I finally decided to try painting one of my Grey Knight models. Not, however, as a Grey Knight. The chaplain took a lot of effort, and I wanted to paint something quick and easy instead of another big project, so I decided to try painting a Ghost Knight. Mordrak and his Ghost Knights are probably my favorite fluff and special rule from the new codex (which, to be honest, is not saying much, but I'll leave that topic for later), so I figured why not start there.
Based on an idea I had for painting Legion of the Damned, I wanted to use glow-in-the-dark paints. I picked these up a while back with the intention of using them on the aforementioned Legion, but never got around to it. So this was an experiment in using those paints, and on achieving an "otherworldly" effect.
The basic idea was instead of the usual method of painted recesses darker and protruding areas lighter to achieve a natural lit effect, to paint recesses in white and higher surfaces darker, to make the model look as if it was lit internally and not reacting to actual lighting. Kind of like the ghosts in Ghost Busters, in a way. I planned to do this by painting a white basecoat of glowing paint then drybrushing it in blue.
The results were terrible. This was partly because of the paint not doing what I expected: it turns out that the paint dries clear, not white. So the metallic primer (I chose metallic with the assumption that it would help reflect the light outwards - that and I don't have any white primer right now) was not actually covered well, and I didn't get the basic colours I wanted. also, the glow effect was very weak and patchy (there are glowing particles in the paint, so a single coat does not give a smooth glowing effect, rather there are spots where it glows). So I had to apply a large number of coats of paint. But I was impatient and the paint took longer than normal model paints to dry, so I applied it too thickly (since it was clear a thin coat was barely visible to the eye so there was a strong temptation to load the brush and place a lot in each stroke, which I succumbed to). And the paint flowed very freely, so it ended up all pooling in recesses. This all made me even less patient and I gave up on having a nice model, so I just threw the paint on to see how thick it needed to be to glow nicely.
The result was that the model lost all detail and still looked metallic, albeit metal covered with something translucent. Then I rushed the drybrush and, because of the complete lack of detail, the drybrush looked terrible and covered too much. So I tried a white "wash"; white paint with a lot of water to fill the recesses (I mixed in some of the glowing paint figuring it couldn't hurt). That just made things worse. The final result? Complete abject failure.
As you can see it looks awful in the light. It doesn't look bad in the dark once it's had a good charge, but it's still not smooth and it takes a LOT of paint to get a reasonably bright glow. Here's a closer look so you can see the spotty glowing effect:
It's possible that those spots are partly due to the watered-down wash I painted over the drybrush, but I don't really think so - every time I checked it it looked spotty. Still, a lot of the problems are down to me not being familiar with the paint and rushing it's application. Actually, it's possible that my choice of model is not suitable either: Grey Knights have a lot of fine detail and different materials, the combination of flowing paper and detailed engraving means it's hard to tell what's happening without the colours. Perhaps a simpler model would be more suitable.
I plan to strip the paint from this model and try again. This time I will mix the glowing paint with white and apply it in very very thin layers, and stop when the white looks good instead of when it glows well. I'm thinking of either painting straight on the model (best done with plastic) as the glowing paint didn't stick to the primer very well. Actually, I suspect this metallic primer might not be very good for painting on as I noticed a little trouble with the Chaplain as well, although the problem seems to be much worse with this glowing paint than with my Citadel paints. Perhaps a wash and/or drybrush applied first might help.
Another thing to try would be to paint the model normally and then paint a few thin layers of glowing paint on top. Thus the model would look normal in the light and glow a little in the dark. Not the quick easy paint job I had in mind, and won't look as good under UV lights, but if I can get a reasonably strong glow it will still be kind of fun.
I also have some glow-in-the-dark clay, the problem is that it needs to be baked hard. I plan to use it for bases and perhaps eyes and blades, other bits of detail etc. However I don't have an oven right now so I can't bake it. I tried mixing it with greenstuff and milliput, but it the mixtures don't harden properly and don't glow brightly, so that's out. When I get an oven I'll come back to it.