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Space Hulk Diorama (17) – Painting Object Source Lighting

Meat Puppets ‘Scum’ 

I’ve nearly finished the Librarian figure, with only the freehand designs to go. I usually leave these until last, as they tend to be quite painstaking. The colours haven’t come out quite right in the photographs, particularly on the face, but nevermind:



I decided to paint the staff with a glowing effect – i.e. object source lighting. It has an odd, intricate design sculpted onto it; and wasn’t cast especially well on this model. Normally OSL is best achieved with drybrushing, but it wouldn’t be possible here – so instead, the technique just involves highlighting with increasingly bright layers as normal, but then glazing over each of these with the previous colour, to blend it together.

These were the colours used:

044Firstly, it was basecoated black:


I then painted the swirly lines grey – purely because it made them easier to see:


Paint the lines with Vallejo Air Colour Blue:


Glaze over the staff with a thin mix of the same colour, VAC blue:


Layer – Andrea Blue:


Glaze over the lines with another thin layer of VAC blue:


Highlight – Lothern Blue:


Glaze the blue lines with Andrea Blue:


Highlight – Lothern Blue + Pale Grey Blue (c. 1:2 ratio):


Highlight with pale grey blue, in selective areas – such as corners/tips:


I then glazed the whole staff with several thin layers of VAC blue; before finishing with another glaze – this time, using diluted Asurmen blue; as it has a slightly satin effect, which makes the main area of the staff look black again, rather than grey:



Unfortunately, I’m not very imaginative; and haven’t quite figured out the freehand designs yet. Once they’re done though, the diorama will be finished, save for a few minor tweaks here and there.

Space Hulk Diorama (16) – Painting White

Ultramarine ‘Honey’

People sometimes struggle to paint white, as it’s a difficult colour to highlight. Daft as it may sound, there are different methods for painting it. Normally, I use a kind of grey-blue colour as the basis, and shade it with dark-blue and black; but I wanted it to contrast with the blue power armour, and to have a bit of warmth. So, these are the colours I used:


Basecoat – USA Olive Brown:


Layer – Fenrisian Grey + Earth (1:1):


Layer – the Fenrisian Grey + Earth mix, with a small amount of white (c. 3:1). Paint additional layers, adding a bit more white each time, until you’re painting with a mix which is mainly white:


The colour transition hasn’t come out too clearly in the photographs:


I then painted several very thin washes of USA olive brown over the white areas, as the finecast resin makes it difficult to shade some parts. I had to paint all of the feathers one by one:


Once this had dried, I carefully shaded the recesses with a slightly thicker solution of USA olive brown; before painting the deepest recesses with smoke:

011Edge highlight – white. I added chips/scratches at this stage, by painting a mix of Fenrisian Grey + Earth + USA Olive brown (equal parts) to create the dents; highlighting their ridges with white:



Space Hulk Diorama (15) – Painting Blue Power Armour

Digable Planets ‘Pacifics’ 

Blue can be a tricky colour to paint. In this case, I wanted it to be smooth, but not to the point where it has a non-metallic metal effect; and to have a small amount of wear/tear, but without that dominating the paint scheme. Although this diorama is supposed to represent a battle-scene, heavy weathering doesn’t seem to sit right with the idea of a Librarian.

These are the colours I used (I forgot to include black in the photograph): 002

As with some of the other colour schemes I’ve used on the diorama’s models, this was a bit experimental; so some stages may not prove entirely necessary.

Basecoat – Necron abyss. Wash with black, then wash with smoke.


Layer – Vallejo Air Colour Blue:


Layer – Vallejo Air Colour Blue + Regal Blue:


Layer – Regal Blue. Shade recesses with Vallejo Air Colour Blue + Black (1:1). I also made a thin glaze out of this mix, and painted it over the dark areas:


Layer – Regal Blue + Caledor Sky:


Layer – Caledor Sky. This stage is where I began to consider where light would fall, and used this as a rough guide for where to place the paint:


Glaze – Vallejo Air Colour blue all over the blue armour. Several thin layers are better then one:


Edge highlight – Caledor Sky + a small amount of Pale Grey Blue + Khaki (ratio c. 3:1:1):


Edge highlight – Caledor Sky + Pale Grey Blue (1:2). I left Khaki out of this mixture, as it made the paint look a bit turquoise rather than blue; and only painted the extremities with it, such as corners:



I added cracks and chips by using black + smoke (1:1). These were then outlined with the same Caledor Sky + Pale Grey Blue mix as above.

