A Crash Course in Painting
Painting the Marathon
At this point I began base coating everything.. I used a spice brown or something like that for the ship, it has a nice copper-like feel and I wanted something more than just a a rusted hunk of junk. The ground got a coat of medium grey, after that I proceeded to put some lighter grey colors on the rocks that would be seen through the snow and the areas that would have snow on them I pre-painted them white.
I then started to build up different colors of brown, orange, tan, and copper tones. Also something I tried out which worked really great was I used some of that screen to add texture to the surface of the ship. I placed it over the side and painted through it with some unique gold paint, this left a diamond pattern all of the ship which I then came back over with a light/ medium colors and blended the gold down a little by lightly adding some thinned out paint and dry brushing.
Weathering the ship
After this I began to weather the ship by using a series of inks and washes, I started with a black and brown ink that I used straight and in different mixtures together. I also let the ink run down the surface of the ship like water would to create the effect of corrosion and how water would alter metal in that way.
I came back with a lighter relish-brown and tan wash, this was basically thinned paint in alcohol and Flowaid a product from Liquitex, its basically an acrylic thinner that makes the paint run smoothly instead of water that can have splotchy effect at times.
That was it for the outside of the ship, for the inside I used a series of grey, black, blue and yellow. I mixed in a few brown tones as well but I made sure to have the inside a bit different than the outside texture of the ship. When I withered the inside I made sure to make water runs with the inks where they would naturally be or pool up and made sure to have those parts weathered more than the parts that would see a little more cover from the elements.
And that was it from this point I moved onto the models themselves.
Painting in 28mm
Now if you have painted models like these before then you know it can be quite challenging to do so at times, it takes patience for sure, also a steady hand can help, which I do not have. I have had considerable hand shakes since I was about 17 years old, so don't let someone tell you can't do something like this and do it well if your body gives you trouble cuz I do and I enjoy it greatly. If you struggle with the same thing maybe your hands aren't as steady as they could be try bracing them something or on something it helps a lot, though I find that simply just taking a breath and waiting for the right moment where I can steady my hand enough helps greatly. It takes me considerably longer to do the job but I get it done. Most of all just have fun thats all that really matters anyways.
As you saw I base coated everything in the same primer, for my main base colors I started with black on all my dark areas and built up to a highlight and white for all my blue color areas. This way if I start with white I will have a brighter undertone to start with for my final colors.
On the darker areas I went real simple I used a simple light grey color to create some highlight tones especially in areas where paint might run or scratch off to create some wear, I also went over some of those areas again with a silver metallic paint. I used a couple of techniques here dry brushing and also a wet brush technique, this is where you have less paint than you would if your brush is fully loaded up, its still very wet but not like the dry brush technique. I use this on the edges when I want a very strong line. I like a very flat thin brush for this and I use the side of the brush not the tip so that I can get a very strong thin line. I have more control with the flat brush over what a fine point round would give me as the point can drift a bit, though this only works on edges. If you want to do a line through the middle of a flat surface you would need that this point use a fine round brush instead.
The white I worked up into blue and grey areas of the model and I used a very similar technique as before to create subtle blemishes and some worn surfaces to make it look like this suit had seen some stuff before.
Add some Glow
After I had most of my texture worn paint and defined edges I began working on the power cells and the sword. I started again with white here then applied a pumpkin orange color and then mixed up some bright orange and began mixing white paint into that color to make it lighter and lighter with each passing coat. I started with some wet watered down paints and added them in very thin layers building up colors from the darker deep oranges to the light peachy colors then I used dry brush again to paint the glow which was a very light peach color that I dry brushed onto the cell in certain spots and the surrounding area where the glow would be.
For the sword I did similar colors only I used wet blending to bled my 3 colors together. For this you need some sort of drying inhibitor I use drying retarder from Liquitex it works pretty good, to be honest at this time I hadn't used it too much but I am using more and more projects lately.
