White is my nemesis. I rate myself as a good painter, not GW professional standard but above average, that is until I try to paint something white. I discovered this when I started to play Warmachine a few years ago. My first army for Warmachine is Menoth and their primary colour is white. The models are awesome and I really like the armoured religious nutters and I think the white really suits their theme and it was something I wanted to try and paint. Now a really well painted white army looks amazing but trust me, it takes a lot of work.
When I started the Menoth force the first models I painted were started off from a black undercoat and then worked up through various stages of greys to get to white. This takes a long time and on some of the detailed Menoth models thats a pain. Also as you are applying a lot of paint it can dull some of the details unless you do it properly and water down the paint. The first model seen here was painted with this method and I don't like it and I think you will agree its not up to my usual standard. It also took me about two years to finish, I started it, got bored and then painted a whole Cryx army and half an Ogre army........ and a Dystopian Wars fleet.................. and some Killa Kans before finally getting back to it to finish. The advantages of this method if you get it right are that it looks really good and the white will look solid and you can get some nice shading towards the edges of the armour. If you get it wrong then it can look rubbish, I think am half way with this result, if you don't look too close then it looks ok on the table.
After struggling with the first approach I tried to do something a bit different with the next model. GW had just released they new Washes so I thought I would put them to the test. For this model I actually undercoated it in with white spray, second step was to paint the all the base colours on in one go. I then drowned the model in a black wash - almost in a "dipping" style. After this I then painted over the white again with a brush and also when over the base layers again before then highlighting everything. I think the look of this model is so much better. The reason it works is that you are starting with the white straight away, the "dipping" phase does the shading and then the second phase white paint looks better going over the white undercoat. The model looks cleaner, brighter and tidy. I was very pleased with this method and the new GW washes really help with this look.
So now I have finally found a painting method for white which does provide results, whilst I still don't think they are up to my usual standard I do think the methods I have found look good and a whole army painted in this way should look pretty good on the table. So after three or so years I might actually get to finish the Menoth force that I always wanted.
Unti next time....