Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Gladiator Part 4 and Vax

I spent some time last night working on the chain mail for the gladiator.  Not quite right, but it's getting there.  I'm sure I'll spend a while messing with it to see if I can get to a stage where I'm happier.  I'm fairly pleased with the back.  I think the lights bring out the shape.  The front is a bit flatter, so I feel like the effect isn't that interesting.  I'd like to try and do a bit more with the shine.  And of course I still have the mail on both of his shoulders to deal with.

In other news, I've started on another project, the 28mm Vax figure from Steamforged Games.  This is a character from a web show, Critical Role, and was released during Gencon as a limited edition figure.  Luckily for me, it was also available online up until the convention, so I was able to get a copy as well.  This is still in the early stages and so far I've just focused on the face.  It really makes me miss doing 54mm and larger faces.  Those 28's are tough!  A good reminder why I like working on the larger scales. =)  I got the impression that a lot of people who follow the show have bought either this mini or their kickstarter set.  From comments I've seen on Facebook and elsewhere, it sounded like there were a decent number of first time painters too, so I decided to write a very thorough tutorial on this figure.  It's already up in the tutorials section of this site.  I'm adding sections to it as I go.  My goal is to provide enough information so that a beginner could work through the piece, so expect to see a lot of detail on the entire process.  For those of you with more experience who still want to check it out, I recommend skipping down to the bottom where I start to get into the painting itself.  I recorded a couple videos as I did the face.  Unfortunately the part where I did the blending did not record properly, so that part is just text.  But the rest, where I setup my shadows, do the eyes, and paint the glazes did manage to record properly.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Gladiator Part 3

I'm trying to wrap up the non-metallic sections on this guy.  I continued on with the legs, painting the linen covering behind the greaves, the leather of his feet, and the feet themselves.  I then moved onto his right arm, dealing with the leather and wraps there.  I still need to paint the wraps on the back of the greaves, along with some small leather details on his armor, but that about does it.

I've also sketched on the metallics for the sword, just trying to get the light/shadow placement how I like it. As with the armor, though I'm using metallic paints, I am still approaching it as if I were pointing NMM. I want more control over how the light looks on the sword, so I'm forcing the shine and shadow to be where I want. I still need to blend it (though lighting for the photos makes it look smoother than it is) and add a few top level highlights.  After that I'll have no more excuses to avoid the dreaded chainmail! =)

This weekend I'm hoping to stop by my storage unit. I've got some old kits in there and I think I can scavenger parts from one to make a dead gladiator for the base. It's going to require a bit of sculpting (though just the body, the head and limbs I think I can use). So we'll see how it turns out. I'm hoping it'll be good enough to use, otherwise I'll just do a more traditional arena style base for him.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Gladiator Part 2

I'm continuing to make progress on the gladiator.  Quite a bit more work on the armor.  I've got a little more to do on the geaves, but that's about it.  I also started a bit on the white metals, doing some of the details on the cuirass.  However they still need a bit of work.  After all that metal, I needed a break before tackling the chainmail.  So I working on the cloth and skin.  I initially based his clothing in blue, but the color just didn't work for me.  I decided to switch to a pale purple instead, which is a complementary color to the yellow metal.  I could have gone brighter on the purple, but those dyes were extremely expensive in ancient time.  So pale seemed a bit more realistic to my mind.

Here's a look at how the figure has progressed.  You can see the stages for the cuirass.  I begin with a dark base (metallics work best over a dark case), in this case purple as it contrasts with the yellow metal.  Then I do a sketch with metallics to help me figure out placement of the lights and darks (middle image).  This involves about 5 shades (base, 2 shadows, 2 highlights).  It's quick, without much attention to blending.  I just want to see how it looks and then I can make corrections to shadow and highlight placement as needed.  At this stage the armor looks decent, but it looks even better after I go in to refine it (right image).  I sharpen up the shadows, going to pure black, and further extend the highlights (using Citrine Alchemy from Scale75).  I also mix a number of intermediate shades and blend everything together.  Stippling is used in parts to help with the blends while also adding some texture.  You can see from a comparison of the middle and right images that the final result looks sharper and a bit brighter too.
This set also gives you a nice look at the difference between the base coated cloth/skin and the finished version.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Gladiator Part 1

I haven't had much time for painting these last few months.  The family and I moved up the coast, so that along with regular work did not leave any room for painting.  But things have settled down and I've been able to pick up the brush again.  While I have a number of projects still to wrap up, I felt like I needed a fresh project.  Something I could make some quick progress on and get back into the painting groove.  I decided to go with the 54mm Scissor Gladiator from Pegaso.  I've liked this kit for a long time.  I think it's just a cool, bad ass looking sculpt.  It's also a good project for practicing my metallics, as he is mostly covered with armor.

I started off with a quick sketch for the helmet and manica.  This was to help visualize the placement of the bright and dark areas.  I used just four colors.  The base was 50/50 Burgundy Wine and Necro Gold.  The shadow, was 50/50 mix of Pure Black and the base.  The mid highlight was a 50/50 mix of the base and Elven Gold.  And the lighter highlight was just Elven Gold.  Note the matte colors are from Reaper and the metallics are from Scale 75.

I like to work with a mix of matte colors and metallics.  This brings down the shine of the metals (depending on the ratio) and helps me control the shadows.  Dark metallic paint will still shine when light hits it.  But metal + a dark matte color will stay dark.  The first image below is the rough sketch while the second shows the figures with the helmet refined.  I went in and black lined some edges, while highlighting others.  I blended the colors together (mixing intermediate shades).  I also used stippling to help with the blends and create a bit of texture.  Finally, I used Citrine Alchemy to create even brighter highlights.

I repeated the process on the arm.  Below are some nicer photos of the current status.  I've also got a big close up of the metals, so you can get a better idea of the brush strokes and probably find a few mistakes (I know I already see a couple). :)

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.