Color Craze

Since I constantly mention that one should constantly experiment with various materials, styles, and techniques, it was time for me to try out something very new!  This would be the brand new color shift paints from Green Stuff World.

There are two sets, each with six jars.  You have a nice variety of lighter and darker tones, as well as yellows, reds, purples blues and greens!

I have a few things under way that I thought might be interesting testing subjects.  On the fantasy side, I had this Reaper BONES dragon, which had been used to show how to work with Badger airbrush primers at Gencon.
While the recommended underlayment is to have a gloss black, I wanted to see what might happen with something that was already shaded and tinted.  The dragon was a sort of burgundy, with a sky blue belly and other reddish accents.

While this would probably affect the color shifting properties of the paints somewhat, I wanted to see right away if it was possible to keep the sort of “pre-shading” that I have been doing with the Stynlrez primers.  While shifting colors is a neat effect, there still has to be some semblance of lights and darks to show shapes!

The first color that I tried was the cobalt blue.  Like any paints, you will want to shake them up very well.  Also, you have to get used to the milky white appearance the paint has in the holding cup.  It is not “blue” right out of the jar, hence the color shifting property.
While you can use these with a standard brush, GSW says that an airbrush is a little better suited to this paint.  I was using a standard Badger Patriot 105, and this paint shot through it just as easy and any Stynlrez primer, which made me very happy!
I didn’t want to have to thin it or alter it an any way, because that has had adverse impacts on craft style paints of this nature.
You can get an idea of how blue it can get in the blurred image behind the paint jar…

For the lighter underside of the wings, I tried the “yellow” color shift.  The original underpainting was a light blue, so I thought there might even be a hint of green, as well as some light and dark shades.  
I think that having the pre-shading does indeed help to provide a bit more shape, even if it does alter the effect from a recommended gloss black backdrop.

I think these images give you a better sense of that shading.  Keep in mind that I am not masking anything, and I have not done any kind of glazes or washes over these.  There was a very limited time to try these out last week.

I did enjoy the way it looked on the wings, as well as the underside.  I was able to get even more of the yellow to green shift, and once again it seemed to hold just a bit of my shading.

You can see how milky white the paint seems in the cup, so I strongly suggest keeping the boxes around as a reference.  It will take me a while to get used to what each jar is supposed to do.
Spraying the blue over the burgundy gave me two kinds of shifts… one that was designed to happen with the paint, and the other influenced by the red underneath this layer.
I have other dragons which will get the full effect of the color shift paints over the gloss black.  
Fortunately one of the new colors of Badger Stynlrez primer is Gloss Black!

I think the double color shift was even more pronounced on the wings, since my spray angle had to be very shallow, picking up only the upper surfaces.  Much more of the underlying burgundy remained.

After only a few minutes, the figure had been transformed!  I can only imagine what I will be able to do once I have tested these more, and gotten a better handle on what each shift is meant to do.
I still had a remarkable amount of my original color tone left, but now it would have far more range of color.  It is very hard to see this in still images, so I will try to make some short videos to post here on a turntable.

The greenish shift was meant to form a “bridge” from the earlier cobalt and yellow applications.  This was done mostly on the lower legs and shoulder.

More of the green was sprayed on the feet.  I’m sure this would look much more dramatic once it is based, and the figure is standing on earth, rock, grass, etc.  That would provide a huge contrast to these very shiny metallic shifts.

This was after 15-20 minutes of spraying 4-5 of the color shift paints.  I will be trying these out again on a sci-fi vehicle soon.  Not only will this have more of a gloss black primer base, I will try to mask off certain areas so that you can more clearly see the various tones next to each other.
I also want to try some “standard” painting along with that, to see what happens when you paint regular acrylic colors over the top of these colors.  My guess is that the ‘flatter’ paints will stand out quite a bit, sort of like using wash colors on top of metallic paints.
Eventually I will try to use these on a facebook live session, although I will have to do some magic with my microphones to kill all the sounds of the compressor, airbrush and vent mechanism.
If I can figure out some good techniques to try with these amazing paints, I will try to do some patron only videos for the Patreon page: 

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Having a Blast

This very fun miniature from the Counterblast miniatures game was painted in both oil paints and regular acrylic paints.  As you have seen me do more and more these days, I did a majority of the blocking in of color and blending with the oil paints, and then used the acrylic paints to finish the details.
There are a few reasons for this procedure… it allows me to work on far more figures at the same time, particularly in the Shaded Basecoat phase.  This means that I can not only block in lights and darks on many more figures, but the extended drying times means that I can do far more blending than I would normally be able to do with faster drying acrylics.

