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My Dreadfleet adventure – do it effective, do it fast!

I saw the Dreadfleet. And I knew I MUST HAVE IT! If the rules were bad… So nice models will still look cool in my minis cabinet;] I enjoy painting new things, so painting whole game and something that I didn’t paint ever before- SHIPS, seemed to be really tempting.
When Space Hulk released there were ideas to paint it and sell painted, this idea look cool for me also, I thought it could be nice adventure and experience. I wanted to paint ships soo much that idea of two boxes wasn’t so scary. I’ve been planning to paint 2 boxes at once but I realised that the speed will be crucial. And some experience gathered on the first box could be applied in my second work (for me this time). And the second aspect… It must look COOL!

So how to do it fast and well looking? Here are some advice of mine.

My first thought – check others ideas.. and do it in a bit different way/ better. As only GW had painted models of it, I checked them. So high level could be to high for a box game (none could pay so much for this), but colours were really well planned to suit together and each ship had its own scheme, painting seemed to be sooo much more interesting. And mass players prefere ‘books painting’ so I had to use them in majority of ships.

The most important – paint everything at once.

The most important thing was to make it suit the sea mat. When you paint anything try to make it coherent with your most important piece. Here it was sea, I couldn’t repaint it. After some tries I had my recipe (enchanted blue, blue+green washes on it, drybrush with enchanted blue, drybrush ice blue, drybrush white- only tops). But… with not much effort I could do it muuuch better- I added gloss varnish on each water piece.

Now some fast tips:

1. The most important – paint everything at once. Of course I didn’t think over each ship, there was too much pieces, but I tried to predict colours and apply them at once. So all terrains at once, sea giant with wightship, all sea areas, sails.

2. Think where you can save time to spend it on focus points (like source lightning, freehands etc.). Things that were quite fast to paint were terrains. Drybrush is quite fast method but don’t rush whet drybrushing, it can easily destry your work, the brush MUST be really dry. After painting all rocks they.. don’t look outstanding, it doesn’t matter how much drybrush layers you do. Next fast method- add some colours and depth with washes. I used mix of black and mud (they can be a bit watered down) and added them in recessess and to underline some lighter areas by contrasting them with darker colours. Some greeen wash was also added in some places to make some surfaces more interesting.

3. Use best technique for best effect. Painting terrains it was drybrush, but how to paint sails? I used aerograph here. You can achieve quite nicelooking (and fast!!) eccects. 3 layers (darker, ligher + basic colour) and each sails set is done. If you think it’s not enough you can add some highlights and shadows where necessary. Next great thing about Dreadfleet is that sails have 3D graphics on them… So why not to use it? Keeping your brush on the right angle (paint can’t be too watered because it goes to recesses!) you can paint only raised elements without problems.
Next method to get nice effects with min. effort is to paint something white/light colour and then add wash to make it coloured and shadowed at once. I used this method with wightship and some smaller details (sea nymphs, TK statues). The ship was then higlighted to better effect but for some players it could be enough.

Next method to get nice effects with min. effort is to paint something white/light colour and then add wash to make it coloured and shadowed at once.

4. Glue all elements that will have apertures and then greenstuff them. But keep things in such shapes that you can get to each area. The biggest problem I had with Bloody Reaver, it is 4parts body and masts with balls on one edge so you can’t put them after gluying body… So I glued the body first and left masts separately. But before gluying masts I scrapped the balls to fit in slots. The same stated with other masts, after undercoating and painting they didn’t fit to slots so I scrapped them.
I also didn’t glue sails to masts- aerografphing would be impossible because the area behind the mast couldn’t be covered. So try to think before you glue anything;]

5. If you are inspired by anything.. Try to do it better, in your own way. For example I disliked shipwrecks’ painting. They looked too wighty, I wanted them to look more realistic so I painted them in old wood colours. One even has red scraps of paint on boards. And the thing I did with gloss varnish on sea areas. I wanted it gloss, water isn’t matt;]


If you are inspired by anything.. Try to do it better, in your own way.

So, enough tips for today, expect more someday!;)


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