Combo Platter

The latest Painting Dark Sword tutorial is up on the Patreon Page now!  I really love using the Dark Sword figures as subject matter, because they have a lot of fine detail, and always plenty of character.
In this episode, I was trying to show how to combine several techniques that are usually broken out into individual episodes.

This time around, I wanted to show how to combine Object Source Lighting, Freehand and Non Metallic Metals all in one lesson.

I showed how I go about transferring a pattern onto the figure, sketching it out first to get the “muscle memory” and also a sense of what might have to be eliminated or added to make it work.

It is not unusual to have to put several major techniques into one figure, which is something I have to do every day.  The idea is to give you a few easier ways to execute these techniques, so that you feel more able to do so yourself.

I think most tutorials only do this kind of combination on huge figures or busts.  Very seldom do you see 28mm figures get the same treatment!

Well, since 28mm figures are what I use (and my commission buyers), that means doing all those nifty things you see on 75-100mm figures on the “little guys”.  It also has to be done in a timely fashion!

None of us has infinite amounts of time to spend on our figures, even though we wish we did.  In this lesson, I show you some ways to do that… and even play around with some home made static grass tufts!  If I can bring in the funds to set up a second recording station, I will be able to make an entire video series on creating those tufts as well!

When you pledge to my Patreon Page, you will get a great deal of content, in the form of one video tutorial after another (the Army Painting pledge is about 15-20 hours of videos each month!).  I try cover all aspects of miniature painting… basing, oils, acrylics, weathering powders… whatever it takes to get the job done.

The special $10 Dark Sword miniatures pledge not only allows you to check out all the Dark Sword tutorials, but all of the other ‘general technique’ episodes.  These often focus on experiments with new materials or techniques!  That’s all right here on the Patreon Page:

Original Post


Cold Snap!

This unusual Ice elemental posed a real challenge with all these different facets pointing this way and that!  It also meant having to work in a narrow range of blues, blue greens and even blue-gray.

The shadow areas not only required more of that blue gray, but also some teal mid tones in order to convey some semblance of translucency.

I do have a Facebook live video on another ice elemental from Mierce Miniatures which gives you an idea of what I am talking about:

I will definitely try to create another full scale tutorial on painting Ice Elementals at some point, so stay tuned!

Original Post


Dragonfall 2

This beastie from Mierce Miniatures was an interesting exercise in the full range of greens!
As I have tried to show in a number of my painting videos, these can range from blue green to almost yellow from cool to warm.

Saturation is another added element to this difference in tones.  You can even have the same kind of yellow green or blue green, but if it is toned down with even a little bit of red, it begins to read as more grayish to the eye.

You can see in some of these images how the yellowish intense green on the underside of the wings contrasts with the more muted, blueish greens on the back of the wings.  This is a subtle way of getting that contrast without resorting to radical differences in how light or dark the colors might be.
During my tutorial videos, I like to turn off all saturation at a certain stage to show how you can get “sneaky” contrast like this.
If I were to make this a black and white image, the two sides of the wings would look identical!

I also incorporated some reds in certain places to get one extra level of contrast.  So, the reds are placed where the green and the yellow of the two sides of the wings joins.  This is also a bit darker than the rest of the wings, adding one more type of contrast.

I already have a number of tutorial videos on painting greens available to the patrons of my Patreon Page at:

Original Post


Stark Marble

While much of my focus has been on the Night’s Watch and Free Folk lately, I have not forgotten about the original Starks and Lannisters!  Tutorials are under way for the full range of Starks… Outriders, Archers, Berserkers, Greataxes, etc.
I am also doing some tutorials on the NCU’s of course!  Sansa and Caitlyn will certainly be part of that.

These will try to follow the concept art as closely as possible, but tossing in a few extras where I can.  I have been creating some marble bases for them with a bit of wolf iconography.

It’s been just as much fun to work on these as it has the “new” stuff, so stay tuned!!  Speaking of new stuff, here’s the link once more to the Savage Giant tutorial video, as and example of what is on the way!

