First off I'd like to direct you to The Fallen Princes competition here. If your looking for a reason to paint something or some extra motivation this is an excelent excuse, with the competition being the paint a squad its as open as you could want, any game system, plus a transport if you choose. I chose (along with a bunch of others) to do a unit of Sternguard Vets, although mine are for my Blood Angels. I thought it was a grand excuse to paint something a bit differently.
I thought I'd try doing some zenith based highlighting on the models. This is essentially trying to paint the models with shading and highlights appropriate to how lighting from a given source would fall on them. Not a huge shocker but the easiest way to see how this looks is to shine a fine beam of light on a model and see where the shade is. The easiest way to get this effect onto a model is to base coat it in your shade colour and then spray the base colour from above or an angle as the light:
I primed these chaps in citadel chaos black and then having left them plenty of time to dry went in with army painter dragon red from above, behind and to their left shoulder a little. It's a little tricky to get good photos of it as the idea is to get it to look like the natural shading that would be visible in a photo. Still hopefully you can get the idea, it shows up best on the heavy flamer chap at the bottom I think (on the flamer I'll later paint black! Doh!). Yes, so theres the basic effect. Obviously I wanted to take it a bit further and increase the contrast, add highlights, etc. as otherwise Models using this technique seem to end up looking a bit unfinished. So I then sprayed them with leviathan purple using an airbrush:
This failed badly due to my beat up old airbrush so I went in with the purple wash with a brush:
Once this had dried completely I went lightly back in with the Army painter Dragon Red, spraying lightly so as to leave shading all over the model but keeping the zenith effect.
Its tricky to see from the above image but there are a few areas of sharp transition from red to black. Once these had dried well I used two coats of Thraka Green to better blend these areas into each other:
In parts two and three I'll highlight the models up, base them, start blocking out colours and then do the details following the shading already laid down on the models. I'll see about a transport for them too!
If you ever want more ideas on something give From The Warp a click and do a search, seriously!