Tonight was a lot less hectic than last night. I found out my favorite poke’ place now serves spam musubi, so I’m counting that in the win column! I spent a lot of time with my 3 year old son and my family, and still was able to gain some ground on our project.
So tonight I queued up a dozen more models, 5 of 2 different kinds of aliens (not exactly sure what they are called, but 5 are small stalker like aliens and the other 5 seem to be more elite aliens) and a pair of Predaliens to try and refine the technique I used previously. As per usual with large projects, your techniques get better as you grow more accustomed to the miniature range, so these turned out much better than the previous set in my opinion. I’m even considering re-doing the first set so they match better. Anyway, I thought I’d take some time to show you my process for painting up the Aliens.
Step 1 post assembly is the zenithal priming. This is standard procedure with all of my projects, barring a few that really rely on having a single color primer, like projects that use a lot of yellow or white. I actually start with a gray primer (Vallejo airbrush primer grey) mainly because I’ve had the best adhesion with gray, but if I trusted the black primer more I’d prefer to start black. For this reason, after priming gray, I then coat the models with Valljeo Model Colour (VMC) Black Grey, or Vallejo Game Colour (VGC) Charcoal. I hold the models nearly upside down as I want to focus on the undercarriage with the dark color. Once that dries I come back with VMC Light Blue Grey, now angled on the opposite side towards the top, spraying down in short light bursts to build color. Finally, I hit the models with just a spot of white on the very top of the model, spraying vertically down.
The zenithal prime is critical to painting the Aliens, and once its down, you’ll want to continue to emphasize contrast and shadow. The first thing I do once the primer is dry is to take a make-up brush and dry-brush the entire model using VMC White. Technique counts here, so don’t try to overbrush to speed up the process, that will just make your blending more difficult. You’ll want a sharp white edge on the model’s hardest lines, as this needs to stand up to the shading and glazing that’s coming next.
The first thing I add to these models (since Aliens tend to look jet black) is P3 Armor Wash to the entire model. P3 Armor wash is one of my favorite washes of all time, and it’s critical in this application. I would not use Nuln Oil, Army Painter Dark Tone, or Vallejo black shade here, if you need to use Vallejo black ink thinned instead. Apply a full coat of armor wash, but not too liberally- you’ll want this to reside mainly in the recesses. Now this takes a while to dry, so you can run around with your son and play dinosaurs for a few.
The next step is the critical step, which is toning the models. I opted for two main colors, green for the elite guards, and a bronze-like color for the stalkers and Predaliens. I thinned two inks (Vallejo Black Green for the green, and Vallejo skin wash for the bronze) with a 1-1 ratio and applied very thin coats using my airbrush. Apply at a reasonably high pressure (25psi) and a distance of 6-8 inches, which allows for proper atomization and encourages you to build color gradually. I sprayed 2-3 coats on the models, until I was satisfied with the lightest color on the top of the head. Your biggest risk here is over-applying the inks, so my main point is to back off and fog in the color until you like what you see.
The final steps are pretty simple- apply a second wash of P3 Armor Wash, now focusing down on the shadows instead of coating the entire model, and then paint your base. Allow the models to dry fully, and consider what you’d like to do to preserve sheen on the models (either apply a gloss varnish, or simply seal with a gloss sealer).
These look less black than the first black, but they look far more interesting. I’m going to take a slight painting detour next, and then return to paint the rest of the xenomorphs (Alien Crushers, Predators).
Thanks for reading!