primers are obviously available) and the other using the new Imperial Primer in a bottle (well, tub).

The barricades came from the Games Workshop’s Urban Barricades and Walls set and are made of resin. I know that to do a really thorough test I should test the two primers on plastic, metal, greenstuff and Finecast, but I don’t own any Finecast and I didn’t have any of the rest available that I wanted to use as test pieces. One was the barricades was broken and I superglued it back together, but it didn’t make any difference to the test. I washed both barricades in warm soapy water before I started to ensure that they were clean.

I applied the Imperial Primer with a broad brush that I usually use for loading paint onto my pallet and painting very large areas. It has quite soft bristles and tends not to leave any obvious brushmarks on the piece. I used approximately two coats of Imperial Primer, used straight from the bottle without any dilution. For most of the piece I only needed one coat but over larger areas I needed two. I applied a coat of Chaos Black Primer to the other model. I had to coat it in two sessions as the primer could only be applied to one side at a time.

After priming the two pieces were quite similar. There are no obvious brushmarks visible on the piece painted with Imperial Primer. I had however missed one edge of the model coated using the Chaos Black spray. The picture below shows the results, with the front piece being the one primed using the Imperial Primer.

The primed pieces: front- Imperial Primer, back: Chaos Black Spray Primer

So, what were the pros of using the Imperial Primer over the Chaos Black spray?

  1. Odour/fumes: The Imperial Primer has a slightly fishy smell in the bottle. However it is quite  faint and does not hang around. The Chaos Black spray does produce quite a bit of fumes from the propellant, which are not pleasant. The smell also lingers. I have to spray indoors as I have no outdoor space, and although the area I use is well ventilated, the smell does linger for quite a while.
  2. Weather independent: Related to the last point is that the Imperial Primer, as it produces no fumes, can be used in an enclosed space, which, if you live somewhere where it rains a lot, is a bonus. If it rains, my window has to remain shut, which means no undercoating with the Chaos Black Primer. I’m not usually in a hurry to primer something, but if I had to do something in a hurry on a wet day, and we get plenty of them here, I could use the Imperial Primer.
  3. Control: With the Imperial Primer it is far easier to control where the primer goes. This means that you can use it in all those little crevasses that the spray misses, prime a new addition to an already painted model or touch up a spot of damage.

Of course, there are also cons.

  1.  Evenness of coat: It is much easier to get an even coat of primer on a large area using a spray primer
  2. Speed: Using a spray primer means that you can coat several models in seconds instead of one model in minutes.
  3. Mess: This is the bottle rather than the product itself. Every time I open the tub I get a coating of black all over my hand and on my modelling area. The picture below was taken partway through coating the barricade with the Imperial Primer. It washes off fairly easily, but if like me, you work in an area of clutter, it’s best to move any painted models well out of the way!

 In the end the Imperial Primer is a very useful product. It in no way replaces the spray but is a very useful addition to my paint box. I’ve used it mostly to touch up areas that the spray primer has missed, most recently on the awkward shaped cloak on one of my Wolf Scouts. I also used it to fix a meltagun where the spray primer wouldn’t stick. I don’t grade things, I’m not consistent, but the Imperial Primer is very nearly there. It’s an adequate substitute for the spray and brilliant for touching up areas that the spray can’t reach. It’s a pity about the bottle, but I can live with that in return for a product that I’m already finding an essential addition to my modelling stuff.

Getting to the base of the matter

I just thought that I’d talk about how I do my bases. It’s not the most complicated or the most spectacular method but it does the job. I’m still using the old Citadel Paints. The names of the equivalent new Citadel Paints are in brackets when the paint is first mentioned.

I start by painting the top of the base with a 2:1 mixture of Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone) to Tausept Ochre (Balor Brown) and the sides with Shadow Grey (The Fang).

