Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dante the Crusader

I've finally finished a model that I originally bought several years ago, back when I was planning a Daemonhunters army: a metal Crusader henchman.

I love this miniature (other than the strange helmet, that I filled in with greenstuff), but it has a problem that isn't obvious in the official photos. You see, it's a one-piece model. As a result the sword sort of merges into the body rather than sitting on top of it - they really should have cast the sword a separate piece in my opinion. I wasn't confidant in my ability to hide it with paint, so I sculpted a huge mass of purity seals behind the sword to hide the problem, and tried to balance it with a couple of seals on the other side, behind the shield. I don't think it looks too bad; it's almost certainly better than it would have looked if I hadn't done it.

GW crusaders (photo from www.games-workshop.com)

I've been painting a lot of very dark miniatures, so I wanted to go the other way with this guy and make him a bright as possible; as a crusader I wanted him to look pure and incorruptible, so I tried to use lots of "pure" colours like whites, silvers and golds.

I used the same method of painting white cloth that I used for Sean; a pure white base, then a shade made from a mix of badab black wash and 'hardcoat varnish, followed by a white drybrush and some "repair" work as needed. It still isn't amazing, but it actually got the job done here as I was happy with minimal shading to keep the model looking bright.

I built the gold up from the bronze, but it didn't come out as bright as I expected. I think next time I'll start with a bright yellow instead. The metal was also darker than I hoped. While brushing the paint on works well for giving metals texture, I think it might turn out brighter to build up a base of Mithril Silver in a more traditional way (lot of thin layers of thinned down paint), which is what I'll try next time.

The model was just crying out for some freehand, what with all that blank cloth, especially around the back. So I looked around for a simple edge trim pattern that I thought I could handle. I found it, but I had a problem. I wasn't confident in painting gold directly over white; I didn't want to have to paint a line more than once since I would probably just mess it up, but gold doesn't have good coverage so you normally want to paint it over another colour. Besides, I have great difficulty painting fine lines as I either end up with too much paint on the brush or it dries too quickly (yes I know I need a drying retarder or something).

So I tried something new. I bought some metallic ballpoint pens and tried drawing directly onto a painted and varnished surface. The results were encouraging, but in practice I found there were too many crevices where a pen couldn't reach. Luckily I found that if I scribbled a bit on a piece of plasticard, the gold ink would pool a little and I could pick some up with a brush and paint it on normally. What's more, it didn't dry quickly, making it much easier to paint with. So I painted the pattern as well as I could along the edge of his cloak, and added a Sentinels Eternal logo on the back.

Drawing directly on a varnished surface with a gold ball point pen.

Then I discovered the problem with the gold pen ink. It was designed to sink into porous surfaces and rubbed off the paint far too easily. Plus, if I tried to brush 'ardcoat varnish over it the varnish dissolved the ink a little and spread it a around a bit. Luckily I had decided to run a test on my test model before varnishing the crusader. Luckily a spray varnish (GW Purity Seal) did not have that problem.

Overall I like how he came out. I'm quite proud of the freehand; even though it's a bit messy it certainly adds a lot to the model. I've decided to call him Dante, after the title character from the EA game Dante's Inferno (who is of course named after the famous poet Dante Aleghieri, but let's not worry about that). It is a relief to have finally painted him.