Knight in fuzzy armour? Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 1

Oh boy, where to start…? It’s been a rather eventful couple of days, from a hobby perspective, and I have been through a veritable rollercoaster of emotions. So what happened?

Everything started when I finally decided to paint my converted Chaos Knight: This has been one of my biggest hobby projects so far, and so it has taken me a little over a year to work up the courage to paint him — well, that and I pledged him as part of my vow for the ETL IV event over at The Bolter & Chainsword, with the deadline later this week.

So, anyway, I was finally prepared to get this big boy painted, right? Just so you remember, this is what the finished conversion looked like (the entire project so far has been chronicled here and here, for your edification):

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh WIP (1)
The situation was already less than optimal, though: All kinds of work related shenanigans had left me with precious little time for painting my vowed models — and also happened to kill much of my hobby drive, at least when it came to painting. So with under a week left to complete my vow, I still tried to make this happen. So I grabbed the model as well as a can of Chaos Black and Leadbelcher each and headed outside to undercoat the model.

The black undercoat worked like a charm. Then came the silver. Now some of you may remember that I even used a dedicated test model to make sure the Leadbelcher spray worked as intended (in fact, that test model then spawned an entire gaiden project of its own). So I was pretty sure everything would work out just fine. So after both the black and silver had gone on, the model ended up looking like this:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (3)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (1)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (2)
Seems nice enough, doesn’t it? Only when I picked up the model afterwards, I realised that, due to an unforeseen (and inexplicable) undercoating mishap, the whole model now sported a very gritty, almost sandpapery texture (you can just about make out the effect in some of the pictures). The only part of the model that escaped this problem was Baron Harrowthorne himself (undercoated five minutes prior, using exactly the same spray can, to add insult to injury):

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (4)

As you can probably imagine, my first reaction was sheer panic: It seemed like I had just managed to ruin a 100+ Euros model, and one I have spent many hours converting, at that. But after thinking things through, I realised that I didn’t just want to give up quite so fast: If there was any way to save this model after all, I wanted to find it!

So I started experimenting: The first thing I did was to take a tootbrush to the entire model in an attempt to take of some of the worst grit — before that, handling the model would leave some silvery pigments on my hands every time! With some of the texture brushed of, the resulting look wasn’t all that bad, really: The silver had a pretty nice gunmetal look,  and while that certainly hadn’t been planned, I was confident that I would be able to work with it. So I started washing the entire model with Army Painter Dark Tone and hoped for the best.

However, it turned out that whatever had happened had also messed up the way the undercoat reacted to other paints: The most imminent consequence was that it took a lot of wash to actually darken the silver to a point I was happy with. And I was also pretty apprehensive about how well other colours would work on top of this rather funky undercoat.

Here’s what the model looked like with the black wash and some first red and bronze parts blocked in:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (5)
A closer look at the head reveals the sandpapery effect:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (6)
Fortunately enough, it turned out that it was easy enough to add other paints on top of the undercoat:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (7)

And, like I said, it took *a lot* of wash to suitably darken the undercoat: Compare the main body with the chaotic heat outlets (yet unwashed) in this picture:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (9)
But while I was still worried about whether or not I would manage to salvage the model, it did start to look a little better with the first details in red and bronze:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (10)
So I did the only thing I could and continued painting. One thing that put at least some of my worries to rest was that all the Knight’s armour plates wouldn’t have the same problem, so even if the skeleton retains some of the gritty texture, adding the armour plates on top will make it somewhat less noticeable.

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (11)
I also felt that I might just as well try and make the effect work to my advantage — after all, the rather blunt gunmetal look worked pretty well in some places, making the metallic parts look like the heavily worn chassis of a machine that has been in service for a long time. The bad news was that other areas ended up looking more toylike because of the undercoat. This was especially noticeable on the arms, for instance:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (13)
So I spent a lot of time covering various parts of the model with different washes to add some depth to the metal and to create areas where grime and oil would have built up over the millennia. Jeff Tibbetts’ wonderful thread really became a lifesaver for me, because not only has Jeff gone for a fairly similar look for the metallics on his Knight, the Queen-Bee, but his thread is also chock-full of fantastic advice for weathering a model of this size. So I stole what I could from his thread and tried to simplify some of his especially cool recipes for use on my own Knight — and it started to work: The judicious use of washes and drybrushing slowly added more and more depth to the model and helped making the problems far less obvious:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (16)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (17)
I also needed a little quick fun to keep me going, so I actually finished the head a little early:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (33)

The engine compartment was also starting to look as oily and grimy as it should:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (18)

So after about a week of frantic painting, here’s what I have right now:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (19)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (20)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (21)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (22)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (34)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (25)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (26)

It’s actually slightly frustrating that all of the photos are looking so similar, when the model in front of me looks so much better than it did before — but the camera just eats up some of the more subtle touches. I guess it cannot be helped.

