A friend asked me how'd I achieve a look on a necron army. I went to the trouble to make a whole tutorial.
I was thinking a kind of Martian look. It'd be pretty awesome if on the 40k Mars, Necrons emerged from below the crust and the Imperium was all like "Nooo way~!! Where'd these guys come from!?". Or even worse on Terra. . . Enough of that.
Refer to included image for each step. I'm assuming that these models are going to be painted with Citadel Colours. If you're using Vallejo Colour you know it's easy enough to find the match. I actually prefer the Vallejo Colours but don't actually own many of them. I must apologize that this isn't a real painted model. So this whole article may be. .. just speculative as far as the name of paints go.
Step one: Naked Necrons? Time to prime!
A naked Necron. Assuming you've assembled them and are ready for a priming. If this were a real model I probably would have primed them white. Black would work too. White would give you some tumescence to the base colour. It might take a few coats to get the guy dark enough. But since this guy isn't going to be sooo dark it might be nice. Black is nice because it's already dark underneath. But it might ruin the "layered" look. You can't go wrong with either so take your pick.
Step two: Base colour!
This is the core colour. It's going to be the darkest colour you'll put down. I'm thinking Bestial Brown with maybe some other red in it. Cover the entire model if you're using a white prime coat. Go ahead and water the paint down considerable too to seep into the cracks. Repeat this about three times or as many as it takes. Make sure it's dark! If you used a black prime coast, pick out the armour sections with that dark brown-red colour.
Step three: Dry brush like a mother.
Get an old nasty bright or "dry brushing brush" and dry brush a Snakebite Leatherish ochre over all the area that colour. Hit it again but more frugally with Bleached Bone. Somewhere in between Bleached Bone and Snakebite Leather is the colour that these model should look. We'll call this the core colour or local colour. Make sure the base coat is completely dry before you do this. Also make sure your brush is "bristly" enough. It must be somewhat stiff and doesn't give much. Also make sure that it is just paint and no water in the mix.
Step four: Wash for good measure.
This step may not be necessary depending on how you dry brushed. But I assumed that the opaque filler in the paints made the colours look "chalky". To counter act this and to make the model look warmer and richer, I would glaze or wash a Vermin Brown with a Dark Flesh mixed into it. Use plenty of water and let it dry in between coats.
Step Five: Picking out some Highlights
Using mixes of Rotting Flesh, Bad Moon Yellow, and our I'd start picking out highlights. Use your judgment however when picking Dry brushing would also work with this method, but use it sparingly. Pick out a dominant highlight. It'd probably be on the head. It'll be brighter than anything on the model. This step doesn't take long, but it's going to bring out the perfectionist to do those gradients. So this step has a lot of noodling and rendering going on.
Step Six: Refining Highlights and starting the metallic surfaces.
I've blended all the highlights into the local colour. Something that'll translate poorly into painting an actual model will be painting all the local colours first. I've neglected to paint the metallic parts before I noodled and rendered. Which may cause you some grief if you did it in that order. Anyway, this model's look highly depend on how the metal looks.
I wanted the metal to look slightly oxidized due to age but is maintained. Necrons are living metal so I'm sure if they would oxidize at all. But, I'd like to that a Builder Scarab occasionally brushes the corrosion off every few centuries or so while they slumber. Maybe to put it simply, I want to look”well-loved”. Not battered.
I would start with maybe Tin Bitz as a base coat.. It looks red-orange but I would make sure that'd end up that way. You might have to mix a bronze into it to get the achieved effect. After that I'd dry brush Boltgun Metal over the top and then highlight with Chainmail or a lighter metal.
Step Seven and Eight: The Theme Colour
Every army needs a theme colour. Ultramarines are blue and Blood Angels are red and so on. However; I theorize that the secondary colour may dominate the theme colour. Meaning that because blue is the majority colour on ultramarines the red or yellow colours become the focal points. Perhaps that's how they get that “smurfy” look. Or Blood Angels look like “Ketchup and Mustard Marines,”. This is my opinion on most existing armies. Careful executing and planning is really the only remedy.
We're lucky that because this necron army is a sandy colour, it neutral enough that the colour we pick is going to stand out wonderfully. The theme colour which will be secondary in natural and surface area will dominate that majority local colour.
So on Step Seven I picked a Blood Red for the lights and gizmos. He looks really red .Too red I later decided. It blended too well with the warm sandy colour of the body. So I decided to go with a green which is more traditional with Necrons. Hey, now it looks like a Necron!
Step Nine: Wrapping up loose ends and painting the base.
It's really hard to tell when a model is done. If you're a perfectionist like me, you'll keep going for at least another hour more than it really should take. Since I am painting on a 2d surface, I took another step to make sure that metal had a real reddish look to it. Also I took the time to paint the base. On a plastic model you'd wait until after you would have been done and sprayed your varnish coat on. Until then I would paint it black.
This actually happened on the last step but I would have run an ink wash into the cracks. I would probably stick to Chestnut Ink for these models. But a black ink could work.
Step Ten: Finishing it! And a surprise theme colour change.
I decide that the green was too obnoxious against my cool green highlights on the armour. So I changed the theme colour to a brilliant turquoise. Also I painted on Ultramarine blue armbands onto the model so it really made it clear that this theme colour is blue. So I decided I was finished. I'm not sure if that glowing barrel part of the gauss rifle is paintable seeing how I've never actually painted a necron before. I think I've seen models with a green translucent plastic for that part of the model. That doesn't mean you can't convert a blue translucent plastic on there. You'd have to be creative.
After a few of these Necron Warriors I'd get the idea of how to progress with every individual member of the army. Ideally each one should take just under an hour's time to paint. If that'd going to take to long and you'd really like to get to playing I'd recommend that mass production method. Where'd do every step to every model in sequence. Example being that you'd take every model through step one before progressing on the step two and so on.
Minimum colours needed:
White or black primer
Bestial Brown or Scorched Brown
Bleached Bone. *** (the desired dominant colour for the army)
Rotting Flesh (something a cool yellowish. Yellow greenish)
Bad Moon Yellow (This yellow may be too cool)
Skull White (if neither of the above suffice to highlighting needs. White will be chalky though)
Chestnut ink (for the they'll probably need it.)
Your theme colour:
(whatever you want!)