I received, second-hand, a group of 20 Termagants and their smaller friends, the push-fit versions from the Leviathan box. It feels good, after more than ten years of hobby time, that I can buy used GW stuff in larger numbers!
However, this post is not about humble bragging, but a sort of warning against artist's block when painting larger batches of figures. Sure, some armies require elaborate paint jobs, but space bugs are not that. At least this is what I found after painting the first little fellow in a more intricate pattern, got fed up with the thing, wanted to play with them in a painted state, in the end causing myself more frustration and shelving the entire lot for two months or so.
Now two things came to my aid: one, I usually have foresight for happenstances like this, and assemble and/or prime and/or start basing models in my spare time when I do not paint, so I don't have to start from scrap when dusting off an overlooked project. This means that all twenty-odd little bugs were assembled and placed on their bases, waiting for me; and two, I'm more of a pragmatist than an artist in a lot of aspects, so I thought: why not simplify this just a bit? We've all seen very neat and elaborate paint jobs, but, again, that's not for large batches I was trying to deal with here.
So, a short version of my recipe on how to create acceptable looking swarms in the nick of time:
- Choose two ugly colours that do not really match, like green and purple, orange brown and bright purplish pink, red and pink etc.
- Prime the space bug, then block paint it in one of the chosen colors, preferably the darker one
- Run a heavy wash of dark brown across the whole thing, let it sit in the recesses in abundance
- Drybrush the entire bug with a lighter shade of the basecoat (a few drops of yellow or white added to the mix will help), rinse and repeat if the lower parts of the body need more definition
- Drybrush the top of the body and other extremities with a bright tone of the other color (when applicable, a darker drybrush on a bright basecoat could look good as well) - for this, a large soft brush and long, even sweeping motions bring the best result, as if one were trying to dust the thing off
- Add gloss varnish
- Paint the base
I have to admit that the quality of the sculpts did help a lot, with raised areas and recesses being just at the right places. It is decidedly a 'Nids technique, or something similarly buglike and alienoid, and it won't work for others.
But hey, I have just learned about another technique that might, and it's called 'Slomp Chomp' or something like that, google it up.
Now the other half of the box I did something else with, which is a H.R. Giger meets rose beetle type of experiment, thanks to the colorshift line of Green Stuff World paints. This was done the same way as the above, with black (dark grey drybrush) and medium green as the chosen colours, but then, after adding the gloss varnish, I added the GSW Martian Green paint to the carapace and guns and claws, and I think they look nice enough.
(They are actually a lot greener under natural light, it's just the camera making tricks, but I think I proved my point.)
When mixing them with their brighter fellows, I could explain it by saying that one batch specialise on night or underground fighting. Or just that the biomass they were rationed on included something black and green.
And of course we mustn't forget about the Ripper Brothers: