Monday, 28 May 2018

How to Paint Steel Legion Tanks (Astra Militarum Painting/Weathering Guide)

Today, I'm presenting my step-by-step guide to painting a Steel Legion tank (a Deathstrike missile). I created this scheme for a new army I'm working on and I've kept it as succinct as possible. There are a lot of layers in here, but I've maximised the impact to time spent ratio to create a scheme that packs a punch fast. I have used an airbrush, but all of this could be done with a brush, it would just take more time. Speaking of time, the total painting time from start to finish for this tank was only 4 hours and 30 minutes. I've spent longer than that on single infantrymen for some armies! 

Even if you're not interested in painting steel legion, it'll probably still be an interesting article, as I'm going to really hammer through a lot of techniques that you may have never used before. With that out of the way, let's get started.

1) I gave the whole model a basecoat with Vllejo German Grey using the airbrush. It covers well, but some placed needed 2 coats to really get it good. I should mention that I started first with a Chaos Black undercoat to make sure that the paint would adhere.

 2) I applied a highlight to the whole model with the airbrush focussing on the upper areas. For this stage, I used a 50/50 mix of German Grey and Dark Sea Grey (which despite the name looks a lot like codex grey).
 3) A final highlight was applied using pure Dark Sea Grey. I was quite sparing with this paint as it is quite light (despite the misleading name).
 4) Time for some cammo. It looks a bit green at first, but don't worry we're just using this mix as a basecoat. Speaking of the mix, I used a 50/50 mix of Orange Brown and Scrofulous Brown for this stage. These are still all Vallejo paints applied with the airbrush.
 5) Looking a lot better after this one. I applied a highlight of Ice Yellow (A paint that looks suspiciously like bleached bone) to the cammo stripes; basically covering the first layer I had put down except for the very edges. It looks almost battle ready (Did someone just say Tabletop Standard, as this would definitely do).
 6) This stage is optional, and if you don't want Retro stripes on your tank then skip to stage 10. I used Tamiya masking tape to mask off an area on the front of the tank. I only really trust the Tamiya stuff not to take the paint off when you peel it off later.
 7) I applied a few coats of Scarlet Blood towards the front of the tank using the masking tape as a barrier. When it was completely dry, I peeled the tape off (no damage, thank god).
 8) In order to create more stripes, I waited for the paint to dry completely before applying another strip of masking tape; this time closer to the front of the tank. I also used some plastic wrap to mask the missile off for painting.
 9) I applied a few coats of Dead White to the front of the tank to create a white stripe. I then peeled off the tape and admired my handiwork. I also used this  stage to paint the missile in white.
 10) With the basic colours down, I decided that it was time to add some weathering to the tank. For this, I used a mix of 50/50 Cavalry Brown and Black. I applied this to the lower areas of the hull around the tracks. I was fairly sparing with this colour, as I will be weathering more later on.
 11) I also used my mix from stage 10 to make some mud splashes. For this, I just dipped my paint brush in the colour, wiped of the excess and then held it up about 3 inches away from the model. Then I used the airbrush to blast my paintbrush with air; dislodgeing the paint from the bristles and spattering my tank's hull for a good dirty look. If you're going to try this, test it a few times first to make sure you don't just drown your tank with brown when you pull the trigger, as results vary a lot if you try it with too much paint on the brush!
 12) Probably my favourite part is the final step with the airbrush. I used pure black to go in and shade the brown weathering that I had put on. I also shaded some of the panels. I was vary sparing in this stage, as you just want to make the thing look worn and sooty, but not actually black.

I've added two pictures below that show how things are going so far. At this point, I was only an hour and a half into the tank and things were really looking good. It would be even faster without the red and white stripes as that stage took about 20 minutes.

A closer shot of the side, so you can get an idea of how the weathering has gone. Interestingly, pure black works great for blending the white and red into the hull adds a lot of depth to them.
 13) With the airbrushing stage out of the way, I took my tank indoors to work on the bodywork. The first port of call was to add definition to the panels. For this, I applied a directed wash using Agrax Earthshade. Essentially this meant that I used a small brush wash round all the rivets, and down the panel lines of the tank. It's important not to just wash the whole tank or it will ruin all of the careful. If you want to see this stage in more detail, Warhammer TV did a video tutorial of a more basic Steel Legion scheme that has this exact same stage (see this video at about 1.10 to see how this is done: Warhammer TV Steel Legion Tank Tutorial).

