Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Legions of Pascal's Vralekth Necrons

This week I have a special guest article showing off the amazing looking Necrons of the very talented Pascal! I just love the super unique aesthetic they have and the rich greens and blues used on them.

Pascal: Over the last year of GW revealing the massive psychic awakening campaign, I’ve had a feeling that the Necron were ripe for a major re-release (it was the chronomancer in me, I swear!) and have been slowly collecting built and unbuilt models in large batches. 

I’ve always loved the ancient, Lovecraftian horror-aspect that the Necron bring to the table, who doesn’t want to see tragic 65 million year old Egyptian androids trying to reclaim a changed galaxy? 

I spent a lot of time with test models, going back and forth with a colour palette, something that would be evocative but easily reproduce-able on a a large scale. I love conversions, and the Necron line makes converting a dream thanks to the robotic skeletal nature of the range. 

Once I had finally honed in on my cold, etheric visual style (thanks largely to the awesome community on Instagram and a looot of background lore investigations) I went searching for a narrative.

Vralekth are a client dynasty of the Maynarkh from Forge World’s fantastic “Fall of Orpheus” campaign book. Their lore is spare, with just a snippet about “ancient, worn and rusting armour” that seems to work just as well as any other Necron. They are also from a single Tomb World (Hydroghast, think “Waterworld” with Mechanicus fishing trawlers instead of Kevin Costner) leaving lots of room for forging my own unique narrative. 

Okay, we have a colour scheme, a narrative, now to the models!

I wanted to make sure I converted every single model in the army. I know, I just said I was looking to streamline this army process, but I’m also a sucker for making your army your own unique flavour. I prefer less “spooky skeleton” and more “ancient remnant” so I used thin plasticard to create nose bridges on each model as well as shoulder/carapace trim. 

Only the warriors, the lowest on the dynastic pecking order, and the destroyers (who care not about such visual flourish) would have their nasal cavities revealed. I have two Forge World tomb Sentinels recently constructed and converted up, which are a lot more insectile than other canoptek units, so I also tried to increase the “bugginess” aspect a bit, adding little segmented legs and armour flourishes to push that visual metaphor. 

For the textural final touch, I used different grits of Vallejo texture paste for both my bases and the models. I like the idea that the verdigris on the models could also be tiny nanoscarab swarms, so that the model is both falling apart and being rebuilt by the ground itself coming alive.

I got a friend to custom cut me a whole slew of hexagonal tiles in MDF for the bases, a ‘Giant’s Causeway’ look but more uniform and mechanical, like the earth the Vralekth walk on is entirely manufactured (these hexagonal tiles being the vast underwater tombs of Hyrdoghast rising to the surface!).

The basic technique I employed to paint my Necron is actually based on Tyler’s tutorial he posted on WarCom. The 50/50 mix of Basilicanum Grey contrast with Contrast Medium works so well over Leadbelcher spray, and his unique Gauss mix (credit to Eric Festa for the original Gauss inspiration and color mix - Tyler) is a great base for the sickly green glow I wanted.

I took advantage of colour shifting paints for the Canoptek armour. I’m not well versed in Airbrushing so I did this by hand, but I can attest that it would have been waaaay easier if I had gone the airbrushing route, as the colour shifts are fairly transparent (painting over a bright metallic can help though).

For the copper effects I used Vallejo Copper, my hands-down favourite metallic of all time. It goes so well with Nihilakh oxide for weathering, I’ve always tried to find a way to use that paint, it’s just magic. 

For the bases and texturing, I had a very specific plan: 

Base- Incubi Darkness

Layer- Sybarite Green

Edge/dot highlight- Gauss Blaster Green

Blending wash- Gryph-Charger Grey Contrast

Gryph-Charger is magical. It’s a soft contrast that’s actually pretty green, but works so wonderfully into a semi-blue/green haze, I can’t sing its praises enough.

I used these colours to dry brush the bases but for the armor texture, I tried a small brush with a pointillist technique to make the dirt seem almost like little swarms.

I finished off the gauss glow effect I mentioned earlier with washed down layers of the new gauss technical glow and successive highlights of green/yellow edge highlighting. All of this meant my models were leaning heavily into the green/blue spectrum, with lots of cool and warm tones but sitting along the Same overall palette, so I used pure GW snow technical to make them pop off the bases (all those tombs rising from the deeps must cool the ambient temperature a lot).

I’m excited to work on non-Canoptek units, now that I’ve crushed out my small section of the Vralekth legion!

Illustration by Pascal

You can find my progress and other work on Instagram or follow my art page (my day job is a game illustrator/concept artist).

Tyler: Thanks again to Pascal for taking the time to share and talk about this awesome army! I really just love how unique it is and how well executed every step of it is. I'm excited to see more from it in the future.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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