Thursday, May 23, 2013

Painting Plaguebearers in Early April

May 23, 2013

One of the things that I realized I’d need to do in order to get everything painted that I hoped to get painted in time for Valhalla was to make a detailed project plan.  Also, I needed to come up with a suitable and fast method of painting Nurgle models that I could follow and repeat if I ever hoped to get everything I wanted to accomplished.  The key word there is “fast”, as I tend to be a bit of a pokey painter and quite a bit of a perfectionist.

Enter white primer and Citadel shades.  The new range of Citadel paints is truly amazing, and the shades (also known as “washes”) make painting large quantities of models to a high tabletop standard much easier than when I first got into the 40K hobby over 10 years ago.

Also, before I found out about Valhalla, Adam Troke from the White Dwarf team published a “Paint Splatter” article in the March White Dwarf to accompany the release of the new Chaos Daemons codex and army book, and in it he demonstrated his method for quickly painting Nurgle Plaguebearers.  This approach looked sound, quick and decent to me, so I used that as my starting point and set about tackling the 20 Plaguebearers (that I had already built) at the end of March.

Here’s the process I followed in early April, which is somewhat modified (enhanced) from what Adam put forth in the March White Dwarf.  (Of course, I did a test model first, to get the “recipe” down so that I could follow it for the other 19 Plaguebearers, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll just refer to the entire batch of 20):

1.      Primer all 20 Plaguebearers with white primer.
2.      Basecoat the “guts” and “gashes” (and any open mouth) of the model with Bugman’s Glow.
3.      Paint the “pustules” that occur across the model in various places with a thinned coat of bright Flash Gitz Yellow.  Go back over the model and apply more Yellow as it thickens up a bit in order to get yellow on the surface of the pustules, but not so thick that it goops up in the small spaces between the pustules in a cluster.
4.      Wash the pustules liberally with Casandora Yellow Wash.

I took some pictures with my iPhone as I was going through the process of building the recipe for painting Plaguebearers, but being a 3GS and doing the painting at Empire Games, the lighting wasn’t great for taking pictures, and the phone doesn’t have a flash, so the pictures are kind of dark.  The pictures I took at this stage look pretty good to get the idea across, but please bear in mind that I know that they’re a bit dark and not great pictures.

5.      Next, apply Athonian Camoshade wash liberally to the entire model, trying not to get too much on the Plague Sword, but enough to cover the hand holding the sword.
6.      Draw off excess wash with the brush so that it doesn’t pool too much in the recesses.

The results at this point should be a model that is covered in the greenish-brownish Camoshade, but which doesn’t have large accumulations of the wash anywhere.  The technique I used was to just dunk a Citadel wash brush into the pot of Camoshade and slather the model with the wash from the top down, putting more wash on the brush and moving from top to bottom, back, front and sides as quickly as possible.  Then, after rinsing off the brush in clean water, I used the wash brush to draw off the wash where it was pooling and collecting in large quantities, and simply sucking off the wash from the brush into my mouth so that I could draw more wash off the model and move as quickly as possible.  Since all Citadel paints and washes are water-based, and I wasn’t putting too much of the stuff into my mouth, I wasn’t worried about any side effects from doing this, and it provided a quick-and-dirty means of getting the excess wash off the model before too much of it dried.  Happily, there were no lasting effects, like an upset stomach, from this technique; however, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards!

Continuing on with the recipe for painting Plaguebearers:

7.      Layer purple onto the exposed guts and into the center of the various gashes and in the mouth/on the tongue of the model, being sure to leave some of the Bugman’s Glow show through around the edges.

At this point the models looked pretty good, but not nearly Nurgly enough to suit me.  The next stage involved putting various amounts of either Camoshade, or a 1:3 mixture of Coelia Greenshade and Camoshade wash to different models in different amounts and combinations, so that the Plaguebearers didn’t look “uniform” across the squads, but each takes on a unique, mottled appearance.

One technique that is helpful at this stage is to just dunk the entire model in clean water and then apply the wash liberally, allowing the surface tension of the water already on the model to draw the wash into the recesses and spreading out somewhat evenly across the rest of the surface of the model.  I didn’t do this to every model, maybe a little more than half of them, so that in some cases the wash ended up a little thicker and the model a little darker than on those that got dunked.

