Monday, June 4, 2018

Brom Part 6

After finishing the knight, I turned to another small project to see if I could finish it off too.  Brom, the 1/35 scale dwarf, was meant to be a quick project.  As usual, things got a bit more complicated as I began painting.  Still, he's not nearly as involved as others, so I'm hoping I can get him wrapped up by the end of the month (before we move!).

Since last time, I attached his hands and the club and then started to paint the rest of his arms.  I also took on the back of the character, painting the heavily weathered armor along with some other details.  Here's a quick look at the figure.  I'm hoping another one or two painting sessions and I'll have him mostly complete (aside from some final weathering).

As I'm nearing the end of the figure, I turned my attention back to the base. I had previously built the broken bridge and placed cork to form the rough shape of the ground.  But the build was certainly not finished. I'm trying to keep the base simple so the focus can stay on the figure and the broken bridge. So instead of trying to add a sign or some other structure, I just wanted to have a rock and dirt base.  The idea being this was the end of the path up to the bridge.  I'll probably add some grass after painting, but I'll leave the base mostly uncovered.

To finish the build, I placed some larger stones (some from putty and others just actual rocks) and glued them down.  Then I took a modeling compound (it's white powder-like stuff that you add water to and then it forms a paste for modeling) and created the dirt shape on top of the cork.  Into that, I set more of the small stones (and some sand).  When the compound dried it held onto the stones a little, but the bond was not strong enough.  So I took some thin super glue and dropped a bit on top of the rocks.  This soaked into the base and formed a nice strong bond.  I used some white glue and added some more sand over top for texture.  Again, the bond was not that strong, so I used more of that thin super glue to really lock the sand in place.  After that, I primed and began to paint the base.  I've got the basic dirt color and am starting on the rocks, bridge, and rope.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Knight Part 11

I needed a break from the tiefling.  It reached a stage where, though I really like the figure, I also kind of hate it.  Just feels like a slog to make any progress.  At those times, it's best to set it aside and work on something else.  So, as I peered around my painting station, I realized my crusader has been almost complete for a few months now but I hadn't actually put on the finishing touches.  No reason to delay it any longer, let's get him finished!

I had a few minor spots to paint (arrow shafts, dagger hilt, and a couple touch ups on his surcoat).  After that I started weathering him.  The scene is right at the start of a battle.  I picture him standing outside of Acre or some other fortress and the defenders have just shot their first volley of arrows.  Now the knight stands there looking back as if to say 'is that the best you can do?'  Why is that important?  Well the weathering is telling his story.  If he's at the end of a battle, he might be covered with blood splatter.  At the very least you'd expect some on his axe and shield.  But at the start, not so much.  I did add some faded blood stains though.  There's one on his shield (it's subtle, but there) and some on the ground and rocks (this is land that's been fought on again and again).

Next I went about adding dirt and dust.  This is a pretty dry climate, so no mud caked on his feet and legs.  I just used dry pigments to add a fine layer of dirt on him.  I focused on the shield and his legs.  I didn't want to overdo it on his surcoat, so I left that pretty clean.  Likely it'd be dirty too, but I'm taking some artistic license. ;)  And with that, he's done!  Here's how the final piece turned out...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mollymauk Part 4

I was out of town for a few weeks, so I had to put this project on hold.  But now that I'm back, I've started working on the next big task, his coat.  Following the character art, this will be covered in designs.  Since most of those designs are made up of lines (rather than large solid areas), it made the most sense to paint and shade the background color fully before adding the design details.  The only exception was a large thick stripe down the center of his back.  That was done prior to shading/highlighting the red.

Since I was dealing with a large area, I began by sketching in the shading.  I used 5 color mixes: the shadow, midtone, and highlight along with colors halfway between each of those).  I then returned to this roughed in version and could focus on blending between the colors.  I used my typical layering approach, but just focused in the area where those shades would be.  This saves time by not repeatedly painting over the same spot with shades that would just get covered up later.

After that was done, I started layering on the designs.  The coat will be covered with them, so I still have a way to go.  I started with the main elements.  Their size and placement will affect how the rest is done.  I'll likely find some details won't quite fit, so I can either simplify or squeeze out some of the smaller bits.  Here's a look at how he's coming along...

Here's a quick look at how the some of the design work was done.  It's my usual process for geometric designs.  I started by taking a scrap of paper and marking the distance from the center of the circle to the outside and then a second mark for the distance to the end of the arm (triangle).  I placed a dot for the center of the circle and then held the paper at different angles to mark dots along the outside of the circle and at the end of each arm.  Instead of trying to freehand a circle, I could follow the dots to keep it much closer to a true circle than if I'd just eyeballed it.  I then went about thickening up that line (first image below).  Next I painted on radial lines for the arms.  Then I went about placing more guide marks around the circle, two evenly spaced between each arm.  These were close enough that I did just eyeball it (though if you wanted to be real precise you could measure that too).  Then I painted in the lines connecting these marks with the ends of the arms (image 2 and 3).
Next I had to add the squiggly triangles in between.  I started with a short line between each triangle, done at a slight angle (image 4).  Then I went back with a stretched 'C' shape (image 5).  Finally I painted the lines on either side, letting the existing curve help be my guide (image 6).

