Highlighting Blue

A description of how I highlight blue amour.

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In a previous post I included some pictures of two Ultramarines Tactical Squads. They were base coated not highlighted. The highlighting process is now finished. I used a wet palette and a mixture of two colors. Ultramarine Blue (72.022) and Deep Sky Blue (70.844) both from Vallejo. I painted several layers in the following ratios:

  • 3:1 Ultramarine Blue/ Deep Sky Blue
  • 2:1 Ultramarine Blue/ Deep Sky Blue
  • 1:1 Ultramarine Blue/ Deep Sky Blue
  • 1:2 Ultramarine Blue/ Deep Sky Blue
  • 1:3 Ultramarine Blue/ Deep Sky Blue
  • 0:1 Ultramarine Blue/ Deep Sky Blue

Each layer covered 70% of the previous layer. I then applied a very thin wash of Blue Wash (73.207) From Vallejo. I got this process from a video on the Mini Wargaming site. You can find a link to the video here.

I learned a few things:

  • The wet palette makes batch highlighting very easy but affects coverage
  • A size 4 brush works well
  • A lot of drying time is required between layers
  • Batch highlighting at least 5 miniatures is preferable
  • Very thin paints (like Deep Sky Blue) would be better on a non wet palette thinned with a medium

A size 4 brush may seem a little big but as long as it has a good point it works well. Larger brushes have a larger capacity for paint. I was able to highlight two miniatures without refilling my brush. The larger brush also prevents paint drying in the bristles as quickly. I fully rinsed my brush before reloading and didn’t have any problems with flow.

I have used a wet palette and normal palette for highlighting. I prefer the normal palette. Thinner paints don’t cover well from a wet palette because the pigment is diluted from too much water giving a patchy result. Thicker paints can simply be thinned with medium. I use Vallejo paints because the dropper bottles reduce waste and allow me to measure the paint very accurately. In this way, I can make several small batches of paint but keep consistency.

I was disappointed with the overall result of the first attempt. On my first attempt on five Tactical Marines the layers of Ultramarine blue don’t show the graduation well and the Deep Sky Blue was too high contrast and dried very patchy. The Vallejo blue wash also dried very streaky. I had to base coat them and highlight again.

For the 2nd attempt I used a dry palette to mix the highlighting layers. I also used a glaze (GW Guilliman Blue) rather than a wash. I was much happier with the results:

For my Sauroters I am planning on using a desaturated green. I think I’ll need to paint a few test miniatures before jumping straight in. I’ll post about this process in the future.

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