Sunday, February 9, 2020

Tying Up Loose Ends

Before launching into painting the mounted Black Guard for the Conan game, I thought I would finish up the Rorschach-inspired low-powered supers figures I had made a while ago.  I did a male and a female version.  The trench coats turned out to be really, really difficult to do well and I'm not happy with the structure of either one of them, in particular the male figure, but I tried to cover up the poor paper craft with paint.  I'm okay with these figures.  I don't love them, but I don't hate them either.  They'll be fine on a table full of other figures and terrain.  I just wish I could have done a better job on them as they are a hero figure.

Male on the left, female on the right.  I used the standard construction for both figure types here and just put the trench coat on top with paper.  Same with the hats.  They are the same construction that I used for the Indiana Jones inspired figure from before.  I just gave the female figure long hair in addition to the mask.

You can see the faces a little better here.  Just blots of black paint on a white mask background.

And from the rear.

Now, onto the mounted version of the Black Guard!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

African Wars Technical

Well, this is probably about as "finished" as I am going to get with my first "Granny Grate" vehicle, a Technical for the African Wars.

My hope is that as I get better using wood filler for the body, I can get a smoother finish. I suspect the culprit was my impatience at sanding such a small item.

I am happy with the glass window effect – I watched several Youtube painting tutorials on the subject – but admit that it should probably be a bit dirtier than it is. I will have to experiment with that more.

The weapon system is made from the same needlepoint canvas as all of the guns were for my troops. I used one piece for the tripod and another for the weapon. Simple, but it conveys the effect, which is all my minimalist style goes for.

I am still trying to figure out what style of grill I want to use. For now I am keeping it black while I paint different styles on scraps.

My next effort has to be either a tank, 2 1/2 ton truck, armored personnel carrier, or a helicopter. As it stands, I am very pleased with the results. I look forward to experimenting with more designs.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Black Guard Dismounted Painting Tutorial

I am finally getting around to trying to make a step-by-step post about how I paint some of my wooden fellows.  I decided to do the dismounted Black Guard for my planned Conan convention game.  I finished assembling all of them (6) and decided to paint them, taking pictures along the way.

So, here we go ...
Here they are fully assembled without any paint.  I think the guy you have already seen (the test figure) is the one third in from the right side.  The rest are all new construction but I followed the same plan in terms of armor, helmet, etc. for all of them.

I use a number 0 or number 1 brush for everything on these figures except for priming, which is done with probably a #3 or #4 brush.

I usually prime my wooden figures with an Americana color called Soft Black, which is essentially a dark umber color.  But I wanted more contrast with these figures and to have their base be darker, so I primed them with black.  I used Americana black paint and a medium sized craft brush.  You can see the mounted guys in the back also primed.  Not painting them yet though.
I usually paint my figures from the ground up, and I started that way with these too, but I did change the order not that it really matters.  Here are the boots painted.  Although forewarning, I ended up not liking this color with the rest of the color scheme for the figures and painted them gray later on.  You'll see that in later pictures.  But for now, they were painted using Dark Brown from Delta Ceramcoat.  It is my favorite brown out there, but it ended up not being right for these figures.  I paint a basic toe with side and top covering and leave some black showing throw to create the illusion of seams and folds.  Don't get too fancy here, less is definitely more.  If it is too busy, the people looking at your figures will stare at the boots, which is not want you want.

One of the figures in the next picture also has his helmet and shoulder pads done as well, but that's just because I forgot to take a picture of them with their eyes done before starting the helmet and shoulder pads.
For the eyes I use Americana Warm White.  I do not paint the pupils.  I just paint white lines leaving a little space in between them to represent the pupil.  Figure out which way your guy is looking and for each eye paint a small dot or line in the direction he is looking for that side of the eye, and then a longer line for the other side.  This will give the illusion that the figure is looking in a particular direction.  For these figures, the leftmost figure and the figure fourth from the left is the easiest to see in terms of what I'm talking about.  The leftmost figure also has his helmet and shoulder pads done but I'll hold off on talking about that until the next step.

Here's a close up:

If I was painting flesh I would do it actually before I painted the eyes.  I just paint the entire face the flesh tone I am using for the figure and then after it dries I make two black lines for the eyes, then go back inside those lines and add the white dots/lines to finish them off.

For these figures, the helmet in particular is the focal point, so I am going to put in a lot of painting details for both the helmet and the shoulder pads.
 I also added some teeth for a grimacing look to one of the figures as you can see.  Just more Americana Warm White.  Each helmet is similar but unique just to give each figure some personality and also because I hate painting exactly the same thing over and over again.  I used Americana Graphite and made sure to use lots of dots and small lines leaving plenty of black showing throw.  I wanted a "pebbled" look to the helmets so that it would look more like a snake head.  For the shoulder pads I did a stylized (more so than usual) snake head.  I added red eyes but not until the end, you won't see the red eyes in these photos until you get to the very end with the finished figures and even then I'm not sure you can see the red eyes in the pictures.  For the snake head shoulder pads I painted two "fangs" in the front (so that the snake's head is facing down the figure's arm) then small dots all around the outside of the rest of the shoulder pad piece.  Then I painted the eye sockets which was essentially a rounded letter "M" around and above the fangs.  Then I painted in a solid color behind the eye sockets all the way to the rear of the shoulder pad, but making sure to leave some unpainted black space between the solid piece I was painting and the dots surround the rim of the entire shoulder pad.