With all these sorts of designs, it's about breaking it down into simpler parts and slowly building up the complexity.  By also measuring, you keep distances consistent and get something that looks more like it was printed on and not hand painted.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mollymauk Part 3

I've started working on the clothing for the tiefling.  Starting with the inside and working my way out.  This one will have quite a bit of design work on him and I've done some of the simpler parts.  There's going to be a lot more on the coat and sleeves.  For the collar and pants I began with a sketch of the pattern to get the placement, size, etc. correct.  Easy to get a sense for the look and make corrections at that stage.  Then I went over it to shade and highlight, as well as to refine and sharpen the designs.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mollymauk Part 2

I finished making my Mollymauk conversion.  Some more putty work to finish off and clean up the coat.  I took care of the other horn and added some details to both of them.  For the sleeves, I mostly just carved into the existing resin to create the shapes I wanted.  I then used a bit of string to create the ties.  I might make a few additions later on in the process, but essentially he's ready to go.

So over the weekend I began doing some actual painting on him!  Focused on the head/chest to start.  I played around a bit with the color.  The purples I had, Imperial Purple and Amethyst, were a bit too red for the character, so I mixed in some blues.  After painting the face I realized I'd gone a bit too far, so I glazed on some red to bring it back to where I wanted it.

I've still got to do the hair and horns, but I think I'll do some work on the clothing next.  Just begun to work on the shirt.  I'd also like to do the inside of the coat and then start to work on the legs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Mollymauk Part 1

For a while now I've been wanted to do a figure based on one of the characters from Critical Role.  Once I learned the 1st campaign would be ending, I decided to wait and pick a character from the new campaign.  Well, that started back in January and the characters they picked did not make it easy!  When it comes to 54mm or larger figures there aren't many options for tieflings, half-orcs, goblins, female monks, etc.  I spent a while looking but couldn't find any current sculpt that could reasonably pass for any of them.  So I turned to plan B, find something I could convert.  I settled on the 75mm Child Thief figure from Terrible Kids Stuff.  I'd started it a while ago but the project just didn't hold my interest.  So it got set to the side and I didn't think I'd ever get back to it.  But when I began to look around for potential pieces to convert, the look and pose made me think of Mollymauk.  I just needed to change him into a tiefling (add horns and a tail), extend his jacket down to the ground, and add a variety of smaller details.

Here's a reminder of what the original sculpt looked like.  I began by removing unnecessary details on the pants and clipped down his collar.  Then I started to add details on the main body.  Redid the shirt, added a belt and boot tops.  I made an armature for the tail and horns and sculpted over them (still got one horn to do though).  Most recently I've begun working on the main coat.

Free cloth, like a banner, is tough.  I don't know how the real sculptors do it.  What I've come up with is to place the putty between sheets of wax paper and roll it out to the desired thickness.  Then I cut it to shape and, leaving the paper on, bend it into the desired shape.  The wax paper helps keep fingerprints off.  Once it's hardened I remove the paper and glue it to the figure.  I doubt this is the ideal approach... but it's working well enough for the current project. Last night I did the other half of the coat.

Up next I'll use some more putty to fix the gap between the two halves and the seam where it meets the original coat.  The rest of the coat details will be sculpted directly on the figure.  I've got to do the fabric under the right arm and the hood.  Lots of details to add to the sleeves... but that will be a problem for another day.

I've never tried a conversion this extreme, but I'm quite happy with the results.  I'm hoping to have him done and ready to prime by the end of the weekend.  Fingers crossed!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Brom Part 5

Getting back to Brom, I moved on to his clothing.  This was an area that I struggled coming up with a color for.  I decided to go with an orange-green-purple palette, which is not a typical choice for me.  But the orange hair and rust and then the green verdigris pushed me in that direction.  Still not much purple, aside from some undertones, but I plan to work a bit more of that in in a few spots.  I made a couple aborted attempts at the cloth on his right arm before I settled on a color I liked.  I initially thought green plus some brown or grey, but that kept looking too bright and vibrant.  In end then, I went more with brown plus some green (maybe 3 parts brown to 1 part green).  This gave the subtle effect I wanted.  I then continued that onto the cloth around his waist. Afterward, I did some of the fur bits and the leather around his left arm.


I still need to do the back of his armor.  What you're seeing here is just some of the undercoat.  I started with purple and then started to lay down rust tones.  Normally I don't worry too much about how clean the undercoat is, I just want some color there.  But in this case, since so much of the metal is rusted away, I won't be covering up nearly as much with the metallic.  So I'm planning to put a bit more work into the rust now so I don't have to do quite as much once the metallic goes on.

Normally I try to assemble as much of the figure as I can before painting.  This guy doesn't have a lot of parts, but I opted to leave the hands/weapon off.  The main reason was the cloth and details around his waist.  I'm sure I could have managed if it were just cloth, but there's a rope and a tiny skull dangling from his front.  With the hands/weapon there it would have been very difficult to work on those finer details. Plus the connection between his arms and hands is good, so I don't foresee any gaps or issues there.  The only thing I still want to do before attaching the hands is base coat the inside of them.  You can see the fingers on his left hand are mostly blocked by the body, same for the back of his right hand.  But, depending on the angle, you can still see them a bit.  So, it'll be easier to lay down some initial dark coats/shadows there before attaching.  Then I'll paint the rest.  In the meantime, here's a peak at how he's going to look.