While I am doing more and more of the figure with oils, I do like the option of using the acrylic paints to finish them off once the oils have dried.  There has been no issue with the paint not sticking, and in any case I will be brushing on my dullcoate sealer afterwards.

This was an early attempt back in March… those of you who have seen the most recent posts and Facebook live sessions know that I have found out methods to do even more of the figure with oils.  These Counterblast figures by Bombshell were about 40% oils.  Now I am getting into the 80-85% range!!
Her sisters are also here:

I will try to paint one of these on a facebook live session at some point, to show you how to use the oils as a starting point, and then completing a figure with “standard” acrylic paints.  This is why the Patreon Page was started, so that I could have more time for the facebook live broadcasts.

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The Fall of Mordor

It’s time to finish off the Morghul knight that was originally painted with oils during a Hobby Hangout session a few weeks ago!  As I have emphasized a great deal lately, it is possible to paint part or even the majority of the figure using oils, and then finish it off with “regular” acrylic paints.
Here’s a link to the first post:

In this case, I will take a few of the Reaper Liner paints and the Secret Weapon weathering paints to emphasize a few of the darker areas and sharpen up some of the edges, as well as add a little extra detail to the base.
The more I work with oil paints, the more ways I discover that allow me to go further on the figure.  Initially I saw the oil paints as a way to create very rapid transitions of color on broad surfaces, especially larger figures and cloaks.

This is something that I have wanted to try for a very long time… putting not only lighter toned colors around cobblestones, but the more usual dark sections of the mortar.  You can see a bit of this lighter color on the left side of the base, which was made using a Green Stuff World texture roller.

The Secret Weapon paints were perfect for this task, as they are designed to be used in a glaze form, and are also very matte in finish.  Sometimes the oils can be a little on the shiny side, and this kills that right away.

I used my handy Green Stuff World leaf punches to create a little ground foliage to go around the joint where the hoof met the base, and he was ready for action!

I will do one more post with the rest of the completed images.  In the meantime, he is also here:

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Fashion Statement

It is time to return to the Old West with Knukledusters Miniatures!  I have painted a few of these over the years, and they have always been fun.  This character was especially interesting, as I found a fashion reference that I thought would be neat to paint…

While this dress reference is not exactly the same shape as the figure, I liked the way the colors an patterns might look on the figure.

Obviously I had to make a lot of adjustments to it to make it work with the figure, but it certainly made the larger flat expanses have more impact!

There’s actually a kickstarter campaign running right now for Knuckledusters miniatures, and there’s a link below.  The game (Gunfighter’s Ball) should be very fun, as we have a lot of western theme terrain here already!
There might even be some other interesting things in the future… who knows.  Perhaps some larger scale figs, or possibly busts.  Just sayin’ 🙂
This is the $19k stretch goal figure:

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Oil Slick in Mordor

I have painted many Lord of the Rings figures in standard acrylic paints, but this Morghul Knight would be the first figure that I tried painting in oils!
For those of you who are more familiar with my process, you know that I begin with a thinned down wash of various darker tones over the entire figure.  This has more to do with getting the surface ready for the subsequent layers of thicker paint than making shadows.
I have a number of oil painting live sessions, which I will link to later.

The entire surface is covered.  While this looks like it was out of control, there is actually a great deal of precision, as I made certain areas more reddish brown, others more of a blue/grey, and so on.

You can get a peek at the future layers on the figure by seeing what happened with the base.  On the left is the original wash, followed by more layers of thicker, more opaque paint.  Keep in mind that thick paint sticks to thin paint, and vice versa.  You will see me refer to this over and over in this article and on every live video!
Here’s a link to the live session that I did right after painting this guy during a Hobby Hangout on Wednesday:

The same opaque colors used on the base were also placed on the figure.  What I love about this part of the process is that those original washes remain wet, and allow me to mix wet into wet on the surface.  Those original washes now combine with these new layers of paint to create shadow areas, more color transition, and so on.

Here are a few steps of paint application.  I am not simply making each layer lighter, I am also trying to shift the color a bit.  That is, sometimes more blue is added, or more ochre, etc.  It is important to note that your brush strokes must be very direct and precise.  You cannot “tap away” at the surface as you might with acrylic paints.
Since all the underlying layers are wet, you are picking up some of that paint each time you touch it.  This remains on your brush, and will then darken or change your newer brush strokes.
Simply turning your brush over will show you that it has picked up some of those previous layers.

As always, I constantly alter the colors that I am using.  This is much more similar to a 2D approach to miniature painting.  You have no choice but to mix more of your own colors with oils, as there is not the gargantuan number of “every color in the rainbow” as you have with acrylics.
But, the whole point of using oils is to work and mix right on the figure, so you won’t need all those jars of paint.  You will be able to get all kinds of interesting and subtle variations.

