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Painting Gray: Help me figure out a good method to replicate results


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Howdy Ordos,

I'm going to be revisiting some power armor in the near future. I'm not done with my Eldar, but it's just down to a couple vehicles and basing. All infantry is painted, so I can start mentally planning the next project. Normally I'd just buy more models, but I am going to wait for a 9th ed codex before I do that. I have a feeling things are going to get a shake up...
So, I want to do Space Wolves, but in Gray. I can't stand the baby blue, and I like the heresy style paint a lot better. I'm not sure how to justify it in fluff, but I'll sort it out. I've been assured that gray SW are fairly normal and accepted. It's not like painting orange Ultras or something silly like that. 

I found some models that I like, and I'll be using them as inspiration. Here they are:

(I'm getting limited, so I will add some more in as replies to this post.)

NK6OW2C.jpg

I am curious what you guys think would be the best way to get this grey ton armor, while still getting the shadows and highlights. I debated a dark primer with grey zenithil spray. I looked at priming grey seer, then doing the grey contrast paint, and highlighting up. I could just primed a medium grey, wash grey for shadows and highlight up... etc.

Lots of options. I don't have an air brush. I assume I'll need to buy some spray paint. (I was looking at Montana Gold artist acrylic spraypaint) I'm not a pro level painter, but I know my way around most standard technique.
I am hoping to get a relatively easy spray or wash based base coat, so I can really focus on the details and highlights. Grey has to be highlighted and shaded well, or it looks unpainted. So I plan to be mindful of that. 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

 

SW Gravis.jpg

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Those models look awesome. Are those yours? I dig the snowy/scrub bases too.

I have always been apprehensive about doing an airbrush due to cost, mess, learning curve, etc. Maybe it's time to make the jump, before embarking on this project. Hmmm.... I am sure there are lots of airbrush threads out there. I will research.

Question; Why the gloss coat before the panel liner pinwash? Does it make it flow into the creases better, or something like that? Since you later matte coat it, I assume it's not for looks. 

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Yup, those are mine -- thanks for the kind words. Bases are still a work in progress, but are getting better as I get more familiar with the materials.

Regarding airbrushing, there are lots of great tutorials and guides out there. If you want to chat about 'em, let me know-- I'm happy to shoot the [big bad swear word] about it.

Regarding the gloss coat, yes. It makes the panel liner flow better, and also makes cleanup much easier. Decals go on better as well, though there aren't any on these particular models.

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I'll do a little research on air brushes, and then hit you up. Depending on cost, I may take the plunge. The part of me that wants to do it, is the same part that wants to save time. It seems so much faster to get everything done with a brush, then do highlights and accessories. I could, perhaps replicate some of that with rattle cans, since this is not an off the wall scheme. Not sure.

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I did my SW working up from a black undercoat through Mechanicus Standard Grey, Dawnstone, and Administratum Grey. No airbrush, just drybrushing with a really big* brush. There are some pics here and here. Then picked out the details afterward.

*As in, a brush normally used for doing trim on houses. Could easily be done with zenithal spraying/airbrushing for a cleaner effect, tho.

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Those look really good. I am hoping for a little lighter tone, but the same take pretty much. It's nice to see that this scheme looks really good in the end. 
I've decided that I'm going to do some test models with a few methods. I think your layering makes a lot of sense for a non-airbrush technique. I am still on the fence about buying one. 

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Yeah, regardless of technique, using a true grey rather than the robin's egg blue that they try to pass off as grey is really a good look for SW. Because of disability issues (when I hit my limit, I need to be able to stop immediately, can't always deal with the cleanup an airbrush would require), I messed around and figured out the bigass brush as an alternative that was more workable for me.

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There's been a lot of back-and-forth within GW's official art as to the exact color of the Space Wolves. It's supposed to be a sort of grey-sky-blue, hence the nickname "Sky Warriors of Fenris" rather than a more slate-grey.  But an awful lot of people (even on GW's own painting teams and illustrators) prefer them to be grey without any hints of blue whatsoever.

I've found it's best not to invoke the ire of any given Space Wolf player by asking about the levels of blue in their paint scheme.

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Saw you mention using Montana Gold/Black earlier in the thread. Have you ever used them? Asking because I'm a huge fan of the line but there's definitely a bit of a curve using them. They're for graffiti so they have 2 main stong points. Highly saturated colors, yay! Dumping a lot of paint quickly, not so yay.

Still think they're an awesome option. Fantastic colors and coverage, not crazy expensive. Old metal models are great for this. Spray them, make your mistakes and learn. Drop in Simple Green, scrub and repeat. Practice a bit before trying on your "real" models.

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I've used them before, but honestly, it was several years ago, and the models weren't my best work. A buddy of mine is really good with them, so I'll probably have him over to give me a bit of a tutorial. General idea is to use it after primer for a base coat, or perhaps as the zenithil highlight. Prime black, base coat with Wall, so it will be a little darker due to the primer. Then zenithil with Marble. I'm not sold on this method, but it's one I will test out, for sure. If I can eliminate doing brush base coating or full model contrast painting, I will be very happy. I'd love to hop in at the more interesting phases of painting. 

image.png.4d6e164574f3eb05e5150aca728c815d.png

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