Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Imperial Guard: Painting a close quarters specialist

These Skies are Dead.

For over a year now, I have been converting and making molds for some Imperial Guard models with a focus on realism and scale, rather than ostentatious “grimdark” elements. While Eric quickly assembled and painted a few for Iron Sleet’s Thorn Moon Crusade, they were more of a proof of concept rather than my final vision of the models. After a lot of consideration, I decided to paint my first of the Imperial Guard models as soldiers who excel in urban warzones. Although it was a slow process, I completed the first model and wanted to talk about the painting process!

I restricted my color palette to convey a realistic uniform that would allow a soldier to covertly traverse an urban warzone.

Rather than painting broad “tiger-stripe” camouflage, I decided to replicate a more delicate digital camo pattern.

My primary goal for painting the specialist was to create a believable urban scheme. Most important to the scheme was designing a camouflage suitable for an urban environment. I spent some time searching the internet for urban camouflage and found that digital patterns (a pixelated pattern of multiple colors) were common on modern military uniforms. With that in mind, I set about painting my best imitation of a digital pattern on the model’s uniform. I started with a base color of Thunderhawk Blue for the uniform. Next, using a small brush I carefully painted random pixelated patterns using Fenrisian Grey, Black, and Pale Greyblue (Vallejo Model Color 907).


Rather than using GW’s Sector Imperialis bases, which I find to be overly busy, I created a simple one using textured plastic card.

Although I purposely kept the model primarily subdued blues and blacks, I did add a slight accent color by painting her bionic lens a yellow-orange.


Aside from the camouflage fatigues, the guard have a lot of other gear such as straps, pouches, and gas masks. I opted to paint all of this equipment an unobtrusive black. For the black, I did a series of highlights adding increasing amounts of Ushabti Bone. I found if done carefully, this can create a subtle highlight without making what you are painting look grey. In addition to edge highlights, I spent some time adding scratches and wear marks on the black using the same greys.


Although it is difficult to make out in the photos, I put a gloss coat over the boots to make it look like polished leather.

I used a stippling technique to make the stock of her shotgun appear to be textured.

While it has been a long time in coming, I am really excited to have finished painting one of my converted Imperial Guard. It was really fun and rewarding to experiment with urban camouflage. Using a more modern digital style, rather than a tiger stripe pattern, was more difficult but also more striking. I am extremely happy with how the model turned out, thinking it effectively conveys what a trained reconnaissance soldier would look like.

- Adam Wier

14 comments:

  1. Beautifully done, man - I really dig it! The camo in particular is absolutely stunning, fantastic work!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! The camo was pretty fun to do despite the time commitment. We w ill see how I feel about it when I paint more models, ha ha.

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  2. Fantastic! Especially the digi camo!

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    1. I am pleased I went with the digital scheme over the more commonly seen tiger stripe patterns. It will be interesting to try using the digital pattern with other color schemes...

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  3. Absolutely knocked this one out of the park Adam! Cannot wait to see the rest of the unit!

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    1. I can't wait to see the rest of the unit painted too! I have several of the models in the unit base coated. To the grindstone!

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  4. That camo is amazing! How long would you say it took? Are there shortcuts you could take to get a full company on the table more quickly?

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    1. I painted the camo in several different sittings. Overall it probably took a few hours. I think I can do it much faster now that I have a sense of how to paint it though. I will need to experiment a little and see if I can come up with some shortcuts.

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  5. Absolutely fantastic. That camo looks great. How long did it take? Will there more (and more vehicles...?)?

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    1. I have several more guard already assembled ready to be painted. Eventually I would like to paint an entire small army in the scheme. In terms of vehicles, the only ones planned thus far are some sentinel-like walkers. I would like to convert a few tanks too, but they are still not really planned out.

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  6. Looks brilliant - while that style camo can be time consuming and look really off if you don't get your scale right, I think you have nailed it. Reminds me of a modern take on some of the earliest SAS photo releases where they were the men in black/blue complete with balaclava/face masks to hide their identity.

    Very cool

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    1. The model certainly does have an SAS vibe to it. I am excited to paint a few models that are not wearing gas masks.

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  7. Incredible paint work. You guys are always so damn good. I tried a digital camo pattern on some vehicles earlier this year (Hasslefree Grymn Walkers - beautiful little kits), but I made the pixels much MUCH bigger. More like football pitches than pixels. Your detail astounds me. Can't wait to see the rest of these guys. Especially the Sentinels.

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    1. Thank you for the comment. I can't wait to start working on some vehicles. It will be interesting to transition into painting the digital scheme on larger models.

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