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merzbau
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Wed Nov 18 2015, 02:16



A quick update. Finished the hair, blocked in the metals, and did the glowy energy tube effect on the barrel. The latter is going to look better once I've had a chance to go in and clean up around it- things like the little row of ridges up top and the black parts of the gun around it will make it better defined and neater-looking. I've learned from this that the barrel (or, on the current model range, the inset part of the tube) should absolutely come before the gun's black basecoat, since it will always spill over the side a bit.

And I think I was right; it's just so much easier to make the hair look passable if I'm not working with that terrible, terrible head. This is the exact same technique, and while my highlights are still a little thicker than I want them, it comes out so much better.

Still left to do on this model: cleanup, orange highlight layer, eyes, re-shading the metal after cleaning that up, and basing. I based the first model tonight, and I'm still not 100% happy with it. I'm still having a lot of problems neatly getting texture paint around a model's feet, and ensuring that it doesn't look too much like it's sinking down into it.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Wed Nov 18 2015, 02:19

A quick question if anyone's used GW's Ulthuan Grey paint: did I just get an off batch, or is this paint insanely thin? The pot I received with my little resupply order has almost the consistency of a glaze; I don't thin it down at all because I don't think I could if I tried. I even checked to make sure it wasn't from the Citadel airbrush range, though I suppose it could still be mislabeled. It seems to work passably (I used it to highlight around the tip of the gun barrel) but I'm worried about using it to highlight larger areas, like Reavers' dome helmets, without streaking.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Wed Nov 18 2015, 03:59

I haven't used any of the current GW paints, but could the pigment and emulsion have separated a bit? Have you tried stirring it to make sure the pigment isn't all on the bottom? Sometimes shaking a paint pot isn't enough.

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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Wed Nov 18 2015, 04:04

I have, yeah. I make sure to shake thoroughly, but here I barely needed to; it sloshes around with the slightest movement of the pot. It's weird, honestly, the only current GW paint I've had a problem with (aside from their pots; I like the range, at least for convenience and reference purposes, but those pots are straight garbage). I did email GW customer service, and if it's anything like previous interactions (one bent sprue, one solidified bottle of glue), they'll just send out a free replacement with no questions asked- fair play to them, that's the one area of their business where I really can't find any fault.

EDIT: Yup, less than twelve hours and they're sending a replacement, with no requirement to send back the original pot.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 19 2015, 01:58



Nearly done with this guy. Sorry to any purely hypothetical watchers to keep spamming the thread; I find it helps me work things out if I document this in stages.

As it is, he's basically done, bar the highlights on the black gun casing, a spot of cleanup around the eye, and a texture paint snow base. I might try out a red glaze to tone down my highlights- not on this guy, since I quite like how he turned out, but the previous, even more clumsily highlighted one. This one's highlights are still fairly chunky but I'm at least confident they're in the right places.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 19 2015, 02:50

Those old models look to be really hard to do anything spectacular with, and I don't envy your position!
I like the little point highlights, it bings it right out. Nice Smile
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 19 2015, 03:13

Yeah, they're kind of dull- there's just no interesting detail, and I'm starting to think that the weird proportions are throwing me off when it comes time to figure out the highlights. But they're perfect practice pieces- I had a bunch of them in a closet, and I'm willing to bet enough other people do as well that you can get a huge unpainted batch of them for a song. Let's face it, they weren't exactly the best-loved model range for a long, long time...
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 19 2015, 04:02

And done.



Future updates will be batches; I don't intend to do this insane level of detail and step-by-step note-taking for every rank and file model.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 19 2015, 04:11

not too shabby!
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 19 2015, 04:21

I don't think you're spamming, but it wouldn't matter if I did. This is your plog. You can do whatever you want.

I think the highlighting on the red came out quite well. Overall though, I think the model is lacking something. If it were me, I'd consider either making the undersuit space leather a slightly darker color, or else darken the outline of the the plates and joints.

Now I'm tempted to paint up a Kabalite as Flayed Skull, just to mess around with the color scheme...

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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 19 2015, 14:03

Agreed. Part of that is attributable to the sheer lack of much going on on the model- the icy blue is an important part of the color scheme, and with the models' tiny beady eyes and lack of any tubes or vials there's just not much room to apply it. This particular one looks a little better from the back, since the bodysuit goes a bit farther up the backs of his legs and gets a more gradual shading from dark to light, but he's a little blah overall.

The color balance is off again as well- at this point I think it's the pink mouse in the background throwing off my camera. I'm going to try to set up a small area with a white backdrop for future photos.

