I've been getting back to work on the samurai, focusing on some of the small details. This project has given me a chance to work on painting black armor. Black is a color I've had trouble with, but I think I've finally figured out an approach that seems to work for me. Normally I start with the shadows and work up to the highlights. That hasn't worked well with black. The wet paint tends to look darker than it is, so as I work lighter the blends look okay when wet, but then the transitions don't work when they dry. So, this time around I've started to work light to dark. I begin with a dark base coat to fill in all those cracks. Then I sketch in the highlights and gradually blend them down to the dark tone. It's not perfect, I still need to spend some more time getting used to the technique and working on where I place those initial highlights... but in general I'm quite happy with the results. Here's a close up of the armor on his lower leg so you can see what I've been doing.
I've been adding the last few pieces to the kit. The main addition was the left hand with the bow. I also added the bow string. This wasn't too difficult, but it helped to do it in several stages. First I cut a string longer than it should be and glued the center to the inside of the fingers on his right hand. Once that dried, I pulled each end to the corresponding end of the bow and glued it there (just the first contact point). Again, I waited until it was dry. Then I wrapped it around the end of the box and tied it off (adding a little more glue to fix it into place). I've painted the glove and the end of his sleeve (continuing the pattern that I had created before). I've also attached the arrows in his quiver, though they are just base coated and still need more work. The arrow in the bow is just resting in place. I plan to leave it off while I paint the other parts just to avoid damaging this fragile part.