Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Land Raider WIP 1: Shading with Two Brush Blending and Glazes

This post is a little word heavy, and was initially a step-by-step of painting my Land Raider, but I felt inclined to share with you all some of my newer experiments with glazes, blending, and so on. I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment with so many new models and rules coming out so quickly for the game I love, Warhammer 40,000, that I am finding it hard to stick to one project as I seem to paint quite glacially compared to the release schedule! If you are feeling the same way I encourage you to read MASSIVE VOODOO's excellent article on Motivation.

After the success of turning a very spiky piece of plastic into the Land Raider of my dreams I set about putting brush to model, which is always a slightly daunting task for large tank like this and especially so given I wanted to try some of my  newer techniques and equipment. Adding to my previously expanded glaze collection is now a small set of P3 Paints and much larger Size 2 and 3 brushes, both of which will come in handy when attempting smooth blends on the larger surfaces.

The base-coated Land Raider has been front and centre of most of my 7th Edition games!

For those of you not following along from the beginning of my blogging adventures, I started out like most Games Workshop hobby enthusiasts with a mix of layering, washing, and dry-brushing which I was still using less than two years ago. Following on from the success of James Wappell's Kickstarter (which I did not 'back' but instead followed his blog very closely for many months asking key questions and attempting a few techniques on small areas at a time), I added glazing to my repertoire and added a lot more depth to my last "large" model, a Leman Russ Exterminator. James' explanations and techniques involve starting quite light with your basecoat, adding the highlights and then shading down with glazes, but in reality he does return to highlights and shading further as the painting progresses. You can see my finished attempt at this on my completed Leman Russ. I strayed a little into pigments, but this was also around the time when James was attempting to paint entire models using them (!), but I stuck to the shading and weathering for my part.

Base coat only, using an Army Painter spray can.

Recently I took a class where Meg Maples explained it is easier to shade first and then highlight afterwards, if only for the fact you can re-touch the base coat much easier after shading before moving on to highlights. This is true for her "two brush blending" where you can easily re-touch with a specific colour, but not so once multiple shaded layers have been built up using different glazes and the possibility of fixing areas with a "normal"colour is out of the question. With ease of "touch ups" a must on such a large model as my Land Raider, I have decided to start my model using normal acrylics, and then moved on to glazes afterwards.

Two Brush Blending the shadows using a P3 paint.

Starting with a simple shade of Sanguine Base from the Privateer range, applied using Meg's technique, I was already happy with the results, and only a minor touch up was required here and there. As a rule of thumb I have tried to avoid using pure black for my shading, so the choice of dark red retained the warmth of the base coat while hinting at shaded areas rather than actually creating a shadow. As previously mentioned, Meg also described warm colours as being brought "forward" by the eye, and cooler colours being "recessed", perfect for further shading in the next few steps.

Who can resist a little weathering using the new GW techincal paints?

As a pre-cursor to future glazes I chose to add the darkest of dirt, grit, and paint chips at this stage. Having had great success testing the new GW red glaze on a Rhino and finding it excellent in flattening the colour gradients from both the darkest black chips and lightest orange highlights to a more mid-tone across the whole model, I wanted the darkest damage and dirt to show through the other stages, rather than being painted on last as with previous models.

A more "cool" blue was the main component of the multi-coloured glaze shading at this stage.

I should at this point apologise for the rushed photos, I had planned to do only one side of the tank in all the stages and photograph them in quick succession with a near even natural light source, but the desire to work on the whole tank got the better of me. I will leave the "half painted" tank style to the Eavy Metal team ;)

As you can hopefully see above, after a fair amount of two brush blending, chip painting and dirt applying I felt the need to shade further, this time with three glazes (red, blue, green) mixed together to create a rather blue/gray colour which worked well against the warm red tones already on the model. I used a similar mix when shading my Necrons, though I am itching to try the new two brush blending on them for a smoother highlight. Of note was the addition of the second brush (thanks Meg!) to make the glaze a lot more even, and in only my second attempt at taking a video of myself while painting, I thought this step important enough to share with you all.

As you can see, the main benefit of applying a glaze in this way is to create a smooth shade and transition with minimal time spent blending, and none of the difficulty in non-glaze feathering across a large surface which I have not yet been able to master. On smaller models a slower and more meditated approach certainly helps but with many more touch ups, highlights and red glazes, not to mention weathering and freehand to go on this model, I am not concerned by how precisely I am pushing the paint around. 

A dark brown wash helps pick out the details.

The last step in my initial shading process is the use of a wash to pick out the grooves in the armoured plating. Unlike a glaze which covers as much or little as you apply it to a surface, irrespective of its shape and texture (to a certain degree), a wash is designed to pool in the recesses and is a very easy way of shading. In this case I apply is quite liberally and wipe of the excess across the flat surface, leaving a few streaks behind. You can see a little of this in the photo above, but I will also be using a red paint similar to the base colour to touch up areas before moving on to the highlights.

At this stage I am torn between metallic or non metallic work on the weapons, tracks and so on, however I will probably move on to the highlights and finish the red armour before returning to the other parts of the model. Wish me luck!

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