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  • Steve The Novice

When to paint for quality, and when to paint for speed

I have recently committed to putting together an army for Age Of Sigmar. AOS came out long after I had finished playing warhammer fantasy, and I have not had a chance to try my hand at it yet, but with all the painting I have been doing, I figured, it would be good to have at least one army ready for after lockdown, and frankly just for me to have a cohesive painted army. As someone coming up to the 1 year anniversary of taking up mini painting, most of my painting has been to achieve the best result possible with my skills and knowledge at the time, with occasional deviations for attempting new techniques or styles.

However, with so many very similar troops that will needs painting for an army, such an approach would likely kill me, or at the very least, my love for the hobby. Even just painting my 10 unit Ironjawz unit, there were times I tired of repeating the same process, same colours etc. Therefore, for the first time, a change of approach is needed. My goal for my painting has had to shift to a more modest standard, that can be achieved in batches, as opposed to one by one. The tough part, is then working out how best to comprimise quality for expediency, what are the time savings that can be made with the smallest possible impact on the final quality. The army I have chosen to accumulate, for largely economic reasons to be honest, is Stormcast Eternals. Because I do not have much disposable income, most of my purchases come via ebay, and I have been able to accumulate a number of models for fairly cheap, albeit mostly infantry. The advantage of Stormcast Eternals, is that they are 95% armour, with very few faces or additional details present, meaning that a colour theme can be very simple. For my army, I didn't want to go the gold and blue route of the official GW scheme, and most of the Vallejo Model colour golds that I own are...iffy, and I didn't want to purchase the Metal Colours version, when I already have Burnt Iron and Aluminium. So I decided I would go for burnt iron for the armour, highlighted with Aluminium. I then decided to go with a vallejo Game colour ink Violet, for the robes, as I love the colour, and it is warm enough that it can counter balance the cold iron. especially when paired with the bronze/copper colouration I wanted to use on the weapons and engraved armour pieces. This was achieved using vallejo metal colour aluminium as a base, with a coat of Vallejo ink Skin Wash. The final result, when painted to one of my highest levels looks like this:

These were the first stormcast I painted, and I used some ideas that are not ideal for quick replication: - The blended front fabric, from black to purple to white is time consuming, and the black lining and edge highlighting would ideally be reigned back in a faster methodology. By using more drybrushing for highlights, washes for lining and reducing highlights to just the most prominent edges, I can finish 3 models in the time I would take to paint one. For example:

These 3 Castigators have the reduced spec, and look solid enough as part of a unit, therefore achieving the minimum I was hoping for, though any one examined closely would be considered just about tabletop standard. To cover over the relatively relaxed details of the standard troops, I have started taking a bit more time with each unit leader (Prime). This helps draw the eye, and give the impression of a better overall standard than perhaps physically exists. For example, in the unit below, the 4 standard troops are very basic, with minimal shading and highlighting, but for the Liberator Prime I took an extra half hour, to add some details, ensuring that the complimentary green elements draw the eye to him, as opposed to the lacklustre paintjobs supporting him.

There is a long way to go with this army paintjob, but I wanted to document the process as it is now, about a third of the way in, to review when I am done, and to see if my process changes as I discover more about the art of speed painting! Wish me luck!

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