Archive for contrast paints

State of the Hunt, Week 26/2019: First Contrast Paint impressions

Posted in paintjob, state of the hunt with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2019 by krautscientist

Something of an interlude for today, since I got the unplanned opportunity last week to get some hands-on experience with the new Contrast Paints and would like to share a couple of observations, as well as some photos of my two test models.

Be advised, however, that this post won’t be an in-depth review — if you are that way inclined, let me point you towards this excellent article over at Tale of Painters for an actual, thorough all-corners review. This is basically just me fooling around with a new toy 😉

I was, of course, interested Already seeing some intriguing stuff online and getting some encouraging pointers from fellow hobbyist-recently-turned-TeeVee-superstar Jeff Vader. So when the opportunity to test the paints arose at the local Warhammer store (now again crewed by a very decent store manager, I must add), I got straight to work.

 

Anyway, all the Space Marines were already taken, so I ended up with a female Stormcast Sequitor (one of my favourite easy to build models, though, so all was well) and a Poxwalker. Both of the models were already glued together and undercoated when I started working on them. Here’s what I came up with during my time in the store:

The Sequitor took me about 45 – 60 minutes of fairly neat painting (and of getting to grips with the new paints in the first place). Quite a bit of the time was also spent trying to wedge my brush into all the nooks and crannies behind the shield, as the model had already been glued together beforehand.

The Poxwalker, by contrast, was a crazy and fun 15-minute-romp of just letting rip with some of the pinks, purples and yellows.

Before we jump into the fray, let me just say up front that the freeflow, (water-)painterly way of painting these models was quite a wonderful change of pace! As was the freedom of simply painting something for the heck of it, with absolutely no danger of messing up whatsoever. So if nothing else, you should maybe give those paints a go at your local store, if only for the process to act as a wonderful little palate cleanser.

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the two models and my experiences when painting them:

The Sequitor came undercoated with Grey Seer, the slightly greyer, colder undercoat from the recent release. I decided to go with a the main approach of black armour, red robes, as seen in N1SB’s Contrast Paint experiments here, because I really liked the look of the combination (plus it’s also a pretty fair approximation of a classic Sisters of Battle painting scheme, which was an added bonus).


Only a single coat of paint was applied on all parts of the model (except for the base, where I got a little more adventurous — more on that in a second). This should tell you how the new Contrast Paints really allow you to cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. In hindsight, I think I should have been a little more generous with the black, as the shading effect didn’t turn out quite as prominent as I would have liked. Even so, the Black Templar Black (for the armour) and Flesh Tearer Red (for the robes) were definitely the standout paints here, although the Fyreslayer Flesh skin tone came in at a close second (it’s really uncanny how the Contrast flesh tones actually allow you to paint a finished face in one painting step).

As for my initial observations:

  • I didn’t encounter any cases of splotchiness with the new paints, although I have to say the Sequitor was basically the perfect model to use these on, given the amount of surface texture, folds in the fabric etc. Everything dried fairly quickly and to a nice, matte finish.
  • not using metallic paints on the areas that are supposed to be metal was a very weird feeling, and I felt the need to break out the silver and gold on the Sequitor, in particular when it came to painting the weapon and shield.
  • Due to the fact that, as you have probably already heard elsewhere, Contrast Paints basically work like a heavy wash or a wood stain, you don’t simply get to paint over mistakes you have made, but may have to correct them by painting over any stray marks with Grey Seer or Wraithbone from the pot. Even though I only went back to correct one or two mistakes, I found this to be the least entertaining part of the whole exercise, especially since going back to the somewhat chalky undercoats after working with the free flowing Contrast Paints was such a stark, erm, contrast.
  • As I was warned by the store manager – and as I have discovered myself – models painted with Contrast Paints really, really need to be varnished, as it’s quite easy for the paint to get rubbed off. This happened to me once or twice during the painting process, although only on very small, sharp areas (such as the sharpest folds in the Sequitor’s robes).

