Sunday, December 7, 2008

About Iron Snakes, Custom Decals, Photoshop and more...

Using Photoshop, Google Images and decal paper, I was able to finish up Brother Autolochus, the Iron Snakes Venerable Dreadnought as described in Dab Abnett's novel Brothers of the Snake. I have committed myself to make at least a squad of 10, a landspeeder, a rhino and the dread.
I based him on a few old tracks, cut a wheel in half and added some rocks.

I wanted to paint Autolochus in a really simple paint scheme, with only bright colors in the center of the model. The Forgeworld Model for a Venerable Dreadnought doesn't have as much detail and flair as you would expect and it require a solid paintjob on the metal. I must have thrown 7 layers or watered down mithril on his shins, doling lots of shading as well.

Here are those shins. Also, on the base I added a light mist of bleached bone all around, including on his feet to make it look dusty and old.

Here's the back of that base

On to the decals. I really wanted to give Autolochus some exquisite shoulders, I knew I wasn't going to be paint this myself. What to do? Ask Victor Hardy? It was easier to go to Google, type in Sea Serpent and bingo, a bunch of cool, ancient drawings popped up.
This one ended up on his right shoulder, in Photoshop I created a different hue...

Here's the one for the right shoulder, I also recolored this one to match the red..

Here's a cool one I didn't use....yet

I sized them all and threw them on the decal sheet, that file is here if you want to use it. It is sized for the Testors decal paper that you can find below this image in a link.

I used Testors decal paper in a package of 3 sheets of clear and 3 of white for 9.99. The clear ones really didn't work at all, too translucent, so white it was. You can find that stuff here.
After applying it (see here for excellent tutorials on BOLS), I painted it to make it look worn.

Hope it inspires! Let me know about questions regarding photoshop..
Click here for all my other posts about my Iron Snakes.



  1. The shoulder pads are awesome! Excellent work mate, I'm very impressed. Thanks for taking us through your thought processes and the creation methods.

  2. Great work on the Dread there mate, and thanks for discussing your decal work. I've just ordered some stuff for Custom Decals myself, and I'm looking forward to showering my armies with logos! I've made custom decals before, are there any tips I should be aware of?

    I'll also be getting my DA Forge World Ven. Dread soon, so this has been a real inspiration, thanks!

  3. Looks great, nice job on the decals, they realy bring it to life.

  4. Advice on decals? Just try it out and see if it works. On BOLS they say not to use matte varnish, which I did because I didn't have glossy and it worked fine. It's better to use the stuff they recommend at Testors, which is something that really ties the ink to the decal.
    let your print dry long enough! Use Photoshop to find cool paintings from the 1600 and 1700. Try Hieronymus Bosch, a Dutch Painter, very dark stuff and widely credited to influence John Blanche
    Mike at SCW

  5. Simply fantastic! I absolutly LOVE the work you done with thoes Decals!

  6. Biggest advice, use micro-set and micro-sol. The first is some kind of glue that goes on the surface receiving the decal, and the second is a sort of decal melter. I just started a blood angles army and have been making heavy use of micro-sol. I basically keep putting it on until the decal is dissolved into the mini. I use matte varnish at the end, and the decal look perfect.

  7. Yep, sorry I didn't mention it at all. I am using both of them as well. They are amazing in blending the decal into the model
    Mike at SCW