I was at a relative loose end the other night, so I asked my local gaming group what model I should paint next. Kaelyssa won with 10 to 3 (against Makeda3). I also thought it might be educational for me to both create and then distribute a guide to how I painted her. And here we are.
Kaelyssa is not a stand-alone model, she’ll be part of a small Retribution of Scyrah army I am putting together from the battle-box. I’ve already set the scheme when I painted up a test model, so I’m not going to go into the specifics of how I chose that scheme. Lets just say that I wanted to use colours I didn’t use very often and leave it at that. Gdaybloke may or may not have been involved (he was, by the way).
A word of warning, I have no grounding in art, art theory or even art in practice.
Faces are not my strong point, but they are something I am working on.
For Kaelyssa I wanted to try a recipe I got from Meg Maples (studio painter for PP) off of Twitter. She used this recipe on Aurora and I quite liked the way it looked.
Midlund Flesh, Khardic Flesh, Ryn Flesh, Sanguine Base, Exile Blue, Menoth White Highlight
Lay down a layer of Midlund Flesh as the mid-tone. Try not to get it too thick as that will destroy detail.
Put down some Khardic Flesh in the shadows and recesses. I also put some on the boundary between the face and any cloth.
Mix Khardic Flesh, Sanguine Base and Exile Blue (deep mix) and use this to deepen the shadows. Meg suggested to use this as a glaze, but I am all out of medium so I just painted it on. Great for delineating the fingers.
Use Ryn Flesh as the highlight, then mix in some Menoth White Highlight to hit just the highest parts. If you are lucky, you too can get bitchin’ emo style eyes happening. I read a really good tip for eyes – use an off-white instead of a pure white. Pure white makes the eyes look unnatural. So does painting them poorly, like I have. Use some of your deep mix to reclaim the eyes if you do screw it up.
I’ve tried to use mixes of each of the colours to blend the layers, but at this resolution its pretty obvious its crudely done. Fortunately, most people will be looking at your model from 2ft away, so it should look better. Most important thing is to be patient, not glob on the paint and wait for the paint to dry before trying to reclaim a tone/definition.
Cryx Bane Highlight, Cryx Bane Base, Thrall Flesh
Thin the Cryx Base Highlight and paint on a couple of layers. Thinner paint dries faster and so by the time you finish with one coat, you are ready for the next. If it’s patchy – put on another coat. Despite what you think, thick paint does not give a smoother finish its like using spack-filler on your models and just clogs the details.
Thin the Cryx Base Base and use it to paint in the shadows and the boundaries between the under and outer armour plates. With the tip, reclaim parts of the model like the lines on the legs the indicate subtler plates.
Now here’s my trick (well, its how I’ve been doing blends of late). With Bane Base still in the brush, grab some Bane Highlight – they’ll mix to an extent in the brush and do some of the work for you. Use the brush to feather the border between the two colours – its important here to cover both sides of the border so that you get a transition. Now grab some more Highlight and repeat. Rather than create a true transition, what we’re really trying to do is soften the border to make it less obvious.
Thin the Thrall Flesh and use it to pick out the highlights. It will dry fairly translucent – which will work to your advantage and let you put down ever smaller amounts to increase the opaqueness and make the colour stronger. If that makes sense.
Hammerfall Khaki, Gun Corps Brown, Menoth White Highlight
Put down enough layers of Hammerfall Khaki to achieve smoother coverage.
Put down straight Gun Corps Brown in the shadows and between areas of plating. Don’t worry about being exact, as we’ll use thinned paints to create the transition and smooth out the edges.
Similar to how we blended the under-armour, use layers of Hammerfall Khaki to soften the Gun Corps Brown. Create mixes where you feel you need to in order to get better distribution of colour. I usually do these mixes by leaving one colour in the brush and adding a bit of the other colour. If the paint in thin enough it will dry more translucent that you think. Especially with Hammerfall Khaki. I have found this to be an annoying colour to work with – as often what you put down as a subtle shade will fade to nothing by the time it has dried – so be extreme!
Put down the Menoth White Highlight as your top colour. Again, be fairly liberal as we’ll use Hammerfall Khaki to blend it.
Use the same techniques to blend the highlights. If needs be, re-apply some Menoth White Highlight to bring the brightness back. Apply some highlight directly to edges of some plates that would naturally reflect the light.
There is still more to come, but I wanted to break the guide into two or more parts; essentially one guide per painting session. For reference, the above steps took me approximately 1.5 hours. And I’ll admit – the model looks terribad when magnified in this way. Honestly, it looks better in person!