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Painting Black Legion


Gawain Veteris

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This may seem to be a simple and over asked question of how to paint black armour but hear me out

 

IMO black isn't just black. Depending how you highlight it it can be cool black (usually coming up from blue or green) or a warm black (coming up from brown). I've painted black before, most of the time with little regard to whether the black I do is warm or cool but I want to paint the contents of my Dark Vengeance box in black legion colours.

 

So here are my questions;

 

Firstly I personally see the Black Legion as having a cool black tone but what do you guys think? Finally, I know how to paint warm black with the new GW paints, how would you paint cool black with the new GW paints.

 

Thanks, GV

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I'd generally lean towards a cool black for black legion, but you could reasonably go either way. I dry and go for a matte, faded look via heavy drybrushes of dark, cool greys followed by a coat or two of black wash. I tend not to go for hard edging on chaos marines since most of them have metal trim on their armor edges anyway. I use a mix of old GW paints, new GW paints, and P3 paints, so I don't have specific recommendations for what new paints to use.

Here's now mine are looking these days:
http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z142/Malisteen/Black%20Legion/CSM18_zpsf4ce9199.jpg

Of course, I'm not exactly a master level painter, and if you're any good you can probably get a better effect than mine. Honestly, I could probably stand to add a post-wash highlight, or drybrush to a slightly lighter grey before washing, or both.

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It's funny, Black seems so simple on the surface, but it's actually tricky and there's so many ways to paint it. It's so true that there are different types of Black. Blue, Red/Brown, Green, 'True' Grey. Mixing different temperatures of back can have this strange "something is not right, but I can't tell what it is" effect.

 

I tried to do some really-dark-grey blending on some early test models, but just couldn't get a result that wasn't too labour intensive, but still gave me results I liked. I choose to let the Black be Black, and have natural light create variation and Grey tones. I just do very stark edge highlighting on pure Black to give definition to certain edges and areas, and add that 'pop' you want on the model from 2-3 feet away. I still hate the labour of highlighting, but it's the best compromise for me. Buried somewhere in my WIP thread I give a step-by-step of how I highlight my Black. Here's a photo of it applied across a group of my Black Legion.

 

http://i1080.photobucket.com/albums/j332/SubtleDiscord/WIP%20Thread%20Photos/Block_One_02.jpg

I get the added depth I want with this highlight method, but the Black still stays a nice deep dark Black.

 

I also took the colour temperature idea a little further with my Black Legion Warband. Virtually everything, beyond the Gold, is in the cold spectrum of colours. I used Blue-Grey colours for the Black highlights, all optics are Blue or Green, and any other details tend to lean towards cold colours. I've been told quite a few times that they almost seem to glow, and have an evil ruthless vibe. I attribute much of that to the highlight method, and the cold-centric theme that I follow.

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Thanks for the responses guys

 

Subtle Discord: Your method looks great! They're not wrong about the glow. I was gonna do my eye lenses in a green hue to keep the aspect of the model cool. Too often I see really well painted models which still don't look right because they've mixed and matched the warmth of the colours but you've hit it on the head IMO. This is not to say that there can't be a healthy mix of warm and cool. The basis of colour theory is a good mix between warm and cool.

 

The Crimson Slaughter Chaos Lord in the Dark Vengeance box looks sublime because Eavy metal have done that blasphemous yet beautiful thing of painting a cool colour in red. Hopefully they'll do some sort of painting guide for him....

 

I'd love to hear more thoughts on the proper 'temperature' of Black Legion colours. Some would say warm and angry looking, others would say cold and... well cold? (cold hearted)

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Usually I just use a fairly neutral grey for highlighting black armour.

