Painting Imperial Statues (Honoured Imperium)

This week, I inadvertantly wound up taking a break from painting my army, and wound up painting a piece of terrain.  It started when I sat down to paint my Ultramarine bastions, but realized that I’d never painted statues before, and wanted to practice a little before I committed to painting them.

wh39k-ImperialStatue (2) (Large)It was at that point that I’d remembered I’d gotten two sets of “Honoured Imperium” for Christmas last year.  For those of you not fully versed in GW’s naming schemes, that’s the boxed set of terrain that came with a single large space marine statue, a broken up Imperial Aquilla, and a small piece of what appears to be a fallen chapel.  I originally asked for these for Christmas because I’d seen a post by Brian over at A Gentleman’s Ones, where he’d painted up a couple of these.  That post alone was enough to inspire me to “purchase.”

Now, I’m not one for weathering much (or at all, really), so it was a little surprising about how moved I was by Brian’s verdigris/patina effect.  For whatever reason though, I just had to buy them, and now, a little over a year later, I’m finally painting them.

Ermmm… now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it’s been two years since I got these for Christmas?

No bother, the important part is that they’re painted.

For painting scheme, I vaguely followed the instructions Brian put forth, and substituted whatever I had on hand, or thought would work better.  Also, since I’m not traditionally fond of weathering, I figured I’d do a much more subtle version of the verdigris effect (not to slight Brian’s work, as it’s fantastic, but I wanted the original bronze to show through).  The colors that went into painting the statue were as follows:

  • Primed: Black
  • Basecoat: GW Tin Bitz
  • Heavy Hightlight: P3 Blighted Gold (by the way, I just purchased this, and love this color)
  • Wash: GW Orc Flesh Wash
  • Touch-up: Blighted Gold
  • Edge Highlight: P3 Brass Balls
  • Targeted Washes: GW Chestnut Wash & GW Green Wash

wh39k-ImperialStatue (1) (Large)Most of the paints are the older style GW (circa 1994 or so), but the colors don’t seem significantly different than the more recent paints, so you should be able to copy this effect if you’d like.  Really, I’m posting the formula so I can recreate it for the next time I do statues.

I was pleased with how he turned out (although I had more than one comment while I was painting them that after I’d apply another coat of paint, the onlookers couldn’t tell the difference between the before and after).  Still, I think it’s a passable attempt at Bronze/patina.  Technically speaking, I’m not sure how accurate the colors are.  Rushputin, over at The Warpstone Pile, pointed out that the outside faces of a statue would most likely face the extreme weathering first, so it would stand to reason that the greenish effect would be more accurately represented with a drybrush.

But I digress.  With the statue painted, I only had the base left to do.  I could’ve easily gone with a generic stone (which is really the standard for me), but I wanted to take the opportunity to try another new technique and try to paint some marble.

I did some searching around the web and came up with a few tutorials on how to achieve the effect, and decided that my favorite was over at Hot Lead.  The end effect wasn’t as nice as on some other sites, but there was a very good write-up and large pictures that made it easy to make out.  Again, I didn’t follow the instructions verbatim, but used his tutorial to learn the necessary techniques.

wh39k-ImperialStatue (3) (Large)The paints that went into the marble were:

  • Basecoat: Black (had to clean-up all of that bronze spill-over)
  • Stipple: GW Dark Angels Green mixed with black
  • Stipple: GW Dark Angels Green
  • Stipple: GW Dark Angels Green mixed with GW Jade Green (with a small smattering of black)
  • Stipple: GW Jade Green
  • Stipple: GW Jade Green mixed with FolkArt Enamels – 4019 “Fresh Foliage”
  • Lines: White mixed w/ water
  • Lines: White

With each of the stippling layers, I painted a little less than I did on the previous layer, which allowed some of the darker colors to still show through in the final product.  When it came to the lines, the tutorial suggested using a feather, but I had none handy, so I just used a paint brush.  I applied the white mixed with water at first to make the lines fainter and thicker, and then went over with plain white in areas to give it better definition.

