My final Dragon in the big 6 i was sent by my client Dom is a large and boney Gemstone dragon. He is painted and pictured in the art reference in purple. I left this guy till last for one simple reason. Purple hates me. I have bought P3, vallejo, games workshop etc and i have always found purple to be a color that just doesn't seem to want to be painted in small scale. Am i missing something? Yes, likely i am. I will do my reserach for this model, but starting out i gave it a grey undercoat with a light to blue grey gradient on the wings which will give me a great base to work from.
If this dragon doesn't remind you of Clover, then either you haven't seen the movie or you forgot to put your eyes in today.
FIXING UP SOME WARG SKIN
Recently i finished these "wild wargs" for my client. Mildly disapointed by games workshops re release of warg models that are designed for miniatures to go on their backs (therefore having literall flat backs with no fur) i sculpted som extra fur on and then gave them a lick of paint. Not to linger on the point but come one games workshop (or as i call them the "evil empire") you literally could sculpt a bit of fur on them and THEN re release them. Such money hungry, money grabbing desperation and it deeply saddens me. The capitolistic nature of our industry is saddening.
Although my client was appreciative of the little effort and paint job he did say that the skin was "to clean" and i agreed immediately. I think that's a second danger of these basically detailed models, they will always have a danger of seeming to clean. As a fix i decided to mix a flesh wash/home made black wash and added that onto the models skin today and it has worked a treat. I imagine i may go back and give them a little beige drybrush later today when they're dry.
The touch up on those wargs went really well and since i have since received a big old mix of flowery siflor tufts from ebay i decided to upgrade their bases a bit to as the general "green" static grass wasn't helping their slightly cartoonish finish. Either way it was detracting from the naturalistic tone of the project.
HEADING BACK TO VALHALLA
In the coming weeks i will be dipping back into (and finishing) Brams Valhallan order (although we all know that this army....will never be finished and i'm half tempted to get an old frost giant model and convert it to be some kind of behemoth ogryn captain for bram sometimes, that's how extravagant and exciting his imagination is!). Bram has a fantastic imagination and has created these amazing bear riders (rough rider stand ins) using foundry bears. Below is a picture of the last ones i painted.
ROMAN FIGHTER COBBLE BASES
I am a decisive artist generally. I don't tend to back and forth on decisions but with these roman models i did a bit. Should i remove the tabs entirely and pin them, should i do the bases first and them stick them down, should i match these to the mob bases even though i did the test model slightly differently and then found that the mob bases would have been much harder to do correctly in the previous style. I wouldn't say they threw me, moreso i might say i just couldn't decide so i let them sit on the back burner a few days while i did the mob bases and got them painted. Now that i finished them and stood them next to the fighter test model i could see that regardless of the style of cobble the coloring, flocking and overall general art style (being my own usual naturalistic, gritty one) matched quite well.
Step 1. Mix your putty and squeeze it onto the base. Rub off the edges to get a bevel and use a cuticle (nail) tool to flatten the top. I also used the pointy end of this tool to clear out the semi circles on the fighter bases.
Step 2. Using a dentists tool (from a craft shop) sculpt lines into the base, making sure they cross and intersect randomly, so as to imply larger and smaller cobbles in a mixed fashion.
Step 3. Using an old tooth brush stipple some marks and dots into the bases to finish.
Dragons are always interesting. Dragons by their very nature ae large and for the most part observe naturalistic patterns. The images given to me for this dragons showed many blatant red and pink hues. I had many ideas as to how to get that "red lizard" kind of look while maintaining the obvious ruby association of the gems. I decided in the end to go with a brown undercoat and then work in basecoat, ink heavilly down to a dark brown/black and then slowly mottle and overbrush my way all the way past the original brown tone into a dim red. This i think has achieved the interlacing affect of natural skin, brown scales and the general red tone of the skin without inking it heavilly in red (creating lots of gawdy red pools in recesses) or working up from red, which might have made the model brighter than we wanted. I think the final result is great and i am really proud of how that red mottling worked out in the end for sure.
