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Viper Jr.

Painting Armada - For beginners, by beginner

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Warning! This will be a long, picture heavy post. English is not my native language. Warning!

 

Hello!

Lately, I’ve been looking a lot at different paint jobs of squadrons and repaints of ships in Armada. There are obviously a lot of very talented people here who’ve enhanced their models tremendously with their painting skills. However, there are people out there, people like me, with virtually zero painting skills and experience, who would like to have just a tad better looking ships compare to what they look like out of the box, or who just can’t stand the bone colored X-wings and light gray TIE fighters. So, I’ve decided to make a step-by-step tutorial of how I painted my squadrons and improved some of my ships, and how I did so by using very simple steps and having zero painting experience.

 

Now, before the actual guide, there’s a few things to consider. First of all, these fighters and ships will NOT be super nice looking ships. They will not win any prices, or get standing ovations at your local war gaming community. However, they will look better than what they do out of the box, especially the squadrons. It’s also important to remember how the squadrons will be observed when playing. These paint jobs looks “meh” (to say the least) when looking at them at close range, but when you have 15+ models flying together at some distances from you (e.g. on top of the table), it will give the impression of them looking quite nice.

 

I’ve exclusively used Citadel colors (which are made by Games workshop), but this is not by any means necessary. I’m sure there are a lot equally good brands out there (and better), it just happens that this particular brand was easily available to me for purchase. When it comes to brushes, I’ve used a mix of Army painter and Game workshop brushes, where the only preference was “which do you have in stock at the moment?”. I didn’t have any clue about which colors or brushes to use, so I just told my local gaming store what I had i mind, and they happily helped me out.

 

So, one last thing before the actual guide. This is written for beginners, by an inexperienced beginner, with the purpose of helping people relies that painting does not have to be complicated and super detailed to be effective. Also, taking photos is hard, especially when the sun goes down at 18:00, so bare with me.

 

Ships:

 

Nebulon-B and CR90:

 

The first thing I noticed when unpacking some of the ships was there lack of depth. They looked “flat”, even though they had a lot of crevasses which should be darker than the rest of the ship. So I tried to fix this by applying a wash (which is very thin color, made specifically to pool up in crevasses) directly to the ship. First of all, I did the Nebulon-B and CR90. Unfortunately, I do not have a before-picture, so it’s hard to really show that it made a lot of difference to the feel of the ships.

 

Step 1: Apply the wash to the entire ship. You can be quite liberal with the amount of paint, but don’t go crazy. Just make sure that it’s in all the cracks and crevasses on the ships. I used Nuln oil, and applied it with Army painter’s “Wargamer: Character” –brush (which is kind of like a medium size brush. I think…)

 

Step 2: You don’t have to do anything more, but you could just add another layer (when the first one is dry!) to parts which you want even darker (for example, the engines on the CR90).

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GSD and Assault frigate:

 

The GSD and Assault frigate had the same problem as the Nebulon-B and CR90, however, since they have a lot more flat surfaces, it felt risky to just wash the entire ship. Since the wash is very thin, it would probably make every flat surface very patchy. Instead, I used a smaller brush to apply the wash directly in the crevasses. Once again, I don't have any before-pictures, but trust me, it looks a lot better now!

 

Step 1: Just paint the wash in the crevasses. Keep a moist paper towel nearby in case you get some where you don’t want it. It’s very easy to remove before it dries. I used Nuln oil and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Precise detail”-brush (a smaller brush).

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VSD:

 

The VSD actually had quite nice wash-work. However, I felt that when the ISD arrives, they will just look like a smaller ISD. I wanted the VSDs to feel like their own ship, so I started looking around at different paint jobs. I found this thread https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/190396-painting-my-vsd/, where PenguinBonaparte did an awesome job at making the VSD look more unique. So I shamelessly stole his idea. All cred goes to him!

 

Step 1: Paint the wings. Make sure that you thin the paint, which means that you apply a little bit of water to it before applying it. This is to prevent it from becoming gloppy and uneven. I really don’t know how much water to use in relation to the paint volume, I just added water until it felt ok (once again, I have no experience with painting, so the exact ratio doesn’t seem to be that important…). The color does not need to cover the factory paint job entirely, since we will apply a second layer later. I used Skavenblight Dinge and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Character”-brush.

 

Step 2: Apply a layer of wash to the wings. I’m not entirely sure why, but according to the helpful people at my local gaming store, it makes it look better. It’s a really quick process, so I figured “why not?” I used Nuln oil and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Character”-brush

 

Step 3: Apply a second layer of Skavenblight Dinge to the wings.

 

Step 4: Wash the crevasses on the wings, to get a little more depth to your newly painted wings. Keep a moist paper towel nearby in case you get some where you don’t want it. It’s very easy to remove before it dries. I used Nuln oil and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Precise detail”-brush (a smaller brush).

