Painting Tron-Inspired Harlequins

Harlequins are one of those model kits that I think every mini painting enthusiast thinks about painting at some point. They’re so dynamic, and just detailed enough to be interesting while still leaving plenty up for interpretation, stellar design work on by GW. I’ve had the itch for a long time, but I never got excited enough about an idea for them to pull the trigger. That is, until their new Psychic Awakening rules were released in White Dwarf. Those rules feel perfect for them, and some of the cool things they let you pull off got me really interested in putting some Harlequins of my own on the tabletop.

Coming up with the scheme:

First things first, I needed a scheme. I’d seen countless stunning Harlequins painted by much more skilled artists so I wanted to do something different from the traditional chequers, jester garb, etc… both to be a special snowflake and also to avoid the very real pressure of comparing myself to others. Setting a reasonable goal for myself was also important here, I want to play Warhammer 40k with these models which means I’ll probably be painting up 40-50 minis. They need to look cool, but also can’t take too long to paint and can’t be too boring to paint a bunch of (See: Space Marines). With that in mind and some newish fluorescent paints sitting unused on my desk, I came up with the idea of Harlequins in Tron-style jumpsuits. I never had a clear image of what the Webway would look like, but visuals of the Grid from Tron fit so perfectly for me. I can just see these elves screaming through those corridors in time and space on their lightning fast jetbikes, relying on sheer skill as they pull off maneuvers mortals could only dream of.

Test model time!

Okay so then it was time to see if the idea worked at all, and if I could pull it off without spending a week on each mini. Being super excited by the whole thing, I quickly built up the box of basic troops I’d bought, primed them black, and slapped on a sort of zenithal highlight with very dark blue to give the black some depth. Then I hit a speedbump – what colors should they even be? To get an idea of what various colors would look like glazed over white on a black background I made a bunch of these test bases. I got them fairly smooth with some sandpaper, primed them black, then masked out horizontal lines and sprayed down some white primer. Repeating that with vertical stripes gave me the grid pattern. I then tried out a variety of colors I liked, knowing I wanted a blue and a magenta for sure. The Scale75 Electric Blue was so good I went ahead and did five right away, which was probably a mistake because then I never got around to any reds or yellows.

Because I was such a fan of the blue I took that color for my test mini as well. I didn’t take any early pictures but after a couple hours I ended up with something I rather liked. Not finished and not perfect, but definitely something cool looking! I posted it up on the Independent Characters group asking for some general feedback and ideas on the hair and long, flowing cloth, then tried out a bunch of their suggestions as they came in. That process was a ton of fun actually, and I ended up with reflective dark hair and this awesome digital grid pattern that I think feels just perfect for them. Chatting with my friend Tom later I added a few more neon lines to better define the dark shapes as well as some brighter highlights.

I took pictures of the actual line work on another model here, all it took was a good brush and thinned PrimAcryl Titanium White from Schmincke. That white will cover black fairly well in a single coat, making it way easier to get the clean lines I was looking for. Once I’ve got all the lines in place all I have to do is glaze over them with my blue, giving me a really bright neon look due to the white showing through underneath. I didn’t take my time on the gems since there are so many of them, just gave them a second coat of blue and then a little white reflection dot.

At this point I knew my process and could knock out one of these Players in about two evenings of painting, a completely acceptable speed for me. Plus, since I’m not batch painting them it is much more enjoyable and I’m not too worried about getting burned out by the process! Here are the WIP photos of other two I’ve finished so far, then I’ll wrap things up.

All together now:

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