Anyway, I think the “skeleton” is actually nearing completion: All the red and bronze areas have been finished, and I’ve done a ton of weathering on just about every metallic surface: I’ve added some rather subtle verdigris to some of the bronze parts, but most of the time has clearly been spent working on the silver, using a combination of GW Typhus Corrosion, Vallejo’s Smoky Ink and various GW washes to create the aforementioned buildup of grime.

So here’s a couple of closeups for you:

The engine compartment, now with added verdigris:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (27)
The various weathering effects really work together rather nicely now (I tried not to go overboard with the verdigris effect, because I didn’t want the model to look to “colourful” because of it). Plus I’ve also taken quite some time to make the leg pistons look fairly realistic, as per JeffTibbetts’ wonderful tutorials:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (28)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (29)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (30)
Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (31)
And finally, what may be my favourite detail at the moment: I painted the small vials on the sword arm so they looked like liquid was sloshing around inside them – something I borrowed from JeffTibbetts yet again! It really make sense though that those vials would contain some liquid lubricating the chain of the big sword or something like that:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (23)
And a closeup:

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh PIP (24)
Not GD level painting, certainly, but I am stupidly happy about having managed to pull this off. I may lack Jeff’s patience, attention to detail and dedication, but some of his ideas were fortunately easy enough to adapt to my own, rather slapdash painting style 😉

And before I wind up this post, let me show you the latest addition to the model: The Knight’s mostly completed pilot, Baron Harrowthorne:

Baron Harrowthorne PIP (1)
Baron Harrowthorne PIP (2)
Baron Harrowthorne PIP (3)
So, like I said, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster: At first, I was convinced that I had ruined the model and was just about ready to just throw it away. But looking at it now, I think I may just have managed to turn this ship around. The problems created by the fuzzy undercoat are not nearly as noticeable now, and I am actually legitimately excited to continue painting this model! It may take longer than I had originally planned, but I think I’m getting there.

If you have any feedback and suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them. As for the eventual fate of my Chaos Knight, I’ll keep you posted 😉

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

EDIT: Jeff Tibbetts has thankfully reminded me that everything to do with his spectacular Knight project can also be found on his blog, which I would recommend you subscribe to ASAP. Thanks for reminding me, mate!

31 Responses to “Knight in fuzzy armour? Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 1”

  1. Dude, nice recovery! I know that horrible feeling when you think you’ve ruined a piece all to well… usually it is worth pushing through, just as you did, and it’s all looking very good to me! If anyone asks, just say it is a deliberate effort to modle the effects of warfare in a highly acidic environment 😉

    • Cheers, Alex! Let’s just say that the pretty good feeling once you realise you may have managed to salvage the model after all is almost worth the trouble…ALMOST 😉

  2. I think you did a fantastic job of working with that unfortunate priming experience. The same thing has happened to me in the past, and for a while I was unsure what was causing it. Looking into it, I believe it tends to happen if you prime a model and hold the can too far away from the models when spraying. This allows the aerosolized paint to partially dry before reaching the model, leading to that grainy, sand paper effect. Rob over at From the Warp has a good article about how he primes his models that brings this up:

    I hope that helps some; priming has always been a nerve-wracking task for me because of this possibility. After all, you do not want someones face to look like sandpaper, and it has certainly happened to me 😦

    Regardless, you are doing a great job on the Knight. The weathering looks spot on. It will be a fine addition to your army!

    • Your explanation makes a lot of sense, Eric, especially since I did spray on the silver from a certain distance. And I should have remembered to check FTW beforehand — that was a rather stupid oversight on my part! Glad to hear you like how the Knight is coming along, though!

  3. I think you achieved a very nice result. The metal looks worn and well weathered, so i think the primer mishap rather added to it. For skin etc. it would have been a problem, but for an old war machine I do not see a problem at all. In any case, I look forward to the next part.

    PS.: I heard only good things about Alclad metal paint/primer. It is lacquer based (but made for plastic scale models) and needs an airbrush to be applied. On a black basecoat it does look like real metal and can be easily overpainted. It also goes on beautifully. You do need some mask however, as it is extremely unhealthy, would you inhale it.

