Glowing power blades at last! So I set about painting the swords with some trepidation, if I'm being honest. I wasn't concerned with layering on the blues so much as I was timid about applying the crackling energy effect that GW uses on their stock models. Well, as can be plainly seen above, there is no crackling effect. I labored on two passes to get an effect I could live with, but in the end I repainted the test blade and settled for the effect above - at least for now. A bonus to doing one's own painting...one can always go back and redo anything that suits at a later time if one wishes!
So...having based the blades with GW Kantor Blue during a prior session, I led off this session by applying GW Sotek Green just to the flat of the blade before it begins to rise to the center detailing. The slope and the center of the blade I left with the base color. This approach best approximates what Duncan did in his Warhammer TV video on YouTube when painting the Custodes the halberd. With this dry, I layered GW Temple Guard Blue on the edges, bringing it onto the edge of the blade, but NOT covering all of the Sotek Green...maybe a 1 or 2mm line all around the flat of the blade. I also chose to paint the power terminals and the center details Temple Guard Blue as well.
I then laid down a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade over all to darken the colors, sharpen the details, and enhance the color blending. With all fo the layers I did my best to thin the paints well as suggested in the video. Then I set those aside to dry and address the banner poll scrolls with some Agrax Earthshade and a line brush...
While splotchier than I would like in the close ups, the effect reads as ancient written scrolls tolerably well on the table top. I used a spot of GW Mephiston Red to create an illusion of illumination on some of the scrolls and perhaps signature text at the bottom. Overall, I thought this came out pretty well. I find pens for this work don't answer, at least for me. I have some pretty thin marker pens for fine line work, but they don't look good for these small scrolls in my opinion.
Yet, I am not satisfied with my brush work either. I suspect I need to be using a brown paint instead of the Agrax, as the Agrax is necessarily thin and doesn't leave bold strokes. It does look pretty old and faded though which serves well for Custodes relics I'd wager! Perhaps I'll make a last pass with some dark brown paint over the lines already applied to darken them. Anyway..I'm stalling...back to the blades...
So...the wash dried and I was ready to highlight the blades and add the crackling energy. I came back with GW Temple Guard Blue for the highlights, running it along just the sharp blade edges this time (not on the flat of the blades) and along the raised center details, including the enclosing box and a bit down towards the point. I touched up the power terminals as well...then came in with some GW White Scar to highlight just to top arc of the blade edges up to the point, the balls of the power terminals and a bit of the wires, and then the pint of the box enclosing the center details of the blades.
Lovely! Now to just add the lively crackling lines of power energizing the blades. I put some very thin Temple Guard Blue on my fine liner brush and got stuck in...but I just couldn't pull it off. After a few tries with a couple other fine brushes, I just wasn't happy with the results at all. I could get strong even lines and everything came off too feathery and splotchy entirely. I tried again with some White Scar and it just went from bad to worse. After staring at the blade a bit squinting my eyes this way and that to try and make the effect read true in my mind, I gave up and repainted the portions of blade I had marked up as above until everything was put back to rights.
And so here we have it...
I am much happier with this than I would have been trying to live with my botched crackling energy effect. It looks great on its own and does not at all preclude me from trying again at some later point when I work out how to achieve the effect I'm looking for. I certainly did not achieve anything close to what Duncan made to look so easy, nor what the Heavy metal painters got done on the stock models. But that leaves me a challenge to work towards in the future. I have an array of power weapons to paint on the Grey Knights so I can get ample practice over time if I stick with it.
So, enough about power blades. Here is the squad as they now stand on the work bench...
All of the shields are now attached and I'll work on the bases now. A couple quick passes with the air brush and some washes will set the details enough for me to attach the models. Then I'll complete the bases with appropriate weathering so that everything blends together and the models look at home on the bases. Nothing more than a single session there I think. I did perhaps glue on a bit too much gravel. Some will need to get picked off so I can attach these guys without them looking as though they are floating over a surface of coarse marbles! :) Normally I attach models to their bases before gluing down the gravel so they look more settled into it, given their power armored weight.
Once everything is put to rights and done, I'll post up some shots of each in the light box to illustrate the amazing detail these models offer. The work bench shots are entertaining, but coarse in regard to showing anything off. Oh, and I imagine I'll address some contrast on the shields and other minor details as I get to looking around each model once they are secured to their bases.
As always, comments and commiserations are both welcomed and appreciated. Best wishes for the projects you find yourself involved with this holiday season.
Cheers and Happy Gaming!