|Maagaan Warlock of Baalor and bane of green stuff!!!|
So this is my first painting guide type article since I hurriedly painted my Sorylian Cruiser for the House of Paincakes HoP Idol contest. That guide was actually pretty well received, which surprised me. What people liked about it apparently was how detailed it was. So again with this guide I'm going to put a lot of detail into the guide, and if at points I'm teaching grandma how to suck eggs I apologise. But I guess I personally feel it's more important to be precise about these things rather than skip over details and leave some poor sod clueless and scratching their head.
Picking a Project
Yeah as I may have intimated to you on Thursday this is the 'one-off' project I wanted to attempt to try and kick start my desire to paint again. If the hints weren't strong enough SinSynn made me blow the big surprise by doing comparison shots for him! Why did I choose this particular miniature? Well it's pretty simple really. Although I own a lot of lovely resin sculpts from a number of high quality producers, like Studio McVey, Kingdom Death and of course Banelegions, only a few stood out for various reasons. I also knew that painting anything from the massive backlog of miniatures for the various games I currently play would be a bit of a mental barrier, as it would simply feel like I was starting to paint a faction again. Something of a psychological block that for me at the minute. So I needed a one off display project really, something to get me thinking about painting again. I wanted to do something with a bit of non-metallic-metal, or NMM from here on out, because I want all my Infinity miniatures to use this technique and quite frankly I'm a little bit rusty with it, so I wanted the practice. I was never great at it in the first place either. I also wanted a miniature I could use my Secret Weapon crushed glass snow on, because I've had it for a while now and I really want to use it so I can do a review of the stuff.
So I set about looking for a fully armoured miniature that looked a bit Nordic or at the very least like it was dressed for colder climates. Digging through my boxes (yes I said boxes) of unpainted miniatures I finally came to rest on a few choices actually. There was the Kings Men, Buthcher, Forge Priest and Survivor Male all from Kingdom Death. Meanwhile from Studio McVey I was tempted to start Vitharr Bearclaw, Isabella or The Raven Priest. I quickly ruled out Isabella and The Raven Priest from Studio McVey because of the lack of metal on both miniatures. After looking at the Forge Priest from Kingdom Death I decided he looked more like he belonged in a dusty wasteland, as does the Male Survivor. I also felt the Kings Man looked like he belonged on some pristine marble courtyard somewhere. So this left me deciding between the Buthcher, Vitharr Bearclaw and Maagaan. I started to see Vitharr Bearclaw in some meadow somewhere during spring and I really didn't feel up to painting the Butcher from Kingdom Death, as I felt I wanted to pick my skills up a little bit again before attempting him because he's limited edition. So this left me with Maagaan who I really wasn't too fussed about ruining with my piss poor paint job if I'm honest about it! I mean I can always just buy another one.
|You can see the gaps in his fur cloak.|
|Those gaps artistically filled in... ahem.|
|Green 'stuffing' the inner cloak was a bit of a pain.|
|My choice of resin plinth and base.|
This isn't going to be a gaming piece, it's going to be a display piece. Most likely it'll be displayed at the back of a cupboard after I've finished painting it. However, I wanted to actually start out with a decent base, and at least pretend like this was going to be some centrepiece on display at the heart of my mantelpiece. Even if it was likely to end up stored out of sight of prying eyes eventually. Many, many months ago, back while I was employed, I made a very large purchase from Secret Weapon Miniatures. Mainly various desert type bases for my Haqqislam forces in Infinity, but I also added on the aforementioned crushed glass snow, some resin plinths and some other display type resin bases. Mainly the Runic Mountain bases. As Maagaan is a Warlock and as I wanted him to be in a snowy scene, I figured the Runic Mountain bases were probably just about perfect for him. So I set about picking a suitably epic looking one, you can see my choice up above and to the left.
|Finally I was able to wedge the blasted thing in place!|
Sadly the lazy option, which quite frankly I had taken yet again with the resin plinth and resin base actually provided me with more frigging work than I thought it would. It's never easy is it? This painting little toy soldiers business, not the being lazy bit, I find that pretty easy! The plinth actually had a really pronounced mould line around its outside and a lot of flashing at the base that needed cleaning off. As did the flat sided resin base itself. Joy! Now I'm not sure many of you know this but a lot of resins actually contain some pretty nasty substances, many of them carcinogenic. So you need to take care when cleaning resin up, even if manufacturers tell you their resin is made from tulips and fresh mountain spring water and cast by vestal virgins, it's always worth wearing a dust mask, why? Because the tiny dust particles you kick up when cleaning resin are still going to get on your lungs if you don't, and it's never clever to breath in tiny dust particles as it can irritate and inflame your lungs. As double protection, because I'm a big girls blouse, I also wore some plastic goggles to protect my delicate baby blue eyes. Yeah, OK, I admit it I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to safety, but again resin dust can really irritate your eyes, and being temporarily blinded can hamper your progress.
