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AELDARI ArcArmy Challenge Pt 3- The Black

Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

The famous Ulthwè black and bone. Popular among so many new hobbyists joining the ranks of Aeldari players. One flick through the codex and it immediately grabs your attention as an easily replicable colour scheme across your new plastic men.  At least it did for me when I was starting and knew nothing about painting. So, this was going to be easy now, right?


Oh sweet naive Damien! What are you saying? Sure, it’s a powerful colour. Easy to cover that mass of grey plastic you have just constructed (see last article).

But black can be boring and flat. Black needs something else. A pop. A shape. A something, that makes it not just black. That gives colour (ironically), and vibrance to your flat coat of paint.

 

Trawling through the internet showed me so many different ways I could have approached this project. Some methods were fast. Others a lot more detailed and slower. Should I experiment with new products? Or go for tried-and-true methods?

But black can be boring and flat. Black needs something else. A pop. A shape. A something, that makes it not just black. That gives colour (ironically), and vibrance to your flat coat of paint.

I decided I wanted to try something that was new for me. That was important. Treat this army like it was something that I had never done before. My enjoyment and creativity were what was going to keep me going over the coming months.


Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

But at the same time, create something that was inspiring, but seemed not too impossible for others to attempt. This series of articles was going to give people a chance to see my work in a whole new way. Step by step, and with detailed instructions, without the limitation of the Instagram format.

 

So, with all that in mind I embarked on a journey of discovery and experimentation with one of my Guardians this month. How would it turn out? We’ll I don’t know dear reader. I was literally making it up on the spot. But let’s find out…


 

The Black

Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

I started with a black undercoat applied through my airbrush.


You can do this stage without an airbrush if you don’t have one. And in fact, these next few steps can be missed entirely if you don’t have access to one or don’t feel confident using one.


The zenithal I’ve done below has adjusted the colour tone of the black slightly, but across a sea of men you won’t notice if you don’t do it yourself. Otherwise, any black model undercoat will do, choose your favourite.


Remember the trick to a good undercoat is thin coats. It’s a surface for other paint to stick to, not our final colour.


 
Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

Again, with my airbrush, I applied an all over layer of Vallejo Model Air 71.057 Black. You’ll see that it’s a slightly different colour to the undercoat and has a slightly shinier finish. I’m not worried about that as I varnish all my models.


As an air paint this is quite thin and is designed to go through an airbrush easily. You could apply it with a brush if you wanted but at this stage you could use any black you like. The Vallejo Model Colour 70.950 Black is particularly good. Remember, two thin coats.


I made sure there was a nice even coverage, especially from underneath as this was going to be our main colour. But as mentioned I was about to shift its tone using a top light source. The trick with painting and highlighting black is to ensure that it still looks black at the end. Not grey, or whatever colour you’ve chosen to highlight it up with.


 
Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

I then applied a zenithal highlight with my airbrush of Citadel Air Corvus Black.


This is a fun ‘off black’ that when applied through the airbrush, immediately gives me a shadow effect on the underparts of the model. Everywhere the spray from the airbrush couldn’t reach as I sprayed down from the top right corner.


I chose the top right as my ‘light source’ for the whole model. This would come into play later as I approached the final highlight stages of the black.


I did do a smaller spray with the model facing away from me as well, so it had a slight counter reflection and add colour to the black on that side too.


 
Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

I then reapplied some of the shadows with the base Vallejo Air Black.


The concept here is to spray from below with the opposite direction in mind. What I’m calling an ‘anti-zenithal’.


You are, in essence, increasing the shadow areas and decreasing the size of the Corvus black zenithal highlight.


I applied this under the arms, and between the legs, aiming to re-establish the darkest colour and show the model as more black than grey. But taking care to not spray from above and leave the work from the zenithal intact.


This bit is hard due to the size of the model parts. But I took my time and had the paint quite thin, so I achieved a nice blend between the two colours.


 
Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

Ok lighting change here. It looks different but I promise it’s the same.


Now that the airbrush work was done, it was onto the brush.


I went in and applied a manual, thicker or ‘chunky edge’ highlight of Citadel Air Corvus Black on every edge, including on the under-suit folds and edges. This is the only highlight I applied to the under-suit in order to have a textural difference between the armour plates (hard) and the cloth (soft).


I chose to use the air paint because it is already quite thin, and I know that paint applied through the airbrush and an actual brush have different intensities. I didn’t want the difference between these two colours to be too obvious, so the thinned paint of the air paint was perfect for this.


 
Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

That last stage probably took the longest time. The colour is quite dark but it helps set the stage for the transitions into the other colours. The good news is that each successive highlight gets smaller and smaller as we head towards the light source.


Painting inside the ‘chunky’ highlight of Corvus black, I applied an edge highlight or Vallejo Model Colour 70.994 Dark Grey. This was applied to most edges but with a particular focus towards the top right (on both sides, front and back).


The goal here is to make them slightly thinner than the first highlight, leaving a little bit of that Corvus Black showing in between the body of the black armour panels and the edges of them.

Any mistakes can be tidied up with Corvus Black or Black respectively.


 
Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

The next edge highlight is a mix. Don’t panic, it’s easy to do. And if you have a wet palette even easier (If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting or making one. There are tutorials online).


Create a 50/50 mix of Vallejo Dark Grey and AK Interactive Blue Grey.


This was applied using the edge of my brush mostly, and where I couldn’t do that, the tip very carefully. Focus these much more towards our light source at the top right.


My tip when edge highlighting is, get the paint on your bristles but then wipe most of it off on your thumb or fingernail. It’ll take away the load of wet paint, but leave the colour. You’ll find the amount you end up putting on the model is much more controllable and you’ll rarely accidently get too much on there. That’s how I get my highlights nice and sharp.


 
Aeldari ArcArmy Challenge Part3

To complete the armour a final line or dot, depending on the shape of the part, of pure AK Interactive Blue Grey was applied very much towards our light source.


You’ll see here that the colour difference this adds to the overall black is incredible. It now looks like it has a soft blue light reflection while still maintaining the overall look of black, and the dot highlight makes the edges and corners look much sharper in comparison to the stage before, where they still looked quite rounded and soft.


You may notice, if you haven’t before, that I applied all these same colours and highlights to the round ‘bumps’ that are all over Aeldari armour. There is a great example there on the left chest plate.


 

With that I was happy to call the black done, and move on to the bone in Part 2.


I hope you like how the black turned out. And that my guide and tips above have given you thoughts or inspiration of how to do your next unit or army.

 

Thanks for reading.

Damien – s0ldierzer0



 
House of War



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