Stormcast Eternal Hunter Prime - A Painting Guide
By Ben Porter
So, the original plan was to have this article go out around the same time as the Warcry release, and with the recent birth of my son you've probably all now figured out how well that panned out. Yep.
Whilst I will eventually get round to painting a couple of the warbands and will share my ideas with you all when I do, because I wasn't able to get a hold of any of the Warcry models ahead of release I decided to paint something that would showcase techniques that would be useful for painting either the Iron Golems or the Untamed Beasts. I had a quick browse through the models I had unpainted... Fine, I had a long search through the legions of unpainted models that I own and settled upon painting a Vanguard-Hunter. I reasoned that the methods I would use to paint leather and fur would be helpful for painting Untamed Beasts, and the Iron Golems would look pretty intimidating in black plate. Add to that the fact that the Stormcast Vanguard Chamber are available to use in Warcry anyway, and this guy seemed like a pretty good compromise for a Warcry-centric tutorial without having any of the Warcry models to hand at the time.
Based on feedback I was given in my first article, I've endeavoured to include pictures from various stages of the painting process. However, I had a malfunction with a memory card part of the way through the process and so I am missing some of the images I'd originally hoped to share. Hopefully my explanations are comprehensive enough for now, but I'm hoping to include more images going forward.
Paints Used: Chaos Black Spray
I primed the model using the very orthodox black primer all over. I had decided that this chap would be of the Anvils of the Heldenhammer Stormhost like all my other Stormcast models, so the plates of his armour would be black. Stormcast looking very imposing in black armour - I've always found the gold of the Hammers of Sigmar quite garish anyway.
It's usually a good idea, if you can, to prime a model that has a predominant colour in as close an approximation to that colour as you can find as it'll save you quite a bit of time - this method is particularly useful if you're going to be painting a lot of a particular type of model. That being said, I tend to prime almost everything black - even my Fyreslayers were all primed black. I prefer the darker, grittier finish that a black primer lends to a paint scheme, but many other painters swear by white and even grey. Ultimately, it's a question of preference (and often convenience).
Paints Used: Balthasar Gold, Rhinox Hide, Leadbelcher, Grey Seer, Wraithbone, and Steel Legion Drab
I like to keep the use of gold to a bear minimum on my models as I think that large spaces painted gold just looks a bit tacky. Decals on the armour and cloak were blocked in using Balthasar Gold. The helmet and sculputed pauldron were painted Leadbelcher as I had planned to created a tinted effect on them later. Both of the weapons were also painted using Leadbelcher, with the Boltstorm Pistol left black to reflect that it's been made from a different material like a lacquered wood.
The plume for his helmet was painted Steel Legion Drab, the fur cloak painted Grey Seer, and all of the leather (including the inside of his cloak) was painted Rhinox Hide. I wanted to use a lot of muted, natural tones to reflect the Stormcast's role as a scout and ranger in the army; I deliberately avoided using red, which is a colour I use in a lot of my models, to reflect this. The absence of red will also help further differentiate him from the other Stormcasts in my collection. I really wanted to underline this guy's role as a frontiersman.
All of the basecoats were applied from my wet palette in a minimum of 2 thin coats. I find that with lighter colours on dark primers that it's often good to get 3 or 4 coats down to get a nice, solid block of colour.
Paints Used: Nuln Oil, Skavenblight Dinge, Dawnstone, Stormhost Silver
There's a bit of a misconception that black is a difficult colour to paint when it really isn't the case at all. All of the black on the model initially received an all-over wash of Nuln Oil to give it a bit more depth and really darken those recesses, then edge highlighted - using a small detail brush - with Skavenblight Dinge. The areas where the light would hit the model received a further highlight of Dawnstone to really bring it to life. Finally, I painted the rivets on the armour with a wee dot of Stormhost Silver.
And that's it. All you need is a steady hand and a good eye.
In truth, if you're aiming for a standard that looks acceptable on the tabletop, the initial highlight of Skavenblight Dinge would looks just fine. There really isn't any model that black armour doesn't look good on, but it makes heavily armoured models like Space Marines and Iron Golems look very imposing, which is absolutely what we want with a Hunter from the Anvils of the Heldenhammer.
Paints Used: Grey Seer, Apothecary White, Nuln Oil, Agrax Earthshade, Black Templar, Contrast Medium
As much as I wanted to use a lot of drab, natural colours in the model to reinforce his role as a ranger, it's always good to get a bit of contrast in a model as it makes everything that bit more defined. It also just makes them more interesting to look at. I decided that something akin to snow leopard fur would contrast nicely with the black, but would still look natural enough to fit with what I wanted to achieve. And what contrasts better with black than white?