I finished up those roman mobs ( look at this picture i realise i could finish the group base edges). They have been good fun, from picking colors to scultoing and painting the bases. They really came together with the flocking stage and i really enjoy using those tiny autumn leaves, they bring a pop of life to the models.
This evening insomnia struck as notice of further lockdown measures on manchester come 1 day before the hottest day of the year here. Such a shame. So as to have enough time to enjoy the sun tomorrow afternoon i powered through those romans with some new brushes i got off ebay, then i knocked up a little photo booth (pictured left) on my work desk and snapped some pics. Multiple ink followed by highlights and some brown lining. A little muddying up, some eye and mouth socket painting, a bit of detailing and voila.
Today i was confronted with an age old problem that i've had to deal with for a long time. Unmixed paint. Specfically i have a few bottles (yellows, purples, some browns) that just never seem to mix no matter how hard i shake them. So i had a brainstorm moment and i remembered i've just bought a drill. I wrapped some wire around a bottle to make a "spinny paint bottle holder thing". I gave it a good whirl and whoa...some of these un usable bottles have changed completely. I'm really glad as there was some colors i really wanted to use on these models.
The first thin i wanted to do after i blocked out all of the robes was pick out the skin tones. I attended the very moving and very large Black lives matter protest a few weeks ago, read a bit on the matter and also stumbled upon a great article saying that ancient rome was anything but a white colony. I read into this and i found that in fact "race" in ancient rome would have been even more diverse than it is now with much less white representation across the board. I decided to make these bases at least as mixed as possible by introducing mixed skin tones. It seems like the tiniest little protest in itself but the industry is disgustingly white. And there is no other adjective for it. It's just white people making white miniatures for white people mostly. And it sucks. As a conesquence i always try to ask my clients if they want a mix of skin tones but even white skin is catered for much more easily than dark skin tone sin paint ranges. There literally is very few "dark" skin products. Vallejo skin tones comes to mind as a good one.
I like to use multiple different color primers that i buy from SPRAYSTER.COM to save money. I have many strong opinions about primer in the wargames industry. The shocking mark up is astonishingly unjust. I save my customers a lot of money by using these other primers. I shall say in short that ALL MATT PRIMER is basically the same in regards to the purpose of wargaming. With some of these they come out a little sheen, so i simply brush them with a matt coat of varnish before painting or inking and they take paint perfectly. Check out sprayster.com.
Following a mixed undercoat (leaning heavilly into brown and beige for historical accuracy of sorts) i painted the bases a dark grey (matching the base of the test model.) Many of my clients know my mental health can be u and down, so this last few days i haven't got as much done as i'd like, however i decided to trek on and get these bases done as a test to see how they matched up with the test model.
I was nervous that the stamp method i employed on the group bases wouldn't look like cobble and i think i was right with just the grey/brown/beige/grey method. It looked a bit boring. I decided to pick out some of my favorite browns and add them on top picking out individual tiles.
That seemed to work really well but it was a bit flat so i mixed my home made "death juice" (recipe to come soon) and some grey paint and i made a dark grey wash. After the grey wash i added a final dry brush of spaceship grey and it really popped, the contrast was there and it looks fantastic. The fit of the bases is ever so slightly tight (i have akward memories of a client once berating me because his bases didn't fit absolutely perfectly - don't worry it wasn't John, John is so nice) so i will see how they feel in a day or two when i'm done painting and then i can always sand them down a tiny bit.
This dragon model is an exciting learning curve. I considered approaching this from a few angles. Firstly i considered dark purple and black primer worked up to red and pink with black washes, then i thought about black and worked up manually without washes to brown red. Finally i decided on a dark brown and skin tone (to develop that skin tone on the tummy of the picture) and then washes and working back up to that purple red hue. It's going to be a challenge. As it stand right now i've done the brown, the skin and the red (block colors) and started with the washes. The image is definitely very red but i'm stumping out on how to get there. I am very understanding of the creative process however and i know we shall one way or another. For the time being i'm very proud of the natural skin fade i've achieved on the tummy and can't wait to see these washes dried.
Pictured above, achieveing those natural skin fades with spray, dry brushing, mottling and and overbrushing.
