- in Painting
- August 31st, 2015
- by Aaron Dickey
This is a tutorial on how to paint epic scale (6mm) Sons of Horus.
We’ll be using some basic painting techniques like washes and dry brushing for most of the steps in this tutorial. There are a couple of optional steps that include more advanced blending that you are free to try or skip. We’ll also be using a mix of Games Workshop paints and Vallejo paints throughout the tutorial. Lets get started!
Step One: Clean and Assemble
Start by cleaning and assembling your models. Once you’re ready prime the models white. Some people prefer black or gray, but I find white to be best since acrylics are partly transparent when applied in thin layers and the white undertone helps to enhance the color.
Step Two: Undercoat
We want to start the greenish primary color for the Sons of Horus scheme. To do this I used Vallejo Light Green Blue mixed with a touch of Snot Green from GW. Snot green is long out of production so any very intense green will work. All we are doing is shifting the green blue to be more green than blue.
This will be applied over the entire model. No need to be careful, just make sure you have even coverage. The result should be like in pic 02.
Step Three: Shading Washes
Now we need to build up contrast by darkening the recesses. We’ll do this by using alternating washes. The first is a wash of green and this helps to intensify the color as well as keep the shadows from being flat. The second wash is using black and this will build up the shadows. You may need to do several rounds of each one to get the result in the pic. Be careful as you apply it that the wash doesn’t miss any areas as it dries and uses targeted spot washes to hit any regions that got missed.
Step Four: Highlights
This is the easy step. Using the paint mix you had in step two, quickly dry brush the models to block in highlights and increase contrast. If your result feels too desaturated, glaze the model using green to bring back some of the color. A glaze is similar to a wash but doesn’t pool in recesses.
ADVANCED STEP: This is where I’ll also build up the smooth color transitions using a technique called feathering. Using the same mix that we used to dry brush the model above, thin the paint until it’s fairly watery. Then using two brushes, one round and one flat, apply the paint to the top of a panel or edge and quickly use the other brush draw the paint to a smooth transition. This will take some practice to get right. The goal here is to keep the dark shade areas and build a smooth transition to the edge color from the dry brush. Once you have things built up you might need to glaze the model to bring back the green. We’ll further enhance this later with the edge highlights.
Step Five: Black Accents
Next we’ll take black and carefully paint in the areas that will be black in the color scheme as well as metals. Here’s where I add in the stripes to the Predator, however you could just as easily fill in the insets at the front and back if you don’t feel confident doing stripes.
Step Six: Silver Metals
Now it’s time to paint the metals themselves. I start out with Boltgun or Oily Steel. This coves the areas that I want to be metal. If I know there will be some breaks I try to not cover the recesses entirely as this will make building contrast easier. Once undercoated, just start putting washes over the metals to build up contrast and color. I use purple, blue, red, and finally black for these but you can use anything you want. Once that’s done take Mithril or another bright metal and carefully highlight the barrels and other edges. Last of all give it a glaze of blue or purple to bring back a touch of color.
For the bronze barrel on the Predator, undercoat Dwarf Bronze or equivalent over white (this is important) and coat with Agrax Earthshade. Touch up with a bit of bronze for highlights.
Step Seven: Accent Midtones
This step is a quick step to build up the mid tones for the black. It’s just a mix of a gray and enough blue to have a distinct blue tint. Hit the edges of the black and build up highlights on the top of the turret. If you get too bright, just glaze with black until the effect feels right.
You might notices some of the paint is wearing off the treads. This happens from handling the model. Don’t worry we’ll touch this up before we finish the mud.
Step Eight: Gold and Windows
This step is to finish out details on the model. For windows I decided that red would be best since it contrasts nicely with green. Start out with an intense red, add in orange toward the center and end with a dot of yellow in the center. This will give us the glow effect for the window.
The gold for the icon on the Land Raider door is more complex. We start with a mix of Balor Brown and Black to create a dark greenish brown. This will undercoat the icon. Then we pick out areas where the light would hit in burnished gold. Don’t cover everything use the dark undercoat to create shadow where the metal isn’t. Finish it off with a mix of gold and silver for extreme highlights.
Step Nine: Edge Highlights
We’re almost done at this stage. What we’ll do is use pure white to create extreme edge highlights on the model. I try to pick out lines that can define the model from a distance to hit with white like the edge of the hatch on the turret or the outside edge of the hull. If there are rivets I’ll try to hit them with white as well.
Step Ten: Mud the Tracks
Last step. We are ready to add mud to the treads to finish out the model. Not everyone wants mud on their vehicles and it might not be appropriate for emulating desert environments so this step is optional though the techniques can be applied to most any type of tread.
Start off by using black to fix up the worn paint from handling the model as we painted it. Next we’ll take a dark brown like Scorched Brown and thin it out a bit. Using a piece of foam like from a pluck foam storage tray, build up the brown on the track by filling the foam with paint and then dabbing it off on a towel until you see a random pattern when you tap the towel. Then tap along the bottom edge of the tank. You’ll want this layer to extend the highest on the lower part of the vehicle.
Next, use a color like Graveyard Earth with the same technique to build up a lighter shade on the treads. This shouldn’t extend quite so far up on the hull and doesn’t need to be uniform. Mud doesn’t cover evenly and we’re aiming to create a chunky feel.
Last mix Bleached Bone with Graveyard Earth and do a final layer on the hull. This will create the final dried bits and the effect should look like pic 10.
That’s it! You’re done! From here you should varnish your models to protect them when playing so paint doesn’t wear off. I’d recommend hitting them with a combination of gloss varnish followed by a dull coat and brush on dull to kill any extra shine. This gives you the best protection but you can also just hit them quickly with dullcoat to seal the model.