Ready to start painting your model but not sure how to begin? In today’s tutorial I will show you how to paint a Mentor Legion Dreadnought with plenty of tips and tricks that you can apply to your own models.
This is part two of this six-part series for Dreadtober 2016. Last week I showed you my processes for building a custom model through kit bashing. In this post we do all the main colors, leaving the final details for another tutorial.
The Mentors are a great chapter to teach a bunch of different colors as they have white (gloriously hard white!), dark green and red, and I even throw in some yellow to mark them as the second company. Add in the metallics, cabling, lenses, and later detail work I am pretty confident that there will something in here for you.
We left of last week’s tutorial with an assembled model ready for paint. So the first thing to do is give him a coat of primer. The primer does two things: covers all the different materials (color and texture) and gives something for your paint to hold on to.
I don’t use anything fancy for my primer, sometimes it the cheap stuff from Walmart. The trick is to apply it correctly and Dave G put together how he does it. The basic steps are:
- Spray on warm, non-rainy days or in a spray booth
- Shake the can really well to mix up the paint
- Attach the model to cardboard or a small wooden stick
- Start spraying off to one side of the model and sweep across it
- Do a light coat on one side, turn the model and do the others
- Allow it to dry before doing any more layers
Another thing to note about priming is that it doesn’t have to be completely uniform as you will be covering it with paint anyway. It just needs enough for your layers to stick well.
I have played with different colored primers and found that using black is the best way to start as it creates instant shadows in all those nooks that are otherwise impossible to get a brush into. This way they are left black (and thus hard to see anyway) rather than stark white.
If it is a light colored model (like the Mentor Dreadnought here) I then do a second, very light spray of white or light gray. I tilt the can about 45 degrees from the model which leaves the underside dark. This pre-shading is often call zenithal and works great if you are airbrushing your model as the different shades of primer really help.
Since I currently hand brush everything, the second coat of primer really just helps paint the white and yellow areas.
Painting the Base Colors
With the priming out of the way, I like to paint all the main colors on the model. You will see this in pretty much any of my tutorials as it helps me figure out where each color will go and not miss areas if is just paint a single color at a time.
So you can see I painted the base colors throughout my Mentors Dreadnought using the following colors:
- Red: Model Color Red
- Green: Game Color Dark Green
- White: Game Color Bone White
- Yellow Game Color Golden Yellow
- Parchment: Model Color Light Brown
- Silver: Game Color Gunmetal
- Brass: WarColours Dark Copper
The key here is to be fairly neat with each color block but it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time through. In fact when I painted the green (which was the first color laid down) I pretty much slopped it everywhere to get into the nooks.
You can easily paint the touch ups in each area to cover mistakes as there are no highlighting or shading to worry about. At later stages I will be adding a wash, highlights, and even weathering. At each of these points it can cover up or hide any mistakes made.
So with the base colors all finished up, I then applied a full-body wash to the model. I use Vallejo Dark Brown which is close to Agrax Earthshade Brown but comes in a wont-spill-on-you bottle.
The caveat for this wash is the white areas. Where possible (like the large armor plates) I only add the wash to the recesses. This will save time later when I need to paint the Bone White back over it.
The rest of the model gets dosed in the brown wash using a large Wash Brush from Games Workshop. I have a second brush on hand to pull out the extra wash that accumulates in the bottom side of the model. It’s a balance of adding enough wash that it flows everywhere but not too much that it leaves massive drip marks that cover details.
For much of the model, the wash really helps the details stand out and makes it look almost finished (especially compared to the base colors above). White is a hard one though and looks awful with anything but a pin wash.
Once the wash dries (many hours later) I will go back and reapply the Bone White to most of the white areas, leaving only the recesses with the brown wash.
For the green, I wanted to keep it fairly dark with brighter edge highlights – similar to a Dark Angels look.
So the base coats took a few layers to get this right as the Vallejo Dark Green is somewhat translucent. I ended up mixing a bit of black into the green to make it uniformly dark and then added another layer of the Dark Green.
After the brown wash, I tidied up a bit with the Dark Green before moving on to the edge highlights.
Green Highlight 1: Sick Green
This style of painting is called “extreme highlighting” as it goes from the dark black-green to a bright yellow-green. While more layers in between can give a nicer look, I have only done two layers for my highlights.
