Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Ork Warpaint

Ok as promised here is a step by step guide to how I pain my Orks.

I use a white undercoat because it gives a brighter colour.

I used to use a black undercoat, it is handy to claim that the bits you miss are shadows, but I find that a black undercoat absorbs too much of the colour - especially after the application of ink. If I was painting a smaller scale model - 15mm or less - then the shadow effects that can be gained outweigh the negatives in my opinion.

I have also dispensed with the spray can for the undercoat. Yes, it is quicker. But I like the fact that if you apply the undercoat with a brush you get to see the detail, which often allows you to see things, or have painting ideas, that you would otherwise have missed. Applying the undercoat with a brush also means that the undercoat is less uniform which in turn offers greater shading effects on the finsihed model.

In principle I prefer to work from dark to light, so the next stage is to apply the base colour for the skin.

In the case of the Orks this is a flat green.

I apply the in a mixture of meat and watered down acorss the unit - in the picture the figure has neat paint. Again the aim is to create a shading effects, from very dark base flesh tones to lighter.

It should be pointed out that this is something that I stumbled upon.

Because Vallego paint comes in a bottle, it means you need a pallette - in my case a CD box - and I am a cheap skate, to make the paint go further I would water it down as it started to dry out. No doubt professional painters would say I should have thinned it from the off, but I rather like the subtle change of tone that my economy produces within a unit.

The camo - like most things to do with my painting - was stumbled upon by accident.

When I decided on a Blood Axe theme for the army I surfed around the internet looking for suitable camo designs.

I wanted a desert camo theme - reflecting the current wars of our age - but I have also aways been a fan of German camo patterns.

On the test model I tried a khaki base coat, but it was too dark and two green - and I didn't have a sutiable highlight colour. So I tried bubonic brown, and discovered that it didn't need a highlight colour because it matched the ink I was using - thus saving me a stage in the painting process.

This skipping of stages is in part the reason for this article.

As I mentioned before the inspiration was a comment by someone at the club that I must have great patience to paint my army. But it always strikes me that so many painting articles make things unnecessarily complicated. I am a hobbyist and a gamer. I'm not interested in winning painting prizes. And I'm not interested in overly technical painting styles which require me to explain my cleverness in order you people to admire the army - I'd rather they just admired the army, for the minimum effort on my part to get an army that looks good to me.

Next is brown for boots, belts, pouches, etc.

In some ways leather is the key to a good looking model.

Generally this will act to divide the models into sections - principally top and bottom at the waist.

But it is also handy for shoddy work.

I realise that terms like bodge and shoddy have unfortunate overtones, but in fact they are useful concepts when painting a model. On any model there will be areas that you want to hide - either because the area is too difficult to reach with a brush for fine detail, or because you have missed it earlier in the base coating. Which is why the leather coat is so useful. Brown is the perfect colour ro hide mistakes, and it offers a new shade.

Again it is a question of my economic - cheapskate - nature but the current leather I use is so watered down to be like the old broom. But with the white undercoat - and the later brown - ink it produces the effect of applying a dark brown before leather, without the need of doing so - or the required blending that the extra stage requires.

Pretty much the same thing applies to the gun metal as to leather.

Whilst I do try and stay between the lines, I am not overly careful when applying this layer.

Obviously it will look bit weird if there are blotches of silver on the end of a model's nose, but 'bright shadows' can look very effective. And it is possible to achieve some rather good results by 'spilling' gunmetal into a flat coloured area - particularly on armour.

I guess the point I am trying to make here is that this is the basecoat, and as such the aim is to use it to for blending, in order that your don't have to blend later. And that it really doesn't matter if the model has a silver trigger figure, or whatever.

The aim is - to borrow a show biz expression from the chorus line - tits and teeth: leave Hamlet to the worthy and dull.

And so to the final base colour.

Nothing says Orks like red.

And no other colour benefits so much from a white undercoat.

Back in the day when I was commision painter for 15mm models, no other colour caused more problem than red. The trick of knocking out small scales models to order is to use the simple trick of highlighting elbows, knees and clothing folds with the next tone lighter. But with red this is a problem, because red - no matter what shade it is - just goes to red.

