Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

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Froglift
Shas'Saal
Posts: 83

Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#1 » Sep 15 2017 02:01

So I'm doing a knockoff paint scheme of the Farsight Enclaves and I want to paint my Coldstar differently from the other mostly red Commanders I have. I'm thinking of just painting the fins red. How can I make the rest of the suit pop? It is primed black right now. Should I paint the entire thing a dark grey or just edge highlight until I like how it looks? There are a lot of edges...
We are men of action, lies do not become us.

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#2 » Sep 15 2017 02:21

Painting black is pretty hard to be honest. Not because the paint is difficult to handle but because it's hard to make look right.
Depending on the color you use to edge highlight you can make the black look cold, warm or neutral. Eshin Grey for a neutral black, a blue-ish color for a cold black and a purple-ish color for a warm black iirc.

Alternatively a proper grey should look good as well (just don't make it look like unpainted plastic...aka mechanicus grey).

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ErSe0831
Shas'Saal
Posts: 13

Re: Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#3 » Sep 15 2017 03:17

Making black look good is hard because of the "sucking up all other colours" and reflecting none. Like Panzer is saying edge high light and I would also add getting your drybrush A-game on to make details stand out more :D Pinterest is good when looking for inspiration :)

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khayman
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Posts: 91

Re: Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#4 » Sep 18 2017 02:49

The problem with black is, basically, that you shouldn't be painting black at all. There's three reasons for that :

a) Look around you and try to find an object that, in good lighting conditions, is really really black. I bet you'll have trouble finding one.

b) A black real life sized car might look good. The exact same car in miniature scale will look less good. Our perceptions works that way, not just with black but with every colour. This is why we use such extreme, unrealistic highlights. And if you have a look at larger miniatures, like busts, you'll notice how, as the scales get bigger, the extremity of the highlights and shadows get smaller. Why? Because on larger surfaces, light itself takes care of the highlights for you. In other words, just because the real life car is pure black, it doesn't mean you should be painting your miniature version of it in pure black.

c) Pure black has a unique problem. You can't apply shadows to it. This is the equivalent of losing one dimension of a three dimensional object. White has the opposite problem, where you can't apply highlights to it. They're both doomed to look crappy. This is why GW highlights the white Tau scheme with chipping/rust.

For all these reasons, what you might want to try out (and this isn't a magic recipe), is going for a neutral dark grey. This can mostly be achieved by mixing black into a neutral grey paint. The "neutral" part is kinda key.I must warn you though. Figuring how much grey is too much grey is tricky.

Also, another thing that makes a lot of difference with black is reflectiveness/glossiness. Try a glossy black and then try a muted black (just apply lahmian medium on top of a black paintjob) and see which one looks better FROM A DISTANCE.

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Panzer
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Re: Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#5 » Sep 18 2017 03:22

Eh I pretty much disagree with the point of your whole post, khayman.
However the fact that you can't shade black or highlight white properly is true.

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khayman
Shas'Saal
Posts: 91

Re: Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#6 » Sep 18 2017 05:05

All three points are factual points, not matters of opinion. The part that is opinion is "you shouldn't be painting black at all" and here, you can definitely disagree. I more often than not do not follow my own advice as it's quite hard and time consuming to get the black-but-not-really-black palette down. For instance, I would attempt it for something that is primarily black, i.e. the Death Company but I'd definitely not bother when black is a secondary colour, i.e. Word Bearer shoulderpads. In fact when it's secondary, the all-consuming quality of true black might even be desirable, as it enhances the contrast.

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El'mo
Shas'El
Shas'El
Posts: 1579

Re: Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#7 » Sep 18 2017 12:39

I drybrush black with Shadow grey... This tones the black into a dark grey and gives an edge highlight at the same time.

Image

tzabazeus
Shas
Posts: 4

Re: Tips on painting Black Coldstar Commander

Post#8 » Sep 18 2017 04:37

I'm not the greatest painter by any means, but thought I'd give you an option.

I tend to go black, drybrush eshin grey, followed by an edge highlight of dawnstone. Then its a wash of either nuln oil or drakenhof nightshade. (Depending on your preference and other colours on the model). But the key is a gloss varnish. For me this makes the black 'pop', and the model reflects light naturally.

It worked very well for my tyranid army using this with nightshade as the wash.

Hope this helps.

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