Monday, January 22, 2018

Redghar Part 8

I've been wrapping up some of the remaining details on Redghar.  Since last time, I've done some more of the metallics, this time on the chains.  The large chain attached to the anchor came in several parts.  There was a section that goes from behind his back to his left hand.  I'd left this off until now because it would have made getting into the area between his left arm and body even trickier.  But, since those sections are done, no reason to keep it off any longer.  I still have the bit of chain dangling down from his left hand (which I accidentally broke off earlier in the project).  However, I want to wait until the base is built so I can take that into consideration when I place it.  And, while the metals are mostly there, they aren't quite 'done' yet.  I want to go back with the weathering colors and add bits of rust here and there.  I won't go anywhere near the level I did on the anchor... but they need at least a bit of weathering to them.

I've also been working on the knee patch.  I went through a bunch of ideas on what to do.  I even sketched in a different pattern and color, but just didn't like how it looked.  The color was too different from the rest of the figure and it, along with the pattern, proved to be too distracting.  So I switched it up and went with a purple, which is already one the figure here and there.  I also put on a subtle design.  I'm currently deciding if I want to add more to the design or just leave it as is.

On another note, I'm starting to work on some video tutorials.  Showing how I did the pattern on the knee was going to be my first one.  Unfortunately after filming it, the software crashed and the video was lost.  There are clearly some kinks in the process that I need to work out.  I filmed a bunch of short tests, but this was my first long one.  So perhaps it was too big (though it really was not that long).  I can always try breaking it up into smaller parts.  I will be experimenting some and, when I feel like I've gotten it to work, I'll try to do another tutorial.  Hopefully this time I'll actually be able to share it!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Redghar Part 7 and Knight Part 9

I haven't made much progress on any single project in the past week, but I have done a little bit here and there.  I decided to take a crack at painting some dark metal on Redghar for the pistol barrels and the either cannon balls or bombs on his belt.  It basically involved using a lot of matte black mixed into the metal, then more metallic and a bit of a matte highlight color to create the shine points.  The idea is trying to force the dark areas to stay dark and limit the light/reflective spots.
Really not much left to do on him.  I have the feeling the chains on the anchor and around his neck will take me a bit, but the knee patch (once I figure out the color) and the arm band should be quick enough to do.

In addition, I did some glazing on the knight.  Mostly I focused on the face, now that I've gotten the areas around it painted.  I also did some glazing on the armor and the surcoat, but the effects there are very subtle and not easy to pick out from the photo.

And here's a close up comparison of what difference the glazes make.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Pirate Scene Part 1

For a while now I've been planning on placing Redghar and Barbarela into the same scene, along with one of the monkey's from the Black Sailors line.  As I've almost finished painting the two main figures, it was time to get to work on the base.  Obviously it'd be best to start the base when I started the figures but, since that clearly didn't happen, I had to figure out some other ways to plan out the scene.  I knew roughly how I wanted the figures to be positioned together and, after a lot of brainstorming, I decided the scene would be a pier.  It worked with the grouping and their poses.  The rough idea is they just got off their ship and are about to walk into the town and see what sort of trouble they can get into.

In order to design the scene, I placed a piece of paper over a large thick piece of cork.  That allowed me to take the figures and push the pins in their feet through the paper and into the cork, holding them into place where I wanted them.  Then, I could sketch out the scene.  Overall size of the base, shape of the pier, etc.  I also marked down the characters outline for future placement reference.

I got some very helpful advice from Roman Lappat on the composition of the base.  Basically how to arrange the main support posts to create some asymmetry and also some height variation.  While those details aren't in my sketch above, they resulted in some changes made during the construction.

To build the piece I picked up some dowels and basswood strips from the local arts and crafts store.  I decided to go with basswood over balsa wood as it is a bit stronger and would make the base less fragile in the end.  After cutting pieces to the desired length, I went in with a hobby knife to carve them up, chip and distress them, etc.  Basically I wanted no smooth edges or sharp corners.  Slowly, the piece began to take shape.

I placed pins in the major joints as well to provide more stability to the piece.  I left them showing as I figure the pieces would be nailed together, so I can paint them that way when it's done.  At this point, the supporting structure is almost done.  I still need to distress the right front dowel and I'll probably add some other posts next to it (tied on like the ones on the left).

To get an idea of how it will look in the end, I placed on some planks and some of the accessories which will help to finish off the scene.  The planks will be distressed just like the rest of the structure.  But I won't get to those until the supports are done.  Once the planks are glued in place, I'll be able to add the pin holes for the figures and finally see how the scene will look with them in place as well.  Hopefully all the planning pays off!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Knight Part 8

I feel like I'm really in the home stretch on this one.  If it weren't for the holidays, I'd be sure I could finish him by the end of the month.  But, if he has to wait a bit longer, that'll be okay.