XGpO0pal.jpg

 

Continues on next post. Too many pictures for one post.

 

EDIT: Added a simple Step 4 to the VSD, which I forgot the first time.

Edited by Viper Jr.

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Squadrons:

 

Let's start with the imperial squadrons. So far, I’ve used the exact same technique to all four imperial fighter types, since they are very similar in their design. Since you’ll probably be painting quite a few models, I recommended doing more than one at a time. I painted 4 squadrons at the time (i.e. 12 individual models), where I did one step to every model before moving on to the next. I also did one step on one side of each model, before doing the next side (when painting the wings, for example).

 

Step 1: Spray them with a black primer. I used Citadel color’s “Chaos black”, but there are other alternatives. This is done for two reasons: First of all, it’s a primer, meaning that the other colors you apply will not “stick” as good to the model without the primer. Second of all, the TIE fighters are primarily black, so you'll save yourself a lot of painting black. If you just want to get rid of your light grey TIE fighters, then you could just stop here and leave them black. They already look a lot better than before, if you ask me.

T5ayhxml.jpg

 

Step 2: Dry brush the wings and the cockpit. Dry brush is a technique where you apply paint thoroughly to the brush, and then remove most of it (like 95% or something like that). You then swipe the brush fast over the wings and cockpit, which will paint the protruding parts, mostly leaving the wing panels unpainted. The wings WILL get some paint on them, but that’s OK. Since it’s a dry brush, it will be a very thin layer which will be easily repainted in step 3. I used Dawnstone and Games workshops “small dry brush”. It is important to actual use some sort of dry brush, since the brush needs to be quite hard in order for this to work properly. I had to much paint on the brush and was thinking about something else, so this particular TIE fighter actually got quite a lot of grey on the entire wing... But, like I said, that's OK.

JK1Sxril.jpg

 

Step 3: Now we want to get the wing panels back to black. Paint the areas between the protruding parts black, and remember to thin the color before you apply it! I used Abbadon black and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Character”-brush. Now, they are more of less looking like the finished product and you could very well stop here. However, I found that just some small adjustments did a lot to the overall feel of the model.

CfCWxRpl.jpg

 

Step 4: Paint the engine(s) blue. Now, true Star Wars fans will probably get really angry about how I did this. I know that TIE (meaning Twin Ion Engine) have two engines, and that they are positioned on either side of the thing in the middle. However, I just find this way of painting better looking, and actually more immersive when playing (since you can actually see it from a distances). I used Teclis blue and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Character”-brush.

W6W2PEOl.jpg

 

Step 5: Dry brush the cockpit. Since the cockpit is quite small and quite shadowed by the wings, this makes it easier to see at a distance. I used Celestra grey and  Games workshops “Small dry brush.

6FwTWG3l.jpg

 

Step 6: Lightly wash the cockpit, making sure that the cockpit windows gets washed. This is just to just darken the back windows slightly, if any gray got on the windows during the dry brush. I used Nuln oil andArmy painter’s “Wargamer: Character”-brush.

 

Step 7: This last step is a very small adjustment, and I’m not sure if it’s worth it yet… Paint the cockpit windows with a gloss varnish (a transparent color which makes the area glossy, so it looks like the cockpit windows are reflecting a light source). I used ‘Aardcoat and “Wargamer: Precise detail”-brush.

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This is the finished model! Like I said at the beginning, it doesn’t look like much. However, when you put them together and view them from a distances, it looks a lot better than the unpainted squadrons!

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Edited by Viper Jr.

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Let’s move on to the rebel squadrons. I’ve actually done very little with these, only three simple things. Unfortunately, I only have pictures of the finished model, not the intermediate steps.

 

Step 1: Prime them with a white primer. Same reasons as with the imperial ships. And like with the Imperials, you could easily just stop here and still get a way better look than the bone-colored squadrons that comes with the box. I used Citadel color’s “Skull white”.

 

Step 2: Wash the entire model thoroughly. This gives them a little more depth, and makes them look worn and dirty from all their rebellious endeavors. I used Nuln oil and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Character”-brush.

 

Step 3: Paint the engines. I used Evil Sunz Scarlet and Army painter’s “Wargamer: Character”-brush.

 

That’s everything I did. This takes very little time, and is really hard to not succeed with, but once again makes them a lot better looking than the unpainted, especially when you have a few of them flying in formation.

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BONUS:

 

Black bases:

 

Step 1: Spray the bases and stands black. Make sure to mask the end of the stand which goes into the base, otherwise it’ll be hard to get them to fit together.

 

Step 2: Spray 2-3 thin layers of a varnish of your choice. I used Army painter’s “Anti-shine matte varnish” since I like the matte look, but that’s really just personal opinion. I do recommend some kind of varnish though, to protect the black paint.

