20090211

Ask the Corps: Large Flat Surfaces

A Man and His Warjack

Simon writes: I think I'm a pretty solid painter for infantry sized models, but when I started painting my Khador 'jacks I realized that I was pretty clueless about how to highlight huge, open surfaces. So far nothing that I've done looks very good or convincing.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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realgenius

Simon, I've had the exact same experience working on my Protectorate of Menoth warjacks. They have such large armor plates and shoulders, they just scream out for... something.

I like the look of your warjack and he's very neatly painted as is, although he could probably use a little more edge highlight for my taste. But since you are looking for something extra, here are a few suggestions for those huge, open surfaces.

1. Detail

Once you have a nice edge highlight of one or two shades, you really can add a lot to the appearance of large flat areas by adding some army specific details. Either free-handing a logo, squadron marking or name in those large areas really adds a lot of character to larger models.

If free-hand details make you uncomfortable you can easily make your own decals. My printing your own decals you can easily add script or logos to just about any model. For a free-hand "look" just use the decal as a guide and paint right over it.

2. Damage

Grey_Death recently posted a tutorial on battle damage that would be perfect for those armored plates of a Khador warjack. Just a little paint "damage will add a lot of depth to the huge, open surfaces. If you want to break out the modeling tools and damage that nice paint job you have already, you can go for a more exagerated battle damage.

3. Advance your skill

My guess is that you've come to this same place on a few different models; you've painted it, it looks good, but it needs something more. Now is a perfect time to start working on your wet blending skills and try and create a nice gradient effect across the large open spaces. Of course it is never going to work out the first time (or first few times) you try it, but you have to start somewhere. Check coolminiornot.com for a good wet blending article and give it a try on the green shoulders of your warjack.

You can see in the photo you sent where the light falls across the rounded part and that's right where I'd start the lighter color of the blend. Blend to a darker color on the front and back of the shoulder pad so that you can practice two blends in one area. Space Marine dreadnoughts also suffer from large, flat areas and you can see below what a nice effect the subtle color gradient can have on the overall look of the model.


It will take time and practice, but once you master the technique and paint consistency required for wet blending, everything else you add on (additional details or battle damage) will look that much better.

Good luck and don't forget to send us a picture of the final product of your work!
-Jim (realgenius)

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grey_death

Simon, I think Jim has hit a LOT of the high points when it comes to painting large flat spaces. Which makes my job much much easier!

A lot of folks come to large areas of armor plating and really draw a blank. Many just hit the edge highlighting and call it a day. But some see opportunities abound. And much of the opportunity I see in models like the Warjack are directly related to my love for weathering. I've posted about armor weathering on a few occassions in the past, and I think there is STILL much to be gleaned from those posts for many many people around the net.

Jim did hit one of my favorite new techniques by linking my Sponge Battle Damage tutorial above. I think this could work out VERY nicely for a model like this, and using some additional weathering, maybe something as simple as a grime and dirt drybrushing (Seen later in this tutorial), the model will boast that much more character. The great thing about many of these weathering ideas, is that you can easily add them to models you've had finished for some time now!

-Aaron (grey_death)

For those of you seeking answers to your modeling and painting questions, send them in to ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com and you might see your email featured here!

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