8 Feb 2013

L2E's Tyranid Project Log Part 1 - Blood and Stuff

Completed Trygon
Hey guys, JT here with a rather confusing post - i'm launching a project log for Learn2Eel's Tyranid army, as it is a rather large project with some 90(!) gaunts, 7( =[  ) monstrous creatures, and a host of other gribblies that all need to be based and painted up to a decent tournament standard; L2E (who doesn't paint anything, ever) has commissioned me to paint his swarm so he can use it in tournaments.
Although i'm not an exceptional painter by any means, I thought that this would be helpful to offer some insights into the amount of work it takes to paint up a tabletop standard swarm of alien bug - things. Along the way i'll be offering some helpful tips, which hopefully will encourage the new hobbyists among us or perhaps jump - start your latest project; and maybe provide some insights into techniques you may be unfamiliar with; or share my (rather extensive) experience in utilizing those techniques.
A disclaimer; I use only GW products in my projects, this ensures that there are no overly-complex materials and all the techniques, tools and paints I use can be easily replicated and obtained by even the greenest young artist - feel free to offer any critiques or ideas in the comment section, I'm always on the look-out for good ideas to improve my own skills!

  To date, I have completed only 20 of the gaunts and 1 of the 2 Trygons; on my (rather messy) painting table I have a Trygon 'Prime' in its early stages and a flying Hive Tyrant that is nearing completion. You'll notice the rather scary looking Trygon in the image above, and I imagine a point of interest for many viewers will be the blood effects around the mouth - here i'll explain my technique for making the blood, a vexing issue for many budding hobbyists; this process is quick, easy and only requires products any good hobbyist will already have in abundance:

  • PVA glue- also known as white glue, is available relatively cheaply at every GW store (compared to water effects that is) and will help thicken the bloody goop you'll be splaying across your suitably violent miniatures.
  • 'Ardcoat- is essentially a gloss varnish - if you don't have any, you should definately invest in a pot; apart from sealing areas of your diligently painted miniature and helping to prevent damage (although don't rely on it for an entire miniature), it provides a nice glossy sheen to any area's it covers - used sparingly, it can help certain features of your miniatures pop - such as the wings on a Demon Prince, the eyes on your Space Marines, the Soul Stones on your Eldar and, of course; blood.
  • Mephiston Red, Evil Sunz Scarlet and Naggaroth Night- These three paints (two of which are bases) when mixed correctly will provide a dark, natural blood colour - and will cover over any previous colour with only one coat.
  • Palette- An immensely useful yet surprisingly oft over-looked tool for any painter is the palette, for a decent price you can pick up two in a pack - you'll need this to help mix up your disgusting, bloody filth - and its great for mixing paints, altering the consistency of your paints and reducing mess - things that might not neccesarily be your forte at this point, but will be worth it in future as your painting skills develop.
  • Old Dry Brush- Drybrushing. One of the most lauded painting techniques amongst new comers and those short on time, dry-brushing is an excellent technique for painters of any skill level. If you're new to the hobby, chances are you only have a standard brush, and possibly a detail brush - you should invest in a dedicated dry-brush as soon as possible; its an invaluable tool and useful in applications other then just dry brushing.
The Gory Details:

  1. Mix - up the Evil Sunz Scarlet and the Mephiston Red, using the Scarlet to lighten the Mephiston a touch and enrich the colour - you can mix these two colours in a 1:1 ratio to make things even; the exact mix won't make too much off a difference in the end - you can even vary it on purpose on different models to make things a little less uniform; be sure to use a fair bit of paint, depending on how much blood you want to splay across the model - you don't want to run out of gore before you're finished turning your psychopath into a blood-soaked psychopath.
  2. Add tiny amounts of the Naggaroth Night, and keep mixing the paint on your palette until you get a dark red with a slightly brownish tinge - if you're not sure it looks right, just add a little bit more of the Naggaroth Night (remember that the paint will dry darker then it is at the moment). Keep in mind that blood is generally not a bright red colour, but more of a deep maroon - the darkness of your mix will dictate how old the blood is; the brighter your mix, the fresher the blood.
  3. Now you can mix in some PVA glue, this will help solidify the mix - keep adding the glue until you get something with the consistency of Custard or yoghurt; you want to be able to slop this stuff on and have it fill gaps, having its own form, shape and texture - if you're not sure, it really can't be too thick, as long as the amount of glue doesn't greatly exceed the amount of paint.
  4. Add the 'Ardcoat, and add way too much - just mix the stuff in, don't be stingy when it comes to it - when the paint dries, a-lot of the sheen will be lost; so add in as much as you feel is neccesary - then just add a bit more. You will notice that adding this much will reduce the consistency of the mix, if you feel it's not right, just add tiny bits of glue until you're got it back to the consistency you like. The 'Ardcoat being mixed in, instead of simply being painted over the top, when coupled with the clear-drying PVA glue will help give the blood a slightly translucent finish - perfect for simulating blood.
  5. Notice the thick, textured effect.
  6. Grab that disgusting old dry-brush, dip it into your gory mix and start dabbing and stabbing it onto the model where you'd like the blood to be - this well help create texture, fill in gaps and create a more natural spread of the stuff as opposed to simply painting it on, which wont work properly due to the mix being slightly too translucent; you can do this as much as you like until you get the desired volume .

And there you have it! Cheap & easy blood effects, not the best technique i'm sure - but it produces good results and is simple to do for hobbyists of any skill level and doesn't use any complicated, niche products that the typical GW initiate simply won't have. If you have access to water effects, you can replace the varnish and PVA glue and this will likely produce better results; however the stuff is quite expensive and has no real use to the budding hobbyist.

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