 

I used codex grey for the highlights on this deathwatch marine.

http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/l522/kizzdougs/DSCN2297.jpg?t=1345961476

 

I've painted "cold" blacks on occasion such as on this cloak.

http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/l522/kizzdougs/DSCN2299.jpg?t=1345960072

http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/l522/kizzdougs/DSCN2298.jpg?t=1345960716

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I've always been a proponent of Black Legion being utterly flat black, with no highlighting as if the black just eats all the light around it. For blacks that need to look more dimensional, I use varying shades of greys for highlights. I've never thought to use blues as Subtle Discord has done, but I might just be a believer if I can replicate that level of beauty. Those guys are amazing! :)
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Try this out, this is the method I always use...

 

 

First it depends on what the material is that you're highlighting. Is it black leather? Cloth? Armor? The general rule of thumb is to use a "warmer black" for things that are soft and flexible, and "cooler black" for things that are hard.

 

Usually my highlighting color is something like this(pardon the use of old colors, as that is all I have at the moment): scorched brown, camo green, and a small amount of black. This will give you a very, very, very, black like tone, that will show up just enough to highlight your black. the green and brown add that realistic highlight, that adding white or grey just won't. If I'm highlighting a soft material, I aim for more brown, this will make the color "warmer." Aim for a ratio of 3:2:1 of the colors listed above (its not exact so you may have to mix in more of one or the other colors, depending on taste). If its a harder surface use the same formula, but add more green and less brown. You may even consider adding in a hint of blue.

 

Try it out, you may just like it. Hope this helped.

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That's great information space wolf! It's along the same idea as not using White to mix for highlighting Red, as you'll end up with Pink. With Black, adding White give a 'true' Grey-Black that will tend to be colder. It's not 'wrong' by any stretch (it's so hard to do anything truly 'wrong') but it comes down to taste. Highlighting with other colours to lighten the Black will give the wonderfully subtle changes that a theme/scheme is looking for.

 

The funny thing about my method, it photographs very well. In person, when you get up close, you can see just how simple it is, and how it's not all that near-flawless, really. There are some pics in my WIP thread that give a better idea. It still looks great in person, if I do say so myself, but it really shines in photos.

 

To avoid the work of blending I stick with simple 4-step layering for the highlights. The key is the cleanup. Black covers so well, you can go back and clean the highlight line to a smooth taper with a few careful sweeps of the brush. This reduces it down to a wonderful glint that can be as bright or as subtle as you want, depending on the colour steps you choose. Clean brush strokes, and smooth cleanup is the bigger key to a good result than smooth blending.

 

For those who are intimidated by blending, layering can give really amazing and repeatable results if you make sure the layer lines are smooth and clean. Time and money mixing some custom 'in-between' colours to make a gradual transition is well worth it. Results become much more consistent if you don't need to mix and/or blend a colour transition each time.

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I've always been a proponent of Black Legion being utterly flat black, with no highlighting as if the black just eats all the light around it. For blacks that need to look more dimensional, I use varying shades of greys for highlights. I've never thought to use blues as Subtle Discord has done, but I might just be a believer if I can replicate that level of beauty. Those guys are amazing! :blink:

 

Back in the day, I always imagined the Black Legions' colours to be as Khestra stated - flat, as if absorbing all light nearby. The fluff about them stated them as Cowards and the betrayers of betrayers and the colour scheme fitted well.

 

But after seeing Subtle Discords minis above (and in his own topic about his mini's, the blue is gorgeous. It saddens me to know, I'll never get my minis to that standard.

 

However, when I get more time to do so, I'll read space wolfs (and others) methods for painting in more depth (am too shattered to take anything in atm) - I might be able to at least bring my standard up some :o

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*Dangling a shiny object on a long chain ~ It slowly swings, hypnotizing the reader*

 

You can paint this well. My method is specifically chosen because it gives good results while being not that hard.

 

I paint with the method; Start Messy and don't worry about being sloppy. Cleanup Carefully and take your time to do this step well. Rinse-and-Repeat as needed to finish a model. My nice Gold and Silver? A slopped on all-over mess before the careful Black cleanup. Same with the eyes - layer in colour, clean up and shape with Black. My sharp highlights? Rough irregular and messy, until I do a cleanup with simple smooth strokes of Black.