Next up is a guy with a splinter cannon, which gives me a couple of opportunities to mix things up.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Mon Nov 23 2015, 20:46

I've got the week off from classes, and while I'm making the most of that time (repeatedly smacking my brain against a brick wall trying to write about aesthetic and formal similarities between Stephane Mallarmé and Georges Perec), I'm also getting the chance to paint more. It's a stress release, but mostly I want to make sure I have this squad done and ready to post to the projects thread before the end of the month. The time off also gives me a chance to get the next squad and remaining metal models cleaned, trimmed and undercoated, since the temperature here is rapidly approaching the point where spraypainting would be risky.

Here's what's new:
I've started moving toward an assembly-line procedure, though I'm just working with two models at a time right now. Seriously thinking about getting a wet palette (either DIY or a cheap one from Dick Blick if they have any kind of sale for Black Friday), not just to avoid having to continually reload small amounts of paint when painting multiple models, but also to make edge highlights easier.

I also picked up a new base brush, and ended up going with GW's (the large size) since it was actually cheaper at my FLGS than any of the equivalent synthetic brushes at Blick. It's speeding things up dramatically and I'm extremely happy with how easy it is to get a smooth finish- the rule to always use the largest brush possible might be the best painting advice I've ever gotten.

I have had to make some adjustments due to the nature of the brush, though. I'm having to be very careful to control how much paint I load onto the brush from the pot, since the capillary action on this thing is crazy and it's almost guaranteed to suck some paint up toward the ferrules no matter how sparing I am. Nothing a thorough wash in Master's after every usage can't fix, but something I have to watch out for. The same capillary action (and of course the larger surface area) also makes it easy to water down paints excessively, and the stiff bristles are in danger of flicking tiny droplets of paint onto nearby surfaces if I'm moving fast, but it's worth it for the convenience.

I'll be continuing to work on the edge highlights; in the meantime, I've also found that I need to have a serious think about how I'm applying washes. On my previous practice minis (Space Marines from the same 3rd Edition box) I followed Duncan Rhodes's Blood Angels tutorial video, which called for minimal application of washes into the cracks and recessed parts. This got a little muddy and difficult to manage properly, and I was glad to make the change to an all-over wash with an additional base layer to clean up and brighten up flat surfaces; however, I'm still leaving a lot of tide marks, and even missing spots. Note the back paneling on the first photo below, which will get a small additional application of Nuln Oil before I bring the surrounding panels back up to the base color, and the tide mark on the shoulder in the second photo. It's not a big deal since that'll be covered up in the next step, but I'd love to know how I can avoid this on larger models where it might be more noticeable. You can disregard the circled areas (the helmet crest on the splinter cannon model and the scale armor on the bare-headed model's leg) since those were avoided; I tried to get around their outside edges, but these will be painted gold and shaded later with Agrax Earthshade.









Just to be clear, I think the last one is OK- it's there mostly as a contrast with the other model, where I somehow managed to totally miss the back panels.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Tue Nov 24 2015, 12:11

Really nice work here Merzbau. The paint jobs are so nice on these old models. Really simple but vibrant scheme. I really love the last model in particular. I always liked those evil "Dire Avenger" style helmets from the 3rd ed kits. Wish they had included a modern version of a couple of those in the newest iteration. Keep it up!

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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 26 2015, 01:46

Thanks for the kind words! Especially coming from the owner of one of the best-painted armies on this board Smile

I miss the swept-forward crests a little too, though I'm definitely not going to miss working between the huge knife-edge brow ridges and "cheekbones" to get to the eye lenses.

Here's a WIP update- I was shooting for finishing these by the end of the day but had too much else going on and wound up making a few mistakes and putting it aside for the night:


I was quite happy with this one, until I started in with the orange highlights. Lesson learned: never, under any circumstances, worry about using a highlight color too sparingly. I had to go back in and paint over some spots (mostly around the edge of the shoulderpads) with my layer 1 highlight color, and now the sharpness I was so happy with is gone Sad Same goes for the left knee, too, which is just a mess. I might take that down to the base color and start again from scratch, or at least just use the base to cover up everything but a sliver of the first highlight layer.



OH MY GOD FACES WHY

I have decided that after a careful tactical review, my Warriors will keep their f***ing helmets on in order to decrease the chance of bullets rudely accosting their person about the head and/or neck region.

Kind of jealous of Space Marine players here- it's so much easier to paint those big meaty hamhock heads than it is little pointy elf faces.

