+ inload: Painting Stormcasts WIP +

+ Stormcast of the Tallowlands +

Battered, war-weary and quietly noble is how I like my heroes, whether that's in the grim darkness of the far future, or in the PCRC's little nook of the Mortal Realms, the Tallowlands.

The examples here, of an as-yet-unnamed Chapter Chamber, are my version of the three lost in the city of Shadespire. The game, Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire, is very fun, by the way. I picked it up on a whim, and very much enjoyed my first game. The figures are good too; it's nice to see both a bare-headed and a female Stormcast, and their Khorne adversaries are also fun.

As you can see, I've gone for a turquoise and bronze scheme. I think it makes them look a little like worshippers of Manaan, the Old World god of the sea. Perhaps that's where I'll take the concept of their Chamber.

+ Painting bronze +

_1 Prime grey.
_2 Paint the metal areas with a 70:30 mix of Abaddon Black and Balthazar Gold.
_3 Add more Balthazar Gold to the mix, along with a drop or two of silver ink (I use Winsor & Newton's inks). Use this mix to highlight, leaving at least a third of the armour plate as the darker base coat in the areas away from the light source. This is generally the bottom third of the area, but this will depend on the shape. 
At step 5, you should have three main areas of tone, which blend
smoothly into one another, as shown on the helmet here.
_4 Wash with Druchii Violet.
_5 Dilute Balthazar Gold with silver ink (a drop or two is fine) and a little flow medium. Use this to highlight, looking to cover roughly a third of the armour plate. As with the earlier highlighting (step 3), pay attention to the light source, and apply the highlighting to the upper third.
_6 Using a dry soft brush and silver ink, make small, light, circular movements to texturise and highlight the metal in direct light. Think of it as very controlled drybrushing.
_7 You can edge highlight now, if you want to make the shapes pop.

That's about as far as I've got at the moment; the rest is firmly work-in-progress.


+ Severin Steelheart +

I treated the exposed face of the leader of the group as an exercise in strong directional lighting. In essence, I added highlights on one side and shading on the other, rather than the more neutral 'modelling' lighting I usually use, where highlights are applied more evenly, as though lit from above.

The right-hand side, as you can see, is considerably darker than the left. Note that this sort of painting relies on using an imaginary source of light that is consistent across the model; so the metals are also highlighted as though there's a light to the left of him.

Note that the right-hand side of the face (his left) does not remain highlighted entirely  – you can see this in the detail above – but the highlights are less strong, and the shadow covers more of his face (look below the cheekbone, for example).

I'm pleased with how the experiment worked out, as I think it gives a fairly dramatic effect. There's nothing inherently more difficult than 'normal' highlighting to this; it's just a case of treating the figure's face as any other object, and changing the place where you add your highlighting. 

The rest of the figure is fairly straightforward. I've added a quick chequerboard pattern to the hem of his cloak, and need to decide whether the shoulder pads are going to remain the same bronze as the armour, or be picked out in a different colour.

I'm fairly sure the weapons will be silver. Bronze may make a nice change of pace for the armour, but a bit of contrast in tone is necessary to make the figures sing.

Hopefully the bases will also help with this.

+ Obryn the Bold +

As seems typical, I tried out the technique on the most important model (Steelheart, in this case), in the expectation that I'd do my best job while fresh. 

As it turned out, going straight in and spending less time faffing around with experimenting gave a more striking effect on the other two. On balance, I think the bronze at least is better here than on Steelheart. However, I'm annoyed about the line between parts on the pad on this figure, Obryn the Bold; I should have spent more time prepping such an obvious area. 

Other than that, I'm pleased. I found Obryn the least charismatic of the sculpts because he's the most 'typical' of the Stormcast, and so I wanted to do something that made him look more interesting. 

His background suggests that he's gradually losing his soul and character through being reincarnated, so I tried to represent this through the use of some verdigris; the implication being that he's becoming less aware of his surroundings out of battle, so he's starting to miss areas when maintaining and clearing his gear.This makes a virtue of the monolithic stance and slow, imposing sense of weight. 

I didn't want to go over the top – a little goes a long way with weathering. In any case, with turquoise used elsewhere, the verdigris needs to act subtly, or it'll just get confusing.

+ Angharad Brightshield +

Brightshield has a much more dynamic pose than Obryn, and it is one that worked well with the painting technique detailed above.

The open stance meant that it was easy to get highlights and shading where they should be, as the arms are conveniently held out to the sides.

I did leave the shield off when painting, but made sure to take it into account when working out what would be catching the light and what would be obscured.

For the most obvious example, the gauntlet behind the shield would have been brightly lit were the shield not there, but I needed to paint it as though in shadow once the shield was taken into account.

I'm looking forward to finished off these figures. A few of the PCRC are meeting up at the weekend, and I'd like to have them finished in time for a game or two.


  1. I picked up Shadespire recently as well and really enjoyed it.
    I like the idea of only painting 3 to 7 figures and that's the entire warband done with nothing to add.
    I love the washed out look you achieved on these heroes. They look like they have slept in their armour and just want to go home. Great stuff!

  2. Thanks Riot; battered and bruised is becoming my go-to motif :)


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