Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Knight of the Holy Sepulchre part II

I've started to work on the white clothing for the knight.  I also finally primed the horse.
Here's a close up of the rider.  I finished smoothing out the white on his cape.  I'm working with a bunch of off whites here, Reaper's Bone Shadow, Weathered Stone, and Leather White.  I use pure white only as a top highlight and pretty sparingly.
The reaper color images above are a bit off.  The weathered stone looks darker than it really is and the bone shadow looks lighter.  If you look at the original post for this figure you can see the weathered stone on the close up images of his face.  Then I've got some shadows blocked in with the bone shadow, so you can see it's a bit darker.

I've also started to paint the banner.  Since I'm sticking with the historical theme I can't just do whatever I want with the banner.  It's supposed to be a red 5 cross pattern on a white background.  But I still wanted to make it interesting to look at.  So I decided to add a subtle background pattern.  I'd never tried this before and I had no idea how it would turn out.  Overall I've very pleased with the end results.  I got the white for the pattern to be just a bit lighter than the rest of the flag, so you can tell something is there but it's not too apparent.  The cross pattern needs some work but I can fix that later.  Since this all was an experiment I only painted the one side of the banner.  When I get around to doing the other side I plan to take a number of in progress pictures and write up a little step by step on how I did the whole thing.
By the way, I just slid the pole for the banner into a pin vise.  Worked great for painting the banner.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Knight of the Holy Sepulchre part I

My third ongoing project is a 54mm historical figure from Pegaso, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.  The figure could pass for any crusader, but I've seen a lot of Templars and Hospitallers so I thought this would be a little different.  With the banner and flowing cape (not on there yet) it's a really showy figure, so I planned to paint this for the Crystal Brush competition.  Something came up and I had to miss the show this year, but I figure why not stick to the plan and just enter it next year?  So I'm getting a really really early start on my 2015 Crystal Brush entry!

I'm starting with the rider, he's just temporarily set on the horse so you can see how it all looks.  The same goes for the banner, that's just resting in his hand but I'll remove it for painting.

So far I've put a lot of work into the face, trying to get a high contrast between lights and shadows.  The kit for this figure comes with a nose guard for the helmet, but it obscures so much of the face I decided to leave it off.  I just puttied over the hole in the helmet.

He's wearing scale armor which I painted bronze.  I'm not sure scale armor is 100% accurate for the crusaders, but it looks neat so why complain?  I painted it with the same technique as the metal on Sumothay and the Praetor.  However I also went back over it with a number of different GW shades to add some additional color.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


So I'm trying to catch this blog up on the three main figures I'm working on.  You've already seen the Praetor, now here's the second figure, Sumothay from Engima miniatures.  He's part of their 54mm range and, with all that equipment and those details to paint, I'm very glad he's twice the size of the standard gaming figure.

I started on his face almost two years ago but got distracted and he seemed destined for my pile of never completed projects.  But recently I dusted him off and decided I was still pretty happy with the paint job.  A few minor adjustments to the head and he was back on my painting station.  As with the Praetor, I started off with the metals.  I wasn't sure about the rest of the color scheme so I used them to stall.  The general approach was the same: black, old bronze, and VMA gold.  Still treating the metallic paints like non-metallic metal, trying to force the highlights and shadows to only be where I think they should be.  Eventually I settled on a royal looking reddish purple for the color scheme.  Here are the results:

That banner makes me think of samurai, so I wanted to reinforce that Asian feel with the pattern.  I started on the right one with a geometric design thinking I'd paint a kanji in the center.  For the left I wanted something more representative so I sketched in a dragon design.  I like the old tattered look of the banners, so I made it seem like the bottom of the designs had been worn away.
The spacing on the left and the right of the dragon was off, so I repainted part of the body.  I then added some highlighting and shading, plus a horizontal line at the top and bottom to link it to the other banner.
The last step was to add the kanji.  Thanks to help from me_in_japan over on CMON, it should say 'Dragon' (assuming I didn't screw it up).

All that's left is to add some contrast to his swords and build him a base.  I might even try my hand at some simple sculpting.  As long as I don't make a giant mess of it I'll post some photos of my results.

Praetor WIP 2

Okay, on to the body.  I was trying to avoid doing the black armor since black can be a tricky color to paint.  So I started with the gold sections since lately I've been having fun with metallics.
(The head is just sitting there to see how it all looks together)

I've found a mix I like for yellow metal (gold and bronze).  I start with Reaper Master Series Old Bronze and mix in a lot of pure black.  The mix should look almost black but under the light you'll see the metallic paint reflect a bit.  This gives you some nice dull shadows in the recesses.  From there I work up in several layers to pure Old Bronze.  This is my midtone, but I apply it more like a highlight (in very limited areas).  Up to this point you can get away with any brand of black and bronze paint, but the next step works so much better if you use Vallejo Model Air gold.  This is a very odd gold shade, but it works wonderfully as a yellow metal highlight.  Since it's designed to work through an airbrush it's amazing smooth and flows so nicely off the brush.  Other metallics (especially the GW ones) often feel chunky, like painting with paste.  This stuff is as smooth as any nonmetallic paint I've used.  As before I start to slowly mix in the VMA gold into the Old Bronze and take care of those top highlights and edge highlights.

