Relic Knights Painting Whites
by Dave Taylor
The visual aesthetic of many far-future, dystopian-nightmare universes that surround the miniatures games we play is typically dark. Dark, grim, and very desaturated. Dull metals, grimy browns, deep reds, dusty greys; even the creams and whites are regularly muddied around the edges.
Well, not so in the universe of Relic Knights. Despite the encroaching Darkspace Calamity, the Relic Knights setting draws its visual cues from hundreds of bright and flashy anime offerings. Dirt, while still present, is certainly not the feature. It is this dynamic flair and clean approach that sets Relic Knights apart visually from many other tabletop wargames. Subsequently, it can sometimes be tough for players to be able to “switch gears” when painting their Relic Knights models. In this series of articles I hope to show you that painting whites, bright colors, and glowing lights is not as daunting as it might initially seem.
When we paint a miniature, we typically have the option to shade and highlight the colors we’ve chosen, adding the illusion of greater depth to the model. With white, we are already at the top of the scale, there’s no way to highlight white, right? Well, yes, that’s true. When we paint white, we have to take a slightly different approach – paint very light grey and highlight and shade from there. Another problem people have when trying to paint lots of pure white is that many white paints are quite thin and require several coats to get solid overage, which leaves plenty of opportunity for brush strokes and streaks.
There are a number of factions that feature white in their “typical” color schemes, but none more so than the Shattered Sword. I figured the Sebastian Cross’ Relic would be a great example of the way to approach a large white model.
As I was going through the pre-assembly stage of testing where each piece went, I was looking for pieces that could possibly be painted separately. In the photos here you can see I left off his large shield, his two thigh shields, and the banner at the front. Additionally, I made sure the piece at the front of the “cockpit” could be removed too.
The next step was to prime the model. I started with an overall coat of AP Uniform Grey spray. This was followed by a coat of CIT Skull White sprayed from about 18” away and at a 45˚ downward angle. Spraying this coat lightly and consistently around the entire model immediately gave me some shading. Only the raised areas of each panel caught the white spray, and the spray finish tends to produce the look of a fade to the under color (in this case a mid-grey). I didn’t spray the white too heavily, so it still had a slightly translucent feel and a pale grey look.
With the pale grey and shade in place, the next stage was to accentuate the shading in certain areas, and add some edge highlights. For the shading I started by painting some very thinned VMC Pale Grey into the areas of deepest shadow, and then feathered it out towards the white. This was done a few times, adding some VMC Basalt Grey to the thinned mix for the deepest shadows. VMC White was used to add some thin edge highlights at strategic points on the model.
To get a feeling for the progress over the entire model, I painted all the areas that wouldn’t be white with AP Matt Black, starting to give some clear definition between the armor plates and the moving parts.
Painting white over smaller areas, such as accent panels on the Cerci Speed Circuit models, can be achieve by starting with a color like VMC Pale Grey as a base. It has good coverage and will readily highlight up by adding VMC White. For an example of this, see the Pacer model in the Painting Brights section below.
Note: It’s very important that you work with clean water, and clean hands. Over a large area of white like this, you don’t want to smudge the model or accidently introduce some color into the white. Deliberately is fine, but not accidentally.