A Board fit for a (Wight) King – Part 2
It’s time to delve once more into the Mind of Mengel with the latest article from hobby supremo Tyler Mengel. This week we have the second part of the journey making his Armies on Parade board. If you missed part one, which explored how he built the board, you can check it out here. And now to see how he painted it. Take it away, Tyler:
Tyler: Now that everything was ready for some colour it was time to start painting my grey board different shades of grey. I originally sprayed everything Mechanicus Standard Grey, including the buildings. The only things sprayed a different colour were the Creeping Vines. This was so that the board would at least somewhat match my army’s bases, which use the Astrogranite texture paint. With such a large project, I decided to tackle the largest part of it first; the ground. Luckily for me, I pretty much already had the colours I needed to use worked out from my Nighthaunt’s bases. With my solid grey colour already down, I next washed the whole board with black. I tried to be fairly thin with this since I didn’t want it to get too dark or pool in odd spots. I then drybrushed it with Dawnstone, followed by Administratum Grey on the rocky outcrops and Karak Stone all over. I went pretty light with the Karak Stone, except for on the rocky outcrops. With that, the largest surface area of the project was done.
As the saying goes, no plan survives contact with the enemy, and this was the case with my original plan for the buildings. Which, I guess, would make my painting ‘the enemy’… anyway, moving on! I had originally intended to paint them either a darker or lighter grey than the ground, using a few different paint colours to help differentiate them. Once the ground was done, I decided that it would look much too homogenous and I needed to pick something darker for the buildings. Enter Incubi Darkness! I love this colour, it’s so great and versatile. Unluckily for me, I had already glued down all of the fence walls as well as the obelisk. A quick snap later and the obelisk was free of its earthly prison, but there was no way for me to take the walls off without damaging all of the work I had put into blending them into the ground. So, while the buildings and obelisks were quickly coated Incubi Darkness, the walls and gravestones had to be done very carefully while still attached to the board. Let this be a lesson on the value of planning ahead. Though base coating the walls took a few days of hobby time, in the end, after all of the drybrushing and other effects, I was really happy with how they turned out. I’ll go over exactly how I painted this effect in a future tutorial as I’ve now decided I will be doing a good chunk of my scenery in this method since it looks great on both the grey table and my desert table. I do have to thank the extremely talented Chris Peach for helping me out with how to do this. It’s, essentially, a slightly modified version of what he did for his own display board.
After all of that was done, the majority of my board was finished. I hit the metallics next, with the fences getting a simple base coat of Leadbelcher, followed by a wash of Agrax Earthshade for a dirty, aged look. I also used some heavily watered down Skrag Brown to add an element of rust. This was painted on in specific areas, but I was pretty liberal with it overall. The brass areas were base coated with Balthasar Gold and washed with Nuln Oil to darken it down more. Much like the fences, I added a bit of weathering, but this time in the form of oxidization. I opted not to use Nihilakh Oxide since I would be using that on ghostly areas later, so I instead used heavily watered down Sotek Green and painted it around joins and rivets. Finally, I drybrushed all the metals with Necron Compound.
Now came the most daunting task; the skulls. In a foolish mistake, I decided to count how many skulls I was about to paint. 171 skulls, not including the pits in the ground. That’s a lot of bone. Since I want this to match my army, I tried to paint the bone in a similar fashion, which meant lightening it up enough to use a wash on top to tint it. All of the skulls got a base coat of Celestra Grey since it is a Base colour and has good coverage. Surprisingly, this didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. Originally, I was going to lighten it up even further to Ulthuan Grey so it would be exactly the same as my models, but in the end, I decided to stop at Celestra Grey so the skulls on the board would be a little darker and not compete with my models. It definitely wasn’t because I was running low on time and didn’t want to do another layer. Honest. These were then all washed with Seraphim Sepia, which did the dual job of shading the model and tinting it to be a bone colour. At first, I was just going to leave it here, but a while later I went back and did a quick and light dry brush of Screaming Skull over all of it.
Finally, I was able to paint the part I had been most excited about since the beginning; the skull pits. I knew from the very start that I wanted to paint these as ghostly skulls, pushing up through the ground. Much like the regular skulls, I base coated both of the pits with Celestra Grey, including the cracks spreading out from them. I then followed this up with a solid layer of Ulthuan Grey. This took a few coats since it’s a thinner colour. Just like with my Nighthaunts, I washed this all with a Lahmian Medium/Nihilakh Oxide mix, about 70/30. After I let this dry overnight, I dry brushed all of the skulls with White Scar. A little later on in the process, I went back and added a bit of a glow on the surrounding ground with the Nihilakh Oxide mix, being sure to feather it out the further away from the pit I got.
I was in the home stretch now and could see the ghost light at the end of the tunnel. All I had left were minor details. I painted all of the flowers Xereus Purple and the accompanying vines and leaves with Eshin Grey. These were then all washed with Nuln Oil and dry brushed with Screaming Skull at the same time as the bone. Happy to be close to done, I glued all of the buildings down where they were going to go and turned my attention to the Creeping Vines. I had primed these still on the sprue and painted them the same way. Over the top of the black, I drybrushed the vines with Dawnstone followed by a lighter dry brush of Celestra Grey. The leaves were picked out with Xereus Purple and painted the same way as the flowers so it would all tie together. It took longer for me to decide where to glue these than to paint them. I knew one was going to be clinging to the obelisk, but the rest I decided on the spot. One of the Arcane Ruins pillars in the front got some, as well as the Dreadfleet skulls on the hill and a few of the buildings. These were really easy to work with and I just bent them into shape as I glued them.
The last thing to do was to add my purple quartz, which I glued directly to the board in a couple of clumps. To help hide the join I glued some sand around them and painted it like the rest of the ground. A quick paint job of black around the edges of the board and I was done with several days to spare!
I learned a few things making this. First, spend a bit more time planning out your idea before tackling it. I had a pretty good plan, but I would have saved a lot of time and effort if I had been able to base coat those walls separately. Secondly, give yourself more time than you think you’ll need. I wish I had started this about two weeks earlier than I did. Even though I finished it in time, I felt a little rushed the whole time to meet the deadline for the competition. I’m really happy with it though and was very pleased with the final result, especially once I set my army up on it. I plan on using this for future Death armies as well, like the Skeletons I’m painting. I may even expand this out into a whole board.
My Spooking of Ghosts™ went to my local Games Workshop store over the Armies on Parade weekend and managed to take home the Best Themed Entry award! I’m already thinking about my entry for next year, perhaps something from the war-torn battlefields of the far future…
Inspirational stuff (as usual) from Tyler there. If you’d like to see more Armies on Parade, be sure to check out the website, and check back soon for more hobby goodness from the Mind of Mengel.
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