When I place my metal highlights and shadows I look at non-metallic metal work for direction.  Although the metallic paint with naturally catch and reflect the light, you really want to exercise some control over it and force it to only shine in the areas you want.  That's one of the reasons you use flat black mixed in with the bronze to create your shadows.  That flat black really dulls the shine and keeps those shadows dark.  The knee below is a good example where I've tried force those shadows to stay dark and then just hit small edges with the VMA gold.  There are a few areas where I've done a small gradient from dark to light (on the bottom section dark in the top right, light on the lower left, and opposite of that on the upper panel).

I wrote a section on my metals in the Hoplite tutorial.  For the Praetor I've made the light to dark more extreme, but the idea is the same.

Okay, I've stalled long enough.  Next time I'll start working on the black sections of the armor.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Praetor WIP 1

So, with a move imminent I didn't want to start on a big project.  Instead I decided I'd paint a 28mm figure but try to do it up to display standard.  I've been wanting to paint some Forge World figures for a while so now was my chance.  Although a little on the expensive side, I think Forge World comes up with some really nice looking figures.  Plus I love that they're making models from the Horus Heresy.

This little guy is one of the two Legion Praetors.  I picked the one with the more dynamic pose to start working on.  I glued the hands on to the arms, but left the rest of him in pieces.  The neck guard blocks most of the face so painting that in place would be a nightmare.  The arms aren't really a problem, but with that big shoulder armor I decided to leave them off too.  I'm going to paint him as one of the Sons of Horus Justaerin Terminators.  I ordered the Horus figure and thought this would be good practice.  By the way, the Horus figure looks great and I will be doing an open box review as soon as I get the chance.

Okay, back to the Praetor.  I started with the face.  Although the body was primed black I went with white for the head.  Easy enough since it was separate and it's nicer to work over the light color while I do the skin.  Popped it on a bit of sticky tack and a cork and off I went.
The skin is a mix of Reaper Master Series paints
Once I was finished there I went over the top with some diluted GW Bloodletter glaze to add a little more life to the face.  This went in the cheeks, around the nodes, in the scar, and around all the implants.  I then mixed in the Guilliman Blue glaze to create a purple.  This went in the shadows around the eyes, in the dark section of the cheeks, and around the base of the skull.  I could have used some GW shades instead, but I didn't want things to get too dark.  To clean it up a bit I went over all of the implants with black.  Since those will be metallic I like to work on top of a darker base coat.

For the metal parts around the head I went with a steel color.  I'm using Vallejo Model Air metallics.  They're just regular metallic paint, but since they've designed for the airbrush they are really smooth and flow of the brush very nicely.  I continued to tweak some of the skin shadows and mixed in a bit of pure white for the highlights on the cheek, nose, and top of the head.  A little bit of red was added to the skin tone to paint the lips.
Now he just needs a body...

Welcome to my new painting site!

For the last few years I've been active on a number of forums (cool mini, wamp, planetfigure) and, while I will continue to post there, I thought it would be nice to try something new.  My goal with this site is to create one location where people can easily find all of my stuff.  So whenever I put together a new tutorial, I'll also post a copy here.  I'll also continue to update the gallery with my finished work.  As for the blog itself, check in to see work-in-progress pictures of my latest projects, paint mixes, and whatever else I think might be useful to share.

I've picked a bit of an odd time to start this blog.  I'm about to change jobs and move across the country to LA.  So I expect my posts to be a bit sporadic for the next month or so.  But after that I hope to have more regular updates.  In the meantime I've got several figures in the works, so I'll start to catch this blog up on my various projects.  You can also check out the Gallery and Tutorials sections above, I've already finished updating them.

Okay, I can't have the first post on a painting blog be just text, so here are a few pictures of my latest finished project.  This is a historical figure from the Napoleonic era.  He's a Polish Lancer in campaign dress, which gave me the chance to paint a ton of equipment as he's pretty weighed down with all his gear.  The Napoleonic era figures have some really colorful uniforms, so they are a lot of fun to paint.  For some reason the Polish Lancer has been one of my favorites.  I found balancing the colors to be a bit tricky.  From the black and dark blue to a medium red to those bright white straps, all the highlights and shadows had to work together.  In the end the blue got a bit too bright, but I've got another Polish Lancer from Andrea so we'll see if I can get it right next time!


And here are some close ups of the rider and horse's head.  Lots of little details and pieces of gear to paint.  Having so many different overlapping pieces meant I had to paint this guy in sections, waiting to add new parts until I finished with the sections underneath.

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