Hobby Progress: Ravenwing Talonmaster

So I finished up the Ravenwing Talonmaster pretty quickly, in fact it was so much faster than my normal snail’s pace that I didn’t take any work in progress photos. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not not going to bore you with all the notes I have about this guy.

So one of the biggest things I had to contend with was the fact that the Talonmaster is a Ravenwing unit and thus is a completely different color scheme from normal Dark Angel units. They typically sport an all black color scheme, which is known for being difficult to pull off properly.

So I did quite a bit of research on how to properly paint black armor and while I was doing that I came to a realization. That I have fallen into the trap of treating all of my projects as competition pieces. I was spending an inordinate amount of time trying to reach this level of perfection on models that were going to spend most their time in a foam case not being put on display to be judged for a competition.

So now that I’ve realized the trap I had fallen into, I adjusted how I approached this model. First, I didn’t bother with airbrushing in highlights, edge highlighting with a desaturated pale blue would be enough to break up the monotony of the black armor along with just painting. Second I used less sub-assemblies then I would normally. Each marine torso, the twin heavy bolter, and the twin assault cannon were the only separate pieces. Also, I went kind of quick and dirty with the washes and edge highlighting. Meaning I didn’t take a painstaking amount of time to carefully highlight every edge or with every wash application. If mistakes happen they can be cleaned up right away or fixed later.

Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t try or learn new painting techniques. And I am a little ashamed to admit it but this was the first time I thinned my wash. I would usually just take a load of wash into my brush and slap it onto the mini which obviously resulted in coffee stain effects. This time I thinned it with GW Lahmian Medium and applied two coats of it as well as used a damp brush to wick away excess wash. You would think that after watching hundreds of videos and having painted dozens of minis at this point that I would have done something like this much sooner….

The other new thing I tried this time was to use the airbrush to blend a blue to white gradient to get that typical power sword effect you see used on Games Workshop models. It was a lot easier then I thought, with the only real difficulty coming from poor masking where near the bottom of the blade, some of the blue got onto the white section of the other side of the blade.

Sorry for the long ramble but I felt it was important take note of that change in mentality I had concerning painting standards. There is nothing wrong with wanting every mini you paint to look amazing but it starts to get in the way when you are spending hours on just a single mini when you have a whole army to get through. Dave Taylor wrote a book called Armies, Legions, and Hordes where he goes through the process of painting whole armies and one of the first things he writes about is about managing expectations. Are you painting to improve your technique or are you just trying to get an army to the table? Now that isn’t to say that the two are mutually exclusive but you have to keep in mind what the goal is and to work accordingly. By that I mean don’t spend hours trying to get that perfect blend on a marines eye lenses when half of your army is still in the shrink wrap.

Till next time my wayward companions

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