So at Nova I was told of a fairly new painting competition called the Jersey Devil being held in Succasunna, New Jersey at Mythicos Studios. I was in a good mood after getting a gold medal at the Capital Palette I resolved to enter the Jersey Devil. I had planned to enter Joan, a flyer and a walker. Let’s just say not everything went to plan.
First off I am going to have to apologize for the lack of photos, not only was I focused on the deadline I had some phone issues and had to do a factory reset resulting in the loss of a lot of work in progress photos.
In part 1 I decided to to a flyer in a yellow color scheme, and a member of my local warhammer group was gracious enough to let me build and paint a kit he had bought. So a bout week after we offered I picked it up from him at this job along with the specifications for the paint job because this was essentially a commission. What he wanted was a valkyrie in the Lamenters color scheme which included a checker pattern stripe on each wing with the Lamenter’s chapter symbol in the center. The rocket engines had to be completely metallic, no yellow or other paint on them. Also, he requested modifying the weapons so that it would have both the rockets and the missile pod under the wing and a laser weapon on either side of the cockpit. Aside from that I was free to do what I wanted.
So I spent some time assembling the Valkyrie in sub-assemblies making sure to keep the engines, missile pods, and canopy frames separate. I kept the canopy frame separate because I had a plan to paint the canopy glass an opaque blue to white gradient and the frame would get in the way. So after I finished the assembly I then ran into my first problem which was I had no idea how to paint yellow. As fate would have it Vince Venturella came to my rescue and released a video on how to paint an imperial fist model which is basically what I was doing. It essentially involved using a brown to orange to off-white gradient as an undercoat to which we apply a thinned down Iyanden Yellow contrast paint via an airbrush. I practiced the technique using some spare marines I had from the Dark Imperium box set and after I got comfortable enough with the method I then transitioned to painting the Valkyrie.
The method specifically calls for a base of dark mahogany brown followed by layer of Vallejo Light rust and then the off white. My tests showed that whatever was white would be yellow and whatever was orange would still essentially be orange. So I began to use the airbrush to sketch out where my deep shadows would be by placing the light rust first. Once I was happy with where those shadows were I then put down Vallejo aged white on top of the light rust, leaving a little of the rust color to act as a transition between the yellow and mahogany brown. This way I could achieve a fairly high contrast pattern. With the undercoat done I then made a 50/50 mix of airbrush thinner and Iyanden Yellow contrast paint and airbrushed it onto the Valkyrie.I made sure to move the airbrush as I would a regular brush, meaning I would start in the highlights and move toward the shadows with each stroke. The reason being is that the contrast paint has an interesting effect when sprayed which is that the more you concentrate it in a single spot the more saturated the color becomes until it shifts to a more orange tone.
After I finished the main body I began to work on the smaller details. The first being the metallic land pads, exhausts at the end of each wing, the front laser weapons and the two small exhausts above the cockpit which I based in Vallejo Metal Color Magnesium. I used that same color for the two engine pieces that go on the top of the Valkyrie but opted to use the airbrush as they were much larger. For the canopy glass I initially tried to brush paint a dark blue to white gradient but was failing horribly so I ended up using the airbrush to do that part. The body of the bolter that on the nose of the Valkyrie and the body of the laser weapons on each side were based using Vallejo Black. In hindsight I wish I had kept the side laser weapons separate as it was very difficult to reach certain areas to paint them black as they were right up against the body.
Once a solid base coat was placed on everything I moved on to the daunting task of painting the checkered stripes on each wing. I had purchased a checkered stencil but upon inspection the squares were too rounded and there was too much overlap. So I had to resort to making my own stencil using masking tape. The process was fairly tedious and began with laying down some Tamiya masking tape on the lower end of the wing where the stripe would start. Then I figured out the width of the stripe by measuring out four times the width of the Tamiya tape I was using and then placing another strip of tape at that point. Once the stripes were laid out I used blue masking tape and plastic wrap to cover up the rest of the flyer.
