Sunday, March 2, 2014

Land Raider Crusader WIP, Part IV

I've accelerated my efforts on the Crusader in recent days so I can move on to the two Imperial Knights I bought from Jake last week. During this time I learned a very important lesson; if you're going to use a new paint scheme, don't use a model as large and expensive as a Land Raider Crusader for your first attempt.

Until GW changed its paint line, I primed my vehicles with Army Painter Ultramarine Blue, base coated with Ultramarines Blue, applied two to three washes of Badab Black, and then finished with a dry brushing of Ultramarines Blue. My Vindicator, Razorback, and Predator were all painted this way.

The Vindicator was my first vehicle

The Predator and Razorback used the older paint line

I started my drop pods after the change to the paint line. I had thought that I could simply recreate my old vehicle paint scheme using Altdorf Guard Blue (which is a layer paint) in place of Ultramarines Blue. Altdorf Guard went over the Army Painter primer well and Nuln Oil was nearly indistinguishable from Badab Black. However, when I started dry brushing with Altdorf Guard, the color was entirely off from my previous vehicles. Altdorf Guard lacks the purplish tint found in Ultramarines Blue, giving the surfaces I had painted a washed-out look. Fortunately, there were enough dregs left in my old bottle of Ultramarines Blue to finish the drop pods.

The drop pods were base coated with Altdorf Guard Blue
but the final dry brushing was with Ultramarines Blue

I first used Macragge Blue on my Ironclad Dreadnought. I paint Dreadnoughts more like my infantry and had therefore base coated it with Mordian Blue (I bought two bottles just before they went out of stock) and washed it with Nuln Oil. On previous troops, I finished with a dry brushing of Ultramarines Blue. Having depleted my Ultramarines Blue on the drop pods, and knowing that I wasn't happy with Altdorf Guard as a the final dry brushed layer, I decided to use Macragge instead. The final product looked good, but a comparison with other models showed that Macragge Blue had left a slight purple tint that wasn't present on my other models. Once all the weathering was done, though, the Ironclad fit right in with my other models and I haven't noticed the difference since I finished the model. I used the same paint scheme on my Close Combat Terminator Squad, which doesn't stand out significantly from my other infantry.

The Ironclad Dreadnought was base coated with Mordian Blue
and had a final dry brushing with Macragge Blue

Which brings me to the Land Raider Crusader. Having accepted that GW was now pushing purple-tinted Ultramarines (making them genuinely ultramarine blue in color), I had decided to bite the bullet and paint each subsequent vehicle with a Macragge Blue base coat (I think I still have enough Mordian Blue to finish out the rest of my infantry). The rest of the model would be washed with Nuln Oil and dry brushed with Macragge.

It's not quite the color Ultramarines were when
I started the hobby almost three years ago

What I didn't realize is that my previous experience with Macragge Blue involved dry brushed layers only. The underlying base coat of Mordian Blue still dominated the overall color of the Ironclad and the Terminators.

As I began painting Macragge Blue over my usual primer coat of Army Painter Ultramarine Blue, I noticed a couple things. First, Macragge flows well, goes onto the surface smoothly, and has a rich, attractive color. Second, no model painted with a Macragge Blue base coat could possibly match my previous vehicles or infantry since the strong purple tint would stand out like a sore thumb. (I apologize for the lack of photos here. My camera tends to wash out the purple enough that you can barely distinguish between the different shades of blue.)

It looked something like this

Had I started the hobby less than a year later than I did, I would have been happily base coating my Ultramarines with Macragge Blue from day one. Unfortunately, I have far too many points worth of models painted in the Ultramarines' 5th Edition colors to change the scheme so drastically now. I obviously didn't know myself when I said that I was "willing to paint future models in the new Ultramarines color scheme".

I think I've come up with a solution, though. Thanks to the drop pods, I already know that I can paint a model with Altdorf Guard and come out with a satisfying final color as long as I don't use it for the final dry brushing. I also know that I can use Macragge Blue for the final dry brushed layer without its purple tint dominating the overall color of the model. By combining the two, I think I can come up with a satisfactory scheme.

I've already started painting Altdorf Guard over the Macragge Blue. Although GW's recommendation for painting Ultramarines already involves layering Altdorf Guard over a base coat of Macragge Blue, I've been using enough of the layer paint to almost entirely obscure the base coat. Had I known that I would end up with this scheme, I would have simply skipped the Macragge Blue base coat and painted Altdorf Guard over the Ultramarine Blue primer like I did with the drop pods.

I've also done some experimentation with a spare Rhino hatch. When I painted the drop pods, I used two to three layers of Nuln Oil over Altdorf Guard Blue. I've since found that I can get much more attractive results with a layer of Drakenhof Nightshade followed by a layer of Nuln Oil. This combination compares favorably to a base coat of Mordian Blue followed by two layers of Nuln Oil.

Overall, I think I've come up with a satisfying paint scheme to use on the Crusader and subsequent vehicles. It's not dependent on paints that are out of production and it should allow me to maintain some consistency between my vehicles. I just wish that I had tried out the new method on something smaller and cheaper like the Razorback I primed along with several other models back in 2012 and still haven't gotten around to finishing.


  1. Be careful with Drakenhof Nightshade. It has dried a little glossy for me several times.

    1. Thanks for the advice. I've used Drakenhof before, but only for small details like the crevices on my Terminators' helmets.

      Hopefully I should be able to tone down any glossiness by following the layer of Drakenhof with Nuln Oil, although even Nuln Oil has given me glossy patches before. The final dry brushed layer usually takes care of the worst of it, though.

    2. Nothing like using inks in The old days. Chesnut Ink used to shine like the sun. To cut any gloss I like to use some of that lahmean medium. It always does wonders for me :)

    3. I've been experimenting recently to see if I can better decal adhesion by applying 'Ard Coat to the surface first. I was very impressed by how well Lahmean Medium works at getting rid of 'Ard Coat's gloss.

  2. I considered repainting my Ultramarines when the paint line changed as well. I just don't have the time or patience to redo almost 3000 points. I also don't paint well enough to really worry. I just base things nicely and hope my small conversions make my marines look sharp.


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