Dark Eldar Venom

A Hobby Detour

As is so often the case, my hobby plans have shifted slightly. Originally I was planning on allying my Harlequins with a Craftworld Eldar force. However, the brand-new Harlequins really showed up how dated the Eldar range is. Instead ideas started growing in my mind of collecting a Dark Eldar army instead. As luck would have it, the opportunity to purchase a sizeable Dark Eldar army at a significantly discounted price came up via a friend of a friend.

At the moment I am uncertain what colours to use to paint my Harlequin jetbikes; I want them to look like the deep purple jetbikes seen on the cover of White Dwarf but I’m unsure what paints to use to achieve this. As a result, I decided to put the Harlequins on hold and get started with the Dark Eldar instead, using the venom I assembled earlier as a test model.

Dark Eldar Venom

The model is painted in the colours of the Kabal of the Black Heart. It was primed black before being given a basecoat using Incubi Darkness spray paint. Highlights of Kabalite Green were airbrushed on. The panel lines were shaded with Nuln Oil and a subtle edge highlight of Kabailte Green was applied (although they are hard to see in the photo). The next step will be to add further highlights using Sybarite Green before painting the details.

-Andy.

Harlequin Vehicles

Over the last couple of weeks I have been slowly assembling the vehicles to go with my Harlequin troupe. Not only do the kits look fantastic but they are really well designed too and many of the components fit together so well that when dry-fitting them they remained in place even without glue.

Skyweaver Jetbikes

The Skyweaver Jetbikes are the models that first attracted me to the Harlequin range and so it has been great fun putting them together. My one criticism of the models is that they do not attach to the flying stands very well and will need gluing in place. However, this is a minor niggle. For these models I have tried to match the masks of the riders to the ‘mask’ on the jetbike, so here both riders have skull-like masks to match the canopy of the bike.

Model Trees

Just a quick update to show some of the terrain I have been working on recently. These trees are made using Woodland Scenics 5-7 inch tree armatures. These are pliable plastic frames which can be carefully bent into shape and produce pretty realistic trees with very little effort.

Once I had cleaned off any mold lines and bent the trees into the desired shapes I glued them to a base cut from MDF and applied a covering of sand to the base. When the glue had dried, a coat of spray varnish was used to hold the sand in place. This is different to my usual method of painting on a layer of thinned PVA over sand but I was worried that the PVA water mix would be absorbed by the MDF and warp the base. The varnish worked really well and the sand remained in place even after some pretty rough drybrushing.

Model Trees wip

The base was painted Steel Legion Drab and heavily drybrushed using Ushabti Bone. Patches of he ground were then washed with thinned Loren Forest to break up any uniformity. The trees themselves were painted Khemri Brown and washed with Agrax Earthshade. They were then drybrushed Codex Grey followed by Fortress Grey and then Pallid Wych Flesh. Once again thinned Loren Forest was applied to the trees in random patches to give the impression of moss or lichen growing on the trunks and branches.

Model Trees

Once everything had dried various flocks, tufts and clump foliage were added to the base to give the impression of a forest floor. The trick here is to use a variety of colours and textures to build up a natural, realistic finish. While doing this I was careful to think about model placement (these are, after all, intended for gaming) and so I wanted to leave some flat areas for models to stand on.

Model Trees

The final stage was to add some foliage to the trees. For this I used Woodland Scenics clump foliage for the two shorter trees and some of their ‘Fine Leaf Foliage’ (a sample of which was included in the kit) for the other, taller tree. I am really impressed with the Fine Leaf Foliage as it gives a fantastically realistic finish. Unfortunately, the kit only included enough for one tree but I will definitely be buying more in future. As with the ground cover, I used different colours of foliage for each of the trees to prevent them from looking too uniform.

A shot with a model for scale:

Model Trees

The trees in situ on one of my gaming boards:

Model Trees

 

WIP Harlequins 2015

I have started work on two more Harlequins to join my troupe. So fat they have had the main colours blocked in. Just washes and highlights to go. More details on how they were painted can be found in my previous post.

Harlequins 2015

The first three Harlequins are finished and based. It has been really satisfying seeing these models come together as they are very different to the Astral Claws and Lord of the Rings models I have been working on recently and are totally unlike anything I have painted before. They feature far more extensive freehand than I have ever painted on a model and the diamond patterns are quite tricky. However, I have learned a few tricks along the way and I’ll share these with you below.

For the colour scheme I opted for the ‘Masque of Midnight Sorrow’ as the three primary colours look very effective and it was their picture on GW’s website that really attracted me to the Harlequins in the first place, particularly the deep purple/red colour of their vehicles (which I will try and replicate on my own models at some point in the future).

Eldar Harlequin

Eldar Harlequin

Eldar Harlequin

Planning Your Colour Scheme.