Original Post


Sand and Stone

It is only now that I am able to step back from Operation Sting and think about how much I was able to complete for that event!  I really enjoyed making the display board, which was featured in a number of step by step articles…

The army was really unusual for me, since most of what I have been painting all these years has been for early war!  Some of these weapons seemed like space age tech at one point 🙂  Of course, I especially enjoyed the basing on the army, and matching that terrain board…

I suppose that I was able to get in some practice on sandy Mediterranean colors for my upcoming DAK, Italian and British desert forces.  Those have also been under way for a while in terms of prepping, basing, etc.

When I researched what I should do for the uniforms, the variety of what I found gave me an opportunity to make each figure more unique.  This really helped when it came to playing in the tournament, because I never had any opportunity to play test the army before the event!

I wasn’t able to do everything that I wanted to on the army due to time constraints, but as I tell folks all the time in my instructional videos, there is nothing that says I can’t go back and add more details!

I also have to start making additional terrain pieces so that my display board can become the centerpiece for an entire Monte Cassino table.  The idea is to make more modular mountain style sections which could be used for several theatres, such as the Caucasus, etc.

It all worked out in the end, and I was very glad to receive the Best Axis Appearance award!

Original Post


The Blue Bloods

As we head towards Adepticon, I have been working on all of the various Guard squads created by Victoria Miniatures.  In this case, we have the Tanneburg Fusiliers.  Since I am already filming a number of Army Painting series for the Patreon Page, I have turned on the camera to capture the methods I use for tackling whole units such as these.

The Army Painter series is usually 5 episodes long, starting with the basing process and color test figures.  However, with the basing being a simpler rock and gravel, I went straight to the painting of the unit.  A typical series covers about 10-12 hours of total instructional video.
In addition to the Army Painter series, a $15 pledge also gets you the other tutorials created during the month, such as the Dark Sword and Black Heart Models videos.  This means you get around 16-20 hours of brand new videos every month.

Those are available on the Patreon Page now… and keep in mind that I am filming Series 6, 7, and 8 right now!  Don’t miss out on a ton of instructional video covering all aspects of painting, basing, etc.  Here’s the page:

Here’s a link to the first video, which will show how I set up the process and get things started!!

Original Post


The Red Horde

I never thought that I would enjoy a “reclamation” project as much as I did this one!  As I have mentioned in some previous posts, this batch of monsters from Mierce Miniatures had a number of things that needed to be fixed.
There were mould lines, gaps in seams, mostly drybrushed painting, and the requested NMM was done in metallics instead.

I have a step by step post that I made on switching from those metals here:

The idea here was not to completely start over from scratch, but to use what had already been done as an underpainting.  Instead of wiping out the skin colors and hair, I was able to enhance that with more dramatic highlights, and putting more subtle glazes into the shadows.

The difference was even more dramatic than I thought possible!  Not only in the metal areas, but even the skin tones and hair.  In the shadow areas of the skin, I used some glazes of the dark blue.  At the same time, I was “warming up” the lighter areas by adding some orange and bright skin color to those highlights.

Once I started to see them all together, I was even more surprised!

This is not the full batch… more pics on the way!  I hope that this might give people hope that if they might not like the results they see, it is not necessary to strip away paint and primer.  Instead, try to use that initial layer of colors as an underpainting, and make it an advantage!

Original Post


Giant News!

While the release of the new Free Folk army from Song of Ice and Fire is still in the future, I have been busy creating as many painting tutorials as I can so that you will be ready to work on yours!
This Savage Giant was the first tutorial of the Free Folk.

I begin in the usual way, with my initial glazes and Sgaded Basecoat technique.  Those who have seen my other tutorials are quite familiar with this 🙂

Once those critical lights and darks have been determined, I can get into the “middle tones”, or that vast range of shading between light and dark.  Believe it or not, most of the real action happens here.

With the figure itself completed, it was time to do some snow and ice effects!

I tried to show a few different methods for creating those effects.  They will feature very prominently in all my upcoming Free Folk and Night’s Watch tutorials.