    • Thanks, mate! Yeah, it has turned out quite alright, fortunately. Phew! 😉 Thanks for the recommendation, btw: I will certainly take a closer look at that alternative!

  4. Thanks again for the mentions. If anyone following you doesn’t have a B & C login, I’ve duplicated pretty much all of it on my blog at this point. There’s a tab for the Knight project in the black nav bar at the top of the page. Just click my name to visit. Please, please hit me up with questions or suggestions. I’m proud to have inspired so illustrious a hobby luminary as K-Sci. 😀

  5. Kebekoi Says:

    I can’t see what you mean about the priming glitch even if I do encountered this kind of problem myself, so fortunately you don’t ruined your model…but I do not see your verdigris effect either on the picture. So I’m a little dazed…. I’m sure you achieved some nice effect on this model then I can’t see them!! :-s

    Btw I just hope you still retain the motivation to go along the painting process and achieve this piece the way you want!!

    That’s the only thing that matters, being proud of what you came up with!!

    Sideways, the baron look really nice!!

    Keep up!


    • Kebekoi Says:

      May apologize, with better light condition I do see the different work you do on the mettalic!!

      Go on Kraut, your on the right way to came up with a stunning piece, and the Baron is defenitly a piece of art (conversion and painting wise), really dig his noble and martial stance and look!!


      • Cheers, Keb! And yeah, some of those weathering effects don’t come across all that well in the photos, so it’s really not your fault 😉 And thanks for the kind words about Harrowthorne — he was actually the only reason to start this whole project in the first place — I blame the influence of INQ28 😉

  6. Dexter Says:

    Oh so that’s what you’ve been up to! I’m glad to see you persevered through an initial speed bump, and are finding time to break up the monotonous work of washes and drybrushes with fun little bits like the face and liquid vials. Those look awesome, and you’re making me want to go out and buy my own Knight. Seriously, knock it off.

    Also, and PLEASE don’t take this in any way as an insult buddy, but I saw one of the WIP pictures, and couldn’t help but draw a parallel to this:

    Are we still friends?

    • Cheers, Dexter! Yeah, I definitely need some focus point to paint every now and then, in between all the washing and weathering. The Knight offers those in spades, though, so it’s all good 😉

      The Michael Jackson of Chaos Knights? I hope not! Don’t worry though, we’re still friends of course 😉

  7. Looking realy cool. I’m in the process of planning a Khornate Daemon Knight, with the new FW rules how can I resist.

    Your thread and queen bee are both massive inspiration to do it and seeing you finish is very exciting.

  8. greggles Says:

    One of my fav parts of this hobby, is seeing how everyone approaches building and painting differently. I really enjoyed seeing that process.

    When that red and bronze hit your knight, I got excited. 🙂

  9. Ouch – what a disaster, and what terrible luck to have it happen with such a large and impressive model. Looks like you’re managing to turn it round though, glad you stuck it out. Those vials on the sword are looking cracking by the way (I hadn’t even noticed them before). Good luck with the rest of the model – hopefully the worst is past!

  10. That’s one of the many reasons I never spray prime my models. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but for me it’s brush priming all the way.

    Nice recovery though – it looks good!

    • Hmm, to be fair, I have been using spraypaint for almost two decades now, and I can count the occasions where something went wrong on one hand (and still have some fingers left, so to speak). Just my luck, then, to have the first incident in years with a model as pricy and prestigious as this…;)

  11. To be honest thats why I stopped using spray paint and invested in and airbrush and compressor. Even if I just do basecoats/prime with it, the few hundred bucks I spent is a godsend compared the the amount of heart attacks I’ve avoided with spray can issues.

    • Haha, like I said, I’ve only ever had three or four mishaps during my twenty+ years in the hobby. I will admit that the heart attack factor was pretty big this last time, though 😉


    What is the medal on Baron Harrowthorne’s right shoulder guard? It looks like the compass that many Imperial navy types wear on their uniforms. Where did you acquire this piece?

  13. […] A blog about KrautScientist's wargaming exploits « Knight in fuzzy armour? Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 1 […]


  15. wywóz śmieci Łódź

    Knight in fuzzy armour? Painting my Chaos Knight, pt. 1 | eternalhunt

  16. […] the last time I had to undercoat a Knight, there were no spraying mishaps this time around, fortunately enough, so here’s what I started […]

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