 

Mistakes happen to everyone - shocker - you don't have to fix ever, single, one! Once the bulk of an army is painted, minor mistakes get lost in the awesome factor of a painted army. Or, save those for the end, and do a mistake-fix-run at the very end of a large group of miniatures, just before you varnish.

 

I'm a much better Builder than a Painter, so I use easy but effective processes most times. Once you zero-in on a method, the first few will be rougher. Think of those as test miniatures. With practice through repetition, results will do nothing but improve. I used to dread painting Gems, Bone, Skin, Gold, Claws/Horns, Optics, Eyes, etc.. But once I settled on certain methods for each effect/surface I wanted, it became more straight forward. With some testing and practicing of each method before applying it to final miniatures, your results start good and can only get better as you paint.

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man, you learn something new every day! i've often just used greys as my highlights but these techniques give fantastic results.

@subtle discord nice models man, and i know the feeling with going messy then clean up. i once tried a technique from white dwarf (painting the details first then doing the basecoat, was the huron model i think) but this didn't suit me at all (too clean and too much tidying up details i'd already done).

@space wolf i might just have to use this technique. i have a couple of models i can try this out on, will keep you posted. never thought about that colour combo before.

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Try this. Take your black primer for a base coat of course, then mix a charcoal grey. Thats black with very little grey in it, then give it a slightly watered down base coat. This is done so you can wash black later and the crevices wont look exactly like the armor. they'll be darker. Next, take a slightly lighter grey, around adeptus battle grey, and LIGHTLY drybrush the model. And to do this, you need virtually no paint on the brush. You do not want a heavy grey drybrush, just a hint of light. Now, depending on if you want a hint of blue, wash with Drakenhof Nightshade, or for a brown, Agrax Earthshade. This will give the overall model a feeling of unity, and make the grey pick up the tint of color. Here's a couple examples of the blue.

 

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b109/draconis0101/IMG_0741.jpg

 

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b109/draconis0101/IMG_0740.jpg

 

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b109/draconis0101/IMG_0739.jpg

 

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b109/draconis0101/IMG_0732.jpg

 

The termie on the left was done with grey, the lord in the middle was grey with a wash of nightshade (notice how it has a very subtle hint of blue when the light hits?). The one with the reaper auto has been done in blue lines ( I was testing what way I wanted to paint). It's a real easy job and mine will look better once I dullcoat them after I finish the arms on the first two models. I finished them in pledge floor polish for protection so they are shiny right now. Hope this helps.

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  • 1 month later...
Subtle Discord, could you please please tell me how you made those awesome metal trims on your Chaos vehicles??

 

I'd be so thankful ^_^

 

I've never seen anything so cool on a Chaos vehicle as that...

 

 

Hey man, there is a lot of stuff on the vehicle trim in his blog :P

the link is at the bottom of the signature on his posts

 

hope that helped!

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I wouldn't necessarily rely on GW paints at all. A good way to paint a nice black is imo this http://issuu.com/andrzejstachlewski/docs/b...ravenwing_biker

It certainly manages to create a nice "cold" black with a high amount of light reflection.

 

Another interesting way to pay black ( especialy if one desires to use GW paints ) is described here http://z3r-river-eng.blogspot.de/2012/09/d...-pack-step.html

 

I somewhat prefer the first way to paint black but both achieve some very cool results.

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Please, by all means, steal away. I show my work in hopes that it will inspire people to their own greatness, all in the name of the Dark Gods. Praise be to those who listen to the whispers from the warp, and embrace the ruinous powers!
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Please, by all means, steal away. I show my work in hopes that it will inspire people to their own greatness, all in the name of the Dark Gods. Praise be to those who listen to the whispers from the warp, and embrace the ruinous powers!

Don't be so quick with embracing and all that stuff. We've made our choices back in the day. Whether they were right or wrong doesn't really matter now. The Long War is all that's left for us. We were created as soldiers and that's what we do, we wage war.

Sometimes we need help from Warp entities, or daemons if you prefer it that way, sometimes we don't.... but indeed, they're whispering, always whispering....

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