Sunday, July 21, 2013

How to paint a Dark Angels Space Marine

Here is my entire process for painting a basic Dark Angels Space Marine. I tend to spend a bit more time per miniature than most people, so this method does take a bit of extra time. 

I apply all paints to my pallet using the following method: one drop on the end of a brush applied to pallet. One droplet of purified water placed on pallet (not mixed yet). Dip brush into water droplet and then mix with paint. Repeat until the paint is roughly the consistency of milk. You might need more or less depending on what you're painting but that's the basic mixture for all the basic stuff below.The brushes I use are the Citadel Detail Brush (yellow end), the Citadel Wash Brush (dark purple end) and the Citadel Small Drybrush (light blue end). Cost about $8 each.

The only 'techniques' I really use are a bit of drybrushing here and there. However, all of my paints are applied using multiple coats. This is time consuming but I believe it produces a much cleaner and more even looking paint job. Basically, you apply the first coat of paint, wait a few minutes and apply a second. A third might be needed if it still looks a little patchy or there are areas that need touching up.

Now, on with the processes:

Step 1: Prime with Chaos Black spray paint.
Step 2: Touch up missed areas with Abbadon Black. (Not needed if you don't fuck up the spray painting like I do).
Step 3: Base coat the basic armor panels and backpack in Caliban Green. Leave black showing in deep crevices in armour.
Step 4: Heavy wash with Biel-Tan Green. (This is optional. I like the shade of green it produces when it's all dried.)

Base Marine now prepped for detailing.

Prepped and ready to go.


I consider anything after the above initial steps as detailing work.

1: Base in Zandri Dust
2: Heavy wash of Seraphim Sepia, and allow to dry upside down. This allows the wash to run into the gaps and cracks where it would naturally look darker.
3: Highlight with Ushabti Bone. Cover almost everything but leave some Zandri Dust showing in the recesses.
4: Highlight again with Screaming Skull. Only on the raised edges and the very tips of the 'feathers'.
5: Final light wash with Sepia. For this wash only load the tip of the brush and try to cover the flat surfaces instead of letting it build up in the crevices. Leave it to dry upright, so the wash runs down towards the models feet. 

Bone breastplates. The colour is a bit washed out in this picture. They have more depth under normal light.

Heraldry/Squad/Chapter Markings: 
1: Winged Sword on left pauldron painted Ceramite White. Thinned paint applied in multiple coats works best to get a solid, consistent look.
2: Tactical markings on right pauldron painted Mephiston Red.
3: Iconography on weapons/pack painted Balthzar Gold over a thin coat of brown. The brown helps the gold to pop a bit better. Thin yellow also works but looks a bit cartoony for me.
4: Left kneepad company marks freehanded. White base for the checks built up to screaming skull for an off-white bone tinge.

Freehand company markings on the kneepad. A bitch to paint but worth it.

Fine Detailing:
1. Eye lenses painted Mephiston Red. I really need to work out a better technique for eyes.
2. Purity Scroll wax painted a shade of red.
3. Parchment painted white.
4. Black lines (representing text) painted on parchment in Abaddon Black.
5. Rivets on gun/backpack/anywhere else painted Leadbelcher.
6. Gun casing painted Mephiston Red.
7. Gun metal based in Leadbelcher. 
8. Joint tubing painted in Leadbelcher, but just lightly over the raised surfaces.
8. All Leadbelcher parts washed with Nuln Oil. 

All major detailing done. Time to move onto the highlighting.

1: 50:50 Caliban Green, Warpstone Glow - all edges. Pretty un-noticeable once applied.
2: Add another 25% Warpstone Glow to the mixture already in use - all corners and far out onto edges.
3: 50:50 Warpstone Glow and Moot Green. Quite bright. Only on most corners and a little bit out onto the edges.
4: 100% Moot green. Only on the very corners/very hard edges where light would catch sharply.
5. All leadbelcher parts highlighted with Ironbreaker.

The corners are where light catches the most. The edges slowly fade out to give the appearance of 'shine'.

That is essentially the marine himself done. Now it's just the base. Some bases are works of art in and of themselves but I prefer a reasonably simple approach because I hate doing the bases, lol.

Glue the model to the base first. It's a fucking pain in the ass trying to do this later. Just do it. It will save so much hassle and look better in the end.
1. Paint base Zandri Dust all over.
2. Glue sand to top.
3. Once dried, brush sand with 50:50 PVC Glue / Water solution. This will harden and provide protection and make it much easier to paint.
4. Heavy wash with Seraphim Sepia. Make sure all glue is very very dry first. I usually let it dry over night just to be safe. Allow the wash to sink into the sand. If the glue is not dry this will fuck up all the sand.
5. Good drybrush with Zandri dust. Drybrushing just catches the top of the sand, leaving the sepia showing through underneath and looks quite good I think.

Base prepping done.

1. Cut up wine corks into acceptable rock shapes. Should be fairly random looking/rough. You can really use any rocks you like, but I enjoy making my own.
2. Paint cork black.
3. Drybrush cork as follows: Heavy brush of Administratum Gray > Light brush of Celstra Grey > Extremelly extremelly light brush of Ceramite White and only over the very hard edges. You now have rocks.
4. PVC Glue rocks to sand base in random patterns. Apply 50:50 PVC/Water to solution again once rocks are dried to base. This will harden everything up and provide protection.
5. Smear PVC Glue on the base where you want grass to be. Can be over, around, under rocks but should not cover whole base.
6. Use tweezers to apply flock grass. Shake gently to remove excess. Use tweezers to get things looking the way you want. Make sure to brush all traces of flock from the edge of your base and feet/legs of marine. Hard to get them off later. 

Allow to dry and you have a finished Dark Angels Space Marine.  

Repent! For tomorrow you die!