GeekDad Paints! Knight Models’ DC Heroes

Geek Culture Tabletop Games
Unpainted Knight Models
Unpainted Knight Models. Photo: Robin Brooks

Since Anthony started his GeekDad Paints! articles, I’ve been inspired to get back into that side of the hobby again myself. It has always been my intention to add to the series, but so far, I’ve struggled to find enough time to paint and document my efforts.

Adding to that time pressure is the decision to start up “Agents of Sigmar,” a YouTube battle report channel. This inspired a trip to Games Workshop’s “Warhammer World,” one of the seven Geek Wonders of the World. That weekend we visited, there was an Age of Sigmar tournament, and whilst Pete and I were battling away, once again with our knights and skeletons, the tourney competitors were embarking on a round-robin competition.

The thing that struck me was how brilliantly painted all the competitors models were which led me to wonder if a) the hobby has now reached the stage where the painting is equally, if not more, important than the playing, and therefore only first-class painters feel able to compete or b) just about everybody who paints Citadel miniatures is better at it than I am. I’ve stated before that my painting motto is something along the lines of “through ignorance comes perceived greatness,” and after my trip to Warhammer World, and poking around on the excellent Age of Sigmar Fans Facebook Page, never has this felt more true.

As I type, I feel my credentials to offer my painting advice\experiences is a somewhat fraudulent exercise. Nevertheless, painting is part of my geek psyche at the moment and, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my children are being pulled in with me (I returned from my trip to find a very impressive painted Dreadnaught waiting for me), so I humbly offer you more painting thoughts from a journeyman GeekDad.

Away from Warhammer, my painting obsession has been Knight Models’ Batman Miniatures Game. I started with three figures, Batman, Robin, and the Riddler, my three favorites from a childhood spent watching the Adam West series.

The first difference between these and Games Workshop’s products is that they’re metal. It has been years since I’d built or painted any metal figures. At first, I must confess, I was wishing desperately for them to be plastic. The Citadel kits go together so much easier. Leaving alone that many of the models just clip together these days, where with a bit of poly-cement and the barest of pinches models will join together, never to be torn asunder. The Knight Models pewter required superglue and a lengthy stand, gripping Robin’s arms until they’d bonded. Once glued, I discovered the poor chap had giant gaps where his elbow pits should be. To remedy this I had to reach into the past, and pull out some ancient

The Knight Models pewter required superglue and a lengthy stand, gripping Robin’s arms until they’d bonded. Once glued, I discovered the poor chap had giant gaps where his elbow pits should be. To remedy this I had to reach into the past, and pull out some ancient “green stuff” from my bits box. Mercifully, it still worked.

Knight miniatures montage
Batman, before and after some highlighting. Robin, with filled elbow pits and with his base colors. (Note the fuzziness is caused by my can of Citadel primer.) The Riddler, with his cane half-painted.  Photos: Robin Brooks

If you’ve never used green stuff, you haven’t lived.

It comes in two strips, one light green and one blue. You take equal amounts of each, which you then roll together into they make a smooth deeper green colored “dough”, that’s uniform throughout. From there you can mold and sculpt it how you want, and after you’ve finished, you leave it to dry. Once dry it’s rock hard. I’m always reticent about using green stuff, in case I cake too much onto my model, so I’m never too ambitious. I’m no sculptor, but filling holes, and smoothing out.

I’m always reticent about using green stuff, in case I cake too much onto my model, so I’m never too ambitious. I’m no sculptor, but filling holes, and smoothing out joints is pretty straightforward and within my capabilities. The biggest issue I have is that I always make about 20 times more than I need.

Once I’d filled the gaps, I primed the miniatures in the normal way, all with white primer. I used Citadel primer, which I’ve since stopped using since, frankly, it’s terrible. I could not get smooth the one can I had, no matter how much I shook it (humidity wasn’t the issue.). My next can was still a little rough and then stopped working whilst half full. I cut my losses and purchased an Army Painter can, which has been much more satisfactory.

Once primed, it was then time to paint. The three figures have three differing palettes and it was great to have some variation in techniques and colors. All my paints are Citadel.

For Batman, I returned to my good friend Sorastro. His painting video detailing Darth Vader, is a masterclass in adding depth to black by considering different materials and their comparative reflectivities. Batman and Darth are not dissimilar. Both of these dark knights have an awful lot of black, some bits shinier than others. I painted both alongside one another, possibly a mistake. There’s only so many subtle shades of gray on black that a brain can take.

