Monday, July 3, 2017

Redghar Part 6 and Barbarela Part 7

Well, what started out as two independent pieces has now become a multi-figure scene... so the titling gets a bit confusing!  Over the past week I've done some more work on my pirate crew.  I initially focused on Redghar, trying to finish off the leather sections.  However, to make sure the overall piece looked consistent, I decided to work on the dwarf pirate, Barbarela, too.  Before I go into the details of each, here's how the two currently look as a pair:

Since I was working with leather, the obvious place to focus on the dwarf was his hat.  There was a bit of distressing in the sculpt, but I added to that with a bit of stippling to create more texture and some added cracks painted on as well.  His belt and boot will get a similar treatment, but haven't been finished yet.  In addition to the leather, I redid his red coat to bring it more inline with Redghar.  One problem I had to address when pairing these figures was the difference in contrast level.  The work on the dwarf was done back in December 2015.  Redghar was started almost a year later, at a time when I was more aggressive with my highlight and shadow range.  For the two to fit, I knew I needed to make some adjustments to the existing work on the dwarf.  The rest of his clothing and equipment will get touched up as well to deepen shadows and lighten highlights, where appropriate.  It's not done, but already I feel these two seem to fit together better.

As for the leather hat, here are a couple close ups to show the details and how the texture is done.

As for Redghar, the leather work continued on the same as before.  I did the belt around his waist and then took on the boots.  I might make some small adjustments (the new belt work might be a bit too light in spots), but overall I think it looks pretty much in line with the earlier work and lighting on the piece.

Soon I will need to start building the base.  I plan to do some conversions on the third figure (the monkey), so I will need the base to make sure he is posed correctly.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Redghar Returns! Pirate Orc - Part 5

It's been almost a year since I've done any painting on Redghar.  As often happens, I get to a point on a figure where I'm not quite sure how to move forward.  So I set it aside, work on other projects, and come back to it when I've had a chance to come up with a solution.  With Redghar my issue was the leather parts.  I find leather is tricky because you're painting texture along with highlights and shadows, so it's not something I feel 100% confident with (though I feel I'm getting a better handle on it).  However, my issue here was more a matter of color.  I did not feel the tradition brown-yellow leather colors would look good with the color palette I'd been using for the orc.  So I put this project on hold until I could come up with a mix I liked.

As often happens, my work on a different project ends up helping me figure out how to do a different one.  In this case it was my work on the Orc Brave.  I mixed some basic browns with the teals I used in his skin, creating a dull (slightly greenish) brown that I thought would work well on Redghar.  I made one further modification, mixing Burgundy Wine into the shadows (since that is the shadow tone used on the skin, red sash, and purple parts of the orc).  The mix for the brown leather was...
Shadow: 50/50 Walnut Brown and Burgundy Wine
Midtone: 60/40 Basic Dirt and Marine Teal
Highlight: 90/10 Terran Khaki and Surf Aqua
Top Highlight: Vampiric Shadow

I used this for the leather plate cover his waist.  For the belt on top of the sash, I decided to do a black leather.  The approach for that came from seeing Ben Komets' work on his Uther bust.  There were some nice black leather portions on there.  My version used a mix of Black and Marine Teal as a substitute for the Dark Sea Blue.  Highlights were done with Vampiric Shadow.

From there, I continued on with the leather work and tackled the strap around his chest.  Like on the belt, I tried to bring out the cracks and scratches.

Here are a couple close ups.  You can click on them for the full res version.

So, with Redghar back on track, I put some more thought into what I plan on doing with him when I'm finished.  For a while now I've been tempted to pair him with the dwarf pirate (another figure I'd almost finished).  Though they are from different ranges, I thought they fit well together.  You've got the diminutive captain and his big enforcer. I wanted to create a diorama of a pirate crew, but felt they needed a third crew member.  I had a few ideas, but nothing that seemed perfect.  After some more thought, I decided I will use one of the monkey's from the Black Sailors line (where Redghar is from).  That figure will need some converting.  I'd like to reposition the arms, legs, and tail.  But, I think that's within my abilities.  If I screw it up... well, the monkey wasn't that expensive a figure to begin with.  I did a quick mock up of how I think the scene will look.  Redghar and the dwarf will be on the deck of the ship and the monkey will be hanging from the rigging (pointing his gun off towards the right).

