Ultramar’s Planetary Defense Force

A year ago I’d posted an entry on the Imperial Guard “weapon teams” that I’d painted up.  Of course, I use the term very loosely, as really I was just painting the weapons and the bases for those teams, and I’d even alluded to the fact that I wouldn’t be painting the guardsman until sometime in 2012.

Well, 2012 hasn’t yet arrived, so I guess I’m actually working on these guys ahead of schedule!  The off-handed prediction that I’d be painting them by 2012 was really optimistic—given my propensity for procrastination, but recently I found myself cleaning up some Imperial bits and looking for something to do, which naturally lead into me painting some models.  (For the record, this post originally read that it was 2012, until Tristan pointed out my folly…  DOH!)

My current endeavor is a lofty one, painting 100+ guardsmen at a time in an assembly line fashion.  I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t really plan this out, and just jumped head first into the process.  So far, I’m pleased with how things are coming.  I’ve started doing the fatigues on each model first, and have almost finished the lot, after which I’ll move on to the.. ermm… well, I haven’t thought that far ahead.

The process on the fatigues has been fairly straight forward, relatively quick (though nowhere near as quick as washing them), and produces a decent looking effect.  I started with a guide from GW on “How to Paint Dark Angel Robes,” and made some slight modifications.

Since GW is notorious for redesigning their site and losing information like this forever, I’m going to copy their formula below:

    1. Start by undercoating your model with Chaos Black Spray Paint. Once that has dried, you can begin painting your basecoat colors. For the robe, basecoat with Graveyard Earth. You may need to paint two thin coats rather then one thick coat to cover the black undercoat. Paint the rope belt with Vermin Brown. In this example, we painted the inner-robe a different color (Dark Angels Green as the undercoat). However, you can paint both the outer and inner robe the same color if you wish.
    2. Next, paint a 2:1 mix of Bleached Bone to Graveyard Earth over the entire robe. Once again, you may want to put two thin coats rather then one thick coat. On the green part of the robe, paint a highlight of 1:2 Dark Angels Green to Goblin Green.
    3. Now, with straight Bleached Bone, highlight the raised areas of the robe. If you water down your paint just a little, it will go on smoother and help to blend with the undercoat (water also cuts opacity, which allows the color underneath to show through a little more). Then, highlight the green section with a 2:1 mix of Goblin Green to Scorpion Green.
    4. With a 1:2 mix of Bleached Bone to Skull White, paint your final highlight on the robe. Remember that when you’re adding successive highlights, you do not want to cover over all of the previous highlight. By leaving a little of the previous highlight showing, you create the look of blending. Lastly, highlight the green part of the robe with a 1:2 mix of Goblin Green to Scorpion Green.

Now, I said earlier that I’d modified their formula and you can find those modifications are below:

  1. I omitted step #2 entirely.  This cut my painting time by 25%, and really seemed unnecessary (or rather, it seems to have made step #1 unecessary).  Instead, I chose a slightly lighter base color (see below) and skipped this step entirely.  My end result isn’t as subtle as GW’s example, but I’m happy with the result.
  2. GW paints are getting rather pricey, and I expect to do a lot of models in this scheme, so I purchased some hobby paints from a local craft shop.  Now, the current price ($3.70) for a pot of paint from GW might not seem ridiculous to people that already have a bunch of paints on hand because you’re only picking up a pot here and there, when you do the math though, I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty steep.For standard GW paints, you get 12ml of liquid for $3.70.  So you can begin to comprehend just how expensive that is, that’s $1167 per gallon for their paint!  In comparison, the other paints I found that were of comparable quality were less than $5 each for  almost 20x as much paint.  The cost per gallon of those paints?  Under $80 per gallon (which is still quite expensive, but you won’t be using anywhere near that much). With that in mind, the following paints I used as substitutes for the GW equivalents (keep in mind they’re rough color matches at best):
    1. Graveyard Earth = Mississippi Mud by Americana
    2. Bleached Bone = Antique White by Apple Barrel
    3. Skull White = White by Apple Barrel

 The “end result” isn’t gorgeous, but it makes for a decent aproximation of the original color scheme.  To the right is a picture of a WIP model with his fatigues “finished.”  I almost didn’t post this because looking at a single model I find somewhat disgusting, but looking at the whole lot at once makes me smile.  Oh well, it is what it is…

As of now, most of the models have their cloth areas painted, and next I plan on moving on to the armor (which will be blue).  The overall scheme should be blue armor, blue gun, brown pouches/boots/etc.  My only thought is that the scheme might be a little too bland when completed.  If I was smart, I’d work up a test model.

But nah… things will work out, right?



7 comments on “Ultramar’s Planetary Defense Force

  1. I’d definitely do a test model. I can’t recommend it enough actually. Just run one through the entire process and evaluate it. You’ll be happy you did.

    • No doubt that’s the right answer, but I’m sure that I won’t follow it. Since they’re very similar to my ultramarine scouts, the colors are working out in an almost identical fashion. In effect, I guess I’m using my scouts as test models.

  2. I would…   well, I probably wouldn’t do a test model because I’m lazy and don’t like to ‘waste’ paint.   But I think you should.   Blue and cream doesn’t sound like a very good combination to me.   It works on your Tyranids (one of the links at the bottom of this article has a nice photo of your trygon), but I think that’s because the dip ties it all together.

    The cream/tan colour looks good on the model you’ve taken a photo of, and looks pretty realistic, but blue seems to me to be too ‘toy’ like.   Space Marines can get away with it, because, almost like knights, they can get away with whatever hideous colour combination they fancy.   But on the more realistic imperial guard, I’m not sure it will look good.   Maybe a very deep navy blue would look good.   Maybe blue as a spot colour – an arm band, a helmet or a shoulder pad.

    Maybe it will work out for you, but wouldn’t you like to know that before you’ve painted 100 of them?   🙂

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