Once again, I watered the paints a little as I went. For Batman’s armor, I used a base color of Abaddon Black, before starting highlighting with a mix of 1 part Russ Grey to 1 part black, working gradually up to up to pure Russ Grey and then beyond to Fenrisian Grey.

The Dark Knights
The Dark Knights. Any colour you like, as long as it’s black. Photo: Robin Brooks

For the cloak, I used softer tones, sticking with Mechanicus Standard Grey and adding a little Fenrisian Grey. To help bring the cloak together, I made a glaze from Black and Lahmian Medium. I’m a little out of my depth using stuff like Lahmian Medium but, in essence, it is a more controlled method of thinning paint. It gives you a better finish and more consistent look than if you just thin with water. The glaze, which I made in a roughly 2:1 medium : paint ratio, helped soften the transitions and cover my dodgy brush strokes. For Batman’s body armor, I also added two coats of watered down “‘Ardcoat,” a varnish. This was to make it shinier than the less reflective cloak.

Robin was a much more interesting figure to paint. I had also recently painted Imperial Assault’s Boba Fett, an amazing figure to paint. The palette for Robin is not dissimilar, so I was able to borrow the same color scheme. Notably the body armor, which is a Mephiston Red with some Caliban Green mixed in. The cloak has two sides. The rear is a base coat of Caliban Green, shaded with Nuln Oil before being highlighted with some Warpstone Green and a touch of Moot Green for the strongest highlight. Again, I used thin layers and half mixes to keep those transitions smooth.

For the yellow side of the cloak, I had a change of heart part way through. The base color is Averland Sunset , which I then shaded with the shade paint, Cassandora Yellow. This wasn’t enough of a transition for me. I wanted Robin to have deeper shadows, so I re-shaded using some Nuln Oil, before building up the layers again, using Averland Sunset and Yriel Yellow. I was really pleased how this worked in the end, though I was concerned I might have ruined it at one point. I often find with painting, that the model reaches a nadir, where I’m ready to throw in the towel. Some careful application of some highlights, normally rescues things, not least because you can use these additional layers to hide some of your earlier mistakes!

Boba and Robin
Boba and Roba Fett. Photo: Robin Brooks

For Robin’s gloves, I used Loren forest, and his trousers are a base of dark blue. His boots are black, completing the myriad tones and shades that made the sidekick much more interesting to paint than the Dark Knight himself. Robin had some details to pick out; the mask and the “R” on his body armor. These were hard to see at first. The definition of a pewter model doesn’t seem to be as great as for plastic ones. After a base coat and, in particular, the shade layer, the definition resolved and it became possible to pick the details out. Finally, I gave Robin’s body armor a thinned layer of ‘Ardcoat, to make it a more reflective than the rest of his outfit.

The caped crusaders, of course, needed somebody to bring to justice, and for that, I used arch-nemesis, The Riddler. Again he was fun to paint. For his green suit, I used an old “Emerald Green” I had knocking around from a previous paint phase. It was interesting how reliant on paint guides and tone charts I have become, in a comparatively short space of time. One of the great things about Sorastro’s videos is that he tells you exactly which paints to use in which layer, and often explains why you should use them. Going off piste for The Riddler was a liberating and slightly scary experience.

The green suit was fairly straight forward, but I wasn’t sure how best to replicate the metallic green of his question mark cane. In the end, I adapted an idea from Sorastro (again). For C3PO he uses a base coat of silver and adds shade paint to build up the gold. I did exactly the same for the cane.

The finished trio
The finished trio. Photo: Robin Brooks

I started with a coat of Leadbelcher, which I dry brushed with Necron Compound. I then used two washes of Beil-Tan Green to build up the green color, before finishing off with a 1:1 mix of Emerald Green and Runefang Steel for the  first highlight before adding another portion of Runefang Steel for a final highlight. This over-silvered the model, but I brought it back down to green with two thin layers of green glaze.

So that was my first three Knight Models, and I have to say I’m rather pleased with them. Since then I’ve been hard at work with a few more models from the DC universe, painting Flash and Reverse Flash at the request of my son. Having recently watched Arrow Season two, I couldn’t resist Deathstroke, and finally, again at the request of my eager lad, I painted a Nightwing. Details of how I painted this may be made available in future, if I find time in between all the painting!

DC Heroes Assemble! (or something). Photo: Robin Brooks
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