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Monday, September 28, 2009

Painted Skulltaker

Ah, Skulltaker. The lovable special character herald of Khorne. This is a wicked awesome model, though my only lament is that the codex allows for him to be mounted on a Juggernaught, and I see no way to convert this option in easily. I'll have to think on it for another time, but for now I have more than an abundance of minis ready for painting.

Since the step-by-step Broodlord was such a success, I've recorded the steps for this guy as well. Though, I must warn you ... as he's a character, I've taken extra steps to make him stand out. There are 42 steps in this monstrosity of a Step-By-Step. Hope you enjoy.

Step 1: cork for the lava base
I got ahold of some thin sheet cork to use for lava bases. The texture will resemble dry, cracked ground. In order to get this sheet cork, I contacted a company called Bangor Cork. I special ordered a 38" x 12" roll of 1/16" thick Natural Tan Composition Cork. Looking at the site as I'm typing this, I realize they don't have listed 1/16" cork, only 1/4" and 1/8". If you want the 1/16" you may have to email them and ask if they still do that. I hope they still do, I only have so much!

The reason behind such a thin cork is that in 5th Edition's WYSIWYG Line of Sight rules, I need to be very conscious of any height added to the models. Large bases look great, but won't help you on the table. Save that stuff for the dioramas.

Step 2: Cut the cork
Here I've used an X-acto knife to cut a circle of cork. Don't worry about jagged edges, they'll only make it look better in the end.

Step 3: Chop and Tear
I've chopped and torn the cork up (and added a second layer for the elevated foot/skulls) to allow for a lava flow both in front and behind. Above, you can see me dry-fitting the model to see how he'll stand. Originally, I had planned to have his hind foot actually in the lava, and put some green-stuff down to flow around it. I abandon this idea later, as the skulls are tilted too far back when I do this.

Step 4: Glue the cork into place
"Arrrgh, I ... can't ...reach!"

Step 5: Basecoat
Now, onto some actual painting... starting with the base.

Step 6: Heavy Drybrush of Bestial Brown
The Bestial Brown paint-pot asked not to be included in the picture. We've docked his pay accordingly.

I say drybrush only so the natural cracks in the cork will still show black.

Step 7: Light Drybrush of Bubonic Brown
Seriously, I don't know what Bestial Brown's problem is. Bubonic Brown was game.

This should give it some contrast/texture. The ground is done, on to the actual lava...

Step 8: Iyanden Darksun basecoat
Foundation paints rule, and have completely made painting with a black basecoat so easy.

Step 9: Wet blend of Fiery Orange and Sunburst Yellow
Ok, this is not as tricky as it looks. Focus on one section at a time. Lay down a thick layer of Fiery Orange. While this is still wet, dip your brush into the Sunburst Yellow, and touch the paint onto the orange. Move it around a bit, create currents and bubbles, just stay away from the edges. Continue to get more Sunburst Yellow until you are happy with it. Then you move on to the next section:
You can see I've capitalized on the greenstuff by adding more yellow there to make them look like bubbles. It's a good enough effect, I think I'll try something similar with droplets of PVA (Elmer's) glue instead of greenstuff next time.

Now that the base is done, on to the model proper...

Step 10: Basecoat of Mechrite Red
Love the foundation paints. Can't say it enough.

Step 11: Heavy Drybrush of Blood Red
This will really bring out his main skin tone, as well as give some irregularity (the Mechrite is a bit more purple-y than Blood Red). Things like that tend to look cool with organic effects.

Step 12: Light Drybrush of Fiery Orange
This is the highlight of his skin. Next, we'll bring the whole thing down with a dark wash.

Step 13: Heavy Devlan Mud Wash
There we go, he's looking awesome.

Step 14: Bringing Models and Bases Together Since Now
This is about where I figured out he tilts too far back with his foot in the lava, so I put his foot on the nearby rock. One day, I'll paint a demon foot coming out of lava. It will happen, mark my words! It will be the single most amazing act of badassery ever seen! ...maybe on Scarbrand.

Step 15: Charadon Granite Basecoat
Painting black armor/clothing has always been tricky for me. For a long time, I simply highlighted an already black basecoat with Codex Grey (then with Fortress, sometimes), but I have to admit I was never really happy with it. Everything else had depth, and this didn't. How DO you add depth to a black? Well, my solution was to make the color not truly black, then wash it down until it's almost black. You'll see the finished effect a couple steps down... First, I'm going to basecoat a few other things before I whip out the washes again.

Step 16: Brazen Brass basecoat
Yep, that's Brazen Brass straight on the black. I've found it's not as flimsy as the gold colors which usually require a basecoat underneath it.

Step 17: Shining Gold Drybrush (Light)
To give a little bit of highlight to the brass, I've drybrushed with Shining Gold. Over brass, it comes out nice, and doesn't over-power the armor into looking more gold than brass.

... ok, back to that cape...

Step 18: Heavy Badab Black Wash
See what I mean? Almost black. It has depth that I wouldn't get with simply a Codex Grey highlight.

Also, the cape isn't the only thing I've hit with the black wash here. On my Bloodletters, I had a nifty black fade on their horns that I wanted to replicate here. It was about two coats, the first covering most of the horns, and the second darkening only the last 1/3 of them.

