Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Once and Future King Part 1

Earlier this year I participated in the 5th Dimension's online contest and, as one of the prizes, received the figure Arthur from Figone.  It's 1/35 scale but, since it represents a child, he's only about 40mm tall.  I might bring this along to the Crystal Brush competition and enter it into the Fantasy Single category.  Normally 1/35 scale figures wouldn't be eligible, but figures sized 40mm or less should work.  Last year's 2nd place winner was 1/35 scale dwarf from Heroes and Villains, so if that was let in this one should be too.

I wanted to add a bit more detail to the figure, so I used a few of the pieces from Etch-Masters.  The shield on his back and belt around his shoulder both etched brass.  That should give me another good place to add some freehand work.  I also switched out the sword blade.  The original one looked proportional to the figure.  But I wanted something bigger, so it really looked like a child holding an adult's sword.

As a child the face was a bit of a challenge.  I wanted to keep a lot of the details soft so he would have a youthful look.  Too many dark lines and the figure will look old.  The same goes for female figure, you want to downplay a lot of the details.  I still need to make some adjustments.  I'm not happy with one side of the mouth, but it's getting there.  The clothing is pretty far along.  I wanted a little more visual interest, so I put a checkerboard pattern on the pants.  I'm considering adding an emblem to his chest, but with the belt in the way I'm not sure.  Once I do the shield I'll make a decision about his chest.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Completed Officer of the Guide

Well, I think the Officer of the Guide is pretty much finished at this point.  I tweaked the boots a bit and brought the highlight up even further.  Then did some shading on the sword hilt, his scarf, and the hat (all the other black sections).  For these I used Pure Black, Dusky Skin Shadow, Dusky Skin, and in a few places mixed in some Dusky Skin Highlight too.  These fit more into the brown-black spectrum whereas the boots are more of a neutral grey for highlighting.  I finished off the gold details on the hat and then attached those fiddly little spurs.  They're really tiny and there was not much to attach them to (no holes in the back of the boots or anything) thus they're very easy to knock off and lose.  So that's why I waited until the very end.  Even so I dropped on in the carpet while trying to attach them and was extremely lucky to be able to find it.  Phew!  After that I went in with some pigments (3 shades of yellow/sand) and did some minor weathering.  This guy is an officer so would probably keep pretty clean.  Just some dusting on the boots, knees, and a tiny bit here and there.  I want to print up a little plaque for this guy, but unless I see (or you all notice) something amiss I think this guy is all done.

I'm very tempted to take this guy along to Crystal Brush.  He'd fit into their large scale category and there's a good chance Pegaso will be sponsoring a special award so he'd be eligible for that too.  I've got a couple other 75mm scale figures on their way, so if I can finish either of them off in time (plus everything else I have planned) I'll have some options.  A friend told me to check out  It's mostly vehicle stuff, but for fun I tossed up a few figures into the main gallery.  Turns out they hold a monthly competition and they voted my figures/pictures Best in Show.  The award comes with a free kit.  I expected a tank or plane or something considering the main focus of the site, but the judges wanted to send a figure instead which I thought was really nice.  That figure, another Pegaso Napoleonic, might be a Crystal Brush option too.

And a couple close up detail shots

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WIP - Officer of the Guide Part 4

I'm slowing a bit on Slaine, so I hopped back to the Officer of the Guide figure.  I used some sand colors on the base, but I plan to go over it with some pigments to add a bit more depth to the color once the rest is finished.  The boots were a challenge.  Shiny black is tough but I think it came out pretty well.  In person I can see some of the blends still need a bit of work, so I'm not completely finished with it.  I also attached and painted the scabbard.  I was leaving it out of the way while I did the brunt of the base work.  That was another good project for the Scale75 metallics.  Again I used a base of Necro Gold + Reaper's Imperial Purple, then transitioned to Elven Metal and finally Citrine Alchemy for the top highlights.

