New Jawaballs Army. 4 down 36 to go!

Here are pics of my first 4 new Assault Marines for my Nova Open army.  Lets start by saying that they are not meant to win Golden Daemons. And remember these pics are taken from 3 inches away. They look very different from arms length, which is my goal.  I am painting these to look outstanding on the table, and to be eye catching. I is my experience that armies painted in this "impact" style tend to do better than armies that stand up to close scrutiny even under an Ott light.  While there is quite a lot of blending, I have also employed very bold brush strokes and hard edged lines.   

Some times paint judges overlook perfect blending in favor of striking edging, no... often times. Lets be honest here, I have seen the girlfriends of TOs, ignorant to the skill that goes into painting and judging on taste alone, act as paint judges. Frankly I have to admit I don't really mind that. It is sort of an innocent equalizer. While there is quite a lot of blending, I have also employed very bold brush strokes and hard edged lines.  

But lets look at judging a bit more closely before I get into these models.  How often do actual painters really judge painting? Probably most of the time.  But just how experienced are they?  For example, do they know just how hard Yellow is to paint? Black Matt for example, scored terribly on painting at Da Boyz last year with his amazing Imperial Fist terminator army. (It won Players Choice when he unveiled it a few years ago at the GW GT in Baltimore, no small accomplishment.) Matt is the king of yellow and his models show it.  But I can see how a yellow ignorant paint judge would over look their beauty.  

Without tooting my own horn, not that I am afraid to do that, I can say the same about red.  Blood Red is hard to work with.  Especially compared to blue. Blue blends easier. But it is not just about paint qualities. Some colors are simply more eye catching. Salamanders, painted well with Snot, Goblin and Scorpion are more eye catching than Blood Angels painted well with Blood, Blazing and Fiery. The Green and Yellow-green are simply more eye pleasing than red and orange.  What I am saying is that a red painter has to work harder than a green painter to get good results.  Sometimes paint judges are ignorant of that fact. No... often times.

Part of playing the "painting game", is using the same strategies that I employ on the tables.  Instead of playing an army that can do well against most armies, I usually play armies designed to beat the armies I suspect I will be facing the most, then try to hold my own if I get matched up against the others.  I have found this to give me quite a lot of success.  The same can be done with painting.  Rather than killing myself trying to get a perfect red blend, and hoping a paint judge notices, I think that punching them in the face with well painted but bold edged highlights will serve me better.

It is my belief that paint judges are more likely to be wowed by the army that simply looks good on the table, rather than the one that may be more technically sound.  So I relent.

In remaking my style, I have decided to draw on what I have done in the past, and mix it with what I am doing now.  I won my first few best painted awards using a simply extreme highlighted scheme. White prime, blood red base coat, Blazing Orange highlight, Fiery orange finish. Impact, eye catching, winning. 

I got away from that in my endeavors to win a Golden Demon. I entered a beautiful squad in the competition, painted to the best of my then ability, utilizing extreme highlights, only to watch every demon of the day go to armies that were dark, muddy and lacking of bold highlights.  So I changed my style, turning my back on the highlight and attempting to use blending to show the edges of the armor, with little to know highlights to speak of.  I can say that the armies were technically painted better.  But on the table, they looked just dark and boring.  I stopped winning painting awards, watching them go to guys who paint like I used to.  Talk about banging your head against a wall huh?  

That brings me to now. I decided to bring back the bold Jawa highlight.  But I am not forgetting what I learned with the attempts at blending.  In these most recent models, I am attempting to do both. What it comes down to is I am painting each model twice.

First, I am spraying them black. Then I am using Dragon Red.  When used carefully, the paint is the best. The DR alone starts off my dark blending.  From there I use a mixture of Blood Red and Valejo Glaze Medium, probably about 50/50.  Sure the glaze further dilutes an already translucent paint, but that is the secret.  It allows me to build up layers and layers of color, letting the dark under coats show through while making the red on the edges more opaque.  Look at the legs and feet of the third picture.  

Now, at this point the models are already good. I could maybe add bit of orange into the mix and continue blending, but that is where I switch up. I go bold instead of subtle. After I layer on Blood Red, probably hitting some spots with 5 or 6 layers, I apply Blazing Orange, using the same glaze mixture.  And I do two or three applications of BO.  Then I edge with thin lines of Fiery Orange. It is now discontinued, but once I saw that they did that, I went and bought about 8 pots.  When it dries up I will weep.  

Then comes my secret weapon. I use a special pot of Baal Red.  BR tends to have a mat, dull finish, but for some reason this pot I have leaves a very rich satin finish.  Perhaps a mess up in the mixture that day at the plant, who knows, but you can see this nice satin effect on the models. It gives a chewy luster to the models. People ask me how I get that cherry red look, well, there is the secret. Finished of course with Valejo Satin Varnish. (I have not applied VSV yet.)  I hope I finish this army before I run out of Baal Red!

