How to Paint Everything: Drazhar

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In our How to Paint Everything series, we take a look at different armies of the Warhammer universes, examine their history and heraldry, and look at several different methods for painting them. This week we’re looking at how to paint Drazhar, the Master of Blades.

Who is Drazhar?

Drazhar simply appeared one day in Commorragh, entering the Great Shrine of the Incubi and challenging the Hierarch of the Incubi. The Hierarch is the supreme warrior of the Incubi temples; Drazhar killed him in just a couple of minutes. He did not, however, become the new Hierarch himself. Drazhar is a mysterious figure who has never spoken a word since his arrival and shows no inclination to be in charge of anything. Instead he is the sacred Executioner of the Incubi order. He exists to fight and kill and does nothing else. Even the name Drazhar is a ceremonial title; his name, if he has one, is unknown.

That said, there are hints at his identity. Arhra, the first Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions, left the path of the Aspect Warrior after the Fall of the Eldar, and founded the order of the Incubi instead. Though it’s not explicit in the lore, Drazhar was killed in battle against Jain Zar during the events of Blood of the Phoenix; his armour was donned by Klaivex Dara’kinia Thremense, whose body was instantly possessed in the manner of an Exarch taking on the armour of their Phoenix Lord.

Painting Drazhar

Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson

Dan is one of our Patrons, and when we saw his awesome Drazhar in Discord we knew we had to ask him to participate in this HTPE! Thanks for your help, Dan!

When they announced the new Drazhar model to accompany the new Incubi with the new Psychic Awakening box set, I was pretty hype. The updated model for the Master of Blades was breathtaking. Combined with the fact that the old Incubi models were one of the big reasons I had started collecting the Drukhari almost a decade prior, I took the HEFTY price tag for the box set to the teeth on day one and assembled him before I had to go in for my job that day. Then I didn’t touch him for almost a year. I did play one game with him, but right around when Drazhar dropped was when I went on a big Final Fantasy XIV spree and I wasn’t painting much. I finally got around to him earlier this year as a palette cleanser for the Admech I was working on getting painted. In the end, I’m glad I did wait to paint him. Not only is it very intimidating to paint a character with such a great model as his and I needed to get over this painting fear (I goofed up the new Abaddon’s face and I still have nightmares), but quarantine gave me time to really improve my skills and saw the release of some paints I would use for this model to great effect.
I adore how this model came out in the end. Much of the work I do with this model is about using very easy techniques and bright colors to make him pop. Not only does the white helmet provide great contrast, but the bright gemstones, pink banners and green glow also contrast nicely with the dark purple armor plating. It ensures these details don’t get lost and instead improve the look of the model. So for how I painted the blender of the dark city, I’ll touch on the three areas I felt are most important in how he came together: his Armor, his Helmet, and the Green Glow. Starting with the armor, I primed Drazhar black all around with Chaos Black citadel primer. After that, I hit the model all over with Phoenician Purple Airbrush. I could’ve done the helm separately since it’s such a delicate color, but I’ll get to why I wasn’t too worried about it later. After that, I went to my shading step, and I carefully applied Black Templar Contrast to the model. Really, you don’t want to go too overboard with this, mainly you want to carefully apply this to the segments in the armor or areas you would like to darken up. But Black Templar is a sneaky little paint that exists somewhere between a regular shade and a very strong black ink, so I’ve been using it a lot where I want extra hard shadows or super dark recesses on the model. Just be careful not to let it pool, as it’s even more of a pain to fix than Nuln Oil.

Credit: Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson

 

After that dried, I did a highlight layer with Xerus Purple and then carefully applied edge highlights. I hit the hard edges of the armor with Genestealer Purple, careful not to let my lines get to thick by keeping my paint nice and thin on my brush. Finally, I hit the hardest corners and edges of the armor with Warpfield Grey, to make the segments pop. Next, we get to the Helmet, which for Incubi is classically painted that dreaded color: white. White is very unforgiving to work with, and in my experience the citadel whites come out a but chunky from the pot which can cause them to be chunky on the brush if you aren’t careful. To solve both these issues, I did some things that I highly recommend to anyone else working with white paints. First, see if you can find some mixing balls. I bought some Army Painter Mixing Balls from my FLGS, but really any sort of small stainless steel ball will do. Take one out, put it in you paint pot, and make sure its sealed tight before you shake it. That mixing ball is going to do the lords work inside that paint pot to really make sure the paint is nice and mixed, which was a great help with the consistency of the white paints I used. It’s also very handy for the more finicky citadel metal paints like Liberator Gold. So for the second tip, we first need to apply a basecoat. I applied several thin layers of Celestra Grey, making sure the paint wasn’t getting to thick on my brush or the palette. If you have a wet palette, it’s a big help here. After I think about three thin coats, I had a nice and even finish on the helmet, which meant it was time to break out the secret sauce.

