Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Creating Hex Patterns

Hex patterns are an easy way to create some great effects, especially on Eldar face plates. Getting tons of questions about how to achieve this affect, Caleb Wissenback, one of the WGC's Next Level Up Painters, decided to write a tutorial for those that are interested!  It's quick, it's easy and the results are excellent! Check it out!

Forward: Hello WGC Readers! Chung here and I'm proud to introduce you to one of our Next Level Up Painters, Caleb Wissenback.  He's won multiple awards and have produced some very impressive work. This is his debut article into the WGC family.  If you wish to know more about Caleb, check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/CK-Studios-Painting/541106512589810.  You'll definately be seeing more of Caleb and the rest of the NLU painters in this blog, our website, youtube channel and more in the future! Now... on with the show!

Caleb here and I'm here to show you how easy it is to apply hex patterns to your models. I have received so many questions on how I achieved the Hex pattern on the Revenant Titan that I decided to write a tutorial. Let's get started.

I'm assuming you have the basics of airbrushing down . I'm not going to go into detail with thinning, air pressures etc. I'm going to concentrate on how to achieve the effect .

So first off, I prep the mini by primering it black. Then I shoot my exaggerated highlights on. I call this the Lovejoy effect. I learned this from Aaron Lovejoy. For the white I use Tamiya XF-2 white . This paint goes on so smooth and thin. You can vary the intensity for your lightest points:

Now I base coat the mini with my darker base color. The Titan will be red so I chose Gore Red from GW as my base color:

I then deepen my shadows. For this I use P3s blue ink. I like the transparent properties of the inks and use them quite extensively in my airbrushing. Washes and inks react very differently when shot through an airbrush. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture here. But you can see the deeper shadows in the following pics

Now I will put the hex masking in place. The hex masking is just net cloth purchased at Walmart in their material section:

I usually just hold the masking in place with my off hand but my injury won't allow that so I had to use tape to hold it in place .

By squeezing the two ends of material together and pinching the tape, it was able to bond to itself through the holes in the material. Again, play with this part. The material will flex and bend allowing you to mask rounded and bumpy surfaces.

I want the masking as close to the surface as possible to allow for sharp edges. The further from the surface the less defined the pattern will be:

So we will mix up some more of the base color (gore red in this case) and apply it over the masking working down to the shadowed areas. You will probably have to apply multiple coats. We want a nice established color but not allow it to build up wet paint on the hex masking. This will seep through and contaminate our masked areas. If you end up covering too much of your shadow, that's ok we will reestablish them later.

Now while leaving the masking on we will apply a highlight color. For this I chose bright orange; an old GW color . Wild rider red will work as well. This time we will apply this toward the highlight areas of the mini (the white areas in the first picture). Again, thin even coats . Allow this color to blend at the edges into the red base coat you just sprayed . We want a nice modulation of color.

Now we can remove the masking. We have a very defined hex pattern but the mini is decidedly orange now. This is when we will apply the filter I was talking about. This coat needs to be thin. We want to tint the mini back to red but not lose the hex pattern . Easy does it here.

Once the filter red is done we can go in and reestablish the shadows with the blue ink. This is where inks are awesome. I will mix a roughly 50/50 mix of ink and water . But be very smooth and apply in light even coats. Don't allow the shadow to build up too much or it will become watery and smeared.

Now I will apply a filter to blend everything together. You can go back to your base red as I did here or you can use a glaze or wash . If choosing a wash make sure it's not darker then your base color. The GW glazes are nice here. Paint the entire surface. Again a nice thin coat. You want the undercoat to show through.

At this point it went in on the Titan and re-applied my shadow with the blue ink. This helps to re-establish the depth and movement of the mini.  Now it on to detailing and finishing the mini:

Hope this helps you to apply this technique . Sorry the pictures aren't great as I used my I-phone. Future tutorials will be done with my new Sony A-300!

Feel free to contact me at CK studios-painting on Facebook if you have more questions or would like more tips .


  1. Awesome, now I need to put that on practice.

    Brother G

  2. One word... Lizardmen!
    A scale pattern like this would be awesome, thought extremely time consuming if used army wide.

    1. Use a cheese grater to create scales by angling the tool at 45 degrees. Only do a once over with your final highlight when doing this though, unless you are confident you can align it perfectly.