Canoptek Chrome

//Canoptek Chrome

Having upped my tea intake, hobby pursuits have been galloping along at a good trot this week for a change. The start of the week has seen a resurgence of “Miniature Monday” (for those that Tweet) and I have been using it as a vehicle for keeping my painting momentum going. For those not familiar with the idea, the basic premise is each week, on a Monday, you post a photo (or link to one) on Twitter of whatever it is you have been painting the past week along with the hashtag #MiniatureMonday. Simply following that hashtag will bring back the stream of posts from everyone who participates. It is a simple, elegant way of not only sharing what you are currently working on with the rest of the hobby community in a very immediate way, but also gaining some insight and hopefully inspiration from what others are doing. You can find more on Twitter, or by going to the website which also contains the aggregated feed if you don’t happen to like/use Twitter. I should add there is also a stream using the same hashtag on Google+ as well, although perhaps not quite so well frequented (that’s the hashtag, not Google+ although the same could be said about the latter!)

The miniature I chose to post was the Necron Canoptek Wraith that has been on my workbench for a couple of weeks now. I finally got around to completing it over the weekend and decided I liked it enough to carry on with the other two in the box using the same scheme. It sounds odd, I know, but stick with me and all will make sense. The Wraith was something of an experiment in using both acrylics and a lacquer on the same miniature. Acrylics I am naturally very familiar with as that is what I paint with ninety-nine percent of the time. However, cellulose based paints were a new territory for me when it comes to miniature painting, Alclad in particular as I had never worked with it before.

Normally used to great success by aircraft modellers to simulate the incredibly realistic look of bare metal, Alclad II is applied over a black base. The chrome version, which this is, additionally needs to be applied over a gloss back enamel as it is the coat underneath which gives it the high polish finish. To make matters even more complex, being a cellulose lacquer, it doesn’t play well over acrylics, so it really needs to be the first thing applied (hence the overall gloss black enamel base). It is also highly susceptible to erosion from handling as it is a very thin coat so a couple of protective layers of Klear, or better still Alclad’s own varnish are really essential before moving onto the acrylic stage.

Get past all that malarkey and it is back to regular painting activities like bases, dry-brushes and glazes. In this case I replicated the turquoise palette Chris Peach did for the carapace, but left all of the other parts as naked metal. I’ll be honest, the overall finish has taken some getting used to and I am still not one-hundred percent about it myself. What I set out to achieve was a different look to the metal to what you normally get in a 40K army to reflect the totally alien nature of the Necron’s living metallic bodies. The more dynamic way light plays off the Alclad I think gives it that, I am just not sure if it isn’t too ‘toy’ like.

obviously I am not the first to try this on Necrons, the idea completely inspired by Forgeworld’s Tomb Stalker which I am pretty sure Mark Bedford painted using Alclad II. What I wanted to do here though was blend that approach with the more traditional acrylic finish and create something of a hybrid palette.

Anyway, enough waffling on about that. The other big thing this week has of course been the announcement of Games Workshops worst kept secret; the new flyers. Yes, that Stormtalon really does have a face only a mother could love and yes, the Necron flyer really does look like a famous French breakfast pastry (thank you so much for that Chris … sorry @Curis). Overlooking their obvious defects, I shall naturally get one of each at some stage, the question being which to paint first. The Ultramarine treatment, or Chrome bling? If this was a democracy I’d let you decide. After the White Rhino, both races are in favour at the moment, so I have no strong preferences which gets the airbrush first?

40K aside, I am pleased to see how well Studio McKey’s Kickstarter is going for Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster, which is motoring through its stretch goals and over $80,000 at the time of writing. I put my money where my mouth is and added myself to the pledge list at Bio-Hazard level, a no-brainer in my opinion as this has the potential to be a great game. There is no doubt that board games are having a massive renaissance and miniature based board games like this are reaping the benefit of the renewed interest.

Sedition Wars miniatures from Studio McVey. Image reproduced without permission.

Quite apart from the models themselves, which lets be honest are just plain gorgeous, or hideous! depending upon point of view. The sci-fi horror concept has a lot of mileage and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit Sedition Wars is really starting to push my creativity buttons. So much so to the extent I am already sketching up a few alternate room and corridor plans to reproduce in 3D as an extension to the ‘Hulk’ set I have been slowly grinding out the past couple years. There is a strong possibility this might be the focus of my terrain making activities throughout the bulk of the summer.

Finally, before I sign off for the night, you may have noticed I have added a Flickr Gallery widget to the sidebar. To try and get a bit more practical use out of all that Flickr storage space I have available I have set up a set for the blog and will start uploading larger quality images to it in addition to what I post here. Quite apart from being a gallery in its own right, I will try to add a few more snippets of info to each photo where possible. To get it started off I have added a couple of more recent shots of the Ultramarine Rhino in alternative colours. In particular this was after the tracks were weathered in and the smoke and oil weathering added.

I think that probably wraps it up for now. Until next time, have a great week.


By |2017-09-13T14:48:06+00:00May 29th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |3 Comments


  1. Tyler Provick May 30, 2012 at 3:38 am - Reply

    I think that the rest of the paint job keeps the metal from looking too toy-like. Perhaps a bit of washing on the metal may help.

    • Carl Woodrow May 30, 2012 at 7:14 am - Reply

      I am inclined to think along the same lines re: washes Tyler. Did try it on a few test pieces and it definitely adds more variety to the look of the metal and dirties it up a bit. The problem is that begins to defeat the point of using the Alclad in the first place if I just move it back towards a flat conventional weathered metal look. I think the solution probably lies somewhere between the two extremes and that is the area I will continue to play around with.

      It is a scheme that ironically doesn’t lend itself well to photographing, as it is the changing properties of the light reflecting off the surface that gives it its unique appearance. That just doesn’t come across well on a static photo. It is one of those effects that I suspect polarises in you either love it or hate it! Depending on the day I am often in either camp! Was a fun experiment though and I have further ideas to try something different to ‘blend’ that style and the darker style of the Warriors together. Maybe when I do the Stalker I will have more surface area and scope to play with washes and shades a bit more too.



  2. Maqywhaq June 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Washes would be too much of a “blunt force” solution… Better option would be to play around with clear coats to do your shading work via airbrushing, or using oils after you’ve sealed it in a satin varnish to tone it back down a bit. The main issue with oils is you’ll definately be cutting the shine back down to a neutral or even flat finish, but you can always use some white spirit to remove the paint to “re-edge” the areas you’d hit with silver had you used the normal GW solution.

    As long as you don’t end up overdoing the oils and getting the colours too thick, you may still be able to preserve the shine in the chrome. Alternatively, you don’t stick to using blacks for shading the metal, and add in some colour and use colour-theory to supply the contrast. That might let you keep the layers of oils thinner to keep the level of shine working in your favor…

    Unfortunately, all these are theoretical, and I’ve never actually tried them before(although I do use various colours to shade and tint my metals to give me more body(chaos black, scorched brown, scab red, etc).

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