Starting up in Antares – Part 2

A first steps guide by Jon Harrington taking us through the Kar’A Nine boxed set. Read Part 1 here.

Stage 2: First steps in painting

A quick note on painting equipment.  I use 4 main brushes Insane Detail, Precise Detail, Small Drybrush (all from the Army Painter hobby range) and a larger generic brush for area painting.  A decent brush makes a huge difference so it’s worth  investing in a couple of quality brushes rather than cheaper plastic bristled sets.

First stage Algoryn
Getting 5 figures to this stage took about 2 hours with breaks for the paint to dry.

To undercoat the models I use a can of grey plastic primer available from a well known motor parts shop. Black is also popular particularly if using a darker colour palette but I prefer the mid tone grey.  For detail paints I have a collection of acrylics from Humbrol, Army Painter and Hobby Acrylics. They all do the job and while having a large range of colours makes colour matching easier with a set of 6-10 basic colours plus a metallic you can mix almost any colour.

Before I start with the undercoat I mount the figures on a bottle top using bluetack so I don’t have to touch the base when painting.  An even spray of grey provides a good base for the colour coats. If you have a detailed model it’s better to spray 2 thin layers, pausing to let the paint dry between coats, rather than keep going to cover an awkward corner and risk the paint running.

Page 42 of the Kar’A Nine book has an excellent guide on painting figures and if you are new it’s worth following step by step. I’m going to change the order slightly because of my colour choice but the techniques are the same. Above I’ve added my chosen base coat colour to the armour and weapons. I’m going for a yellow/ black combination so I should probably name this unit the B’mbleB division!

Next I wanted to try different colour washes to see what worked best. It’s always worth testing ideas out because if it doesn’t work you can always go back to the base coat but you might find a new combination you like. You can buy dedicated washes (or inks) but if you don’t have them I find a 50/50 water/paint mix works just as well.

The picture to the left shows the left leg with a light brown wash, right leg with a black wash and the backpack with a dark brown wash.  In each case I gently wiped off excess with a tissue having applied it liberaly with a wide brush. I chose the dark brown wash because it gave me the ‘used’ look I was after without losing the yellow colour.  Don’t worry about too much wash at this stage, later on I’ll add back the original yellow.

Pausing only to repaint over the black wash, I added metallic paint to the body of the weapon and chose sections of the under armour to paint black. You’ll need the smaller brushes for these sections and the Insane Detail brush to do the visor. Adding my dark brown wash and leaving it to dry I then heavily dry brushed over the armour in the original yellow to bring back the brighter colour as well as lightly dry brushing the black section with a light grey. Finally I followed the guide and added yellow highlights to the edge of the armour plates.

Left to right above shows the stages I’ve gone through; base coat, washed and finally dry brushed to add back the yellow highlights. Getting 5 figures to this stage took about 2 hours with breaks for the paint to dry.

Finishing the figures

Bases for figures can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Shown below are examples with no additions, basic grit, large grit and filler over foam board. For figures that are going to be used I tend to keep it simple partly to reduce the painting time but also acknowledging that they will get knocked and damaged and it’ll be easier to fix.

A mix of simple basing schemes

To paint the desert style bases I run a brown wash over the undercoated grit. Using a wash helps the paint run into the corners and round the feet of the figures. I then dry brush with a lighter brown and finally a light drybrush with white just to pick out the highlights. You can see that I’ve added a rock to act as a point of interest, tufts of grass or abandoned weapons work just as well.

Droning On

The last items to build from the Algoryn are the spotter drones. Before painting a good tip is to mount them temporarily on matchsticks to avoid getting paint on the clear post. The only difference to the figures was to highlight the camera lens in blue.

Paint, dry, repeat

A mistake with a mag repeater, easily rectified

With the first squad complete I moved on to the second and third squads confident that I had a colour scheme that I liked. The process to paint large numbers of figures (I consider anything above 10 to be a large number) is as individual as the colour schemes. Some people build them all and paint them all at once, others work on individual figures. I sit somewhere in the middle, I prefer to be working on no more than 10 figures at the same time broken down into 2 groups.

For the Algoryn I started painting the first squad then while coats of paint were drying I built and undercoated the second squad. This allows me to move between painting and building so I don’t get bored of painting the same colour on lots of figures one after the other.

Everyone makes mistakes

Whilst painting the second squad I realised that, despite carefully sorting out the parts, I had attached a Mag Gun to my squad leader that also had a left hand on the grip which was in addition to the left hand with an XSling. Precision surgery using a sharp knife removed the part and the correct one fitted. Not a big problem but it serves as an example that mistakes can happen and thankfully are easy to rectify.

Jon Harrington’s Algoryn from the Kar’A Nine set

First army built

That’s the Algoryn force complete.  Half the painting done and I’m already looking forward to actually playing a game
with them the near future.

Jon continues his journey in part three and starts on his Concord!