WIP: Heldrake #7

With only a few days left for the competition I had to hurry up to finish the Heldrake I’ve been working on for so long. So I started putting the base colors in various places and the golds that will dominate the model. I was pretty sure that I could finish the painting, basing and cleanup of the model within this weekend, but I was sorely mistaken. Find out why after the jump.

As you can see from the highlight photo, I have applied the gold paint to almost all the parts of the Heldrake. Before applying the metallic colors however I wanted to establish a few base colors for the model’s non-mechanical areas such as the protruding bones and the fleshy parts.

I also opted for a red hue for the fleshy parts, going hand in hand with the Khornate demons and Berzerkers I’ll have in the same army.

I then moved on to the golds. I had chosen the Vallejo Liquid Metal series Old Gold for the deed. I prepped the tools necessary for the job: spare cups for the paint, cleaning agent and isopropanol, as well as a couple of synthetic brushes.

Good to go... or so I thought.

Good to go… or so I thought.

However, I did not expect the paint to be so difficult to handle. Here’s a few shots I took after the initial application of paint:

I had tried the gold paint on a much smaller scale for my possessed marine and I was expecting the paint to work exactly the same as before. I did not consider how long the painting session would take and how the paint would act. So here are a few comments from this weekend’s experiences:

  • The paint is extremely difficult to control, even when straight out of the pot (which you should never use). Properly thinned paint runs up to the ferrule of the brush straight away, ruined my fine detail synthetic brush this way, and when applied to the surface you better use it on a flat one. If you are overbrushing, I guarantee you will have spills.
  • Use very little from the pot and refresh as required with the proper thinner, isopropanol.
  • The pigments sink to the bottom of your container insanely fast. Be cautious of clumps of paint on your brush when refreshing paint, and use a few drops of isopropanol to both increase work life and thin the paint.
  • If working on large surfaces, be very careful about how thinned the paint is. You might get insufficient coverage with the paint if too thin, and from my experience adding additional layers to strengthen coverage does not work like it does in water based colors.
  • Speaking of coverage, be sure that your model is cleaned up and primed properly. Just when you think it’s sufficiently clean, blow away any extra dust particles that might have gathered on the pieces. The paint is super reflective, thus is very unforgiving and will show the slightest mistakes you make.
  • Do not use a large brush that has a large paint deposit. Instead use a brush that is thinner (less deposit) and has longer bristles that will limit the paint from traveling up.
  • If you have sweaty hands while working, be extremely careful where you’re holding the pieces. Use painting sticks like I did if possible. If you hold a non-dry part and your hand is sweaty, expect the paint to gather rust instantly (I’m not kidding) and fall off in clumps, worse, stay on your model and ruin your paint job.
  • Clean up your equipment, including your paint and thinner pot thoroughly.

I never claimed I was a master at this hobby but even with some experience in my pocket I was frustrated that the paint acted so out of control. While the results are very nice, it is really a pain to have to go back to the spills and correct them. If you’re a beginner and think of using this series paints, be ready for serious cleanup and work as slow as possible.

Not much left for the model. I need to fix the errors, apply the flesh paint and highlight bones, weather the metallic parts. Then it’ll be ready for final assembly. Then I’ll have to base the kit, and I am looking for ideas. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with one before the competition date.



  1. Sorry you had such difficulty with the liquid gold paint. You were so happy with it on the marines…guess the time/large model definitely plays a part. Even though it cost you time, and a brush, it’s good of you to share your experience so others don’t encounter the same issues!

    There are a ton of flyer base options. You’ve not only got a large oval to work with, but great vertical space. Some of my favorite flyer bases have been the ones which discard the standard flyer clear stand, and instead work with that vertical space, to provide a ruin, or other suitable diorama (based on how you see the flyer interacting).

    Time of course is your main limiting factor. In my head, I see a flyer base jutting out of a destroyed rhino hull, with scorch marks over it, and claw gashes, and dead space marines around it strewn about. (as the heldrake flies overhead).


    1. To be frank I was expecting to have a fancy base to go with the model but then I got myself into this time constraint. Gotta make the best with what I got.

      The gold works OK, but requires the correct amount of thinning it seems. It’s all a matter of experience apparently. In my second session to fix things I managed to get the correct amount of isopropanol. But you’re right, the scale is just daunting to work with and this paint works much better with smaller surfaces I find.


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