So after I hit it with my satin Baal Red, I go back in and bring out the edges again with a touch of Fiery Orange.  And that is how I get the effect that shows up in these four models!  The power sword is stolen right from Tim Williamson.  The angel wings, which I managed to improve on by pic three, which is the fourth I painted, was stolen from Tom Schadle's Dante painted for the Heroes project.  I wish I could keep that model.  :)  Learning from our peers, by emulating them, makes us better ourselves.  I think I actually improved on Tim's power weapon with a richer blue.  My application was a bit clumsy, but I will get better with that on the next few tries.  There is definitely no confusing the sergeant in this squad!  

So now the questions for you. What do I do with the bolt pistols?  While I like the flamer's red casing, it sorta gets lost with the rest of the model.  Should I introduce blue on the guns?  Does any one have any recipe suggestions?  The other day some one suggested some sort of color on the tips of the wings.  I think they are right, but the question is what?  Maybe a touch of black? I will be keeping the frame of the wings black and edging them with grey. 

My first goal is to get all 40 of these marines painted up to this level. Then I plan on pushing them beyond all together.  Hazard lines on the chain swords, further highlights on the white feathers, squad markings and what have you.  I won't be putting the squad marks on their knees because of the cool detailing, but I will be able to put it on the jump pack. 

Any way, I time to put these four away for a couple days while I wait for my reinforcements from Spikey Bits.  I have no more SG models! Thats ok, I can focus on finishing a terminator commission, hopefully tomorrow. One thing I can say is that those terminators are reaping the benefits of my new style!  :)  

Don't forget that there is still time to donate for the Heroes project. I will be posting up the last of the pictures of the Blood Angels army Monday morning.  The transport is here and they look outstanding. I will also shoot some video of them on Moday as well.  



Flekkzo said...

Yellow is hard to you say? :) There's tricks to make it not as hard as it could be. If I can paint it, just about anyone could.

Some observations.

The little white dot on the lenses looks odd to me. I don't know if that's because I am used to putting them further back or if it's something else.

I like to put some bronze/tin on the tip of flamers and end it with black soot. I've tried to make it look like the heat has turned it blue, but it's a hard effect to pull off (for me). Makes it look more interesting.

As for the wings, i was thinking something like this:

The skulls on the helmets blends in oddly into the yellow. I'd consider another color to make them stand out.

How about yellow for the gun casings? Or orange highlighted up to yellow?

I think going for bold colors is a good idea. If we would put down my army (Imperial Fists) and yours on an Apocalypse board with tons of other armies I bet you can pick ours out fast.

Also don't be too hard on the judges. I'm sure there aren't that many well qualified judges around. Have you considered judging? There was no way I could come up with to write that without sounding a bit like a dick, but it's an honest question without any ill will behind it.

Looking forward to seeing the final army :)

Muskie said...

Hmm, bit of an odd way to show off painted miniatures with a ten page spiel. ;-) I have my own style. I think having your own style is important, but I take bits and pieces from stuff I see other people doing. I also almost always experiment. Producing 40 models to the exact same scheme is really tiresome for me. I have a hard enough time just finishing models.

I've actually been working a lot on optimization, simplifying things after I was talked into doing all the models in the tiny line style.

I keep trying to put a nicely painted army on the table top, but I'm not sure my newest work is always as good as my past work. I always end up being a bit rushed. This year I was going to do things differently, but in the end I may just not show up...

Oh and up here in Vancouver we're lucky in that the Astro guys come out and run Astro which has the same paint judges, year in, year out. People have spent many tournament season slowly improving their scores. My score dips up and down a point or two every year, but the biggest problem to winning best painted at Astronomi-con Vancouver is Marshall Reeves. I believe he went down to the Thrown of Skulls tournament and took best painted...

So yeah Vancouver has tough standards in our painting contests, so in the end I think you should just do what you think looks cool and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to scoring... Winning isn't everything.

Julian McPherson said...

Your my hero...I've been using blending and NMM on armies before and never won awards with them unless I explained to the judges what NMM is...I have taken this article to heart and my DE are now gunna stand out more. Thanks soooooo much!

IDICBeer said...

I have never put my minis up for judging before, it's really nice to hear your experience/views on this. Nice new paint scheme, hope you do well with them

Tacticalwithdrawal said...

Jawa, these are looking good, damn good.

If I were you I'd be brave and leave the wings, I think they look best just White. I'd agree with previous posters, bronze and soot on the flamer would look better than the silver, blend in more withe the scheme. (and how do you get that yellow - mine always turns out wrong)

For the bolt pistols I'd stay with the silver and red colour scheme, once you add in your hazard markings etc on the swords I think yet another colour on the pistols would be too much distraction.

