Monday, June 21, 2021

TUTORIAL: Dark Marble Bases

When I started on the Stormcast Eternals from Dominion I knew I wanted to give them some unique basing. The main idea is that they're stationed in Lethis in Shyish, so something dark and Death like, but I didn't want to just replicate the same basing as my Death armies. Enter the Dark Marble scheme!

First off, thank you to GW for sending me the Dominion box for review. So far I've painted up three of the Stormcast from it and I decided to go with an older color scheme that I developed back when I painted Steelheart's Champions from Shadespire. They're a Stormhost I made up on my own and they're named the Celestial Purifiers and hail from Hysh and Azyr. They're often attached to the Order of Azyr and are tasked with hunting down the demon, the witch, and the undead. Each Chamber is more specialized in one area over another, and my Chamber specializes in fighting the Undead. As such, they've been sent to Lethis attached to the Order of Azyr to reinforce the Anvils of the Heldenhammer after the events of the Siege of Grief. I imagine Lethis is a pretty sombre city, but could also have some fairly grandiose architecture, hence the dark marble.

Step 1.

Before I even got started on painting the base I had to prep it a bit. The GW bases come with a light texture sculpted on them. Since I wanted this to look like polished marble though I needed to make it smooth. All of the Dominion Stormcast that I'm painting can go on their base without having to glue them, so I left them all unglued as I painted them. This allowed me to remove the model to get to hard to reach areas while painting it, but also allows me to take the base off and paint it seperately after the model is done. The first thing I did was sand down the top of the base with a fine grit sand paper. I just did circular motions with it for about 1 minute total and it was smooth enough.

Step 2.

Next I primed it with Chaos Black, and then gave the top of it a solid coat of Abaddon Black.

Step 3.

Now we're on to the proper marble texture. To start with I used Lupercal Green and painted fairly thick lines of the marble pattern. Make sure you have a reference picture pulled up while doing this. The first base I painted like this I tried to do from memory and it ended up looking nothing like marble. Now I just have one of my previously finished bases on hand to compare it to while painting a new one. 

Step 4.

This was followed by even finer lines of Sons of Horus Green. I kept most of these lines within the Lupercal Green lines, but it's important to have a few of these go outside the darker colored lines as well. You'll want these to be even wavier with smaller fluctuations. Think lightning bolts.

Step 5.

Next it was time to add the "cloudy" texture seen in a lot of marble. To do this I heavily watered down Sons of Horus Green until it was mostly water, and then painted random blobs of it around the base. Build this up slowly, as it's easier to add more than to take it away. At this time I also went back and added more marble lines of the other colors. You'll find as the base gets closer to being finished it'll be easier to see if it's too sparse. That was the case with this one. There was too much open black space.

Step 6.

The final highlight is to go in with some Administratum Grey and pick out a few random lines. I mostly focused on where lines intersected, but I also did other random areas. The more random the more realistic it will seem. You definitely want to be sparse with this step though. Less is more. Again, start small and add more as you go if needed.

Step 7. 

I then went in with some Abaddon Black and glazed a few patches on the base. Basically any areas that seem too saturated with color or are too overly bright. I actually didn't have to do much on this base, but I have on some of the others.

Step 8. 

Lastly, I glazed the entire thing with heavily watered down Lupercal Green.

That's it, your marble base is done! I added some rubble on top of mine which I painted Grey Seer, shaded with Nuln Oil, then drybrushed Grey Seer followed by a lighter drybrush of White. I imagine the statues and such are built with a white marble. This helps break up the base a bit and add a bit of three-dimensional interest to it as well as some contrast. I also gave the dark marble sections a coat of Stormshield Techincal paint. This is a Matte Varnish, but it has a slight sheen to it, so it makes it seem slightly shiny like marble, but doesn't distract from the model like a coat of Gloss Varnish would.

I know it may seem like a lot of steps, but the whole painting process takes only about 30 minutes. I'm pretty happy with them. If you're interested in replicating the color scheme of the Celestial Purifiers you can find the tutorial for them here. Since I made that tutorial in 2018 I've made a few changes to it. On some of the larger, flatter areas, like the chest, top of the head, etc, I re-layer the Retributor Gold to get a more solid coat. I do this as a thinner glaze so I can build it up as needed. I also do the black cloth different. I base coat it with Corvus Black, wash it with Nuln Oil, then highlight it with Stormvermin Fur. The black leather and the rest of the black is still done the same way as in the tutorial, but I used Grey Seer instead of Ulthuan Grey. Lastly, I now use Wraithbone instead of Rakarth Flesh as the undercoat for the Ushabti Bone areas.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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