RSS Feed

Category Archives: Tutorials

Work In Progress (18) – making a display base.

Shelleyan Orphan ‘century flower’

I was going to mount the diorama just on a display board, but it looked a bit underwhelming – so I thought it would be worth experimenting with a more characterful base.

So, to make pyramid-esque stones – use a piece of insulation polystyrene (2.5 cm thick), and trace out a series of squares:

Begin to carve rock shapes:

I used a craft-knife for most of this work, along with a cocktail stick/sculpting tool here and there. The emery board was used to sand the polystyrene down where needed:

It’s best to turn the craft-knife blade sideways to make rough crevices:

Test-fitting:

When you’re happy with the polystyrene-carving, use a hot glue gun and attach it to the display board:

I also used pieces of wire to pin it, for extra stability – but this isn’t entirely necessary:

I shaped the foam slightly, to fit the shape of the desert-base:

Coat the polystyrene with either ready-mixed filler – or, as in this case, wood filler – which will give it a more realistic appearance, and make it harder-wearing; then add sand around the base of the rocks, using PVA:

 

If you intend to undercoat this with spray paint, then it’s important to give the polystyrene a wash with watery PVA; as the solvent in spray paint melts polystyrene. It’s also helpful to coat the sand likewise, as this makes it easier to paint:

Once undercoated:

I made a temporary mount, using some packaging foam/double-sided tape/masking tape to make it easier to hold while painting:

Basecoated – the red oxide paint was just dabbed in places which the sand hadn’t covered so well:

Ready to paint.

Make the dead glorious again (11) – painting dark female skin

‘Til Tuesday ‘Voices Carry’

It’s been a while since the last update, as I was ill for a couple of weeks. However, I’ve finished the majority of the Arabian rider – with just the freehand designs, flame, and an ornamental dagger remaining.

I thought it might be helpful to demonstrate how to paint dark female skin; as it can be a difficult effect to achieve. Dark skin is a challenge on miniatures, because if it’s too dark then it will lack definition – which is especially important when painting faces, as they are the focal point of the figure. If it’s too light though, then it defeats the purpose. Female skin is tricky in its own right, as it needs to be much smoother than the male variety, otherwise it looks too masculine.

These were the colours used:

Base – Cadian fleshtone + Mournfang brown (1:1)

Wash – i) smoke + black ii) smoke:

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photographs of the subsequent stages (I really was unwell); but to continue:

Layer i) – Cadian Fleshtone + Mournfang Brown (1:1)

Layer ii) Cadian Fleshtone + Earth (1:1)

Highlight by adding increased amounts of Ushabti bone to the above mix, over successive layers. Use pure Ushabti bone as a final highlight raised areas.

Glaze the whole skin area with smoke, which will unify and darken it slightly.

For eyeshadow use Cadian Fleshtone + Regal Blue around the eyes.

For the lips, basecoat them with a dark red; highlight by adding Cadian Fleshtone; then glaze with baal red.

The finished effect:

The skin required a bit of experimentation – and it’s still a bit paler than I hoped it would be; but I’m not too unhappy with the result. I had originally tried to paint the skin dark by using an ‘Eavy Metal guide – that is, rhinox hide, tau light ochre, and khaki – but it looked a bit ghastly:

I’m going to paint the cloak with a Mehndi design – but it needs planning out properly first.

Make The Dead Glorious Again (8) – painting freehand banners

The Three O’Clock ‘A Day In Erotica’

Freehand designs can be a bit daunting. Rather than be put-off, however, if you approach them methodically, they become more straightforward.

It’s helpful to draw a sketch of your design before painting it. I would also recommend using a wet palette, as it delays the drying time of paint; and therefore makes it easier to maintain its consistency – as you don’t need to keep adding water to it at intervals. I find this especially beneficial when painting finelines.

Paint the background – in this case, red and white stripes:

This was shaded with a fairly generic black+brown wash:

Use dots to plot-out your design:

Add plot-lines to help structure the design:

The same method of dots/lines was then used to paint the overall emblem:

Fill the lines in with grey:

I used this coat for the body, but painted the crown, claws, and shield their base-colours (I painted the tongue last, as I wasn’t sure what colour to use at this stage):

Shade with the same black+brown wash as before:

Paint the details as you would any other miniature – highlighting and shading as normal:

I added a scroll:

Painting lettering is very painstaking, and I’m not especially good at it – my handwriting is dreadful; but it’s beneficial to begin in the middle, which helps you to space the letters out evenly:

Then paint the letters at the furthest edges:

Before painting the remainder:

At this stage, it’s good to tidy-up and sharpen any areas which need refining. The photo reveals a few misplaced brushstrokes, which I hadn’t noticed – so I will re-touch these. I finished by glazing the whole banner with a very thin layer of brown.

However, no matter how complex a design is, as long as you break it down into small stages, it should look effective once finished:

 

Make The Dead Glorious Again (5) – painting dark red

Alice Donut – In My Head

Red isn’t really my favourite colour to paint, as it’s a difficult colour to highlight properly without turning it into pink. However, to paint a dark red, I used these paints:

 

Basecoat – Rhinox Hide:

Layer – Rhinox Hide + Burnt Cadmium Red:

Shade – i) Rhinox Hide + Black (all over) ii) black (recesses):

Layer – Burnt Cadmium Red (I added a small amount of Rhinox Hide to this, to make the transition smoother; but it’s not vital):

Layer – Burnt Cadmium Red + Red Gore:

Layer – Red Gore:

Layer – Red Gore + Red:

Layer – Red:

Edge highlight – i) red + Troll Slayer Orange ii) Troll Slayer Orange iii) Troll Slayer Orange + Goldbrown. To paint rips/tears – use black + Rhinox Hide; and then edge highlight these with the aforementioned mixture:

To finish the red, glaze with smoke.