Speaking of contrast, I also saw here an opportunity to esperiment with the new Contrast paints from GW.
All of the fur on the model that had been basecoated with Grey Seer received an all-over wash of Apothecary White, as seen above. This has got to be one of my favourites of all the new paints as it allows you to easily shade white. When I'm covering large areas with Contrast paint, or using it to glaze, I always use Contrast Medium to get a better consistency. I've found that certain Contrast Paints are quite bad for producing "tide marks" - particularly on large areas of a model - and the Contrast Medium is a very effective way of evening the paint out.
However, another very effective use that I've found with the Contrast Paints is in creating patterns - particularly for animal prints and similar. To create these leopard-style spots I used Black Templar and applied it to the fur using a detail brush. Because I wanted the colour to be bold here, I didn't mix the paint with any medium as I usually would with Contrast paint. I also used some dabs of Agrax Earthshade over each spot for a bit more depth.
The reason Contrast paints are more effective for creating these sorts of patterns than regular paints is because the natural translucence of the paint means that some of the colour below still comes through, and the viscocity of the paint also means that it runs into the recesses of the fur to create a much more natural finish. Attempting the same effect with Abaddon Black, for example, would yield a more stark result, and we'd need to use a bit of layering or drybushing to make it look more natural.
Finally, I painted some Nuln Oil into the recesses of the cloak to give the fur more depth and enhance the sense of motion that the model was designed to give.
Paints Used: Balthasar Gold, Agrax Earthshade, Runelord Brass, Seraphim Sepia, Stormhost Silver
Gold is used most effectively on a model when it's used sparingly, I've found. Even on my Fyreslayers - who are famous for hammering gold runes into their flesh - I try to use it in small amounts. Particularly when spared for colouring details and decals, it'll really make such icons stand out on the tabletop without looking garish.
Though I refer to the technique I used on my Stormcast as antique gold, some people also refer to it as a polished bronze. Either way, it evokes a sense of antiquity which fits brilliantly with the Anvils of the Heldenhammer and the general Graeco-Roman feel of the Stormcast.
GW in particular now produce quite a wide range of metallics, particularly shades of gold, but in order to attain a more weathered, antique look a bit of layering is required. With the Balthasar Gold blocked in, I washed all the decals with Agrax Earthshade. Then, I layered Runelord Brass onto the raised areas. I used a Seraphim Sepia wash to tint the gold a bit more, then highlighted the areas that would catch the light with Stormhost Silver.
I use the same method to paint the gold on my Fyreslayers without the Seraphim Sepia wash. The reason I leave out the wash for the Fyreslayers is because purer gold is lighter in colour and I reasoned that duardin gold refining would result in gold purer than most. Little details like that really add character to models - and they make for interesting little talking points during your games!
Paints Used: Leadbelcher, Coelia Greenshade, Stormhost Silver
I've used this method for painting sea-green metallics on my Stormcast for a while now. It's a nice, subtle way of adding a hint of the etherial to the models without it being too obvious, and compliments the Anivls of the Heldenhammer, and their mysterious origins, very well.
A good, even wash of Coelia Greenshade is applied to the desired areas which had previously been painted using Leadbelcher (see the image above). The areas I applied it to were the Boltstorm Pistol and the scuplted armour pieces. The reason I used a wash for this rather than a glaze or a Contrast Paint was because I wanted to create the impression that the metal had been tinted as part of such esoteric forging technique rather than enamelled or laquered.
I then very carefully highlighted the detail on the sculpted armour using Stormhost Silver and a fine detail brush. The result is armour with a ghostly, but nonetheless beautiful, feel to it. And all within just three steps.
If you want your Stormcast to look particularly fearsome, a wee highlight of Stormhost Silver around his eyes and on his bottom lip will really make that warmask stand out against the black. Imagine this guy emerging on some poor, wee cultist in the woods? Soiled robes, for sure.
Paints Used: Leadbelcher, Nuln Oil, Ironbreaker, Guilliman Blue, Stormhost Silver
So, all the crazy kids are into their Non-Metallic Metals these days, eh? Well, it's not the only way you can paint metals to look all shiny and chrome.
The axe in the image above was painted using a technqiue I had dubbed "ghetto NMM." It might not win you any painting competitions, but on the tabletop it'll look just fine.
Here I must humbly ask your forgiveness, dear reader, for a lot of the images lost in the aforementioned memory card mishap were of the various stages of the ghetto NMM painting. I'm afraid my explanation and the accompanying image of the completed work will have to suffice.
