Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Different Shades of an Ultramarine

Tonight the Coach asked which colors to use to paint an Ultramarine using Minitaire Paints. I've actually been asked this before but because the guy actually changed his mind and went with a different chapter, I didn't really get into it.  Now that Andrew (the Coach) brought it back up again I realized, it's a trick question. Why? Ok, here's why...

Like all Space Marine Chapter, they are identified by certain colors and can be done by various techniques.  Just because an Ultramarine is blue, it doesn't mean that it's always "THAT" blue.  "THAT" meaning the paint by colors that GW so gladly print in the back of the box to push their Citadel paints.  Not there there's anything wrong with it, that is if you want to be a paints by number kind of painter (which we all are at a certain stage in our painter life).

But what I realized when I was writing down the colors to use that this is NOT the way I remembered Andrew had for his Ultramarines.  Or rather at least not the colors for the bulk of his army as he tends to buy figures from eBay, sometimes from people claiming to be a "PRO-PAINTER". I asked him what shade of blue and he said deep blue which was WAY off from the list I was going to give him.

Before we move on, let me just say this and this is from first hand experience by holding  "PRO-PAINTED" figure in my hands bought by different friends on different occasions.  "Pro-Painted" from eBay is a code word for "Buy it for more money that it's worth so that you end up stripping the paint off and repainting it yourself."

Listen, if they really are a pro-painter then "real" painters who sell their stuff on eBay wouldn't need to add those words to their description or title. The images of their work will tell the tale.  Yes, they probably put "Pro-Painted" for tricksie-ing the search but it's so over used that it really means nothing now. You're better off with searching "Monkey Sling Poop" and get better results.

Ok, so there were two techniques I was using to work up the colors for an Ultramarine.

Shading Process

We'll start by using the shading techniques to get the the tone you want.  While working this whole process out, go slow.  Think about what you are doing and see about taking your time hitting the in various spots of the model close up.  This will help you practice your trigger control and as well as have a real hard shaded look to make your model stand out.

As I'm doing this process I'm being lazy and going fast so I'm just hitting the models in large angles.

We'll start with a black primer.  This will give us a black canvas to work on:

Next, we'll base coat the model with Nautilus Blue. This means cover the whole model with this color. Even the shadowy parts:

Now with Werewolf Grey we'll hit all the exposed areas.  Shoot at about 15 PSI at a 15 degree angle from the top then shade in the other areas around the figure that are "exposed".  What you want to do is leave the Nautilus Blue underneath in all the area's that are the "shadows":

Now let's stop here a moment and talk about this a bit.  At this point in time when you spray this on you're going think, "What am I doing, painting Space Wolves?".  No, the reason for this is to bring up the lighting on the canvas so the colors ABOVE comes out a little brighter.  And in retrospect, if you want to go Space Wolves, replace the colors in the next couple of steps with Rock and then with Concrete Slab.

So here we go.  Next step, using the same shading technique, you want to lightly coat with Spell Slinger Blue, in essence, repeating the steps you did with Werewolf Grey:

Pic from the Lexicanum
At this point you can stop. If you want your Ultramarines to have the psychotic space faring smurfs color scheme then seal it with clear coat and move on to the next step in your painting phase.  For me, it probably be a wash so I would put on a gloss clear varnish.  If I'm going to do more touch up or detail work, I would seal with a matte clear varnish.

It also looks brighter in the picture than it really is.  It is still a little bright but I am assuming you will be weathering it a bit (like giving it a wash).  If you do, it will tone down the color. It really turned out to be more of that faded blue you see in some Ultramarines like the picture from the left.

If this is too smurfy for you, then the next step is to do the SAME thing but using Nautilus Blue again:

Unfortunately you can't tell because the phone cam is compensating for it's small sensor (don't we all?) so it's coming out way brighter than it should.  It is in the color tone of something like the picture to the left (from the  It has a more dark blue tone than the one above (like the shade of blue you see on the mess on the bottle).

Again when you do some weathering to it, it'll tone it down even more so keep that in mind.

And then of course if you want to go even darker to get that dark purpish/blue hue then we'll hit it again with some Royal Blood:

This one is the very blue dark space marine army. I don't really like this shade personally as I find it way too dark.  It would be something akin to this look once weather down:

Yeh, it'll take some work but the shading will look more prominent. But we can also achieve a nice shaded look by going three shades up.

Three Shades Up

This is very simple and you can still get a fine effect with it.  It's pretty much the MO Lester Bursley uses in his videos.  First, primer white. This gives use a bright canvas to use:

Now base coat with Royal Blood:

Mid Tone Shade it with Nautilus Blue.  In other words, just hit the exposed areas with this color:

Now shade up with Spellsinger Blue.  In other words, hit the exposed areas of the exposed area with this color but leaving some of the Nautilus Blue underneath:

And to give it a little hightlight, shoot around the model from the top at a 45 degree angle with Troll Hide:

This give you a shade of something a little lighter than that dark blue from the last step in the process above. Here's another look at it from a different angle:

And again, it looks brighter than it really is on the camera but you get the point.

Hope this helps you Coach and anyone else who reads this.  Any questions just ask.  Love y'all!

1 comment:

  1. If you were going to do a Hawk Lords chapter, what vallejo shades would you recommend?