This lady was the first of the Harlequins I painted and I learned a lot about painting diamonds working on this model. Firstly, I would encourage any Harlequin painter to think very carefully about the placement of the patterned areas. You want a nice clear area that you can get good access to with a paintbrush. Also, straight limbs are easier to paint the pattern on as you don’t need to worry about how the pattern will follow the contours of the fabric.

On this model, for example, I made the mistake of choosing to paint the right sleeve with the diamond pattern. However, the problem with this was the fact that the model is holding a sword in a backward grip which obscured the back of the sleeve and made painting this area very fiddly. In the end I resorted to the unorthodox method of carefully snapping off the arm, painting it as a separate piece and then gluing it back on!

I would also think carefully about the size of the diamonds. Smaller diamonds are obviously harder to paint. Also, from a distance the effect is a little indistinct whereas larger diamonds stand out better.

Eldar Harlequin

Eldar Harlequin

This chap is one of my favourite Harlequins. I really love the mask with the phallic, beak-like nose; it reminds me of one of the extras from the masqued ball scene in the film Labyrinth. The pose of this guy is copied directly from one of the old metal Harlequins from when the range was first redesigned back in 2007. A number of the components of this kit match the design of those earlier models (the Troupe Master being a particularly obvious example) so it is possible to recreate them in plastic should you wish to do so.

Eldar Harlequin

Eldar Harlequin

This guy is my favourite of my Harlequins so far. I really love the mask and his pose is very dynamic as he leaps forward into battle with his coat billowing behind him. One of the lessons I learned with this model is just how fragile some of the Harlequin components are and I accidentally broke the scarf that trails behind his head while painting him. This was easily repaired by drilling a small hole in the knot of the scarf and gluing the end of the scarf tails in with polystyrene cement but it does demonstrate how delicate they are. When painting the models this is something to be aware of. One tip for avoiding this is to blue tack the model to a wine bottle cork  and use this to hold the model in order to minimise how much you need to handle the figure itself. For this I use corks sold for home-bottling wine rather that ones taken from wine bottles as a) most wine these days doesn’t come in corked bottles and b) used corks are misshapen and will not stand straight. They are dead cheap and readily available from shops such as Wilkinsons.

Another thing you may notice about this model is the red and blue lapels; this was another way of introducing some colour without having to spend ages painting tiny diamonds. Not only is this a time-saving device but it stops the model looking too overwhelming. I find it better to judiciously apply diamonds to specific areas rather than go overboard.

Eldar Harlequin

Eldar Harlequin

From the back you can the diamond pattern I airbrushed onto his coat using stencils cut from masking tape. Full credit for this idea goes to Tim Davis (aka Dezartfox) over at The Vanus Temple who wrote this tutorial on the subject. When I first saw his Solitaire on Twitter I was so impressed by the subtlety of the effect that I knew I had to give it a go. I used a pencil and ruler to mark out squares on a strip of masking tape and then cut them out with a sharp craft knife before sticking them at an angle onto the coat. Eshin Grey and Codex Grey were gently airbrushed on starting dark and blending up to a lighter colour at the bottom to get the fading pattern. This simple technique looks great and adds some interest to what might otherwise have been an empty surface.

Painting the Harlequins

When painting the Harlequins I started out by blocking out the basic colours. While this is a useful technique for any model, for models as colourful as the Harlequins it is important to make sure that you are getting the colour balance right. I did this using Balor Brown followed by Averland sunset for the yellow (the brown provides a better base for the yellow that painting directly over a black undercoat), Mephiston Red for the red, Liche Purple for the purple areas, Screamer Pink for the red/purple areas and Lightning Bolt Blue for both the blue and the diamond patterned areas (the red would be added later). The masks were basecoated with Russ Grey.

Diamonds are a Harlequin’s Best Friend

For the diamond pattern I found that the hardest thing was getting the pattern to join up at the back. Through trial and error and much frustration I came up with the idea of painting vertical lines of thinned Abaddon Black down the front, back and either side of the arm or leg at even intervals. I then painted a series of crosses in the columns created. This ensures that all of the diamonds line up and that there are an even number of diamonds going around the area (essential so that you can alternate the colour of the diamonds and not end up with two diamonds of the same colour side by side). After this, the pattern was filled in using Mephiston Red. The tops of the diamonds were then highlighted with two sharp lines using either Temple Guard Blue or Evil Sunz Scarlet.

Here’s a high-tech visualisation to give you a better idea of what I mean:

Plotting Diamonds

Hopefully you can see how the lines create colums which are then filled in with crosses to mark out the diamond pattern.

Back to Black

I have previously written about painting black on this blog. However, I have found that since the new Citadel pant range has been released painting black has become a lot easier and I have a new, quicker method which is perfect for painting rank-and-file troops (I still use my other methods but these are best saved for characters or display models). For the Harlequins, I simply highlighted the black areas using Dark Reaper followed by Thunderhawk Blue. This produces a nice blue/black look which is simple to achieve and takes no time at all.