 

Step 3: The user Vykes (of the amazing thread https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/182047-forces-of-the-ceknell-subsector/) advised me to paint the sides of the cardboard bases black with a permanent marker. It really added the last finishing touch to the bases, since the black base now seamlessly matches the black portion of the cardboard.

 

 

CR90 debris:

I had an extra CR90 laying around (since I got a faulty one from the core box and FFG send me another one) and turned it into a debris model! I just used some black spray, black paint, and a saw. Easy, fun, and looks quite good if you ask me!

 

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I hope at least someone will find some of this helpful. If not, it was fun to write. It's amazing how much time you can put into something when you got important things you should be doing...

Edited by Viper Jr.

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Finally was able to sit down and read this... Started around 3 hours ago. Lol

Your warnings about English not being first language. Not necessary. Had no issues with reading this, other than time.

Love the walk through. Now I have to paint my squadrons. This is a great way to do it.

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Great article, thank you for taking the time to write it. I wonder if I can create an off site link to all the painting threads so people can still find them in a semblance of order.

Thank YOU for taking the time to read it!

 

Finally was able to sit down and read this... Started around 3 hours ago. Lol

Your warnings about English not being first language. Not necessary. Had no issues with reading this, other than time.

Love the walk through. Now I have to paint my squadrons. This is a great way to do it.

Yeah, I realize it's a long read... Thank you for taking the time to read it! You should absolutely paint them, and be sure to post the results!

 

Hello:

 

Bonus tip - When spraying bases black, use a whiteboard pen or permanent market to make the cardboard edges on the squadron dials and activation sliders black too.  Takes only seconds, and makes them look 100% more badass.

Great advice! I was going to add it to the original post, but I forgot got paint them, and after that I forgot to include it in the post. I'm definitely doing that tomorrow, now that the ship bases are done.

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Seriously well done, mate, veeeery well done. You've done a lot of people a lot of good. :)


 


There's a lot of little hints, tricks, and odd 'bits' for starters, but I'll keep the focus right here. The results are great, the presentation is fantastic, and it's easy to follow. I don't have too much to add. I'll note that thinning paint is important, but there's no preset ratio as it depends on the paint company and the line; you really do have to just get a feel and toy around with it a bit.  The only other thing I can note is that you can use blue and orange highlighters on the coardboard edges for the activation sliders as well (if you want to keep them looking pure orange and pure blue) it's an option.


 


It's an absolutely fantastic tutorial, and thank ya' Viper for doing it up. English as a second language.... better than most English as an only language-ers here. 'Tis a right nice debris field too :)


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My post was not meant as a complaint for the long read. You were very in depth and covered all of the current released product. Which is what some of us need. I am not quite a beginner at painting models, 13 years at it, but painting the squads terrifies me. This post gives me the confidence that there is a good way to get all of them looking wonderful without spending an hour on each TIE.

Thanks again. One thing I would add to the paint scheme, would be a dot of red on each TIE laser port.

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What i plan on doing. Looking at changing up the color scheme abit.

The only major change i due is paint the model, do the wash, hit with anti shine (dull coat) then paint the engines with a electric blue/white or red/orange/yellow look then give it and the windows a gloss coat. This should make the engines pop out more.

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Great guide, here is a tip that I learned from painting my ships (first model painting ever done). 

 

Nuln oil is worth it's weight in gold in armada. It is by far my favorite wash out there, because with a light coat it makes it look 3 dimensional and nice, but if you put more on it, it darkens the model while keeping the relatively same color. This is good for accenting certain parts of the model. Also, if you really layer it on, you can do some brush strokes to weather the model and make battle damage. 

 

ZQzMXY6.png

What I did here was paint the wings and some other areas, and brush on nuln oil over the entire ship, making sure my brushstrokes were going front to back. This adds a lot of depth to the model and makes some nice battle scars. I really like the damaged and battered look, as if this ship has seen many battles and few repairs.

 

Lastly, for squadrons, nothing is wrong with sharpie painting. It is not going to bring dishonor to your family if you touch up your tie's wings with a black sharpie. 

Edited by Nickvr628

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Seriously well done, mate, veeeery well done. You've done a lot of people a lot of good. :)

 

There's a lot of little hints, tricks, and odd 'bits' for starters, but I'll keep the focus right here. The results are great, the presentation is fantastic, and it's easy to follow. I don't have too much to add. I'll note that thinning paint is important, but there's no preset ratio as it depends on the paint company and the line; you really do have to just get a feel and toy around with it a bit.  The only other thing I can note is that you can use blue and orange highlighters on the coardboard edges for the activation sliders as well (if you want to keep them looking pure orange and pure blue) it's an option.

 

It's an absolutely fantastic tutorial, and thank ya' Viper for doing it up. English as a second language.... better than most English as an only language-ers here. 'Tis a right nice debris field too :)

 

Thank you so much for the kind words, it means a lot to me. It was actually your awesome campaign-thread that got me thinking that it would be fun to do a tutorial on the simple paint jobs I did.

