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#13: I need to stop leaving everything until the last minute

I also have to stop trying out new painting techniques on my final model. It's much easier to avoid making mistakes when you've had a few practise runs!

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September has been another rather busy month for me as I’m still getting used to some changes in my weekly routine. My painting opportunities have been rather varied, but have now settled down into a (relatively) consistent Monday and Tuesday evening, so I’m hoping that moving forwards I’ll be able to commit more time to the painting table. This month however has been something of a write-off, but the blog is called ‘excuses for failure’ for a reason!

I have managed to get a few words down for other portions of the blog (1, 2), but in terms of model output my efforts have been poor at best! The regular monthly DRPA challenge for September has a theme of ‘Fire & Flames’ – “Great,” I thought, “I can paint up one of my classic metal Legion of the Damned models!”

Classic Legion of the Damned box
Photo from Google – my box is long gone!

In typical fashion I decided to do a whole load of stuff that I’m either not very good at or haven’t tried before. I also started working on the model at about 5pm on the absolute last painting day that I had available for the month. What could possibly go wrong?!

I started out by constructing a base. Then I realised that it hadn’t worked out how I’d wanted, so I made a second one. In a rush, I decided to help my basing texture cure by giving it a quick blast with a heat gun. The only problem is I missed the ‘quick’ part of that step, and caused the base to melt! More on this later though, for now we carry on!

I prime with Molotow Signal Black, and then give him an all-over coat of Vallejo Metal Color Duraluminium. All good so far. From above and back-right I spray Liquitex Deep Turquoise ink. From below and front-left I spray a mix of Contrasts Blood Angels Red and Gryph-Hound Orange. The plan was that these would give some tone to my black – heat and warmth from below show the effects of a lava base, and cold blue from above to act as environmental lighting. So far I actually quite liked where things were going, although the colouring might be a little heavy.

Legion of the Damned trooper, underpainting
I actually quite like the ‘movie poster’ look!

Then I had to try and get a black over the top without destroying the colours underneath. My plan was to use the Daler Rowney FW Payne’s Grey, but I simply could not get it to spray correctly. I’d thinned it a little to lower the opacity, but no matter what I did with my distance and air pressure I could not get it onto the model without pooling and spiderwebbing. I think I managed to vary my pressure from 30psi to as low as 5 but nothing worked. So I switched to Contrast Basilicanum Grey, which played a little more nicely. The lesson here is that I still need a lot more practise with the airbrush!

Deadline looming I set to work, trying to paint as fast as I could without destroying what little colour was left under my black. I quickly realised a number of things: My glazing and blending aren’t great, metal models can be a real pain to work on, I simply didn’t have time to try proper OSL for the first time, I’m awful at bone, and amongst other things I really didn’t know what I was doing!

Unfortunately I allowed panic and a desire to ‘finish’ on time get the better of me. I rushed through the final stages, half-heartedly tried to paint the bone sections (please doubly-ignore the Aquila, I’ve always been awful at them!), made an absolute hash of the base, and wrote off the idea of proper OSL completely. It’s fine though, because the model counts as done, even if he will get pulled apart and stripped when I come to paint the whole squad! I also took the opportunity to try out the Vallejo Fluorescent Green that I’ve had for some time now. It didn’t work out quite how I expected, but I don’t think it’s entirely awful.

The photos unfortunately don’t show much of the turquoise colour in the black but in person there is still a slight blue sheen, though the red is much stronger. You can also just see how the lava base was that hot that it actually melted and lost its shape! Oh, and I’m well aware that if that much light was hitting the base that his armour would also be much more lit up. I was in a rush! The flamer? That’s just a little nod to the classic colour schemes! 😉

Legion of the Damned trooper, finished
I actually don’t hate it as much as I expected!

So what am I going to do moving forward? Well, hopefully learn from my mistakes! In particular I’m going to stop spending so much time on tiny Firstborn Power Armour, regardless of what material it’s cast in. I will come back to them, but for now I want to paint something a little easier to see! I need to work on something I can take my time with, and focus on painting techniques that I can practise and refine, rather than attempting for the first time in a panicked rush!

For October I’m hoping to find the right workflow for my Necrons (remember when that last went wrong?), and if I can find something that’s suitably quick and simple to work through then I’ll write up a little guide. On the back of that I need to get some models finished for the sake of my own sanity. I have a pile of Necron sprues that will hopefully help provide some quick results, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Until next time!

pawl has been an on/off hobbyist since the late nineties but still possesses significantly more enthusiasm for the hobby as a whole than skill with a brush, and so is always on the hunt for fast, easy and lazy techniques that give good results. Despite this he sometimes still attempts to paint Space Marine helmet lenses, and occasionally even manages to stay within the lines!

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