Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Ghosts' project and digressions on painting faces

Now that I made up my mind to paint some Tanith Ghosts for my increasing IG army (the Emperor never stops recruiting!) it's time to consider the faces. Painting faces can be one of the most dauting tasks when putting together a new unit or army. It's one of the focal areas, where the eyes tend to go, and therefore it's important to get it right. I'm still in the process of learning (I don't think you can ever stop learning) but I think I can paint pretty decent faces. Considering the Ghosts are rather monochromatic - dull black matte fatigues, dull camo cloak and no color accents at all - I need to make the rest of elements particulary good, and faces are amongst the most important here.
Getting started with simple faces

This is my version of Azrael, Grand Master of the Dark Angels. Still a work in progress but what matters is his face is finished ^^I think he would look better without the bionic eye but nevermind. The process was something like:
  • Black basecoat
  • Tallarn flesh basecoat, leaving a very thin black line around the hair.
  • Layered 50/50 dwarf and elf flesh for a middle tone.
  • Added some elf flesh to the mix and layered, almost glazed, a few prominent areas like the nose tip, chin, etcetera
  • Washed with Ogryn flesh.
  • Painted the eyes:
    • Painted the eyes area black.
    • Filled that space with pure white, leaving a small line surrounding the eye.
    • Painted the iris with a small dot.
  • Back to the face, went over it again with the original dilluted mix, leaving the dark
  • Added red glazes to the brow and cheeks.
  • Added purple glazes to the area below the cheeks.
  • Had a beer.
It isn't as slow as it can seem, when painting the Ghosts I'll just line a squad of them and go over the steps - everybody black basecoated, then everybody tallarn basecoated, etc. Only one beer at the end though :)

Adding camo

Now that I think about it, these scouts were the first time I attempted to add camo to the faces. Not unusual considering I mainly have a ton of power armoured dudes, and most of my IG are Kriegs with rebreathers.

Essentially I painted the faces as usual, then added some dilluted green stipes. I doesn't look that bad but I need to improve it. Am I going to use it in the Ghosts? well many of the faces I have now have beards or other facial hair so probably not. That said, I might use it to reinforce certain characters, like scouts or snipers.

Adding tattoos

While I'm not a big fan of blue moon tattoos in a face, it will help to make the Ghosts more recognizable and will give it a much needed contrast to an otherwise dull black/green minis. I haven't yet made my mind on how exactly I'll do this, but it needs to work for both the faces and the arms. 

Oh and just before my trip to the States last week I managed to finish those Knights below. Pretty happy how they turned out and given they are fully magnetized, I can swap the mauls for bolters and plasma cannons for a completely awesome standard Deathwing squad. Hope you like them!


  1. sweet jesus man - the head on Azrael looks unbelievable. I can't believe how real the hair looks. tremendous job.

    1. Thanks mate! I think the hair was something like codex grey, followed by a dark brown/black wash, and then some watered down pallid witch flesh to draw hair tufts.


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