So I've been meaning to do a step-by-step to show my painting process. And I started out really good with the Swordmasters, going one step at a time, taking a picture, then moving on to the next step. Then, I got into my groove. I know it sounds stupid, but it's like in my old fighting days, where I'm not really thinking about what I'm doing, I don't really notice the noises in the background or anything else. I'm just moving forward. It's the sweet spot where my accuracy and speed increase. When I get into the zone I get a lot done.
Which I did.
So here's where I started. White primer. I use it a lot, but I don't recommend it. It's finicky and fussy and doesn't always produce good results. Case in point: I primed 3 Swordmasters I'd gotten from a friend to finish out a 20-man unit. 2 of those model primed just fine, the third one came out 'fuzzy'. There was a weird residue from the spray can that gave the whole model a texture (and killed all the details). That model is now sitting in Simple Green, which is why the unit is only 19 models in the pictures.
Step one on the swordmasters (and most models I do) is the metals. Metals tend to be messy so I do them first so I don't have to go back and clean up later. These were pretty straight-forward. One coat of Boltgun Metal. Then a wash of P3 Armor Wash (love that stuff). Once the wash dries, a strong drybrush of Boltgun Metal to clean up, then a light drybrush of Mithril Silver to finish. The High Elves get more of a medium drybrush of Mithril, since I want them to look shiny. Finally I look at each model and do a manual clean-up of any areas that look obviously drybrushed. It should be subtle.
You'll notice the pics above doesn't have the last layer of silver to clean up the drybrush marks.
Step two adds some colour to the model. Specifically Regal Blue to any blue areas. Regal Blue is my go-to Blue for most situations. It goes on smooth, usually gives even coverage, and creates beautiful shades when finished.So I did the head tails, the trim and the sashes in blue (plus a couple of other little details). My army has stuck fairly close to 'codex', so I use the GW 'Eavy Metal pics as my basis. I tried my own colour schemes, went through almost a dozen (including the requisite Simple Greens afterwards) and found I liked the standard colours the best. They really do work well with the models.
After the blue, I added skin colors. There wasn't a lot to do on these guys, so it went quickly. Talarn Flesh followed by P3 Flesh Wash. I'll go back and highlight later. It was at this point I got into the zone and totally forgot to take pictures, so we'll skip forward a bit on the pics.
After the skin, I did the base layer for golds. Now I do mine a little differently then most. My base colour for Gold is actually the same metal formula as my silver-metal. I use that as my base, then add a Chestnut Wash (no longer available from GW, which is a shame) over any areas I want gold. It come out this brilliant deep-brass colour. While I'll be highlighting later (you'll see my method to this madness in a sec) I can tell you from there it's a simple layer of Gold, then Radiant Platinum (P3 paint) as an extreme highlight. Really simple.
Once that is done, I do pouches, straps and wraps. I start with a base of Scorched Brown. Much like Regal Blue, I start all my browns here because it leaves a solid finish in less steps. I decided the unit would be wearing gloves, so I did hands, pouches and any exposed hilts.
Lastly, I did a once over on the hair. I decided to do it really simple. I chose 4 colours, and randomly selected 5 minis at a time for each colour. Then I gave them a base coat of that colour. Iyanden Yellow, Thamar Black (P3 paint), Scorched Brown and Bleached Bone. Then I did a light drybrush of Greatcoat Grey (P3 paint) and the black, Snakebite Leather on the brown, and a wash of Gryphonne Sepia on the Bone and Yellow. Honestly, I'm not at all happy with the snakebite Leather, so I'll probably go in and fix that up.
That brings us up to where I am now. As stated before, I got into the zone about halfway through, so I didn't photo some of the steps. But I think you get the jist. Also, at this point the entire model is covered with paint. This does two things: technically, they are ready to play, and painted better than a lot of armies I've seen out there. But also, once all of the base colours are down, it helps me highlight. I can see better where the shadows naturally falls, and where the natural highlights would be. If you paint in isolation (one colour to completion at a time), ESPECIALLY when you use white primer, the primered part of the model actually changes you're eye's interpretation of the colour. With all the colours down, it's now just the model you'd be looking at, but 'in the shade', because it's darker than it would normally be. So that helps me in colour selection for my highlights.
It's not really an issue for these models, as I've painted 50+ High Elf models by now, and my colours are4 more-or-less set in stone. But when beginning an army, and especially when deciding for the first time on colours, this is an invaluable tool.
I'll do another post in a few days detailing the rest of my process, but here's a super-quick rundown. At this point I make a list of what needs to be finished (highlights, washes, and whatnot), then prioritize the list (this varies by the model you are doing) Once you have your top priority, you finish it keep going down the list until it's down. For these models, the top priority is the blues, since they are the dominant colour after the metals. Then the golds, then browns, then flesh, then black and gems, then bases. Only once I have all of that done will I work on the whites. White is the WORST colour to work with, so I leave it to last so I never have to go do touch-ups.I can touch up all those other colours if I get white on them, but if I get a colour on a finished white, I basically have to re-do the white.
Lastly, I apologize for the terrible pics, but It's late, I had a really rough day of gaming, and I was using my camera phone again.
Stay tuned for part 2!