Step 19: Heavy Devlan Mud wash
All over the brass armour. Was I singing the praises of Foundation Paints earlier? Screw that, it's the Washes that rule the day!

Step 20: Dheneb Stone Basecoat
I take that back. Foundation paints really are the best. You can see I'm about to address everything that's bone color, as well as getting set for the fire effect on the skull. I don't know if you noticed, but his cape is made of skulls:
Apparently his hobby is the daemonic equivalent of quilting ... except instead of your grandma's lovely flower pattern, he uses her head!

Step 21: Heavy Devlan Mud wash
This is the same process I used on the Broodlord's bone. Devlan Mud get's the darks, now we lighten it up...

Step 22: Heavy Drybrush of Bleached Bone
We got some of our color back, now lets get the highlights...

Step 23: Light Drybrush of Skull White
With the white, I focused mostly on the face of the skulls (rims of the eye-sockets, nose, mouth) to make them pop just a little more than the rest of the skull.

Step 24: Strategic Wash of Gryphonne Sepia
Mostly applied to the temples and around cracks/crevices/inbetween the skulls to bring back some mid-tone without darkening our highlights. The bone is done.

Step 25: Brazen Brass on the hooks/spikes
All those skulls are attached via hooks and spikes. I've ignored them during the bone process, mainly because the bone is a longer process, and the hooks would pop out and be more distinguishable if I waited until afterwards anyways.

On to the flame!

Step 26: Basecoat of Bad Moon Yellow
This is why I basecoated the fire with Dheneb Stone. GW's yellows are super weak, and this is a good way to get a quick, bright yellow.

I've seen many different types of fire effects, and the look that I like is bright in the middle and dark on the outside, going from yellow to a smoky black.

Step 27: Drybrush of Iyanden Darksun
I would say "heavy drybrush" but Foundation Paints are a lot stronger than normal paint. If you're ever using one to drybrush, always drybrush lighter than you think you need to.

Step 28: Drybrush of Firey Orange
This is actually a great place to stop if you don't like the "all the way to black" effect.

Step 29: Light Drybrush of Blood Red
It looks a bit cartoony compared to the previous step, but the idea is that we're going to cover most of the red with the black drybrush to make it look like soot/smoke.

Step 30: Light Drybrush of Chaos Black
I really like the way the effect turned out (it was my first time trying it out). I think next time I'll bring the mid and dark tones further down. Too much bright, not enough mid-dark. What do you guys think?

Next up is the hellblade. There are lots of ways to paint a hellblade, and you'll see a good deal of great ideas right in the codex. Jabberjabber does a great hellblade that starts dark at the hilt and gets brighter towards the tip.

The idea I was inspired by came from the codex. It was a kind of glowing, darkened scheme, with the brightest parts around the hilt. It looked like it was a smouldering kind of hot, not a white-hot. It looked more ... painful. I don't know how else to describe it but effective, yet still sinister and sadistic looking. Here's how I've done the effect...

Step 31: Basecoat of Macharius Solar Orange

Step 32: Light drybrush of Skull White
We're working up to a yellow here (which will be our brightest part) before we start darkening the blade. The white drybrush is to focus where the brightest yellow will be. Around the base, the edges and the center edge of the blade is where I focused.

Step 33: Thin Layer of Sunburst Yellow

Step 34: First Baal Red Wash
Try and only apply it to the flats of the blade, not the center, and not the edges/tip/hilt.

Step 35: Second Baal Red Wash
Not dark enough...

Step 36: Third Baal Red Wash
If you're looking for a kind of fiery effect without the darkened smouldering I was talking about, this is a good place to stop.

Step 37: First Badab Black Wash
Looking awesome, but not dark enough. ;) Keep the black wash along those flats, and away from anything yellow.

Step 38: Second Badab Black Wash
Bingo. Now that's my idea of a hellblade! Keep in mind, this is just the method I like to use. There are no right or wrong ways to paint a hellblade, only awesome ways. If heat's not your thing, the aforementioned Jabberjabber even did a cold scheme. Find the method/idea you like best, and go with it; they're daemons, they don't have to follow our foolish laws of physics. ;)

Step 39: Dheneb Basecoat on the Tongue
"My tongue is showing? My apologies. How rude of me."

Step 40: Wet blend of Baal Red and Leviathan Purple Washes
I coated the whole tongue in Baal Red and applied Leviathan Purple to the base. A little flash of colour outside the normal scheme makes things interesting.

Step 41: 'Ardcoat layer on the tongue
Gloss varnish to make it shiny, since it's a wet surface.

Step 42: Skull White Eyes
I like my daemon eyes beady, so they're a dot of Skull White and that's it.

Here we are, Skulltaker's finished!

Let me know what you guys think of him!

While writing this up, I couldn't help but notice how deceptively small he looks in these pics. I hope you all realize he's standing on a termy base... Here are a couple pics I just took for size reference in case you weren't aware of just how large Skulltaker is:

Next to a normal Bloodletter:

Next to my already huge SM Terminator Captain:
He's taller than the Terminator Captain, AND he's hunched OVER! This guy must be what, 12 feet tall? That would make his sword like 9 feet?!? How are you supposed to fight something like that?
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