|He looks alright so far... but getting to this point? Phew!|
So my first WIP on this miniature was a bit of a beast. For that I apologise, but I really do believe that the first thing to painting a good miniature is good prep work. So sure maybe I went over the top a bit, but if you think that was bad you should wait and see what I do with the the painting guide!!! Firstly before you start painting you need to get yourself a pot of 'dirty' water to clean your brushes and a pot of 'clean' water to thin your paints down.Plus what ever mixing palette you use, be that a tile, a mixing palette or even a wet palette.
Maagaan WIP 1: Preparation
The face is one of the first things that needs painting on this miniature. As I said in my first WIP article I like to paint my miniatures from inside out, starting with the deepest sunk items and details first. So that will be the face then! There actually isn't too much in the way of flesh on this miniature, which actually is a bit of a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because I always go to town on flesh as it's something that I always think needs to be done right, and as such I always take bloody ages sorting any flesh tones out. So at least I'll save some time right? Yeah well, because I think flesh tones are so important I've actually managed to get pretty good at painting them, if I do say so myself. So it's a bit of a curse that there isn't more flesh because I bet you it's the best damn thing I do on this miniature. Any way where the hell do I start with it?
|A nice beigey-browny-pinkish mid-tone|
Step 1: This is just the very beginning, a simple base coat of Vallejo Model Color New Wood was applied. It was thinned down to a fairly runny consistency and applied in two to three thin coats, to achieve an nice even coverage without clogging up the detail. As you can see I wasn't too 'precise' at this stage and painted 'outside the lines' so to speak. But I can always clean this up later on.
|I took this picture while the wash was still wet, so it's not that clear. Sorry!|
Step 2: This stage is just about adding some nice dark reddish brown hue to everything and maybe shading some of the recesses. A gave Maagaan's face a very watered down wash of Vallejo Model Color Burnt Cadmium Red. Only one coat was applied, although I did work it more into the recesses and deep set details more like his cheeks, eye sockets and mouth. Leave the wash to fully dry.
|Again I'm sorry for yet another truly awful picture!!!|
Step 3: This was about building back up the pinkish-brown hue to the flesh that we had with the base coat again. This was done with a different colour altogether though from the base coat. Being careful to try and leave some of the dark recesses alone and bits of the slightly shaded areas as well, a coat of thinned Vallejo Model Color Yellowish Rust was applied to the more raised areas such as the nose, chin, cheek bones, eyebrows etc. At this stage most of the face was painted with this colour.
|Well at least my pictures got a little sharper at this stage!!!|
Step 4: Like step 2, this is about adding a bit more shading to the face, and also pulling together the colours applied to the face so far and blending them so they don't look so stark. The paint applied in the previous stage should be allowed to dry. As such a very watered down wash of Vallejo Model Color Chocolate Brown this time was lavishly applied to the entire face. It was run into the gaps and recesses again, but was used to 'stain' the entire face in effect.
|That's a better angle too!|
Step 5: This stage was about roughly picking out the raised areas of the face with Vallejo Model Color Beige Red, again this was thinned with water as usual. This is a nice pinky flesh tone, and at this stage the face's structure is starting to come through and take shape. The idea is not to try and be too neat as I wanted the face to look aged and a bit older, and applying 'rougher' highlights tends to make a face look older and more wrinkled. This stage should only be applied after the previous wash is 100% dry.
|Hopefully the extra highlight stage is noticeable.|
Step 6: I wasn't too concerned about whether the previous coat of paint was fully dry at this stage, in fact I've found a bit of on the model blending helps with painting flesh, although it's not necessary. A little bit of Vallejo Model Color Flesh Base was applied to the same areas as before. But, leaving a little bit of the previous highlight visible. Just gradually building to the lighter tone, a little bit of clear water was used to blend the colour around a bit so it wasn't quite as rough as the previous step.
|I actually quite like the look of the face at this stage.|
Step 7: As witht he previous stage, I wasn't too concerned if the paint from the previous layer was fully dry. A very faint highlight of Vallejo Game Color Bonewhite was applied to only the very raised areas of the face, such as the nose the cheekbones, chin etc. A little bit of clear water was loaded onto the brush and this highlight was then carefully blended into the area around where it was painted so they didn't appear too sharp again. A further thinner line of the same colour was then painted back onto certain areas to strengthen the colour's appearance on the face, primarily the nose, eyebrows and cheekbones.
|Maybe a highlight stage too far?|
Step 8: For this stage I allowed the face to fully dry before applying anymore paint. A bit of Vallejo Game Color Dead White was added to some Vallejo Game Color Bonewhite in proportions of 1:1 for a very extreme highlight used to try and simulate wrinkles on the flesh. Painted in thin dashes and dots around the raised areas of Maagaan's face. At display distance it looks OK, but I'll admit up close it doesn't look as good as I'd like, and the above picture shows off how badly it was applied.
