Fine lining has been, and I think always will be the bane of many a painter. Technically it is as simple as layering (it is layering, just finer) but in terms of actually doing it, can be as maddening as blending, or time consuming as unwarping resin.
So why is it such a chore? Why do so many people hate it so? Simple answer – because for so many people, it is the ONLY way of highlighting. A blended Space Marine looks GORGEOUS when painted properly, but your average gamer might not have the time or ability to attempt such a feat – leaving a choice (ignoring getting someone else to do it) of fine lining, or leaving it alone (which looks cack!)
As I said before, the idea behind fine lining is pretty simple: get a small brush, and trace the edges of the model/panel/armour plate that you’ve just done in one colour, then add a finer line of a lighter shade over the top, and done!The reality is different. VERY different! Fine lining requires a lot of patience and a steady hand to just ensure the first highlight goes on properly, let alone the second and/or third to really make a model stand out!
I have neither of these, so as you can imagine, for a long time my models remained un-highlighted and gathering dust in their sad state of just being black. Not any more. Since doing my Harakoni Warhawks (Imperial Guard) a few months ago, and highlighting each individual Valkyrie panel separately, I decided that maybe, just MAYBE I should go back and revisit my Raven Guard. Besides, the Thunderhawk needs love too, and that I HAVE to highlight somehow!
Enter the Nephilim Jetfighter, something with literally a billion panel lines. Several hours later, the panelling was done in a very rough coat of Mechanicus Standard Grey, followed many hours later by a thin line of Dawnstone on the very edge. The reason this relatively simple process took so long was twofold: the sheer amount of lines I had to highlight with a small brush to ensure no massive mishaps, and the little fact that after an hour or so fine lining REALLY screws with your eyes!
This is why you need a steady hand, the base highlight has gone a little wonky and as such, the Dawnstone went a little wonky, too! My lack of patience was a contributing factor here, too, as I could’ve slowed down and taken my time, but no, I hated the experience so much for its soul-destroying, cramp-inducing, eye-ruining tedium, that I maybe rushed it a little. However, looking back, I can see that doing it has made the model look a LOT better!
I know it still needs tidying up (and finishing) but the magpie struck so I started working on one of my Storm Eagles (neatly, this time!) That was soon followed by both of my Dreadnoughts. I want to repaint the armour on my Infantry before I start highlighting those. Even then, I have a whole load of Marines to paint, so I’m going to be working on them for a while!
At least they aren’t painted white, I suppose… Or Tau, that’s an awful lot of fine lining there…
It occurs to me that this blog hasn’t been exactly singing the praises of fine lining, but this isn’t to mean it isn’t a valid and useful (or necessary) technique for painting models. I just don’t like doing it. In my case, it’s a necessary evil, but that is just me.
I will leave you with a few helpful hints to help you on your own fine lining adventures:
– Keep your brushes neat and tidy, hairs rolled into a point will give a much better edge than hairs splayed out all over the place.
– Only use a small amount of paint at a time, this is more time-consuming but a lot more worthwhile in the long run.
– Ensure adequate lighting, if the room is too dark, the colours might seem to blend together, or you might pick the wrong shade and ruin the effect.
– Take regular breaks. I recommend this for painting anything, but because of the sheer amount of concentration required and the strain you can put on your eyes, take a ten minute break every hour or so (exactly like they recommend for video games!)
– Just take your time. Rushing won’t help you finish faster, and you’ll just have to correct your mistakes later on!
I hope this entry has been at least a little bit informative. My next entry will be dissecting the new Tau Codex, which should be fun!
Thanks for reading! Until next time!