Sunday, March 03, 2013

Evolution of a Paintscheme

I have had a Tyranid force lingering around for some time, and 'recently', got my fiancée into Warhammer as well. For the sake of not rolling over her with a force I'm a veteran with, and to motivate me finishing them, I started to research a paintscheme.

I decided rather than going especially fantasy, I would draw inspiration from real exo-skeletal creatures, and picked the Lobster. First, trying to find an image of an un-cooked lobster on Google is interesting. Second, even searching "marine lobster" engaged rule 34!

Finally I found a series of pictures I liked, and painted up a series of test models:
Primer coat black, base-coat light leather brown, highlighted to yellow, then over-washed with dark red and black, done in a splotchy pattern. While this looked fine for the Lictor (a lurking, camouflaging creature) on the rest it just served to limit the amount of detail that was visible, and lacked the contrast I felt it needed. I next painted a Ravenor, and decided to refine the scheme a bit more, making the hard shells still the same method, but stopping at the yellow, for the most part, highlighting the body:
On this one, to enhance the contrast, I also made the rib-seeming sections even brighter yellow, by highlighting with a bone colour, and extended the mottled pattern to the softer, snake like tail. I liked this style enough to then try it on the mother of all monsters in the Tyranid force (at the time), the Carnifex:

On this one I further enhanced the effect by painting gloss black for the plates, doing a pseudo-pointillist technique for the red and black, and trying to further brighten the yellows on the skin. I also dropped the black glazing for this, instead just painting on for the armour plates. The problem was, even here, the base colour was black, meaning it took many layers just to get it up to yellow, and didn't look as good as I figured it could be. I know we're straying from lobster, but then, so are the Tyranids!

Finally, I have refined the scheme with my Hive Tyrant, now about half finished:
The photograph does not quite do justice to the colours on this guy. Primered in white, and using an airbrush to over-layer both the bright yellow, and yellow-mixed-with-brown for shading, as well as for most of the red sections, this beast is bright enough to look like a poison dart frog. The black is entirely gloss black paint, and since it's painted over thin airbrush-based undercoats, it really makes the carapace glisten. To me, the best part of this final solution is it saves enough inspiration from the lobster to seem natural, but has a very heavy "how Nature says do not touch" aspect with the bright yellows and reds. I'll post how it looks on the baby bugs when I get them painted as well!

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