Showcase: Dark Eldar Kabalite Warrior (Test Model)

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But for a coat of matte varnish I finished my Kabalite Warrior test model over the weekend, and I wanted to put up a few pictures – including some closeups – and write a bit about what I like and don’t like about how it turned out.

Let’s start with what I like. I’m really happy with the helmet plume. I started with a base of Naggaroth Night, then layered Xereus Purple and laid down a wash of Druchii Violet before highlighting first with Genestealer Purple, and then Dechala Lilac. I went heavy with the highlighting because I wanted the lighter, brighter purples to predominate and provide contrast with the darkness of the armor (I was looking at the hair on this model as inspiration) and I think I just about got the look I was after.

I’m also pleased with the leather sections – the belt pouch and straps, and the “tie” holding the hair plume in place. These were based with Rhinox Hide, washed with Agrax Earthshade, and then highlighted with Skrag Brown and Deathclaw Brown. I was initially skeptical about the highlight browns because they’ve got a lot of yellow in them, but they worked out pretty well. In hindsight I probably could have skipped the wash, though, because Rhinox Hide is a plenty dark color already.

I was wrestling with the flayed-skin loincloth in my WIP post, but after all was said and done I think it turned out okay. After laying down a Bugman’s Glow base and washing with Reikland Fleshshade, I layered Cadian Fleshtone and then Kislev Flesh, and finished with a Screaming Skull edge highlight. I think I want to play with this formula a little – I’d like to try washing after I lay down the Cadian Fleshtone layer, for example, and possibly use a watered-down Carroburg Crimson instead of Reikland Fleshshade, and use Flayed One Flesh rather than Screaming Skull for the final edge highlight. But the overall approach I used is definitely something that I can work with.

Finally, I like the highlighting on the black areas of the model. I used Eshin Grey and then Dawnstone as my highlight colors, and while there are a couple of rough spots I’m overall fairly happy with how it turned out: visible but understated. Being able to subtractively “erase” mistakes with some Abaddon Black was a big help.

Now let’s talk about the things I’m less thrilled with. One of the elements I’m not wild about is the bone fragments decorating the hair plume and the loincloth. I based these with Zandri Dust and then tried to wash them with Agrax Earthshade, but there’s really not much texture on them to grab the wash. For highlights I went with Ushabti Bone and then White Scar, but I think they ended up looking a little too chalky, and particularly in the loincloth I think I inadvertently painted over some of the shadow.

I’m meh about the silver metal areas. I based these with Leadbelcher, washed them with Nuln Oil, then layered with Ironbreaker and edge highlighted with Runefang Steel. Unfortunately the latter two colors are so close together in hue and value that the edge highlights get lost except in a couple of places (the blade on the shoulder, for instance). I think in the future I’ll skip layering Ironbreaker; I’ll just touch up the Leadbelcher after the wash, and go straight to the Runefang Steel edge highlight.

I’m also less than delighted with how the red areas – the gemstone on the breastplate, and the ribbons on the right shoulder – turned out. I based these areas with Khorne Red, washed them with Carroburg Crimson, and then tried to highlight them with Wazdakka Red and Squig Orange (for the gemstone I added a couple of spots of White Scar, to suggest a light gleam). But for whatever reason the highlights really don’t stand out at all: the ribbon doesn’t pop, and the gemstone just looks like a smudge. Back to the drawing board on this.

Finally, let’s talk about my big disappointments with the model. The eye glow is definitely one element that just didn’t come together. I tried using Stahly’s method with Stegadon Scale Green, Sotek Green, Temple Guard Blue, Baharroth Blue, and White Scar as my palette. Unfortunately it just doesn’t look right to me. I suspect the problem is that there’s not enough difference between the colors I’m using for the glow and the colors I’m using for the armor itself; as such, the glow effect disappears into the armor highlighting. I’ll have to try with a different palette and see if that helps.

As I also alluded to in my WIP post, the edge highlighting on the armor annoys me. The armor was basecoated with Kantor Blue, given a Nuln Oil wash, and then given successive highlights of Alaitoc Blue, Hoeth Blue, and Blue Horror. It’s not awful everywhere, but it’s inconsistent, and I used way, way too much of the Blue Horror when I should have confined it to just the sharpest, most light-catching edges; the result is chalky rather than vivid. The lining is also quite clumpy in places, which is a sign that either my paint wasn’t thinned enough or (more likely) that I was going too long between rinsing my brush out, and that I sometimes had partly-dried paint fouling the bristles.

Gallery:

Some additional experimentation is in my future, and lessons definitely learned. Forward.

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