Here he is!  I have already completed the second Giant that comes with the starter box, and he will be made available to the patrons of my Patreon Page.  I already have a 5 part army painting series on my Lannister Halberds (series 4 of the five Army Painting series I have done so far!)  here is a quick review of that:

Each army painting series guides you through the entire process of basing, initial shading, the midtones, finishing details, and so on.  A typical series is about 10-13 hours long, and helps you figure out how much of your “currency of time” that you might want to invest in a project.  
I will asses how much a given effect took to make, and then ask if that (multiplied by a given number of figures!) is worth it.  I have even started showing how you can paint your army “on the fly”, that is making it look good enough to put on the table before it is actually done.
All of us are in the same boat… never enough time to paint all the minis we have.

I often see people get discouraged, as they are convinced that they won’t be able to paint their armies to the standard that they would like, and end up not painting them at all.  My goal with the tutorials is to show you ways to get those nifty results, but not have to invest 3 lifetimes into painting one unit!
The armies that I paint for the Patreon Page are my own, and are featured in my battle reports (or what I take to tournaments, etc).  I do this because there is no better way to understand what a fellow army painter goes through than to be one yourself!
As I mentioned early on, I have 5 Army Painting series up on the Patreon Page now.  That pledge level is $15, and it gets you all of the video content, not just the series.  This means that you get some additional bonus techniques that you can try on your unit champions or special characters.  Here’s a link to the page:

Here’s a link to the video, so you can check it out!

Original Post


Night’s watch: Color Test Figure

Here’s a peek at the next Army Painting series which will feature the Night’s Watch!  This is the “color test” figure which I always try out first when working on a new army.
I can get a sense of not just how it looks, but how long a given effect might take to create… especially when you are talking about an entire army! 🙂  

Normally the Color Test figure is the second episode in the series (which is 4-5 episodes long), but I had not painted any Night’s Watch figures yet, so I needed to get familiar with the figures themselves.  As I go about painting the rest of the unit, I will be working from these images.  Those are up on the screen, along with the palette camera.
While “black” is the color of the Night’s Watch, very seldom is that color truly black.  It tends to be blueish, greenish, and every other color, as even non reflective surfaces such as cloth can still take on the ambient colors of the environment around it.  
Sky colors, ground colors, etc, can really influence the tone.
I try to have a lot of conversations about all this during the painting process.  Showing the “how” is not as important as the “why”.  It is the primary reason that the unit painting series are broken down into these separate episodes.  The total running time is usually 10-13 hours.

The basing is the same type of Oxide Paste and tree bark which I have been using on the other units.  This is the next unit being featured on the Patreon Page.  The first episode always starts out with basing, so you will see plenty of it when you join in on the Army Painting pledge level!  Here’s a link for you:

Original Post


Shopping Spree

Here’s the newest building that I have added to the Nouvion terrain board.  Just like the rest of the buildings, it is made out of pink underlayment foam.  This is a quick review of how I go about making these:

The pink foam has many advantages.  It is ultimately a lot cheaper than foam core, and easier to work with.  You can cut it very easily, and texture it as well.  Cutting it into thin ‘detail’ pieces such as those around the windows is very handy for adding more levels of that detail to your buildings.

It does not take much to make the “ruined” look on the buildings, and it is very easy to measure out the various sections.  Once I work out the measurements of a structure, I make a template of the different pieces so that I can make more of that same building.  

The biggest advantage of the pink foam is that I can paint them without having to worry about the walls warping.  Foam core has the paper backing, which absorbs the moisture and makes things warp.  The pink foam takes the Stynrlez primer quite nicely!  Here’s an example:

Here’s the painted version, which is now featured in the town of Nouvion!  Battle reports on this new table are imminent 🙂

Original Post


Prime Shading

I have been using the Badger Stynlrez primer for many years now, since it works on every surface… metal, resin, plastic, etc., with no problems at all!  I used to brush in on before I had an airbrush, and that worked fine as well.

Now that there are over a dozen different colors of the Stynlrez primer, you can do what I like to call “Primer Painting”.   I’m sure you have seen people do some pre shading of their figures with combinations of black and white primer… but there is even more that you can do with the Stynlrez.