Here I started with Sick Green and hit all the edges. Where I could, I use the side of the brush and pull it sideways along the edge. This leaves paint in a neat line along the ridge. Otherwise, I started with a thin line of paint to make sure I could keep a straight line.
Follow on layers helped brighten and thicken the lines – especially on the top side.
Green Highlight 2: Escorpena Green
With all the green edges highlighted (even the bottom side) I went back with Escorpena Green. As the name suggests, its very similar to GW’s old Scorpion Green. Using similar techniques to hit the edges, I kept this green only to the upper edges of the green.
Think of where light would be reflecting off the model, and paint those edges only.
As I mentioned up top, not all the lines and highlights were perfect. But I can fix some with pin washes (highly directed wash in the crevices) and with weathering. So I’m not fretting the details here and just moving forward.
What is one of those “really hard colors,” mostly because if you paint straight white, you can’t highlight. This is why I start with Bone White as it is a bit off-white towards the brown side. I use this to keep the warm contrast against all the cooler green rather than using a blue-white.
White Highlight 1: Bone White
With the Bone White applied, the brown wash mess, and the second layer of Bone White to clean up, the white is looking pretty good.
This layer was more of a cover-all-the-mess coat rather than a true highlight. But by leaving the brown wash, and slightly washed white in the recesses, it still has a good amount of depth.
White Highlight 2: Dead WhiteI
With my Mentors Dreadnought, I choose to keep the off-white from above. If you want an very white look and still have crisp highlights, add a layer here of mixed Bonewhite and Dead White.
This is where I added a highlight to the white with Dead White. It add a nice edge to the Bonewhite – an actual white highlight.
Focus on the ridges, what you are trying to do is make all the details pop.
To balance the orange-red as well as designate this dreadnought as part of the Second Company, I add yellow spot colors throughout the model. And by using a more orange yellow as the base coat (Game Color Gold Yellow) it combos with the red-orange to create a split-complimentary pair with the green.
Yellow Highlight 1: Sun Yellow
As yellow is another one of those hard colors, it took a few layers to get a smooth coverage. After the brown wash I use the Gold Yellow again to bring back much of the color before moving on to the Sun Yellow.
As much of the yellow areas are flat, the edge highlights were a bit forced. Rather than accentuating the details, we are creating interest within the otherwise flat surface.
For the eagles, I used more of a drybrush technique to hit all the raised edges.
Yellow Highlight 2: Moon Yellow
I then added a highlight with Moon Yellow. As with most yellow paints, this has a tendency to be translucent when applied. So it took a couple of layers to add a nice highly. Just wait for the first to dry before adding the second or it will smudge.
Using red on the Mentor Legion is a mixed blessing. It contrasts well against the green, but has a tendency to become Christmas colors. To adjust for that, I bring the reds towards the orange end.
Red Highlight 1: Bloody Red
With the base layer of Game Color Red, which is fairly dark to begin with, and the brown wash dried, I move on with Bloody Red.
It’s a very red, red, but tends towards the orange I’m adding next – without actually being orange.
I hit all the ridges as before, but the skull helm required a bit more of an blend then edge highlight.
So thin some red down and paint all the upper surfaces and ridges. When it dries it will have become a bit lighter. Adding a second coat (but not fully covering the first) allows for a smooth transition without actually blending the colors.
Red Highlight 2: Fiery Orange
Using Fiery Orange as the highlight again pulls the red away from a strong Christmas look without going to far with the orange.
As with the green highlights, this layer was kept to the topmost edges and blended into the top of the skull.
I need to make my parchment stand out from the white armor which is already off-white-brown. So I started with an even darker base coat of Model Color Light Brown. After the Brown Wash had dried, it had a nice, dark brown look.
Parchment Highlight 1: Light Brown and Bonewhite
To keep it fairly brown, but still more paper-like, I used a mix of Light Brown and Bonewhite at a 1:1 ratio. Painting everything but the recesses and tears, it creates a nice brown-white that is still distinguishable from the white armor.
Parchment Highlight 2: Bonewhite
To highlight the parchment, I added an edge highlight of Bonewhite. As this is the same color as the armor, I needed to ensure that enough of the brown and wash separated it from the armor plating.
At this point, the process of painting a Mentor Legion Ironclad is nearly finished. It is tabletop ready if you will and I’m already fairly happy with it.
But I’m not done. In fact I have a whole other post to show how add decals, use those decals for freehand work, weathering, and final details. But before all that, I need to finish the base! So the next post will switch to building and painting up his base.
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