Monday, September 29, 2014

WIP Saxon Warrior

I've spent some time working on the third of my end of the year projects, the 54mm Saxon from Latorre.  In addition to (hopefully) being an entry for the Crystal Brush competition, I was asked to do a talk for my local modeling group and I'm going to use this figure as the subject.  Since I'm already doing all the work to document the painting process, I thought why not share it online too? When everything is finished I'll compile everything and post it in the tutorials section on this blog.  But, in the meantime, I'll post a lot of that right here as I finish sections.

My plan is to give this warrior a pretty weathered beat up sort of look.  I began this with a rusty helmet and then a dented feel to the body armor.  When the painting is all finished I'll go back in with pigments for some mud and dust, probably some blood stains and splatter as well.  I'm still trying to decide what I want to do with his clothing (suggestions are welcome).  In the meantime I'm working on the other sections.  Texture is going to be a big part of this figure.  I've already worked on the metal and fur.  Still have leather and cloth, plus the weathering pigments will add a further layer of texture.

I'm following the same approach for the face as I did on the Dragoon (you can find more on that here). I started with a base coat of Rosy Shadow and base coated the surrounding sections (in this case all with Brown Liner). From there I blocked in the shadows with Chestnut Brown and Mahogany Brown. The darker brown went under brows, the nose, and chin (image 2). I then took care of the eyes (image 3 and 4). With that done I blended the shadows into the base (image 5). I like to start dark and then gradually blend in the base coat until I'm 100% Rosy Shadow. After that I started to mix in Fair Skin into the Rosy Shadow to create the highlights (image 6). Once I finish that I take a step back and reevaluate how everything looks from different angles. I go back in and tweak anything I think needs it. In this case I adjust the shadows at the corner of the mouth and along the cheeks. I also take care of the lips with a little Violet Red mixed into the Rosy Shadow, then highlighted with Fair Skin (image 7). The last step is to go in with some glazes (GW red, blue, and red+blue for purple). I use the red in the cheeks and nose, blue for the 5 o'clock shadow, and purple for deeper shadows in the cheeks and under the eyes.

The helmet was a bit of an experiment.  I saw post by Ernest over at PlanetFigure where he did something similar on a bust.  I liked it so I tried my best to adapt it for a 54mm figure.  Over a base of dark brown I added some black to the lower portions and then orange brown, red mixed with dark brown, and a touch of yellow.  Most of this was applied thinned down and by stippling with an old frayed brush (albeit a small one).  This produced the subtle random texture I was going for.  The next step was to switch over to the metallics and start to create scratches (middle image).  I focused on the raised edges and upper portion of the helmet.  This was done more with the fine detail brush, though I did use the other one for some more stippling. I continued to build up the metals and the dirty rusty tones until I was happy with the overall look (third image).  I also added a touch of purple here and there for a little more variation and visual interest.  It stands out a bit more in the close up, but when you see the full figure in the images above the purple just fades into the overall look.

I took a quick photo from my wet palette so you can get an idea of the consistency of the paint.  After I dipped the brush into the paint I dabbed it on the palette to test the consistency and get rid of some of the excess (it's a frayed brush for stippling, so wiping on a cloth doesn't work as well).  If you look at those splotches on the bottom right you can see what I'm actually applying to the figure.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Onto the next project - Murmillo Gladiator

Time to start on another historical figure.  This is one of three projects I'm hoping to wrap up by the end of the year.  The first is the Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.  I've already posted WIP pictures here and he's well on his way... just need to take care of that damn horse.  The second is a 75mm gladiator I started recently.  And the third is a 54mm Saxon from Latorre (still in the assembly phase).  The hope is that these three will all be entries for Crystal Brush next March.  The Saxon and Knight would go into historical single and mounted categories while this gladiator will go into the large scale category.  Things always seem to take longer than I plan, so I want to try and get my entries together early.  If I am able to finish these around Dec/Jan then I can start to look for a project to enter into one of the fantasy or sci-fi categories.  So yup, that's the current plan.  We'll see whether or not I stick with it.

As for the gladiator, it's a 75mm kit from Alexandros Models.  This isn't your stereotypical gladiator kit, he's bulky and has a gut.  It's less idealized and I'm guessing closer to what they really looked like (though who can say).  The kit represents a Murmillo gladiator.  They fought with the typical Roman short sword and large rectangular shield.  They were pretty well armored as far as gladiator's go, with the large shield, padded lower legs with a greave on their left leg, armored right arm, and large helmet.  The name murmillo is a reference to a type of fish, so you'll often see these kits with a sea theme.  This one has a lot of that imagery, with dolphins on the helmet, capricorns and shells on the belt, a merman on the greave, and Neptune with his seahorse drawn chariot on the shield.

