Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Painting a Variety of Figures

Hi Everyone,

Knowing that Dale would be away from his blog for a few days at this time, I have been hard at work doing some painting so that I could have some stuff to post while he is away.  So here is some of the stuff I've been working on.  I'll save other things for later in the week.

For tonight, I'm posting about a salamander (the evil elemental creature of fire, not the cute little lizard), an orc shaman, and finally a dungeon accessory piece, a statue of the elven god of luck.  I'll start with some "naked"/unpainted pictures and then show and talk about the finished painted piece.  I actually started the salamander and then realized I needed an unpainted picture of him, so he has a little paint on him by accident.
I put him with a finished human thief miniature for size comparison purposes.  His construction is interesting, especially because his body is made of an egg that I cannot find anymore (it is longer and skinnier in shape than the normal eggs you get from online wood craft parts suppliers).  These eggs I found randomly in a Michael's store one time, and they quit stocking them (they went on clearance sale) and I bought every package they had.  But it won't be enough, I like this eggs a lot, I'm going to have to find them eventually online somewhere.  Anyway, he has a split egg head, long and skinny egg body, an axle cap for the bottom part of his body where it first makes contact with the ground (because it has a hole in it gluing it to the base upside down so the hole points up allowed me to really anchor the body of the salamander in place by gluing the tip of the egg body into the hole of the upside down axle cap).  You'll see in another picture but there is one more axle caps that make up the lower part of his snake-like body ending in another split egg tail.  I used tile spacers to make the arms (really big ones) and hands, and his ears.  You'll see this in the next shot as well but I also used the large tile spacers, cut them in half so they are thinner, and cut them to make the shapes of his spiny back plates.  The tip of the spear is also made from a large tile spacer I cut to the shape I liked, poked a little hole in it, and glued the stick to it by jamming it into the hole.
You can really see his lower body here and back spines in this picture.  Notice how I placed the axle cap and split egg in an overlapping position to give the sense of a coiled, snake-like body.  At this point I was very happy with how he turned out, and was afraid to paint him for fear of messing him up.  That painting delay is normal for me on these monsters because it takes me a long time to figure out how to make them, and then after I do that I am afraid I'll mess them up when I put paint on them.  He literally sat on my painting table for about 3 weeks.
Above is the naked version of the elven statue of the god of luck.  The base is a 1 1/4" square piece with a 1" cube glued to the top of it.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted to put the elven word for "luck" on the front side of this block, but I would paint it on.  The body is a longer shaker peg (I can't remember the size, but it's probably about 2 1/4" long I would guess).  I cut the bottom off of the shaker peg so that I could glue it flush to the cube.  The cowl and head construction is the same as for the lich I talked about earlier (split egg with an axle cap glued hole-side down).  The arms are in a praying position and made from tile spacers.  The hands are separate tile spacers cut to shape and glued into position.  That's all there is to this statue!
The picture above is the base colors for all the figures.  Dark gray for the statue and the bases of the figures, dark redish brown for the salamander, and a color called Light Avocado from Americana craft paints for the orc's flesh.  I like it because it's green without being "too green."  Each figure has been painted twice.  One coat with the cheap craft paint always proves to not be enough for these fantasy figures (you can sometimes get away with one coat with the historicals).  But after two coats, the color as you can see is consistent and vibrant.
Here is the finished statue.  I just took a lighter gray color and literally made it up as I went, just painting a basic cloak look to her with a simple face (can't really see anything but her hair pattern in this picture).  The text is actually painted black first, and then the lighter gray on top of it.  The black makes the letters pop out more than if I had used an even darker gray.  The lighter gray color I usually only have to paint once, and that was the case here.  Here are some more pics of the statue.
As you can see, I only painted the text on the front.  Why?  Because I am free handing it, and because it is elven letters (which I have never painted) I knew there was NO way I could possible get all the sides to look the same.  So I only painted the text on the front side.  You get a better sense in this picture for the "draped" look of the cloaked body.  When you are painting something on a flat surface like you have with these figures, what you leave behind as unpainted space (in this case the dark gray color) is as important as what you cover up with the new color.  By leaving the darker color exposed, it creates the illusion of depth.
You can see her face a little better here.  I didn't want it to look too "human" because it's a statue of a god, so I went with lines with dots under them for eyes and just the suggestion of a mouth.  It is tilted back in this picture so that you can see the face better.
I have done a lot of orcs before, but never a shaman.  I knew I wanted him to hold a staff with a skull on the end.  In this case it's just a round bead that I glued to a small stick.  The figure is the normal orc construction with an axle cap head glued onto a shaker peg so that it looks like he is hunched over with the worst posture in the world.  The arms are tile spacers, the right bent at a 45 degree angle which is perfect for holding the staff, and the left is extended in a pointing/spell casting gesture.  As far as the paint job, nothing too earth shattering here except that I wanted him to have a fur for clothing, so I painted the dark brown color where I wanted it to be, and then just blobbed on into some of the dark brown area lighter brown to create the "fur" look.  I gave him some blue face paint for casting his spells and for appeasing his god.  Notice that the way I have figures "hold" things is to glue the object to the bottom of the arm.  The tile spacer arm is flat and creates a good area for the shaft of the staff (in this case) to glue onto pretty well.  Then I paint the fingers actyakkt on the object held to make it look like the figure is grasping the object (hands wrapped around the object).  Silly, I know, but I think it's effective.
The salamander I am going to do in stages hopefully so you can see better what I did.  I took the dark brown color and blocked out his eyes and mouth.  Then I took bright red and painted the various serpent-looking parts of the body, and the humanoid parts of the arms and hands, again painting the fingers onto the object being held to create the illusion of the monster holding the spear.  It is very important that you leave uncovered some of the darker color you painted onto the figure before the current color you are painting (bright red in this case).  This is what creates the textures and the folds in the clothing of other figures.  In this case, it created the segmentation of the creature's body and arms.  If you don't do this, you'll just have at this stage a monocolor red figure.  Not what you are going for, trust me.  As you can see, I've already finished the staff of the spear and put the base coat of medium gray on the spear tip.

You can really see the importance of not painting over everything with the new color (in this case the new color is the bright red).  Leaving behind open darker spaces gives visual interest to the figure.  This is vitally important on the larger figures like this one, less so on the human-sized guys.

Over the red I painted some orange (you can still see some of it in this finished figure) and over the orange I painted some yellow.  In both cases, I did not paint over top of the previously painted color completely, leaving some of the old color still visible.  This is very, very important!  Are you tired of me saying this yet?
Final picture is of the salamander with some adventurers on a painted tile just to give you a sense of how bright and "on fire" he looks.  I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out.

Tomorrow, I'll provide an update on my otyugh figure.  I'll give you a little teaser.  He's not painted, but I did finish with the construction of him.  And yes, he's been sitting on my painting table for over a week because I'm afraid to paint him!  Until tomorrow ...




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