With the majority of details picked out roughly i gave the model a liberal wash of Death Juice (my own home made black wash) mixed with Army Painter Strong tone. I think i might repeat this once dry, not sure yet. Otherwise i might just work the skin tones down to a darker set. i can't rightly decide yet.
Basing these romans has been a fun challenge so far. I sat down the other night with a few old kung fu movies and removed the base tabs with clippers. I considered going completely tab less as with the test model but i realised that some of the models wouldn't work that way (thin legs) so i have had to compromise the style a bit to get a uniform (ish) look to the cobble across the board.
I kneeded some putty and squeezed it onto the base wity my fingers. i found that the less i thought about it the better a job i did, which then i could clean up with a tool afterwards.
After doing the first base i decided to go out and get a better sculpting tool from the craft shop.
The main issue i met with these "multi bases" is the thickness of the putty. If i was to compeltely match it to the fighter i think it'd have looked odd. However in trying to do something a bit different for the multi bases i worry i've strayed to far. This took a fairly long time to get done and i'm happy with the result. Luckilly my clients seem to trust me and usually follow my judgement on orders. I realise looking at this that i could totally add other bits now that it's dry. I also do believe on these bigger bases there will be more brown leaves and tufts.
Just four more mob characters left to do then i'm gonna get on matching those fighter bases to the test model as i feel it's more pertinent to do so with them. That will take a lot longer than expected.
Most of the work on my romans order is hands on basing and stuff for a few days, removing tabs and sculpting bases so i shall post pictures once i get to that stage but for now i decided to jump back to a special order by a newer and exciting client Dom.
Dom once sent me a parcel (with a LOT of mini's in it) that got lost by royal mail. It was a horrific moment and luckilly Dom is a super nice guy and understood the issue.
Years later we began discussing more work and i was super eager to get back on it for him. I have a big mixed order of models (all for DnD) which is so exciting for me as i tend to paint lots of uniform models, so this order allows me to really flex some working muscles as well as genuinely learn new stuff. The latest model i've finished for this order is this giant ancient saphire dragon. It is an astounding model but i've lost the box with the manafacturer on it. I shall ask my client and maybe he can comment here with the producer.
This model is so large i went hunting around the house for a bigger photo booth or similar and literally found an actual large photo booth so i set up my lights and my tripod and grabbed some great pics for you. I decided to collage them together so you can see all the elements of the job in one picture.
Here is the collage picture i've built, i really hope you like it. Painting this model was a challenge in patience more than anything, all those gems and going back over bits in black then sometimes blue and vice versa. It was Nice to get to the end and then as usual it just kind of came together in the last few moments. Very satisfying. I think i got the contrast down, i hope my client likes the blue i've gone with.
How about a size comparison...
What a behemoth! I am excited to get on with the next one now (there is two more dragons before i get on with the rest of the infantry).
I shall post tomorrow about some of the other finished pieces of this very fun order. I hope you enjoyed this update. I surely did.
I recently picked up a big box of colorful flowers (multiple colors) from ebay. What a good idea that was! I usually only pick up one or two siflor tuft sets a year at conventions and such but i am glad i got this mixed box for this order, it really adds a splash of color and excitment to these very brown models. I think also that the bright coloring leans into the cartoony element which is great. I'm really chuffed with this order and i would definitely paint these again. Thanks John!
PAINTING THE ROMAN COBBLE STREETS
starting with a dark grey base i dry brush the base with a light chocolate brown (craft paint) and then a white beige (craft paint) finally i gently drybrushed the base and cobble edges with spaceship grey (vallejo). Using a mix of browns, beiges and greys definitely lands that "dirty roman street" look while not leaning to far into sandstone or grey stone.
Using a rough and very dry brush i gave the whole model a quick beige dry brush using the craft paint from stage 2 of the basing. This added a musky dusty look to the model which is beyond appropriate for a gladiator style model. As a finishing touch i painted the under base black and added some brown grass and a few fallen leaves.
FINISHED TEST MODEL
A blog for the w.i.p element of the EZPainter. In recent years work has been stacked, split and juggled as opposed to singular focus on each,