With the flyer all covered up I took to my airbrush and laid down a base coat of Vallejo Wolf Grey on each wing followed up by a coat of gloss varnish. The next step involved me cutting out multiple squares out of the Tamiya tape using an exacto knife and then cutting out a circle of blue masking tape using both scissors and the exacto knife. Once all the tape was cut I then set out to place each square down on the wing into a check pattern with the circle in the center. After I placed all the tape down I used the airbrush to lay down a coat of Vallejo black and let it dry. Once dry I VERY CAREFULLY used the tip of my exacto knife to life all the squares and circle of masking tape. I then touched up any overspray using either black or Wolf Grey where appropriate. Once it was all cleaned up I put down a coat of matt varnish and moved on to the next challenge…the chapter symbol.
The chapter symbol for the lamenters is a red heart with a teardrop and since there were no stencils handy I would have to freehand it. Luckily a heart isn’t too difficult to freehand because most of it is a triangle and then two semi-circles on top. Even though I say that it still took two attempts on each wing to get it right.
With the major parts of the Valkyrie done, all that was left were the more minor details. One of which is edge highlighting the entire Valkyrie and highlighting almost every rivet which was exhaustive. The tips of the missiles and the rocket pods were painted blue in order to maintain a color cohesion across the project as the canopy is blue and the little diorama bases had blue and purple tyranid…did I forget to mention the base?
The base was probably the most fun part of the project. I bought a resin base from Elrik’s hobbies for the flyer that had a cross cut into it that fit the GW flyer stand. After priming it and painting it up in a stone color similar to what I do for my Dark Angels I realized that it looked really flat and boring. I also realized that it was a large flat area that could accomodate several minis. So I opened a kill team box of genestealers that my friend Chris Bergman gave to me and put together a genestealer and tiny ripper model. In order to give some contrast to the project I decided to paint them in a scheme that was very similar to the one from the Space Hulk board game which is blue and purple. It was a fast and dirty job since the main focus was the flyer. Also, remember that Primaris Lieutenant I tested the yellow scheme on? Well, he also ended up on the base which turned into battle scene where he was fighting off the genenestealers.
With the base all done and the flyer essentially finished I was all set for the Jersey Devil with the “Flight the Lamenters”. Overall I am very proud of the Valkyrie. The base added a lot of character to the entry and the checker pattern came out surprisingly well considering the jankiness of the method. There are several things I wish I had more time to work on but that can be said for any project.
Also, those who read part 1 might have realized something, or rather the lack of something. The original plan was to also have walker entry which would be a Guijia from Infinity. However, the model had a major issue arise in assembly which was the presence of a very large gap where the the right leg connects to the body. I made two attempts to try and fill the gap in a manner that looked good but the Guijia has a ribbed under armor similar to Jeanned D’arc and I am not skilled enough to make the gap into a seamless continuation of that pattern. With time running short I had to make a tough decision and gave up on the mini. Although it was a bit disheartening I felt it was the right move because it would take time away from the Valkyrie and I would end up with two half-assed paint jobs.
Come December 14th, my new friend Matt O’Toole from Brookhammer was nice enough to give me a ride to Mythicos Studios in Succasunna, NJ. Once I walked through the door and saw the other entries I realized very quickly that I was among some very talented painters and any thoughts of winning quickly evaporated. And come the end of the event and the awards I walked home empty handed.
However, despite not placing I had a great time at the event. Much like Nova, everyone who attended were very friendly and it was very easy to strike up a conversation with everyone there. I got to talk with people who have not only attended but placed at high level competitions like Crystal Brush or Capital Palette and got to know the Brookhammer guys a lot better.
So at the risk of sounding cliche, although I didn’t win I did make some new friends and there is always next time. One thing I did realize though is that I need to go back and work on my basics again. Come 2020 I’ll be knee deep in minis working on my basic skills such as layering, glazing, brush control, and color theory. Many thanks to the Brookhammer guys for inviting me and for also getting me to the Jersey Devil. Looks like 2020 is going to be one hell of year for me.
Till next time my wayward companions.