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 third part in his (hopefully not too irregular) series on beginning competitive painting.
When last we met I had started the process of painting my Keeper of Secrets which was starting to look good but mostly in pieces.
Finishing it off
I spent quite a lot of time working on the tights, the chest armour of the model was purple so I wanted a turquoise section to work with the blends I had done on the cloak.
I mostly used P3 Arcane Blue as my turquoise and using my airbrush initially to create some highlights, then breaking out the wet palette to do more highlighting. Again, in order to get this as smooth as possible I needed to use quite a lot of glazing to tie it together.
I then started work on the claws and the sword. The claws were airbrushed and texture was painted along the edges using very small lines of lilac.
I tried to do a mirrored silver on the sword but wasn’t happy with it. After several goes I ended up creating a weird lightning / ethereal look almost by accident which I much preferred.
Putting it all together
After finishing off each sub assembly it came to the most exciting part for me. When I do sub assemblies I use a small amount of super glue to tack the model to either a cork, a kebab skewer or a spare base. Using a little bit of pressure I can pop it off again when the painting is finished. I then use Superglue to fully assemble the model. Using plastic glue on painted models is a recipe for a gloopy, melted mess of paint.
A brief interlude
I always think it’s important to show your mistakes as well as your successes. While I was waiting for the plinth to arrive for the Keeper, I decided to try and paint a smaller entry model.
As you can see, whilst this isn’t an awful paint job, it’s no where near the same quality as the Keeper. I’ve been trying to analyse why this is. I think it came down to
- Over confidence. After being really happy with how the Keeper came out and how the reaction to it on Social Media went I bit off more than I could chew
- Smaller models need a different approach. The smaller the model, the less I can get away with using the airbrush to handle the heavy lifting
- Power Armour. God I suck at painting power armour
This model went on eBay and managed to get me my money back plus a little bit of profit. I need to rethink how I approach doing smaller models I think!
Anyway, back to the Keeper
Making a display base
Whilst the rules of Golden Demon make it clear you don’t need a fancy base and a plinth, almost everything there does. The plinth helps lift your model from the glass shelf and to frame it better. After ordering the biggest round plinth I could find I spent a long time trying to work out what I wanted to do. I was quite keen on making a really exciting and complicated piece but after looking at the model with its smooth robes I came to the realisation that this would probably distract from the overall piece.
I started by taking a big piece of cork. I use IKEA cork mats for large pieces as they are cheap and excellent to break apart. I spent more time than usual picking at the edges trying to get a natural rocky look. Cork is an excellent tool for basing but most of the time it is very obvious that it is a piece of cork painted to look like a rock rather than an actual rock. To get around this I tried a new technique of covering the flat top and the bits of the base without the cork on it with Vallejo Thick Mud paste. This created a fairly natural surface, not really lumpy but not the machine cut flatness of the cork. Whilst it was still wet I poured my sand mix over it. I have a big pot with all different types of sand mixed together in it. The mixture of small rocks, course sand and smooth sand gives a much more realistic look than just one of them on its own. Once it was try I primed it quite heavily to keep the mixture in place. You can see here that I’ve covered the plinth in masking tape so I can be messy whilst painting and not have to repair the plinth afterwards.
When the primer was completely cured (I left it overnight since I was going to be drybrushing and didn’t want to dislodge any of the sand or paint) I airbrushed the whole thing with a coat of Vallejo hexed Lichen to create a dark purple base. Then I airbrushed a zenithal spray of P3 Arcane Blue from one side and Vallejo Alien purple from the other which created a really nice colour shift effect where from one side it’s turquoise and from the other it’s purple. To tie it all together I gave it a drybrush of GW Warpfiend Grey and a lighter one of GW Administratum Grey. This was the point where I wanted to attach the model to the base so I drilled a hole in the foot, added some brass rod and superglued it onto the base.
I then added various grass tufts and flowers from Gamer’s Grass (my favourite tufts). I went for purple flowers to try and tie all of the colours together.
The final piece
I finally invested in a lightbox so you don’t always have to see pictures of my thumb! I’m super pleased with how this project came out. Whilst you never know how things are going to go in a painting competition I truly think this is my best work to date and am quite hopeful that when Golden Demon finally happens this could do quite well!