Working in the Shade

As most of you already know, I like to use a version of my Shaded Basecoat technique with the airbrush, that that this is done with the Badger Stynlrez primers.
In this case, I will be doing this on some French infantry from Warlord Games, one of the last units for the army.  Since they will have to match all the other previously painted figures, the colors used would be very simple.  The idea is only to establish where the lights and darks would be. 

The first Stynlrez primer was the dark brown Ebony.  All I am doing is covering the entire surface, setting up the next primer color.

I really like how this deep brown color works.  It is relatively neutral as far as being a warmer or cooler, but still have more interesting tone than gray.

Some black primer was sprayed near the bottom of the base pointing upwards, so that it would also hit the bottoms of the figures too.  This would be the darkest areas of shading.

You can see that even with this one addition, there are already some nice value gradations established.

Since I will be using my normal glazing techniques once the priming is complete, I only need to provide a hint of greenish brown.  This is the next layer, which is mixed with a little bit of the brown primer.

The image on the right shows one figure with the green primer and a little yellow primer added. By spraying it from above the figure, you can immediately get a sense of how the overall figure should be shaded.

It must be remembered that I want these colors to be a few shades lighter, because I am doing many glazes over the top of this primer set.  That’s going to darken everything down significantly.

The final layer is a mix of the yellow with some white.  Not only is it important for getting the last highlights on the upper surfaces of the figures, but highlighting the base as well.  
This can really be seen with the kneeling figure on the left.

At this point, the unit is basically ready for the rest of the painting process.  I may use acrylics or oils at this stage, depending on what else is being painted at the same time.

The view from above shows off the base too.  If you want to get some of these excellent primers (these are the some ones you have seen me using on vehicles and even terrain), you can get them at webairbrushes.  If you use the discount code “wappellious”, you get a 42% discount:

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The Barbarian

Ever since I painted my very first Norsgard figure, I knew that I had a new miniature line that I would enjoy very much.  The resin is very resilient, with a nice smooth finish and not brittle or hard.  While that makes them easier to assemble, it also makes for a very nice painting surface!

Other areas like the fur cloak and the weapons tend to be in nice shape too.  When those are more detailed, it means that I can paint some more interesting varieties of tones into things that would ordinarily look gray.  While it might look like gray right off the bat, there are plenty of greens, purples and blues as well.
It is important to include those tones, since they are all reflected in the colors that I used on the skin.  This helps to ties everything together.

You can check out more of those fantastic figures here:

If you are wondering about the size of the figure, he is on a 40mm base.

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The Templar

I had some fun with this Templar Knight.  This was one of the first complex mounted figures that I used an airbrush for the shaded basecoat phase.

This meant that I could paint the whole thing more or less intact and fully assembled, which was more handy than I thought!  Usually there is the nasty ritual of trying to glue a fully painted rider onto a fully painted horse, which never seems to fit correctly, even when you have dry fit it a hundred times!
Then you end up making one of those green stuff ‘saddles’ to make sure the guy doesn’t fall off, and you have to hope that you don’t get glue and green stuff in places that you painted.
Better yet, you now have to get a brush with paint into areas that were never supposed to be exposed in the first place!

In any case, it also made it easier to keep the same flow of light and shadow having the figure on the horse the entire time,  There have been far too many times where I have painted shading or something elaborate in an area where it will never be seen, or where it does not make sense entirely once he is back on the horse.

As usual, I was working with a basic Badger Patriot 105, and using the Stynlrez primers.  All I am trying to do is get that preliminary shading, figuring out in advance (while priming at the same time!) so that I can get right into the final shading and mid tone work.
I also used some combinations of Mig Ammo mud on the base and the horse.  The first layers were a lighter tone, to represent the dried mud.  Subsequent layers were darker, to represent the fresh turned dirt/mud.  Then I added the foliage and some leaves cut with the Green Stuff World leaf cutters.

He’s also here:

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Golden Hero

The more I work on miniatures (this is year 17), the more I turn to my original 2D art roots.  
This means that I seldom paint the color that “should” be there.  When you are painting in oils or watercolors, you don’t search around for just the right red or green or blue, etc.  Instead, you create the “impression” of those colors.
Instead of painting ‘gold’, you paint all the reflections of the surrounding areas, with a suggestion of a bright yellow here and there.  This figure has lots of greens, blues, purples and reds as opposed to a bunch of different yellow tones.

