Kelly Freiborg is one of our regular community painters whose work we feature. You may remember a few months back, we showed off her excellent rendition of Alarielle, the Everqueen atop her monstrous Wardroth beetle.
The latest kit to graduate from her painting table is Magnus the Red. This interpretation of the Crimson King uses a much darker and foreboding pallet than many we’ve seen, and stands upon a base of unforgiving stone and murky black liquid, but still retains all the iconic colours of the Daemon Primarch.
Here’s what Kelly had to say on painting this huge and iconic piece:
My process for completing models is usually very similar, and at a quick glance, doesn’t usually make a drastic change in how the model looks overall. The final steps for me involve looking at the model and re-assessing my initial ideas and tweaking them as needed and cleaning up details I am not completely happy with.
In the case of Magnus, there were several things I did since he was last posted, and these decisions were made after looking at initial pictures on several backgrounds and looking at the model in a day and night setting from several angles. I also find it very helpful to take a break and come back to the model after some days of not looking at it.
The items that I went back and did “fine tuning” on were the smoke (or flames) coming from the orb, the horns on Magnus’s head and chest, and the staff.
For the fire on the staff, I bumped up the contrast bringing the highlights all the way to white. When I originally painted the staff, I had picked out all of the recessed lines with light blue. These had ended up covered over in many places from when I used a wash on the brown – so I went back in and picked them out.
I like to play around with texture and paints quite a bit, and in this model, I used sponges and thicker paint to layer in a series of bright aqua, blue, and white flecks on the orb. To darken it back up a bit, I used a Nuln Oil wash, I then went over that under-layer with a mix of jewel paints.
On the horns on Magnus’s head, I was not happy after looking at pictures with how my original freehand ram horn texture looked. I redid that entirely. What you now see is new freehand work covering about 80% of my original painting.
The horns on the chest appeared solid black in photos, in person they are a slate blue fading to black, I added more of the blue so it was slightly more visible in photos.
There were also a few things I had not finished completely before. I have now finished the feathers on the wings, the orb on the staff, and the base.
I struggled with how exactly I wanted the wings to look. I decided to try something different and not just line the edges but to do more texture lines in a less bright color than a stark edge throughout each like-colored feather.
I tend to paint very often with direct or almost direct top lighting or a very subtle light source. This means the model will look the same or similar from all angles and will not have a single source light reference highlighting the front face of the model – think of it as the difference in how someone looks standing outside on a sunny day vs being on stage with a spotlight on them. This causes quite a bit of shading and highlighting all over the model but not drastically different on the bottom or back than the top.
I was originally intending to do an ice base. After the initial pictures I was not happy with the rock colors so I tweaked them a bit and added water effects to the base. I was planning to scratch it up to look like ice but as it set I really liked the very liquid black look of it and decided to keep it as is.
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