At this point I try to work in blues ad greens into the armor plates as well as lighter colors and semi-highlight shades.  The idea is to prepare the figure for some “weathering glazes”, which will get some rust colors into those crevices.

As the work progresses, you can see that a lot of the initial shininess of those first washes has diminished.  This is due to the thicker, more opaque layers.  The key thing to remember with the oils is that you have time… don’t rush!  While they don’t take ages to dry (especially when you use more white spirits to thin them down), you have many hours to work with them while they are wet.

Now it is time to add that rust!  I took some Sienna and Ochre to make a few rust tones, and thinned that down quite a lot with the white spirits.  While it seems crazy, these very liquid layers will act in much the same way as glaze of acrylic paints.  Of course, you will have to exert a lot of control over these, as getting to cute with them will simply create a mess instead of oxidation…

Once those glazes were applied to the areas of rust, I mixed some very deep dark wash colors for the cloak and other parts of the armor that needed those deep shadows.  The inset shows some of those darker lines added into the deep crevices.

The robes needed just as many color shifts as the armor, as once again, that is the whole point of using oils!  Otherwise I could just do standard layering with acrylics.  This means adding greens, purples, reds and other unusual colors into my still wet paint.
By using some “feathering” brush strokes with a cleaner, dryer brush, I can scumble the layers together at the edges and mix those crazy colors into what is already there.  This will tone them down, and you will only notice the color shift when you are specifically looking for it.
This is the kind of subtle variation that makes a figure more interesting to look at.
You can also see that I have been adding some brighter highlights at this stage.  I try to keep that kind of work until the later stages, because I need the “context” of all the other colors and values set in place to show me how far I need to go with those highlights.

Now you can really see all those variations, and that the paint continues the become less shiny.  However, these newer layers that I have been adding need to be thinner, because of that “thick paint sticks to thin paint, etc.” statement early in the post!  
I went from very thin to progressively thicker layers, and now I must start to go in the opposite direction.  These newest layers have to “ride” on top of many layers of wet paint.

In the next post I will show how this was finished off, along with some images of the figure on the base.  I will try to do more figures like this on the facebook live broadcasts.  Lots has been planned, and I have been prepping lots of figures for them.
Any support on the Patreon page is appreciated, as it allows me to do more how to articles such as this.  It takes a while to write up the text and match it to the images taken during painting!
Here’s a link:

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Meet Bitey

Back to the Jurassic Park of painting with this T-Rex from Collecta.  It is the same figure as the last T-Rex, but with a very different color scheme.

It was a challenge, because I had to ‘reverse’ some of the shading!  That is, the crevices between the scales had to be light, instead of darker.
To do this, I had to work on those darker colors first, along with creating an overall tone.  A grayish green was painted on the dorsal sections of the dinosaur, with a tan on the ventral surfaces.

Then things got interesting, as I made a few mixes of the Secret Weapon weathering paints and glazed in those lighter colors into those crevices!  As I have shown many times, those paints are fantastic for glazing.  I have also mentioned many times how I love to do “lighter” glazes.  It was certainly a valuable tool in this case.

I used that lighter greenish glaze on the upper surfaces, which instantly made those darker scales stand out.  This was also done to a lesser degree with a brownish-tan mix on the underside and around the eyes.

When the lighter tan glaze was allowed to flow into the crevices of some sections of greenish color, it made a fantastic transition!  I was very happy with how that worked out.
These techniques turned out so well, I have been prepping a few Lizardman figures that might allow me to try and do this on a facebook live.  It is very hard to show this in still images, and I think even just a few minutes of seeing me do this on camera will get the idea across.
Thanks to everyone who has supported the Patreon page!  It is much appreciated.  This week I will be painting the December raffle figure in a facebook live session, and raffling off the November figure as well!!

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Glazing away

You have seen me using the Secret Weapon weathering paints in combination with the Reaper Clear paints.  Miniatures like this have a combination of weathered and higher saturation tones, which means that using the two together in many layers of glazes is ideal.
Both color sets can also be used in a more opaque role, which is why I love the utility of each.  The Clear paints can cover very well with the addition of just a bit of opaque lighter color.  They don’t lose their intensity at all, which is very handy!

When it comes to toning down some of the colors, the Secret Weapon washes can do that very easily and naturally.  Adding a little bit of the warmer tans and yellows with the Clear Green makes a very nice warm, bright green, perfect for cloaks, etc.

