Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Character Profile: Lexicanum Calistarius

I know, it's been dead quiet from the Dark Workshop for quite awhile, but it's not easy thinking up new things that other people haven't done ten times already on their own blogs. So today, a special project of mine: my take on Lexicanum Calistarius from GW's Space Hulk game.
   The biggest challenge I faced with Calistarius was finding the right colour blue. A librarian is always marked out from the rest of their chapter by the blue armour that they wear, with the chapter's colours reserved only for the pauldrons. The blue is the defining feature of the model, so it had to be just right. I didn't want it to look Dire Avenger blue, so Regal Blue was out of the question. I definitely did not want him to look like an Ultramarine, so that ruled out Enchanted Blue and Ultramarines Blue. I even scoured Reaper Miniature's line of paints that were on the counter, but none of them looked quite right either, too "old jeans" blue or "Crimson Fists" blue. I finally settled on Mordian Blue from GW's Foundation series. A sort of indigo blue that was just deep enough to say "Librarian Blue" to me. As the pictures show, I was quite pleased with the results. 

    While I was searching for a blue in the Reaper section, I did find a nice Dwarf Bronze replacement. I've been getting annoyed with how chunky the Dwarf Bronze is to work with, so I wanted something easier to work with. Reaper's Ancient Bronze has been an excellent replacement. It applies much smoother, but the colour isn't quite as appealing. It's a bit brighter than Dwarf Bronze, but the only one who really notices is me. The fact that it is easier to apply is worth more than a small colour variance.
    For the skulls on the stares, I wanted them to appear sculptural rather than real. For that I used my newly acquired Ancient Bronze. Once that dried, I painted over it with Boltgun Metal and before it dried, I took a wet paintbrush and just brushed clean water over the skulls to turn the silver into a gauche. Once that was dried I painted black into the background to cover up any mess left over. It was a quick and easy way of making the skulls stand out without letting them stand out too much.
    Now for some interesting Librarian facts. Lexicanum is the lowest active rank in the Librarium. It means the psyker brother has passed his entrance rites, but still not yet powerful to be put into active duty like the Codiciers and Epistolaries. Calistarius however has been brought in as an honourary first company member for the mission on the space hulk. In terms of symbols, the left pauldron will include the stone Crux Terminatus like all suits of Terminator armour with the chapter symbol on the right pauldron. Librarians have further symbology, often wearing a yellow tabard with their rank displayed. Lexicanums get only a plain black band on their tabard, but codiciers get spikes or lightning bolts added to their band. Epistolaries can have both on theirs with a skull underneath. Chief Librarians may have any additional chapter specific honours included into theirs, so there's lots of creative potential for custom made Chief Librarians in home brew chapters.

   If you've followed my blog for awhile, You'll recognize the lightning from my previous article on Captain Ingemar. I didn't use anything different technically, but I would like to remind any novice painters that to do this technique, always use a short tipped, fine point paint brush that has been dampened first. Take out the colour you want to use for your lightning, spread it out on something flat, clean and preferably paintable like a palate, and water down the paint first. Once the brush has enough paint near the tip, roll the flat side of the brush somewhere on the palate that doesn't have paint on it until the brush has regained its sharp point. To get the best results, dip only the very point of the brush in the watered down paint where the pigment is the most concentrated. The proceed to paint small dots in a random pattern to get that lightning look.
   For the lightning colour, I used Regal Blue for the diffuse glow. I used Hawk Turquoise on top of that, and further refined the lightning with Ice Blue. Skull white was used to highlight the lightning.
    The biggest star in my paints I used on Calistarius was Dheneb Stone. I use Dheneb Stone as a base before painting Blood Red on top. It makes the Blood Red come out so much clearer and brighter than even Mechrite Red. For the blue highlights, I started with a mix of Enchanted Blue and Mordian Blue, then finished it with a mix of Dheneb Stone and Mordian Blue. Even for the robes, I mixed Dheneb Stone with Red Gore to make that nice dusty red colour.

   I am a big fan of Darren Latham's version of Calistarius on GW's site, which meant that I had to do something entirely different with my rendition. It didn't come out entirely terrible and I'm quite happy with the colour choices I made. Being such a beatiful sculpt, I spared no expense paying attention to all the little details that he deserves. I just wish he didn't suffer the same mold blurring that pretty much every terminator model suffers. But despite this, he's still an excellent miniature and was as much a pain as he was a pleasure to paint. As always, don't be afraid to post your comments, questions concerns, flames or feedback down below. Until next time!

Signing off,

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