Painting 3 Baneblades...(Part 1)

For a game of Apocalypse that me and friend have planned ive been working on a Steel Fury Apocalypse unit - this consists of 2 Baneblades and 1 Baneblade command tank - Yes, that is 3 Baneblades in one unit! As i was painting them, i took stage by stage photographs. These are included with a basic tutorial of how i painted the models.

Stage 1
Once i had bought and assembled the units (a very enjoyable experience i must say - the Baneblade really is one of the best kits ive ever put together), i undercoated each Baneblade with several coats of Chaos Black undercoat.

In total each model have around four or five coats on each part (two lascannon mountings, turret, Hull Heavy Bolter and main hull). I then left each Baneblade to dry for approximately 24 hours.

Stage 2
Next each Baneblade has Vallejo "Wolf Grey" lightly airbrushed over each panel, concentrating on the center of each panel

By the time i had finished the third tank, the first was dry, and i then applied a second light coat of wolf grey, covering mostly the same areas. If you havent tried using an airbrush on a tank before, i highly recommend it. The finish that can be achieved in far superior to brush painting, and other effects are easy to learn. Whilst there is some initial outlay (i use a Spray Master kit that i got on Ebay for about £70) the differnce it will make to your vehicles i vast. However, i digress....

After the second pass of "Wolf Grey" each tank then had a mix of "Wolf Grey" and "Stonewall Grey" airbrushed in to the very center of each panel, lightly. Sorry about the photo above - it came out a lot bluer than the actual tank is. Later photos show this more clearly.
One question that friends tend to ask me, is about the consistency of my paint when airbrushing - although this depends on the colour and the effect that you are after, normally i work at a 1:1 paint / water ratio. The paint ideally should be about the same thickness as semi skimmed milk. This is similar to the ratio of water and paint that i would use when brush painting, so i guess its habit more than anything.

Stage 3
Once the "Wolf Grey" basecoat was complete on all 3 tanks i gave each one a light dry brush using "Stonewall Grey" and "Bone White" mixed together, in varying amounts. Initially i focussed on wide areas using a high concentration of "Stonewall Grey" and then as i added more and more "Bone White" i concentrated more on the absolute hard edges

Stage 4
Painting the tracks and other metallic areas was next - I like to paint these in a mid grey to start with, as a good flat backing fot the mettallics and then work in the metal with the weathering and mud (shown in a future post!). The first thing i did here was to mask off any areas that could potentially catch the overspray from any parts. Main areas that i concentrated on were the tracks and the gun points

Once the areas had been masked off the exposed areas were given several light coats via airbrush of Vallejo "Cold Grey". Once this was dry, the masking tape was carefully peeled away

Stage 5
Once the Grey on the tracks was dry they were given a watered down coat of MIG Pigments "Standard Rust" pigment mixed with a lot of water. You can see the combination in the photos below

If you havent used MIG Pigments before, i highly suggest that you get hold of some. They are basically artists pastels ground up to a fine powder. You can make you own by rubbing a pastel on a piece of fine sand paper (this is something that i use later on in this tutorial, for "soot" effects on gun barrells etc). If you are using the pastel method, make sure that you dont buy oil based pastels as these are no good and will simply smear on your nicely airbrushed tank.
The mixture of pigment and water was then liberally splashed all over the tracks.

Once this first coat had dried a second coat was applied, using the same wash. You will notice that the pigment stains in a way very different from inks / washes. One thing that is very cool is that you can use a wet brush to move the particles of the pigment around, even after the wash has dried!

Once dry this gave a nice rusted effect to the tracks, as seen in the image below. Although not much of this rust effect will be visible once the mud and other debris has been added, it non the less gives a more "used" look to the tank where the tracks are visible

Stage 6
The next stage was to add mud effects to the track areas of the tanks. This was acomplished in several simple steps -

    First the entire underneath of the tank and the edges of the tracks and skirts were given a light airbrush of watered down Vallejo "Charred Brown" followed by a light airbrush of Vallejo "Earth". This gave a good base coat for the mud to come.

    A mix was then made of Vallejo "Plastic Putty", Vallejo "Charred Brown", Vallejo "Earth" and MIG Pigments "Basic Earth". I also mixed in a large handful of "Burned Earth" static grass. This was then liberally applied to the base, tracks and skirts, covering roughly the same area as the airbrushed in step 1, but leaving some of the base colour to show through. The Plastic Putty means that the mixture remains malleable for a good while (I usually find that the working time is about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the exact ratios). This is usually more than enough time to get the mud down. I try to avoid key areas that would avoid mud in real life (If you look at real tracks, mud doesnt generally collect on the actual face plate of the tread, because it is constantly moving) and also try to avoid splashing mud too high up the side of the skirts - in real life, this is what the skirts help to do; prevent mud from getting in to the drive mechanism!

    Once the mud has dried it gives a very realistic effect, as can be seen in the photos below. The static grass especially give an extra dimension to this effect, and especially if you move the grass whilst the Putty is still wet you can achieve really great results!

    To be continued...


    jabberjabber said...

    Three baneblades! I'm really impressed - it must be taking you a long time to build and paint! Awesome.
    Thanks also for talking of MIG pigments - I'm going to try to find some.

    Paul Chana said...

    LOL, yeah currently they have had about 50 hours spent on them (although lots of that is probably drying time), and i think im about 1/3 of the way through - still got to do the rest of the weathering oil leaks, scratches; the list goes on and on!!

    MIG Pigments are my find of the year. As you will see in the second part of the tutorial, they are ultra versitile and give a *very* realistic finish.
    You can get them direct from the manufacturer at MIG Productions or your local friendly model shop...

    sovietspace said...

    I'm just about to start painting my first Tank for a long while and his article is a real motivator. If you can do 3 Baneblades then I can easily churn out a Rhino!

    I love your nice simple method. Can't wait for more mate, great work so far.

    Paul Chana said...

    Hi Sovietspace!

    Remember when painting tanks that simple techniques can take you a long way - Start by getting a good basic base coat, the move on to highlighting. The great thing about tanks is that as you practice more and more you can add ever more advanced techniques, all the while going back and "upgrading" previously painted tanks (I find this is unlike minis where a bad paint job cant really be saved...)

    RonSaikowski said...

    Those look great, I can't imagine trying to paint 3 of them much less assemble them.

    I bet they look spectacular in formation.

    Paul Chana said...

    LOL, yeah they were awsome in the apoc game we played over the weekend... They rolled out and just dominated the battlefield - Chris was so scared after the first turn when i took out 600 Pts of Terminators that he just tried to hide from them... Thing is, with a 72" range on the battle cannon, there was nowhere to hide! Mwahaha!

    Gamers World said...

    Love models, I hope to see more.

    Mike The Merciless said...

    Simply stunning! I love the airbrush effect - how long did it take you to get the hang of using it?

    Paul Chana said...

    Its funny, but airbrushing seems to be one of those things that people seem to think is really hard - in reality its actually a lot easier than brush painting - If you can undercoat a miniature you can use an airbrush...
    In total the results that you can see is problably the result of 6 months of working with an airbrush - Mostly ive been using it to base coat models and to quickly paint terrain.
    My main advice with the airbrush would be to get the best airbrush / compressor that you can afford, and try to make sure that you get a double action airbrush. Whilst it may seem daunting to begin with to shell out > £80 on an airbrush and compressor, in the long run it will be more than worth it. I started out using a single action external mix airbrush (one that connects to a can of air, like the citadel spray gun), and i found it very unsatisfying to use, mainly because of the lack of control that you have. This changes the moment you use a double action airbrush and enables you to very easily do fade effects etc...