Tutorial: Col. Straken

by Massive Voodoo

Good Morning Jungle Painters,

via last weeks tutorial voting you decided to see the article about Col.Straken by Games Workshop up to your jungle blog.A true Catachan Jungle Warrior, placed in a postapocalyptic story.

This project was a exchange model Roman has done to his buddy Kyle from MR Lee's Painting Emporium and you already can find some articles that are connected to this project:

Wasteland Display base
Roman explains his thoughts on a Fallout/Wasteland base.

Creating Newspapers
Article that explains you how to add worn newspapers to your bases. 

Now this upcoming article is about some thoughts on the painting process of the model itself. Let's have a look what Roman has to tell, eh?


This model was planned as a fun project as an exchange model to my friend Kyle. I did it beside comission works, during painting classes and other important stuff that sorround my daily work schedule, so I had to do it rather quick to be not too distracted from my daily work. It is not a bad thing to decide a project to be done fast as if you do it from the heart it will look good and you can feel the heart in it, especially if it is a gift to a person you like to make a present to.

This article is not a true step by step - rather it will take you on the colourful journey that made this miniature saw until it was done and looked like this:

The Painting Process
I started with priming the miniature black only.

After the black priming I decided to use a colour I recently enjoy to start skintones from: Vallejo Model Cork Brown. Using the Airbrush to spray a first gentle layer on top of the black primer, mainly from above the model to have a first sketch of zenithal light to the model. In this stage I do not care if every area recieves some of the skins basic tone.

Quickly I decided to give the clothing its basic tone and went there with some glazes of - now guess what - catachan green but added a tiny drop of black to it as my plan was to work from a dark green to some small highlights on it.

As you can see I did paint the model not directly on its base as the basework was a little rough in the middle of the process and I did not want to harm the model with too much rust and dirt stuff ...

Next step was a very important one for me. First, all metal parts have been painted black and have been painted with Black Metal from Scale75 on top of the black.

The greens got some more layers to make it more opaque, adding a tiny drop of VMC sky grey into the last layer to prepare gentle lights on the trouser and and bandana.

I like to close into a quick paintjob by adding all basic tones in this stage, so beside the metals I also used some brown for the weapon and sketched the bone parts. Dark Brown/Black shoes, reds on the ammo shells and a sand tone for his necklace.

Sketching first highlights on the bone parts and skinpart. Same procedure like I did with the greens. Looks rough at the moment, but that is not a problem, at least for me. The overall picture is now available to me.

Now we arrive at an essential point of this article. I want to talk with you about saturated and deaturated colours. I want to talk with you how you can use the saturation of a colour to already produce first lights. It is not about mixing in a white to another colour to increase your contrast.

Check for the face in the upper photo, yeah, the rough face sketch there. Check for his nose, cheekbones, chin, these prominent spots in a human face. There you already find more saturation compared to the areas where you only can find the cork brown as a basic colour. That is why I like the cork brown a lot as a skintone. It helps me to start from a desaturated colour and increase contrast by just adding more saturated, more powerful tones to it. There are many other colours that are desaturated and work like that, you don't have to use cork brown for the rest of your life when it comes to painting skin.

What makes a colour desaturated?
A drop of grey in it. Or a drop of a coloured grey in it (for example green grey). Or a tiny drop of black. Or a drop of coloured black in it, coloured black?? Check:

Painting the colour "black"
A big guide that shows you how to conquer your blacks.
Or when you mix in your basic tone its complementary colour, as the result you will get will be a desaturated greyish tone fitting very well to your basic colour as a first or second shadow.  Now we will have a look on his left arm, still rough, not cleaned up yet but worth a look when it comes to talk about saturation.  

After a little clean up on the skin parts I decided to add smaller details and highlights to the model. A little texture on the bandana and bone parts, a highlights to the leather and wood parts, focusing on some colour variations in his face, making him look a bit unshaved for some days.

Now if we look on that beard shadow it is again about saturation and desaturation. I used glazes mixed out of skintone and green grey and applied several of them on top of my so far painted skin to achieve this effect.

The camouflage on his trouser was painted pretty simple. Some brown and black pattern used here, but again the browns in the darker areas recieved already a small drop of black to it to keep them a little more desaturated. Some rough highlights to the black shoes appear here also, again you will see that this is a little cold black here if you did read the article about painting the colour black.

Next it was texture and saturation time. It is not a problem if - during your process - you stay a little less saturated in your paintjob. I am working like this these days very often and I use thin glazes of saturated tones to brink back saturation in different areas, for example the wood, leather, skin or green fabrics. This way I am able to control which areas I want to be more saturated in the end than others. If I would place only saturated colours in the beginning I might find it hard to implement the desaturation afterwards.

The metals recieved some tiny highlights with Scale75 Cobalt Alchemy (Steel Paint Set) to make them look more interesting, as this specific colour is a great highlight colour but with a gentle touch of blue in it. Such small things bring in cool effects if the paintjob is planned as a rather quick one and the dark start of the metals help me to recieve quick results here.

About losing saturation in your highlights again
If you only add white (or a very bright colour that has much white in it) to your colour mix to increase the colour contrast you will quickly desaturate your light area. This happens, it is normal. Use a more saturated glaze over it to avoid that, but be aware of that you have to redo some highlights again. Wax on, wax off, eh?

You can also avoid it when you are closing in to paint your highlights and you see that the colour gets more and more desaturated, mix in a tiny, a really tiny drop of for example yellow or orange to it before you try again with more white (or a colour that has a lot of white in it). Mmh, honestly. I should write a complete tutorial about that without making all your brains explode in what I am trying to tell here.

Whoha, I am just realising how weird the different photos of this article look. Sorry for that, this depends on daytime and light situation on my workspace and most of them are done with the small camera or mobile. Ai, ai, ai ...

Well, after some final clean ups of all areas it was time to see how the model looks on the base. This time with too much light, but the big camera.

Now for the finish it is time to add some colour pigments to his feet to make him integrated more into the dusty wasteland scenery.

Final photos of the project can be found on Putty&Paint.

I hope you enjoyed this little read about the journey on Col.Straken, well even it was more about Saturation and some colour theory.

This was one of the first models where I made some experiences with the Scale75 colours and recently some more tests have been made. There will be a bigger article on Massive Voodoo explaining plus and minus of these really cool colour sets and what you got to take care of when you work 'em.

This article feels a little weird to me and I guess to some of you too, but hopefully there are some  thoughts that might help one or the other of you outthere!

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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