+ I had a little time over the May Day bank holiday, so decided to sit down and paint whatever took my fancy; which turned out to mean a long-delayed return to the Imperial Fists. +
+ The PCRC have been discussing doing a big group project for a while, and we ended up deciding that a 'true-scale' army of Imperial Fists (the only army we could all agree was awesome) would be fun. Because we're all of a certain age, Ian Watson's great novel Space Marine has fond memories for us all, so I'm sure that's part of the appeal. +
+ Starting with a couple of cool bits that I wanted to work into a model (a crested helmet and a set of legs from the Forgeworld Justaerain set), I sat down and began building. +
+ By the end, I'd pulled bits in from all over the place, including from an older abortive version of an Imperial Fists army (the sword-holding arm on the left of the picture). The crested helm didn't make the cut, as I decided I wanted to use this laurel-wreathed Iron Armour helm. It's got a great knightly feel that fits the teutonic feel of the Fists. +
+ As a vague one-off, I felt free to experiment with armament, pose etc. and just make a model I wanted. Sometimes restrictions such as armylists can be useful in pushing you to go for a certain pose, but I much prefer to build models I like and only then work out how they would fit in rules-wise. After all, rules change, but the models are forever! +
+ In a similar manner, I played around with the paint scheme, using dark metallics on the faceplate and backs of the legs. This was to offset the bright yellow, and reinforce the sense that the yellow is heraldry. +
+ The painting on the model is fairly unusual for me as the head is not the focal point – instead, it's a three-point focus on the banner, purity seal on the shoulder pad and the sword. The aim was to draw the eye around the model, instead of having a single focus. I think it's worked, but I'd appreciate your thoughts. +
+ The yellow was approached fairly organically. I used a desert yellow acrylic spray (Humbrol Matt 93) to lay in an undercoat, then washed the model with Leviathan Purple. I then layered up with various yellows (mainly Golden Yellow), before shading back down with Dark Flesh. This was diluted heavily with flow enhancer and 'anti-drybrushed' – i.e. I very lightly flicked a soft clean mop brush back and forth over the area to brush away the overlying colour, leaving it just in the recesses. The result can be seen well in the shoulder pad transition (though this has also received a later highlight at the bottom edge). +
+ The weathering was added with a tiny piece of sponge (torn from a blister pack) and Charadon Granite. The lower edges were highlighted with a pale cream colour (possibly Bleached Bone). The same colour was mixed with the base yellow to add some harder highlights across the yellow. +
+ The eyes received a blue glow effect. When adding object source lighting, it's critical to make sure that the surrounding tone is darker. I see this effect done very smoothly and cleanly, but it just doesn't look right as the light being cast is darker than the surroundings. +
+ The banner was a last minute addition. I used a dirty white mixed from the colours on my palette with plenty of white for the banner itself; keeping the actual white reserved for the freehand Imperial Fist symbol. I toyed with adding some stripes, chequers or other details, but decided that a fairly plain, no-nonsense identifier suited the paragons of the Imperial Truth well. This also ensures that while the eye is drawn to the banner, it doesn't remain fixed; but instead roams over the rest of the model. +
+ A couple of other notes +
+ The cloth parts of the purity seals were painted in a different colour to the banner. This minor touch ensures adds a little realism; it's unlikely the two would be produced from the same bolt of cloth, but the similar tone helps them both read as fabric.
+ A little blood spatter was added to the banner using GW's blood effect technical paint (Blood For The Blood God) and an old toothbrush to give the model a Blanchesque touch; reinforced by the netural and minimal base. The overall colour scheme is weathered, warm and dark; I've tried to get a Rembrandt-style feel in the halftones and deep shadows. + Red is an eye-catching colour. As such, each of the three focal points (the banner, purity seal and sword) received a small amount of red to draw the eye.
+ Things I don't like: weathering's a little overdone; the freehand Fist on the belt buckle is badly executed; and the blood on the sword is ugly. Those aside, I think he's worked fairly well overall. I really liked being able to build and paint him in a couple of hours. Spontaneity and speed don't excuse a bad finish, but as a little project of his own, he was a fun evening's work. +