The entire weapon received a wash of Nuln Oil. Then, the raised areas on the blades were painted Ironbreaker. Then, I applied a glaze of Guilliman Blue to the blades to create a reflective look, ensuring that the extremeties of the blades received the thinnest covering of the glazes so as not to create a tinted look. Then, the entire weapon was highlighted with Stormhost Silver to finish it off. If you don't have Guilliman Blue (the paint was discontinued when the Contrast range released), Ultramarines Blue with a generous amount of Contrast Medium should suffice as a replacement.
Paints Used: Rhinox Hide, Agrax Earthshade, Baneblade Brown, Gothor Brown
I first used this method for painting leather on my Sacrosanct Stormcast (the ones that came out with the Soul Wars), and it's great fun to do. It's a simple case of layering drybrushes and washes, and the great thing is that you can be quite messy with this. In the image above you can see that I applied a drybrush of Gorthor Brown over Rhinox Hide. I prefer to use old detail brushes for drybrushing as I feel that I have more control over the effect than I would with a brush designed specifically for drybrushing. Small makeup brushes also work well for this. Once this has been completed, I applied an all-over wash of Agrax Earthshade to the leather.
Once the wash is dry, I applied a drybrush of Baneblade Brown, and another wash of Agrax Earthshade. You can repeat alternating of drybrushing and washes a few more times to create a really worn look, but I only used 2 layers of drybrushing followed by a wash for quickness. Finally, I highlighted the edges of the leather with Baneblade Brown and very lightly painted some scratches and marks onto the leather (as seen above). If you decide to paint marks onto the leather, it's a good idea to use very small amounts of watered down paint with a detail brush - otherwise your lines will come out quite thick and it'll look a bit odd.
Again, you could stop at the drybrushing and washing stage and your models will look fine on the tabletop if you're not overly concerned with detail.
Paints Used: Steel Legion Drab, Seraphim Sepia, Wraithbone, Skeleton Horde, White Scar
I gave the plume - which had been basecoated using Steel Legion Drab - an overall wash of Seraphim Sepia. Taking care to leave the roots exposed, I then painted Wraithbone over the raised areas of the plume, gradually covering more of the hair as a I moved out to the tips.
Contrast paints can be quite useful for bledning colours, and that is exactly what I used Skeleton Horde for here. I mixed a wee bit of Contrast Medium in with the Skeleton Horde to even it out, and gave the plume an all over wash with it. I then painted another layer of Wraithbone on the extremeties of the plume, and finally highlighted the tips with White Scar. This technique can also be used effectively on animal fur and even humainoid hair.
Paints Used: Agrellan Earth, Astrogranite, Nuln Oil, Longbeard Grey
Other Materials Used: Forgeworld Black Soot Weathering Powder, PVA Glue, Army Painter Winter Tufts
Because I often use my Fyreslayers and Stormcast Eternals together - and because I'm also hyped for the Cities of Sigmar book where I'll have rules for using them together more effectively - I base models from both of these ranges in the same way. Basing models with uniformity is a great way of unifying what can sometimes be a bit of a hodge podge army (Order armies for Age of Sigmar in particular can have this problem).
My army is from a region in the Realm of Fire called Ashenhold. I imagine it to look a bit like Iceland, which is happily a part of our own world renowned for its volcanic activity (so, happy Fyreslayers).
The base of the model is covered entirely with Agrellan Earth. Once dry, I applied splotches of Astrogranite. This creates the impression of igenous rock interspersed with scree or gravel. I used a Citadel Medium Texture Spreader for applying the texture paints and found it very useful. You could probably use a coffee stirrer or something similar, too. The entire base is then given a wash of Nuln Oil, and the Astrogranite then drybushed very gently with Longbeard Grey. Be very careful to use as little of the Longbeard Grey paint as possible on your brush as you don't want to apply it clumps - it can end up looking stark in places and therefore quite messy. A wee dash of Black Soot is dabbed on to the Agrellan Earth in patches.
Finally, with a few dabs of PVA glue, I stuck the Winter Tufts to the base. I made sure I used a few different sizes to create a more natural look. I used 5 for this model as the large, 40mm bases the Stormcast Eternals are mounted on can end up looking quite bare, but for anything smaller 2 or 3 should be enough. You'll want to make sure you don't cover up all the terrain you've just worked on.
And there we have it. A guide to painting a Stormcast Hunter in more muted colours. Hopefully, as with the last article, there will be some techniques you can adapt into painting your own models. There are so many different ways of painting, and all of us are learning new things all the time - even if we're not fully aware of it!