Anyway, my process here was a basetone of Cadian- this required three ultra-thin layers, but it couldn't be helped since the otherwise indispensable Bugman's Glow would've darkened the final result too much- Reikland Fleshshade, a near-total coverage of Kislev Flesh, and veeery careful teeny-tiny highlights of Pallid Wych Flesh around the tips of the ears, brow line, bridge of the nose and very thin horizontal lines on the cheekbones. I'm not touching the eyes for now.

The work remaining on these is: highlighting the bayonets (and experimenting more with fine scratch marks on the cutting part of the blade; I tried this on the first test model and it looks surprisingly good), highlights on the second model's green undersuit (trying to tone it down and avoid the garishness of prior models- most of the work should be done with Kabalite Green, with Sybarite reserved for tiny lines along, but not covering, each finger), highlighting the hair on the bare-headed model, finishing the black highlights (with a second layer on the splinter cannon and both layers on the other model's gun casing and hairband), and a cleanup pass with the base red to try and rein in any stray highlights and cover up an accidental splotch of flesh color.

If I can find time for it, I might work on my photo setup this weekend since the colors on these are always off. After checking Tale of Painters' guide to iPhone photography, I'll be swinging by to pick up the cheapest possible tripod, a few sheets of A2 backdrop paper, and most importantly a new desk lamp. I did part of my painting in direct sunlight through the window today and it drove home just how poorly-illuminated my work area is. No wonder I always find it so difficult to highlight black...
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 26 2015, 10:34

rofl. I've never looked at the old splinter rifles before. They're pretty neat.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Thu Nov 26 2015, 19:43

It's been a bit of a struggle to make them look interesting, honestly. I've gone back and painted the top ridge to match the glowy blue of the barrel since it was too thin to really look like a structurally integral part of the gun housing and for consistency's sake since there were similar ridges on the sides of the splinter cannon barrel. I suppose the blue crap might as well be the actual toxic crystalline material and the metallic chamber at the back is whatever exotic gravity thing that spits it out.

Adding to the list of things I actually miss about these old models, though- I'm not a fan of the ludicrously huge bayonets on most of the guns (including the splinter cannon, because obviously you're going to want to use a massive, heavy gun almost the size of your entire body as a melee weapon), but there's one old splinter rifle with no attachments and a pair of arms that more or less defaults to a kind of shotgun-cocking position. Combined with a more sedate pose, it can look pretty sinister in a way that isn't as over the top as everything else on these old sprues.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Sun Nov 29 2015, 21:57

#s 3 and 4 are done; 5 and 6 basecoated. I've somehow managed to get to page three before finishing the first squad of basic troops! Not much exciting to report, and I'll hold off on photos until I've got my

The first round of metal models- the Haemonculus, two Incubi, and Sybarite/Dracon- are spraycoated, but they'll need a touch-up before they're ready to paint since I once again managed to miss some areas. I'm not sure if it was just me being inattentive, even though I had them individually mounted instead of all together in a box like the troop models (PROTIP: those Starbucks iced coffee bottles are great for this; they're long enough that I can hold the very bottom and not have to wear a glove), or if it was a chemical thing- the paint didn't settle terribly well on the ribbed armor that's all over the old Incubi models, and I'm wondering if it's just the old metal making it unnecessarily difficult.

It looks like I won't make the end of the month deadline, which sucks, but school has to come first. Once I've finished the first squad I'm going to take a break from painting red to do the Incubi, then back to squad 2 (Trueborn), their Dracon, and finally the Haemonculus, by which time I'll hopefully have gotten more comfortable with painting skin. I have found that an additional spot wash of Reikland Fleshshade in the eye sockets and on the mouth helps, but I tried once again to paint the eyes on the first model (the one with the ridiculous clownhair) and dear god it looked horrible.

EDIT
Forgot to mention, I started putting together my next practice models after these, a box of those pushfit unit-filler Eldar Guardians to paint as Corsairs. I'm honestly kind of baffled as to how pushfit models can be more annoying to assemble than more complex ones, like the Chaos Space Marines that have been taking up the rest of my model-building time. On the one hand, the mold lines are well-placed and easier to remove than on any infantry model I've done, and the sprue attachment points are in reasonable places (the pushfit CSM backpacks that are attached to the sprue at those spherical ventilator things are some of the most annoying bits to clean I have ever worked with). But on the other...I have to do far too much filing and shaving of the pegs in order for them to actually fit into the holes in a way that's glueable, and even after careful test fitting, there's still a gap on the shoulder pads. I'm going to try fixing it with liquid green stuff, since I know I'll have to deal with the same thing on the DE Kabalite plastics.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Wed Dec 09 2015, 04:01

#5 is done. I'll be adding more photos after picking up a simple tripod and white backdrop. And, ideally, a high-wattage daylight lamp and wet palette, which will do me more good than anything else right now.

