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Painting a 40K Thunderhawk in a day

Yep, that's kind of what I did.

When Mark passed, we discovered that he had a hobby backlog that could be best described as monumental.  Most of it has found loving homes and one piece of that backlog that I couldn't resist was the crashed Thunderhawk tile.  This was something Forgeworld produced many moons ago at a time when I could neither afford or have a place to store it.

Of course, by the time both of those conditions had changed, Forgeworld didn't make the tile anymore and I consigned that dream to the lands of impossibility so when one turned up amongst Mark's old things I immediately asked if I could take it.

As a tile, unless you have a whole other set of tiles with which to use it it isn't the most versatile piece of terrain, but I'd always wondered if it could be converted into something like the old crashed aquila lander that GW once did.
So, with tile in hand, I started out attacking it with a dremel.  Mistake.  I burned through two cutting disks just doing half of one side.  Enter the trusty old hand saw (yes, the kind used for chopping up 2x4's).  Made very quick work of the bits I didn't want and I got to what you see below.

Not particularly subtle, nor is it going to blend into a table.  It then went into a cupboard for a few months as life (TM) took over, but recently I was using one of those oscillating multi-tools to take apart our kitchen and I realised it was kind of a souped up dremel so out came the Thunderhawk and all those edges and corners got smoothed off.  I also had to remove some of the underside material so it would sit flat as the original tile had raised edges.

I thought quite a bit about what colour to paint it - do I pick one of the colours of the various Bunker armies, or paint it old, rusted, weathered metal.  The terrain piece definitely has features that are suggestive of a recent crash which somewhat precluded the old metal idea in my head, and painting it a specific armies colour does conceptually limit the gaming possibilities a bit.  I ultimately opted for a very light grey, reminiscent of modern day aircraft fuselages.  This means it can easily be passed off as a medical craft, some kind of utility or cargo transport, or could even have been a priority shuttle for a dignitary or some other important passenger.  I felt this way it keeps the maximum possibility for story telling alive.

Rattle can silver, light green, grey, and grey seer? then got it to this state in about 10 minutes.

Queue another month or two in the cupboard waiting for an opportunity to paint it again.

Yesterday, that opportunity came at last.

For such a large model, painting had to be quick and with the exception of the cockpit windows, and one or two tiny details, I didn't use anything other than a 1/2 inch brush, and a couple of pieces of sponge to achieve what you see below.
The method was all about building up layers of colour.
I sponged on a very light grey craft paint to tidy up the fuselage colour, used raw umber to darken the ground cover, and silver for the metallics.
The whole thing then got a liberal wash of raw umber watered down heavily with a little added flow improver.
It was nice and warm so that dried off relatively quickly and I just watched it for any obvious pooling which I drew away with a damp brush.
Back in with sponging the light grey, silver, dry brushing a couple of different lighter browns for the ground cover and rocks, some targeted black washes especially behind the craft where the ground has been gouged as it crashes, and repeat steps as needed till it reached something I was happy with.
The last step was a watered down black on the cockpit windows (I may varnish them later for that glossy look).

There's plenty of little details in there I'll got back to at some point and paint - wires, aquillas, etc. but right now its a more than tabletop ready piece of scenery just crying out for an imperial force to fight a last stand over.