I realize that this sounds very complicated and somewhat crazy, but it is actually a far easier way to achieve an effect, and you end up using a very small set of colors.  As I have mentioned before, I seldom use more than 6-7 colors on an army, much less an individual figure.
This is also how I can work on several different genres at the same time.  I don’t need a ‘clean’ set of new colors for each figure… instead I utilize that one set of colors for everything, mixing where I need to.

Of course, beginning with the shaded basecoat technique helps a lot.  This provides that basic framework which my first layers of paint used to on my 2D art.  The idea was always to map out where the lights and darks should be as soon as possible, and then build around that.

These “golds” are made of oranges, greens mixed with tan, muted purples, dark blues, you name it.  This variety in tones also makes it far more interesting to look at, just as looking closely at a 2D painting reveals all the interesting brush strokes of colors that were used to make you believe you are looking at something which is three dimensional.

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All Hail the King

I made this fun conversion for my Tomb Kings army, with the various elements designed to show the taint of Tzeentch.  The multi colored carrion bird had been one of the King’s pet birds prior to this taint.

Here’s the story of the army:

I scratch sculpted two constructs for the army as well:

This article discussed the planning of the display board:

This image was seen in many of the bases, figures and display board:

Here are some views of the army and the display board:

Here’s a closer look at the moveable terrain pieces that I created for that upper level:

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Have Club, will Travel

I am not sure who makes this figure (my guess has been Mierce), but it was an interesting one to work on.  With larger, open areas of exposed skin, I could try a few subtle color combos to make those places more interesting.  That meant including purples, blues, greens and so on alongside the warmer tans and peach tones.

While this was in effect a “limited palette” exercise, I used a full range of colors to make sure that some reddish colors were more or less saturated.  As I always say, contrast is not just light vs dark, or even opposite colors.  Temperature contrast and saturated vs grayed down colors also counts as contrast!

I think you can see in one of these images that the branch he is holding actually has a nest at the top, with eggs spilling out!  That was a hilarious touch, and there is even a bird sticking its head out of the branch.  Very cool!

Since I knew that I would be adding plenty of green foliage added to the base, I had to account for those colors while I was painting the figure.  You can see how the greens contrast against him, especially where the darker greens make the lighter skin tones stand out a bit more.

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Heading into town

As we expand our early war Bolt Action locales, it is time to move from the countryside to a somewhat more urban environment, ultimately leading up to full fledged city style boards.
In this series, I will try to show how to build your terrain to take advantage of all the fantastic graphics that can be found on battle mats like this great cobblestone mat from TableWar.
I want to show how to make your terrain mesh as well as possible with the mat, but also be flexible.  It would get very boring if you simply set up the exact same table game after game!

Here is the mat that I am working with.  You can find that here:×4-cobbletown-f-a-t-mat-gaming-mat/

Since roads are very important in games of Bolt Action, I wanted to create lanes for vehicles to move and deploy rapidly.  At the same time, I wanted to create “blind alleys” and other hidden zones that will make urban combat as hazardous as it normally is.
This town will have a variety of intact and ruined buildings so that I can rotate them in an out, and create very different environments using this single mat.  I have a modular church under way to go along with these structures.
You have already seen the series on how the ruined buildings were created and painted, that was a series that began here:

I will be making some “blocking terrain” as well, such as that crater.  How else would all those buildings be in such need of repair without having a few craters!  You can see that it also matches some graphics on the mat.  The ruined buildings will be concentrated in areas where the mat has images of wood piles and smashed stones.

There will also be plenty of places to hide, take cover and set ambushes.  The mat will be moved around in various directions to best take advantage of the modular buildings, as well as the walls and tree stands.

You can see these relatively wide thoroughfares… but my intent is to make some piles of bricks and other rubble which will impede movement through them.  Some of these might even be altered by extra sandbags, etc, to make a stronger fire position.
Those will be done as individual step by step articles, just like a post on how I made the telephone poles.

Matching the texture of the mat is very important, and I tried to do that on the ‘bases’ of my buildings.  In essence, this is a sidewalk.  I used a pen to carve in the texture of cobblestones, taking care to match the sizes and shapes of those on the mat itself.