Ironically, given I'm usually really pleased with how my flesh turns out, I'm not actually all that pleased with how the flesh has eventually turned out on Maagaan's face. The final two highlights on closer inspection have actually turned out quite splotchy and aren't at all well blended. But, from a certain distance (i.e. the other side of the room) it does actually look quite good. I might come back to this at a later point and try to wash a mid tone, or use a darker shade altogether of some sort to over it all to try and blend it in nicely. But for now it's done. If you're wandering why I haven't done the eyes or the studs on his forehead yet it's because I'm not sure whether I'm going to paint them as normal eyes, or with a magic infused glow and I might do the studs as a magical glow or as metal of some sort. Decisions, decisions!
The inner cloak
As the next 'deepest' item on the miniature the Inner Cloak seemed like a good natural progression. I figure that this miniature is probably going to look very 'grey' and 'brown' all things told, and almost certainly very cold... well I do intend on putting snow on the damn miniature! So I needed a nice dash of bright vibrant warmth. Looking over the miniature I decided the best place or chance for me to do this was on the inside of Maagaan's cloak. So all I had to do was decide on what warm colour I wanted to do it, and what warmer colour is there than red? There's isn't one, plus I can make the red look quite dark and rich looking as opposed to a blood red... I hate trying to paint red though!!!
|Even I can get things right at this stage!!!|
Step 1: Before we get too far into the painting guide I would like to point out that on the other side of Maagaan under his armpit area is another small flash of Inner Cloak. Try not to forget it! For the cloak I switched away from primarily using the Vallejo Model color range to the more 'vibrant' Vallejo Game Color range. Firstly I applied several thinned coats of Vallejo Game Color Scar Red, this was so I built up a nice consistent colour without clogging up the miniature. It's important to get the thinning down right as the Game Color range is thicker in general and more opaque than the Model Color range. It was at this stage during the painting process, that I realised the next step of painting the cloak shared some similarities with the eventual second stage of painting the NMM plate armour on Maagaan. So I started painting his armour, you might like to go look at Step 1 of painting the armour around about now.
|I think I went a tad overboard with the black in the recesses of the cloak, it's just a tad too dark.|
Step 2: Are you back from reading Step 1 for the armour? Good! The next step of the inner cloak was to tone the red down a bit. I'm not mad keen on painting red, as no matter what I try to do I'm never really happy with how 'rich' my reds look. However, I've managed to get a dark deep red technique down that I don't totally hate. It involves shading the red with watered down black paint, in this case Vallejo Model Color Black. I very nearly made the mistake of using Glossy Black instead but spotted my mistake luckily before I put brush to miniature. I'm an idiot but not a total idiot! I washed the entire inner cloak with the heavily thinned Black paint and worked it specifically into the folds of the cloak. With all that watered down Black paint sitting in your palette you might want to now go and take a look at Step 2 of painting the armour.
|Building the Scar Red back up in thin layers actually worked really well.|
Step 3: Welcome back. That's the last time I ask you to go and take a look at painting the armour during this painting guide. I promise! Painting the armour allowed the wash on the cloak to dry fully. Any way this next step called for some more of that Vallejo Game Colour Scar Red. this time I was building the red back up in very thin layers. Trying to get a gradual gradient from the now black shaded recesses to the peaks of the folds in the cloak. The picture above might not show it at all well, but it was actually quite a pleasing effect at this stage.
|As you can see this process gives you a really dark and rich red as a base.|
Step 4: The next stage was to whip out another red from my considerable arsenal of red paints! This time it was Vallejo Game Color Gory Red. As in the previous stage the idea was to gradually build up to Gory Red in thin watered down layers. Leaving some of the previous layers untouched and again leading to a gradual build up of colour to provide a gradual step change. Yet again I was actually pleased with how this stage went.
|It looks far brighter in this picture than it actually did in the flesh, but that's OK as it shows the step change.|
Step 5: The next stage called for yet another red paint, this time Vallejo Model Color Carmine Red. This colour, as it was a Model Color red, doesn't require as much thinning as the previous two stages, it's already quite thin as it is, so be careful with it. In fact as a word of warning I actually watered the Carmine Red down a little bit too much for my liking... but I soldiered on because I'm a trooper! Again as before the idea is to lead to a nice gradual build up of colour. Again this stage despite my over zealous use of water during the thinning process actually turned out OK you know. I was pleasantly surprised.
|If you don't zoom in on the picture it actually looks OK doesn't it?|
Step 6: But I had to frack it up right? Sigh! I actually think I got the colour just about right as well, but the final stage wasn't really blended all that well, and looks more like a bodged extreme highlight! If I squint and hold it at arms length it looks awesome, sadly I can't ask everyone who looks at it to squint and hold it at arms length. Any way the colour I mixed was a blend of Vallejo Model Color Carmine Red and Vallejo Game Color Elf Skintone, in a 3:2 mix. I don't think I thinned the resulting mixture down enough, that being the first mistake. the second being treating it like a highlight as opposed to continuing the blending work. Don't make the same mistake as me!