Over the weekend, I finished off the chain mail on his legs and then did a bit more detail work.  There was the leather on his feet and some clean up needed around the dagger (I'd knocked it off a while back and had to re-glue it).  The only details left on the knight are the dagger handle and the arrows in his shield.  I gave the base a first coat, but still have plenty of painting to do there.  Once all that is finished, I'll do the final weathering and call it done!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Knight Part 7

I've been working on my TMM approach and made a number changes for this piece.  I normally mix in some matte paints with the metallics to control the shine (mixing dark matte colors into the shadows keep them from reacting to the light).  Previously I'd work with several shades of metallics, a dark, medium, and light silver shade.  This time I ditched the additional shades and just worked with the medium metallic shade.  As I add in dark matte colors to make the shadows, the balance of metallic finish vs matte finish seems to be better than when I started with an already dark metallic.  For the highlights, I mixed the light color into the metallic.  This keeps the highlights where I want them and they're less dependent on the room lighting.  The blending with that can be a bit tough, so I'm still working on that.  But I feel like it's headed in a better direction.

Another change to my approach is to use more stippling in the metal application.  It gives the surface more texture and helps with the blends.  That's helpful on the larger surface, don't quite know of a way to do that on the chain mail.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Knight Part 3, 4, 5, 6

Wow, so I've been pretty behind with posting here.  I didn't realize it'd be so long!  Well, let's try to quickly catch up...

After finishing the basic color on the surcoat, I took on the leathers.  Here a big focus is the texture, in addition to lighting.  It's an area I feel like I've struggled with for a while, but am finally starting to feel comfortable painting the leather sections on my figures.

Next I did the design work on the front of the surcoat.  My plans for this figure changed along the way.  In the end, I settled on a griffin image (found it in a reference on English heraldry from the 1200s, but switched up the colors to match this figure).  The approach started with a simple sketch before filling in the pattern and then adding the final details.

After that, I took on the shield.  Obviously I used the same design as the chest.  But, since the shield gave me more room to work, I went into greater detail.  Here's how that design progressed:

And, just the other day, I had a bit of time and decided to take on more of the metals.  I focused on the helmet.  I approached it more through stippling.  I started with a dark undercoat and applied some brown tones on top of the black (broken up).  This will be mostly covered up, but will still show through in spots.  Then I started with a dark metal (Scale75's Heavy Metal + Reaper's Pure Black).  This was applied all over, but through stippling rather than a complete layer.  Thus the underlying color still showed though in areas.  I then started lighting the metal (more metallic, less black) and applied lighter and lighter layers through stippling.  I concentrated the dots in the areas I wanted more light reflected.  On edges I did use some long, continuous strokes.  But even these I tried to break up a bit to give the surface a more uneven look rather than appearing too smooth.  The benefits of the stippling approach are two fold.  First, it gives you a beaten sort of texture to the armor.  Second, it helps create some blends without being true blends.  I find metallics hard to blend, but the grey metals are especially troublesome.  A section might look like it has a decent transition, but it's being hidden by how the metallic paint reflects the light.  Turn the figure and change the light angle, and all of a sudden that smooth transition looks anything but.  So stippling helps create the look of a blend without being a true blend and, for me, helps avoid the trouble I was having before.

And with that, we are back up to the current state of the figure.  I need to continue on with the metals for the chainmail.  The stippling won't quite work there, so I'll have to play around a bit to figure out my approach.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Knight Part 2

Well, once again I'm jumping from project to project.  This time I'm returning to a 54mm knight I started back in June.  This is really just about relaxing and having some fun painting.  My other big projects (Count Melenth and the pirate scene) are at points where I either need to sculpt something or build the base.  But I haven't done much painting lately and I really wanted to work on something that could get me back to that.

I decided to simplify my vision for this piece and reduce the amount of freehand I had initially planned.  I still intend to do some, but won't go overboard.  I'd like to keep this a relatively quick project so that I can get back to those other longer term ones.

When last I left this piece, I'd base coated the surcoat in red with a yellow stripe along the bottom.  So that's where I continued to work.  I'm taking it in sections.  First the upper body, then the waist, and now the parts around the legs.  The belts and splits in the coat break it up, so I can just focus on one region at a time.  For the red, I used Violet Red, shaded with Burgundy Wine, and then highlighted with Fire Red and then a mix of Linen White and Buckskin Pale.  The yellow is Palomino Gold, shaded with Burgundy Wine, and highlighted with Buckskin Pale and then Linen White.

I still have the lower right section of the surcoat to do, but you can get a good comparison between that region where I just have sketched in shadows and then the more finished sections of the figure.  I need to do a bit of tweaks to the highlights on the top.  I also plan to add some sort of design to the front of the figure.  Right now I'm thinking a lion's head... but I may change my mind before I get to that part.  After I do whatever design I choose, I'll need to do some clean up with the background red, so I'll take that opportunity to fix the highlights up top.

By the way, if anyone wants a real close up look, here's the full res version of the last image.  Just click on it for the big version