Tuesday, 21 January 2014

024. Test Tactical Marine Complete - How to improve...

Finished test Tactical Marine, Ultramarine Third Company
I finished up the test mini over the weekend - 
  • tidied off some highlights on the armour, 
  • highlighted the metallics with the old Mithril Silver and then washed the highlights back with the old Badab Black,
  • blacked in the bolter casing and then went over that with a mix of Vallejo Game Colour Black and Grey Black, and then a further mix of those two colours and the old Codex Grey. I then lightened that mix with some old Skull White and then applied that as an edge highlight;
  • free handed the tactical symbol and the Chapter Badge from a base of the old Shadow Grey, then a mix with the old Fortress Grey and finally some Skull White,
  • applied 'dead' static grass.
While I am happy with my final scheme, there are definite areas for improvement.

In the future I am going to mix up a pot of my final blue colour as each time I have gone to paint this chap I have mixed a slightly different shade of blue, even with the wet pallet - that's more a problem of working from the pallet and mixing as I went rather than aiming for a specific ratio.

I also need to work on my free hand - the Tactical symbol in particular is really rough - a combination of me not being too sure about free hand, and the paint not being the right consistency leading to more dabbing than sliding with the brush giving an uneven finish.  I'm tossing up using decals for the majority of figures, and free hand only where the mini wont easily take a decal.

If I go down the decal route it will mean sealing the model with gloss and then another seal of matte once the decal is applied.  I've had mixed success in the past with varnish, but I had a good conversation with Karitas the other day about how he has been doing it and want to at least give it a try.

The other thing I just realised I have missed is the squad designator - I;ll go back and add squad numbers to the inside of the Tactical symbol.

Overall very happy with the mini.  All up its about a week of after work and weekend painting time for me around my commitments to my family and work.  I am going to follow in Stahly's footsteps and tackle my squads two marines at a time - letting me flick between minis while waiting for paint/washes to dry, and gaining progress over doing each unit one mini at a time.


  1. Great looking model and wonderful paint job! The blue looks fantastic. Mixing up a pot of your final highlight is a good idea.

    I really like how dark the metalics on the bolter are; they almost look like the bluing done on most modern firearms. Your freehand work is good too, the Ultramarine symbol is pretty tricky, particularly if you want to be consistent with the size between models. I have never had much luck with decals though (don't think I applied them properly...). The dead grass on his base is a nice touch too.

    Looking forward to seeing more!

    1. Cheers Adam. Just mixed my first pot and it looks to be spot on when applied with multiple light layers so very happy with that.

      Still tossing up the freehand v Decal - I might use decals where it makes sense on the clean pads but once they have been set go over them lightly with my final freehand colour just to get a finish to match those pads that are covered in other sculpted detail where a decal wouldn't normally fit.

    2. Hit publish too early...

      With the metallics, I had used the Vallejo Gun Metal on the test with a Badab Black wash and then a Mithril highlight. The Vallejo worked really well with the wash. Tonight I found an old pot of Boltgun Metal so used that on my latest 2 I am working on as I prefer its consistency to the Vallejo metallics - the problem is it is a much stronger silver and hasn't taken the wash anywhere near as well so I am most likely going to have to redo it with the Vallejo. Oh well, lesson learned.

  2. Very nice paint work there! Good tip with the two-models-at-a-time, I normally do three or four and then leave them all half finished, it might be worth a try.

    1. Cheers Colonel - yep the two models thing is working a treat tonight - made drying times disappear and let me see progress on a unit level much uicker than doing one mini in stages at a time.

      I too am a sucker for the start a group but never finish it so am hoping this method keeps me interested longer.