It's been educational to try new things with each model. This one has the same scaled armor on his lower right leg as this one: https://servimg.com/view/19353864/11 ; it's the third model so far with that particular detail, and I've tried it in red, gold, and now bone. Gold ended up being the easiest by far since it took so little effort (no clean-up layer needed after applying the wash); the bone, on the other hand, was a huge hassle to clean up, and still looks kind of sloppy.

Other new approaches on this one:
-I'm doing the light grey highlights on the gun's top row of spikes before applying the blue glaze, to tie everything in a bit more neatly

-toning down the highlights on the hands; this worked extremely well, though I've found that the sculpts are invariably better on the old models' right hands than the left. The right/trigger hand is detailed, with individual knuckles and metacarpals on the back of the hand that take highlights well; the back of the left hand is totally flat and the fingers lose enough detail to turn into a kind of flipper with a thumb.

-going for a glowing eye effect, again with a method from the Raiders of Comorragh book intended for drastically different models. I had been just doing a two-step method on the eyes (basecoat with Baharroth Blue, tiny streak of Blue Horror), but this model had deep enough eye sockets I felt comfortable trying something a little fancier- thinning down the Baharroth Blue with acrylic medium, letting it fill the eye socket, then picking out just the center of the lens with Blue Horror. I had to do some cleanup around the edges, but I love how bright and cold it looks.

I can't wait to be done painting the old-style splinter rifles, though. It's a little late for the first squad of 8, but I'll be switching up my scheme a little and painting any vaguely rounded protuberance on my Trueborn's rifles gold just to avoid having to figure out how to highlight those well with grey. Not that it's much easier on the flat panels, since they almost all have curved or rounded edges and few sharp angles or edges, which makes edge highlighting an utter frigging nightmare, at least for a beginner.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Sun Dec 20 2015, 01:22

Seven of nine in the first squad are done. I'm setting things aside until after the holidays; after New Year's, I'll be resupplying (phone tripod and photo backdrop, daylight lamp, wet palette and a couple of replacement brushes) and continuing with this part of the project. My to-do list:

-finish the basic Warrior squad (7/9)
-paint two Incubi
-paint Trueborn squad with metal Sybarite
-paint 3 Wyches
-paint Haemonculus

Tomorrow is the last relatively warm, dry day I'll have in a while, so I spent some time today fixing the worst mold lines, excess glue and arm gaps on the plastic models and cleaning and gluing the last three metal ones. I've also placed a small order with Bitzarium and, after picking up some other things (the sad, single helmeted Reaver head they had in stock and a few fully-masked Wych heads, and some WH:FB Chaos Forsaken heads to sprinkle in among the Chaos Space Marines that have been slowly getting assembled over the last few years), was able to pick up a practice Warrior and Wych for a little under $3 each. It's not a great per-figure price, but it lets me screw up a bit without cutting into the squads I'll actually be playing with somewhere down the line.

I plan to spend my hobby time during the winter putting together my backlog, since painting will be out of the question for a while; right now it's down to the following:
-Chaos Space Marines (these come first, since they're relatively easy models)
-a small consignment of Daemons (box of Horrors, box of Daemonettes, Burning Chariot and Flamers)
-Dark Eldar (seriously kind of dreading putting together Raiders and Venoms, but I'll deal)

and my first and last big GW purchase this year- I've decided to give Betrayal at Calth a shot after hearing surprisingly high praise across the board for the actual game. Now I just need to figure out which Legion to paint the box's contents as...
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Sun Dec 20 2015, 09:14

Interesting... I've never seen a squad of 9 warriors lol. Is that to make room for the haemonculus?
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Sun Dec 20 2015, 15:05

Nah. No such practical considerations; it's just that I found 17 in the shoebox in my old bedroom and with the metal Sybarite/Dracon in the more fancypants squad they broke down into two sets of nine.

I've got all kinds of mess here; there are two models I can't clean up and paint yet (one due to missing parts, one since it has a tiny slottabase tab and would have to be stabilized with green stuff or similar that I don't have) that are not only useless but no longer even legal, a Wych and an Incubi each with a shredder. I mean, I guess the Incubi could be using that weird projectile weapon from the last codex that they also no longer have...
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Sun Dec 20 2015, 17:01

Well then. 17 is an odd number. What happened to the other Tree.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Sun Dec 20 2015, 18:21

Possibly a cat.
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Mon Dec 21 2015, 01:43

A grumpy cat?
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PostSubject: Re: merzbau's Kabal of the Flayed Skull project log   Mon Dec 21 2015, 14:31

No more so than average.
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