After that, I used a really big square ended brush that was about 1 inch across to very lightly drybrush Ice Yellow over the top of the whole tank (except for that white missile). This picked up the very edges of the armour plates and the rivets and brought the whole look together.
For painting tanks, I like my brush the way I like my like my Martinis; dry … and almost unnecessarily large.

You can see the impact the Agrax wash has had from all of those rivets. I've added some little grease trails here and there to them to give the impression of age. It's got the patina!
14) To finish the hull off, I went to another painting technique. I used some German Grey on a dry sponge to add some paint chipping and weathering to the edges. I then followed this up doing the same thing with Leadbelcher. I have to admit that I don't usually watch painting videos, but I did some research planning this scheme out and I lifted this technique directly from Warhammer TV as well. As it's already been described in great detail in their video, I'll add a like. The part you want is at about 3 minutes in. Link to Weathering Video.

15) With all of that work out of the way, I finally entered the end game for this model. By this point about 2 and a quarter hours had elapsed. So time wise, I was about half way there. The next steps would be a bit more long winded and finnicky as there really is no way to cut down on the hard work after a certain point and you just have to stick with it. I didn't continue taking pictures of every step as all the next steps are quite basic and just the same kind of things you'd do to paint an ordinary infantryman. I am going to list the methods and colours that I used though, as I'll want to know when I come back to paint another tank for the army (hopefully a basilisk will be coming up next!). Ok, so the remaining colours go something like this:

  • Silver areas (including Tracks): Basecoat Leadbelcher, wash with Dryad Bark, Highlight with Army Painter Plate Mail Metal, wash with Nuln Oil.
  • White Areas (Banners): Basecoat Rakarth Flesh, Highlight 50/50 Rakarth Flesh and White, Wash with Agrax Earthshade, Highlight with White.
  • Blue Areas (Lenses): Basecoat Dark Prussian Blue, Highlight successively with White. Gloss Varnish lenses when complete.
  • Black Areas (Gun Bodies): Basecoat with Abaddon Black. Edge Highlight with Dark Sea Grey.
16) With all of the colours down and ready to go, the last stage was to apply the decals and add a final light stippled weathering with Dryad Bark just to blend in the transfers a bit and to unify anything that it looking just a little bit too clean.

The weathering as it appears on the finished model.

Well, that's it. The tank is complete. I hope somebody actually bothers to read to the end of this article! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or if you want to know anything about the painting methods that I've used. 

If you found this article interesting, don't forget to follow the blog or check back later to see how the rest of the Steel Legion come out. I might even write out a tutorial for the infantry!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Stormcast Eternals - Weathered Marble Paint Scheme

So far, I'm really happy with how this scheme is coming out. I posted some pictures earlier, a week or so ago that were taken on my phone (so much lower quality). I've finished another model from the Vanguard Hunters unit as well, so hopefully, these should give a much better impression of where things are going.

I saw that a new edition of Age of Sigmar is coming out soon (they teased some info at Warhammer Fest over the weekend). I don't actually play Age of Sigmar, and I started this force just as a fun project, but I'll be interested to see where they take the game. I did play one or two games when the game was first released a few years ago, but I found the rules a bit oversimplified for my tastes. I'd really like to see it settle somewhere similar to the most recent edition of 40k; not too complex, but with a strength/toughness system added in to give it a bit more tactical depth. I'm sure it has been refined as a game since the original release, but If I had a wishlist of things to be added, that'd be number one.

The "army" so far. The new model is the Champion for the unit with the bare head. Also a Gryph Hound!
 My progress on the force has been somewhat stunted by the fact that I've been working on something for the anime figure competition again at E2046. I had planned out a series of work in progress posts to do about it, but the deadline for entry is the end of the month, and I'm doing all I can just to get her finished. Hopefully, I'll be posting the finished figure here soon!

Also stay tuned for more eternals once that's out of the way.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Klukva Miniatures Review - Little Resin Legacy of Kain Figures!

Occasionally, when surfing the internet, I come across a miniature that I really can't live without. Recently on my travels, I happened to stumble upon Klukva Miniatures; a small Russian company that make resin figures that are mostly inspired by various fictional characters. Mostly these are video game characters.

While browsing the site, I came across their "Bloody Vampire" and "Soul Vampire". Also known as Kain and Raziel from the Legacy of Kain series. If you missed out on playing Soul Reaver back in about 2000, then you missed out on the best video game ever made. It's no exaggeration to say that it was not only ground-breaking at the time in terms of mechanics and scope, but that it actually hasn't been equalled since. Sure, graphics may have moved on, but I've never felt as absorbed in a storyline or attached to the characters as I was to that game (or the series that followed. Or even later when I played the PS1 classic Blood Omen that had come before).

