I'm not one to predict how contest voting is going to turn out - but with Tinweasel's Ultramarines 2nd Company banner leading the race it seems likely that he'll be in the top three. Because he doesn't want the finished banner I got to wondering what I'd do with it... when I remembered that I have an Ultramarines standard bearer I wanted to repaint.
The original image can be seen on my flickr thread:
Since he's going to be holding a 2nd Company banner I thought it would be good to give his cape a new life -- this time with the 2nd Company heraldry. What follows is a guide to creating this finished cape:
The photos aren't the best because I took them while I was painting. I would finish a step and take the photo - usually while the paint was still wet.
Vallejo Game Colours: Imperial Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Beasty Brown, Parasite Brown, White
Vallejo Model Colours: Light Yellow
When I paint a banner or large freehand design I start by marking out the area in which I will be working. I don't find it important to pencil in all of the detail, since I will be painting over the markings, but marking out the *area* lets me make sure I'm happy with the *size* of the design.
With Space Marine capes it's important to remember that the visual center and actual center are different. Because the cape folds over on the right side the *actual* center is closer to the right side -- but because of how they sculpted it it *looks* like the center falls right under the backpack. Whether you choose to work on the actual or visual center is a matter of personal preference -- most graphic designers will tell you to work from the visual center.
Vertical center, top and bottom margins identified
After I know where my top, bottom and vertical center fall - and I've looked at it for awhile to make sure it's straight(ish) and I'm happy with the placement - I mark the horizontal center.
The horizontal center lets me match the sketch to the design. At this stage I have outlined the left side. I don't pencil much in the way of detail because it would get painted over with the base colour.
Now I get a little silly. To make sure the wings are equidistant I use my calipers to measure the distance, 4mm.
Using the calipers again I mark the distance on the right side and make a mark.
Notice the two marks above the top margin on the right - because the cape fold I decided to move the wing in 1mm to account for what the caliper couldn't measure. This will give me an actual distance which is why it looks a little strange in the finished photo -- the right wing curves in to a fold.
At this stage I'm nearly finished filling in the outlines.
Here I am going in with a very thin base colour (VGC Imperial Blue) and outlining the image - this will further help me define my work space. Some people finish the item and highlighting before doing freehand - but I find that this makes it harder to correct mistakes as you go, especially if you're blending colours on the cape, leg, etc.
Further defining the work area.
The work area is completely defined.
After very carefully outlining the last of the work area I fill in the freehand space with the base colour (VGC Beasty Brown).
My paint was a bit thick for the base colour but since most of it will be painted over I didn't bother to correct it. I then mixed some VGC Parasite Brown in to the Beasty Brown and started to define the lines. I find that working from the outside to the inside gives me more room to correct for lines that get too thick.
Still following the outside area of the design
Defining the last of the full colour outside areas.
Again from the outside in I added the base colour for the feathers - still Parasite Brown 1:1 Beasty Brown. Note the bleeding that happened near the top corner; I'll clean that up presently as well with Beasty Brown.
I've finished the feather base colour, cleaned up my lines and added a bit more Parasite Brown to the mix for the first highlight. I painted about 80% of each feather, leaving only the top inside corner dark.
The bottom lines are still thick - but I will be cleaning this up when I paint the rest of the blue so I'm not worried about it. The same applies to the space between the top and bottom feathers.
I decided to do the "II" for the icon in the Beasty Brown so that the blue has an edge to it when I finish.
Here I've added the VMC Light Yellow to the mix for some highlighting.
Note the Imperial Blue < in the middle of the design. While I will paint from the outside to the inside this gives me a point of reference to make sure I keep the line straight.
My break line got a bit thick but that's nothing I can't clean up with some Beasty Brown.
And here's the final image. I added a couple touches of pure VMC Light Yellow to the design, filled in the cape and added some wooshey bits. For the break between the wings, even if you don't have wooshey bits, it's important to remember to highlight normally so that the line doesn't stand out.
I think that the biggest challenge for this design is my own gold NMM limitation. While this is a fair NMM it's by no stretch of the imagination *good*. It was, however, very easy to accomplish and this whole process (before the tutorial) took about an hour.
I may still go in and clean up the lower feathers where the blue got a bit thick - but while this guy is sitting on my shelf it looks good enough that I'm none too worried. The design itself is even, straight and is a good replacement for the old one.
When the model itself is finished it'll make a good home for the 2nd Company banner.
Please feel free to post questions, feedback, etc.
Thanks again to folks participating in the Freehand Banner Contest -- and to Tinweasel for submitting the entry that inspired this side project.