Speedpainting

All posts tagged Speedpainting

Local Warmachine player, friend and all-around awesome guy, Andrew M., recently inquired about commissioning some Khador models. He was only interested in Tabletop quality, and he had a fairly clear vision of what he wanted the scheme to convey.

Standard_Scheme

Andrew’s Khador army has been dubbed, “The Shadows of the Empire”, and the scheme is designed to feel dark and imposing, embodying the unstoppable juggernaut from the frosty north. This is conveyed with dark blues for the primary color, and a very light blue as the edge highlight. Having a bit of a WWI / WWII feel was important as well, reinforcing the militaristic nature of the Khadoran Empire. To achieve that, a dark green was added as a secondary color, and white and red were chosen for iconography. Lastly, to reinforce the northern cold feel, Andrew wanted cold magical effects, so we pulled out the old stand-by for magicks, Arcane Blue.

Andrew and I spent a good long while on the scheme, but we wanted to see how it would do on an actual model.

So I painted one.

Speedpainted_Spriggan_Shield

Andrew supplied the Spriggan (already assembled and primed, and I hauled in all of my painting gear, including my airbrush. I quickly ripped the spriggan off it’s base, and flocked it with my usual gravel mixture (railroad flock in 2:1:1 Fine:Medium:Coarse). After dropping a pin into each foot and cleaning the most offensive of the mold lines.

I airbrushed the main blue color (shade -> mid -> highlight), utilizing a bit of masking tape to separate the little shield over the head from the rest of the main body panel. i then two-brush blended the shadows on the more vertical panels on the either side of the chassis.

Speedpainted_Spriggan_Front

From there, I laid down the shade color for the green, and then the base color for the silver metals. Next was the brown undercoat for the bronzes. From there, I added the green highlight, the bronze main color, and the washes on both metals. The last effects were the bright edging and attaching the ‘jack to it’s base (which had been dry brushed with grey by then).

All told, the entire thing took about three hours, including the pinning and flocking.

I’m very happy with the results, which I feel firmly achieve tabletop, if not above tabletop. The main thing that keeps it on the border for me is the couple mold lines that I missed and ended up being rather obvious, so I think an extra 10-15 minutes to check for those would be worth it for future efforts. Here’s an example:

Speedpainted_Spriggan_Back

Also, I apologize for the picture quality, I only had my phone, and I let Andrew take home the ‘jack (of course). Terrible quality aside, here’s a few more shots:

Speedpainted_Spriggan_Pike

Speedpainted_Spriggan_Closeup

Overall, I really enjoyed this exercise, and I think Andrew and I were both very happy with the result.

However, it just now strikes me that I may have accidentally used Gnarls Green instead of Ordic Olive for the green bits… Oops.

Well, I think my experiment with speedpainting has been successful.  I’ve finished the models I set out to do, and I did them in the time I wanted to.  I successfully pushed myself to be as efficient as possible, despite my wants to fix errors as soon as they happened.

Uh, I think we need some risers, the tall guys in back still can’t see.

I definitely think I had to sacrifice a bit on quality – given the choice I may go fix a few panels I’m not happy with, but I will say that I’m rather proud to have finished a battlebox + a heavy in two weeks.

So, now that it’s all over, what else have I learned?

Paint dark colors first.

Even if they’re “outside” lighter colors.  This goes against the whole “work from the inside out” idea, but if the panels aren’t too far apart in depth, do the darker panels first.  I started with the whites, and I had a horrible time cleaning up when I got black or red on them.  I would have been far better off painting the black highlights, then the red bits, and then following up with the whites.  or at least waiting to blend the whites until after I had worked on the rest of the model.

It would have been easy to fix the mistakes on the whites if they were only a basecoat.  As it was, they were already blended, and repairing a mistake in the middle of a blend… is painful.

Much better!

Pick out your scheme ahead of time.

I had done a test model before I got started, so I knew roughly where I wanted the colors to go, but I hadn’t really thought about the color distribution before I translated that scheme from a Temple Flameguardsman to one of the ‘jacks.

