exorre's Tyranid Broodlord
‘lo! I just finished up a Tyranid Broodlord. Inspired by the box art, and the 6 paints mentioned on the back (most of which I had!), I thought I could rock this bad boy out in a few days. Y-yeah … no.
I ended up spending about 2 weeks working on it, making a rough stab at copying the ‘Eavy Metal paint job. I posted daily pictures to my twitter feed with the intent of amusing my fellow warmongers. Matching the box art would require blending the white skin into the magenta recesses — not the other way around — that much was clear to me from the outset. Even so, I under-estimated how long that would take.
A few days into the project I received White Dwarf 123 with a Paint Splatter guide for painting this very miniature. At first I was embarrassed I started a lengthly blending process, when all you had to do was dab some red wash into the recesses. But then I was annoyed that the Paint Splatter model looked nothing like the box art to me. That’s when I knew I was on the right track.
As a result of these two things, having detailed pictures and being annoyed at the official painting guide, I thought it would be fun to post my process here. Blogging my Warpfire Dragon WIP (http://forum.mengelminiatures.com/index ... owtopic=96) was a ton of fun, and that settles it!
I hope you like it! Comments welcome!
First thing I did was wash the plastic sprues with a little bit of dish soap and lukewarm water. This sparked a small debate on Twitter. Do you really need to wash plastics? Washing resin and white metal is common (and common-sense!), but plastics tend not to have as much oil or mould release. Still, after having weird experiences with some Reaper Bones, I started washing plastics also. Doesn’t take long …
The Tyranid Broodlord goes together more or less like a normal genestealer. Which is to say, it’s a weird gnarled mess of limbs glued into a central shell. Usually the limbs and and arm sockets are formed in a particular way, so that it’s hard to accidentally glue one of the large upper rending arms into the smaller grippy arm sockets. Even so, it’s always a good idea to dry fit your parts before putting any glue down, and that’s especially true for a genestealer.
Right out of the gate I broke the prehensile tongue in half, so I had to re-attach it with some thin plastic glue. The picture below shows the join wasn’t quite perfect, and it leans a little to the left. After painting no one is going to know. Most of the time if you break a plastic part you can just use some thin plastic glue to weld the pieces back together. If the part is beyond repair (even out of the box) or if the part was malformed, Games Workshop is great about replacing the part, no questions asked.
I chose to assemble the entire creature, but leave it off its oval base, to facilitate painting. Unfortunately for me, once the limbs are attached on a Genestealer you lose access to the under-belly / rib-cage / pelvis area. You may want to consider painting the body and limbs separately.
As I said before, I thought I saw a lot of pink/magenta showing through in the box art, and that means doing some careful blending. Looking at the guide at the back of the box, I stuck with an Ushabti Bone base coat, but I decided to use Khorne Red instead of Carroburg Crimson as my shade. Khorne Red has a magenta tint, which I thought would complement the purple carapace well. Also, being a paint, I could more easily control its transparency/thinness. I chose to use Pallid Wych Flesh as my highlight color, which is a lie I will explain later on.
First I airbrushed the model white using Vallejo Surface Primer thinned with Vallejo Thinner Medium in a 5:1 ratio. Then I sprayed thinned Ushabti Bone using roughly the same ratio, with a little bit of water added for luck; maybe 5:1:1. In my experience, this is going to depend on your airbrush and your compressor PSI. No reason why you can’t do this by hand, but the airbrush is hella-fast is all.
Then I brushed thinned-down Khorne Red across the skin in a couple of passes. I thinned the paint with water in a roughly 1:2 ratio, more water than paint. Khorne Red is a base paint, so you need to thin it a bit more than usual. I applied the first coat all over, then when that dried did a second pass over the deeper/darker recesses. Finally I washed a little Druchii Violet into those darker areas.
Once the shade was dry I began blending the pink up to the base color. I did this by applying many, many thin layers of Ushabti Bone. I thinned the Ushabti Bone with Reaper Drying Retarder and water, in a roughly 1:1:1 ratio. This style of blending is pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and only requires one brush. For folks who want to learn more about this, I’ll go into more detail at the end of the tutorial.
This took me around 12 hours. In order to break up the monotony and to gauge my progress, I worked in sections, one limb at a time.
Yes, this is way more work than the White Dwarf Paint Splatter guide. But before you write it off as insane, let me point out just two things:
- With this method, there’s a little bit of that shade color across nearly the entire skin area. Sometimes only just a little bit of shade pokes through, maybe 5% or so. It doesn’t seem like much, but you can really tell it’s there.
- It turns out that Ushabti Bone, when layered on top of Khorne Red, actually looks white, about the same tint as Flayed One Flesh! (I actually tried highlighting with Flayed One Flesh, but since I couldn’t actually see the difference, I jumped straight to Pallid Wych Flesh.) The pictures below show how Ushabti Bone layered on the shade looks much brighter than the Ushabti Bone layered on the primer.
Also I started blending the right side of the model, before tackling the left. And, after 6 hours of practice, my technique really improved. If you look carefully you can see the left rending claw arm has way more definition and generally looks better than the right one. At least, I think so.
I repeated this process with a little bit of Pallid Wych Flesh, just to punch up the highlights some more. This took a lot less time, as I just focused on the face, the top of the head, the tail, and the tops of the arms.
Being a huge fan of purple in general, and the old genestealer look in particular, I decided to use the box’s suggestion of Naggaroth Night, and then shade it down with some Druchii Violet and Nuln Oil.
(If you look carefully at the box art, you will see the ‘Eavy Metal artist probably started with black and layered up to a dark purple base coat. I kinda wish I tried that instead.)
