Flames Tutorial

For my first article as resident painting bloke, I thought it would be best to do a tutorial on how I did the flames on my Imperial Knights! I took these to Throne of Skulls in March and I was lucky enough so be selected as one of the best looking eight armies. Below is the picture of my four knights for the purposes of this tutorial we will focus on the traditional flame colours. This tutorial can be applied to a range of different colours as you can see by the lead green knight.

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Okay so all the pictures below are done with the top plate as this will give us a nice surface to play around with the technique.

The tools you will need for achieving this are:

1. Airbrush and Compressor

2.Black Primer (for the initial basecoat)

3. 1 Plasticard sheet

4. Scissors

5. A dark grey colour, light grey colour, white, red, yellow and finally orange (personally I use a mixture of Vallejo and Minitaire paints).

So the plasticard and the scissors are the first pieces you will need to cut out two templates. One template must be cut into a wave and the other cut into tear drops of different sizes as seen below.

You can buy templates like this online but it’s just as easy to make your own, the plasticard will swell after time but you can just make new ones by doing it this way. I did all four knights with this set and they just about need replacing.

Now we want to start with your dark grey colour and we need to position the template with the rounded section at the very base of the front of the base plate. Set your compressor to around 25 psi as this will give you more control as we need to go around the edge of the template. Keep the template still and carefully go around the edges aim for just inside the template then if you accidentally spray more paint it wont be too bad! Keep moving around the piece until you get an effect such as this.

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While you’ve got this colour in the airbrush go over all the pieces in a similar fashion you want to have this effect on.

Next comes the wave piece we cut out, we want to use this piece to give our original pattern a bit more of a flowing feel so go to the edges and pull the grey back in as we shall see in the next picture.

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Now after we’ve done this we need to go back to our original template and get the lighter grey and we want to edge highlight our original pattern. Now, the key is to try to not to overlap the original darker grey too much. Try and keep this quite fine but don’t worry about doing it absolutely everywhere. You should get a finish similar to this…..

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At this point you might be losing a little bit of faith that we are heading in the right direction but fear not were about to start bringing the panel to life! Granted it doesn’t look much look a flame at the minute so let’s add some red. Personally I use Vallejo Scarlet Red here and you want to put a thin layer over the whole piece. If you put too much of a coat on here you will obscure our hard work so far so remember keep it light and go for multiple coats if you need to.

So lets add that red colour:

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So the first red coat is on and it’s looking a bit more flamey. As we’ve tried using the templates once already so let’s do it again. Add the light grey again using our teardrop template and our wave template. Don’t worry about the positioning just put it wherever you like just like the first layer.

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Don’t worry about covering your hard work so far as we are about to take it to another level! Now it’s time to use our orange colour and again like we did with the red we want to apply a thin coat over the whole piece again.

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Now were getting somewhere! The flames are starting to pop now. Don’t worry about the shine the paint will give the piece as we can add a Matt Varnish here later on to protect our hard work and to dull the shine, personally I use Army Painter Matt Varnish.

For the next step we want to use our white and very carefully add some highlights to our orange section. As you can see on the right hand side I got a bit trigger happy and put far too much white down. We can quickly solve this by just repeating the above steps though. Don’t add too much white as we don’t want too much showing through so a similar amount to what I added in my next photo and you will be fine. Of course all tastes are different so don’t take my guide as gospel experiment your self and see what happens.

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I like to use the wave template at an angle roughly 45 degrees and spray a very fine coat near your highlights at this stage it looks like we’ve ruined it slightly but the steps are really simple so you can just redo them if you don’t like the results.

After the white highlights we need to take our final colour which is yellow and again like the red and orange add a thin layer all over the piece to achieve a finish like this.

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So as we can see I wasn’t happy with the excess white so I re-sprayed it black and started again this only took a few minutes to do another new layer. As the layers are really thin with an airbrush you don’t have to worry about clogging the detail too much.

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Have a play around to get a finish you like, if you think the yellow is too bright then use the light grey again instead of the white as this will give it more of a subtle look.

One last picture is one of the knights in the cabinet on the second day of Throne to give you a complete look at the finished model. When you add all the pieces together you will then get more of a striking model. This technique can be used on all sorts of models.

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I hope you enjoyed my first article and I hope you found this article informative. Don’t be scared to give this a go as you can see each step is quite simple but gives a completely different finish.

Thanks for reading,

– Mark

How to make a Mycetic Spore

Those clever buggers over at Warp Forged Miniatures have done a brilliant tutorial on how to make your own Mycetic Spore, so thought I’d share. And a taster for something awesome that they’re working on in the background. But mum’s the word on that for the time being…

Painting Dark Angels with Robin Fitton

For those that haven’t heard of the awesome Robin Fitton, he’s the genius behind Gruntz 15mm. If you haven’t heard of the game flagellate yourself then click here.

