Lizardmen Temple Guard 4

I went to my dad’s last night to make use of his nicer camera. We played with the settings and lighting a bit, and found some cool things (which are easily found elsewhere on the internet) (which I will be writing about in a later post :P).

But THIS is a Temple Guard update!

Last we spoke, I’d finished the bandages and then put a base coat on everything. I’ve done a lot of work on these guys since then, but there is still more to go. If you remember my last post, you’ll see a lot of that technique here.

  1. Finished the metal parts. I started with Tin Bitz, then mixed that with some Boltgun Metal (which completely overpowered the Tin Bitz…it was not like mixing colours at all). Then did a highlight of just the Boltgun Metal. Lastly I washed all of the metal with Devlan Mud.
  2. The bone is done. Started with Bleached Bone, washed with Devlan Mud (I bought a lot of the mud recently…) and then did a really gentle highlight/feathering with Bleached Bone on the raised surfaces.
  3. Started a very tentative highlight process on the scales. This is Scab Red with a very watery Blood Red gently placed at the tops of the scales.

The scales are scaring me a bit. I have a few ideas of how to do it, but the model as it stands right now is much to bright, even while before I added the Blood Red it was much to dark. So I did a test piece to see if I could think of what I wanted to do. I think I have a plan, but I’m worried that it will look terrible. So I think I’m just going to do it on this one guy to start, and see how it goes.

  1. Scab Red with the Blood Red, as you see below.
  2. Blazing Orange in the tiniest amounts possible, while still looking orangey.
  3. Baal Red wash over the whole thing.

If you head back to my Lava post, you’ll remember that the goal is deep, dark red in the middle, with a glowing brightness at the edges. This is beyond my skill, and the first step in producing something that will look good is to admit that :). The scales are too small, my patience too small, and my eyes prefer bright colours so I tend to over highlight.

The plan I’ve got will let me paint up to a colour that is bright, and then wash down to mute it a bit, while re-darkening the middle of the scales. I choose the Baal Red over more Devlan Mud, because the Mud doesn’t look red enough! The Baal maintains the red tinge I’m looking for.

After that, there are some straps that need a little bit more brown, and a couple heads that need some ugly colours, and then I’ll inspect each model to ensure it doesn’t have any colours over the lines. Lastly I need to paint the blasted drum of the musician >.>.. Annnnnd then I need to start thinking more about the banner that I mentioned I had planned.


So this is why I had a backlog…

I noticed this evening that 7 days have gone by without me posting anything. Thankfully, it hasn’t been 7 days since I painted anything, but I somehow felt like there wasn’t anything to write about. I’ve made significant progress on the Temple Guard – only 2 more “major” layers to go before I start looking for mistakes/tiny details, but it doesn’t look (from afar) like I’ve made any progress. More on that later.

Tonight while painting I had a thought to post a few tips/tricks that might help someone reading this. Or might not. Since no one posts comments, I have no idea who my readership is or what their skill level is (maybe a poll in the future? :))


Water is surprisingly important in painting. For years (decades…) I thought you could open up a paint pot and just start taking the paint and placing it on the model. Well…you can, but you aren’t going to get to smooth, even highlights without water.

The easiest process I can suggest looks like this:

  1. Put a colour on a palette. Add some water – enough that it flows, but not so much that it goes on too patchy. Patchy is ok, just not toooo patchy.
  2. Put that paint on the model. Make it sloppy, just waz it all over the place. You’ll clean it up later (you will clean it up, won’t you?)
  3. Find a wash that fits over it. Badab Black (unless yours sucks like mine) and Devlan Mud are common washes. No need to add water here. And again, just a sloppy coat over everything.
  4. Grab that first colour again and do the water thing again on your palette. You may even want it really watery, like patchy “that won’t cover anything” watery.
  5. Put only as much as you need for a single edge onto the tip of your paint brush. And with a gentle touch, apply that.

I can’t really say the amount of water I use. Last time I started with 2 brushes of Bleached Bone and then two brushes of water. Over time it dries and you add more, so the consistency I started with wasn’t the same as what I ended with.

If you get it right, what you’ll get is: 1 shit coat, 1 washed awesome coat, and 1 smooth beautiful highlight. The wash does half of the work for you, and if you want to leave it there you can. But just a little extra time can take it to the next level.


If you take this process and play with it a little, you can go a long way. A few variations:

  • Skip the last highlight entirely. I almost did this on my Hive Guard gun it looked so good.
  • Skip the wash and highlight by hand. The wash is a wicked easy thing, but it looks washed (duhh, because it is). If you do this highlighting by hand it’ll look way nicer (and people will be more impressed!). I did this with my Ork flesh – start really dark, then mix that dark colour with some black and a LOT of water (almost making your own wash, but not quite the same). Then start adding another lighter colour and highlight up. This is, as far as I know, what those really fancy amazing painters do. If you do this, you’ll want at least 1 base, 1 shadow, and then 2 highlight layers. But the more highlight layers you do, the more awesome it will look.
  • Feathering. Similar in concept to a dry-brush, but where dry-brushing you tend to do a heavy coat, feathering you take the smallest amount of paint and just apply it in tiny little lines at the edge. This is an attempt at fooling the human eye into believing that the base and highlight colours are mixed, when they really aren’t. (no actual mixing occurs though – I tried wet on-model mixing once and it didn’t work out so good…yikes).
  • You can take feathering even further. I really watered down the last layer and I’m apply it thicker at the tips and edges, and then drew lines outwards from there towards the base.  You can see some what I’m talking about on almost any ‘Eavy Metal bone painting (The linked model cheats by having actual lines on the horns, where I’m painting those lines on) (Chakax will be featured here in a few months. He goes with the Temple Guard unit, but I’m not painting him with them for a few reasons).