The hard part of the Carapace was all the edge highlighting, building layers of lightening, jagged stripes to create an organic, chitinous effect. The box art takes this to an extreme by using many fine lines. Also, the contours of the carapace were carefully edged.
For those new to this technique, there are a few tricks for edge highlighting:
- Use a small brush with a reasonably sharp point.
- Your paint needs to be thin enough that it will flow off of your brush evenly and quickly, not so thick it’s gloppy or won’t flow.
- You can pick hard edges by running your brush at a 45-degree angle to the edge.
- For flatter surfaces, you need to use a brush with a good point and just freehand a nice line.
- Like with layering, it’s better to build up a solid color in many small layers.
For colors, I started with Xereus Purple and blended up through a Genestealer Purple / White Scar 1:1 mix in 3 or 4 coats. I carefully panted over each line, trying my best to keep the strokes consistent. And as the color lightened, I shortened the length of the stroke, so you see a darker color towards one end of the stripe, and it lightens gradually towards the other end. This effect is most noticeable on the pod-thingy the Tyranid Broodlord is standing on. (Again, I used this same technique on my Warpfire Dragon wings.) Looking carefully at the box art, I saw some red in the mix, so I actually did a pass with Khorne Red before building up the purples. Most of that color is no longer visible, so it probably wasn’t worth the trouble.
Incidentally, there is another way you can do a striped gradient effect like this. You can paint the stripes once using your brightest color, then use a progressively darker series of shades to darken down the dark ends. I used this technique to darken down these stripes on the top of the Tyranid, which were getting too bright. (I also did this on my Warpfire Dragon to blend the stripes into the black wings.) But there’s no reason you couldn’t do it across the whole area. A great thing about miniature painting is there’s no one right way to do things!
I used a very light color (White / Genestealer mix) to underline little gouges, cracks, scratches, and pock marks in the carapace and on the pod-thingy, to call attention to these details. A bright edge on the bottom of a crack helps catch the light.
The long rending claws proved to be a great opportunity to practice blending, start with a black base coat, then blend in a red color, working towards the tip. I painted the toes first, but the technique was the same everywhere. The first layer was roughly a 1:1:2 Khorne Red, Abaddon Black, water mix. I covered most of the claws, leaving black showing towards the base. For longer claws like the rending claws, I was careful to work in straight lines, to emphasize the geometry.
I used the colors in the base coat to edge highlight the claws as well, trying to stay a little bit ahead of where the base coat started and stopped. When the base coat was finished, I mixed up a lighter highlight color, roughly Evil Suns Scarlet, Trollslayer Orange, White Scar, and water in a 1:1:1:3 ratio, and brightened the tips of the claws and nails.
The tongue was base-coated in Cadian Fleshtone and shaded with Druchii Violet. I then layered with some Kislev Flesh and Flayed One Flesh, one again, thinning with water and blending in stages. The teeth were then base coated in XV-88, shaded with Nuln Oil, and highlighted with a very thinned Pallid Wych Flesh. I wanted to avoid Ushabti Bone for the teeth since that color is so prominent elsewhere.
The Tyranid Broodlord uses an oval base, and I thought a new Sector Imperialis base would look good with my Deathwatch Overkill minis. Silver areas were based with Leadbelcher, shaded with Nuln Oil, and edge highlighted with Runefang Steel. Gold/brass were based with Balthasar Gold, shaded with Agrax Earthshade, highlighted with Gehenna’s Gold, and edge highlighted with Runefang Steel. My normal stone recipe is a Mechanicus Standard Grey base, Nuln Oil shade, Celestra Grey dry brush, and a White Scar dry brush / highlight, but I decided to replace the Nuln Oil with Druchii Violet, again to tie in the color from the Tyranid Broodlord.
Once the model was attached, I had some gaps to fill, including a large round gap around the back. I started with some Liquid Green Stuff, dabbing around the weird pod-thing-struts. I wanted this to have an organic, slime-like quality, and so I tried to leave the LGS alone. When the LGS had set for about 8 hours, I used some sculpting tools to smooth it out and shape it a little along those struts. I was surprised to find this actually worked – I was able to smooth and push the dry LGS about, and blend it into the contours of the plastic figure a little. For larger gaps, I mixed up some Green Stuff and shaped it with my sculpting tools.
As the pod-thing-struts looked a bit like some kind of mucusly slime, I thought it would be fun to paint them a sickly blue/green color. I ended up using a recipe for painting Spirit Hosts. I base coated them with Celestra Grey, applied a wash of Nihilakh Oxide, shaded with Coelia Greenshade, layered some thinned down Pallid Wych Flesh, and washed a little thinned down Moot Green into the recesses. Ghostly!
One regret here: I wish I had done some of this ghost effect painting on the figure before I glued it down. Once down, it was hard for me to get to the underside of the pod-thing. Lesson learned!
I glued some sand down over the dirt area, to make the dirt texture uniform across the model. Then I painted the dirt with a Rhinox Hide base, Nuln Oil shade, and various dry-brush colors (Mournfang Brown, Balor Brown, Averland Sunset). Finally I weathered the silver areas with Typhus Corrosion and Trollslayer Orange and the gold/brass areas with some Nihilakh Oxide.
I had a lot of fun painting this guy. I feel like a number of things are just starting to click for me, especially regarding brush control and working with thinned down paints. This was the first time I really tried sculpting Green Stuff and maybe the second time sculpting dry Liquid Green Stuff. I hope someone finds what I learned helpful. Thanks for reading! Comments welcome!
Heya, I was going to write up a little sidebar on working with thinned paints, but after thinking it over, I thought it would be best to start a new thread. So look for it there! I'll post a link once I have it up …