11 October, 2012

Space Wolf step-by-step part 2: Banners

Returning to my current hobby project, today I've got a tutorial on painting back banners for your Space Wolf packs.

Once again, our subject is my Long Fang Pack Leader, but you can use the ideas presented here for any banner, be it for a Grey Hunter, Blood Claw or Wolf Guard.

My Color List for this tutorial (GW is from the Games Workshop Range, VMC is Vallejo Model Color, P3 is Privateer Press Formula P3):

Black (Primer)

Back of Banner
P3 Bootstrap Leather
VMC Iraquian Sand
GW Ceramite White
GW Devlan Mud

Front of Banner
P3 Thamar Black
VMC Iraquian Sand
GW Charadon Granite
GW Badab Black
GW Astronomican Grey
GW Ceramite White

Freehand (Sunwolf)
GW Tausept Ochre
GW Iyanden Darksun
GW Ceramite White

Freehand (Knotwork)
GW Calthan Brown
GW Vomit Brown
GW Ceramite White

For the back of the banner, I also like to use a 1:1 mix of water and liquitex flow-aid, brushed directly onto the banner prior to my sponging. This will disperse the pigments and give you a softer (though not perfect) transition between the coats.

Let's start with the back of the banner, as it can be a little messy.

1: Lay down a basecoat of Bootstrap Leather.  Take your time, and put down 2 or three even coats, to make sure you a get a smooth even base. Let it dry completely before moving to the next step.

2: First lay down an even coat of your flow aid (optional), and then use a piece of blister foam to start sponging down a 2:1 mix of Bootstrap Leather & Iraquian Sand.  Notice in my photo that the blotches will run a bit, due to the flow improver.

3:  Continue building up the sponging by increasing your ratio of Iraquian Sand in the mix to 1:1 and decreasing the amount of sponging you add, paying more attention to higher areas.

4: 1:2 Bootstrap Leather:Iraquian Sand

5: Pure Iraquian Sand

6: 3:1 Iraquian Sand:Ceramite White

7: 2:1 Iraquian Sand:Ceramite White.  This completes the sponging.

8: Apply a wash of Devlan Mud to the deep recesses of the area, such as folds at the top, and the area immediately around the banner pole.  Finally, do a fine edge highlight of 1:1 Iraquian Sand & Ceramite White on the creases in the fabric and along some of the edges of the banner.

Don't forget during this process that some of this material might be showing on the front of the banner (such as the folds at the top).  Paint it at the same time to avoid having to go back and do it later!

Now we're ready to move to the front of the banner.

1: Lay down a basecoat of Charadon Granite.  Fabric fades over time, and I assume many of these banners are pretty old, especially those found on a Long Fang unit, so my method for black fabric differs from armor.

2: Feather a 1:1 mix of Charadon Granite and Thamar Black into the folds of the banner.

3: Highlight the creases with a 2:1 mix of Charadon Granite and Iraquian Sand.  You can also use this to add some textured highlights along ripples in the lower part of the banner.

4: Build on the previous highlight with a 1:1 mix, finely edged over the higher points of the fabric.

5: Run a thin glaze of Badab Black over the entire banner front.  This will tie the colors together a bit better, since we're not taking the time to wetblend on this project.

6: Using your 1:1 mix of CG & IS, do one more very fine edge highlight over the edges of the banner, and the harder creases at the top.

7: Using a 1:1 mix of Astronomican Grey and Ceramite White, draw in your pack pattern, using the same principles illustrated here.

8: Use pure Ceramite White to highlight your pattern.  Make sure when you highlight that you do your brush strokes the same direction; this will make areas of lesser coverage look more like texture and give you a nicer result, even under closer inspection.

Now to my favorite part, the freehand!

1: I started by blocking out my company device (the sunwolf) with Tausept Ochre & the area I would do my knotwork embroidery in with Calthan Brown.  As with all freehand, it's very important throughout this part that you thin your paints.

Note!  We all make mistakes;  it was at this point that I realized I had misjudged the location of the white on the banner.  I went back in and adjusted the pattern to make it look right, and then carried on to step 2.

2: Wolf highlights begin; most of the wolf and sun will be covered with a coat of Iyanden Darksun.  The knotwork gets based in with Vomit Brown.  If you have trouble with small lines, try practicing on a flat surface first, to help your hand get used to the movements required.

3: Continuing the wolf highlights, a 2:1 mix of Iyanden Darksun and Ceramite White is used to start picking out edges of the device.  The knotwork has been highlighted with a 2:1 mix of Vomit Brown and Ceramite White

4:  Highlights finish up with 1:1 mixes for both the sunwolf and the knotwork.

5:  This is the completed banner;  I've gone in with thinned Thamar Black and Ceramite White to clean up any overpaint onto their respective areas.  The knotwork also received a very selective highlight of 1:2 Vomit Brown:Ceramite White, mainly along the high points of fabric ripples.

And that's the banner!  You can easily change what you need to, in order to suit your own Great Company's banners


  1. wow. this was significantly more detailed and instructive than i was hoping for. awesome. Thank you! next set details or skin?

    1. Both, actually. We'll start with skin, and also cover a couple of other quick parts.