Space Hulk thoughts

Alright, I admit I’m as excited about Space Hulk as the next guy. Maybe a lot more. Even though I’ve been in this hobby for over 25 years, I’ve never played a single game of Space Hulk. Never even owned a set. I had a set of Space Crusade, but that was mostly for the models. I don’t think I played the game.

That being established, I am STUPID pumped to play this. I spent a while hemming and hawing about whether I’d get it this time around, but ultimately I was sold on 3rd-party reviews from non-40K nuts. I wanted to be sure it’d be fun for everyone, because none of my friends actually play 40K and that means I almost never play anything at all.

This, however, look like it’s a blast for everyone; 40K fan or not.

So, once I got my preorder in (after camping out on the website and jamming on refresh. It was actually kind of exciting) I allowed myself to get REALLY excited about it. I’ve been asking basically everyone I know if they’ll play with me, and thinking about how I’m going to paint it up.

I’ve never had a Blood Angels army, and only painted red as a spot color. I checked Blood Angel paint schemes on Pinterest, Google Image searches, YouTube, Bolter and Chainsword, et al… And while there are some bloody great jobs out there, nothing was quite what I was looking for.

Pencil sketch lighting effectsI’m shooting for something really different from what I normally paint. I settled on zenithal highlighting with an airbrush, and I want to use a nice, deep crimson: like arterial blood. I want them to look like they’re in shadow,  with harsh overhead lighting. After chatting with Moose at First Turn Games (a Golden Demon winner and all-around nice guy) I decided to try a purple/blue shade for the shadowed areas. The lit areas will be crimson, highlighted up with a warmer tan (though not orange, per se) and probably glazed to get a nice, intense red. I want very harsh shadows, and the under-areas will be dark blue, fading to purple at the transitions. This will also give me a chance to play with some OSL elements, especially on the termy who’s checking the auspex. I may or may not do some lightning effects on power weapons with OSL as well, as I’ve never done that.

Blood Angels color testI worked up a quick idea in Photoshop just to get a sense of how it will work. I hope my colors will look that good, but the basic concept seems sound. I’ll be able to pull in a little ambient light on the shadowy areas. I haven’t worked out how the gems and metallics will work with the harsh lighting, but it will be fun to play around with. I’m confident the red, blending to purple and blue, will look cool.

Space Hulk mockupI even decided to work up a quick model in Photoshop, but it’s pretty tough to actually get a good concept of how it will look IRL. The blue and purple don’t really come across the way I want them to on the real model, but you can sort of see the sort of harsh transitions I’m looking for.

I’m really looking forward to working on the genestealers as well. Still haven’t decided what to do with them 100%. I’d like to honor the classic blue and purple scheme for lots of reasons (someone actually told me it’s part of the fluff, which I didn’t know). I wouldn’t mind doing something else very organic or alien, but I think there’s a compromise in there somewhere. I picked up some iridescent paint medium thinking that it might be cool to mix in with the dark blues on the hard carapace bits. As for the purple, I’d like to do something with mottled tones for the soft flesh parts. I think of Tyranids as much reptilian as insectoid, based in no small part on the oldest RT-era termagants. Maybe I should look up some more lizard or snake-like textures… Anyway, I’ll play around with it. Right now I’m just thinking about Blood Angels.

Thoughts? Ideas? Have any examples of really harsh zenithal highlights and nadiral (is that a word?) shadows? I’d love some input on this.