The Road to Golden Demon – Part 2

Who knows if Golden Demon will happen next year? It’s not looking likely, but if it does Silks will be first in the queue. Here’s the second part in his (hopefully not too irregular) series on beginning competitive painting. 

Hello! I started this journey back in this post where I talked about choosing what models I was going to work on. I even went so far as to buying Illuminor Szeras and then deciding it wasn’t what I wanted to do. So yeah… that didn’t work out.

But… I did start work on my first piece… drumroll please the Keeper of Secrets!

Why did I choose this for my first entry to work on? Well, first of all it’s a large piece that I can break down into sub assemblies, which means it’s not too daunting but it’s also not too finely detailed. Secondly the combination of skin, leather, metals and gems gives me a great opportunity to work on different textures (which are very important in competition painting these days!)

Colour Choices

As with all of my projects, I started off with a Pinterest board, you can see the one I used here

I like to do this to get my head around what colours work with this particular range and to see what other (much better) artists have done to inspire me. I was pleased that I quickly fell into my favourite colour combination – Magenta, Purple and Turqoise.


First of all, I assembled the model. Well, mostly. I wanted to do a lot of airbrushing and be able to get to details that on a tabletop model I’d have probably skipped (but you can guarantee judges won’t skip looking at). I took my time with the assembly, making sure not to leave any mould lines or cut off too much when trimming the sprue connections. Then I mounted up the various pieces on a mixture of corks with brass rod and wooden kebab skewers (classy).

Initial Airbrushing

On large areas of skin or fabric, I could hand paint it but it would be very slow and probably not look as good as it would with an airbrush. Since I have one this is where I started.

From a black base I built up a combination of purple tinted greys starting with Vallejo Sombre Grey the moving through Daemoentte Hide and Warpfiend Grey (throwing them together in the pot bit by bit) then adding some Vallejo Ivory. I then added some tints of Purple with glazes into the recesses and attempted to stipple Ulthuan Grey on the raised parts (stippling is still something I’m learning, but involves using the tip of your brush to tap on hundreds of tiny, translucent dots that build up to create a textured gradient).

Glazing involves really thinning down your paints with water (or glaze medium), loading up your brush, wiping it on a paper towel and then applying really thin, translucent layers to tint the colours beneath. This takes several layers and lots of time and can be great for smoothing transitions or doing the job of a traditional wash (but more controlled) as I did in the recesses of the skin.

For the cloaks and shield I started by airbrushing Vallejo Hexed Lichen (one of my favourite paints) to get a really dark purple, then highlighted with P3 Murderous Magenta (my other favourite paint) which I then slowly added some pink and ivory into. I then created a fade into turquoise by spraying the bottom halves with Scalecolour Deep Blue and highlighting with P3 Arcane Blue (which I again mixed ivory into for highlights)


I went over everything I’d airbrushed that I didn’t want to be that colour and painted it with Scalecolour Matte Black. This is an excellent base coat as it doesn’t give you the shine that something like Abaddon Black does. I then started on the purple leather type stuff on the torso by painting with a similar mix to the cloak. I really don’t think this worked very well and every time I look at it I’m unhappy so I think I’m going to have to go back and redo it.


I decided to go with Non Metallic Metal because I love the way it looks and I actually enjoy painting it much more than “true” metallic metals. I won’t give you the recipe I used since it was from a tutorial I purchased from (multiple Golden Demon winner) Gareth Nicolas. Using other artists tutorials feels a little bit like cheating for competitions, but I really wanted to improve my technique and learning from other artists is an excellent way of doing it. You can buy his (very cheap) tutorials from his site plus there’s loads of excellent painters on Patreon who offer similar.

Lessons learnt so far

I really need to practise my glazing and stippling. Also, the purple leather really didn’t work and I knew it the moment I started. I probably should have gone straight into another way of doing it but tried to rescue it and probably put way too much paint on.

Until next time

So, that’s where I’ve got to so far. I’m quite happy with my progress and I’m forcing myself to take this slowly (a bad habit I’ve developed from painting armies is rushing and taking shortcuts). I’ve got lots more work to put into this model and I’m excited to see what it will look like when it’s finished. Will this win me a Golden Demon? No, it won’t, however the process of painting it so far has really helped me hone my technique and I’m going to this model when it’s done (you don’t expect to win every tournament you go to but it’s still fun to enter). I’m also planning other entries that will hopefully build on what I’ve learnt so stay tuned for that.

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