So guard me already
Like many modelers, when I first got my hands on a Vanguard, I didn’t know what to make of it. It doesn’t really look like other warjacks; it doesn’t assemble like other warjacks, and it’s not really the size of other warjacks in its class. Which when you think about it, is exactly how it should be. The vanguard is unique. It’s the only jack ever to have been built by the Golden Crucible. There’s no reason it should look like anything that’s come before it. And boy howdy it doesn’t.
Honor among thieves.
Still, I wanted mine to look even more unique. I wanted something different. I wanted mine towering over the battlefield. I wanted it to be the vigilant defender the rules make it out to be. So out came the saws. The legs were hacked into tiny pieces and about an hour later it was reassembled. (I promise I’ll cover a “how to” on jack converting in an upcoming article.) So now with my newly modified Vanguard standing tall, I needed a scheme that fits the look, something proud… something blatantly stolen. When I first saw the vanguard painted, it was John Cadice’s personal model done in a White and Purple half and half scheme. It really seemed to fit my needs. Sometimes this jack would be used with Magnus, other times I planned on using Ashlynn. My Magnus was already done in a rich blue, and I saw Ashlynn in bones or creams. This was a piece of cake. Half blue half bone. A scheme that does double duty!
No bones about it.
So I’m panting a lot of bright bone, over a black undercoat, where did I start? The key is in a good coverage base coat I use a color from the Vallejo modeling line called Cam. Orange Ochre. This is by no means a perfect solution. Its coverage is decent, but has a tendency to tear when glazed. Give it a lot of time to dry between coats. I did about 3-4 thin coats with the Cam. Orange Ochre. At this point I was ready to start mixing in some of Citadel’s bleached bone. To make the process go a little easier, I added a few drops of Vallejo’s glaze medium. This seems to work exceptionally well with the bleached bone, and it no time, I’ve got a bright bone colored jack. I wanted some heavy contrast though. There were lots of armor plates that needed delineation, so with a mix of Citadel’s Brown Ink and Vallejo’s Cam. Black brown I set to work outlining each plate.
Next up was the blue, I wanted it to be very rich, and very royal looking. I began with Citadel’s Storm Blue. The coverage on it is great, but it tends to dry with a purplish sheen. Once everything was covered I went over it again with a glazing of Citadel’s Regal Blue. This is a great blue, it’s rich, it covers well and in just a few coats you’re done. I did a final pass of glazing with a Regal Blue and Enchanted Blue mix. I then highlighted the plates with a bit of straight Enchanted Blue. All I needed now was to set the armor plates apart, a mixing of blue and black ink really did the trick. With only the metals left to go, this jack painted up in a relative short time.
Mercenaries do it for the gold.
I tweaked my normal golds for this one, Instead of starting with VGC Brassy Brass, I went down a step to VGC Tinny Tin. I just wanted a darker over all tone, and by shifting down a step I got a neat look. The recipe for this is VGC, Tinny Tin, VGC Brassy brass, a wash of Citadel’s brown ink mixed with VMC Smoke, and a final highlight of Citadel’s shining gold.
Ta da! A vanguard.
The Talon - Fear the Claw!
Ok I realize the Talon has been out for a long time, but I really like chopping up this jack. It converts so well I wanted to keep messing with it. Currently this one is sporting a fully rebuilt right arm with only the hand, upper forearm guard and shoulder ring being stock. The legs also saw some hacking as the hips, and lower legs both got complete rebuilds. The paint for this was almost the exact same as the Vanguard, but with less of the direct division, and more of a nod to the blue scheme. Since I already had a Talon completed for Magnus, this one would be Ashlynn’s. Simple but effective, I think.
Steelhead Halberdiers - They Don’t Look Like Trout.
I think I was trying for a record. How fast can I paint a unit? These Steelheads were done in about 4 hours. With a good third of that time spent on making the faces look good. The real trick was in the armor. I wanted a gritty lived in look to the armor. I figure Steelheads are a rough and tumble crew with a high turnover. Not the cleanest bunch of guys out there. To capture this I did a blazing fast metal technique that took very little time to complete. Here’s the trick. I coat every metal part in VGC Tinny Tin (although Citadel’s Tin Bitz would work fine too.). Once coated take a soft flat brush, I prefer synthetic white sables for this, and load up the brush with some of Citadel’s Boltgun Metal. Don’t paint it on; wipe the excess paint of on the back of your thumb or hand. I can’t explain how this is different from a palette or paper or something, but it is. I’m not trying for dry brushing here, I want some paint still on the brush, but I want it to take a few passes. I use an older brush for this, because I polish it on, I don’t paint it. It makes the metals lay down in such a way that they stay shiny, but are ever so transparent. The next part is all it takes to muck them back up.
Mmmmm muck. I have a simple brew for muck that you’re going to love. I’m going to throw a new paint you may not have heard of before. VMC Black Glaze. This stuff is WEIRD. It’s goopy and waxy and dries flatter than a board. It’ll take the shine off a diamond. It’s very odd stuff. I highly recommend that you play around with it a little before applying it to a masterpiece. It takes some getting used to, and it’s one of the fun ingredients to my muck. The other 2 are VMC smoke, and Citadel’s Brown ink. No matter how much you thin Smoke or Black Glaze, they are still both a bit sticky. They pool and clump, and even mixed together with some glaze medium they are still as bad. A smidge of Brown Ink seems to really help these paints flow. And it adds a bit more depth to the color.
Take the muck mixture and thin it down a good bit. You want it pretty runny so it will pool in all the nooks and crannies. All the places a quick rub down with an oiled cloth would miss. Don’t paint it all over, or any shine you have in your metals will disappear. Once this is good and dry you can make another pass. Change up the ratios a bit to get some good variation. When this is done, I do another round of polishing as before with the Boltgun metal. Any areas that I was to generous with, will get another pass. Finally I do this again with some Chainmail. I pay close attention to where the light would hit the model so I can create as much depth as possible. It’s quick work.
I decided to go with blue padded under armor to give a tiny bit of cohesion to my rag tag mercenary force. The pieces all have little elements of other pieces. Just enough so that they don’t fight with each other visually on the field, but still manage to look unique.
Bokur - I’m out of witty one-liners.
Ok this is probably my favorite model in the mercenary range. I think I’ll end up with more than I can ever use. It just has so much energy, mass, and power. It’s an easy paint up and… damn. It just looks good. Who ever sculpted this, hats off to ya. Now do more. LOTS more.
Since Bokur are freelancers, I realized I could do minor conversions to the lot of em, but a more telling factor would be their armor. There’s no reason one Bokur should match another one (visually) on the field. They can be drastically different. This one is a hand me down Bokur. Good armor, but old with hints of patina forming up in the corners of the bronze.
Monochromatic just felt right for this guy. I didn’t stray far in my palette, bronzes, browns and flesh tones. I used a little bit of “tactics in painting” with this guy. Bokurs are going to be hot targets, and with a slightly more muted scheme, I’m hoping to put that attention else where. I’m probably smoking something… but leave a man to his delusions.