Adam O’Shovah here to talk a bit about painting. My Enclaves army has been making the rounds at the local and regional tournaments and people keep asking me to make a tutorial. I was a bit hesitant at first, but after painting a few commission pieces for Konrad Curt and Blood God Bewley as well as taking home two best painted awards at recent tournaments… (can you hear the sound of me patting my own back?) …I figured why not give it a stab. Now, won’t say I’m the greatest painter in the world. I’ll leave that to Kenny at NextLevelPainting dawg, but below are a few tips on how to use an airbrush to not only speed up your painting, but also and more importantly improve your painting. In another post, I will go into detail about how I get from PART ONE to the finished product.
My Enclave Warriors are fairly unique. None wear helmets, they use Kroot shoulder pads, some old IG bits, have Pathfinder bodies with modified Pulse Rifles. The inspiration is that the Enclaves use old or different technology compared to their Empire brethren. I like to think that the Kroot were provided the old Fire Warrior shoulder pads and these Fire Warriors simply still have the old standard issue kit. To top it off, each squad will have the option of having one grenadier to represent EMP grenades when I take them, and there are also units with binoculars to represent markerlights in the units. All told, I have 36 of these homeboys to paint up and spent the past week or two painting up this first two units of six for the Forge The Narrative tournament next month.
So let’s get started.
MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED
AIRBRUSH : there are tons of reviews out there, just make sure you find a good compressor, some good cleaning fluids, and the brush itself is dual-action and top-fed.
PAINTS : I use Vallejo Air. Quite simply, they are the best airbrush paints out there. No mixing, no thinning, right out of the bottle they are perfect everytime.
WASHES : I use a mix of GW and Vallejo.
TINTS/GLAZES : I have started to use Badger Miniataire’s Ghost Tint range. I’m not a huge fan of their paints and the tints can be a bit finicky, but once you practice with them, they can be quite spectacular to use for OSL, after shading and the like.
BRUSHES : I use Army Painter brushes for my large swathes but I rely on my trusty StyleX Styling Brush HF1… it is my Dawn Blade.
OTHERS : Vallejo Airbrush Cleaner, Gloss and Matte Varnishes and Metals. The Vallejo Air Metals are the best in the business…flat out.
PAINTING TAU SKIN
I hated, I mean hated painting Tau skin before I started using an airbrush. I mean it. But, once you master the airbrush and begin to understand how it basically pre-shades all of the contours and highlights the raised areas in a few simple steps you’ll begin to love it!
I start by mounting all of my heads with a dab of glue to an old sprue. You’ll notice I removed the ponytails from each of the Tau heads.
I prime them all black, then do a nice base with a Vallejo Intermediate Blue. I do my best to get a solid coverage of the blue across the whole model.
Then I spray at an angle from the top and sides, emphasizing on the raised areas like the brow and cheek bones with Vallejo Mediterranean Blue.
Then at an sharper top angle with a 50/50 mix of Med Blue and White.
Then, I flip the head around and lightly build up pure White from the forehead down focusing on the subtle gradient from top to bottom. this usually picks out the highest edges which is what we want.
I spray the models with a Vallejo Gloss Varnish then use a Blue Wash with a wash brush to help add some depth within the recesses of the model.
It is important to let the wash dry because next we will be adding a Matte Varnish to seal everything up before picking out the highest raised edges with White paint and your trusty HF1.
The skin is no complete. At this stem I add some paint for the collar, a wash and move on.
PAINTING TAU FIRE WARRIORS
Obviously, to make things easier on myself I have not glued on the Tau heads yet. This allows me to focus on going ape shit crazy with the airbrush on the rest of the models and when you have 36 of them sitting on the work desk, you’ll appreciate the freedom and speed with will allow.
I start with the requisite coat of primer.
Then, I spray the entire model, with a focus on the raised edges with Vallejo Eart Brown. It’s such a great color!
Next is a focused highlight with Vallejo Sand Yellow. You can see that I focus mostly on the raised edges here and overall lighten up the model.
Then, we get to an extreme highlight of Vallejo Sand (Ivory). Now we’re getting somewhere!
This is where the awesomeness of the airbrush really begins to show. In everything we’re taught in model painting it’s always dark to light. Well, I went to art school, and I was always taught to work light to dark. with the air brush, we can add a step I like to call after-shading or post-shading. In this step I use Miniatair Ghost Tint brown to subtly build up darker areas of the model. I’m actually reinforcing shadows. Be careful with the Ghost Tints because they are opaque, one you add one layer on top of the other, you’re making it darker so it’s always best to start with small layers first before going too dark.
After a gloss coat, I move on to the washes… this time it’s Velljo Sepia Wash which is a touch more red/tan than GW’s brown wash. Now, for most players, you could add some black and pop on the awesome Tau head and be done! But you’re not most players now are you?
I knew that having the armor and cloth the same color would be too drab, so I did something I’ve never done before and wouldn’t necessarily recommend. I brush painted the Ghost Tint Brown overtop of the cloth. The good thing about this is it darkened the original color a bit, keeping the shadows and highlights we worked so hard to create and I knew I was going to be going back over the cloth with a brush later so it actually worked out well.
Throw some Matte Varnish on there and call it a day, or you can glue your Tau head on to body and get to work with those edge highlights.
That’s it for the airbrushing portion of the tutorial. In PART TWO, I will be discussing edge highlights, freehand, lenses, OSL (Object Source Lighting) and weathering. In PART THREE I will get into using pigments and bases, because you know it’s all about the base, right?
For now, enjoy these (rather crappy) photos of my first two units of Fire Warriors. ‘Til next time…