I'm going to redo a decent amount of the dwarf to bring him in line with Redghar.  The contrast isn't bad, but I wasn't pushing it as far as I am on the orc.  I'm sure it will be a while before the whole scene is done (I do need to get back to the Orc Brave soon to finish that piece up).  But I think this piece could be done in time for Adepticon and Crystal Brush.  I don't expect it to win in an ultra competitive category like Diorama... but if I can just make the cut I'll be very pleased.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Knight Part 1

I was getting a bit burnt out on the orc project. All the little details on the clothing take time, but you don't feel like you're making much progress. I could feel myself starting to rush things, so I decided to step back and work on something else for a bit. In a few weeks I can return to the orc hopefully refreshed and finish it at the level it deserves.

Anyway, the new project is a 54mm knight from Romeo Models. I'd recently happened across some reference images that will serve as the inspiration for the piece. I'm hoping to do a lot of design work on the clothing and the shield. In these early stages I have delusions that I can paint like Bohun or SkeletteS. Soon reality will kick in and I'll pick a simpler design that I can actually pull off. After all, this figure is 54mm, not 90mm like the samurai I did. But you can't improve by always playing it safe, so I hope to push myself on this one.  I plan to write a full step by step tutorial on this project, so check back for more information on that later.  In the meantime, I'm sharing some previews of the sort of information that will be in that below.

I began by base coating the majority of the figure.  You can already see the influence of the above images.

The majority of my work so far has focus on the face. The fact that a good portion of the face was covered up actually made it more challenging. Had to get as much detail in the small section that was there as I could. Here's a breakdown of each step...

Image 1: Base coat of the face and surrounding regions. The face is a 50/50 mix of Reaper Master Series Bronzed Shadow and Rosy Shadow.

Image 2: I like to sketch in the shadows. For this I used Reaper's Chestnut Brown (for most of the shadows) and Mahogany Brown (for the darkest shadows). In each case I mixed in maybe 20% of the base color. I'm focusing on the area around the eyes, nose, and cheeks.

Image 3: After getting the rough shadows around the eyes, I pause to paint the eyes themselves. I used an off-white (Reaper's Weathered Stone) and then just a very dark brown (Walnut Brown) for the iris/pupil. On a larger scale I will paint a distinct iris and pupil, but for 54mm and smaller, a single dark dot (either dark brown or dark blue) tends to work well enough.

Image 4: I now return to the skin and using a number of layers blend the shadows into the midtone. I start with the shadow tones (plus 20% of the base) and gradually add more and more of the base color with each layer. I smooth out the shadows, leaving the darkest tones just where I want them.

Image 5: I continue on with the highlights. To the base, I gradually add a 50/50 mix of Bronzed Highlight and Fair Skin. I'm working farther and farther away from the main shadows. Highlights are focused on top of the cheeks, the browns, upper mouth, and the parts of the nose not hidden by the helmet. At the very end, I add a bit of Linen White for the top highlights. Just on the top parts of the cheeks and a dab on the nose.

Final Step: Not shown yet as I need to paint the surrounding areas. Once those are down, I'll return to the face and use some red and blue glazes to add color variation. The red glazes will be applied to the sides of the cheeks to make them appear a bit more rosy. The blue glaze will be applied above the mouth to create the look of stubble. Check back as I will post those images as soon as I've competed that part of the figure.

You can click the above image for a larger view.

I also put together a look at how I start the design work.  While I have much more complex plans that just a stripe, even the simple stuff needs to be done carefully or else you will run into trouble when you start to build on top of it.  So as I begin the simple stripe along the bottom of his surcoat, I create an improvised ruler from the corner of a piece of paper to help me measure the size.  Using a marker I indicate how large the stripe will be.

Then I hold up the paper next to the figure and place small dots all along the bottom of the surcoat.

After that, I carefully paint a line between the dots.  I can again use the paper to check various parts of it to see if everything is the right size.

Finally I fill in the stripe.  I'm not worried about the border being completely clean.  I will fix that when I go back and highlight/shade the two colors.  The important thing is that I'm beginning with a stripe of uniform width all along the bottom of the surcoat.

There will be more work to come on top of the stripe.  But, you will see, the basic procedure of measuring and marking out guide dots will be used to create more and more complex designs.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Orc Brave Part 3

I've begun constructing the base.  Before I ever started this figure, I began brainstorming what sort of scene he'd be in.  He's got a somewhat different pose for an orc.  In his right had is an ax, but it's down to his side and relaxed, not ready to strike.  His left arm up with a finger outstretched.  Perhaps he's pointing at something or making a challenge.  I decided to go a different route and have him reaching out to gently touch something.  The kit came with a couple scenic accessories (though no true base).  One of those pieces was a small section of tree with a lizard on it.  So I decided to build up a larger tree and have the orc reaching out towards the lizard.  I've only just begun constructing the scene.  I began with some cork for the ground and then twisted together wires to form the body of the tree.  I then pulled them apart at the top for some branches and at the bottom for some roots.  I got it all into position and then glued on the part of the tree with the lizard.  Up next I will take some modeling putty and build the rest of the tree on top of the wire frame.  I'm not much of a sculptor, but hopefully that will be within my ability level!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Orc Brave Part 2

Well, to make up for the slow posts, here's a second update for the orc right on the heels of the first.