So far I've focused on painting the skin.  It's a big figure (even for a 75mm kit he's big) so I've been working on the skin in sections.  The upper body is pretty far along but the legs are still at an early stage.  I'm following the same approach as I used on the Dragoon's face.  Once I get the legs and hands to the same state as the upper body I'll go back in to add brighter highlights before finally using some red, blue, and purple glazes to create some more variation in the skin.  In the meantime I'll be using some glazes of the skin and shadow shades to help fix a few of the transitions (like the one on the back of the left leg).

Since this is a larger figure those pictures are just about actual size (only slightly bigger).  Here's a zoomed in version (about twice the real size) so you can get a better look at him.  It's a bit easier to see here that the skin still needs more definition through the highlights.

Here's a sneak peak at the other project, the 54mm Saxon warrior.  I recently got my detail sheets from the Etch Masters indiegogo project, so I used one of those pieces to switch out the axe head on the figure.  I'm going to give him a pretty beat up look, so this will help with that.  Still need to do some tweaking to his shield, but I hope to start painting him next week.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Finished Dragoon

So the Dragoon is finally finished!  I kept the base/groundwork pretty simple because (a) I didn't think the figure needed much and (b) I didn't have any better ideas.  I gave the ground a brown base coat and then used pigment + matte medium to cover the ground.  Again, I worked with a couple different shades to break it up.  The grass is woodland scenics field grass plus some extra bits I picked up from a show.  To make it look a little less uniform in color I experimented a bit with some washes and later applied some dry pigments.  Now I just need to finish writing that pesky step by step article...

As for what's next... well, I've got the knight of the holy sepulchre on my painting table.  I'm still trying to add a pattern to his cape but haven't come up with anything I'm happy with yet.  I'm also tempted to try a different approach to the horse.  In addition I've got a 75mm gladiator from Alexandros that I just started to base coat.  No time to paint this weekend but hopefully next week I'll make enough progress on one of those figures to share some photos.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dragoon WIP 4

Almost finished!  I had left a few pieces off the figure to make painting easier.  The plume probably could have been added earlier, but the metal details on the left side of the crest and the black horsehair can be tricky so why make it more complicated by placing something else in the way?  Plus I've got a bad habit of accidentally knocking little pieces like that off while I paint.  I've done a couple napoleonic figures and the swords are always one of the last things I add.  Again, they're easy to knock off and those hanging straps get in the way of a lot of the other details.  The long strap is a piece of metal foil I cut to size.  I attached it to the sword while it was still separate and then bent it into approximately the correct shape.  The sword knot was also a separate piece so that was attached and bent as it would hang naturally.  Then the part was primed and base coated before attaching to the main figure.  Painting and weathering proceeded just as I had done on the rest of the figure.

One question you could ask is why didn't I wait and do all the weathering at once?  Well, I wanted the different parts (boots, coat, and sword) to have their own weathering history.  The process is a bit messy and imprecise so not very easy to dab mud onto the boots or dust the coat while keeping the sword clean.  It was much easier to just go in afterwards to add a bit of dust to the scabbard and straps.

For the plume I chose a two color pattern.  There seems to be a variety of plume colors with not a lot of standardization among the regiments.  My reference book mentions solid color options (white, red, or crimson) and multi-color options (green with regimental color, red and green, red and white, white and yellow, black with regimental color, green and yellow) and lists regiments that were seen with each.  Based on my reading, I'd guess you could have any regiment with just about any of the plume variations.  But sticking to a color-regiment pairing that is based on a historical reference, I chose to do white and yellow for the 22nd Dragoon Regiment (although based on the uniform he could be in the 22nd, 23rd, or 24th regiments).

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dragoon WIP 3

I'm a little behind in updating my progress on the Dragoon.  Here he is with most of the details finished up.  
After that I started on the weathering.  He's in his campaign gear and not his parade dress, so he shouldn't be too clean.  I started out with adding mud to his feet using pigments mixed with matte medium into a paste.  From there I used some washes to add some old strains to his coat, straps, and shirt.  A couple blood stains here and there plus perhaps he spilled some food or something at some point.  Lastly I went in with the dry pigments to add a good layer of dust and dirt onto his uniform.  I made sure to focus on the feet, knees, and elbows.