When it was all done, I went and hit the entire model with 5-6 coats of a matte varnish.  Normally I’m not so aggressive with sealent, but I figured these were terrain, and would more likely be handled by more people, and probably with less love than they’d do their own models.  The extra varnish was just to help them stand up to extra abuse.

After that, I hit them with some brush-on, water-based, high-gloss varnish around the marble.  The hope was to give the stone a nice sheen and make it seem more like real marble.  I think the effect worked out rather nice.

Anywho, that’s that.  I find the interesting part about this is that I set out to learn how to paint bronze, but wound up finding a good recipe for marble as well.

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21 comments on “Painting Imperial Statues (Honoured Imperium)

  1. looks great! One of these days i’ll put love into my terrain…. Should be easier now too as i got a very nice airbrush this past weekend for my birthday, along with a regulator for the compressor.

    • I love terrain and wind up buying loads of it, but it sits in an unpainted pile in my garage. I’ll admit that this has an inspirational effect for me to get off my tuccus and finally work on it. Truth be told though, I really just want to paint more marble.

    • Danke. I didn’t bother to add turquoise into the patina effect, despite your suggestion. This was partly because of my ignorance as to the actual effect of aging on bronze, and largely due to my laziness. I know that the final look of an aged bronze statue is very turquoise, but I was hoping a little “normal” green would be where it starts (probably not true).

      I’m going to stop talking now, or I’m bound to talk myself into touching it up…

  2. They look very nice indeed!

    I would have thought that the weathering effect would start in the crevices (as you’ve done them), because although the outer edges will be blown by the wind, etc. they’ll also dry first and be blown clean. The more protected parts will accumulate grime and stay wet much more. I don’t know if that’s how it works in practice, but the effect you’ve got looks right in any case – which is what really matters. (Unless I’m just used to seeing miniatures painted in this way and so think that it looks right when it doesn’t…)

    Although the marble bases look fantastic (and I see why you’re now hunting around for anything you can use that awesome technique on again!), I think they’d look better with a bit of dusting and muck around the very bottom edges. Currently they’ll stand out from the table in a ‘I’ve just been placed here’ kind of way, rather than looking like they’ve been there all along.

    • When I read the debate about how the weathering should be applied, I was a little lost myself. Because I couldn’t see either to be an obviously “right answer,” I was ok with the method I applied.

      As for the dusting/muck, you’re probably right again there, but I’m not one for weathering much, remember? I justified this by saying that bronze tarnishes easily, but it’s easy to keep marble looking relatively clean.

      • You didn’t find a “right answer” because weathering is very situational. Bronze patina is driven by the copper component of the alloy, and the patina actually forms in stages. Copper oxidized fairly quickly with exposure to air. There’s not moisture requirement for that stage. Then the copper oxide reacts with water and other chemical to form the verdigris. With enough exposure to moisture this can coat the entire piece but in the earlier stages, a drier environment, or when there is something polish the outer surfaces it is likely to see the verdigris concentrated in the crevasses where water would linger. These look like they could be newer, well maintained, or maybe they are in an area where sand or dust storms polish the exposed surfaces.

        The actual color of the patina can vary depending on the other chemicals that are present in the environment.

        Long story short, they look great and are accurate under the right conditions.

      • Thanks for both the compliment, and the extensive science lesson. Impressive knowledge demonstration there. Was that something you’d researched for a similar painting project, or is that something you just knew off the top of your head?

  3. Those a pretty fantastic. I find on anything I paint that others might touch I will use heavy amounts of sealant. A friend once suggested using a Gloss varnish first, then a couple layers of Matte. That way when the model startd looking shiny you know its time for more Matte seal. It works pretty well, though it is a few extra steps.

  4. My favorite part is that base. That stone is very well done and really draws the eye. The whole thing looks great, don’t get me wrong, but awesome job on the base.

  5. Love the marble effect. I only wish the Honored Imperium Statue came with a few options. Different heads, weapons, removable shield. I’ve seen some pre-release versions in GW dioramas where they were Space Wolves and had hammers and they’d sculpted mohawks and beards on them. I’d lov another one but would need to modify it somehow.

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