The Hobby Hole: Let’s Get Digital

“Hobby Bravely” is something that has been ingrained into my mind after watching countless hobby videos by Vince Venturella. It has helped me push my hobby boundaries each time I paint a model and has led to a lot of progress over the last couple of years, but it is not always easy to do. This is especially the case when it’s an important model that you have to get just right.

I recently started using some digital tools to help bridge the gap between imagination and physical results and it has given me much more confidence in introducing new techniques into my hobby.

Starting Simple

I have been raving about special Reivers for Space Wolves for a long time now, so finally getting the Hounds of Morkai was big for me. As a result, I really wanted to make them special, especially since mine were lost in the warp for the last couple of months and only just arrived.

I wanted them to stand out a bit more on the table, so I decided to alter the typical Reiver face mask. I wanted to give them a bit of war paint to extend the skull mask to create a wolf silhouette. I was eager to test the idea when the idea hit me to do a quick mockup in MS Paint.

Digital Rendition of the mask design concept using an old Reiver model

The concept looked good, and I was able to take away that I liked the feathered look and could settle on a basic geometry for the design. I was then ready to take it to the actual models using paint and a brush.

The first actual attempt at the new mask design.

The physical test came out great, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I was then able to paint up the rest of the model.

I have been working on pushing the contrast levels on my models lately. This is what led me to decide to use non-metallic metal for the Hound. The control of the lighting/shading of the metal gives you very strong control of the mood. I was very happy with the model, and probably would have called it quits there, but it was missing just one thing. It needed heavy weathering.

I wanted my Hounds to look very grimdark. Looking at them should give you a sense they had been relentlessly pursuing their prey for weeks behind enemy lines.

I have struggled coming up with a weathering scheme I really liked. I have tried sacrificing a few models over the years to test schemes, all to mediocre effects that, at best, had me feeling indifferent to them.

My Space Wolves are all from coastal regions of Fenris, and I wanted them to their oceanic backgrounds on the model. Fellow GDFC member, James, had suggested using salt streaking and brownish reds and greens to represent seaweed and algae. I loved the idea, but it’s something I could never quite work up the courage to do in full. This is when I decided to bring out the big guns and test some schemes digitally.

Borrowing my wife’s Ipad, I went through several renditions before arriving at this:

I digitally added the salt streaking and green/red algae. I also did further work on the NMM, fleshing out areas and adding colored reflections to give the model more of a sense of being in a world.

Tinkering with the effects on a digital image was a game-changer. The thought of splattering white, brown, and green paint on my beloved and painstakingly painted model was terrifying. The digital image gave me confidence that the idea was sound and that it WOULD work. It gave me just the amount of confidence I needed to “Hobby Bravely”.

I couldn’t wait to get to work on the real thing.

The Final Product

This Hound of Morkai is the best model I have painted to date, and I couldn’t be more excited to finish the rest of the squad. Creating a quick digital mockup gave me the critical confidence to push my hobby ability up to the next level, and helped me solve an issue I have been working on for the last couple of years.

Is there some technique or style that you have been dying to try, but are just a little too intimidated to get started on? Snap a quick picture of your model and throw it in MS paint, and you may be surprised at where you might end up.

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