Sunday, August 10, 2014

X-Wing: TIE Phantom Repaint - Cloak/Decloak Effect

As alluded to in the Phantom Showcase article (here), I've finally put pen to paper (or more like fingers to keyboard) and completed my tutorial on how I did the cloak/decloak effects on my two TIE Phantoms.

The Repaint

If I'm honest, out of all the ships in Wave 4, the TIE Phantom would definitely not be my favourite. There's something about the profile of the ship that I don't like, it could be the cockpit, I can't quite put my finger on it. Anyway if you've seen my showcase article linked above the reason I love the ship is not because of the model but because of the rules. Ships that could cloak has always been one of my favourite in sci fi (Klingon Bird of Prey anyone?). And the rules for cloaking in X-Wing is absolutely ingenious. Works very well thematically and even better mechanically (just play a game with Echo to see what I mean).

I was led to this idea by my regular opponent/test dummy, Kevin, when he saw a post on the FFG forum where a guy painted a cloak effect on a TIE Interceptor (this was before Wave 4 was released). I can't find the original forum post to give credit where credit is due but I watched a cloaking effect painting tutorial on Youtube as part of my usual pre-painting research that can be found here.

I thought this effect looked fantastic on the TIE Interceptor and I believed would look even better on the TIE Phantom because of all the angular edges thanks to its three solar panel thingy. It certainly can't look any worse so when I got my paws on the Phantoms I went ahead with the repaint.

Read on to find out how it was done.


Given that the ships looked to have loads of recesses and crevices on its surface I decided to paint the black bits using my airbrush instead of a traditional brush. Because I'm lazy like that.

I started off by masking the areas I didn't want any paint on with a combination of blue tac and sellotape. I applied the blue tac in a squiggly pattern to represent the cloak/decloak boundary.

Given that I wanted one to look like it had just activated its cloaking device while the other coming out of cloak, I masked one with the back exposed for cloak and the front exposed for the other to represent the decloak.

Phantoms prior to repaint. Not going to win any beauty contests me things.

The Black Bits

Once that was done I whipped out the airbrush and loaded it up with Vallejo (VJ) Air Black. I sprayed it twice to ensure good coverage.

The Starry Bits

The black parts represents the black of space. However I know from painting my Battlefleet Gothic stuff that it looks light years better (sorry couldn't resist the pun) when you paint stars onto it.

So I took out my old toothbrush and flicked some white paint onto both ships. This is much easier than trying to paint lots of small white dots by hand.

And this is what it looks like with the sellotape and blue tac removed.

The Lighting Bits

The final part of the repaint is to paint on the lighting effects. There are four steps to this:

The first step is to draw lines where you want the lighting to run along the cloaked part of the ships. You can do this in any colour but I wanted to stay quite close to the Phantom's card art which is blue almost purple in colour.

Using the old GW Enchanted Blue, I drew squiggly lines along the boundary between the black parts and the unpainted hull of the ships. I also drew semi-random lines on the actual black parts of the ships to represent the lighting running uncontrolled all over the hull. I did this mainly to add more colour to the repaint and to create lighting "junctions" which is important for step three and four.

Also make sure you don't paint these lines too small as you will see in the next step.

The second step is to paint a lighter shade of the base colour within the lines drawn in the previous step. I used 50:50 GW Enchated Blue and GW Ceramite White.

It is important that the lines you draw at this step does not completely overlap the previous one. The previous, slightly darker, colour should show through at the edges. Hence it is important not to paint the first lines too skinny.

The third step is to add even a lighter line within the lines of the previous step but this time at more random places. I used a 75:25 GW Ceramite White and GW Enchanted Blue mix again making sure the previous colours show through as much as possible.

Note the places that you should apply this colour should include the specific areas described in the fourth step below.

The fourth and final step is to pick out specific areas with pure white. I lightly dabbed GW Ceramite White at the "junction" where three strands of lighting meet. I also added pure white to areas where a point of lighting meets an edge of the hull. Therefore when you combine all the steps the effects is that the colour gets progressively brighter at these specific points.

This completes the effect.

The Reveal

Behold TIE Phantoms doing the invisibility trick!



The Phantom Menace

I'm really happy with how these turned out. It has completely transformed the ships even though it's not a complete repaint like my previous projects. They are now one of my favourite from Wave 4! Now I just need to find a soundboard app so I can play the cloak/decloak sound effects in game!

That's all I got for tonight. Stay tuned and as always keep the flying casual.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool, i just picked up a phantom an hour ago, and will use some of your tips! ( airbrushing FTW!) Im going to use more purple though , Thanks for the tutorial