A big splash of paint

Paul adds some colour to his Sons of Behemat

One of my aims with this army was to learn new techniques and speed up my painting. And without any test-gargants to work out a paint scheme on, I knew this was going to be a challenge. My plan was to lean on contrast paints, to get to the point where I was highlighting details faster.

It’s not as though I had never tried contrast on a model before. I had built and painted an entire undead army in 48 hours with it previously! However, that army was effectively a speed-painting challenge – I wanted to get a decent tabletop standard quickly.

Building the Morghasts took a good chunk of the 48 hours spent on this army! We’ll go into more detail about the tough modeller challenge another time…

With the gargants I’m looking to achieve something more than tabletop standard – they need to stand up in my cabinet next to my other armies, and get nominated for best army awards at events.

The most prominent thing on the mega-gargant are the massive areas of flesh. So it seemed as good a place to start as any. I started with a foot, to see how Darkoath Flesh contrast would take to the textured skin.

Darkoath flesh applied to a mega gargant foot

I was immediately impressed at the result! If I was trying to achieve the same effect with layering and washes it would take me a lot longer. So I got to work applying it to the rest of the model.

Part painted Citadel Mega Gargant

So far, so contrast! But with some massive areas to cover, I couldn’t prevent some streaking or pooling and splotches (In retrospect, I think I should have thinned the contrast a little). I tried to correct these by layering with various flesh tone paints, but I just couldn’t match the colour and tone – contrast has a quality to it that applying layers straight on top of just didn’t quite work for me.

In the end I did some targeted dry brushing with some carefully mixed flesh-tones. This helped to soften the tone, and I was able to work up layers of it over the splotches and pooling.

Check pattern painted on a Mega Gargant
I added some cheques while I was waiting for the contrast to dry…

The next thing I decided to tackle was the net bag. After all the flesh, I thought doing something with a bit of detail and variety might be fun. I was wrong! It was a total pain in the arse. As I had completely built the net bag, painting the contents got very difficult, very fast. In the end I carefully cut one side of the netting off so I could get the detail done deep inside it.

Most of the bag contents was still painted with contrast, though I started to play around with more colours, and with using a bit of contrast medium to get different shades. Though I used metallic colours for metal things (I’ve used Black Templar in place of silver metal before, and it works well, but I wanted the shine of actual metalics here). Everything was finished with traditional highlighting techniques.

I decided that with the bag done, I might as well finish off that arm, so I started picking out on the detail further up. This helped me establishing some colours for the rest of the model too:

  • Ropes were done with Skeleton Hoard contrast, and didn’t need a highlight.
  • Anything that was made of sailcloth was also painted Skeleton Hoard, but got a heavy dry-brush of Screaming Skull, and a few Screaming Skull highlights
  • The arm has some wood tied to it, from what looks like a ship’s cabin door, or a huge chest. This was painted with Wyldwood contrast, and got a light drybrush of XV-88 / Screaming Skull mix
  • Gold bits were all painted with Retributor Armour, given a Reikland Fleshshade wash, then highlighted again with Retributor Armour
  • Bronze bits were also painted with Retributor Armour, then had some Warpstone Glow green applied in splotches, before being washed with Argrax Earthshade
  • Black cloth was a heavy application of Black Templar contrast, highlighted with Mechanicum Standard Grey and Celestia Grey
Black cloth painted on a Mega Gargant army with black templar contrast paint

A lot of the rest of the model is covered in a patchwork of material that is stitched together. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go with a single cloth colour, or to make each one a unique thing (like flags from all the ships he has plundered). Again, the lack of a test model was frustrating – it was hard to visualise what would and wouldn’t work. So I ended up using one of the footless-socks he seems to wear as a tester.

