Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Speed Painting Challenge - Tech Priest Zon

On Monday, Orlygg over at Realm of Chaos 80s resurrected the Speed Painting Challenge - a simple competition from the good old days at GW shops and Games Day: grab a model and paint it in an hour.

I usually take 3-4 hours per model, so condensing this down would be a significant challenge. In order to get a model done in an hour, I decided I needed to develop a strategy.

1. Model Selection
This is key; picking an Eldar Harlequin with lots of frills, jewels and different textures is no good. You want something relatively plain and simple. My choice was Rogue Trader era Tech Priest Zon. Although he has some nice details, he essentially only has 3 key areas to paint: tunic, skin, leggings/feet.

Under Orlygg's suggested guidelines, undercoated models with base texture are acceptable.

2. Paint Selection
You're going to need a trim, accessible selection of paints. Most importantly, don't bother with anything light or with high transparency. Dark, high pigment paints are the order of the day - you really want to transfer the paint onto the model in one pass, rather than building up lots of layers.

The selection of paints I planned to use.

So with my strategy in hand, I had the perfect opportunity to try out the challenge as my wife went for her run last night. She usually takes an hour - could I complete Tech Priest Zon before she returned?

  • 57:15 - Zon's feet and base have been basecoat. I did the base first as I usually water it down heavily and wanted to have time for it to dry before I needed to finish it. I chose a Vallejo extra opaque colour for his feet to avoid the need for multiple coats.
  • 51:23 - Zon's tunic and skin have been basecoated. His skin was simply a coat of Citadel elf flesh, while the tunic was done in my favourite colour - Coat d'Arms field grey.
  • 48:46 - I added some white to the feet colour and did a first pass highlight. The field grey basecoat was still wet at this point, so I quickly utilised my wife's hairdryer to move things along!
  • 46:02 - With the tunic dry, I washed it liberally with Citadel badab black. The feet got a wash of sepia.
  • 43:37 - The base got a wash of black too, then it was back to the hairdryer!
Zon at 43:37
  •  40:18 - A couple of minutes spent on the skin - a second layer of elf flesh, then when dry, a wash with ogryn flesh.
  • 26:04 - Crikey, those 14 minutes have flown by! The longest step so far, as I highlighted the tunic, firstly by over painting the washed areas with field grey again, then adding white to the mix for two stages of highlighting.
  • 20:06 - Another 6 minutes go by in a flash as I highlight the skin with a couple of passes. The eyes get the whites added (pupils to be added later). Zon is distressingly starting to look like a duck with the colour scheme I've selected. Oh well, too late to change now!
20:06 - poor colour selection equals a rather duck-like look!

  • 12:43 - Aargh! Time's slipping away! It's taken nearly 8 minutes to paint all the details (belts, pistol, buttons) black ready for metallics.
  • 05:21 - Aaaargh!! Even more time gone, at least this time I've painted all the metallics boltgun metal and added some colours to his tricorder thingy (as well as the little tech gubbins on his rear). I've also managed to dot his eyes.
  • 03:19 - Some highlights added to his duck feet.
  • 02: 36 - Base texture is drybrushed with a light grey.
  • 01:27 - Base ring is painted black.
  • 00:19 - Metallics get a very quick flick with mithril silver and I'm calling him done!
00:19 - no time for any more!

So a model painted in an hour. I realise the above snaps aren't that great, so here's what the finished figure looks like in my light box:

I made two additions after the time was up - the static grass is the obvious one, which I wouldn't have been able to do in the 1 hour time limit. I also washed Zon's eye sockets and lower lip with a purple wash. I figure I could have used my remaining 19 seconds to do that had I thought of it at the time!

Zon's rear which I failed to take any WIP shots of during my hour!

So all in all, I'm pretty happy with the results (duck-like colours aside). There are one or two areas I'll probably go back and adjust, but one more painted model can go into the cabinet!


  1. Mind blown, my head would just explode under the pressure... I am schocked. it is so good in so little time... can't say anything else.

    1. Thanks JB. I think it was possible because I chose a simple model and sorted out my paints beforehand. I also chose colours I've painted before - I've used field grey a lot, so I already knew how to get the best out of it with minimum effort. Same goes for the flesh. I also tried to minimise mistakes so I didn't have to repaint anything.

      It was a real challenge though - don't let me fool you into thinking it was easy. I was pretty stressed at the end!

  2. That is quite nice for an hour's labor. Since it meets or exceeds my painting level in less than half the time, I am pretty jealous indeed.

    1. I'm actually surprised at the results. It makes me wonder why it's been taking me so long to paint stuff before now!

  3. Well done Jon. A worthy effort indeed and not at all dis-similar to your other work. You know if you have been succesful with a speed paint if the model ranks up alingside your normal stuff and just fits in.

    1. Cheers James! As I said above, I'm pleasantly surprised at the results. I'm more than happy to put him in the cabinet with the rest.

  4. Word of warning, though. Speed painting is addictive.

  5. Very nice work, especially for such a short time :)