Monday, September 24, 2012

Blended Tiger Stripes Made Easy

By Rich K.

I’ve done my Screamers in a “non-traditional” color scheme: green with dark tiger stripes.  Seeing as this Chariot of Tzeentch (my Allied HQ for my CSM army) is basically a Tomb Kings chariot atop a giant Cyborg Screamer, I felt all my Screamers, large and small, should have a unified look.

I started painting my squad of striped Screamers based on OST’s Easy Camouflage Patterns with Silly Putty Masking post, which provided me with great inspiration and guidance.  It wasn’t quite what I need, though, as it is a very industrial look: sharp edged color fields.  What I did for my Screamers is different in that it ends up a bit more monotone looking, so I thought I’d share it with you all.

The first step is a good primer coat.  I use black, typically.  If you want dark stripes, use black… light stripes, use white/grey.

With the primer/base coat down, it’s time to lay out some tiger stripes.  Just roll some very thin tentacles of Silly Putty and place it on the model with the fat end toward the center line of the model.  I opted for a darker center morphing into a lighter edge color.  The mask covers the base coat so that when you spray on your colors the black remains untouched.

A good way to manipulate the SP is to use a toothpick.  Lay the tentacle with the fat end at the tip of the toothpick and it gets really easy to lay out the masking quickly.

Once the mask is laid down, start in with your air brush and lay down the  basic color scheme.  Remember what you use and where you used it on the model as you’ll need that info later.

My basic scheme, though it's hard to see in the photos, is:
  • GW Dark Angels Green in toward the center of the Cyborg Screamer
  • Vallejo Flat Green as the medium tone everywhere.  This color is what everything else revolves around.
  • Vallejo Olive Green as the light tone on the wing tips and underside of the tail fins.
Let that paint dry and then remove the mask.  It was sort of hot so I had a lot of trouble manipulating the SP without getting looooong thiiiiiiiin strings of the stuff everywhere when I tried to break off pieces.  To avoid that while removing the mask, I stuck the model in the freezer for 10 minutes.  The SP got firm and it was fairly easy to remove, as expected.

At this point I have some really nice and dark tiger stripes.  Many folks would stop here but I wanted something more blended looking.  My Screamers are a lot more subtle.  The stripes are really hard to pick out on a couple of them.

The next step is why you need to remember what colors you painted where.  Take all of your colors and mix some very dilute versions.  For example, with the Vallejo paints I did 5 parts reducer to 1 part paint.  It needs to go down translucent when you air brush it on.

Take those colors and carefully paint the areas according to your plan, just like you did before… even over the stripes!  The goal here is to blend the main colors and the stripes together so the stripes end up being a darker version of the original color.  Be very light with the paint coats; do only thin coats of thin paint.  It’s easier to build the color from many many thin coats than to try to get it right in one semi-solid coat.

If you lay down too much paint on the over coat, like I did on the left wing, you can mix a small paintbrush full of your acrylic black paint into three or four drops of reducer.  It’s pretty easy to darken the stripes back up with this if you go too far with the over coating.  Same deal here, keep it thin because you are trying to darken the stripes back up, not repaint them completely.

If everything goes to plan you end up with some decently subtle tiger stripes that look like this…

My only problem now is what color do I paint the passenger part of the chariot?  I thought Ultra Marines Blue would work well and tie the model in more with Tzeentch, but I’m a bit color blind so my confidence in that plan is low.  Painting it green like the rest of the model seems a bit too monotone… Crap!  What do I do now!?!

I’d be happy to hear any suggestions in the comments below.


  1. Looking good!
    Colour theory tells me orange & purple would work well for the riders main colours.
    Then add small accents in green to tie him back in to the mount / squad.

    1. Thanks, Pleb! My wife said to use GW Regal Blue (which is a bit purple) but I wanted to ask the world. I never would have thought Orange or Purple, but I see both of your points. I'll likely go with the Regal Blue.

  2. Thank you for the technique.
    The result is great !

    1. I may tone them down a bit more tonight (more over coat). I think they are a bit less blended than I had in mind. Thanks for reading my humble posts, Monty!

  3. great technique and the model looks incredible! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Diz! That's great to hear. These models take me a very long time to complete and comments like that keep me motivated and focused. And you are welcome!

  4. really like the screamers. I would say blue would look cool for the rider, and tie in with the screamers eyes too.

    1. Thanks, Tyler! I'm going with the Regal Blue... at least that's what I've done the outside of the passenger portion in. I'm letting it sit for a couple days before I go any farther, just to see if I like it.

  5. Nice conversion, and a very interesting painting.
    What about blue and yellow for the raider. It must fit the green ;-)

    1. Thanks, Pablo! I was probably going with Blue/Black for the rider... I don't know yet. Depends on how the chariot finally looks, I guess.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...