I also like to use both of these paint types with the Reaper liner paints, especially on bases and other much darker areas.  They all dry completely matte, and though the shades are very dark, they are not a ‘dead’ black, but have enough interesting tone to them to keep your deepest shadow areas from becoming a very boring thing to look at !
With the brightness of the Clear paints available to make your highlight also stand out more, this will enhance your deep shadows as well.
I will be trying to demonstrate more of these thoughts on the Facebook live sessions with a batch of Dark Sword figures that I have been prepping furiously.  Each one will try to profile certain techniques and materials, such as oils or acrylics.
My goal is to show the same effect with different mediums, so that you don’t feel limited to oils only or acrylics, etc.
Here’s a link to the Patreon Page which is helping to make more of those live sessions possible!

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Fire it Up

Here’s another example of the Vallejo fluorescent paints, this time on a Reaper BONES Fire Elemental.  I used the orange and yellow fluorescent paints, along with some of the Reaper Clear paints and Red Liner.
He’s also here:
I have many examples of Object Source Lighting and other effects such as these using the fluorescent colors.  There is even a live Facebook painting session showing the early stages of another elemental:

I enhanced the base and the overall shape of the figure by using the Heavy Gloss gel to create additional “flames”.  This was especially important to incorporate the figure itself into the base, instead of having all the flames suddenly end when it touched the base!
This is the same heavy gel that I use for water effects, as well as icicles.  That makes it very handy for a number of effects.

The fluorescent paints have a very different consistency from just about every other kind of miniature paint.  It is very thick, but it is extremely translucent.  That property is obviously what makes these colors so intense and saturated.  
Even though they are very thick, you almost have to think of them as a glaze.  So, in some ways it is better to begin with your lighter colors, and apply the fluorescent paints afterwards.  Any lighter opaque colors that are mixed with them will hurt the intensity of the colors and take away from the effect.
Mixing in darker colors such as the Reaper Clear paints and Liners does not have this effect, since they are also very intense colors, and they are not very opaque.  It is possible to preserve the fluorescent nature of the colors by adding the Clear Red and Red Liner, for instance.
I will be trying to do a few more live videos on these types of paints, using some smaller Dark Sword miniatures as well as other larger beasties.  The green and blue fluorescent paints are fantastic for sci-fi glowing effects, but I have also used them for fantasy figures.
The more support I can get on the Patreon Page will allow for more of the live videos.  They are handy, since people can ask questions during the broadcast, and that can add to the lesson quite a bit.

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Lesson Plan

The latest Facebook live session once again focused on oil paints, and the reasons why I have been using them more and more.
Here’s a link:

I was trying to demonstrate the value of using the oils to map out the majority of your colors and values, a bit like a “Super Shaded Basecoat” technique.  For instance, on this figure, I could rapidly place a number of different colors on the cloak, and easily blend them together.  If that had been done with acrylics, it would have taken much longer to get those color transitions, and I probably would not have been as bold with the choices!

I also worked on this figure in the pre Live Session hangout.  In this instance, I wanted to see if I could glaze very thinned down oils over wet oil paint.  Even I was shocked at how well that worked!  Of cousre, I was following my normal rules of ‘thick paint over thin paint’ and vice versa.
My initial layers were thicker, which allowed such thin paint to adhere to these layers, as opposed to wiping them away.  This can happen with wet acrylics, but not to the degree that it might with oils.

I did more of this glazing during the Facebook live session.  My initial layers were very thin, putting a darker glaze on all the surfaces.  The successive layers became thicker and thicker, which allowed them to stick to this initial underlayment.
Once I had built up these thicker layers, I could go back in with those very thin glazes, which really amazed me!

I will be posting finished results of those figures once they are completed and based.  Again, the idea if to use the oils like I use the Stynlrez primers, and that is to establish a nice solid base of colors and tones, which I can finish off with more precision with my usual acrylics.

These are the kinds of things that I want to show in much greater detail, especially in the Live session format.  This is why I established the Patreon Page, so that I could spend more time doing these things on camera!  Here’s a link:

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This was part of an exercise during my last podcast with the Models Workshop folks.  While it is an audio cast, it was very helpful to have some things being painted at the same time we were recording, because I had several figures on the table all at once.
I talked a great deal about painting efficiency, and as you know, it is very helpful to have a lot of different genres and types of figures ready to paint.

Figures like this one, which have a lot of earth tones, skin, etc., are even more ideal, since it is going to have a lot of areas in common with just about every other figure.  This means that I can simply grab a figure that has a similar color set, and get that little bit done.
This also keeps me from overworking figures, which can happen if you just keep hammering away at the same figure for hour after hour.

