Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The painting has gone well, I think. Though it's only been a day since my last post, truthfully this project is proceeding more slowly than that. The work I showed you last time (cleaned figures, with conversion and glued to their washers) took about a calendar week, twenty minutes at a time when I could grab a moment. The painting was done at a similar pace. A short spurt at a time in off moments.
And it will continue that way. My hobby time is constrained (who's isn't?) but I get along as I can.
My process goes something like this: over a white undercoat, I block in the flesh and hair first. I apply a stain using my favorite Windsor and Newton Peat Brown ink, then block in all of the other colors. The W&N ink gives a nice warm shading tone to the flesh and hair.
I picked out three or four off-white colors, four or five browns, and a half dozen muted, earthy colors. Each figure got a random assortment of browns for leather and wood parts, one piece of clothing in an off-white tone, and another in a relatively muted color. Then I picked a few bright colors and painted the shields, cloth trim, and one pair of pants (a salute to Ross Macfarlane's character "Redlegs").
All of those colored bits got an undiluted wash of GW Devlan Mud for shading. I like the dirty brown weathering I get from this ink very much for this kind of subject. It's not great for bright paint jobs like Napoleonics, ACW, the Crimea, etc., but for many ancient and modern figures it yields a nice grubby shading.
Next all the metal parts were painted a dark steel color, with a few small accents picked out in brass. All of the metal got a wash of GW Nuln Oil (a black ink, essentially).
I drew in the pupils and upper lash line with a black radiograph pen, then set to highlighting. I'm about half way through with the highlights now. Generally I apply two highlight steps. The first is the base color with a little dark brown added, to get it just a shade lighter than the result of color + Devlan Mud already on the piece. The second step is the original base color. Both steps go on pretty thinned out, to aid in blending. Flesh gets a single highlight in the original base color, concentrated on cheek bones and fingers/knuckles.
I plan to do a little more highlighting. Not all parts will get that treatment, but some of the lighter and brighter areas will really benefit from a little sprucing up.
I'll also go back at some point and add more detail and color to the trim on the tunics. Those little details can make a big difference to the perceived individuality and character associated with a figure.
Below are shots of each, as they stand today.
The Warlord. The brass replacement blade worked very nicely. The pants and shield face will get more highlighting. Possible the beard as well.
The archer. The flights on the arrows need highlighting for sure. His tunic has already been highlighted, and I'm pleased with the result. The brass replacement bow looks pretty good, but lacks a convincing taper. Still, it's better than tossing this figure into the bits bin.
"Redlegs" himself. The pants will get a final highlight to bring more attention there. Probably the highest points on the fur cloak as well. And the beard/hair. Choosing all earth tones from the waist up wasn't such a good idea. It leaves him feeling bottom-heavy and a bit bland.
The spearman. One of my favorite poses. The tunic has been highlighted. I'll probably touch up the beard and braids. I forgot to mention that the steel bits on all of the figures have been highlighted as well, with a careful drybrushing of the original steel tone. I might hit the highest points with a really bright silver, to emulate sun glints.
This guy really ought to be more impressive with that great Dane Axe of his. But the pose is very two-dimensional, the axe haft was cast a bit bent/curved, and his head is tiny. Also there's a hunk of undetailed plastic between his arms...a casualty of the two-part mold. He's destined for the rear rank in the shieldwall, I'm afraid.
Swapping this figure's original (and damaged) upraised seax for a spear made all the difference. The tunic and beard need a highlight, but this is another of my favorites.
The faces on almost all of the Ehmar figures are really something. Nicely sculpted and full of character. A joy to paint.
As you can see, the bases are in progress. They've had a layer of sand applied, then a coat of medium brown paint and a stain of W&N Peat Brown ink. I'll flock them and call them done. More pics as these get finished.
On another note, I stopped by the local game store on the way home tonight for a few minutes, and found some old friends playing SAGA, from Gripping Beast. It looked like quite a fun rule set, but I noticed a distinct lack of shieldwall tactics, despite there being Vikings on the field. Still, it's a very popular set and probably for good reason. I may well pick up a set when I can.
Next up, the first six Marx Vikings, and news of some new acquisitions for the project.