Friday, January 30, 2015

Knight of the Holy Sepulchre part IV

I'm steadily making progress on the knight.  I took care of the of a few more black sections of the horse (just the tail and hooves left), then took a break and worked on his equipment.  For the straps I used the same color as the sash around the knight's waist and the cross pattern on the banner.  I still need to do the part around the saddle.  I slid the banner into the knight's hand for the photos just to see how it all looks together.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Knight of the Holy Sepulchre part III

While I rethink the Dark Elf base, I decided to go back to one of my longest running projects... my Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.  I started this figure back in Nov of 2013 and it's still going.  I've gotten stuck on this guy a number of times and moved on to other projects.  But I keep coming back.  The sculpt is fantastic, very dynamic, and it's a great piece for competition.  I originally wanted to bring him to last years Crystal Brush but I wasn't able to make it (or finish the figure).  So hopefully I actually finish him and take him with me this year.  The rules have changed a bit, so this time around he will go into the (poorly named) Historical Vehicle or Monster category.

The biggest hurdle has been painting the horse.  The knight is dressed mostly in white so I wanted to do a black horse for a nice contrast.  But, while I feel pretty comfortable painting white, black is a color I don't have as much confidence doing.  My last attempt at the horse was back in June.  Since then I've done some projects that have given me a bit more experience painting black or near black (including the Dark Elf), so I'm ready to try again.  While the Dark Elf is more of a brown-black, for the horse I wanted to try a blue-black.  Maybe not hyper realistic, but I liked the look.  I started with Pure Black, then went into Scale 75's Abyssal Blue, and then gradually mixed in Reaper's Fair Highlight.  This is just the first step.  I've got a few sections still to do.  Then I'll go in and fix some of the transitions that need help or highlights and shadows that could be better.  After that I'll give it some glazes to further help the blends and tie everything together.  Then I'll redo some of the highlighting.  It's a whole process, but the first step is definitely the slowest.  The nice thing is once the black is finished, I don't see anything else causing me too much trouble.

Here was the previous attempt at the horse (just the head, neck, and front leg).  As you can see, the new version is more dramatic

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dark Elf Assassin Part 4

I've begun construction on the base for the dark elf.  The scene I have in my head is a building interior, second floor.  The figure is creeping up on some unseen target.  I began by looking up some reference photos and brainstorming some ideas for the scene.  I sketched a couple out on paper until I got something I liked.  From there I drew out the floor design on plasticard and cut it out.  I placed it and the figure on the wood base to see how the size looked.

It's a wood floor, so I pulled out my bag of assorted balsa wood pieces and cut the boards for the floor.  I used the plasticard as a template and glued the boards in place.

Then I started to build up.  I cut the main supporting beams and put in the cross beams.

I continue with more of the details.  I'm putting in the walls on one side of the base, but not the others.  I put in a railing along his right.

The main structure is there but still plenty of detail work left.

This is one of my largest bases and definitely the largest structure I've attempted to create.  I'm enjoying the build and it's a good learning experience.  However, I'm not sure if it's the best base for this figure.  The paint job on this figure is very simple, so is the base too complex?  On the other hand, a complex base helps create more of a story for the scene.  I plan on continuing to build this scene... but I may come up with an alternative as well and see which I like best.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dark Elf Assassin Part 3

Thanks for the feedback, Shades and Mally.  I decided to go with your advice and skip the additional design work on the pants.  I took care of the legs and remaining details around his waist.  The figure is just about finished.  Now it's time to turn my attention to the base.  I've built a couple structures for figure bases, but nothing for a figure this large (75mm).  I have an idea of what I want to do, but I need to flush it out a bit first.  Time to do some reference research and perhaps get a little more inspiration.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dark Elf Assassin Part 2

I'm continuing with the monochromatic color scheme.  The clothing is all variations of Pure Black, Dusky Skin Shadow, Dusky Skin, Dusky Skin Highlight, Weathered Stone, and Leather White.  Without a lot of color variation I'm trying to add some freehand details to his clothing for some additional visual interest.  I'd like to continue that when I do the pants... but I'm not quite sure what to do.  I did a quick test with a checkerboard pattern and another with vertical stripes... but it seemed a bit too busy/loud.  He's a sneaky assassin so he shouldn't have on anything too flashy.  I could maybe live with some thin stripes.  At this point I'm leaning towards a stripe detail down the side of each leg.  Something similar to the design on the hood (2 stripes with some design in the middle).  Or I could try something more graphic instead of an abstract pattern.

Here's an even bigger close up of the face.  I think it's easier to see the color in the cheeks and some blue in the lips.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dark Elf Assassin Part 1

I've hit a bit of a wall on my other projects.  I'll see if I can make a breakthrough on some of them this weekend.  But during the week, when I only have a little time after work to paint, I'd rather do something I know I can make progress on.  So I decided to start on this Dark Elf from Scale75.  I had already prepped the figure while I was waiting for the aide-de-camp to arrive.