After you add the retarder you basically brush on each color in separated areas, next to each other kind of like zones. I use the same brush just because it didn't really matter for this but if you are using different colors you may want to use separate brushed to apply each color or wash out your brush between each one. Then you will need a fresh clean brush here, I wet mine a little bit then dry it out some then I take the clean brush and blend each color next to each which gives you a smooth transition or gradient between each color. It looks really kool and gives a neat effect though it can take some practice to get right, you kind of just have to keep doing it figure out what works for you best. Im still not that good at it, though I don't do it much, I probably would if I was better at it.
The Final Descent
Once all the paint had dried I removed my models parts form some of their rods and glued the pieces together. I left the wire attached to each foot and just clipped it off to about half an inch.
I drilled 2 holes into my base where I wanted to place each model and glued them down. The wire peg works very well to add some support to the models on the base keeping them from breaking off, I do this whenever I can even in a small tabletop mini I do when possible. This is really great when you know something will handled by others because it gives more surface areas that is glued into the base for support.
Snow, Snow, Snow Everywhere!
Alright the part most have probably been waiting for... I get asked this question so much, "you do snow how do you do that"? I've tried and mine always gets messed up or doesn't look right or the biggest one "it turns yellow". Nobody likes yellow even if it is lemon, so how do you do that amazing snow, well its not that hard actually.
When I started doing snow I messed around with a lot of different processes till I got it right, it was really experimentation that got me to what I wanted. Now I will probably do a full writeup eventually showing different snow techniques but I will outline the basic one here.
Generally people will tell you that you can't use baking soda you need sodium bicarbonate which for purposes there is a minor difference than baking soda which you get in the red can in the baking isle and actual baking soda. The best thing to use is pure sodium bicarbonate but the next best thing is the arm and hammer stuff in the large orange bag in the laundry detergent isle this stuff I found works really great.
A couple of things to Know before you start making Snow
There are a couple reason baking soda or sodium bicarbonate turns to yellow snow. SB turns yellow because it soaks up things around it so you need to be care that whatever products your using with it don't have a chemical reaction that turn it yellow, like some superglue will do this. Also sealing is very important and I will talk about that later but its crucial to making sure that your snow stays snow and not some spot a heard of bears peed all over. lastly moisture , if moisture gets to your snow it can cause a whole bunch of issues as SB likes to soak up liquid as you will find out when we make.
The recipe I use is probably more complicated than most peoples but its still simple to do. You will need the following things.
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- PVA glue ( different glues have different looks I use Elmer's for my standard snow.
- Matte Medium (Liquitex make this, though an brand is probably fine)
- White Paint (I know SB is already white but trust me for that light fluffy snow ad just a bit of paint)
- Plain Water
- Large Flat Brush
- Mixing Container
- Mixing Stick (popsicle stick works, toothpick is for something else)
Now that we have what we want together we have to combine them so I do equal parts of PVA glue and Matte Medium, which makes half of your recipe the other other half is made up of Sodium Bicarbonate. Your SB should be equal to your other two glue ingredients. Now just add a bit of paint, I eyeball this but you don't need much just a little.
Now this will make a thick paste which depending on what you are suing this for you may add more sodium bicarbonate or you may add water to thin it out. For this project I added 1/3 total amount by volume of water to thin the mixture to something I could pour onto the base.
So once you pour your mixture on the base I use a brush to move it around where I want it. Also its worth noting that I wait before I put it on some of my rocks. The reason for this is that the matte medium will begin to set up and when it does the material will become a little more applicable in tricky areas. SO I still wanted to have it run down over the rocks though I wanted a little more control over that run.
Once its begins to set further you can start to agitate your snow in areas, this si what the toothpick is for. You will know when it is right by using the toothpick you can push at the snow if it stays then its pliable enough to do footprints. Once it starts to stick to your toothpick a bit this is when you can start transferring some of it you parts of your model snow snow cake up from walking though it. When your snow begins to set up in different stages it will stick or sit on objects differently, really just play around with and this is so much fun anyways.
And that really it, it may seem like a lot but its really just playing around with it and seeing what you can come up with. I applied about 4 layers of snow on my base to get the thickness I wanted. If I were to do it again I would carve out some divers in my base to allow my models to sink down further as well as where their foot prints would be, so that when I applied the snow it would allow me to use less to make height that I want to get, creating the illusion of deep snow without the actually having to use so much material.
Click here to go back to the finished diorama.