Belisarius Cawl: Part 2 – nearly complete.
I’ve been quietly chipping away at Cawl in between other projects and loving him as much as always. If you want to hear me wax lyrical about him briefly, check out my podcast episode about the Gathering Storm series of books. Suffice to say, this is easily my favorite release of the last year or two. I’m determined to finish this guy while my wife is away for work, and I’m getting very close. I know it seems weird, but the part I’m most proud of so far is the book. I’ll show you what I mean.
Painting Belisarius Cawl’s book
I guess the painting was the easy part. Really it was the freehand symbols that were very intimidating to me. I wished there were some decals to use. I had a hard time finding a good image of it. The Gathering Storm book didn’t really have one, nor did White Dwarf. The best image I got was actually from the Games Workshop website, where they showed some detail shots around the model. One of them showed the glyphs pretty well, so I took a screen shot for later use.
I was really dreading replicating those alchemical symbols because freehand is NOT my strong suit. I knew I’d seen similar decals to the yellow ‘caution’ sign before, though, so I thought I’d shortcut the process by adding one of those. I looked on my Imperial Knights decals first because I knew there were some on there. Some were similar but I kept looking. They were the wrong size. However, I had also gotten sheets of Mars and Ryza decals when I bought some used models off a guy. I looked at that sheet and lo and behold, I found the very same decal. I figured if THAT was a decal, maybe the other bits were as well. I know ‘Eavy Metal likes to freehand all this stuff, but I thought maybe I could get close.
As it happened, these exact glyphs are on a string of random ones from the Mars sheet. I recognized the “copper” symbol (that looks like a ‘male’ sign) right away, and the next 3 were right next to it in that order. Score! The funky “A” and the text along the top silver bit on the cover were also there. I had to fudge the one to the top of the main silver plate, but most would be covered by his foot anyway. After painstakingly cutting them out (they were very, very small and delicate) and applying them, it looked like this. I was super pleased with the way it turned out, and I knew that losing even one of them would have driven me nuts because I only had one copy. A couple coats of Microsol later, and they were conforming perfectly to the ridges and rivets. I hit them with a bit of ‘Ard Coat and then Lahmian Medium and Bob’s yer uncle! It’s one of those details that probably nobody will notice, and if they do they won’t remember seeing the original well enough to know it’s accurate, but this is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, all excited.
Painting the blue lenses and gubbins
For this project, I was pretty set on painting it somewhere between the level of Duncan Rhodes’ official video and the ‘Eavy Metal crew’s job. I stuck with his official paint recipes except in a few cases, and also he didn’t do the yellow and black cables that I wanted to include. I spent a lot of time watching his video and bought a lot of extra paint to make it right, though. That included Baharroth Blue for the lenses and some electric bits, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had to order it from a store and then another store because the first one couldn’t get it. That put my entire project on hold, but eventually I did get it so I could finish up the blue bit. I wanted to get a smooth transition on the lenses, but then do something a little more interesting with a couple other bits. I went for a sort of plasma globe effect in the ‘jar’ on his back and the little spider probe on his base. It turned out pretty close to what I was thinking, if not perfect. I also added some little motes of light to show how the ‘canister’ pods scattered around the model might be sort of flickering or scintillating. I think some people might just think it’s sloppy, but I did it on purpose. Have a look.
The base with and without Cawl
I had been putting off doing the base because I wasn’t sure what to do with the book, and also because I knew it would require some dry-fitting with his many legs and robes. I couldn’t do much until I had his body all painted (mostly the blue bits, as I mentioned before). Once I finally got over that hurdle, though, I was able to finish up the base pretty quickly using my usual ash waste base so he’d at least tie into my armies, though he uses the official Mars color scheme.
I love this brush. I got it as a gift recently but hadn’t tried it out. Drybrushing is really hard on any brush, and my bases use a combination of textured paint (including the new, thicker formula), sand and ballast. There are some sharp bits, and I use Perfect Paper Cement which dries hard like a resin, so they can really tear brushes up. This brush is made from boar’s hair, and it’s amazing. It’s firm but springy, and it keeps its shape really well. Even for being such a big brush, I felt like I had a lot of control. It can also hold a fair bit of paint. We’ll see how it holds up over time but I really, really like it so far. It made this base an absolute breeze to whip up.
And here’s an ominous shot of Cawl being glued to the base… I wanted to make sure it was really sturdy, since it’s such a fiddly model. I overdid it a little, though, and I use such a ‘hot’ glue that there was some deformation around his feet, including the book I worked so hard on. Ah well. I’ll clean it up the best I can after the glue is cured and add washes around the feet anyway. Now that this is down I should be able to fully assemble the rest of him before finishing up the details and calling it a night. I’m very, very pleased with the work so far and I’ll be glad to be done. It’s been a grueling project, but quite rewarding. Second only to my Knight, if I’m honest. Hopefully I’ll be posting some finished pictures very soon!