This is the first instalment in a serie of step by step tutorials. The article is quite long, and I find that these tutorials are a great read while you're sitting on the can without a magasine. I hope you enjoy!
I'm french, this tutorial is written in english, bear with me :)
This guide uses Oil paints and an airbrush. Where possible ( all but 1 step I think ), I'll try to give an alternative to these for those who don't want to use / don't have these supplies handy. The result will be very much alike, however, much slower.
This army was given to me already assembled as commission work. Most of the models are converted from the Dark Vengeance set. If you can help it, assemble the following and paint pieces separatly as follow:
2- Guns, Handlebar( steering? )
3- Bike in halves ( because (4) )
5- Cloaks, banners
Basically, anything you can airbrush a different color, keep unassembled. This is where you same an insane ammount of time.
The deadline was pretty short, 10 days, to get it from bare plastic to fully painted. As such, most of the things were « improvised » or though of as I went along. I will add some insight next to some steps when I realised I should have done something a different way, so you don't have to do the same.
Off we go with the painting!
Black Primer. Go lightly with the primer, we will paint over everything anyway, no need to drown your model in it. * If you do not own an airbrush, you might want to use airmy painter's Colored Primer Black, in this case, spary your models with 2-3 thin coats to get a clear finish. Do this on the whole army, except possibly the Apothecary ( if you want to paint him white ) and the red parts ( cloak/banner )
Step 2 to 7 use exclusively the airbrush.
Using your trusty airbrush, go over every model with black to make sure every recess is covered, as grey plastic color will stand out big time, and you don't want that.
We will mix 50/50 Black and Karak Stone ( Komando Khaki from old GW ) and spray this at a 45 degree angle from the top of the bikes to create a nice highlight.
Adding more Karak Stone to the black( 90/10 ) highlight only the top of wvery models. On bikes, I did the top of the banner pole and edges of the bikes. On the rider, focus on top of the helmet and top of the shoulder plates.
Using P3 Coal Black ( or GW Dark Reaper ) go quickly over the wheels, focussing on the top half or so, and being careful not to hit the bike itself. Without using tape, you can simply place your finger on the edge where the wheel and the bike meet.
At this point, if you dont have a lot of practice with the airbrush, or if you want a super clean result, you will need to mask the area around the exhaust pipes. As this takes a lot of time, I rather just freehand it, as a slight overspray wont alter the end result much, only weather the model a little bit more.
Using Rhinox Hide ( or P3Umbral Umber ) go over the exhaust pipes of the bikes, as well as the muzzel of the meltaguns.
Go over your dark brown with an orange brown like Skraag Brown ( Vermin brown from old Gw ). This is not really a highlight as the goal is not to make it look like the sun was catching on this part, but to add texture to our rusty wear and tear look.
Congrats, you beast of a man, you are done with the airbrush for quite a while. This is the part were you either break down crying and praise the lord or have multiple drinks and a victory dance
For the safety of everyone, please don't victory dance naked.
More seriously, however, starting on these steps, you want to be careful with what you do, as touch ups on the airbrushed parts are quite nasty and take a lot of time to fix.
Using a piece of foam ( If you have a battlefoam/sabol case, you should
have tons of leftover ) and Skraag Brown, add battle damage to the bikes. I chose to battle damage only the bikes and not the riders so the two stand out a little bit from a tabletop view. You can battle damage everything, I dig that too.
Still with foam, add the same effect to the rusty brown spots of step 7, this time using silver paint ( Runefang Steel or Ironbreaker is fine.
This step I would do entirely different if I had to do it all over again. I was not satisfied with the results. I'm sharing this here for the sake of WYSIWYG, but if you're attempting to follow this tutorial, skip this step, as there will be a smarter way to do this further in the tutorial.
Using thinned down black oil paint, I washed over the entire model. Probably my wash was too heavy/not dilluted enough, but it toned down too much of the highlights IMO.
Using Ironbreaker ( Old GW Boltgun metal ) go over the weapons, bike engine, feathery-banner-thing, steering, small skulls, additional details and shoulder plate markings.
If you're a smart man, your models were not fully assemble, and the Bolters, Plasma Talons and Steering are not glued on the model and you can airbrush the crap out of them. You-go-girl!
If, like me, everything is glued in place and could withstand nuclear holocaust, i strongly advise against painting the steering of the bike silver, it takes forever, you will most likely want to kill yourself halfway through. Careful readers will notice that roughly half the bikes have a black steering, and half have a silver one.
Step 12 (A Smarter man's step 10 )
You can have a minor victory dance after finishing the silver. That step was nasy. Using a worn brush and Nuln oil, go over the silver. If you were smart enough not to do step 10, this is a good moment to wash the brown rust areas and the wheels with nuln oil.
Painting the Purity Seals. First: I don't like scripture on the seals. If you do, go for it. I don't think it adds much the the models and it's quite time consuming.
Paint your purity seal with Steel Legion Drab. Highlight with Karak Stone. I highlight the parchments with horizontal strokes. This gives and interesting texture to it, without spending much time on it.
The seal itself id painted using mephiston Red highlighted with Evil Sunz Scarlet.
If you find the purity seald to bright, Go over them with a wash of either Agrax Earthshade or Seraphim Sepia. I like the Sepia better, specially for the pages of the big books the RW has.
For steps 14 and 15, if you are not sure handed with the airbrush, or if your airbrush doesnt allow you fine detail work, paint the lights and the plasma reactor along with the lenses and gems
Start with a basecoat of Kantor Blue ( Old GW Regal Blue ) on lenses, screens and gems. You can either basecoat the entire thing in blue or leave a small part ( 1/6th roughtly ) black to give more depth.
Highlighting the blue, use P3 Trollblood Base ( you can use GW Hawk Turquoise, it's brighter but looks mighty fine too )
Add a line on top of the screen, front of the lenses and bottom of the gems with P3 Arcane Blue to give it more POP! effect.
Faces and Skin.
This is a quick way to achieve a tabletop skintone, you want to take more time on the characters. Start with a basecoat of Bugman's Glow. Thighlight on the nose cheekbones, lips, chin andforehead with either Bugman's glow mixed with equal parts white, or with Cadian Fleshtone.
Shade with a 10 parts water 1 part Rhinox Hide mix. Don't go too heavy on that mix, apply only a little bit of wash of the skin, or it will pool and look hideous ( fitting for Dark Angels some might say... )
As this is a tabletop quality, I don,t really bother with the eyes, the brown wash will create a nice wnough effect.
Back on the airbrush, we'll create an eye catching effect out of the headlights and the plasma that are everywhere in a ravenwing's army. It might not look like it, but the whole tutorial/painting method is based and planned around the effect you want to create here.
Using P3 Trolblood Base, airbrush the plasma reactors and the headlights. No need to tell you that you need to be extra careful at this time and that any mistake here will lead to quite a lot of touchup time.
Lightly airbrush the area around the lights and the plasma to create the 1st step of a simple OSL.
Using a mix that's 99% White and 1% Trollblood Base, airbrush the middle of the lights and the middle/top of the plasma reactor. Go lightly with this step and add white little by little so you dont accidently overspray and destroy the effect.
Celebratory brewski; victory dance; you are done; your army is badass.
Below are some pictures and quick explanning on the various characters and unique models that was not covered by the tutorial. Thanks a lot for reading, hope you enjoyed.
You can use whatever bases you want. Considering the colors of the model, a neutral color is a bettre choice, again to shocase the effect of steps 17/18. Dark brown with yellowish statci grass would be nice, grey urban bases too. I would definitly not go for green grass or Desert-sand tones.