Well, I guess I have been on a bit of a roll lately. First off, with the amount of models I have painted, all to a "way better than tabletop" quality. Actually, if I were doing the levels thing, they would all be level 2/3ish. Secondly, with my blog posts. I have found that I am starting to think about snapping pics as I go through the processes and want to document them. For the past year, it has not been this way.
So here we go again - pretty simple one, but one of the hardest colors (or lack thereof) to paint effectively and have it look good. White.
Here is the issue with white. It is hard to get it to look smooth. Not terribly, but time consuming yes. And most painters (or at least the ones I have talked to) have an issue shading white.
Okay, so here is what I did to get the white helms on my Blood Drinker Terminators
I went with the white helmets because, thus far, I have yet to paint a red helmet, and will avoid it if I can. Looking at the pictures in the codex and only, the red helmets on the terminators make them just blend into the rest of the army.
So to get the helmets white, here are the steps I took:
Step 1 - Prime it white! I assembled the models, and left the heads off, still attached to the sprues. I primed the models themselves in red, and then primed the heads in white. You don't have to do this, but it does make it easier to get the helmets to a pure, very smooth, white. If you prime in colors, or in black, be prepared to use paint on primer or a really light (think foundation) paint to get the undercoat back to a white friendly color.
Step 2 - Wash with blue. I used the old GW Asurmen Blue (Drakenhoff Nightshade). You want to shade with blue as it is a "cold" shade, and feels the most natural when viewing. I have seen white shaded with black, and it is not pretty....makes the white almost look dirty.
Step 3 - Using heavily thinned white paint, repaint the areas white, being SUPER careful to leave the blue washed white primer in the cracks. I say super careful as if you accidentally cover the cracks, you either have to paint wash back into that crack to clean it up, or bust out a quick black-line to salvage it. Repeat this until the white looks smooth. If you notice the three "boxes" left on the cheek - the Indomitus Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour has three vents on either side of the helmet, which were strangely not molded into the helmet. To help from just having a plain white area, and to break up that long dark "patch", I painted vertical lines to give the appearance of the vents. In the squad picture, you can see these very clearly. The very last step was the eyes. I used Cygnar base to block out the eye, Cygnar highlight toward the front of the lens, and then a white dot towards the back of the lens. Finished this up with a Asurmen wash, again, being very careful.
Now just glue the helmet in place and off they go!!!!
As a side note, I found a cool tutorial for painting helmet lenses that I want to try out. Might do this sometime later, maybe when I am doing the re-work on my Space Wolves!