With it being a finecast model, there were some areas which were slightly chobby, so I used these as a natural guideline for placing chips/scratches. For example, the base of the boot here:



At this point, it still needed a bit of work, as the matt finish to the paint in the recesses made them look dusty rather than shadowy. So, I made a thin mix of liche purple and smoke brown – about a 2:1 ratio – and used this to glaze over the recesses. To finish, I made a glaze of smoke brown and painted several layers over the entire blue area.


As an aside, sometimes it seems like no matter how hard you work at painting, you never improve. There’ve been many times when I’ve seen outstanding models, and found it disheartening to think that I could never produce anything of the same quality. In fact, I’ve often seen other people respond by saying – either in jest, or possibly truthfully – that they give up.

I painted this five years ago:


It was my favourite model when I was young, and played the games; and I was proud of it when it was finished. It was one of the first models I painted when I began to paint models again, after a 13 year gap.

Looking at it now, it’s a very basic paint-job, with many areas that could be improved – such as the blending on the armour, and brush control on the freehand designs. It’s also notable that I didn’t paint a banner for this. I can’t remember why; but I suspect a lack of confidence was the reason.

It’s always interesting to see other painters progress: many of the people I admire most, who are currently able to produce miniatures which are above and beyond anything I could achieve, were invariably quite ordinary – if not poor – at painting when they started; but if you look at their online galleries, you can see how they steadily improved over the years. Cause for optimism, I think.

Space Hulk Diorama (14) – Librarian

Warsaw Village Band ‘Maydów’ 

I’ve begun painting the Space Marine Librarian.

Because the model is very elaborate, and made from the dreaded finecast resin, I tried to map-out the colours before focusing on individual parts of it. For instance, using yellow ochre/grey as a basecoat for areas which were subsequently painted gold/silver.

This is particularly helpful when painting metal areas; as when you thin metallic paints, it can take a significant number of layers to get a good coat. However, when you pre-paint them a similar, but non-metallic colour, you can cover them in only 1-2 layers, rather than the 6+ it normally requires:



I then began to paint the foundation layers for the various parts:



Before giving the whole model a wash with very watery black; then another wash with dark brown:



This wasn’t really done to shade the model, as such; but to delineate the detail, as models like this can be very fiddly to paint – and sometimes the finer aspects of it become virtually indistinguishable.

Not much to look at as it stands; but I intend to make a tutorial on how to paint the blue power armour next. So hopefully the next update will be a bit more interesting. Blue is a colour I tend to veer away from painting, as a rule. I also hope to make this much cleaner and brighter than I normally paint figures.

Space Hulk Diorama (13)

Babes in Toyland ‘Hello’


The final genestealer is finished; but looking at the diorama so far, there are a couple of things which I think need to be improved a bit: 002


The number/arrows above the left-hand door don’t look right – I’m not sure whether to re-do them, or to try something else; but I’m going to paint the Librarian first. A change is usually as good as a rest; and whenever I’m unsure about something, I find that putting it aside for a while enables you to return to it with a bit more objectivity, and a clearer view. I think the scene maybe needs more slime, as well. But we’ll see.


Worth a look

Femme Militant Cataphracti (Dave Taylor Miniatures)

Weathering Vehicles Tutorial (TaleOfPainters)

How to make a ruined urban scenic base (Coloured Dust)

Ironstrider (Almost Perftec)

Painting Blood Warriors (LesKouzes)


Space Hulk Diorama (12): making slimy what-nots.

Tripping Daisy ‘Motivation’

Took a bit longer than anticipated to finish the second genestealer, due to a somewhat turbulent past fortnight. But anyway, a brief tutorial on how to create a slime effect.