8.      Apply varying amounts and types of wash (either straight Camoshade or the 1:3 mix of Greenshade and Camoshade) to different models so that they look different from each other, yet similar.  Be sure to draw off the excess as explained above, and to not let too much of this wash pool into the open wounds and guts where the Bugman’s Glow and purple have been applied.  Apply a bit more on some models, and a bit less on others to vary the darkness of the wash results.
9.      Paint the pustule clusters with thinned Flash Gitz Yellow paint again, and wash these areas with the Casandora Yellow wash again.
10.  While you’ve got the Yellow on your pallet, paint the eye(s) of the model, being sure to just paint the very inside portion of the eye Yellow.  Repeat if needed so that the center of the eye looks a consistent, solid yellow, but not so much that it obscures the detail of the inside of the eye to the outer “eye lid” portion.

At this point the body is mostly done, so I moved on to the Plague Swords.  For these, I adopted a technique that I read years ago in White Dwarf by the then-editor of the US version of the magazine who was painting his Necron Warriors to look rusted.

11.  Paint the Plague Sword with a very thinned coat of bright orange (I used the old Blazing Orange that I had left over, so I suggest you use the modern equivalent).  Be sure to keep this just on the sword and the hilt.  Repeat if necessary so you’ve got a consistent coat of bright orange.
12.  Lightly stipple Leadbelcher onto the sword and hilt, covering most of the Orange, but allowing some Orange to show through, giving the appearance of rust.
13.  Lightly wash the sword and hilt with Fuegan Orange wash, drawing off the excess so that what mostly shows through is the Leadbelcher.
14.  Once the Orange wash dries, lightly stipple more Leadbelcher onto the sword and hilt to take the “shine” off from the Orange wash.

Next I focused on those models that had exposed guts.

15.  Layer purple onto the various guts and gashes (including open mouths) if too much Camoshade (etc.) wash has pooled into the opened wounds.
16.  Wash the entire open wound and exposed guts with Carroburg Crimson wash.
17.  After the red wash dries, apply Bloodletter Red glaze to the raised areas of the exposed guts.

However, not all of the Plaguebearers have exposed guts.  Some of them have “mouths” emerging from their stomachs. 

18.  For these I painted the “teeth” white and the fleshy parts around the teeth using the same Bugman’s Glow-to-purple approach as the guts
19.  Then I washed the teeth with the Casandora Yellow wash. 
20.  While you’ve got the Yellow wash out, wash the yellow portion of the eye(s) on the model.

When it pools, the Yellow wash takes on a reddish hue which blends nicely with the surrounding fleshy parts of the mouths in the stomachs of some of the Plaguebearers, as well as around and between the clusters of pustules on their bodies.

21.  For any exposed teeth in the head of the Plaguebearer, I picked them out in white and left it at that.
22.  I then painted a thin, vertical “pupil” in the middle of the eye(s) of the model with Kantor Blue, using a fine detailed brush.

And that pretty much did it for the Plaguebearers.  All that was left was to base them, which I did as follows, and will do for all of my Nurgle models, both CSMs and Daemons:

1.      Paint the entire base, top and sides, with straight Mournfang Brown, being careful around the feet, but getting right up to the feet so that none of the white primer shows through.
2.      When that dries, apply a liberal layer of Stirland Mud texture paint to the top of the base, again being careful around the feet, but getting right up to the feet.  Wipe any excess off the edge of the base, so that there is no texture to the edge.
3.      When that dries, lightly dry brush the current equivalent of Bleached Bone over the textured paint on the top of the base.
4.      Go over the sides of the base with another straight coat of Mournfang Brown.
5.      After spraying with matte varnish and letting that dry, apply ‘Ard Coat gloss varnish to the exposed guts
6.      Apply small, random patches of “dead” static grass in a few places on the top of the base.

Here are some shots of the finished products, again taken with my iPhone, but this time on top of my car in late afternoon light, so the pictures are a bit better (or at least, a bit brighter).

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Unfortunately I didn’t take a detailed count of how many hours it took me to get all 20 Plaguebearers finished, but I know it took me a total of 7 days of work (over 9 consecutive days) getting in anywhere from 2.5 to 6 hours of work in per day.  I’d estimate that the whole process took me about 28 to 30 hours of total work, which comes out to about 1.5 hours per Plaguebearer.

Thanks for sticking with me through this post.  I know it was a long one, but I wanted to document the steps I took to get my first batch of 20 Plaguebearers finished up.  I’m rather pleased with the results, and hope you like them, too.  Please leave any comments you might have below, and thanks again!

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