+ inload: Painting Kroot +

+ Painting Kroot +

+ Alas, the new Kill Team box has not yet arrived with me, so I couldn't get stuck into the new Kroot. On the plus side, of course, this left my evening free to carry on with those already on the desk. Perhaps a blessing in disguise! +


+ Observations on the Kroot models +

+ All of these figures are work-in-progress, but it's been a very long time since I've both struggled and enjoyed painting so much. As I mentioned in an earlier inload, I've always loved Brian Nelson's beautiful sculpts of the Kroot, but have found painting them difficult – though happily, not unpleasant. It's a multi-layered challenge – lots of organic shapes; lots of decisions to make on colours; and a surprising amount of little details. Being an older sprue, some of the details are slightly soft, so you have to be more aware of exactly where you're applying the paint. +

+ Having said that, they also lend themselves beautifully to Citadel's washes – and I've used multiple layers of Seraphim Sepia on the skin. I've avoided using washes on the fabrics deliberately. Washes soften and blend edges – after all, that's what they're meant to do – and this creates a distinctive look. Because there's so much softness and an organic quality to the overall model, I want to make sure there's a variety of textures. Thus the skin and quills get washes, while traditional brush shading and highlighting is used on the fabrics. +

+ The weapons will likewise get some harder edge highlighting to give a different look and help the various parts to read. The weapons and techy bits are likely the last piece of the puzzle, and that's what I'll tackle next to finish them off. I'm looking forward to tackling some woodgrain (and feel free to remind me of this statement in the next inload, when I come back cursing!) +


+ Colour choices +

+ In terms of colour scheme, I've gone for a variety of warm oranges. Kroot, to me, suit a 'primitivist' underlying scheme, so that their really high-tech synthetic bits pop out from an overall earthy palette. Unsurprisingly, I've gone for a Predator-inspired scheme, and brought in some stippling (lots of little overlapping dots) on the top of the head, back and shoulders to create some visual interest. This also serves to frame the face. With the quills emerging from the back of the heads, it's easy for the top, rather than front, of the head to catch the eye – not great if you want to the face to be the focal point. +

+ Further complicating this is the fact that Kroot (obviously) don't have human features like lips, noses or stubble, so there's less that's immediately 'readable' to catch the viewer's eye and add interest. To help combat this, you could paint the 'beak' as distinctly different, but – while I like the avian aura – I didn't want them to read too obviously as 'birdmen'. Instead, I pushed the highlighting on the edges of the mouths so that they read as sharp and dangerous, and also to increase the contrast and detail to draw the eye. Further to that, I've gone for a super-contrasty white on black for the eyes – the gimlet gaze of alert predators. +


+ Krootforms +

+ The (now-old) Kroothounds really capture the bestial, debased feel of the concept, and are fun little metal sculpts. I found my way for the Kroot on them, and tackled them first. I tried out a couple of different fabric colours – including a grey-blue (Prussian Blue) before settling on Death Guard Green and Iyanden Darksun as the underlayers. These were then built up with Mummy Brown from Army Painter. I really rate this paint – it's a lovely versatile warm white that just flows beautifully. +

+ Still to do on these (and the Kroot Carnivores above) are details like the bombs (quill grenades?) and similar. I'm also tempted to add some decoration to some of the fabrics. The background, so I understand, suggests that Kroot aren't particularly creative or artistic themselves, but I'd still like to have some form of culture represented. I'll probably mine various classic patterns – zig-zags, dags, spots and stripes. +

+ The other krootform in this batch is the hunting Knarloc. I'm very pleased with how this is coming along. On a whim, I decided to paint the previously-red Knarloc with a blue-green (Incubi Darkness) pattern. This was restricted to the top parts of the body, and I think it really helps to make the model pop, without being so saturated that it doesn't fit in. I painted the pattern in a couple of very thin glazes – that is, a layer of paint so thinned-down that some of the underlying colour comes through. I had already stippled the red skin underneath, and this read through the glazes. Nevertheless, skin will always look more realistic with more thin layers, so I also mottled the surface with further stippling. +

+ The eyes are the most obvious thing that need finishing, but I also have the saddle and tack (is a saddle part of the tack?) to do. +

+ Application elsewhere +

+ The Kroot tracker will likely be used as a – uh – Kroot Tracker in Kill Team; so I'll need to work out a Pech'ra model to replace the token +

+ And just off to the left of the previous photograph, you'll see two figures. One was a survivor of my old Kroot army – you'll note I had started converting him into a Tracker (armed with a sniper rifle) by trimming away the blades on his rifle. I clearly never got any further than that. In all likelihood, he'll remain as-is and be treated as a regular warrior, but I will rebase him onto a 32mm base to match the others – oh, and drill out the barrel. +

+ Finally here, on the left, you'll see another misfit. This is the Kroot tracker 'Dahyek Grek' from Blackstone Fortress; which I painted up a couple of years ago – or so I thought. After hunting him down, I realised two things. Firstly, I hadn't quite finished him – the skin and cloak are done, but the rifle and details are outstanding. Secondly – and largely unintentionally – I'd painted him in with largely the same scheme. Clearly Kroot are orange in my head. +

+ It's worth noting that this is one of the great strengths of colour schemes of armies with lots of skin or cloth. These organic materials weather and vary naturally, so some variety is not just okay, it's positively beneficial to a realistic result. Rather than sticking to strict recipes, as you might with (say) a Space Marine's heraldic Chapter scheme, you can simply remember 'orange' and play around with that. Different hues, techniques and approaches will all work. +

+ This counts doubly for Kroot, whose nature means that they vary from Kindred to Kindred. It will, perhaps, require some more thought to make a cohesive army, but it also means that you've got unparalleled scope for playing with colour. I'm certainly planning to have Kindreds (squads or Kill Teams) with different schemes – and perhaps to play around with some colours or effect sthat I rarely use elsewhere. Sci-fi birdmen strike me as a great place to play with highly-saturated colour. +


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