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Painting my Dark Angels (Warhammer 40k)




I bought a paint starter kit to get my Warhammer 40,000 Dark Angels space marine army somewhat painted before other paints I'd ordered arrive in March. The set included 8 paints, a brush and five space marines, which, luckily for me, are decorated in Dark Angels iconography.

I've painted the five marines that came in the starter set with the base coat of Caliban green and highlighted the metal in leadbelcher… it's taken a fair bit of time to get them this far, probably about 4-5 hours all in all:


One of my friends said I'm "painting for the camera, rather than the table", which, I suppose I am… What he means is that I'm putting about the amount of effort into my basic troops, which are only ever really looked at as a group from 4' away, as I should put into my army leaders, who tend to work as a single unit, and get a little more attention. This is kinda true; I'm kind of aiming to paint all my units as well as I can, so if you pick up and look at any given one, it'll still look good.

Even 4-5 hours in, I still have a while to go, painting all the accents and other parts. Detailing takes a while Razz
I still have the 20 tactical marines that were in my army before buying the starter set, 5 scout troops, and a company captain and interrogator-chaplain to paint, using the Caliban green as the base colour, and a Librarian, for which I'll need a blue, and a squad of Ravenwing bikers, in black, and terminators, in bone white. Given how long these 5 marines are taking, it's gonna be a while before I'm done.

The Starter Brush from the paint set hasn't been holding up well. I've snipped off a couple hairs already, but the tips in general have bent, and it's frayed a bit… making it a little hard to paint with clean lines. It started with a nice tight point, but now it looks like this:

I hit up Michael's earlier in the week and bought a couple more brushed; a Round 0, an angled 1/4 (think it might be good for quick base coats), and a spotter 10/0, which I used for the tighter leadbelcher lines today. Hopefully those brushes will last longer than the Citadel brush.



39 blog comments below

Looking good to me. I can not wait to see what they all look like. I imagine they are going to look incredible compared to some of your opponent's troops. They are your troops and should look as good as you want them to look, and you have the skill to do. Keep going at it, they will get done and look amazing.
pauline123 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:20 pm
Thanks, Pauline.
It's been years since I've painted anything, so, this is kinda nice... even if it's been even longer since I've painted something that wasn't paper/canvas Razz
Ankhanu on Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:57 pm
Must be hard work Ankhanu, well done! Are you using special glasses for the finer details?
deanhills on Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:31 pm
It's slow work, not sure it's necessarily hard... yet.
That said, I only have 8 colours, when I get more, and start blending and simulating shadows, dirt, wear, and the like, it will be MUCH harder.

I was just thinking how useful a dissecting microscope would be the other day while painting (lots of experience with them dealing with insects), but, no, all naked eye in mildly OK light. Gonna need to get another lamp or two.
Ankhanu on Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:57 pm
Tonight I popped my bottle of red and spent about 3hr painting the plasmaguns, plasma pistols, bolters, bolt pistols and/or chainswords of 24 units, the eyes of 25, and the leg flash of 5.
I also bought some brush cleaning solution, and a cleaning jar with a pad at the bottom for cleaning the bristles. Using it intermittently through the evening, it definitely helped keep the new brush in good order, though it didn't really help repair the old one :/

Ankhanu on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:40 am
Painted and washed!!
Washing, I noticed I missed the skulls on two of their leg guards… so I suppose I'll need to do those later.

Overall, pretty pleased with my first effort.





Ankhanu on Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:47 pm
Your troops look pretty good. Good luck with them in combat. I hope they serve their liege well. I would like to be able to see them in person but as seeing you are where you are that is most likely completely out of the question. Good luck with your troops and building your army, as well as prepping them for their combat.
pauline123 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:08 pm
Looks great Ankhanu .... getting better and better .... Cool
deanhills on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:07 am
Thanks Smile

I've now started in on getting a base coat on my Deathwing Terminator squad, just to get them coloured, rather than primer grey, for play on the table. I've applied a coat (2 on one model) of Ushabti bone to them, but it's gonna take a bit to get a good even coat on them, I think. The (off-)white doesn't seem to coat very evenly, so it's going to take a few coats to make it so no dark grey peeks though.
I don't have all the colours I need yet to finish them, but, this'll be a start, and they'll be more visible on the battle field.

I think I'm just going to leave my Ravenwing squad with the primer coat... they're supposed to be black anyway Razz I'll have a bunch more paints in March, so I'll just have to be patient.

Even without painting the Ravenwing, I still have 14 regular marines and my three HQ to paint, and a 5-man Scout squad to paint better than they are now (they came partially painted). Lots to do, lots to do.

Terminators!

Ankhanu on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:33 pm
Nice photos, particularly the bottom one. Can't wait to see when you add colour to them. Cool
deanhills on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:52 pm
Unfortunately, that will be months away.