The painters I worked with tried many different ways to get around this - using the same tone but in gloss paint, undercoating white and yellow before applying the highlight, using orange, but nothing is entirely satisfactory.

The best solution I have found is to be go for a dark tone - in this case Carmine Red - and then highlight with blood red before heavy brown inking.

It's not perfect - and does fall between two stools - but when contrasted against the green of the Ork flesh, it does the job.

Onto the dark grey for fur.

To be honest I am not sure what the scaely bits on the Gretchin and the Orks are.

So it is fur.

And so we reach my favourite colour in the Citadel range - Dwarf Bronze.

It is a perennial arguement as to who makes the best range of paints. As you can probablt see I have rather a mixture of manufacturers. But I do have to say that my favourite metallic paints are GW.

Dwarf Bronze is just such a warm and endlessly useful colour.

And OK in the 41st millenium it is pretty doubtful that bronze would be used for weaponry. It's questionable if it would be used for anything.

Yet as a contrasting colour for gunmetal it is pretty difficult to beat.

Speaking of which we come to another of my favourite colours, Glistening Green.

I'm not sure GW still make it.

They used to have a variety of coloured metallics - a blue and purple spring to mind - which wwent by the wayside when they changed suppliers.

This change of suppliers was also pretty annoying personally because they ditched Jade Green that I was using to paint a Vampire army.

As colours the metallics are of fairly limited use - there is no reason why you couldn't have a chapter of Glistening Green space marines - because on large areas they don't look right, and are pretty difficult to shade. But for detailing pipework on vehicles or jewels or whatever they are really useful.

Ok this might be the reason they were dropped from the sales orientated GW range - as you can see my pot dates back to the mid-nineties (not that it is alone in that), but all the same it is a shame.

Of course you could easily make your own from green and mithril silver.

Bone for horns.

Not much more to say on that one.

Especially as there is only one figure was a horn in the unit.


I guess I really should have put some thought into aligning these pictures. I've tried padding out the text - in case you hadn't noticed.

Ok I have thought about aligning the pictures.

And I have added another piece of padding.

Just like this superfluous sentence.

And added to the problem by including this picture.

Basically I use light blue for glasses.

I do have to say That I am not a fan of the vogue for painting glass light blue with a few white lines for the sunlight glinting. You see it a lot on FOW miniatures. Whether or not this a stylistic thing in the FOW studio that has led people to paint their models like the one's they see on the box, I don't know

In these instances I prefer black highlighted grey, with maybe some brown dusting.

Even weirder - imo - are the people who paint see through canopies. Why they don't try and pick out the frame and paint the interior is beyond me.

Anywho as you can see I have used light blue for the glasses, and the same light blue with a lemon yellow to give him a rather funky Flock of Seagulls style mullet.

Not that we are out of pagination problems yet.

Because it's back to the flat green for camo.

I should just say, that one of the most important things that you should realise - and it isn't something that you learn, because it is like fibbonacci - is that you should trust your instinct, and stick with what works for you.

I say this because as I mentioned becfore the camo pattern that I came up with is not the pattern that I wanted when I started.

It's basically green lines and black dots.

My original plan was to have grey and white in it - like the NATO forces in Afganistan. But having got the two colours - three if you include the base coat - I decided to stick with what I had, because it looked right.

Which is why I point out that you need to trust yourself.

I'm not saying here that you should chuck a bit of paint on and defy anyone to criticise you.

But it is important to realise the limits of your painting skill.

There may well be a popular perception around that anyone given enough time and practice can paint to a Golden Demon standard. But. let's face it, that isn't true in any real sense.

a) because most people have somethng better to do with their life.
b) I would argue that the pursuit of this will ultimately cramp your style - and your style is more important.

Oh and c) the point of the exercise should be about getting a painted army to the table.

Which leads to the related problem of knowing when to stop.

The easiest way to ruin a model is to take it in isolation, reach a stage in the painting when you are not sure what to do next, and start splashing on more and more layers of paint in order to 'improve' it. As opposed to considering what would happen if you stopped there, painted an entire army to match that model.