Many years ago in art school, there was a major emphasis on not lingering too long on any particular area or piece.  Grab the figure, work on those common areas, and move on.  You get a “fresh view” of a figure more often with this method… a way to step outside your projects.  
Also, an interesting color combination on one piece might end up being just as good on another, even though it might not have been in your original plans!

I will be doing a few live broadcasts this week, starting on Wednesday.  Late in the evening, I will participate in the Hobby Hangout, which will lead into a Facebook Live session.
On Friday, I will join another broadcast with the Models Workshop crew.  You never know what topic may come up, since it really is a painting hangout at heart!!
I enjoy doing the live hangouts and Facebook live sessions, since they allow me to show the principles that I am talking about here.  I try to make them a “working broadcast”, rather than a purely how to exercise.  This shows the down and dirty methods for getting figures painted, as opposed to a pre set demonstration only showing one concept.
As you know, this was a major reason why I started the Patreon page, so that I could do this kind of thing more often.  The people that have seen these kind of “working demos” have been able to get a lot out of them, as they are also more informal and participation is encouraged!
Here’s a link:

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Shifting Sands

Just before Thanksgiving, I had a chance to get back into the oil paints again.  These images are from a Google Hangout that I did to show how I use the Mig Ammo OilBrushers.
There are a few of the Mig Ammo washes in the little caps… Afrika Korps wash, Dark Wash and Brown for Green Vehicles.  The idea was to show how to vary the tones on a “limited palette” tan color scheme.
I alternated on each wash color as I moved around the vehicle, making sure to have warmer or cooler tones on each part of the hull.  These would be further accentuated by the addition of the OilBrushers.

I put a few of the OilBrushers on a palette, and you can see the variety there as well.  One of the tones is actually a light flesh tone.  That will be used to create the “bleaching” effect of the sun on the vehicle.
As I mentioned many times during the session, the primary source of weathering on these desert vehicles is bleaching, as opposed to rust and mud!

I love working with the oils, because the ability to mix right on the surface as if it were the palette is so much fun!  Using those initial washes as a base, I could allow the more opaque layers of OilBrushers to mix with my washes, creating even more subtle color transitions.

This is especially true in areas such as the lower hull.  The Dark Wash is more of a Van Dyke Brown tone, which is a little cooler.  By mixing in the more opaque OilBrusher colors with this, I was able to get more of a shadow tone without having to mix special colors to create them.

Meanwhile, on the upper hull, I allowed the lighter more opaque tones to mix in with the Afrika Korps wash which was already in place.  Again, it is all about mixing right on the surface.  The whole point of using a material such as oil paints is to be able to do something like this, so why not take advantage of it!

More mixing takes place, adding some layers of lighter colors.  While it is possible to do this kind of mixing with acrylics, it is nice to be able to take my time!  Also, I am trying to be mindful of the bleaching effect that I want to create.

It is important to keep in mind that oil paints should be applied in thinner or thicker layers.  Unlike acrylics, thinner layers of oil paint will not adhere to thin layers already in place.  Therefore, you will want to apply thicker paint to thin layers, and vice versa.

I used a very nice White Spirits to thin paints down, but the OilBrushers are already a very nice consistency, so you don’t really have to worry too much about thinning them down.

I also wanted to show how to manipulate and shift the overall tones without having to use washes or filters.  I added a bit of the Ochre to the palette, and that was mixed into existing layers of color to make it a brighter tan.
This higher intensity tan was needed to give that sense of bleaching that I mentioned earlier.  Adding this more saturated tone made the surrounding areas more bleached out by comparison.

Some rusting effects were added to the exhausts, and even a bit on the surrounding areas.

All the while I was working with the oils, I had to keep in mind what I wanted to do later with weathering powders.  I want to have the lighter dusting effect down in the crevices, so I have to keep those recessed areas a little darker than I might do otherwise.

That is also true for the lower sections of the hull, where the sand effect will be very pronounced.

This hangout session was followed by a Facebook live painting session that showed how to do these same desert effects using regular oil paints.  You can watch that here:

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Toys for the Holidays

Most of you probably recall the various toy dinosaurs that I posted to the blog early in the fall.  Those were very unusual, in that they were actual toys.
The material was very similar to BONES, but you could tell that it was not engineered to accept paint the same way as BONES would.  Ironically enough, these are pretty much 28mm scale critters!

The mould lines are impossible to get rid of, and the material is smushy.  To make things more challenging, there is a bunch of raised letters across the chest (company name, copyright, etc.).

This is one of two T-Rex figures that were painted, each one with a different color scheme.

I did have fun with the face on these guys!!

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