Both I and my father intend to write a blog to allow new beginners to the war gaming and model painting community to hit the ground running and start producing miniatures they can be proud of from day one. We also intend to introduce fellow wargamers and model painters to sources of reputable information such as Librarium Online, Astronomicon.com, DakkaDakka.com and many others.
Starting with a model straight from the box carefully clean away any mold lines and excess metal. Occasionally these models have sink holes where the armpit and back meet which can be filled with green stuff but thankfully I’ve not had many like this (or it’s been too small to care about). The most common mold lines seem to be on the right foot and on the hammer or axe and occasionally on the rim of the shield.
Stage 2 – Pre-Polishing
Because of the special type of spray paint I’ll be using to basecoat the model it’s wise to purchase some very fine grade steel wool and carefully smooth and polish up all the areas on the model you feel need to be shiny when painted (I tend to do just the back of the body, the top of the helmet and the back of the shield if I’m in a hurry but time and patience will always produce a better model).
Stage 3 – Paint Brands
Humbrol paints are a subsidiary of Hornby model’s which have been in the modelling industry for at least 30 years, probably a lot more (my dad remembers the trains in the 70’s; he still has a few of them). Today we will be using Humbrol Metalcote Polished Steel. It sells for between £3 and £5 for a 150ml spray can. At this point I need to specify that you CANNOT use acrylic based primers on your model and then spray this, it causes the paint to react and you won’t be able to move the grime from the paints surface when polishing it completely ruining the effect. I’ve been assured that other non acrylic based primers do work but having always just sprayed without one I can’t give you guy’s any guarantee it won’t screw up your model.
Stage 4 – Spray Base Coating
So you’ve now prepared your model and taken it to a suitable spraying area. Myself I spray models in the garage which is definitely an improvement from when I started (weighting down a Necron battalion box set with rocks on a freezing cold day so you can spray your models inside of it, is a sure fire way of getting your models so covered in paint you don’t know there asses from their elbows.) Make sure your model is not on a base and it’s shield is not attached as although the paint is entirely compatible with most brands of acrylic paint once dry you really don’t want to have to spend time re-spraying all your bases black and trying to polish up all the tiny shields so you can paint a colour over the top.
Humbrol spray cans are very well designed and you might find yourself jumping through the roof thinking you’ve bought a CO2 fire extinguisher instead of paint. If you hold it at the specified distance on the can and spray in short bursts in one area (rotating the model slightly every few bursts) you should get good coverage. A few things I would recommend is that you:
1.Shake that can like some crazy whacked out sucka’ for a good 2-3 minutes
2.Wear Gloves when spraying (It is very itchy on your skin)
3.Leave your model somewhere with a good ambient room temperature for a full 4 hour’s between coats and then 24 hour’s when complete.
Stage 5 – Post Polishing
Your little guy is now sprayed and ready to rock, if all is well and good his shield will still be bare metal, later on you can either go back and spray them black or brush coat them depending on whether you want a charcoal matte black or a slight gloss finish. Using some baby ear cleaning cotton buds you should look over your model and decide which areas you want to be polished. Areas which you smoothed out with wire wool will shine better and will be less likely to chip, however as you can see on my model areas where the paint has chipped off tend to be on raised points anyway which saved me time going back with mithril and highlighting them all, sure it sounds lazy but if it looks good why complain?
It’s also worth pointing out that as you can see on this model dwarf cannon that I hastily put together, this paint works fantastic on plastic and doesn’t chip at all. This is because the surface of the plastic (providing you gave it a bath in mildly warm water prior to spraying to get any gunk off it) is already smooth.
Stage 6 – Base Coating
Your dwarf is now appropriately polished and ‘weathered’ allowing us to apply a small number of basecoats where necessary. Water down some Mecharius solar orange to the consistency of milk and paint the dwarfs beard and the hair coming out of the back of his helmet using this colour, then mix some Shining Gold and Boltgun Metal in about 1:2.5 ratio (you’ll need this colour later for the shield) and carefully pick out the lowest rim on the dwarfs kilt, his toe caps, his wrist, his finger guards, the line running from the back of his helmet to the front and down his nose and finally any runes you can find as well as the hammer head’s decorations. Allow all these to dry before proceeding as occasionally the pale gold needs a secondary coat so that it remains smooth and shiny.
Stage 7 –Washing and Detailing
Now that your basecoats are dry you should wash the orange beard and head hair with Ogryn Flesh wash straight from the pot all the while being careful not to get any in the dwarf’s eye sockets or on his back. When the first wash is dry gently stipple some blazing orange on to the very end of the dwarf’s beard. Wash the top of the beard and the head hair with watered down gryphon sepia so that the hair looks darker but remains orange and adds a bit of depth to it. Finally carefully pick out a few strands of hair for highlighting with blazing orange in order to complete your beard.
Stage 8 – Basing
I can’t entirely take credit for this method however I find it incredibly effective for this particular model, for other basing ideas check out this article on the GW website here. Start by slightly watering down some P.V.A glue and brushing it around your dwarf’s base (getting close to but not actually on the models feet unless you want to create the illusion that the ground is quite soft). Scatter some fine modelling sand so that it completely covers the base remembering to only tap off the excess once the glue is totally dry (this usually takes about 4 hours, use this time to tidy up any loose sand and finish off any other projects, I tend to do basing in batches so I can sand some models whilst painting another’s). Basecoat the sand with a 1:1 mix of chaos black and codex gray. When dry, dry-brush the whole base with codex grey and then fortress grey (for a smooth transition remove as much codex grey paint from the brush without actually washing it, unless you want a nice contrast). Finally paint the bases rim with the basecoat colour and select some very small slate pieces to paint with shining gold to give the effect of tiny gold nuggets.
Stage 9 – Final Check and Completion
Unfortunately all models will suffer from the occasional chip even whilst in the process of actually painting, it’s a good idea to keep a colour mix journal so you can easily repaint your model without too much grief, when your happy get a good quality matte spray sealant and admire your handiwork.