Monday, September 19, 2011

Dark Angels Rhino Stenciling

Brother C here with another army work in progress update.

Today I wanted to talk about transferring an insignia onto your rhino chassis. Note that this technique is really just for those hard to draw symbols that make drawing your own a pain in the butt.
This is not an artists' article about how to paint gorgeous frescos on your models. This tutorial simply is what it is, getting a single colored simple symbol on your vehicles.

Step 1 is to find your symbol. Either scan your codex page or poke around on the internet until you find one you like. I chose the Disciples of Caliban logo since I am using their paint scheme and fluff for my Dark Angels. Very complicated curves and spacing for the lion and this technique seemed the most practical to use for this application.

Step 2 is to do a test print, so you can get your scaling down properly. Print out a few copies each at a slightly different scale (size) and see which one will be the most appropriate for the result you are trying to achieve. I wanted my whole symbol to fit on the top of my rhino body to match similar paint jobs in my army. It took my quite a few to get it just right.

Step 3 is to carefully cut out the symbol and leave the rest of the paper intact to use as a guide for your stencil. You MUST MUST use an Xacto blade for this and it MUST MUST be a NEW blade. Don't use that old crusty blade you've been using for your conversions, get a fresh new one and be sure to take your time on this part.

Step 4 is to place the stencil where you need it on the model, feel free to use masking tape to tape it in place if it won't stay where you want for tracing.

Step 5 is to trace the outline of the symbol using a metallic pen. You can pick these up at Wal-Mart real cheap. These are great because one, I can write on black paint with these, and two if you make a mistake it is very easy to rub off and start again. If you aren't tracing on black, you could probably use any type of cheap felt tip marker and it'll work just fine. Remove the stencil and study your placement. Does this work with what your goals were? Do you need to reposition? Simply wipe off the pen, reposition and retrace.

Step 6 is to fill it in with paint. I had to use 2 coats to get the consistency I was looking for.
Step 7 is touchup.
Pretty simple really, just know that you can't rush the cutting out of the pattern, or the tracing. And BE CREATIVE with this. Use these patterns as guides and feel free to make your own changes once you go in and paint.
Note that this same technique can be used to 'layout' your freehand as well. Just simple paint as you want when you get to that part.

What do you guys think? Any tips you have found when trying similar things? Is there a step I missed? How would you have down this if you wanted to use an airgun instead? Does the technique change if you wanted to apply this to an already painted model, or one that just has been primed?


  1. Nice stencils and a helpful guide. I suppose one thing you could do, once you've got a stencil design you like and will use often, is use a thin piece of plasti-card instead of paper. Then you could use it again and again without worrying about it tearing.

  2. hey man, thanks for the suggestion. think that is a great idea, i just worry about some of the spacing between parts of the symbol. anyways, i'll give that a try on the next set. i'm going to eventually have 5 rhino chasis complete with 2x for command squads and 3x for normal tacts. course, that is part of my greenwing list which has yet to surface on here.