I then add rocks. For larger rocks (used very occasionally) I paint them first. Here I used a Tausept Ochre base coat followed by a 1:1 mixture of Bleached Bone to Tausept Ochre. For the veins I used Bleached Bone, Tausept Ochre and Scorched Brown (Rinox Hide), before washing the rock with Gryphone Sepia (Seraphim Sepia). The smaller rocks came from a local chain store and were designed for flower arrangements. I just glue them on with superglue as they happen to match my basing colour scheme pretty much perfectly as they are (this is a total coincidence, honest!).

I then apply PVA glue to the top surface apart from where it’s covered in rocks before dipping it in sand. I wipe off any stray sand that is attached to the model or the rocks before leaving it to dry.

I then apply splodges of more PVA glue before dipping the base in Citadel Snow to get a patchy snow effect. I blow off any excess snow, taking care not to do it over the open tub after the first time I tried to base and ended up covering the table in fake snow, and leave the model to dry.

To finish off I add a few drops of Baal Red (Carroburg Crimson) for blood and use Shining Gold (Gehenna’s Gold) to write the model’s name on the side. I like to think of Viking names for my figures and I use Wikipedia to get most of them. This site has some good wolf/dog names though.

The whole process can be done very quickly, particularly when I set up a production line of models. There’s something incredibly satisfying about finishing a model by decorating the base, particularly as it’s a sign that it’s over and I can move on to something else!

Concepts

I meant to do a lot of painting this weekend but I just couldn’t get the enthusiasm up. I did read Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, which was absolutely awesome, but I just didn’t want to paint.

What I did instead was think about how I’m going to paint my Long Fangs, or rather how I want to paint their shoulder pads.

I like to think through how I want to paint shoulder pads before I actually start applying paint to models. I did this for my Blood Claws and I’ve started his for my Long Fangs.

What I do is draw a bit of concept art, although art is probably a bit of a strong word here. It’s a larger scale drawing which I use to figure out how I’d really like to be able to paint shoulder pads (if I had steadier hands, a very, very fine brush and a strong magnifying glass). I then use the design as inspiration for the actual models.

As an example, this is the design I did for Blood Claw pack Nóh.

And these are some of the actual shoulder pads. Please note that I still haven’t highlighted most of these guys yet so they’re still work in progress (even if the progress seems to be on a geological timescale recently!)

The concept used the target shape in conjunction with the Anglo Saxon “gar” rune (gar being the rune for spear). For one of the models I used a simplified version of that design, but I also tried other runes and on one figure I painted a dagger on top of the target instead. For most of the models though I just stuck with a plain target as painting circles turned out to be frustrating enough without embellishing them.

For the Long Fangs I wanted a design that incorporated a fang (sorry). I fooled around with doodles for a while until I got an idea that seemed to work, which I then made into a neat version. I chose a black background with a white fang. Oddly enough, the cured shape of the fang will probably be easier to paint than the concept was to draw, because of the size difference. I decided to divide the fang up to give it an edge. I’m not sure whether adding a sawtooth pattern will be practical in the end, but I’ll probably try on at least one model. Likewise the runes I added to the pad to represent fallen brothers may be represented by a few blobs and lines (I am not even going to think of painting on real runes that small!).

The checked bit at the top will hopefully be on all of the models. There are bits of the Space Wolf fluff that don’t work and one of them is that Astartes stay in the same pack from the first day that they become a Blood Claw until they die. Not only is this stupid from a logistical point of view it’s also daft as not all Astartes will develop at the same rate. You really don’t want to give a truly loopy Blood Claw a boltgun and some responsibility, likewise a Blood Claw that is ready to become a Grey Hunter is wasted in a Blood Claw pack. For Long Fangs there is also the bit in their codex entry that states that the oldest Long Fang is squad leader, which contradicts the whole sticking in the same pack thing. I’m going to use this to say that my Long Fangs aren’t originally from the same pack and that they have added some of their old pack insignia to their new insignia in order to remember their old packs.

So that’s the plan for the shoulder pads. It’ll be a few weeks before I can implement it, but I’ll hopefully have some incentive to strip, reassemble, undercoat and splash blue on the models now!

L.o.F.