I would suggest that if you you took the latter route you will get more satisfaction and a better result.

Not forgetting that taking that route will more likely lead to a painted army.

Yeah so green lines and black dots - and I used the opportunity for a bit of shoddy bodging.

On with the mithril silver dry brushing to bring up the metal

I have never been much of a fan of subtle dry brushing - the purists would have it that you should bruch the paint off until it barely makes a mark, and then build up the layer.

My quicker method is to take a spot of paint on the brush, dab it on first to get rid of must of the paint and them brush it across the detail to bring it up. This dotting technique will give you quicker results that look just as good as the longer method. And produces a stronger highlight.

It isn't just the speed of the method that I like, as the the effect it produces.

I'm not a fan of lines of colour, and by dotting you can break up the colour more - thus cheating the eye.

I used the dotting technique again for highting the Ork flesh.

The final flesh tone will be applied over this so it doesn't matter too much which area you highlight here.

Though I tend to stick to the highlighted areas.

This bright tone will be broken up later by the ink and final coat of Goblin Green.

Light grey is applied to highlight the drak grey fur.

The picture illustrates one of the advantages of a white undercoat.

Ok perhaps if I thinned the paint more this advantage would not occur.

But the white from the undercoat offers a free highlight.

Had I used black, it would offer a free shadow - you might argue - but shadows are fairly easily obtained compared to highlights.

True there are some that would say that this is just sloppy, and a denial of the painters skill - relying on luck - and I guess it's each to their own.

I duscussed red earlier.

And while I think about it, I should point out that you shouldn't forget to dot the gun barrels.

In fact working on this article, and taking a picture after applying each colour reminded me how often I forget to do things.

For instance I made a decision that my Orks had seen action and are bloodthirtsy. Therefore all the weapons are bloodstained.

Did I remember it?

Of course not.

And there were a few other instances - like you guessed it, dotted the gun barrels.

And so we reach the key to my method - and why I would suggest that painting a decent looking army is not as hard as people would have you believe.

Windsor and Newton ink.

I realise the GW makes a range of inks but I really don't like them, as they are more of a stain or a wash than the Windsor and Newton ink.

The great advantage is that they tend to settle in the crevices - where you ant them - without affecting the raised surfaces. They also mature, in that they continue to pool for a number of days after application, meaning that you can apply them heavily without destroying the painwork underneath.

Make sure you are using the drawing ink. Caligraphy inks do have a use, but not for shading.

Also remember to apply a layer of purity seal whenever you use ink.

This will seal in the ink, allowing you to carry on painting, without the ink affecting the pigment.

So it's basically red ink for the mouth, green for the skin, and brown for everything else.

I apply the ink liberally.

When I first started using inks I tended to under use it. The result was not bad, but the problem is that it didn't achieve the required pooling effect.

I suppose the technique is not that dissimilar to the much maligned dip.

The real difference isn't that it isn't so messy.

Oh and it is also cheaper.

Well I'm guessing it is, as the chances are you will have a tin of purity seal anyway, and a pot of ink costs about £3 or £4, and will be good for half an army at least.

Windsor and Newton does two brown inks, peat brown and nut brown.

Of the two I prefer the peat brown because it has a slight redness which brings a warmth to the colour. However I have used nut brown, and in terms of the Orks it does have the benefit of toning down the armour and uniform colours and emphasising the greenness of the Ork skin.

And for those that have made it this far... and well done for that...

The skin is given a light coating of Goblin Green, focusing on the raised area of the model.

I try and keep the coat as a thin as possible to allow the basecoat thaqt have been build underneath to affect the surface coat.

And then it's just a case of dotting the eyes and painting the teeth.

So there you have it, my painting method for the Orks.

I don't claim that it will win prizes, but it has been the subject of complimentary remarks.

And perhaps more importantly it has given me hours of pleasure painting it, and perhaps as many hours gazing lovingly at it.

Which is perhaps why I was tetchy at the suggestion that I required patience to imdulge my pleasure in painting it.

Or maybe I'm just grumpy.


Here is the painted unit....

Now for the basing.


No comments:

Post a Comment