Sunday, October 16, 2011

Something somethings Go Faster

In case you missed it, Frontline gamer did a fantastic job on the interviewing skills portion of HoP Idol.  And it's not just because I was the center of attention.  It was a solid interview to be sure.  So thanks to FLG for that. 

I also got another subtle hint from his royal majesty, the King Elessar, that I should be blogging again.

Lauby, a request - Blood Angels. A bright, vibrant scheme, tabletop quality, but no more (I'm not you :P) without a white undercoat. Do-able? And how?

With some follow up questions, the following info was added to that request:
  • GW paints would make his life easier
  • He has access to the Citadel Spray gun
  • a LOT of tanks are involved.
  • He needs it to be easily repeatable
 Right, lets get to it.

As most of us are aware, red is a difficult color to work with.  The pigment tends to be thin so coverage is bad and you just can't add white to it for a highlight because you go straight to pink.  Because of all this, the color just doesn't lend itself to the quick and easy style of most painters.

But the issues are correctable if you go about things in a better way.

Some notes before we begin:  You have a couple of different starting points in terms of primer/base coat combinations.  Nothing too ground breaking in either, just the fact that your base coat will actually be base coating twice with two different color layers.  This is for two reasons - to deal with the pigment issues and to build up a fantastic color.  Thankfully you have the spray gun.  

And don't be afraid to do more than one application of each layer.  The idea here is to get a color to work up from - so don't follow my directions slavishly.  Move on when YOU'RE happy.

Primer/Base Option 1
I'm going to call this the 'best practice' method. There's a little more money involved and a little more groundwork, but the results are excellent.

Because of the pigment issues with red,what you do for a primer color is very important.  If you're doing Blood Angels, then my number one suggestion is to get a red primer.  It will add some nice depth to the color overall and be much more forgiving when it comes time for your base coats.  Duplicolor sandable primer is my brand preference and can be found in auto parts stores.  I know you're in the UK, so I have no idea what the availability is like, so good old Krylon may be an easier choice.

Base Layer 1
First, spray the models with a 50/50 mix of Blood Angels Red and Dark Flesh.  This is your secret weapon.  The dark flesh adds a lot of pigment power to the mix and the resulting color is a fantastic place to start.
I recommend getting a fresh pot of each color and then mixing them in some other container.  Dropper bottle are a good choice.  In any case, don't just dump each pot in - do alternating layers until the source pots are empty.  Then chuck in an old piece of white metal (important because it wont rust in the pot) from one of your models as a mixer and go to town.
Custom mixing paints EVERY time with the spray gun is a frustrating way to waste your time.  So front load it, remove the problem of exact rations and get the same color everytime.  This will also make laoding up the spray gun a smap. 
Primer/Base Option 2
Not my favorite for bright reds as it's really easy to accidentally let the base color peek through and add a magenta cast to things.  If you're using black primer, this is the option to use.

So, over black primer, spray on a layer of Mechrite Red.  This is really the only color that will serve your purposes over black primer as it's the only heavily pigmented Foundation paint that comes anywhere near red.

Things converge at this point

Base Layer 2
Straight Blood Red.  Nothing special here.  Just make sure you get the final color you want.  One application or 3 - whatever you're after.  Conversely, don't be afraid of letting some of layer 1 peek through and add to the effect.

Thin down dome Scorched Brown and apply it in the the usual areas.  Scorched Brown is slightly red so it'l play well with the overall color choice and dark enough that it will appear black in contrast.  If you're worried about it, you can always add black to the brown.

This is the actual tricky part of red.  Like I said, we can't just add white, so we have to get tricky.  And we're back to having options again.  And I'm assuming the use of line highlights and nothing else.

Highlight Option 1:  Do an initial pass of Blazing Orange followed by an extreme highlight with Vomit Brown.

Highlight Option 2: Do an initial pass of 50/50 Blood Angels Red and Vomit Brown.  Again, consider mixing.  And then an extreme highlight with Vomit Brown. This is the method I'll suggest first.
Option 3:  Go Straight to Vomit Brown.  But then you HAVE to do the Baal Red trick below.

Final Touch Up
Highlight option one can produce an undeniably orange cast to your model.  Option 2, if you're not careful, will hint at pink.  Baal Red to the rescue.   Anytime you feel like the highlight is too extreme a color, wash it with the Baal Red until you're happy again.

So, pretty simple.  Overall.  Just for the record, my actuall suggestion is this progression as I think it will produce a much brighter and more vibrant and result:
  • Red primer
  • 50/50 Blood Angels Red + Dark Flesh base caot
  • Blood Angels Red coat
  • Scorched Brown Shadows
  • 50/50  Blood Angels Red and Vomit Brown line highlight
  • Vomit Brown line highlight on extremes
  • Optional: Baal Red to adjust highlights back down.
Simple and easy... I hope.

Hit me up with any questions and we can revise as needed.


  1. I have so much to learn... thanks for starting points, at least!

  2. I like my reds to have some pretty extreme transitions. I generally start with Mechrite Red, then do a few Devlin mud washes to get some really DARK red low spots. I then work back up to Mechrite red, then Blood Red, then Blood Red with Blazing Orange. It makes for some really nice depth of the colors.

  3. Good to see you back Blogging on here Lauby.

  4. Much obliged senor! :D

    Think this would do the job?{9372013}/categories%3C{9372030}/categories%3C{9372123}/specificationsProductType=spray_paints

  5. All very good suggestions but I would like to add one of my own if I may. This is basically a more simplified version of how I do my own Blood Anges (simplified because he uses a spray gun instead of an airbrush).

    Undercoat black spray.

    Zenith highlight with white using the spray gun.

    Bright red (i.e. Blood Red) basecoat. It will be accentuated on the white parts creating natural highlights and undertones.

    Gloss Varnish with spray gun.

    Enamel Brown wash. In conjuction with the gloss varnish it will just roll smoothly in the recesses.

    Matt/Satin varnish to seal in the enamel wash + make the model less shiny.

    Edge highlight with 40:40:20 Elf Flesh:Blood Red:Bleached Bone.

    Not sure if it's the easiest way but it has a lot of sortcuts and gives pretty good results.