What you need – a piece of nylon thread (in this case, the kind which attaches labels to clothes):




PVA glue, still water effect, and epoxy glue to build up the actual slime effect:


Tamiya transparent paints and still water effect to paint it with:


So, firstly, attach a microbead, and a short piece of nylon thread, to the tongue with PVA glue:


Add a thin layer of the epoxy glue, using a cocktail stick; and leave this to cure. Then add several layers of still water effect:


Once all of this has dried, make the paint – mix the Tamiya green and yellow together, and add a small amount of the smoke colour. Add some still water effect to this; and then paint several layers on the tongue – waiting for each one to dry, before adding the next:


You can see the bullet-hole effect here, half-way down on the right-hand side of the carapace. The blood was made by mixing some epoxy glue together, then adding a dab of the same paint mixture from the previous stage, before dotting it into the hole with a cocktail stick:




I haven’t had time to check-out many other painters’ work during the past week, unfortunately; but hopefully the next few weeks will be less disruptive. One more genestealer to go, and then on with the Librarian.

Space Hulk Diorama (11) – Painting Metal

Terry Callier ‘Timepeace’

To digress, momentarily: this past week in Britain has been dreadful. It isn’t often that the wider goings-on of the world intrude into the realm of painting miniatures; but it’s been unavoidable lately. The EU referendum debate, and the shocking murder of the MP – Jo Cox – in my home county of Yorkshire have been extremely troubling; and it’s set to reach a climax, or nadir, by the end of the week.

I follow the work of many European painters – from those who are justifiably famous for their artistic accomplishments; to people who simply enjoy painting as a past-time. From Sweden, to Germany, and Austria; through France, Poland, and Spain. I see them as peers; inspirational figures I work hard to emulate; and potential friends. Painting creates a community, in which anybody is welcome; and nobody ever excluded. I hope that whatever the outcome of the EU referendum, those bonds remain intact. I think painting is something which genuinely brings the best out in people, irrespective of where they happen to live; and we need much more of that in life.


So, how to paint metals.

I don’t really like painting metallics, because they’re so fiddly. To simplify matters, I tend to use alcohol-based paints to provide the basecoat, as they provide an even coverage in 1-2 coats; whereas regular water-based metallic paints require at least half a dozen. It is quite difficult to apply, however, and you need alcohol brush cleaner to clean your bristles; so I only use it on large areas, with a cheap painting brush.

These were the colours used – the Vallejo liquid silver as the base:


Regular metallic paints to cover smaller elements – such as the copper pipe; and to highlight areas.


Gold for the brackets:



Smoke and Black to shade:


Flat earth and tank brown to create rust-effects:


Green, turquoise, and rotting flesh to create a verdigris effect:

I also use Leviathan purple to glaze silver areas – but this is purely optional.

Basecoat the metal areas:


To weather the metal, apply several thin washes of Smoke; leaving each one to dry before painting the next layer:


You can see how each layer gradually deepens the colour:



Paint a glaze of black over the whole area:


To create a verdigris effect, paint a wash of dark green over the copper pipe:


Add turquoise to this, and blotch it over the pipe – keeping the mix watery:


Add rotting flesh to the dark green/turquoise mix, and paint this on in patches:


Highlight the copper pipe by stippling-on copper (as it happens, the verdigris effect was a bit vivid, so I glazed it with smoke later on):


Edge highlight the metal areas with the gunmetal silver, stippling it on to the bolts; then highlight the corners/edges of bullet holes and scratches with chainmail:


I decided to paint yellow/black hazard bandings over the metal beam. So, add patches of masking fluid:


Paint over this with dark brown (Vallejo’s USA Olive Brown here):


These were the colours used to paint the bandings:


Basecoat the metal beam golden yellow; then plot out the bands:



Overcoat these with black:


Wash the whole area with several thin layers of Smoke:


Highlight by stipling goldbrown onto the yellow bands; and black + khaki (2:1 ratio) onto the black ones:


Remove the masking fluid:


Edge highlight: the yellow areas with goldbrown + ushabti bone; and add a bit more khaki to the black/khaki mix. Concentrate on the edges of the beam, the frays around the chipped areas, and the bolts:


Give the whole area a thin glaze of smoke; and use the tank brown/flat earth to create patches of rust:


To finish off, I glazed the whole area with matt-medium, which tied it together. Done.

Keep well.


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