The following approach to painting the Covenant ships for the “Fall of Reach” uses a combination of airbrush and brush. However, all of the palette can be applied with a brush only as the airbrush is primarily used just to speed up the basecoat and the initial blending. The majority of the effects can be achieved using layers of glazes, so don’t be put off if airbrush isn’t your thing.
Hopefully you will have read my previous post which pulled out a few lessons learned and tips during the assembly and priming. Here I am then about to embark on covering purple plastic with grey primer only to restore back to purple again. With luck the end result should justify the effort though. For a tester I selected six of the Covenant SDV Heavy Corvettes which would make up three elements (bases). To make them easier to handle during the painting I temporarily mounted them onto cocktail sticks which fitted into the flight peg insert once I had cut the tip off. The un-trimmed ‘pointy’ end could then be inserted into a piece of polestyrene foam to create a handy holder.
For the basecoat I applied three thin coats of Vallejo Game Air Hexxed Purple with the airbrush to give a smooth even base. For the first highlight (upper surfaces only) I added Game Air Alien Purple to the Hexxed and for the second highlight I added Game Air Warlord Purple to the mix above. For the underside I applied one this coat of Warlord purple to tint.
For the lighter section (the glow) I lightly airbrushed Electric Blue + White and intensified the centre with a focussed spot of pure white mixed into the mix above so the blue was very desaturated. I then gave the centre a glaze of Vallejo Model Colour Falcon Turquioise mixed with Game Air Escorpena Verde concentrating the pigment into the outer recesses. The final highlight was then pure white which I used to pick out the edges and details.
For the rest of the hull I applied a soft edge highlight of Alien Purple which I increasingly lightened with white focusing the highlights down to smaller points. The panels and recesses in the hull were then re-profiled with a thinned mix of GW Druchii Violet wash and matt black.
To soften all of the transitions I applied several thin layers of glazes. The first was to intensify the shadows and contrast and the second to create a subtle change in tone from blue into red on the top of the prow and stern. Glaze 1 was a mix of Game Air Imperial Blue, Hexed Lichin and a very small dot of black. It’s important when mixing a glaze that includes black you only add a small amount as it will create a discord colour which will lose a great deal of the colour bias when dramatically thinned. It’s also worth noting if you haven’t used a glaze before the idea is to apply it as a thin even layer and not like a wash. Brush strokes should be towards where you want the colour change to me most intense as that is where you will push the pigment. Wait for each layer to fully dry before applying the next and steadily work down into a smaller and smaller area in order to maximise the graduation.
Glaze 2 was a mix of thinned GW Guilleman Blue and Bloodlbetter with the bias towards the red. This was only applied to the top of the prow and each layer pushed the pigment forward to give a very slight tonal shift on the tip of the ships prow.
There aren’t really that many spot details on the Covenant Corvettes as thy don’t feature any windows, but I picked out a couple of details along the flanks in scorpy green and white just to help it pop a little. The final steps were a couple of coats of gloss varnish to protect and a final coat of matt to kill the reflections and bring back the colour contrast. That was basically it for this palette so I’ll move onto the two larger CCS Battlecruisers next replicating the scheme above before wrapping the fleet up with the second wave of Corvettes and finally the flagship ORS Heavy Cruiser element.