So, in my efforts to bash out the backlog on my shelf of shame, I managed to finish off my Spriggan that had been sitting there since, well, since Spriggans were considered to be one of Khador’s best warjacks.
For me, this model was a study in freehand and weathering. I stuck to my usual purple and pink colour scheme with the autumnal colours in the basing. To be honest, when I started, I didn’t think it would end up looking this good.
I bought this model used, and had to strip some paint off, and of course, broke the spindly little arms off in the process and had to reconstruct them. Then I primed it white and hit it with the purple base coat using an old Badger single-action airbrush. My purple recipe is simply the Reaper Royal Purples triad of Nightshade (9022), Imperial (9023) and Amethyst (9014) purple, which with the right mixture of Vallejo airbrush thinner and flow improver, shoots through the brush pretty well. Start with the darkest colour and work your way up, occasionally using a business card or a bit of silly putty for masking and to prevent overspray, and you’re in business.
Then it sat on the shelf for a year.
Of course, when I picked it back up, I noticed that there were a lot of issues with the model, as I had gotten a little better at painting in the meantime. I had missed a lot of mold lines the first time around, and my first attempt at recreating the arms was not great. There was some cleanup involved, but I didn’t want to have to respray the model, so I kept my cleaning to places where I was going to paint over anyways, or where I could easily conceal my scratching at it.
I also ripped off the arms to make it easier to paint and to redo the arms. With a couple plasticard tubes, I managed to create a couple piston-looking things that could go over the brass rod underneath and which were a little beefier looking than the original arms that come in the box.
And then it was on to base coating. I used mostly P3 and Vallejo Model Colour metallics to do the metal bits, and for the whites, I worked my up, with an undercoat of a medium gray, to Reaper’s Misty Grey (9090), which I find to be one of the most useful colours in my repertoire. The pink on the lance and shield is also from Reaper; I used their HD Rosy Pink (29853) as an undercoat, Punk Rock Pink (09286) as a base, and Blush Pink (09262) for the highlight. These are some very vibrant pinks, and have a home in many models in my army.
And then we have the freehand.
This is, in my opinion, the most impressive part of this model. It catches the eye and, along with the weathering, is one component which goes beyond “here’s a model I painted” and really tells a story. I’m not sure what to say about it; just having nice brushes, the right consistency of paint, and some reference material close by (in this case, a picture of the Black Dragons logo), and a single-colour freehand like this turns out to be less difficult than it looks. I also freehanded the spiral on the lance, which wasn’t too hard, again, with the right brushes, right consistency, and a steady hand.
Washes add some depth to the model; I used Nuln Oil from GW for most of the wash, and added a little Druchii Violet for the brass bits. It sounds funny, but I’ve found that a purple shade works really well on brass and gold because colour theory. Being across the colour wheel from gold, purple shadows make the golden highlights really pop, or something like that. I don’t know, I’ve never been to art school. Highlight the metals back up, do a bit of edge highlighting, and we’re ready for weathering!
There were a few techniques I used for this weathering. For the scratches, what I did was a line of dark colour in the scratch, with a line of highlight below, kind of like this Duncan video. I also used the sponge technique, applying some dark silver like GW Leadbelcher or P3 Pig Iron using a leftover bit of some pluck foam. Then I followed up with some P3 Umbral Umber overtop using the same technique. Both GW’s Typhus Corrosion and Agrax Earthshade can create rust streaks, and Typhus Corrosion is also good for adding dirt and mud effects around the feet and legs of the jack and bottom of the shield, as well as sooty crud on the smokestacks.
When it comes to weathering, placement is key. Remember how I mentioned earlier that last year’s me kind of slacked off on the mold lines? Well, here is a nice way to cover that up without worrying about exactly matching the colour at that point on the smooth blend. That scratch is supposed to be there; it’s weathering…
Also, weathering tells a story. I put a lot of weathering on the shield, for example, because it’s a shield. Blocking blows is what it does, so it’s going to get beaten up. Also, the lance is going to get scratched up as it penetrates the armour of a Cygnaran warjack, destroying its boiler and wrecking it. A jack with a punchy fist is going to have scratches on the fist and on the forearm from punching. Ideally, Khador jacks will have more damage on the front as they face down their foes rather than running away like cowards. And so on. I took a while to get into weathering because I like a “clean” look, but even a few scratches can really help the model go tell a story.
I have to admit though, it took a lot of courage to take this freehand that I spent a couple hours working on and which looks great and start randomly stippling crap on. But in this case, once I got over the fear that I would ruin my wonderful freehand, I came up with something that is so much better and more visually interesting than it was before. So, my one piece of advice would be to not fear the weathering. Doing it well can really take things to the next level, and the worst that can happen is you end up repainting something, which in the grand scheme of things is no big deal.
And so, we get the final product. It turned out a lot better than I anticipated when I started, and while there are some imperfections here and there, I’m very happy with it. Now, to figure out who to take it with on the table. Hmmmmmmm, perhaps Vlad1 for the anti-stealth in a rocket list, or maybe Kozlov once the Man-O-War theme comes out?