I usually start off with one of the brownish colors.  This one is more of a raw umber color, with a touch of red.  There is also an ebony color which is a little darker and more muted.  That is not a bad one to start off with either.  There are some Mierce Miniatures bog monsters in this image.

I am not necessarily trying to cover the entire miniature with this layer.  Most of the focus is on the lower two thirds of the figure.

Now it is time to get some extra colors into our primer painting.  By spraying this lighter green over the reddish brown, I am already getting some interesting  colors on the skin tones and cloth of these Free Folk characters and Savage Giants.

The key is not to wipe out the underlying layers of reddish brown, but to dust the green over the top.  This creates a blend of colors, which makes a fantastic under painting for later on!

I did the same with the Bog Monsters and some converted Starks from Song of Ice and Fire.  I actually used Bolt Action winter Soviet arms to replace the swords and shields.

Next, I will do an even lighter dusting of this sandy yellow primer, which will lighten the greenish tones a little, and create yet another layer of mixed colors that I can play off of while painting.

Since my first several layers of paint tend to be glazes, I usually make my last layer of primer be a gentle spray of white.  This creates a full value scale, and it means that my glazes won’t darken the figure too much.

Here we have that nice value pattern from light to dark, set up in a matter of minutes.  When I prime miniatures, I normally do several dozen at once.  This means prepping and basing a lot of figures, but it really does maximize your work time, and make the process more efficient. 

On figures that have a very visible base (or movement trays in the case of SoIaF miniatures), I go over the lower third of the figures with that dark ebony color or even a black.  If you compare the two images, you can really see the difference that it makes!

I did the same with my converted Stark weapon crew and the Bog Monsters.

As I mentioned before, this kind of pre shading sets up my subsequent glazes quite well,  I will still add more highlights and middle tones, but the framework is already in place.  Sometimes you notice things in terms of shapes when you do the pre shading that you might not have noticed while prepping the figures.

Now I have a number of Free Folk miniatures ready for video tutorials!  These will be available to my patrons on the Patreon Page here:

Original Post


The Magenta Mage

The first Painting Dark Sword tutorial is now available to the Patreon Patrons!  This is something I had wanted to do for a while, once I realized it had been a very very long time since I had last used the Vallejo Magenta Fluorescent paint!

This was the perfect miniature to feature the Object Source Lighting as well.  I wanted to continue the “color theory” painting episodes too, such as the emphasis on exploring the full range of greens on the last 2 Dark Sword videos.

I even managed to sneak in some marble basing as well!

Just like there are more to ‘greens’ than the basic green that immediately comes to mind, Magenta encompasses a massive array of warmer and cooler colors, along with saturated and unsaturated tones.  Yet another reason why I wanted to combine this with the OSL effect and the Fluorescent paints!

Here is something else that I am going to do on more of the videos… and that is turning off the saturation completely, and turning the screen to black and white!  It was very handy to show how important the “value scale” is, and also the various forms of contrast.
It is possible to get a lot of contrast simply by the type of color you place next to another, even though it is the exact same level of light or dark!

In these final images you can see some of that contrast at work.  There are some areas where the “purple” is almost blue… and that is just the thing that is needed to make the much warmer and saturated magenta reflections stand out.

You can only make a color so bright, so that means that you need to employ other methods of creating that contrast.  This means adding enough shadow areas, but also using “opposite” colors, as well as those muted/unsaturated colors that I have mentioned.

This is Episode 8 in my Painting Dark Sword video series, and #9 is already under way!  In addition to the Dark Sword tutorials I have been filming for the Patreon Page subscribers, I have been creating tutorials on Black Heart Models busts.  Each of these episode is about 100-120 minutes long, and takes you through the entire process of painting the miniature or bust.

The Dark Sword pledge level is $10, and it gets you much more than just Dark Sword tutorials!  You can also view the ‘regular’ episodes that feature various types of basing, terrain, etc.  That is all on the Patreon Page here:

Original Post