 

You wanna know what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? A pot of Apothecary White Contrast Paint baby. I cannot sing the praises of this contrast paint enough as an easy way to make white look great. It will give your white a nice cool blue wash without being so strong it overwhelms the white already on there. Apothecary White will also wash your car, do your mortgage, and fix your personal relationships. Its just that good. After liberally applying Apothercary White to the helmet and making sure it doesn’t pool, I hit the main faceplate with Ulthuan Grey before finally getting the edges of the faceplate and the top of the earpiece with White Scar. Through this whole process, make sure to keep an eye on the consistency of the paint on your brush and be patient with the white: a few thin highlights looks much better than a thick one, especially with white. Without spending too much time on the lenses since this is already quite long, I started with Mephiston Red as a base, used Flesh Tearers Red Contrast as a shade (if you can’t tell, I really like contrast paints), then carefully brought up a gradient of brightness with Wazdakka Red, Evil Suns Scarlet, Wild Rider Red, Fire Dragon Bright, and finally White Scar again. You want to be very careful here and make sure your layers are very thin so they blend well, and make each layer smaller and smaller on the lens.

6:42 AM

Finally, the Green Glow. Everyone is excited about this when I show them my Drazhar, so I figured it would be best for me to save it for last. To answer to most burning question: yes that is Tesseract Glow. But theres more too it. To start, I hit the blades with Leadbelcher and the inner runes on the pillar with Retributor Armor. This way the original color of the metals shine through just a hair. Then go to town with Tesseract Glow after giving the bottle a good shake. Don’t let it clump up anywhere of course, but it tends to be more yellow in the areas you want to be brighter and more green in the recesses. Outside of painting it straight on something like Grey Seer, it’s a bit subtle, but we are gonna fix that with some tricks. For the gold, I drybrushed on some Liberator Gold, hit it again with a thinner layer of Tesseract Glow and then just a bit of a Sigmarite drybrush. Gold shines through just a hair this way. Then on both the Klaives and the Pillar, I hit the recesses with Hexwraith Flame. It woks very similarly to Tesseract Glow, but the normally very bright green of Hexwraith Flame actually works perfectly with the outer green areas of Tesseract Glow to make the brighter yellows of that paint more intense.

To bring it all together, I did some glazing highlights. Starting with the center of the sword and the runes on the pillar (both the areas I would figure the light would come from), I used Moot Green, then get a little smaller with the highlight and use Flashgitz Yellow, and then finally White Scar at the very center. For a glazing highlight, you basically want to make the paint ULTRA thin on your palette, and then apply very thin layers on top of each other while getting smaller with each layer, so the color will be the most bold in the middle. Doing this with three colors produces a very easy glow effect that’s great for power weapons and the glow lighting. After hitting the edges of the sword with Stormhost Silver and using the Tesseract Glow/Hexwraith Flame combo to give the base a poor man’s OSL effect once the base was finished, we come up with a visually striking glow effect that is honestly really easy to do. Now with the dust settled and continuing to glance over my shoulder at my Drazhar while I type this with a smile, I can say painting him is one of my prouder hobby achievements. I tried some new things with him and he came out incredibly in the end, a fitting centerpiece to my Realspace Raiding force! A few tips to take away from this:

  • Contrast paint is your friend, experiment with using it as a shade
  • If you have ever considered painting white on your model ever, get yourself some Apothecary White. It will make your life so easy.
  • Tesseract Glow is a great paint, and I would honestly love a few more color versions of this glow technical paint. I would highly suggest pairing Tesseract Glow with some Hexwraith Flame to really fill out a nice glow effect quickly.

The completed Drazhar. Credit: Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson

Liam “Corrode” Royle

When the Drazhar model was first announced, I took one look at it and knew I had to have it. The character was always cool but the old model was, shall we say, showing its age. The new plastic was a huge improvement, and although I was a little down on his rules at first sight I’ve come around on them since.

I knew I wanted him to be different from the rest of my Drukhari, since the Incubi temples are a separate mini-faction within Commorragh. In the end what I settled on for Drazhar (and for future Incubi) is a scheme which is similar to what I used on a few of my Talos – black armour with a progressive red highlight . This was achieved with VMC Black on the armour itself, and then a thick highlight of Khorne Red, then progressively thinner layers of Mephiston Red and Wild Rider Red.

Unlike Swiftblade who cleverly used modern techniques to do the white on the face mask, I did it the hard way – layering up through greys to pure VMC White. The eyes are Aethermatic Blue washed into the recesses and then a touch of Baharroth Blue, which is also more or less how the glow on the runes worked – though those were Lothern Blue on the black and then Baharroth.

I picked out a bunch of the other details in gold and then hit the gems either Lothern Blue and Baharroth or Warpstone Glow and then Moot Green, and picked the little cloth bits out in Naggaroth Night -> Xereus Purple -> Genestealer Purple.

Drazhar himself largely perches on the Aeldari version of a hero rock, a bit of broken temple, but he has some little branches I picked out in Steel Legion Drab and added some skulls to suit the Executioner of the Incubi Temple. He gained some Blood for the Blood God on his blades, too.

Overall the model is not too challenging at any particular point to paint, but there is a lot going on with it. My suggestion is to make sure you have a plan from the start; the most challenging thing was that I was kind of making it up as I went along and could have done with a little more forethought about how I was going to deal with all the details.

Wrap-up

That’s everything for HTPE: Drazhar! If you have any comments or feedback, or just want to share your own Drazhar with us, then hit us up on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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