I went with a very pale skin, something I've been wanting to experiment with.  The skin is Dusky Skin, Dusky Skin Highlight, and Vampiric Skin.  I then applied some glazes, but I switched these up a bit.  Normally I'd use red in the cheeks and nose, blue on the jaw for stubble, and purple to deepen the shadows.  I skipped the stubble, that didn't seem to fit with an elf.  The other glazes I shifted more towards blue, so red became a reddish purple (2 parts red, 1 part blue) and the purple became a blueish purple (1 part red, 2 parts blue).  The red-purple glaze went on the cheeks, nose, knuckles, elbows.  The blue-purple went in the shadows on the face and shadows on the arms and hands.  I also used a bit of blue above the eyes and in a couple shadows for a little more variation.

For the clothing I thought an overall dark look would fit an assassin character.  The hood is Pure Black, Dusky Skin Shadow, and Dusky Skin.  I'm trying to decide if I want to keep the entire figure in that black-grey-white color scheme and just use hints of color through glazing.  Otherwise I'll just stick to dark colors (dark brown, dark purple, etc).

For the armor I'm taking a slightly different approach.  This time around I'm using inks to build up the shadows and some hints of color.  It's definitely a learning process.


Here's a closer look at the face and upper body.  It's a little easier to see the color variation from the glazes.  I tried to keep them subtle, as it's easy to overpower that light light skin.  The colors are a bit more noticeable in person.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Aide-de-Camp WIP 2

In the past week I've made some progress on the ADC, though not as much as I'd like.  I did some shading/highlighting on the blue and then started working on the red and gold details.  With the stuff around the waist finished I was able to add the other arm.  In the end, most of this arm will be covered by the pelisse slung over his shoulder.  As a result I'm not doing much shading/highlighting except at the hand and wrist, which will be showing.  The rest you can sort of see if you look under the coat, so I want the main colors there but no point doing all the highlighting/shading when it's just going to be hidden.  There's a small gap at the shoulder, but that will be hidden as well so no need to fill it.

I get burnt out quickly working on this gold details.  There's a lot, so I try to take small sections at a time.  On most projects it can help to stop every so often and reevaluate how things are going.  One of the perks of posting photos online is you're forced to stop and look at your work.  I hadn't noticed, but can now see that the gold details on the hat are much tighter than the ones on the jacket (along the borders and at the wrist).  On the jacket the gaps are much bigger and the result looks a bit sloppy.  I will definitely go back in, slim down the dark lines between the gold, and just generally clean things up.  I am really looking forward to finishing the jacket and moving on to the pants.

By the way, I'm working on another step by step tutorial for this figure.  I've posted what I have so far and will continue to update it as I finish the figure: ADC Tutorial

Monday, January 5, 2015

Aide-de-Camp WIP 1

While I work on the base for Arthur I've started to paint another figure.  I'm hoping this will be my Crystal Brush entry for large scale (the Officer of the Guide is my backup option).  The figure is a 75mm Captain Aide-de-Camp to Marshal Suchet from Pegaso Models.  It's a great looking kit that I received from as a prize for their monthly contest.  I will be doing a full step by step on this figure and posting it in the tutorial section of this blog.

As always I began with the face.  Here's a closeup look:

From there I took care of his shako.  I'm essentially working my way down the figure.  As a 75mm metal figure he's pretty heavy so I'll often handle the torso to help stabilize the figure while I work on the head.  I've painted on a bit more texture to the strips holding on the cockade and the strip along the bottom of the hat.  I'll be doing a lot more of this sort of thing as I get to the rest of the metallic details on his clothing.

Up next I'm moving on to the torso.  He'll have a dark blue coat, which is a tricky color.  A while back I painted a somewhat similar figure and was quite pleased with how his dark blue coat turned out.  So I'll be using the same mix on this project.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Once and Future King Part 2

Happy New Year!

I'm almost finished with Arthur, well aside from his base.  I took care of the highlighting on his hair and then the cloth around his lower legs.  I'd previously done the metal work on the sword, but it needed something more.  So I took some of the Andrea inks and tried to create a gradient, darkening it towards the hilt.  With that finished I turned to the shield.  I first did the red background with some simple shading, then the gold border.  Then the tough job of painting on the design.  First I worked out how I wanted it to look on paper.  I wanted to do a dragon and modeled it on the rampant lion, a common heraldry image.  Once I was happy with how that looked I moved on to the figure.  Using a medium yellow I sketched in the long curve for the neck, body, and tail.  Then I drew in the finer details: head, arms, legs, wing, and spike.  I switched back to the background red to draw in the fine lines along the belly, arms, legs, and wings (and to clean up the basic shape/outline).  Finally I went in and did some shading to the design so it fit with the rest of the shield.

I was on the fence about doing a design on his chest, but decided to give it a shot.  The strap makes is tough and the size needed to be about half what I did on the shield.  But, with a few minor simplifications, I did my best to repeat the design on his chest.