Painting the Saim-Hann serpent icon freehand

Sure, painting it once or twice... no big deal. But 27 jetbikes and a half dozen Vypers.... what was I thinking.

Next time, I'll be smarter about it and come up with some kind of shortcut.

To be honest though, after painting almost 20 jetbikes, the icon has become routine. The first couple of times I was real nervous about messing up but now... I just whip the thing out and move on to the next step.

Note to self: Make sure my next army has a simple icon.

Since this post is fairly old, I decided to go back and add a few more links to relevant articles to help better explain some freehand concepts.
Breaking down complex shapes into smaller elements
Two methods for mapping out freehand
When to do your freehand is important as well

Link: Follow my Saim-Hann army project

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. You're really making a great job on those minis Ron; my most sincere congratulations. I'm curious about your freehands: they're painted in white colour, and from the pictures it seems that you obtain a smooth and complete coverage of the base colour just in one step. How do you do it? Do you have a special product (like some kind of "Citadel Foundation - White Colour")? I've always painted white very diluted in order to avoid lumps, and a product with a good flow and an excellent coverage would be very interesting...

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Juahn F'rann: Thanks for the compliment.

    Actually the freehands here are done in a real light grey color. The only true "white" in the army so far is on the front of my jetbike rider helmets and that fades to this same light grey on the sides.

    It's no special paint, it's some cheap stuff I get at Michael's Craft store. The trick is that it's an opaque color. Similar to the GW Foundation stuff I hear but I've never used those.

    I paint it straight out of the bottle for the first layer trying not to leave too many brush strokes (but I do leave some) and then the second and final layer is the same paint just slightly thinned with water so it dries smooth and you're left with no brush strokes at all.

    Now that I've had some practice, an icon takes about 3 minutes to do, start to finish.

  3. Those are some pretty slick icons! I've never thought about it, but I guess an armies markings could be a consideration when you are choosing which flavor to play.

  4. Hmm, thats made me think about how you could do a good stencil. You wouldn't want it out of plastic-card though, you want something flexible.

    I've used a small cloth before on semi-flat surfaces, it worked well because if the cloth was just slightly damp, it kept it from moving too much. As I went digging into the cupboard to find out what the name of the cloths were (vileda for those in Canada), I noticed a possible alternate in the form of an old rubber glove. They would seem perfect. thin and uniform(no rough edges from fabric), and I'd think they'd easily mould over the model, and self-adhere to certain extent to avoid slippage.

    Thought I'd share, I'll have to try it myself sometime.

  5. 3 Minutes to knock one out? It would take me 3 minutes just to build up the courage of putting my brush to the model! You're a braver modeler than I!

    They look great and that's the benefit of all this hard work now, right? A set of seksi jetbikes all handpainted swopping in to defeat their enemies. That's what 40k is all about. :)

  6. Cawshis Clay: It was tough at first, I was so worried about making a mistake. And with the shaded red underneath, there would be no real way to fix that wouldn't look obvious.

    I'm careful each time I draw one. I set out an example to the side and then paint the outline and then fill it in quick after that. I only make one or two strokes and then check to make sure everything is still lining up before moving on.

    I actually have a system for drawing it now so it's the same each time.

  7. Beautiful work, but why not use the decals? slap'm on, use some decal set, and paint over it, I prefer this method as I get consistent results. Once the model is varnished (gloss or matte) it doesn't even show that there is a decal there. It takes along time for me to finish a model as it is.. :)

  8. that looks awesome great work 10/10 for coolness

  9. Thanks Bloodthirster, there is a variation of this icon but I'm too afraid to try it on my Warlocks.

    I may try it on my Farseer if I get the courage up.


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