I was really pleased with how this came out, even though it really consisted of three experiments:

  • Light brown
    • Wyldwood contrast 1:1 with contrast medium
    • Dry brush with a Screaming Skull / XV-88 mix
    • Edge highlight with a similar, slightly lighter, mix
  • Dark brown
    • Cygor Brown contrast 1:1 with contrast medium
    • Dry brush with a Screaming Skull / XV-88 mix
    • Edge highlight with a similar, slightly lighter, mix
  • Grey
    • Black templar 1:3 with contrast medium
    • Dry brush Screaming Skull / Corax White mix
    • Edge highlight with a similar, slightly lighter, mix

All three of the experiments were so good, I decided that I’d use them all, and have some kind of patch-work going on. I started on the ‘skirt’, making each patch different to the ones around it. After doing this, I realised that what made it work on the ‘sock’ was that it hadn’t been a patchwork – where the sock is broken up by the ‘rope’ you get the same colour next to itself for larger sections.

This was the first experiment on the model that hadn’t gone ‘right’, that I’d wish I had done differently. I didn’t want to go back and re-paint the ‘skirt’ though – it wasn’t that it looked bad, just not as good as it could have. I applied the leardings to the fabric around the model’s back though, and was happier with that, though I think I should have stuck to two colours.

Patchwork of painted leather colours on a Mega Gargant

With the flesh and the cloth done, I got to focus on the details. Except there are lots of details! So maybe focus isn’t the best word. It was fun picking little bits of the model to put extra effort into, and I got to try out some more techniques.

Metallic paint applied to a Mega Gargant
For the metal plates on the back of the arm, I used a variety of washes, and tried out contrast, thinned with medium, to colour and shade the metallics.
Blue earring on a Mega Gargant model
The earring was mostly traditional techniques, though I started the blue with contrast, and dry brushed it lower down to get a lighter effect, along with highlighting.
Blue and purple detail work on a Mega Gargant
The bit of kraken flesh on the back I pulled off to paint on its own. This was another experiment with thinning contrast paints with contrast medium – Leviadon Blue and Shyish Purple, with some edge highlights.

I decided to leave the basing until the end, and deal with the elephant in the room – the gigantic axe I had armed this Kraken-eater with. I didn’t want it to dominate the model, but I also didn’t want it to look dull or mundane.

The haft and handle were painted with Leadbelcher and washed with Nuln Oil, but for the head I added Leviadon Blue contrast to the Leadbelcher, giving the metallic a blue tinge. It also killed some of the metallic quality of the paint, leaving it a little more dull. I highlighted the metal using some Non-Metallic-Metallic or NMM style techniques, mixing Corax White into my blue-metal mix. The effect is pretty hard to photograph, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out.

Part Painted pendulum spell

For the magical flames coming off of the blade, I was all ready to break out the orange, red and yellow contrast paints. I’ve done flame effects with them before, and was relatively confident I could make it work here.

But when I looked at the spot colours on the rest of the model, I realised that the kraken flesh and the earring were in a more blue-purple spectrum. And those are really the colours of the realm of metal, when I look at the artwork out there! They needed some thinning with contrast medium to make it work, and a dry brush afterwards to help soften the tone a little, but again I was happy with the result. It worked really well with the blue metal of the blade. Some bronze and gold on the runes and weapon detail helped to bring the whole thing together, and I felt it hadn’t overshadowed or let down the rest of the model.

Fully painted pendulum spell with purple flame
Thinned Shyish Purple contrast and Leviadon Blue contrast (3:1 contrast/medium mix on both) followed by a light drybrush of Corax White

From the beginning of building this model, I know I wanted him to look like he was striding along a beach in the realm of metal. In order to get that without any crazy water effects, I decided I’d depict him going from the sandier beach onto a rockier shore line. I’d already strewn lots of oceanic detritus across the base  – molluscs, a half-buried boat, various magical items that had washed up – so the first thing was to pick out all the detail on those.

I used Agrellan Badlands for the sandy beach and Astrogranite Debris for the rockier shore. I had to make this work with plastic feature I had borrowed from the Eidolon of Mathlan was awkward to say the least – another lesson learned.

Once all the technical paint had dried, I dry brushed with Screaming Skull, then again lightly with Corax White, then went back and highlighted some individual features like stones to make them stand out. A few patches of grass and a couple more skulls completed the base.

I hate waiting for the gunk to dry!

Finally, with all the paint dry, I was able to get him into my lightbox and take some pictures of my first 500 points! This mighty mega-gargant will lead my Sons of Behemat to war against the forces of Order, Chaos and Death.

Fully painted Citadel Mega Gargant for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar

By Paul

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