(If you want more details, like exact colours and such, on these variations, just ask and I’ll write.)

Thanks for reading!

Lizardmen Temple Guard 3

Last we spoke I had become determined to finish off the Deth Kopta bottleneck so that I could move onto other projects. I added another few details onto them and then realized that my next tournament is Fantasy and it’s happening in almost exactly a month from now, and that 4 nights of painting (each Thursday night for a month) wasn’t going to cut it.

So I re-arranged my priorities and started focusing entirely on the Temple Guard.

Now, my fear with these guys is that I’ll screw them up and they’ll end up looking horrible. I’ve put a lot of work into puttying them, and a failure at this stage would be disastrous. So hear me when I say good god I hate the photos I’m about to show you.

Part of it is the lighting. Part of it is the half-finished nature of the bone, which is glaring and hideous. But right now, neither of these facts is salving my fears.

Added since last time: Tin Bitz on all metally parts, and bleached bone on all boney parts. The Graveyard Earth of the bandages was highlighted up using Desert Yellow, and then finally with a 3/2 mix of Desert Yellow and Bleached Bone.

Some kid at the store asked “so you’re almost done?” and I looked at the models disparagingly and had to say “No, I have a lot of work still.”

Tyranid Hive Guard 3

Last post on this guy, since I’m calling him done.

Since the last post I added:

  • A 1:3 mixture of Hawk Turqoise and Scaly Green to the top edges of his skin, and every opening.
  • Goblin Green base rim, and some flock on top of the grey gravel.

It’s funny…looking at the photos, the pink and the green highlight are really stark. But sitting at my desk, while I’m painting them, they are relatively calm.

I’m wondering if next time I should paint the HT+SG highlight directly over the original SG base, and then wash over that. I worry that the highlight will get muted by the wash, and also that the skin will be ridiculously shiny (it will be – just a question of whether it’s bad or good ridiculous).

Looking at it now, I’m pretty happy with the green rim. When I was painting it I was thinking “Oh god…goblin green rims…how old is this army anyway?” It’s been years since I painted with the goblin green. But I think it’s a nice colour to go with the yellow and green of the model itself.

I’m really happy with how his armour turned out. More of that in the future.

Links to the other two posts, for ease of reference:

My next 40k project is to finish the Deff Koptas! That will be another project where I start writing when I’m already 3/4s of the way through, but there’s still some work to be done.

Tyranid Hive Guard 2

I worked on the Hive Guard weapon a little bit. I’m not 100% on it right now. It looks pretty good…but it’s too much…bone. Too plain. Probably good, but not my usual style :P.

  • Bleached Bone base coat.
  • Devlan Mud all over.
  • Bleached Bone effectively dry-brushed over raised areas. Protrusions on the left, all of the holes on the shaft of the gun. This is a really light coat, subtle is the name of the game.
  • Solid Bleached Bone on the “spears” that it shoots, followed by a very watery coat of Skull White. Watery mostly because my White is almost dry…but also so it’s more subtle. Looking at this photo…maybe to subtle.
  • Dwarf Flesh on the cables, followed by a light touch of Tentacle Pink. Interestingly, it’s a lot more of a “light touch” in reality than it is in this photo :P.

I also (not photographed) brought the Bubonic Brown further up on the top-most ridge of his back armour. I realized that it was silly to have a highlight that didn’t start at both ends of the scale. Looks a lot better now.

The skin is next and then it’s done! (oh, and a little work on the base…)

Tyranid Hive Guard 1

For my first post of this blog, I choose a model that I spent most of Sunday working on – sorry I can’t start with a blank slate!

This hive guard has been sitting on my desk for a couple months, assembled and beautiful. We played some Apocalypse on Saturday, and it got me really hyped up to paint some models. Unfortunately, I left my Orks (my current priority project) at my friends place, so I had to suffice with what was on my desk – a lot of random things.

Paint Scheme

Right now he (it?) has 3 colours:

  • Bubonic brown, washed with Devlan Mud. Highlight with Bubonic Brown, followed by Sunburst Yellow. I think this layer is done.
  • Scaly Green, washed with Badab Black. I think this colour went out of print some years ago. This guy belongs to a larger Tyranid army that I started maaaaany years ago, and I made sure to purchase the colours before they were discontinued. Thankfully it’s still liquid. My favourite part about this combination: he looks disgusting. Shiny dark green. Gross. I may end up highlighting to a combination of Hawk Turqoise (another OOP colour?) plus the Scaly Green. But not to much – I like the darkness.
  • Bleached Bone, washed with Devlan Mud. This combination went on his gun and every spike. I’m not certain what I’m going to do from here, but the gun definitely needs some attention to stop it from looking plain.
  • Base is a simple gravel/sand mix, with Codex Gray and Fortress Gray dry-brushed. Goes with the rest of the army. It’ll have some greenery on it at the end.

A few thoughts

  • I have no idea how I painted without washes before. It’s ridiculous how awesome they are. Like that gun – better looking after two sloppy coats of paint than a lot of models that I see regularly. This kind of tool can only make people feel good about their painting (thus they paint more?)
  • Hive guard == badass. All armoured and awesome. I need more of them.
  • In hindsight, another layer of a mix of Bubonic and Devlan would have been a better idea before heading straight to the Bubonic again. It’s a fairly stark transition.

Thanks for reading!