I also did a little tweaking on Slaine.  There are some claw scratches sculpted into his left shoulder.  Now that the tattoo was in place I could go back over it with some blood (Tamiya Clear Red) coming from the cuts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gokan/Slaine WIP 3

I've been doing a lot of detail work on Slaine.  I started out on the leather, using a base of Brown Liner.  I then took Blackened Brown and mixed in Leather Brown.  At roughly 2 or 3 parts Leather Brown to 1 part Blackened Brown I began to mix in Khaki Highlight.  I also attempted to give him a few tattoos.  For that I used Soft Blue and mixed it with Fair Skin.  I varied the amount of blue for darker and lighter areas.  I also switched out Fair Skin for Rosy Shadow for some of the darker areas.  I touched up the design with pure skin tones to clean up the lines.  Then gave it a few glazes of skin tone and GW's red glaze in some of the shadow areas.

With the hair, fur, and shoulder pad finished I could finally add the arm and sword.   I did the initial layers on the sword first (a little easier without the head in the way).  But it still needs some more work before I'm done with it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gokan/Slaine WIP 2

I decided to tackle the tartan pattern on Slaine.  He's typically wearing on in the pictures I've seen.  Although the pattern isn't always the same, it tends to involve brown stripes on an orange background.  These colors are consistent with an ancient tartan color scheme (red becomes orange, black becomes brown).  I did a little searching and found the pattern below that I thought looked good.  It hits the main colors and has enough going on to be interesting.
Painting a tartan seems really tough, but if you break the pattern down it's surprisingly simple.  If you can paint stripes then you can paint a tartan.  I've posted a detailed write up in the Gokan/Slaine tutorial on this website.  The short version is you break down the pattern and start with the largest stripe.  Paint the horizontal and vertical stripes, trying to keep the spacing consistent and follow the contours of the cloth.  Then, where the stripes cross, go in and add the dark square.  With those finished, pick the next most significant stripes in the pattern.  Add in the color variations wherever those stripes cross over other colors.  And then the next stripes, and the next, etc, going from the biggest stripes to the smallest.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gokan/Slaine WIP 1

I'm taking part in a paint along competition over at CMON.  We're all painting a 54mm figure from Olivier Bouchet called Gokan, the Guardian.  The paint along project will be going on for a while (we don't have a deadline yet) so there's still plenty of time to join in.  You can get the figure from Olivier's website: .

The figure bears a striking similarity to the comic book character Slaine.  I wasn't familiar with the comic, but once someone pointed it out (and I looked up some pictures) I decided to paint the figure as Slaine.  As the CMON project is sort of a paint along I decided to put together a step by step tutorial as I work on the figure.  The beginning of the tutorial is already up on this blog.  As I continue to work on the figure I will keep adding to the tutorial until it covers the full figure.

After base coating the figure I got to work on the face and body.  In most of the images I've seen Slaine has red markings on his face, so I included those here.  I'd like to include some Celtic style tattoos as well, but I haven't decided on a design or figured out exactly how I plan to do it.  I haven't painted any tattoos yet, so it will be a new challenge.

Friday, December 5, 2014

WIP - Officer of the Guide Part 3

Between Thanksgiving and finishing up a commission piece, it's been a little bit since I've worked on this figure.  I finally got around to fixing him to the wood base, so now I've got something else to hold on to while I paint him.  That meant I could finish off his pants.  I brought the red down to the boots and then put on the final layers of highlights (Fire Red + Fair Skin).

The pants were a good exercise in shadow and highlight placement.  It's all based on zenithal lighting or what's called the stop sign rule (image below).  Imagine a light above the figure and light/dark is determined by the angle of each surface.

There are a lot of small folds so you've got the highlights on the upper surfaces.  As we go around to the insides of the legs the light gets blocked so even the upper surfaces get pretty dark (it's a tweak to the stop sign rule, but true to the basic idea - how much light would hit the surface).  Then there are the larger surfaces.  His right leg which is mostly straight so I did a bit of a light to dark gradient from the top to the bottom.  The bend in his left leg gave a big top surface that catches a lot of light.  Again I did a subtle gradient from light at the top down to dark, then back to light again at the tip of the knee.  Notice the strength of the shadows, how dark they are, varies.  Major features get darker shadows than minor ones.  And lastly there are small details like the seams.  I went over these with the shadow color (Burgundy Wine) and then did a little highlighting along the bottom edge where it would catch the light.  Capes, clothing with folds, anything like this are great places to work on your light placement (and blending).