So after spending about an hour neatly painting the Stormcast Sequitor, I simply wanted to have some quick fun and experiment a bit, and the Poxwalker model seemed like the perfect piece for that. Like I said, the painting process was just a wild 15 minute ride. The Poxwalker was undercoated with “Wraithbone”, the warmer of the two new undercoats, and it makes for a wonderfully vibrant overall look on the finished model. The “Darkoath Flesh” skin tone basically did about 70% of the work, and afterwards it was mainly a matter of painting on some pinks and purples while the skin tone was still wet:


If it’s Nurglite grossness you are going after, the Contrast Paints are just perfect, making for a very organic look. The augmetic arm was basecoated with Gryph Hound Orange, and then I slathered on one of the darker browns.

I think it would be really easy to knock out a rather massive hore of Poxwalkers in an afternoon with a recipe like this, which seems like a very interesting proposition.

 

But wait, I didn’t stop there, but rather took the models along to my painting session with my good friend Annie. I wanted to try and combine the base work done with the contrast paints with some of my usual techniques. So here are the models, once again, when I packed up at the Warhammer store:


And here’s how they look now:


For the Sequitor, I resisted to urge to break out the metal paints after all, and decided to keep her entirely “NMM”, for lack of a better word. I merely added some highlights here and there, especially where the red hadn’t “auto-shaded” quite as much as I had hoped:




Just to illustrate how easy it is to cover lots of ground with the new paints, however: The act of adding some highlights and finishing the paintjob took just as long, if not longer, than the entire stage of painting her with Contrast Paints (and getting her basically game-ready) beforehand!

One thing I only got to experiment with a bit was to use various browns and greens for a more natural, mossy look for the base. I only really tried a bit of this, but I think the use of Contrast Paints for painting really interesting looking bases definitely warrants some further experimentation!



The finished base was given a light drybrush of Screaming Skull and (of course) a tidied up black base rim 😉

In hindsight, I am not 100% sold on the look of the Iyanden Yellow: When it works, it really works, but it ended up looking slightly anaemic in several spots. But Nazdreg Yellow, seen here on a model painted by Annie, seems to be an interesting, slightly more golden-brownish alternative:

As for the Poxwalker, I ended up being a bit more adventurous, in an attempt to bring him closer to the rest of my collection. So I added just a dash of metallic paint, some thinned-down Blood for the Blood God, and repainted some small areas where the Contrast Paints looked a bit too water-colour-y to me, such as the boils, the loincloth and the leather belt and  pouches:




This guy could actually join the rest of my Nurglite models without a hitch — if anything, he only looks a bit more vibrant and infectious than my other models. Here’s a comparison picture with my “classic” Poxwalker scheme:



So yeah, this was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed the freeform, exploratory spirit of the whole session!

One thing that cannot be stressed enough – and this is relevant for my future treatment of Contrast Paints as a possible tool – is that the usefulness of the new paints really hinges on the colour of the undercoat: These really work best (or at all) when used over a very light undercoat. So if, like me, you favour black, grey or brown, you’ll find it harder to include them into your standard recipes. At the same time, it cannot be overstated how novel and original playing around with them feels, so they may just warrant a slight reshuffling of recipes and approaches. While I don’t think I’ll be abandoning “classic” paints (or dark undercoats, for that matter), the Contrast Paints are a ton of fun to play around with, and certainly a very promising new tool for painters. There are also armies that I think will be a blast to paint with these (I am looking at you, Tyranids, Eldar and Poxwalker hordes).

Two final observations before I wrap this up:

One, when seen at gaming distance, models that have been painted with nothing but Contrast Paints look completely painted — and pretty well painted, at that. If you look at them up close, especially when it’s an entire squad, Blood Bowl team or what have you, the paintjob still looks good, but maybe a bit basic. So an extra bit of highlighting here and there is where the models really go from good to great — you should keep this in mind!

Two, and this seems a slighly weird observation: If I didn’t know any better, I would say the new paints where designed to photograph well. Case in point, the picture towards the start of this post, after I had finished applying the Contrast Paints (but nothing else) actually make the models look just a wee bit cooler than they actually looked in real life at that point. Which, again, goes to show that you should probably still plan for an extra round of highlights and final tweaks.

 

Anyway, that’s all I can offer for now. I can safely say that this experience has been a blast, and that it’ll be very interesting to test the new paints further. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find it helpful to get some firsthand observations from somebody who definitely isn’t a Golden Demon painter 😉 In any case, I would, of course, love to hear your thoughts — or learn what you think of the new paints!

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