It didn’t tale very long to get this texture on the entire sidewalk, and I was very pleased when I set it down on the mat!!

When I got down to street level, I realized that all the little odds and ends that I will be using are going to add a lot to this scene.  I have furniture, street lamps, road signs, mailboxes and more!

The piles of rubble will also make a very tough environment for vehicles to move around unhindered.  I also have some fountains and other decorative elements which should make these open areas more interesting.

Stay tuned for much more on this terrain board, the buildings, scatter terrain, and eventually some battle reports!!

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The Old Timer

The previous ancient Dark Elf posting determined that these figures are indeed over 20 years old.  While it is very challenging to apply current techniques to something long since out of print, that is very interesting!
It definitely breathes new life into them, and forces you to adapt techniques that are normally used on something that it finely sculpted and cast.  The amount of detail and precision on a typical figure of today is astonishing by comparison.
These figures were also never intended for things like NMM, so finding those vital areas of reflected light and color are more difficult.

He’s also here:

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Tangled Web

Black Scorpion Miniatures is a line that I ran across by accident, and I am very glad that I did!
They have lots of fantastic sculpts, from western theme (how I found them in the first place), pirate and even Blood Bowl teams.  The pirate figures are very interesting, since they have several factions.  The dwarf and goblin pirates have lots of character, as well as the undead pirates.

The female characters are also very fun, and this witch with her kitty familiar were quite nice.

You can tell that these were all sculpted by hand with traditional green stuff, which is also a rarity these days for companies making new releases!  Here’s the website:

I thought that I would have some fun and make the cloak transparent.  This way I could add the spider web touches.  It posed a challenge with the skin colors, as the transparent black meant that the skin colors would be tinted greenish or blueish gray.  I had to ad plenty of pinks and purples to balance that out.

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A Bird in Hand…

This massive bird from Mierce Miniatures posed all sorts of technical and logistical challenges.  First was tackling the basing.  He is originally meant to stand on a piece of resin, but that was going to be replaced by my “Bark and Branch” method.
I have a link to the original basing that was done on a facebook live session here:

Painting him was a challenge due to so many similar colors on so many broad surfaces.  Getting variety was key to keeping it from getting too boring!

I have a video on the initial painting session using the new Secret Weapon weathering paints here:

As usual, a lot of unusual color mixtures were required to create that interest, especially in those all important “Mid Tones”.  This half way area between light and dark is where about 60% of all the colors on a figure tend to fall, which means that you have to play around with muted mixes of opposite colors, and incorporate greens and other tones that you would not ordinarily associate with feathers!

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As I have mentioned before, Siren Miniatures are packed with all kinds of details, and this was no exception.  It seemed like a very simple dwarf, until I started painting it!  Every time I turned around, there was another sneaky element lurking.

It does make it more enjoyable to paint when you have crisp detail.  I believe at the time I was also working on other much older figures that were just the opposite, where everything had to be “painted in”.  That was no fun at all by comparison!

I used another Secret Weapon base on him, to make it seem like he was running over the body of a fallen foe.  As I was working on this, I was also painting monsters and historical figures… taking advantage of similar colors, even though the figures were drastically different in genre.

He’s also here:

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Attack of the Ents

This massive treeman was a challenge just to put together, much less paint!

I think there were at least 22 “branches” that had to be glued in place.  These had to be positioned in a way that was realistic, but also less likely to break.  I didn’t want too many pointing straight up, or out to the sides.  You can see that more than one branch actually points downward.

The other reason I did this was to make the upraised “arm” seem more threatening, as opposed to a mere collection of branches among the whole canopy.  I used some Woodland Scenics foliage on the base and the branches.  This is the same material that I have been adding to my historical figures, especially the large gun emplacements and weapon teams.
I used my typical shaded basecoat/glazing method, the very same one that I used in my Painting Pyramid video series.  It is always quite ironic when I paint a treeman, as the figure that was used in the glazing video was in fact a treeman!
It was the perfect subject for a glazing video.  The best way to get the colors and shading down into the unending crevices is through glazing, and this also allowed me to shift colors rapidly and easily.  Endless layers of lighter colors would have taken a tremendous amount of time.

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