After the success of my terrain sponge painting, I pondered the prospect of using the same technique for painting space marine armour. The 7 members of my Crimson Fists Kill Team were the perfect opportunity to give it a try!
I picked out two extremes from my team – my Comms Intercessor and one of my Scouts. This should give me an idea of whether the sponge technique will work for models or not.
As always, a spray undercoat was the first order of business. In this instance I chose Chaos Black as I wanted a dark feel to the armour.
A solid base coat of Kantor Blue, applied as several thinner layers, came next. This should give me a sound starting point for my experiment.
Next came a liberal coating in Drakenhof Nightshade – my new favourite wash! It gave the blue armour a boost in saturation as well as darkening the whole model and settling in the recesses.
Now, this was the fun bit. Unlike my previous sponge experiments, I used a very small piece of sponge (which pretty much meant it went all over my fingers!). I started off by putting the smallest amount of raw Kantor Blue onto the palette and dabbing it around with my sponge. I then dabbed a large proportion onto a wipe, so the application on the model would be subtle. I then slowly build up the layers of Kantor Blue until I had a nice balance. I then mixed in some Alaitoc Blue in with the colour still on my palette and continued the process. Finally I used pure Alaitoc Blue in some key areas.
What I find interesting is that the sponge physically won't fit into spaces that would naturally be in shadow, so it's pretty hard to go wrong. The only mistake I made initially was too much paint on the sponge and it swamped the model. The effects look a little bit like dry brushing in these close-up photos, but from the tabletop it looks quite smooth.
Finally I added some edge highlights with a fine brush. I started with Alaitoc Blue and moved on to Lothern Blue. I may go back a do a couple of tiny off-white highlights. I was also considering pushing the highlights back a bit with another wash before re-applying Lothern Blue to the most prominent edges. We will see.
Again, the colours seem rather extreme close-up, but it looks quite smart on the table. My problem in the past has always been that I'm too subtle with the highlights – they look great up close but non-existent on the tabletop.
And that is it for the armour.
The whole process took about 15 minutes for these two models (excluding drying time for the wash). I just need to rinse and repeat for the other five members of the team and I can move onto some red, or rather crimson, fists!