Saturday, 27 June 2015

Great White

Okay, the wolf wasn't the only other fantasy model I painted this week.

When going through an army of someone else's kit, it's good to have some motivator models to keep you ticking along. With a big unit, I'd use characters. With a unit of monstrous vehicles (or whatever Dreadnoughts count as these days) to get through, I needed something bigger and nastier to keep me going.

This is the next in my slow series of Chromatic Dragons - a White Dragon. DnD teaches us that whites are the stupidest and most feral dragons around. This is a bad rep to carry. As a DM, it made me avoid them for fear of wasting the party's time killing something too stupid to deal with them.

He's too big for my A2 paper backdrop. Bah. 

White is a horrible colour to paint. I've had a ton of practice over the years, thanks to my insistent paintscheme of doing Chaos Warriors in bone armour. And scaling it up actually works well - a big lot of dirty ivory scales on this fella.

I've finished the hoard on his base, which has a ton of gold coins and magic items in amongst the crevices. But I forgot to take pictures, so it didn't happen. No loot rolls for anyone.

On something this size, I was sure I'd need contrast. Rhinoceros grey for the unscaled areas, with brown-to-black talons. The wings were originally the same as the skin, but it looked awfully dull. In the words of a passing critic, 'like a gargoyle', which no self-respecting dragon wants. Thanks, Mrs Kraken, for lowering this stupid savage's self-esteem even more.

I looked to the most obvious source of inspiration I could think of for wing pizazz - moths.

Catocala relicta
and the Mophane Moth, which apparently has edible caterpillars. Thanks, Internet. 
Looking at real stripes made me relax. I'd worried about using black in case it was too high-contrast or the painting was too sharp. I needn't have, I'm not nearly neat enough as a painter to do straight lines without using tape. Instead, I made a virtue of sloppy brushstrokes to do something in line with the wing effects I picked off the net.

We're going to need a bigger mothball.

Painting Guide:

  • White Scales - Zandri Desert basecoat, Ushabti Bone and Tyrant Skull drybrushes, finished with a last and quite heavy highlight of White Scar. 
  • Grey Skin - Eshin Grey with Nuln Oil, then Dawnstone layering and Pallid Wychflesh drybrush
  • Horns and Talons - Rhinox Hide with Abaddon Black layer
  • Tongue - Khorne Red with a Tentacle Pink layer, then Carroberg Crimson wash
  • Eyes - Abaddon Black with Leadbelcher and Mithril Silver highlights
  • Wings - Dear God it took a while. But using Abaddon Black, Eshin Grey, Dawnstone, Pallid Wychflesh and White Scar, I gradully fiddled my way through a grey and black version of the Mophane Moth wings. Once was enough, and thankfully on a large enough canvas that it wasn't too awful. I would never attempt this on anything smaller than a hanky. 

This is the largest model I own. He's about the same height as Nagash, although much bulkier and wider thanks to the wingspan. And that's before you mount him on his massive castle.

The barbarian gives you a reasonable idea of the dragon's size. This full diorama isn't complete, I still need to paint a clutch of tiny heroes that go with it. And then laugh as they perish against a monster with a CR four times that of the party oh no wait I don't play DnD anymore because that kept happening and everyone hated it.


  1. Ohhh... excellent work on the wings. (although those fake eyes on moths are meant to scare off larger predators - which makes you wonder what the dragon's scared of).

    How many more dragons in the menagerie? (surely you have to end with a Tiamat)

    1. Well, there were five chromatic dragons in the classic DnD bestiary - red, green, blue, black and white. I've got red, black and white all done, and am now currently short of dragon models. But there's the Tyrant of Halpi model from Mantic coming in August, which may well end up green. And then Reaper are going to start funding for Bones III in a few weeks... No, seriously, I'll probably find something else somewhere else. Blue dragons had a particular look in DnD, with a sort of rhinoceros-looking horn on their snout. There must be a good candidate out there somewhere.

  2. Nosing around your workbench paraphernalia in the background - do you still use Purity Seal? I've finally forsaken it after it tried to re-undercoat my latest batch of lovingly-painted miniatures in white, and I'm now looking for something, anything, better to varnish them.
    (or maybe a tip on how to use the damn spray correctly)

    1. I do still use it, although I've also had that problem occasionally. It seems to happen if the varnish is too thick (usually if I got too close when spraying it), or if the air is damp when it's drying. Or if you roll a 1 on the Varnish Application Results Table, p2332 in your basic painting rulebook.

      So long as I stay a good six inches or more away from the model when spraying, and don't attempt multiple coats, I seem to be okay. But I am using a newish can, and I'm sure there were duff batches in the past.