Here are some close ups:

I usually do the belts next.  I decided I wanted them to be a black or very dark color instead of my usual choice of brown.  The belts are painted with Americana Midnight Blue and a space is left in the front for the buckle.  When I do paint the buckle in this case I went with Americana Zinc.  Also it is hard to keep the belt straight and clean, so I always just paint a line for the belt and then go back and touch it up with the primer color (in this case black) to give the belt a nice straight, narrow line.
Here is a close up of some of the figures where you can see the belt well.  You can really see the space I left unpainted so that I can come back and add the buckle later.

One of my favorite steps is painting the pants.  I used Americana Raw Umber for all of them.  Here is a shot of all of them.
It is hard to see, though, so here is a close up.
This is another time to not get too fancy or detailed.  I do a very basic and simple pattern here but it looks pretty good I think.  I paint the groin area almost like the figure is wearing a cod piece, and then paint the pant legs.  I make sure to leave black showing throw to represent the space between the legs, and also a thin line between the "cod piece" and the pant leg.  This creates an illusion of a fold and texture.  But if you paint too many of these lines for folds and such it looks too busy and is distracting in my opinion.

Armor is a tough step because there are so may ways you can go here.  I wanted to have these guys not wearing exactly the same thing, but I wanted them all in a black base colored armor.  So I did a mix of studded leather, ring mail, chain mail, padded/quilted coat, etc. to spice things up.
The figure on the left is wearing a padded coat.  I used Delta Ceramcoat dark gray color of some type, the name has worn off the label.  I just tried to paint diamond shapes in the gray color making sure to leave some thin black unpainted between the diamonds of the quilted armor tunic.  It is impossible to be perfect here, just do your best.  The goal is to give the impression of a quilted pattern, it doesn't have to be perfect.  The middle one is studded leather and I just painted on the studs using Americana Zinc as the first dot, and Americana Rain Gray for the "sharp" lighter dot on top of the Zinc dot.  I left the rest of the armor black except for the edges around the bottom.  There I put little dots of Americana Midnight Blue to represent lacing around the edge of the armor.  The far right figure has a new pattern for mail that I decided to try.  The paint color is Zinc again, and there is lacing around the edges of the armor and the neck.  For that I used Americana Russet (which is a REALLY hard color to find but it is perfect for dark leather).  For the Zinc, I just did a zig-zag pattern to create the illusion of small metal bands.  I had not tried this one before and I sort of like it, but it is a little busy.  I think next time I will try and space them out a little more.
The left and right most figure here are both wearing ring mail.  Again I put some edging around the neck and bottom of the armor using either Midnight Blue or Russet.  The rings are just that dark gray Delta Ceramcoat color I can't remember the name of.  To paint the rings, the paint needs to be thinned down with either a medium or water.  It has to flow easily or you will get rings that are not smooth.  As a general rule, smooth painting is very important in all areas for these figures mainly because you are painting on a flat surface.  You have no sculpting texture to "hide" you mistakes.  The figure in the middle is my usual mail pattern of small dots.  It also has an edging of Russet.

All my guys are wearing leather gloves, and because I like the color so much I stuck with the Americana Russet.
I paint three fingers first, either wrapping them around a spear or on the flat sides of the handle of the sword to give the illusion that the figure is holding the weapon.  I then paint a patch on the back of the handle of the weapon to represent the back of the hand.  Also, with the spear I add in some extra glue to provide and actual "bump" that represents the hand on the weapon.
You can see the hand on the sword on the right-most figure a little better here.

Okay, by this point I wasn't liking the brown boots so I painted them black again and painted the boots again using the Delta Ceramcoat dark gray color that I can't remember the name of.  I also use it on the bladed parts of the weapons as a base gray color.  The shaft of the spear is Delta Ceramcoat Dark Brown.  The sharp parts of the blades on the weapons is Delta Ceramcoat Gray Rain.
You can see they are really starting to take shape now.  Just the shields are unpainted at this point.  When I make the swords I always cut an angled slice down the blade to try and create a sharp/narrow side of the blade for visual interest, then I try and follow this line with the Gray Rain paint to give the illusion of a sharp edge.
With the axe I always try and paint it so that the cutting edge is a single color but as the blade gets closer to the shaft I try and leave some space of the dark gray showing throw.  Gives visual interest and sort of matches the way some axe blades look because of their sharpening pattern.  You can also see that on the pommel of some of the swords I paint a golden/brass color just to give some visual interest.  You can't see it in these pictures but I also paint the part of the pommel of the sword that the figure's hand does not cover up at this point as well.  Just some lines to represent the wrapping of the handle of the sword, and be sure to leave some of the black undercoat showing through between the figure's hand and the wrapping of the handle.  Any color is fine, I like maroon, but this time I used a beige color.

Obviously the shield is going to vary depending on the figure, but I wanted all but one of these guys to have the same shield; a red one with the snakes facing each other over a moon painted in Warm White.  I don't have individual shots of the shields I just have the following shots of the finished figures, but you can see the shields.  They are painted Maroon from Delta Ceramcoat and then the snake/moon pattern is Americana Warm White.  On the inside I paint some stripes of Delta Ceramcoat Dark Brown to represent the wood, but it's barely visible on these figures.
The figure on the far right has a different shield.  I wanted some variety and decided to do a buckler guy.  I have a few of the small round precut discs that are smaller than when I can find now, but they are perfect for bucklers.
Shots from the rear.

You never know which will be your favorite.  This axe guy really grew on me and turned out to be one of my favorites.

Okay, that's it.  I hope you found this helpful.  I am pretty happy with how these turned out.

I'll probably paint the mounted version of these guys next, but that will be at least a week before I can get to them.  Work schedule is brutal right now.



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