Hey there, hobby enthusiasts! It's Cam, and I'm thrilled to share with you the exciting journey behind my Players Choice Award-winning army at Arc40k 2023. As the proud recipient of both the Player's Choice and Tournament Organizers' awards, I want to give you a glimpse into the creative process behind the creation of my army and answer some of the burning questions I received over the weekend.
During the lockdown of 2019 like all of us I had plenty of time on my hands. I chose to immerse myself in the world and hobby of Warhammer 40,000.
Armed with glue, paintbrushes, and a desire to grow my Instagram following - shameless plug follow me @deus_mechanicus_hobbies - I embarked on a monumental project. It all started with the painting of the first knight for my army.
So, Inspired by the war-torn grimdark artwork that defines the 40k universe I envisioned a large-scale freehand painting project. To bring my vision to life I scoured the internet for conversion bits and built a storyboard of art and themes that captured my imagination.
With a rough idea in mind, I dove into the painting process. I used the smaller parts of the knight as a testing ground. Employing quick drybrushing techniques, I achieved stunning non-metallic gold and silver effects.
The marbling effect, on the other hand, required a meticulous process of wet-blending.
For the freehand work, I shamelessly drew inspiration from my favorite artwork, using them as a base for my own creations.
Starting with a sketch outline in thinned-down white paint, I blocked in colors that closely matched the mid-tone. Then, I added shadows and highlights, gradually refining the details. This approach took me about 75% of the way, with the rest of the process dedicated to fine-tuning and adding intricate touches.
Of course, this fairly concise description only scratch the surface of the countless hours spent refining and repainting sections. If you'd like more detailed insights, I'm happy to share another time. But now, let's tackle some of the most common questions I received.
How long did it take to paint?
The first knight alone consumed approximately 80-100 hours of my time, spread over two months.
However, the rest of the knights were mostly painted in the three weeks leading up to the tournament, alongside my full-time job. I have to admit, this was a bit of a crazy endeavor, sacrificing sleep for the sake of my passion.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone, but hey, the results were worth it!
Are you a professional artist?
Not at all! Although I did win an art award back in Year 9!
During the lockdown, I made a conscious decision to truly dedicate myself to becoming a better painter. It became my second job, and I poured countless hours into honing my skills, constantly watching tutorials and researching new techniques.
What was the worst part?
Aside from procrastinating and turning the army into more of a chore than a joy, the worst part was a mishap with the resin on the first model.
I didn't properly prepare the resin surface. Fun fact: casting resin uses a mold release agent that remains as a tiny barrier on the model.
Consequently, my paint didn't adhere properly. To my dismay, when I removed the masking on the main shield, the freehand work peeled off as well. It was a tough lesson to learn, but it ultimately boosted my confidence. It taught me that if I could paint it once, I could paint it again. This newfound confidence encouraged me to take more risks and tackle even more challenging projects!
This project was an epic undertaking, the culmination of years of planning and dedication. It wouldn't have been possible without the support of some incredible individuals.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow Cocked Hobbyists, who introduced me to this fantastic hobby and endured my endless progress pictures.
Special thanks to Stell, who helped me glue everything back together on the morning of the tournament (thanks, Jetstar)… and Jaimee, an absolute wizard with a drybrush, for her contributions to the stunning display board (and for tolerating my painting frenzy for three weeks straight).
I must also extend a massive thank you to the Arc40k team for creating such an amazing weekend, and to my opponents for their patience and understanding when I occasionally stumbled through the rules due to my excessive focus on painting.
Here's to bigger and better things for next year! Stay tuned for more exciting projects from yours truly - Cam
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