I supported a Kickstarter for a line of gaming minis at the end of the summer, part of the reward options I added on to my support package was four colour sets of paint. Unfortunately, they won't be shipping until the miniatures ship in March. Until then, I only have 7 colours and one wash.
Ankhanu on Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:44 pm
Also, re: photos
The top one is taken with a 50mm lens, at near minimum focal distance.
The lower one is taken with the same lens turned around backwards, which has a focal distance of only a couple centimeters.

Neither image is cropped (just the whole thing shrunk down to an appropriate size for the forum)... One lens very different results Smile
Ankhanu on Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:46 pm
Thanks. I was curious how you managed to do it. Must have some really excellent camera lenses for the job. Cool
deanhills on Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:18 am
That's actually the cheapest lens available Wink
It's a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D, which is a ~$150 lens (Nikkor is Nikon's lens line)... but it is flexible, ya know, for a prime lens. Even though it's cheap, it's a rather sharp lens, has a rather large aperture to let lots of light in, and has manual aperture control options, which many lenses these days lack. Add in a $5 reversing ring that I got through eBay, and it offers some more options. This article shows exactly what I'm doing, actually.

While I have a more modern Nikon D7000, I'm still having some issues with image sharpness with it, and these shots are all taken with my 5 year old D80.
Ankhanu on Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:52 pm
The pics look good to me. I can not wait to see what they look like when you get done and that camera is not one I would scoff at. Pretty good pics in my opinion.
pauline123 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:09 pm
I picked up a second set of Dark Vengeance troops from a kid locally who was trying to offload them to buy more Chaos Marines... for just $30, my army nearly doubled Smile All in all, without doing any upgrades aside from what is present on the models themselves, I can pull together a 2000 point army, and could pop it up higher, upgrading weapons, armour or what have you... Not bad for spending ~$200, including the $50 spent on the paint set!

My units look like this now:
1x - Interrogator-Chaplain*
2x - Librarian*
2x - Company Master*
35x - Tactical Marines (including 3x Tactical Marine Sergeant, 2x plasma cannon, 2x plasmagun, 1x missile launcher, 1x flamer, 24x standard Space Marines w/ boltguns)
10x - Deathwing Terminators (incl. 2x Sergeant, 2x assault cannon, 2x chainfist)
6x - Ravenwing Bikes (incl. 2x Sergeant, 2x plasmagun)
1x - Devastator Squad (incl. Sergeant, missile launcher, 2x plasma cannon, lascannon)
1x - Scout Squad (incl. Sergeant, 1x heavy bolter)

* - There can only be two of these units in play total

I have at least a base coat of green on 15 of the tactical marines (5 are completed), and have 20 left to at least paint green, and everything other than the Ravenwing have a base coat of brown (over the black primer) on at least the parts that should be white. I was advised that painting up to white takes a lot of coats and effort, and that I should probably start with a base colour of brown to build from, rather than the black primer (especially since the whites I'm building to are off-white bone type whites), so I'm testing that out.
I also added some metallic steel type colour to the flags on my Ravenwing squad, just so that they're not completely matte black on the table. The Ravenwing have black bikes and armour, so leaving them primed in game play doesn't look too bad Razz

I'll take a photo of my progress soon.
Ankhanu on Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:44 pm
Looking forward to the photos Ankhanu Cool
deanhills on Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:07 pm
They really look great! And I know how rewarding it is to get your own and unique set -of minis in this case. And practice makes perfect! Wink
Mrs Lycos on Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:20 am
Very cool to see the progress that's coming along with all the work you are puttin in!

I can't imagine the concentration it must take to do that on such a small scale. Not to mention doing it to multiple objects. They look great though. I always enjoy progress pics! Keep them coming!
Ghost Rider103 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:14 pm
Here are a couple of the partials I have on the go;
Librarian Turmiel


Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus


Tactical squad Sergeant Raphael
Ankhanu on Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:39 pm
WOW! The details are amazing. Like the colours you chose as well.
deanhills on Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:19 pm
The basic colour palate is determined by my amry choice and the type of troops, but there is wiggle room... and I'm limited by only having 7 colours to choose from for the next couple months.

I finished adding a first coat to every unit today and have worked on some small details on some of the others, cleaning up some of the green on the Librarian's lapel, and some more details on the Interrogator-Chaplain. It's slow work, but it's coming.
Ankhanu on Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:37 pm
Taking macro shots tells me where I'm messed stuff up or need more coverage with paint!!




I think this is about as far as I can go with my Librarian until my other paints ship in March. I don't even own a blue to do the rest of the armour; I just put on a quick coat when playing at a friend's house last month Razz
Ankhanu on Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:55 pm
Wow this is all very intense. I have a few friends who went through a Warhammer phase. The figures they painted did not look nearly as amazing as these. They were more like figures a 2 year old had gotten a hold of and they smeared paint all over them with their fingers. I love the detailed pictures though and how the figures are all posing! Very Happy
TheGremlyn on Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:55 pm
Thank you. It takes a lot of time.

Most of my troops only have 2 coats of their base colour, just so that they're coloured when I do play (like the bone white terminators a couple posts up)... they likely look like your friends' units Razz The ones that are starting to look better are looking better because of hours of effort. It's a very slow process, and if you don't really enjoy it, or care, it's just not going to get done.

