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Monday, 5 January 2015

WIP: Eldar Jetbike Autarch #2

Russian, Conversion, Alternative, Quickshade

After my initial optimism and intermediate epic failure, I have finally achieved a level of success with my new Saim Hann colour scheme for my Eldar Autarch conversion. And all it took was a lot of mineral turpentine and a cordless power drill!

The Russian Jetbike models can be assembled into two major sub-assemblies: the canopy and weapons (front half) and the saddle and engines (rear half). While I initially assembled the complete model prior to painting, I found that the model was much easier to paint after I snapped it back into two pieces, so I will take this into account when I assemble the rest of my Jetbike wing.

I started with a spray of Tamiya Fine Surface Primer light grey and followed with a couple of sprays of Army Painter Pure Red colour primer. This gave me a nice even and vibrant red to work with. I then took two very different approaches to painting the two halves of the model.

Saddle and Engines

Russian, Conversion, Alternative

First I painted the saddle in AP Leather Brown and the engine intake and exhaust in Vallejo Model Colour Dark Sand. VMC Dark Sand is a slightly warmer tone than the AP Skeleton Bone I normally use but it has better coverage properties—I also think the warmer bone complements the red. Next I painted the handlebars and pedals in black to provide some contrast to the red hands and feet of the rider.

Russian, Conversion, Alternative

Basecoat complete, I then took a very traditional painting approach to the rear half of the Jetbike. I carefully painted AP Strong Tone ink into all the recesses to provide shading. A few mistakes were made of course, and these required correction with GW Jokaero Orange followed by two or three coats of AP Pure Red. Eventually the shading was complete—but damn was it a slow and tedious process. The alternative is called "Quickshade" for a reason...

Russian, Conversion, Alternative

Russian, Conversion, Alternative

The end result is pretty nice, but there is no way I'm going to spend so many hours on every single one of the thirty Jetbikes I plan to paint. Plus the bone-coloured parts remain flat, unshaded colour, since I found that the AP Strong Tone ink did not interact well with the VMC Dark Sand and resulted in a very dirty finish that does not suit Eldar models.

Canopy and Weapons

First I masked the canopy and painted on the Saim Hann black chevron. I next used VMC Dark Sand to paint the Shuriken Catapults, completing the basecoat.

I then drilled into the back of the piece where it joins with the other half of the Jetbike, as if I was going to pin the two pieces together. Instead, I left the drill bit embedded in the piece, ensuring that I could run the drill and rapidly spin the model without it flying off the drill bit.

Russian, Conversion, Alternative, Quickshade

Next it was time for the Quickshade! Even though this is what ruined my first attempt at painting this model, I decided to give it another go—after all, if I couldn't find a way to efficiently paint red Eldar then I would have to abandon my plans to convert from Ulthwe to Saim Hann.

My first experiment was to heavily thin my Quickshade; even though I added some mineral turpentine to the can after I found it to be too thick when washing my Void Shield Generator, I decided that for a model with such big flat surfaces I needed to make the Quickshade even thinner to avoid surface pooling and blotching. I poured about half my can of Quickshade Strong Tone into a tall, narrow glass jar (perfect for Jetbike dipping) and added mineral turpentine to make a roughly 1:1 mix. I have never used Quickshade thinned to such a degree, but the results were fantastic.

Russian, Conversion, Alternative, Quickshade

I normally brush Quickshade onto my models to control the coverage (to a degree), then use a clean brush to blot away any pooling. The downside with this approach is that you have to work really fast or you will leave ugly brush strokes on the model as the wash dries. My second experiment was to take a true 'dipping' approach and submerge the model in the Quickshade then shake off the excess to prevent pooling.

And so dunked this piece—still pinned by my cordless drill—into my jar of thinned Quickshade. I withdrew the model and allowed excess Quickshade to drip off for a few seconds, then it was time for my third experiment: the 'drill-dip' method.

I put the model into an elaborate bespoke splash-guard assembly (a closed cardboard box with a hole cut in the lid) and started drilling...

The centrifrugal force of rapid rotation dispersed the excess Quickshade and left me with a nice subtly shaded piece completely free of surface blotching. Great success!

What's Next?

After the Quickshade on the front half has had at least 36 hours to set I will apply decals and matte varnish, then paint all the gems—I think turquoise will complement the red colour scheme.

I'm not sure what to do with the rear half of the Jetbike. It looks good, and it would be a shame to strip it, but I want a consistent finish across the entire model—and the Autarch rider will be getting the Quickshade treatment too. I may just have to drop several hours of work into the paint stripper and re-basecoat it, then apply my new 'drill-dip' method. So the frustration continues, but striving for hobby perfection means that sacrifices must be made.


  1. Brilliant move on the "drill-dip" idea. I wouldn't have been so smart, and just hit the drill while it was dripping, without being in a container, then wondered why I was covered in tone.

  2. LOL! Actually using the splash-guard was enforced by the wife... I had a bad paint splatter accident earlier in the day!