Robin has been working on a new Dark Angel army for Warhammer 40k and he asked me if I would mind posting his progress on The Shell Case. All too happy to oblige, here’s the first part in his journey to a horde moody green Space Marines…

Phase 1 : Initial construction and base spray coating on a Dark Angels force.
I recently bought the Warhammer 40K Dark Vengeance and decided to build a Dark Angel force using the models in the box as a base. The chaos models from the box set were sold to a friend but I was sad to see them go because the detail level was very good.  I have 30 years experience of painting and playing wargames but have not played 40K since the days of Rogue Trader rules, when I had a mix of Imperial Guard and Space Marine models.  Now drawn back to the game with this latest set of rules I decide to follow the guides provided by GW for the paint work.  I am following the “How to paint Dark Angels”  iPad book from Games Workshop and I am going to use almost exactly the technique they suggest in the guide.
The Citadel paints from the new 2012 range will be used for all the paint work with the possible addition of the odd non-GW paint, thinner or wash where appropriate. The iPad painting guide is straight forward with some nice stage by stage images, however the first 3 stage images on of the Dark Angel space marine is very “Dark” and considering that I am viewing on a super sharp iPad retina display I would like to think that they could have done a better job of the photography. It is interesting how they suggest airbrushing them in the guide to complete a base coat but they don’t provide any tips on how to do it. I have been airbrushing for about 6 years, so I am familiar with the technique and it would have been great to see at least a photo in the iPad guide of the airbrushing or painting stages.  There are also no tips on actual brushing in the guide with no video content. It just shows you what sized GW brush to use and the only video is a 3 second Games Workshop logo that appears when you open the iBook.
The construction of the miniatures from the box set was very easy. What I did not factor into the time frame was the amount of mould lines on the models that would need cleaning. They have done a good job with the models and a lot of the plastic lines are hidden behind joins but I boosted the basic set with 10 tactical squad members which added to the clean up.  The main clean up locations on a space marine are the outside and inside legs,  arms (wrists), the rounded exhausts on the back packs, the top of head seam, the weapon seam (down the centre line of the bolters) and last but not least the top of the back pack. The top of the backpack is an ugly spot. It is slightly recessed, so you can’t easily get a knife in to clean it up. If it is a model that you are adding a plastic symbol to you can hide the top of the back pack.  All of these lines were cleaned up using a fresh sharp blade and I use  a subtle scraping action along the lines to scrub them off, rather than cutting a hack through them.  I then finished off most of the tidy up with some ultra fine sandpaper from Tamiya. This is made for plastic manga kits and does a great job of cleaning up the edges and seams without making them rough.   Weapon barrels were all drilled out and the bikes had their exhausts drilled (photos of bikes in next phase).
I took a lot of care and about 3 weeks to slowly prepare the models.  This was completed in front of the TV with the family and was probably about 12 hours total prep time over the course of 3 weeks.  There are an additional 5 terminators and 10 space marines plus a dreadnought in this prep.  Despite the hours and effort I still missed the odd line or edge on the models, but I am happy with the overall result.
Before priming I based the models using a mix of coral sand, GW gravel and other chunks of slate. I use neat PVA glue to stick on the sand, then once dry it gets a water thinned extra coat of PVA to seal the sand onto the bases.  Sealing the sand makes it rock hard, like mini-concrete bases and won’t rub off.
For the base primer spray I used Tamiya fine grey, instead of the black from GW. The black would not take the dark green very well when airbrushing and I prefer to be able to see the colour going onto the model when airbrushing. So the mid tone grey from Tamiya is perfect for me.
I always lay them down for a final spray to make sure the primer has got in all the nooks and crannies.
I used the Valejo airbrush thinners with the Caliban green from GW and it thins it down perfectly.  I was worried the thinner would react with GW paint but it was spot on and mixed up well with a cocktail stick before poor the result into the airbrush. Getting the mix right to thin the thick GW paint takes some care and I end up with a liquid with the consistency of milk. You can watch my airbrushing tutorial at the bottom of the page.
It can take a little while to dry…

I was impressed by the speed of the new GW painting guide, it is all about getting the best tabletop look to the model but with minimum time. However if you want to follow the guide fully for the Dark Angels you need about 35 pots of the new paint which is expensive and in many cases they appear to switch to a different grey or brown colour on some details which you could get away with using a similar colour on, rather than buying about 40% of the new colour range.

The line up: Small team of 5 veterans on the back row, Middle row tactical squad from the new 40K box set, Front row addition tactical squad. And as an added bonus a close up of my Belial conversion…