How are you going to base them?

Ps. I also now officially hate you! I have put my BA army in a drawer and am painting grey knights and then harlequins - now I want to get the BA out again...

Demitra said...

Nice work as always. I agree that the red casing on the flamer disappears into the red of the armor. Black is best here I think as it will pop against the armor and also contrast with the metal bits of the guns. Looking forward to seeing the finished army.

Michael Hogan said...

The Red is a very powerful and strong color. Looking great.
I also love the power weapon. Very nice and different from what I normally see.

Angels40k said...

Hey Jawa,

very nice style on the assault marines. I like the dark deep rich look of the red. I'm also really curious about the helmets. Could you explain how you paint them?

Goodluck with the other 36 models!

Jawaballs said...

I do the same layering techniques with the helmet. First I spray them black, then I paint the entire thing, save the eyes, with Iyanden Darksun. Then I use a 50 mix of Glaze Medium and GW Sunburst Yellow, Then I use a 50 mix of Valejo Model Color Deep yellow, then a 50 mix of Valejo model color lemon yellow, then a 50 mix of reaper master series lemon yellow. Each layer focusing on the edges first, then draged slightly into the armor, to a less and less degree. Finally i edge with white. Ive been meaning to do a tutorial. next one I paint I will take pics of each step. And maybe even do video, ive been promising it for a year now!

Ted Nagel said...

Great stuff Chris!
I can't wait to see this army up close and personal on the table.
Preferably in battle...

Jawaballs said...

Any time Ted! Hopefully see you at nova.

HuronBH said...

Chris, it is a good looking army which I am sure will look great on the table. Sorry if this rest of this sounds a bit harsh, but I think you are taking the wrong approach for an event like the Open. It is a whole different level then your standard RTT. They are giving away $10s of thousands of dollars this year. So:

The paint judges are going to be looking at your stuff with really exacting standards. The Nova Opens paint judging staff, if it is the same crew as last year (And I have at least heard that the core is) are all perfectionist level painters with some awards (not sure about this one) and lots of runners (know this one for a fact) up to their credit at paint contests like the Golden Daemon, Adepticon, and Gencon paint competitions. Now will they down grade you for skipping some steps while providing strong army composition over perfect paint, no probably not in the army level competition, but don't expect top marks and a best army award either.

I will admit you are a much better painter then me, but not finishing bolt pistols and the scroll work on the one guy look pretty sloppy to me and below your usual level of craftsmanship. You may want to go back in and touch some of that up if you have time before the tournament.

Mike's most recent post on Whiskey&40K has a draft version of the scoring rules and score sheets posted with his talk about sportsmanship. Also if you check out the forums there is some in depth discussion with the head judge about paint scoring and what he is looking for as well. I suggest you check both out if you haven't yet.

Jawaballs said...

Jay, thanks for the input! You must have not made it all the way to the bottom of my novel where I ask for input on how to finish the guns. My third to last paragraph answers all your concerns, though I don't directly mention the scrolls. I always do them. Of course the scrolls and weapons will be finished.

Don't worry, I know the standards for Nova. Last year I lost a point on my paint scoring, because my terminators were not on the same resin bases that the rest of the army was on. That cost me Ren Man.

My thoughts on judging were more generalities, and more directed at the smaller things, like Templecon and some of the smaller GTs. But I still think that they will at least partially hold true any where.

I know that the judges at Nova will be top notch and in fact I'm counting on it. Good judges will be able to tell the difference between effectively executed stylized models, and just plain lazy.

Believe me, these models actually do hold up against close scrutiny which is part of what I was talking about. The extreme stylized edges catch your eye, but good judges will look closer, and see all of the layers of dark red behind them, and they will be able to tell that it was achieved through painting, not washing.:)

Jawaballs said...

I thought I would add that I have no delusions of Best Painted at Nova. With 230+ people in attendance, there are sure to be many better painters than I. Joe Johnson and Ted Nagle are the first two to come to mind because they are friends. But there are many more. But that is not my objective. I am gunning for Renaissance Man. And yes I think I have a shot at that.

HuronBH said...

Cool, sorry, just wanted to make sure you knew what you were getting into. I skimmed through your post, guess I should have read it closer.

Jawaballs said...

I appreciate the heads up on the scoring rubric posted over at W40k. It will definitely help. Oh and I skim a lot myself.

Feuermann said...


And you should try vallejo model air italian red for BA armour( use tamiya gray basecoat) an airbrush will be helpfull. Add oxford blue for shadow and ice yellow for highlights(both from vallejo model color)

hope to see more BA soon

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