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Orc Pirates Kickstarter

Taking a break from posting my own work, I wanted to share a kickstarter project that I think looks really interesting.  Black Sailors is a range of orc pirate figures that are 54mm scale (though closer to 75mm in size).  The level of detail on this guys is fantastic and each sculpt is really unique with a ton of character.  For those of you familiar with this blog you know that I like working on slightly larger figures (compared to the standard 28mm gaming stuff) so I'm always excited when I can find neat fantasy and sci-fi figures in that scale.  I can tell these will be a blast to paint!  The kickstarter began only a few days ago and is already at almost three times it's original goal.  The project goes until Dec 16 so if you're interested don't wait too long.  As they continue to raise funds they will release more orcs, trolls, and goblins along with sets of optional accessories for each orc.

Below are images of three of the sculpts.  Here is a link to the project.  Check it out to see the other figures, concept art, and painted versions.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WIP - Officer of the Guide Part 2

This project is moving pretty quickly.  I touched up a few mistakes and then started on the gold lace details.  I tried to get a semi-metallic look by mixing the metallic colors with regular matte shades: Necro Gold with Imperial Purple, Dwarven Gold with Chestnut Gold, and Citrine Alchemy with Buckskin Pale.  I used a roughly 1 to 1 ratio for each, however in retrospect I should have used less matte paint.  The Scale75 metallics are a bit thin to begin with so the matte colors mixed in had an even stronger effect.  I'm too far on this one, but next time I'll try something closer to a 3 to 1 mix of metallic to matte.

I used a lot of directional strokes on the lace to create a textured look along the belts, the epaulette, and sword knot.  I still need to add the final couple layers of highlights to the legs but that won't be until he's firmly mounted to the base and I can paint the rest of the pants.  I just needed to do enough of the legs so I could attach his sword hand.

As I mentioned in my last post this figure is 75mm scale, so a bit bigger than the 54's I usually work on.

Edit - Here's a close up image showing the lace detail.  It's a section from the digital photo that's just been cropped but not resized, so it's about as close up as I can get.  You can also see the uniform color reflected on the sword.  I tried to keep it subtle so it's hard to notice in the zoomed out images.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

WIP - Officer of the Guide Part 1

I've been jumping around from project to project a lot.  Painting has been an important stress relief lately so when I've hit a roadblock with one projects it's been easier to just jump to another project so I can keep making progress.  I don't want to spend what limited painting time I have banging my head against the wall.  So it's on to another project.  This is a Napoleonic figure of an Officer of the Guide in Egypt from Pegaso Models.  They were with Napoleon during his campaigns in Egypt and were the precursors to the Chasseur de la Guarde.  This figure is 75mm scale (well, closer to 70mm) and I've been wanted to do some more figures in this size.  I do like painting 54mm scale but when you're looking at them in person they don't have the same display impact that larger figures do.  The 75mm scale is big enough that I think it looks great on display but close enough to 54mm that it won't take too much more time to paint.

I'm using the same approach to the green on the coat as I did on the dragoon.  The dark purple (burgundy wine) is used both to darken the green and as the shadow tone for the reds.  The gold lace details will be a bit tricky.  In the past I've just used matte colors but I've seen other people work in metallic paints, so I thought I'd give that a try this time.  It's going to take a bit of experimentation.  I'll most likely mix in some matte paint as well so the finish isn't too metallic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Murmillo Gladiator 2

I decided to get back to a project I started two months ago, a 75mm Murmillo Gladiator from Alexandros Models.  The skin is still a work in progress but today I decided to put some time in on the helmet.  I started with Scale75's Necro Gold mixed with Reaper's Imperial Purple.  Then I mixed in some Elven Gold and finally Thrash Metal.  After that I applied a few dark brown and dark purple glazes to reinforce some of the shadows.

Here's a size comparison for my two gladiator projects.  Just a slight difference is scale...