My Epic Ultramarines Winter Challenge has reached that interesting point where I am starting to repeat units in order to fill out the allocations of core infantry and tanks. In an earlier post you will have seen I have now added a second Tactical Detachment, along with its pre-requisite transport. This time it is the turn of the Land Raiders again as I add another detachment of four.
Although Space Marines are generally pretty uniform in appearance, especially in a scale like Epic, there is always that desire to ensure there is at least some small visual marker that will set them apart from all their other uniform brothers. I find the challenge of adding that little twist of character to be the most fun part of doing an army like this. There is a part of me that continuously rebels at the thought of painting every miniature exactly the same, even if they are supposed to look that way. It is probably why I have yet to paint historic miniatures from era’s such as Napoleonic.
For that reason alone, I have tweaked the formation of the second detachment to include two Proteus pattern; one with search light and one with a ram. A Mk IIb with Commander and a current edition Mk IIIc. The marking have also been ever so slightly changed to make use of off-colours in the doors and hatches this time, as well as a reversed palette for the Command Raider. All which hopefully sets it visually apart from the first Land Raider detachment.
I received a request via the TacCmd Forums for a walkthrough explaining how I go about painting the Epic scale Ultramarines. This isn’t something I normally do, so apologies if it is a bit rough around the edges. I have broken it down into several stages, each broadly in keeping with a single session on the workbench.
I have skipped over the cleaning and assembly on the assumption most are happy with this. Once based, textures applied and sealed, I primed the entire miniature black and tidied up any areas the spray missed with a thinned down black paint using an old brush. Don’t worry too much about the base as it is going to get overpainted several times anyway.
The entire tank was then airbrushed with Mordian Blue mixed with Liquitex acrylic thinner and Asurman Blue wash. Again, no worries about overspray onto the base, it will get covered shortly.
Before doing anything else with the main tank, I finish the base first. This is done is stages. Firstly I generously paint the ground with a 50/50 mix of Black and Scorched Brown. This takes a while to dry so I speed it along with the aid of Mr Hairdryer. The second layer is an overbrush of Bestial Brown.
The final two steps to finish the base are a dry brush of Snakebite Leather, followed by a light dry brush of Bonewhite to finish it off. Base and basics, along with all the messy jobs done.
Stage 3 is all about getting the block colours done. By that I mean tracks, guns, exhausts and markings. The breakdown is as follows:
- 50/50 Boltgun/Charadon Granite (Tracks, weapons)
- Astronomicon Grey (Any markings, armour or hatches to be painted white.
- Khorne Red (Smoke launchers, vision slits)
- 50/50 Brass/Dark Fleshtone (Exhausts)
Highlighting next, I tend to keep this very simple and only apply a quick highlight.
- Mordian Blue airbrush mix + Wolf Grey (armour)
- Ceramite white (grey areas above)
- Blood red (smoke launchers, vision slits)
- Chainmail (tracks, weapons and other metallic details including exhausts)
Finally, it is onto the weathering and this is the stage I find that the tank really comes to life. I apply a 50/50 wash of acrylic matt medium and Devlan Mud over the entire tank. Any areas I want gold I also give a controlled wash of Sepia (None on this example, but I included it for future reference). Decals also get added at this stage, prior to the wash being applied. That way the wash helps homogenize them into the paint scheme and any weathering or filters just helps blend them into the scheme even better.
The weathering falls into three types, which I am going to call dirt/filters, chipping and bare metal.
Using a very small piece of blister packing sponge, I gently daub on small spots of a darker colour over the edges of the armour where I want to emphasise wear and tear. This is very effective when there is a high contrast, so it looks particularly good on any white areas. The colours I tend to chip with are Charadon Granite or Rhinox Hide, but any dark grey or rusty red/brown works. Golden rule here is “gently does it”; the smaller the scale the lighter the touch. You can always add a little more if the effect is too light, but its much harder to remove large patches of grey if you over do it. In this instance I restricted it to the edges of the white armour where it is most effective.
Filters and Dirt
There are two ways I add layers of dirt to the recesses, one using filters and the other a mix of weathering pigments and wash. Both are equally effective. The pigment method involves adding a very small amount of pigment to a watered down mud wash. This is then painted carefully into recesses. As the wash naturally contracts into the corner and dries, it leaves behind a very thin residue of the pigment which is more concentrated at the centre.
The filter works in exactly the same way, except that you let the capillary action do all the work in that you don’t need to paint it on; just touch the tip of the brush to the edge and it was automatically draw into the recesses. Note: The filter I use are mineral based and not acrylic, so you cannot clean your brush with water and absolutely no brush licking!
Often I do this to enhance areas I have chipped back, but it can also just be added raw over something as small as 6mm scale. For this, no need to resort to that mithril silver paint, I just use a soft graphite pencil and draw it along any edges. The graphite deposit left behind catch the light in a more realistic way.
With all of the weathering methods above, you can add as little or as much as you like. I tend to follow the mantra that less is more though for something this small in scale. After the weathering the miniatures were sealed with a light coat of matt varnish to fix the pigments in place.
That is pretty much the process I followed to paint all of the Ultramarines armoured vehicles in Epic to date. For the infantry it is exactly the same, just omit stage 4. All together (including the priming and airbrush stages), it progresses from start to finish with only the steps I have detailed above.
Hopefully that will have given a little insight into how I have been going about painting all of the Ultramarines for Epic and how quickly and easily a decent sized force can be painted up to a quick gaming standard. The reason I chose this particular method is because it lets you work quickly and effectively without getting bogged down with too many fine details. The main colour is airbrushed on which speeds up things massively. The base I always do next because it tidies up any overspray from the blue and gets the messy task done before you start any block colours. That way any stray brushstrokes can be touched up with the base colour I used in the airbrush. I keep the highlights simple and loose, not requiring any wet-blending, feathering, layering or any other display cabinet niceties. Instead all of the trickery is in the weathering, that is what brings the models shadows and highlights out.
The end result I think is an effective scheme that looks like it has had a lot more work put into it than it really has. I honestly believe anybody can duplicate this scheme and get the same result without needing to call upon any technical painting black arts.
With that I’m going to call it a night and get back to the final couple of detachments after the weekend. I have a pair of DreadBall MVPs to finish in the meantime. Until then, have a great week.