So what do I think? Well I actually think I got the colour gradients about right actually. The inside of his cloak does look like the lovely dark, deep rich red fabric, the exact look I was aiming for. However, the paint work was highly messy on the final two layers really, and if you zoom in on the last picture in particular it's actually really noticeable. Like the face, I think the issue I have is that I'm actually utterly rubbish at 'blending' colours in once I get to the final stages of highlighting. It's never really been a strong point of my painting technique. Picking and spotting colours I can do, and I'm relatively neat I guess... but blending I'm bloody awful at!
Starting on the armour
Well as I was base coating the cloak I realised that I was going to be using a watered down black wash to shade it. I figured that was likely to be the colour I'd be using to shade the NMM armour I was going to be doing. When painting NMM you want to normally go from black or a very dark shade via a couple of mid-tones to pure white, or off white depending on the metal. This helps to simulate the gleaming nature of shiny metal objects. I'll probably do a bad job of covering some theory behind NMM in the next WIP article, so I won't bog you down or bore you with it now. Suffice to say I thought it would be expedient to start on the armour straight away!
|Yeah that's not the best picture I've ever taken.|
Step 1: For those of you have joined me from the Inner cloak section, welcome. Right I painted the plate armour and chain mail and other bits and bobs with two thinned down coats of Vallejo Model Color Medium Sea Grey as a base coat. Not much more to it than that. I decided to leave some details unpainted as I decided at this stage that Maagaan needed some gold bling on his armour. Any way you can go back to Step 2 of the Inner Cloak now. See you in a bit.
Step 2: Welcome back again! As with the Inner Cloak I applied a thinned wash of Vallejo Model Color Black to the armour. I concentrated around the joints and parts of the armour that I would expect to be a bit darker in terms of tone, building up some multiple thin layers of the wash. Like I did with the cloak. That's it for now with the armour, you can go back to Step 3 of the Inner Cloak, we'll continue this at a later date.
This is actually a really good base off of which, to continue my painting exploits. I haven't tried any NMM for years so I'm really quite rusty with it, no pun intended. In between this and the next WIP article I'll be doing a lot of revision and homework to 'brush up' on the technique... haha, brush up... get it? yeah OK I'll get my coat.
Attempting some early fixes with some washes
|Maagaan prior to 'fixes'.|
Looking at the picture above, prior to any fixes, Maagaan doesn't look too bad I guess at distance. It's only when you get in really close that the imperfections rear their bloody ugly little heads. Yeah so it turned out after leaving Maagaan to dry for 24 hours, while I brooded on my poor blending skills, I really wasn't happy with what I'd achieved. So I figured before I moved on to totally ruin the next phase of my paint job, Maagaan's armour, I really ought to try and fix the Inner Cloak and face. I'm doing this with my patented 'cover it with lots of thin glazes till no one knows' technique. Except you'll all know because I've just told you all... bugger. I'll never make it as an evil genius you know!
|I'm much happier now those harsh highlights are 'mellowed' a bit|
Facial fix: I decided rather than a mid-tone to go with a darker wash. So I again applied a very thin watered down wash of Vallejo Model Color Chocolate Brown, this time I worked it across the the whole face to stain it and used a brush with some clean water to stop it dulling certain raised areas too much. In effect to 'clean' that area of the face again.
|There's no denying the contrast isn't as stark as before, but for now I'll leave it as is.|
Inner Cloak fix: I knew that whatever wash I was going to apply was likely to 'dull' down the overall effect of the red I'd achieved. I wasn't too concerned about this as if I really wanted the previous very stark highligh back I could always reapply it, and this time thin it down properly. I went for a very thin wash of Vallejo Game Color Gory Red to tone it down and try to blend the final highlight back in. Again, as with the face, I used a brush with some clean water to remove or wash certain raised areas on the cloak to try and maintain as much of the lightest tone possible.
|Another picture of the 'fixed' Maagaan from the other side|
I think both look a little bit better now, and I'm certainly happier with the overall effect as it stands. Still not 100% pleased of course, and I'm not going to be worrying any professional painters anytime soon! I guess I'll have to start learning how to bloody blend paints sooner rather than later, as it is my biggest achilles heel I think. If anyone knows of some good online tutorials if you could post the links for me down below in the comments section I'd be really, really grateful. Or if you have any tips yourself that you think might help I'm willing to listen.
Well again I think it's pretty straight forward to figure out what I'll be doing next on this miniature isn't it? Yep, it's the armour. I had intended on keeping the whole suit of armour a deep dark slate grey steel colour at first. Thing is as I started painting the miniature I started feeling a bit bolder and decided that my version of Maagaan really ought to have some lovely gold trim on him. Well, every top Warlock from da hood needs some bling right? So yep I've lumbered myself with at least two different types of NMM, and I'm still not too sure how I'm wanting to paint his sword and chainmail. No doubt I'll do something exceeding stupid and decide I want to do those different shades of metal too. Sometimes I think I need sectioning. So stay tuned for my next WIP update to see if I've gone utterly mad in the interim. One thing I won't be attempting in the next WIP will be the fur cloak. I'm still really not all that sure how I want to play that particular item. I'm pretty sure I need to see how Maagaan looks with his armour done first before tackling that part of the miniature. Peace out!