Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Space Marine Revival


I have been wanting to repaint my old space marines for a while. I used to collect this army when I was a teenager and it has been sitting, half finised, in a box for almost 10 years now.

I am not a huge fan of 40K to be honest, but with a full army at your disposal, just waiting to be re-activated under your command (i.e. paintbrush) it is hard not to let the 40K bug bite you.

At the time, I used to paint them as Dark Angels (i.e. dark green) because I was never too fond of flashy colours (except for the "Sons of Medusa" chapter which looks hilarious).

If I repainted these space marines I wanted them to:
  1. be anything BUT dark green
  2. have weathered armour: I have always wanted to try that :)
  3. ideally be a custom chapter of my own making (i.e. NOT Dark Angels)
  4. be based in a way to suggest an environment unlike any of my other armies
  5. above all be QUICK to paint, since I have very little time
After some thought, I decided to go for a desert theme. A Mars-like red desert to be precise.
And after some dabbling with different colour schemes, I found a way to get a decent result on the model and the base in very little time.

I might post a step-by step walkthrough tutorial of my colour scheme if I have some time. In the meantime, my recipies can be found at the end of this post for those you interested.

Here are some WIP pics. Enjoy!

WIP shot of the army (some models missing: predator tank, 3 land speeders, 12 bikes)

The "original" color, before revamping.

First try of creating a banner for my custom chapter, with Phosotshop.

  1. GW Dark Flesh
  2. Brush GW Dark Flesh + VMC Amarillo mate, increasing Amarillo Mate as you go
  3. Add a little VMC Arena Oscura to the above mix and drybrush lightly to accentuate
  1. Paint with boltgun metal (that's right, paint, not drybrush)
  2. Apply heavy GW Devlan Mud wash
Greens (like lenses, power weapons etc...)
  1. VMC U.S. dark green highlighted with VGC Camouflage Green
  1. VMC Dark Flesh + Brown (GW Graveyard Earth or VMC Tierra Mate)
  2. Add increasing amounts of VMC Dark Flesh
  3. Wash GW Devlan Mud
  4. Again VMC Dark Flesh
  5. VMC Dark Flesh + VMC Basic Skintone
  1. Spray Black
  2. Basecoat VMC Tierra Mate + 30% VMC Orange Brown
  3. Drybrush with above mix adding increasin amounts of VMC Arena Oscura
  4. Drybrush pure VMC Arena Oscura
  5. Wash recesses with VMC Orange Brown
  6. Weathering armour (chipped paint) with VMC Tierra Mate + Black.
This is my "poor man's" solution for quick weathering: it is done by using an old medium-sized old brush and randomly adding step 6 mix to "exposed" bits of the armour, like edges and knee-caps, that are likely to have taken more punishment in combat. Don't over do it, better too little than too much. To get a better contrast, you can highlight the "chipped off" bits you have thus created with VMC Arena Oscura (warning: time consuming).

Example of highlighted vs non-highlighted chipped paint:

Stay tuned for more in the future!


Doc Simian aka The Toad! said...


I have been stressing over a color scheme to use on a Mars like planet... consider your recipe Yoinked!


Doc Simians 15mm Hovel

O. G. R. Raymond said...

Digging the arabic writing on the banner! What an awesome custom chapter.

Wostry Ferenc said...

Thomas, how heavy is the last drybrushed dark sand? Because no matter what I do, my figures end up either too bright or too full of dark patches...

Thomas said...

Hi Wostry,

It is a little hard to tell without actually seeing your miniatures. If you want to send me a pic, feel free, maybe then I can be more helpful.

Nevertheless I will venture a guess and say that you should make sure that:

- you apply enough drybrush layers. Drybrushing 3x (with increasing amounts of dark sand each time) should be enough, but a 4th layer will give an even smoother result and should be aimed for. Try it.

- add SMALL volumes of arena oscura at each successive drybrushing step. In other words, start really dark and increment CAREFULLY. You can always add an extra layer to go brighter, but you cannot go back without having to start the whole miniature over. So go slowly and stop if you feel your mini is getting too bright.

- Make sure your paint is not too thin when drybrushing. I find it works best with paint (very) roughly the consistency of cream/yoghurt. Then wipe most of the paint off your brush. A good test is the following: if you brush accross the back of your hand or along one of your fingers, the paint should NOT go into the recesses and the structure of your skin should become highlighted.

I hope that helps.

Getting the drybrushing "right" is really a matter of trial and error. I usually start with a miniature that is not hugely important and play around as described (start very dark, escalate brightness carefully) until I am satisfyied. Then I apply the recipie to the rest.


Wostry Ferenc said...

Thanks for the very helpful reply, Thomas!