And the Rest.

The other areas were relatively straightforward and used a base colour followed by a wash and a highlight. the colours used were:

  • Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Lightning Bolt Blue > Drakenhoff Nightshade > Temple Guard Blue
  • Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson > Pink Horror
  • Liche Purple > Leviathan Purple > Liche Purple and white
  • Averland Sunset > Cassandora Yellow > Flash Gitz Yellow

The masks were painted Russ Grey and highlighted using a mix of Fenrisian Grey and White Scar up to final highlights of pure White Scar. As these form the faces of the models it’s worth taking your time over this stage and using lots of thin layers to build up a smooth finish.

And that’s it really. Other than the diamonds these are deceptively easy models to paint. Right, now onto the rest of the squad…

Andy.

Some work-in-progress Harlequins.

Harlequin wip

 

Harlequin wip

 

Harlequin wip

I have also started to assemble some Skyweaver Jetbikes.

Skyweaver Jetbikes wip

Together with a converted Viper. I’ve had the viper since it was first released (it was something of an impulse pre-order). Originally I was going to convert it into Nuadu Fireheart (an old Saim-Hann character) although it never happened and the model has languished in a box ever since. Maybe the Harlequin release will finally provide me with the motivation I need to actually do something with this model.

Skyweaver Jetbikes

Harlequins 2015 WIP

With it being half-term I have been making good progress on my Harlequins. I must say that the new models are fantastically dynamic and a real joy to put together. One of the cleaver aspects of the design is the separate heads and masks which give you a great deal of choice when putting the models together.

Harlequins 2015 WIP

For the colour scheme I decided to go with the one on the box as this will help to tie them in with my planned Craftworld army (currently three half-painted grav tanks). The diamond pattern is quite time-consuming but it looks great and is such a defining feature of the Harlequins that I couldn’t leave it out.

Harlequins 2015 WIP

Speaking of diamonds, @Dezartfox posted a great tutorial over on The Vanus Temple on airbrushing diamonds onto Harlequin coats. Needless to say, I was so impressed with the results I went ahead and stole the idea. It’s a really nice subtle effect which will add some interest to large flat areas which might otherwise end up looking a bit lifeless.

I also received a couple of boxes of Skyweaver Jetbikes in the post which I have started to assemble. Stay tuned for more.

Astral Claws DreadnoughtThe Astral Claws dreadnought is now more or less complete. I will probably go back and add a freehand name to the scroll on the sarcophagus at a later date. However, at the moment I am distracted by the amazing new Harlequin models. The model is equipped to provide long-range fire support with its twin-linked lascannon and missile launcher.Astral Claws Dreadnought I opted for a lot less blue on this dreadnought than my first one. I think Astral Claws should be primarily silver and too much blue can overwhelm them. Also, as a standard dreadnought rather than a venerable one I wanted him to be less ornate.Astral Claws Dreadnought The engine stacks were heavily weathered with washes and Typhus corrosion to get a heat-stained, soot-covered look. This adds a bit of texture to the model and distinguishes them from the other metal areas.Astral Claws Dreadnought  Astral Claws Dreadnought

I also added a few sooty streaks to the exhaust vents of the missile launcher.

Here is a sneak peak of my next project (which you may already have seen if you follow me on Twitter), Eldar Harlequins.

Plastic Harlequins 2015

More soon.

-Andy.

Tau Fireblade

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Warhammer 40k
Tags: , , ,

Tau Fireblade

Here is a Tau Fireblade I painted as a gift for a friend. The colour scheme is based on his Tau army who wear green fatigues and white armour. It was quite challenging painting a model in someone else’s colour scheme and there were times when I wasn’t sure what colours to use on areas like the cape and detailing that are not found on regular fire warriors.

DSCF4286

The white is based on an ‘Eavy Metal Masterclass in White Dwarf for a white Scar model and is basically Space Wolf Grey and Steel Legion Drab with increasing amounts of white added and painstakingly layered up in numerous thin coats. The recesses were then shaded Charadon Granite before a final edge highlight of pure white was applied.

 

 

DSCF4281

The green is VMC Luftwaffe Green washed with Agrax Earthshade before being highlighted with Loren Forest and Straken Green. The purple detailing was added using Screamer Pink washed with Carroburg Crimson and highlighted Emperor’s Children. The skin of the model was painted following a guide White Dwarf 356.

DSCF4283

Space Marine Dreadnought

Here’s a picture of my latest space marine dreadnought in a very early stage of painting. This one is kitted out for long range fire support. He’s primarily intended to take out heavily armoured targets but the missile launcher adds a little flexibility to his armament.