It looked a bit plain at this stage; and the outside of the cloak doesn’t lend itself to freehand – as you can see, the holes and the deep recesses leave very little of the surface area flat enough to paint a design on.

So, I painted a glow instead, using green:

I will have to work on removing the glossiness. The colours came out slightly better on the rider’s body:

The underside of the cloak lent itself a bit more easily to freehand work:

I haven’t painted a submerged pattern before (i.e. the white crosses); and I’m a bit ambivalent about the results here – so we’ll have to see if it can be improved.

Make The Dead Glorious Again (4) – painting bone

In Bed ‘Happy’ 

Given the complexity of this model, I thought it would be best to break it down into stages. So, how to paint the bone areas of the horse.

The main colours were Rakarth Flesh and Khaki for the bone colour itself:

To make a generic wash for the whole model, including the bones, I made a mix of black + smoke + tank brown; and added matt medium, as vallejo paints can sometimes be glossy:

Basecoat – rakarth flesh:

Apply the shading wash – several thin layers are better than one heavy application:

Layer – Khaki:

Highlight – Khaki + rakarth flesh:

Highlight – pure rakarth flesh:

I added chips and cracks using dark brown; then edge-highlighted these and the rest of the bone areas with rakarth flesh, plus a small amount of white:

It’s important not to use pure white on the horse’s bones, as the rider will be the focal point of the model, and so needs to be slightly brighter than the horse. An additional layer of highlighting will accomplish that.

Finally, glaze with a thin layer of smoke to unify the bone areas:

Done.

To be honest, painting larger models this way can be quite tedious, as each layer of paint is very thin; meaning that several coats of each colour need to be painted on. Drybrushing is a faster method; and will give a good bone effect, if you lack time/patience for painting lots of layers.

I did try this initially:

Unfortunately, with this being a heavily converted model, it had to be painted fully-assembled; which made drybrushing the recessed areas impossible.

I will make tutorials on painting the metal areas next; and then the freehand elements – which I still haven’t figured out yet.

Make The Dead Glorious Again (3) – how to use crackle paste

Sixpence None The Richer ‘love, salvation, the fear of death’

Following on from the last post, I thought it may be helpful to demonstrate how to use crackle paste. This can be very expensive – whether it’s sold as crackle paste, or crackle paint, so it’s best to shop around; but it creates much better effects than crackle medium.

Basecoating with textured paint aids adhesion – by its nature, crackle paste can flake off from sheer surfaces. So, I used red oxide paint here:

025

Crackle paste:

026

Apply with a spatula, or something similar, as the paste is very sticky and doesn’t apply well when brushed onto surfaces:

027

Cover the base – I made slight variations in thickness, as the thinner the coat of paste the smaller the cracks are, while a heavy application results in larger cracks:

029

As it begins to dry, cracks appear:

030

Nearly there:

038

Done – although it’s best to leave it overnight, just be sure. Once fully dry, it can be painted over:

058

The base itself is pretty much finished, though I intend to mount it on a board when the diorama itself is complete:

043

I was going to paint the eagle up as an albino bird, to contrast with the carrion crow; but thought that a phoenix would make for better symbolism, and look more colourful:

048

The colours were based on the phoenix birds, from the portal of Nadir Divan-Beghi madrasah.

Night Goblin shaman (2) – painting magic effects

Dead Can Dance ‘American Dreaming’

It took a while to devise a colour-scheme for the base that I was happy with. I had thought about making the object source lighting effect the main feature; but this would have dominated the whole scene – as you can see from the preparatory experiment:

028

It would have meant having to paint the goblin shaman in exactly the same colour, probably in its entirety; which wasn’t really what I had in mind. So, I decided to keep the light effect a bit more subtle.

The base was painted as fairly standard mossy grey stone:

029

These were the colours used to paint the glow effect:

034

Object source lighting is, to all intents and purposes, extreme highlighting; designed to create an optical illusion. There are numerous methods for achieving this effect – in this case, simply blending up from dark to light; then smoothing the effect out through a glaze.

Basecoat – olive green:

032

Layer – olive green + snot green:

035

Layer – snot green:

036

At this point, I applied a thin wash of olive green over the snot green areas, to give them a bit of definition.

Layer – snot green + scorpion green:

038

Layer – scorpion green:

042

For the final highlight, mix scorpion green + yriel yellow + white; dot this on the tips of each ball:

045

Finally, apply several thin glazes of thraka green:

048

Glazing will darken the overall effect slightly – if you want to make the finished effect brighter, you can reapply the final green highlight; but I wanted the green areas on the base to be slightly darker than the OSL effect I’m going to paint on the goblin, so that the goblin stands out from the base.

The colours haven’t come out so well, unfortunately, as my camera isn’t great at photographing anything dark – but on a more positive note, I decided that I will add a pair of spiders to the base: they have the right combination of creepiness and coolness.