I'm currently working on permanent-mark:ing the squadron base edges now, but you got me intrigued about the activation sliders. It feels like that would look better, but it also feels like it would be quite hard to get it to look good (especially since the sliders are not uniformly blue/red). Any idea on which colors that match the sliders?

 

My post was not meant as a complaint for the long read. You were very in depth and covered all of the current released product. Which is what some of us need. I am not quite a beginner at painting models, 13 years at it, but painting the squads terrifies me. This post gives me the confidence that there is a good way to get all of them looking wonderful without spending an hour on each TIE.

Thanks again. One thing I would add to the paint scheme, would be a dot of red on each TIE laser port.

That's great advice, I never really thought about that! That's absolutely something one should add if they wanted to further increase their models. Seems like a very easy thing to do, and something I absolutely will try.

 

Great guide, here is a tip that I learned from painting my ships (first model painting ever done). 

 

Nuln oil is worth it's weight in gold in armada. It is by far my favorite wash out there, because with a light coat it makes it look 3 dimensional and nice, but if you put more on it, it darkens the model while keeping the relatively same color. This is good for accenting certain parts of the model. Also, if you really layer it on, you can do some brush strokes to weather the model and make battle damage. 

 

ZQzMXY6l.png

What I did here was paint the wings and some other areas, and brush on nuln oil over the entire ship, making sure my brushstrokes were going front to back. This adds a lot of depth to the model and makes some nice battle scars. I really like the damaged and battered look, as if this ship has seen many battles and few repairs.

 

Lastly, for squadrons, nothing is wrong with sharpie painting. It is not going to bring dishonor to your family if you touch up your tie's wings with a black sharpie. 

I agree, Nuln oil is amazing! That is one good looking VSD for sure, and really smart to use the brush direction to enhance the model. I think I have to try that. Like you said, the battle-worn look is very nice.

Nope, nothing wrong with sharpies (or whatever method you want to use). I just wanted to show that painting does not have to be as difficult and scary as it seems sometimes, when you look at some amazing paint jobs that are out there :)

Edited by Viper Jr.

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I'm still not sure how nuln oil is different to other washes. But I see loads of awesome armada repaints being done with it, so I may have to break my 'no supporting GW' rule and get it.

 

Seriously, awesome job, and some great advice!

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I love this look. Definitely love to sharpie my fighters. Not sure if I'll ever move up to paints of any type.

Really, it was very simple. All I did was mix some grey paint with a light blue to get that imperial blue-grey color. Just make sure you water down your paints a bit, and a little bit  goes a long way. There really isn't a way you will end up worse than you started unless you spill lime green paint on your ISD.

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The instructions you created and models painted look wonderful!

 

What do you find is the best way to spray paint the models evenly?  Do you just lay them out or do you use some sort of alternative stand?

Edited by sadowsk1

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I love this look. Definitely love to sharpie my fighters. Not sure if I'll ever move up to paints of any type.

Really, it was very simple. All I did was mix some grey paint with a light blue to get that imperial blue-grey color. Just make sure you water down your paints a bit, and a little bit  goes a long way. There really isn't a way you will end up worse than you started unless you spill lime green paint on your ISD.
I did this with a Citadel Longbeard Grey, Dry paint. Works well. Got to paint the sides now and the edges.

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The instructions you created and models painted look wonderful!

 

What do you find is the best way to spray paint the models evenly?  Do you just lay them out or do you use some sort of alternative stand?

Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked it :)

 

The most important thing to keep in mind when priming with spray is to do thin layers. It's much better to to several thin layers than one thick. Since the fighters are so small and easily tips over/moves around, I use double sided tape on a piece of cardboard. It worked like a charm!

 The bases and the bigger ships stands were heavy enough to just place them on the cardboard without tape.

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This is awesome and seems like the thread to post in now, so I just did the Falcon, Hound's Tooth, and Moldy Crow. You definitely want to paint those cockpits in before the final hull covering. I didn't and it took forever to get the black in and then clean it all up, so learn from my mistakes. 

 

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The Falcon turned out astoundingly well for me just dumping stuff on it. I started with some rust wash and it was way too strong, so then I put on some nuln oil and it looked like a moldy pizza. When I dry-brushed some grey on top of it though, it all turned out! 

 

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Also, I was inspired by what you did to nuln oil the heck out of my VSD. I've not had the stuff work before, but someone told me to wipe it off after it gets in the cracks, which was a total mistake. So soon I'll have the grimiest ship in the fleet! I don't have a good place to spray paint, so have been doing these little ones that don't need it, but hopefully I'll find a place soon so I can try the techniques you shared on my Ties. Thanks Viper!

Edited by PenguinBonaparte

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