Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Empress' Dragoons Officer Part 3

After finishing up the Fallen Angel, I thought I'd try to finish up another old project.  The SCAHMS show (the local Los Angeles figure group) is coming up in a little over a month and I don't have anything to bring!  I've been working on a lot of pieces, but nothing is finished.  The Fallen Angel is the only piece I've completed since last year and it's already off with its new owner.  I could keep working on the Celt, but I'm not sure if I have enough time to finish it before the show.  Redghar and Count Melenth are close, but both are a bit stuck and I'm not sure I can work through them in time either.  Luckily, the Dragoon is a relatively straightforward piece and should be easy to finish off in time.  If I'm lucky, maybe I'll even have time to finish something else like the Hussar bust... but that's getting a little ahead of myself.

After dusting off the Dragoon, I started to work on his helmet.  I did the basic metal for the helmet and then started working on the leopard skin.  Although not this specific Dragoon's helmet, here is an example of a French Dragoon Officer's helmet.

Using that and some other online images as a guide, I tried to recreate the pattern on the figure.  For the background color I used Bronzed Shadow, Bronzed Skin, a 50/50 mix of Bronzed Highlight and Khaki Highlight, and finally a bit of Linen White.  For the spots I used Pure Black, Dusky Skin Shadow, Dusky Skin, and Dusky Skin highlight to do the black outsides.  I tried to vary these in shape and size, using the online references as a guide.  For the inside of the spots I used a 50/50 mix of Bronzed Shadow and Muddy Brown, and then highlighted that with Bronzed Skin.  Below is a blown up image of the mostly finished helmet.

After that I attached the red plume on his left side.  This could have been done in white (as it is on the box art), which I believe would represent the chief of staff.  But for the typical Empress' Dragoon it would have been red.  I like the extra bit of color (the other red is mainly seen from the rear of the figure), so I opted for red instead of white.

My next task was the horse hair crest.  This was done in black, much like the hair for the Fallen Angel.  I liked how the faux glossy black turned out there, so I plan to use that trick on a number of other figures!  I started by sketching in the shine and then went back to blend in to the black hair.  For this I worked with Vampiric Shadow (for the shine) and then blended to black using Dark Elf Highlight, Dark Elf Skin, and Dark Elf Shadow.

My next big task will be to do the cord/braid details.  This is supposed to be a gold lace.  In the past I've used metallic paint and metallic paint mixed with matte paint, but was never 100% happy with the results.  So this time I decided to do a NMM look for the braid.  Yes, it means I'm mixing TMM on the helmet with NMM on the braid, but they're different materials and I've already essentially done a NMM gloss finish for the horse hair crest.  I did a somewhat rough sketch on part of the cords hanging from the shoulder and am pretty happy with the result.  I did a more finished version on the tiny details on the tail of his coat.  Now I'll go back, clean up the cord and paint the rest of the gold lace.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


I'm in the process of trying to finish up some other projects.  Did a little work in the past few days on the Dragoon Officer, did some sketching on the Deaths Head Hussar bust, and of course I need to get back to the Celt.  We've got the SCAHMS show coming up in a month and a half, so I'd like to get at least two of those three projects finished so I can bring them to the show.  Progress has been minimal, but when I get a little more done I will share some photos here.

In the meantime, I've started to plan out a future project.  Black Sun Miniatures just put up a new centaur figure for pre-order.  The sculptor, Joaquin Palacios, also recently did a centaur for Terrible Kids Stuff, but I happen to like the Black Sun one better.  The kit actually comes in two versions, one with an elf rider and one without.  I'm happy they're offering both versions as I just wasn't that big a fan of the elf.  Anyway, I just pre-ordered the centaur and started to think what I want to do with it.  The figure has a great action pose, rearing up with a spear ready to strike.  It's a cool figure by itself, but the pose is just crying out to be paired with another figure for a duel-type scene.  I looked through a lot of companies that carry 75mm figures, considering both fantasy figures, historical knights (which can be used for fantasy), and Greek figures (for more of a mythological setting).  I came up with several possible options, but I think the best may be the Barbarian from Scale75.  Using photoshop and images I grabbed from online, I put together some rough mock ups on how I think these figures will look together.  Here's what I came up with...

Another top contender is Leonidas (also from Scale75).  My main issue with that piece is the figure is essentially naked (except for a cape, helmet, and greaves).  I'd want to sculpt on some clothing/armor if I were to use him.  I could either keep him as a Greek warrior, and go with a mythological theme, or replace the head as well and use him as a knight/warrior for a fantasy piece.  Since I'm not too confident in my sculpting abilities (even if just for conversion), I'm still leaning towards the barbarian... but perhaps I'll change my mind.

I thought about adding another warrior to the mix, but couldn't quite find a figure to fit.  A friend on one of the forums suggesting a non-fighter figure like a woman or a child.  I like this idea as it takes a neat looking duel scene and adds some stakes to the outcome.  Is the barbarian trying to rescue the girl?  If so, will he succeed?  Or perhaps the centaur is her protector and the barbarian the aggressor.  Will she be safe?  Switching it up and having the barbarian be the bad guy would be interesting.  Of course, since the centaur is larger, the barbarian seems like the underdog.  In which case, perhaps I should stick with him as the good guy.

I started to look around for a figure that might work in the non-fighter role.  El Viejo Dragon has a lot of female figures in 75mm, but none seemed quite right.  Plus, most are naked and I'd probably want to sculpt on at least some clothes.  I looked at some other companies and I think my best bet may be this fairy figure from Aradia Miniatures:
I'd probably ditch the wings (easy enough to do).  I could treat her as a human or maybe a fantasy creature like a dryad, naiad, nymph, etc.  I could portray that with coloring (non-human flesh tones) and/or conversions like horns/antlers, replacing the lower legs with those of a faun, etc.  What I pick will influence the story.  As a human, it's implied she's on the barbarian's side and he's rescuing her.  As a fantasy creature, perhaps the centaur is her guardian instead.  Another option is the Fallen Angel figure I just finished.  The one I did was 54mm, but Milosh has a 75mm version too.  As with the fairy, I could leave off the wings and make her a regular human or convert into a fantasy creature too.  Her pose works best for captive.

So, lots of text and not so much painting, but I just wanted to share my thought process and hopefully wet your appetites for this upcoming project.  As always, it will be interesting to see how similar or different the end result will be to these early plans.  Probably won't actually start this for a couple months (don't think the centaur will ship till late March and I've got other stuff on my plate).  But I'd love to get this done in time for next year's Crystal Brush, so I do want to get going on this before too long!

As a final thought, when it comes to creating a scene, sometimes that can come together organically as you go.  That's what happened to me with the hobbit piece.  I started with just the figure holding a lantern and the rest just sort of happened.  In this case, what I want multiple figures to look like they are interacting, I think it helps to plan beforehand.  That way I can start to build the base and get the figures positioned convincingly.  That doesn't mean things won't evolve as I go, but in this instance I want to start with more of the scene figured out.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Fallen Angel Part 5

Here are the pictures of the finished Fallen Angel.  I've wrapped up the work on the wings and applied some additional glazes to the base (plus some little tweaks here and there).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fallen Angel Part 4

Almost finished with this project, just a little more detail work to do.  Since my last post I've been focusing on the base.  The idea was to have to it look like a summoning ritual.  I began with the basic structure made out of cork.

On top of that, I applied some sculptamold for texture and more refined shape.  Then I glued on some sand for yet more texture.  I wanted to add some candles around the circle, so I inserted some wires which I would then cover with greenstuff.

And here's how the base looks with some paint on it.  I still want to make some tweaks and adjustments, but the overall look I wanted is there.