Imperial Knight Conversion: Pt. 24 — Base painting and object-source lighting effects.
I wanted to do the base to give me a little break before hitting the arms. The torso was pretty grueling, and I knew the base would be a nice break. I’m really digging how it’s turning out. I followed the method outlined in my ash wastes base tutorial so it would match my Eagle Eyes.
At this point it looked pretty ragged, but I know to expect that. Between the GS bits, milliput walls, texture paint, and sand/ballast mixture, there were several different textures at play. Now let’s see how well it starts blending together with a coat of paint. It’s worth noting that the intention of the GS corpse bits is to represent a parent who tried in vain to protect their child. I already had the bits, but putting them together like this just felt right.
Now it’s starting to come together. The paint brings the disparate elements together. and then I started picking out points of interest. The helmet’s in my space marine’s new scheme, the burned bodies have a little red mixed in and lots of dark gray charring. The metal bits have a base coat, and then I shaded with a dark green to make them look a little ‘off.’ I wanted them to A ) look alien and B ) look very different from the metal finish on Queen. Now let’s take a look at some finishing and object-source lighting.
Now you can see how it’s coming together. I’ll toss in a couple closeups here as well:
Here’s the green ooze. Remember, this melted bit was where my magnifying lens almost destroyed the entire project. Originally this was going to be molten metal like the other bits, but the heat melted the base right under the gun, and even made the blobby thing shrivel up and take on a weird look. Honestly, I love this part now. I like to think that the gun was either firing or just getting ready to fire when the Queen lopped it off with her Reaper Chainsword, and the bizarre bio-chemical weapon leaked it’s ooze out onto the ground, melting into it. I would normally never dare to try an effect like this, but it happened and I think it looks really cool. I sanded off the edges of the base to give it a more finished look and went to town on the OSL. I wanted everything to have a sickly green glow, but I also didn’t want it to overpower the entire piece. I think I struck a good balance here. You can also see some of those molten bits, now with silver covering over the orange. I thinned the silver so it was more like a glaze and some of the orange would show through. I then added a little more orange in a thin glaze in the recesses, and added straight silver to some areas. I was going for a sort of molten aluminum look, but with just a bit of orange to hint that this is some other alloy. Orange steel would be way too bright, but just silver wouldn’t carry the idea enough, I thought. I added some pretty subtle orange glow OSL around these bits as well, to hint that they’re still super hot and radiating a bit of light.
Here’s the fire from above. I wanted to keep the OSL to a minimum while still selling the effect. I don’t want it to be over the top at all, but I wanted to have enough interest to make it feel real. OSL on metal was a challenge for me, because I wanted to keep the area metallic while still giving it a bit of that washed-out look from the flames.
And here’s from the side, a little closer. I tried to enhance the line underneath with a little extra shadowing. It struggles to come across in pics, but the idea is there’s a line where the fire doesn’t get underneath. I added just a little tiny bit of reflected yellow and orange in the wreckage around it. Again, just enough to sell it, but I really didn’t want to go over the top. This is daylight, after all, so the OSL would be a little more subtle. This is one of my biggest complaints about a lot of OSL I see, where they make it super strong. If a mini is dark enough to look like it’s in shadow, that makes more sense.
So, if you care, here’s the thought behind my base: While I was working on this base, I knew I wanted it to be as much a part of the story as the Queen Bee’s other details. You see, those details tell HER story, but the base tells the story of how she interacts with the rest of the characters. It is, literally, where her story intersects with the broader universe. I wanted to make sure I represented a few things. First, whom she fights is obvious from this. She has a deep-seated enmity for the Necron. Her battle is the main act, and should be immediately clear to all. The helmet from the Eagle Eye represents whom she fights WITH. Her allies. For better or worse, she is honer-bound to fight with them, and her base of operations is on their recruiting world. The dead Macay on the base represent whom she fights FOR. The people. Not the Eagle Eyes. Not the Imperium itself, and absolutely not for the Adeptus Mechanicus. She may operate in those social confines, but her motivations are driven by her utter humanity, reinforced by the values imprinted into the Throne Mechanicum. Her loyalty to the people is absolute, and the more she sees of the uncaring imperium and utterly UNhuman mechanicum, the more she relies on this core belief to keep fighting. So, I wanted to make sure that, even though it’s a tragic scene, the people themselves had a role in the base. I had originally planned a cowering human in the rubble, but I thought it would grab too much attention away. Plus, war is hell, and dead humans (especially of the futilely brave variety) would make a more interesting detail for me. Aurelia and the Bee are tools of vengeance, more often than they are protectors and shields.
Comments and suggestions are welcome as always. How’s the OSL? Does it seem like enough, too little or too much? Are you feeling the different effects I’m going for here or is it still a bit confusing? What might you do differently, if anything?
EDIT: Adding some more pics after incorporating feedback and getting some weathering powders on there.
Here are some quick pics of the added dark green necrofluid (oil, blood, weird alien goo) added in some choice spots. Can’t decide if I want to darken them or not.
A few more shots of the brick wall with weathering powders added to enhance the mud-brick look. I may tone this down as it seems rather harsh, but actually it’s not that bad when the queen is on the base, as you’ll see. It may need to stay like this so it doesn’t get lost in the composition. The charred bodies look a little better with black and dark brown weathering powders added.
As requested, some shots of the Queen standing on the wreckage so you can see how they interact. Keep in mind, her toes have yet to be painted. Her right one (standing on the wreckage) will be black with metal trim, and her left (in the house) will be gold with metal trim. This should help them pop out of the visual mess a little bit. It’s nice to see just how different the metal finishes look from her leg to the Necron.
Any more thoughts, now?