|A rough ring of green stuff jammed into the gap to hide it.|
So I began sanding the mould line off of my plinth and the flashing off of its bottom, as I did with the resin base as well. I used a very fine grain sand paper and constantly kept the base and the plinth moving in my hand to make sure I didn't create any flat spots, by sanding in one place too long. I wanted the plinth and the base to still be circular and not look like a 50p piece! This took an inordinately long period of time. Finally though I'd cleaned all the flashing and mould lines off, and I went to insert the scenic resin base into the sunk disc in the center of the plinth. It didn't sodding fit! Arghhh. At this point I was starting to wander whether or not God was sending me a message, and if he was just what the bloody hell was it. I grabbed myself yet another piece of sand paper and began the long laborious task of sanding the sodding resin base so it fitted into the sunken hole. I kid you not nearly an hour later and it still looked like it was going to be a tight fit. Slightly annoyed and close turning the air blue with profanity, I decided I didn't want the chuffing resin base to come out of the plinth once painted anyway.
|In your face resin base and plinth, IN YOUR FACE!!!|
So I dabbed a bit of super glue into the sunken hole, placed the plinth on the flat surface of the floor, put the resin base as far into the sunken space as it would fit (which wasn't very bloody far) and carefully trod on the base applying as careful and even pressure as I could until the base was wedged firmly in place. I didn't stamp on it or jump up and down on it once. Honest! Stop looking at me like that, you weren't there, you didn't feel the pain I went through. Any way I left the plinth and base to dry. Although honestly given how tight the fit and seal was the super glue probably wasn't needed. What did get on my nerves just a little bit was the fact that despite requiring my massive bulk to force the resin base into place there remained an annoying little gap between the plinth and base itself. Saints preserve me!!! So out came the green stuff, all this because I was being lazy and using a resin plinth and base. I'm sure there's a well known saying about cheats and prospering, but I can't quite remember it! I used a nice thin bead of green stuff right around the edge of the base, pressing it firmly into place with my thumb first. I then used my sculpting tools to remove any excess green stuff and smooth what remained over as best I could. After the green stuff had dried I got myself some more of that sandpaper and sanded it smooth. Job done! Thank f@$% for that...
Undercoating the miniature
I decided I wanted my Warlock of Baalor to actually be relatively dark looking. I didn't want there to be any of toese really bright primary colours. I did however want the armour he was wearing to look realistic, and part of that conundrum involves how light plays off of it's surface. In steps Zenithal lighting:
Zenithal light: It probably sounds like a really alien word or concept until you break it down. The important part is Zenith, which we all know well as a word. The basic principal is the idea that when there is a light source above something, like the big ball of fire in the sky, then that light will fall naturally on the highest points and raised edges more prominently. Certainly more than it would any covered areas or lower or recessed details, so the light will effect different ares of an object in varying ways. The picture above and to your left is a good example of how light falling differently on the same object changes its colour and appearance.
Zenithal painting: So what the heck is it? Well to put it bluntly its a method of painting that looks to emulate how natural light, or indeed artificial light falls on the miniature from above. This is normally done by starting with a dark or black undercoat and then working up to a brighter colour through various shades of neutral grey. Most people do this with a few airbrush passes from above the miniature, simulating directional light. Leaving a smaller coverage of the lighter tone than the previous layer. They then paint over this base coat with thinned paints and then the coverings they apply look naturally different depending on where they are applied to the miniature. This gives a gradual step change, even though it's the same colour being used. As I said, this technique works best with thinned paints and washes and is pointless with really strong opaque paints. However, not many can explain it better than Thomas David here's a guide over at the old Hell Dorado site. Genius.
|Here's an example from Thomas David|
There is a cheap way to get a similar effect for lazy people like me that includes using a white undercoat over a black undercoat. It doesn't work all that well in reality, but that's not why I personally did it. I'll mainly be using it as a guide when painting the miniature as to where the light is coming from, and what parts I should treat as highly exposed leading edges. So as a visual guide and reference tool really.
|So I took a can of Citadel Chaos black spray paint and... voila!|
|As that turned out to be such a roaring success I decided I'd do the base next|
|Then I took a can of Skull white and did this to it...|
|...now it might not look like it in these pictures, but it actually worked quite well.|
Yeah so sure it isn't quite as professional as if I'd painted the gradients on subtly with an airbrush. Actually it's nothing like if I'd subtly painted the gradients on with an airbrush, but I think I may have mentioned once or twice that at times I can be a right lazy beggar! Just to be clear I'm not really the sort of painter who goes around making sure all the miniature is perfectly undercoated by brush painting any nooks and crannies. If missed a big enough spot I'll go back with a spray can, if it's a small gap, I figure if the black or white brush coat will grip, then the base coat will too. Now there's a lazy tip for some of you!
Well that should be pretty obvious thankfully, to the painting table of doom to see if I can drag my sorry ass into gear and get painting again. The first thing I'll be painting is undoubtedly Maagaan's face as I always like to paint my miniatures from the 'inside out'. By this I mean I like to paint the deepest parts of the miniature first, this is so I don't have to end up going back past areas on a miniature I've already painted with a loaded brush full of paint. Looking at Maagaan now he's assembled that probably means painting the inside of his cloak as well and then his suit of armour, which thankfully is the majority of the miniature. I'm more than happy with this work program as I'm still unsure as to how dark or light I want to paint the fur pelt, and depending on where I go with his armour I guess I'll need to perhaps temper it with the fur cloak. God only knows how much of the miniature will be painted by next Friday, knowing my recent success with painting, not very much of it. But I will promise to stick with it and try a write the next article up by Friday (2/3/2012). I am concerned though that thus far it's actually tested my patience quite a bit as a project. Crumbs, is my mental block that bad? Peace out!
Maagaan WIP 2: Flesh and Inner Cloak