Hobby Progress: Dark Angel Plasma Inceptors (aka Glowy Fly Boys)

It’s 2019 and here I am squeezing out a post just before January ends, what a way to start a new year in minpainting. Anyway, I finally finished the Plasma Inceptor Squad for my Dark Angels and overall I’m quite pleased.

In an earlier post I said that I would attempt something new or practice a particular technique with every unit I paint. For the scouts I tested different metallic and red paints for the bolters as well as gave blending a quick try with the visors on the sergeant models. For the inceptors I tried out three things, homemade washes, plasma coils, and edge highlight color.

One of the reasons this post came so late was that I was distracted assembling the terrain I got for 40k (more details on that in a future post). After assembling the terrain I realized that there was no way I could apply a wash to all of my terrain using what little I had, and I wasn’t keen on buying more Citadel Nuln Oil or Army Painter Dark Tone if it meant I used it all up right away. So a quick Google search and I found a DakkDakka post detailing a recipe to make your own washes by one Les Bursley (recipe here). The recipe was pretty detailed and since I already had the inks needed to color the wash a single Amazon purchase was all I needed to get everything else.

Following the recipe I made a soft body black wash, which is essentially a low pigment black wash, and used it on the metallics on the mini. The first thing I immediately noticed was that it flowed very differently from any your standard miniature wash. There was a very slight viscosity to it that made it a little difficult to control. If I had to compare it to something it is pretty similar to when you mix Army Painter inks with their Quickshade Wash Mixing medium, as I suspect that it’s just some form of matte medium mixed with some thinner. Also it had a slight satiny finish to it, almost glossy if you let it pool too much. Nonetheless, if looked just fine once the matte varnish was applied and I have high hopes for this recipe for my terrain.

The next thing I tried was the edge highlight color and this was a pretty quick test. I first tried adding a bit of white to my base color of Scale 75 Misfits green to make my highlight and discovered that it was remarkably similar to Vallejo Intermediate green. So I highlighted one Inceptor using that, and at first it looked fine. However, after a day or so I came back to it and noticed that highlight was too subtle and thus was kind of lost in the base color of the mini. So I went ahead and tried the original color I had planned for and that was Scale 75 Irati Green. My biggest concern was the color would be too strong and I would end up with a Inceptor that looked like it came straight out of Tron. Luckily for me that wasn’t the case and the color was strong to enough to provide a little pop with looking too silly.

The last thing I experimented with was the thing I was most looking forward to, which was painting the plasma glow on all the weapons. First I painted a base of Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue on all the coils. Then, for the first test I used the airbrush and started with a layer of Vallejo Prussian blue, then a 1:1 mix of Vallejo Prussian blue and Vallejo Blue Green and then a 2:1 mix of Vallejo Off-white and Vallejo Blue Green. It looked fine but my subpar airbrushing skills resulted in some slight speckling on the gun which I was not a fan of and it was a lot of effort to clean up.

Next I attempted to use brushwork to paint on the glow for the plasma coils and as luck would have Vince Venturella had released a video on how to do plasma coils fairly recently. Basically, it was a white base on the ridges of the coils and then he glazed the highlight blue on top of the white followed by a glaze of a mid tone blue near the edges to approximate cooler regions of the plasma coil. It was more difficult than I imagined and of the five sets I did I found only one of them to be OK. I had a lot of difficulty getting a smooth white on the ridges and then glazing the blues as I quickly realized I had not enough experience with either of them. Also, I ultimately discovered that I didn’t really like the end result that this technique provided and decided I would have to change up my approach for future plasma coils to achieve something more in line with my aesthetic tastes. Which in this case is very similar to how Xenus Minis does his plasma

Xenus Minis: Blood Angel with Plasma Gun
Instagram: @Xenus_minis  Twitter: @XenusMinis

With the plasma done, I had nothing else to try so I finished up all the Inceptors, sprayed some matte varnish, and the stuck them to their bases using some Magnet Baron flight stands. Overall, I am very pleased with how they came out and learned some new things, particularly that my brush skills need some serious work. That being said my next goal to finish up my HQ choices while also practicing some basic blending and glazing on some other minis.

Till next time my wayward compadres

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