Friday, 11 March 2016

How to Paint Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman

Painting faces can be difficult, but I'll give you some pointers.

I recently painted Roboute Guilliman - Primarch of the Ultramarines as a commission. I have a few work in progress pictures as well as some of the finished model and in this post I'm going to do a step by step walkthrough of how I painted each colour and also detail some of the techniques used.

In this first picture you can see the finished blue colour of his armour as well as a basecoat on the gold details. I also painted his face. Needless to say the first step was an undercoat with Chaos Black Spray before the painting could begin. 

I'll start with the easy stuff - The armour was basecoated in Macragge blue. I then applied a generous wash of Kantor blue and left it to dry - this gave me some basic definition on the shapes. For these first 2 steps I recommend using a very large brush - no need to worry too much about accuracy as long as the paint is still applied thinly. I then began highlighting the edges of the armour with a small layer brush using a mix of Macragge Blue and an old Ultramarines Blue (Altdorf Guard Blue these days). I then applied a finer highlight of pure Ultramarines Blue and finally a very fine edge highlight of Ultramaries blue mixed with White Scar. With those steps the Blue armour was complete.

After the blue was complete I began the painstaking process of picking out all of the Gold detail with Brass Scorpion. This brings me to my number 1 tip for painting gold - never actually paint gold, use brass scorpion and then highlight up! Anyway, I applied a coat of brass scorpion and then when it had dried I washed all of the gold areas with Rhinox Hide to define the detail and provide a nice tonal variation when it was finished. In this stage I was careful not to get the brown wash on my finished blue armour.

For the face I used a mix of Rakarth Flesh and Bestial Brown, washed with Rhinox hide and then highlighted successively with a mix of Rakarth Flesh, Bestial Brown and white. Unfortunately I didn't do step by step pictures, but if I had it would've looked like a mess for most of the process. The most important thing with faces is to keep going till you're happy with the result and to keep the paint thin. As long as the paint is thin you can always adjust the tones and keep going without losing detail!

On the subject of faces, here are some hints you can apply to most models:

  1. Keep the paint thin, it's going to take a lot of coats!
  2. Don't paint the eyes in pure white - it's too stark and often leads to that googly eye effect, use an off white like Pallid Wych Flesh (or just mix white with a speck of brown). 
  3. If you're painting pupils in the eyes, make sure they go from the top of the eye to the bottom and don't float in the middle as pinpricks look strange on humans (but may work for aliens etc)
  4. Use a wash to gain definition around the eyes and mouth before you start highlighting.
  5. If you want to get a stubble effect on the face, or shaved head use a glaze of brown/grey in those areas - keep the glaze thin though as it's easier to do multiple coats if it is too light. A glaze is like a wash, but using medium (like Lahmian Medium from GW) - medium is essentially everything in your paint except for the pigment. By mixing it with regular paints you create a very thin layer of pigment that colours the surface, as opposed to a traditional wash which falls into the recesses and tends to stain blotchily in open areas.
  6. For female faces make the highlights smoother and less sharp - this makes the faces softer and more feminine. You can also add glazes to simulate make-up, but go easy on them unless you want her to look like she rolled straight out of a brothel and onto the battlefield!

A few more coats of paint, stone effect looks good!

So I've jumped forward a bit again, but don't despair, most of it is relatively simple and I'll tell you what I did with the stone effect in a minute!

The next step after the armour and the face was to finish off those gold areas I was working on. To do this I highlighted most of the area of the gold with a mix of 50/50 Runefang Steel (Mythril Silver) and Brass Scorpion. I added more Mythril silver to the mix and did a second layer of highlight, but covering a smaller area. Once it was looking good and gold I applied an edge highlight of pure Mythril silver to get a nice shine and really bring out the details.

The white details were basecoated in Rakarth and then washed with Nuln Oil (black wash). This gave me a good base to work over. I then Highlighted about 90% of the surface area with Ulthuan grey before adding a final fine highlight of White Scar.

The laurels and other green details were basecoated in Caliban Green before being highlighted with Warboss Green and finally Moot Green. I then applied a shade with Biel-Tian green, before re-highlighting the edges with moot green.

For the red cloak I used a basecoat of Khorne Red and then highlighted it with a mix of Khorne Red and Evil Sunz Scarlet in layers progressively adding more of the Scarlet until I reached a pure Evil Sunz Scarlet highlight. I then added an edge highlight of Troll Slayer Orange. If you over highlight you can add a glaze of 50/50 Khorne Red and Evil Sunz Scarlet to the offending areas to bring the colours back in line.

The leather details were basecoated in Rhinox hide and then highlighted with Bestial Brown. I then applied a fine highlight of Bestial Brown mixed with Bleached Bone, before washing down again with Rhinox Hide.

With the Primarch himself  taken care of it was time to focus on the display base. I wanted to change the colour from the blue-white one on Forgeworld as I think the light colour draws the eye away from the model itself and my personal painting style is a bit more grizzly looking anyway. That and I wanted to get away from how Roman he looked (hence the stubble)!

With these thoughts in mind I tackled the base. For simplicity I'm going to bullet-point the steps below to show how I painted the stone surface:

  • Basecoat with Codex Grey.
  • I stippled the surface using a selection of tones, which I will describe in a minute. For this I recommend using a large brush that you don't mind damaging. I used a cheap square ended brush that was about 10 times the size of a Citadel "standard". If you look closely at the pictures you'll see two things in the stone - black veins and beneath them a varying pattern of different grey hues. Well, in this step we're creating those varying grey hues.
  • During this technique it's important to consider where your lines are going. If you look closely at the pictures you'll see that those grey shades are all lines going in one direction and that this continues as they go round corners - this makes the effect look a lot more believable and realistic and is something to consider as we go forward.
  • For all of these colours I simply took the base colour (Codex Grey) and then mixed in a small amount of another colour before stippling in straight lines across the base, being careful to be consistent around the corners. It is important not to make the colours contrast too starkly, but still enough that it won't make smooth blends - we need it to look textured!
  • The colour I mixed with were: Abaddon Black, Mechanicus Standard Grey, Ulthuan Grey and finally some Balor Brown to give the colour a bit more interest.
  • After the stippling was finished all that was left was to paint the veins. I ran a fairly thick glaze of Abaddon Black in fine lines across the surface; being careful to follow the grain of the stone that I had established in the previous step. I used a glaze just to make the paint a bit less harsh and slightly transparent in parts so it would blend well with the effect I had already created.

When painting stone make sure the "grain" flows together

After all of that excitement I finished the gold details on the base the same as earlier and finished off the remaining details. All in all Guilliman probably too between 10 and 15 hours from start to finish.

If anyone has any questions or wants to attempt the same scheme leave a comment below!

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