The figures from the Dark Vengeance box set (which most of my units are) are really well sculpted; great details, good poses... very dynamic. Some of the basic units are less interesting, though Games Workshop does try to make them a little interesting; after all, they consider themselves a model company first and a game company second Smile
Ankhanu on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:51 pm
I've been slowly plodding on. It takes some time to do the minor detail work on so many models. My Tactical Marines just need their eyes and shoulder insignia painted, then they'll be done!! I've started in on a couple of my terminators too.

I added a couple more details to my Librarian, and with the second model of him, I painted him stark white to use for my character in the Pathfinder roleplaying game I'm involved in. The character is an elven Magus, who recently acquired a +3 white dragonscale breastplate, hence the white.

Photosplosion!

Librarian Turmiel






Devastator Squad



Tactical Squads





Deathwing Terminators




Ankhanu on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:37 pm
The level of detail is so awesome! And I know those figures are so small I don't know how you make them look so awesome. I'm almost jealous. Makes me want to paint little figures just for the sake of painting little figures.
TheGremlyn on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:43 pm
Do it!! Very Happy

Largely, it's coming down to taking a lot of time Razz There are a lot of hours represented in those figures.
Ankhanu on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:48 pm
Scale reference; in the pictures of the two Terminators, in the background, the leave are of a Ficus tree, and it's about 25-30cm behind the models.
Terminators are big models Razz
Ankhanu on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:49 pm
Clearly step one is buying the models. Then I just don't know what I'd need after that. I'm a very detailed oriented person so I think I would love painting these. Then taking awesome pictures afterwards.
TheGremlyn on Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:22 am
eBay is your best bet for decent prices.
You can also hit up hobby/game shops in your area, and they may sell unpainted miniatures. Sites/manufacturers like http://www.reapermini.com/ sell some great figures too.
I don't suggest going for Warhammer, unless you're interested in playing, as the miniatures are pretty expensive. If you're interested in playing, Warhammer comes in two basic flavours; Warhammer 40,000, which is what I'm playing, and is science-fiction based, and Warhammer Fantasy, which is... well... fantasy based Razz

Aside from the models, all you need are a couple brushes and some acrylic or tole paints in the colours you want to use (or mix to get what you want), some water, and a dose of patience.
You can buy better quality paints from Reaper, Citadel (Games Workshop, who make the Warhammer stuff), among others, but you don't need to use those, and they cost 4-8x as much as basic acrylic/tole paints.
Ankhanu on Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:09 am
Little more painting done. I picked up some blue paint so that I could finish up Turmiel (not pictured) and work on the plasma effects.
Here's the Plamsma:




Seraphicus is still very much a WIP:





The Ravenwing thus far:



Deathwing:


And I've begun converting one of my Company Master Balthazar pieces into Azrael, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels. I got an unhelmeted head for him, and plan to do some serious cutting and sculpting to bring the sword from a vertical stance to about 45°. Currently the helmet, rather than being carried by a Watcher in the Dark, is being held by a Talenta Halfling from my D&D mini collection. I'll have to sculpt a figure for it eventually.

Ankhanu on Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:04 pm
These are so cool! I love the detail in the pictures. How long did it take you to do the plasma effects?
TheGremlyn on Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:01 pm
I'm still working on the plasma. The work so far has probably been about an hour or something.
The basis is a white base, followed by a blue wash (super watered down paint, so it's thin and flows into crevices). I'm going to try drybrushing more white near the middle to give an impression of glow within the grill.
Ankhanu on Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:45 pm
That is incredible!. I had no idea that people put so much effort into these.. Absolutely amazing... How long has it taken for you to get this good? Because you obviously are good at it. The attention to detail is fantastic. Did you learn by trial and error or are there instructions/tutorials somewhere? I would love to learn to do something that exacting..

Oh, and I, too, love my Nikkor 50mm Very Happy. A great workhorse lens
onebadpenny on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:27 am
I'm actually quite amateur at this. Hit up google, you'll see some good work. Don't get me wrong, by and large, I'm pretty happy with what I have so far, but it's pretty low mid-range work in the greater scope. For my first efforts, though, I feel I'm doing pretty good Wink

There are quite a few hours of work represented here, spread out between 20 November and last Tuesday. Some of it is trial and error, some of it was aided by watching some tutorials on YouTube, some of it is informed by my past taking art classes… though there I worked with oil and water colours, I never really worked with acrylics before (and painting a canvas is a bit different than a model). All in all, it's more about patience, good lighting and developing a steady hand than anything.

The Nikkor 50mm f.18 is probably the best value for money lens out there Smile
Ankhanu on Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:46 am
Still think its a great job though Ankhanu. Do you do it with the naked eye, or do you need special glasses for it?
deanhills on Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:25 am
Naked eye.
Ankhanu on Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:07 pm
Great eye sight ... Razz
deanhills on Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:41 pm



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