Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finished - Belakor

I am pretty impressed with how this guy turned out. I used some pretty simple techniques to achieve some pretty complex results.

I got Be'lakor in a trade on Bartertown. He was resin and incomplete, neither of which is optimal. I got a screaming deal on him. He is a difficult mini to find as anyone that has him only has one and they want to keep it. You do not see him up for trade often and in metal he is very rare.

I started by looking at pictures of Be'lakor painted on CoolMiniorNot and in his Codex. (I also found an Australian Death Metal band based on this mini while searching.) I disliked the grey color scheme that was in the Codex and wanted something a little more colorful but still muted. I have been wanting to learn to paint purple better and thought this was as good of a chance as any. I also liked the light below/dark above pattern. Sharks and older planes have similar colors.

With the color scheme chosen, I had a little conversion work to do.

He was missing his right hand and sword which is a shame because that sword is wicked-sick. Fortunately I had some fantasy bits that just about fit the bill. I replaced his sword with a left-over Daemon Prince sword. It closely approximates the size and shape but lacks the brutal delicacy that Be'lakor's original sword has.

At this point I drilled a hole in his foot and inserted a steel needle into his foot. This is the way I like to paint so that my greasy fingers do not smear paint all over my model. I painted his wings, head and right arm separately until I was ready to assemble. That caused some problems later but was worth it to get all the angles, cracks and crevices painted.

I knew that I was going to go for a very delicate and light color scheme so I primed the mini white.

I drybrushed on Hormagaunt Purple skipping the front of his chest and face entirely. I skipped painting the wings purple as well. All the purple areas were washed with Leviathan Purple. I had to watch carefully as to not let it pool or run into the lighter areas. Once that was over, I further darkened the recesses with Nuln Oil. I touched up the purple areas with more Leviathan Purple. The nice thing about this is that if I messed up, I could wash it purple again and cover my mistakes.

I washed the wings purple over a Rakarth Flesh base then drybrushed Rakarth Flesh over it until I got a good gradient from dark purple at the top to light at the tips. I didn't intend to for them to turn out this way but I like how they turned out.

I used some Ultramarine Blue on the veins in the arms for some added gruesome detail. The purple wash darkened it down then I highlighted with UM Blue again.

The white areas were dry brushed Rakarth Flesh (actually I think I was using my last pot of Dheneb Stone at this point). They were washed Dev Mudand then touched up. I repeated this by carefully painting on Dev Mud and touching up after. I don't think I really got too carried away with highlights as the stark contrast with the purple was all I wanted.

I took it a little further with the bony areas as I wanted to differentiate them from the pale skin. I washed them Gryphone Sepia and highlighted them very carefully with Bleached Bone. This included the nails on the fingers, horns on the head, spines on the back, spikes on the arms and legs, bone supports in the wings and the skulls. I went easy on the skulls because I wanted them mellow and washed out.

I painted the sword in a very simple scheme of silver metals only very dark and gold. I wanted to make the sword look ancient, sentient and very very deadly. To do this I painted the sword, Ironbreaker then washed it with Nuln Oil. After a little touch up with Ironbreaker again, I washed it black again. Usually I only do one black wash as it is a very dark and powerful wash. It tends to overpower and overdarken. Then I did a broken highlight of Mythril silver along the edge and any raised surfaces. I painted on Dev Mud in the recesses to give a different tone to the metal other than just black and deepen the shades. The gold was painted Shining Gold and washed Dev Mud. I dry brushed it with Mythril Silver and repeated the wash. It then got a broken highlight of Mythril Silver.

The golden armor got the standard gold treatment with a few extra steps. It got a base coat of Mournfang Brown followed by Shining Gold. I washed it with Dev Mud and then highlighted it with Mythril Silver. I washed it Gryphone Sepia and then touched it up with Mythril Silver. I repeated the Sepia and Silver as needed to get a weathered look.

I had a struggle with the base.  GW supplies the mini with a 50mm square base as he was originally a fantasy model. I am a dedicated round-baser and would not have put him on a square base. But what round base should I use? 40mm was too small and a 60mm Dreadnought base dwarfed the mini. I thought about making a pile of skulls for him to sit on but that seemed too Khorny (pun intended). I know that there are 50mm bases for Centurions but they were pricey on eBay. I opted for a MicroArts Studio resin 50mm scenic base. I added it to an order on The War Store along with some other stuff. I mulled through many of the styles but in the end I opted for the corpse base.

I painted the whole base Graveyard Earth and then dry brushed it Bleached Bone. I painted the bodies Tallarn Flesh and then Washed it Orgyn Flesh until I had it the dark color I wanted. I think I had to paint on Dev Mud in places too. I didn't paint the bloody areas so much as washed them red. I wanted a very dark, subtle and tan base to make the dark and subtle mini pop better. I massively dislike it when a well-painted mini is over powered by a base that is brighter than the mini.

I love how this mini turned out. All of the techniques were very simple but masterfully applied with care and patience. I love his face. I can't describe why precisely, but it turned out great. Maybe I am elated to paint a non-human face and have it turn out well. I like how there are so many areas of detail (face, armor, base, wings) that draw your eyes around. I feel like looking at this mini is a scavenger hunt for detail. I also like the serendipity of how the sword arm came together. The hand holding the sword looks like it is almost floating in air and he is barely touching it at all. In fact, if I had thought of this then, I would have made the sword hovering outside of his hand.

There are only a few things that I do not like. The size of the sword is insane. I wish I had the original bit and on my next one I will. There are some minor issues with assembly. His right leg was glued too far in and that made placing his loin cloth awkward. It is less than a millimeter from being able to be seated proper. I doubt anyone but me would notice.

This mini retails for about $37. The conversion and missing bits is just about a wash. The paint job is amazing. The base was a few bucks too. I think that to replace this mini would cost me about $80 but I would not trade it for anything less than $120 to $160 or less if I could trade it for another Be'lakor mini.

1-22-17 Edit: Recently I traded this mini for a ton of CSM minis. 10 Terminators (mix of assembled and primed on sprue but mostly complete), a Terminator Lord (assembled and painted purple), two Obliterators (metal, missing a bunch but serviceable), an old metal Kahrn and maybe some other stuff. It was well over what I paid for the minis and well compensated for the time that I put into the mini. The Terminators are really serendipitous in that I'll need them for bits to finished the Thousand Sons Terminators when I get around to them.

I'll be sad not to have a Be'lakor in my collection that is paints. Fortunately, I have a complete metal Be'lakor waiting to be painted and an awesome base on the way.  I think that I'll be able to paint him better than the last one but only time will tell. The few games that I played with him I won and pretty much because of him. He is a real friendship ended. I am surprised that more WAAC games don't love him more.

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