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December 31, 2013

HOBBY: Painting the Prime Axiom Part 1: Silvers

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Greeting fellow robots, today we’re going to look at how to go about painting about 90% of the Prime Axiom.

I want to start of by apologizing: I dropped the ball on the photo-taking for this article, and some of the steps are missing photos, so I’ll need you guys to bear with me and use your abstract visualization skills.  Ready? Let’s paint.

What follows differs a bit from how I painted silver last time, in that I'm going to be mixing some blue into the shading to get a cleaner overall look than using black alone.

I use an airbrush, which saves me a ton of time, but in order to save even MORE time, I went out and bought a can of Army Painter’s Silver Primer.  So, as you might imagine, step one is prime the Axiom silver

I find the primer has some ups and downs—It goes on a little splotchy sometimes, but doing this instead of painting silver over black (which I’ve done for the rest of my Convergence) leads to the overall model being much brighter and standing out better from a distance.

After that, I mixed some Nuln Oil and Drakenhof Nightshade 5:2 and airbrushed it over the whole model… But, having finished the model, I'd say don’t do this unless you just really don’t want to backline the plates later.  It doesn’t add much, and with Convergence models’ shallow details, there’s very little room for error with the number of layers you use.

Next I get down to it—I take the same mix of GW washes (plus a drop or two of Glaze Medium) and start to airbrush it (from a distance, I don’t want it to pool up, I want it to hit the model and dry) into the shadows.  Think of this as contouring the model—You have to create the shadows, so look for where the plates slope and such.

I do this a few times and realize that it’s a good effect but goes on sort of subtly, so I turbocharge it and go with a mixture of 5:3:2 P3 Thamar Black: RMS Soft Blue (a sort of dark Navy): Glaze medium, and shoot it right into the hearts of the shadows.  This REALLY darkens it up, so do this conservatively.

After trying to blend the shadows out, I realized they took up WAY too much of the area—so I loaded the airbrush up with Runefang Steel (plus some water, plus some glaze medium) and worked from the other direction, focusing on just trying create a gradient from bright metals to dark shadows.  

If you go too far and make the shadows small or nonexistent, load up the wash mixture and try again—This is sort of a back and forth process (at least it was for me).

Once you’ve done that and created the bigger important shadows on the curvature of the plates and the downturned areas (including the backs of the leg… things?), it’s time for the really tedious part (which I conveniently don’t have pictures of… ugh.)  Alternatively, this work could all be left to the very end, as I find it's easy to mess up while you're doing other things, but here's my description of it for the sake of completion:

I took a wet palate (which extends the working life of acrylic paint by about infinity) and loaded up a few colors:  Leadbelcher, Runefang Steel, Thamar Black, and Morrow White.  The plan here is to come back and define the plates with edge highlights and backlining.

The idea is pretty simple: the areas between plates get a Thamar black line (try and blend it out some if you can, you don’t necessarily want a hard line of black between plates),  and the upturned edges get edged with Runefang Steel—the highest areas get an edge line of Morrow White—It’s important that this be  either only on a sharp edge, or blended into the silver a bit so it looks natural.  The Leadbelcher is just there to ease some blends if need be.  The effect is really nice once it’s done.

Once I finish all this, I go on to painting golds and glows and will inevitably get some unwanted paint on the silvers, but we’ll worry about touchup later.  Happy painting!

How have you guys been painting up your Convergence?  Are you guys sticking to silver as the primary color for yours?
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