As is, there isn’t enough black on the light ‘jacks – to me they have a bit too much color on them compared to the other three models.  I think it turned out OK, but I think I could have struck a better balance by making the shoulders black, or perhaps the inner part of the upper shoulder – transposed the white panel and little black box on the shoulder.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Kreoss says so…

I’ll admit that by the end I wasn’t painting fast on principle, I was painting fast just so I’d be done.  I think 5 models this size was a bit much.  Two heavies, three lights, or a 6-man unit would be good sizes.  This small army (nearly 20 points) was just too much.  There was too much time between stages, and I didn’t see results fast enough.  It was also far too long before the metallics went on, and for my Khador that’s fine since there isn’t much to them, but this scheme called for lots of bronze, it’s a major component of the scheme.

I tackled too big of a project, and I think that’s what caused me the most discomfort during this experiment.  It wasn’t really the “you can’t fix it until the end” rule, nor was it the fact I hadn’t thought about how I wanted to do the bases at all.  It was that I didn’t see results fast enough to stay motivated.

Conclusion:

The rules of speedpainting certainly help.  had I stopped and fixed mistakes, or worked on these models serially, I would have gotten caught up in every little detail, and I’d have maybe one of these models done by now.

  1. Pick a small group of models, something you can work on easily and in a timely fashion.  2 heavies, 3 lights, or a min unit are ideal.
  2. Make a vow to not fix any mistakes when they happen.  Fix them only when you are completely done.
  3. Start with your darkest color and your biggest brush.
    1. Paint as close to the edges and details as you are comfortable with your current brush.  Paint all the same bits on all your group of models.
    2. Swap to a smaller brush, and edge the panels you painted in the previous step, cleanly defining the edges.
  4. Switch to your shading color(s) and repeat steps 2A and 2B, then go to 4.
  5. Switch to your highlight color(s) and repeat steps  2A and 2B, then go to 5.
  6. Switch to your next lightest color in your scheme, and go to 2A.

Good Luck!

Rather than a new How-to Tuesday, I’d like to continue on from last week and discuss some of my experiences as I try out the Speedpainting methods I mentioned.

Models at the end of the Painting Day at LGS

Last Thursday, the normal game night at the LGS, I set up shop for painting and painted for a good 3-4 hours.  I was being social and chatting with several folks, so it wasn’t focused time, but I still managed to prove that 2-brush is a quick painting method.

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Not much to report yet.  All the “white” panels have been base coated in 4-5 layers of Menoth White base, and this is by far the most time consuming part of this scheme.  I was able to get my first layer of shadows down – a layer of Hammerfall Kahki – two layers in some cases.

The colors are super close, and you can’t really see it in the picture, but it’s noticeable on the model.  The Hammerfall is a bridge color – the transition from MWB to Gun Corp Brown is a tad too large, but the Hammerfall bridges it nicely.

WIP 1 Stage, "Whites" with first layer of shading

Since the white takes up most of the big panels, requires numerous layers, and in most cases is the innermost surface, it’s the obvious starting point.  Once it’s done, though, I’ll have to be super careful with the reds and blacks, since trying to fix an error on the gradients will be a nightmare.  Control, control, control.

How are you doing?

I thought I’d covered this topic before, but when it was suggested and I couldn’t find the article, I realized I hadn’t covered it.  So, I’m here to change that!

Managing Expectations

If you’re speedpainting, you need to take a hard look at your expectations for the results of your time spent.  Since you’re moving fast, and you’re primary goal is painted models on the field, you’re going to have to overlook the lack of small, tedious details, like belt buckles, eyes, or weathering effects.

I’m not saying you should expect your models to look like shit – but you should not expect a model you take 3-4 hours to paint to stand up to your 20+ hour warcaster.  This is just something you have to accept.

By speedpainting, you’re sacrificing quality of the paint job in favor of playing with painted models, and achieving that quickly.

Remember, once you have a few list’s worth of models painted, you can always go back and strip a unit and take your time.  Over time, you’ll eventually re-paint your models to the standard you want, and you’ll still be able to play fully painted (just without the unit on your painting table).

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