Blood Bowl: Orc Team Finished!

Click the picture for big version

Click the picture for big version

Click the picture for big version

Yeah, I’m kind of in love with pigments now. Look at all that great mud!

These guys were painted mostly with Badger Minitaire paints, except for the primer, some green ink and the pigments which make up the mud.

To start with, I used 3 different Vallejo primers to do the ‘instant shading’ as I like to call it, or zenithal shading, or pre-shading, whatever you want to call it.

Here is a sample of the zenithal shading in action. Black primer, then a dusting of grey primer, then spot applications of white primer on the shoulders, top of head, top of elbows (where they stick up and out), on the face, etc. If you shone a light directly at the front of the model on the right with all 3 monochrome shades on him, it would still look like the light source was directly above him.

Here’s a view from the back of a model with black and grey applied (on the left) and a model with black, grey and white applied (on the right). Basically what you’re shooting for is to have the model look like a black and white picture. When the red is put on the loincloth bit those darker areas are already going to look shaded with a darker red. How much time does that save you?? I’ll tell you: loads.

I read online about how some people who paint dozens and dozens of orcs like to paint the skin yellow and then wash in green, which skips all the tedious ‘GW method’ stuff of: paint green, wash with black wash, re-paint the green, paint a lighter shade of green then drybrush another light shade of green. What a pain! Forget that – how about paint yellow then wash green. Apart from the zenithal shading, that is literally all I did. And because I used the airbrush it took mere minutes to do do these 12 models.

Here’s the base coats put on the first ‘tester’ model. This is the scheme I went with for the rest of the team.

Here’s the team mostly painted up. The boots are dark grey because they’re going to be washed in black wash – again, a big time-saver.

And the team in action on the field! I had to quickly spray some Klear floor varnish on them to get a protective layer on before using them, but it worked out fine.

And again the finished team. I used lots of Vallejo pigment in a big muddy pile for the first time and it that works really well to get the caked-on mud look. The hard part is protecting the pigment so it doesn’t come off, it’s basically dust you’re putting on the model. I will have to go over the mud areas with a hand brush and gloss varnish in a couple of days after everything dries properly, I was rushing things tonight.

Products used:
Badger Renegade Krome airbrush
Vallejo Primer Black, Grey & White: zenithal highlighting
Badger Minitaire Yellow & FW green acrylic ink: skin
Badger Minitaire Red, White, Black: armor & clothes
Vallejo Brassy Brass & Gunmetal on medallions & chainmail
Homemade Heavy Body Black wash: base
Badger Minitaire Green: base rim
Generic static grass, summer & autumn mixes
Vallejo pigments (Natural Umber, Burnt Umber & others, mixed with white spirit): mud & dust

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!


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  • Love it! Really interesting methods! And I appreciate the comparison photos of the primers I hasn’t quite realised how much it lights up the model! Lovely!

    • Yeah the pre-shading (aka zenithal highlighting) really really helps – not only does it speed things up enormously (I there are NO washes, drybrushing or highlights on the skin areas at all) it makes things look realistic from the very start. The only place I messed up a bit is that I didn’t put enough gray on the skin areas, and putting yellow over black resulted in…just black, really. But I was able to cover up much of that over-darkness with the mud texture so it came out fine in the end. Even before putting the pigments on, when you put the team on the table you’re looking down at them from 45 to 60 degrees so all those black areas aren’t seen anyway, until you pick them up.

      I’ll try to do a post purely on zenithal highlighting, but there’s a lot of blog posts out there that cover it already, just google it. You can do it with cans pretty easily (just prime the whole thing in black, then spray from the top at a 45 degree angle all around, and bam, instant shading).

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