Last night I decided to work on the legs.  Here's a look at how they progressed.  I began with a normal base coat.  Then I sketched in the shadows.  And finally I smoothed those out and applied the highlights.  These three photographs where taken under the same lighting conditions, so by comparing the top and bottom image you can get a good sense of how much of the shadows/highlights are painted on and what just comes from the lighting conditions.

Here's a close up of his right leg.  Notice how the biggest range from shadow to highlight is used on the major shapes.  Then, a somewhat smaller contrast range is used to bring out the finer details.

I still want to do a bit more blending around the knee (fade the purple into the green more around the edges) and the toes and white parts of the legs are unfinished.  Once that is done I'm going to go back over the skin and adjust some of the lighting and color.  I want the highlights and shadows to match of the whole figure (some parts need a bit of tweaking).  I will also use some glazes to adjust some of the skin color so the different sections match (my mixes weren't exact).  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Orc Brave Part 1

I've been a bit behind in sharing my latest project here.  Back at the end of last year I was approached by Ouroborus Miniatures to help out with their kickstarter.  They were running a small one to release two 54mm scale orc figures.  They wanted me to paint one of the two figures, the Brave, and write up a painting journal as a stretch goal for their backers.  I like the figures and it sounded like a fun project, so I agreed.  The figures from the kickstarter arrived the other month, so once I was done with my work for the MFCA show I got started on the orc.

The painting journal I'm writing is an exclusive for the kickstarter backers, so I can't share everything on this project.  I can still show you work in progress pictures and fill you in on what I'm doing. But if you're a kickstarter backer, you can look forward to more step by step pictures and a much more detailed discussion of the painting.

In addition to writing the journal, I'm also planning to enter this figure into the 'Eavier Metal 'Eadbanger competition (no reason I can't do both!).  I didn't have time to paint anything for it last year, so nice to have an eligible project this time around.

Okay, on to the orc.  My only other recent orc project has been Redghar (which is still unfinished).  I wanted to use some of the things I learned on that project and stick with a similar style, but switch up the color palette to a more traditional orc look.  I decided on a green more towards the blue-green end of the spectrum.  For the deepest shadows I used Peacock Green mixed 50/50 with Ritterlich Blue.  From there I went to Peacock Green mixed 50/50 with Marine Teal.  Then Meadow Green 50/50 with Surf Aqua.  And finally I added some ghost white to highlight.  The result is, in my opinion, an interesting shade of green.  Here's a look at an earlier stage on the orc next to Redghar.  It's a large resolution image, so you can click on it for a close up view.

Here's a look at my palette with the green mix.  It's goes from the Peacock/Ritterlich mix on the far left up to Meadow Green/Surf Aqua with some Ghost White on the far right.  There are a few spots on the orc where I went all the way up to pure ghost white too.

Over the past weekend I've continued to work on the orc.  Since the earlier image where just the head, neck, and right arm/hand were painting, I've done the back and right arm.  Most recently I've taken on the chest.  Since there's a lot of skin showing, it seems like an overkill of green.  So I decided to paint him in a two-tone look, with white on his belly, under his arms and chin, etc.

I still have some work to do on the skin (besides the legs).  I want to add some additional color to the hands and paint the scars on his back/face.  I also want to tweak some of the highlights and adjust the green shades here and there.  But, he's moving along quite well.  Not too much longer and I'll be ready to start on his clothing and weapons.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Empress' Dragoons Officer Part 7

And the piece is finally finished!

Since my last post, I worked to finish off the column.  I focused on the front side first before turning to the back.

 The rear was done just like the front, working on 4 or 5 stones at a time.  It was a relief to finally be done with all of them!!!  After that I laid down some basic dirt brown shades for the ground.  I tried to keep it light.  I wanted it to look like dry earth, not dark mud.

I also took care of the sign on the front of the column.  I applied a few subtle shades of dark grey to the gate to give it a little variation (though nothing major).  Then I added a bit of grass and some dead leaves to break up the ground work.  A few pigments here and there on the ground and base of the column, and the scene was complete!

The final step was the add the sword and scabbard for the dragoon.  The scabbard was painted in black, like the boots, and metallics for the fittings.  The cloth bit wrapped around the handle was done just like the yellow-gold details on the uniform.

Here's how the final result looked.  All in all, a fun project and one I'm happy with.