Anyway, fast forward about 18 years, and I can finally live my childhood dream of having Kain and Raziel in miniature form, thanks to Klukva miniatures. I hit the "buy" button pretty quick when I saw them there!

Kain and Raziel in all their painted glory!

The Review:
As they're a fairly new company, I thought a quick review might be in order. I'm going to hit the main points, and try to answer those basic questions that we all wonder about when ordering from a new company.

Resin Quality:
I have to admit that I wasn't sure what would turn up on my doorstep, as you never really know whether the pictures you see will be representative of the actual quality of the final product. I didn't contact Klukva before ordering or anything like that, so the product I received isn't hand picked to be good for a review; this is exactly what turns up.

Anyway, the quality of the resin is really nice. The detail is good and the mould lines and flash were minimal. What I got really looks exactly like what I saw on the website, which was really nice to see. I only have a few figures for comparison from them, but there were no flaws or air bubbles on them and the whole building process and clean-up was pretty easy. Overall, I'd say I'm really impressed with the quality. They're definitely on the higher end of the scale as far as resin casting is concerned.

If you haven't had a lot of resin figures in the past, you may not know that it can be a real minefield and quality really was my biggest concern going into this.

I took one look at that resin Raziel, and for some reason all I could think was "Become my Soul Reaver ... my Angel of Death".

Ordering and Delivery:
The ordering process is pretty easy, they have their own website (available in English). Basically the same as most online stores these days where you add things to a cart and then head over to the checkout. You get email updates from the store when things are being packed and shipped too, so it's all pretty civilised.

International post costs a flat 5 euros, which is pretty reasonable.

After I placed my order, there was a bit of a delay before the miniatures were cast and posted out. I then had to wait for the Russian postal system, which seems to take up to a month to the UK. In general though, given the type of miniatures that they make, I didn't think it was bad. I knew that it would take a while, and as these were just fun purchases, I wasn't in a particular rush. It is something to consider though, especially if you have a particular time frame in mind for a project.

One thing that I was really impressed with is that the miniatures arrived in a plastic postal bag as you might expect, but inside that bag was a laser-cut MDF box that housed all the models; protecting them really well in transit. I think I'm going to have to keep it to use as scenery or something as it is way too nice to throw away!

Well, I think the prices are pretty reasonable for what they are, which is basically individual resin characters. At the time of ordering, the Bloody Vampire and Soul Vampire were 9 euros each which feels pretty thrifty for something so specialised.

You might have noticed that some resin is really greasy and can resist paint. That wasn't the case here though and they were both really clean; with minimal work needed in that department.

I really enjoyed the painting process. Not only are they great miniatures, but I had a lot of fun working on something different. It was also interesting to try to match the colour schemes of the models to the original concept art and in-game appearance of the characters. It was a bit of a challenge, but I'm really happy with the end result. I have to admit that I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but just having them around is great fun.

"An eternity passed and my torment receded, bringing me back from the precipice of madness. The descent had destroyed me. Yet, I lived."

As far as painting is concerned, it was a real battle to get Raziel right. In the end, I ended up glazing the skin a few times to re-balance the colour. I really wanted to make sure he looked sinewy, so I did a lot of thin highlight lines on his muscles.

They really are a great company. The quality is excellent, and I'm absolutely loving being able to finally own some iconic video game characters in miniature form. I'm sure that everyone who plays games has occasionally thought that they'd like a miniature of a character from one, well Klukva might just give you the chance!

The price of both miniatures and postage are both pretty reasonable, and certainly no more expensive than their competitors. The only possible downside to Klukva is that as they're based in Russia there can be some fairly lengthy postal delays in shipping. That said, for fun purchases like these that most people are going to buy just to paint and display, I don't feel that it should put anyone off.

Personally, I'm going to be on the lookout for more characters from Klukva; especially if they make anything else from Legacy of Kain (hint, hint... Vorador, hint, hint...), although I might find it hard to resist a little resin Cloud Strife...

If you fancy picking up your own Kain and Raziel, the website address for Klukva Miniatures is:

"Kain is deified. The clans tell tales of him. Few know the truth. He was mortal once, as were we all."

P.S Kain is battling a GW Stormcast Vanguard in this picture. He makes a good stand in for a Sarafan Knight though!