19 Aug 2012

First blood - step by step

I know, I said that Menhom Dark Shadow is finished, and that I'm happy with the way he looks, but with time I came to the conclusion, that I could really pimp him up a bit, especially the sword. So I decided to follow one of Slawol's advices and add some blood (not rust though).
I think that Menhom will be just after a fight, with fresh blood all over him, but not in the place where the fight happened, so I won't have to deal with all the messy splashed and puddles of blood on the ground.

And here's step by step what (and how) I've done.

1. The Blood
To create blood I'm using mixture of Tamiya clear red (X-27), Badab black, Leviathan purple (GW washes) and Smoke (70939 VMC) to get more opaque look. After all blood is not very transparent fluid, even when fresh. Leviathan purple is bringing back some redness to the otherwise brownish mix.

Here you can see few samples I made when I was trying the colours
As you can see on the last picture I added some UHU glue, trying to add more volume and some stickiness. But the result is far from expected. My UHU glue (wich is UHU Power) is not the best one to do the task, it simply didn't mix with the paints properly, instead it's giving me something that looks like bits of solidified  blood and tissue (which BTW reminds me last episode of True Blood I've seen this morning;p). It's not something I can use in this project, as I'm going for fresh blood, but most definitelly something I'm gonna save for future.

2. Hand
Because the way he keeps his right hand reminds me of bird's calves (and because I'm not completely happy with the paint job I've done here), I decided that he's using his hand in the combat, most likely ripping enemies throats and tearing their hearts out, so his hand is covered in blood with possibly some droplets dripping on the ground. In this case I simply covered it with rather thick layer of paint. To do the hanging droplet  I used a hair glued to one of the fingers, with a little tear of paint at the end. Then I covered that with paint to hide the hair. Because I want that to be freshly spilled blood, I used gloss varnish on the top.

3. Sword
First, before I could apply blood on the blade, I had to make metal a bit brighter, so dark blood stand out better. I simply applied few layers of highly dilluted Chainmail (GW), to make sure I won't cover shades completely.
I tried to find some pictures showing how the blood on a sword should be placed to make it reliable. For the sake of realism  I even watched one episode of Spartacus. At some point I was thinking about something like aformentioned Slawol did on one of his Orcs (here), but then I decided against it, as it supposed to be a fresh blood, and 'fresh' in case of blood means runny and without any clots.
But then after all this research and thinking I simply went crazy with gore on the sword and the result you can see on the pictures below. As an excuse I can use that his right hand suggests that lot's of blood spilling was done recently, so sword basically bathed in blood should be justified.

4. Drops and splashes
First of all I did few drops on the ground under the hand, I'd do the same under the sword, but it hangs outside of the base, so it was impossible. I did these drops simply with the brush, because they're not splashes from a hit or something. Then I had to decide what I'm gonna use for more dynamic splashes  on the robe. I know red on red doesn't look too impressive, but that's different shade (temperature) of red, and after all, clean robe would look weird (not to mention a chance to hide a bit this awful head in the middle of his trophy chain). After few tests I decided to use flat and rather stiff brush and a toothpick, and then added few more spots with the brush. Results are on the pictures below.

And here are overall picture before and after:

I'm not entirely sure if I made Menhom look better, but at least different;] And I managed to cover with blood few weaker elements, so hopefully changes I made will benefit him.
Besides I learned something new, and that's always a good thing. So I'm happy that I tried new technique, and for the first time it's not looking that bad, right?

And while he's on the table I decided to tweak few more things... but about that tomorrow;]



18 Aug 2012

19 days and counting

I just realised, I got only 19 free days left before EuroMilitaire, and typically for me, non of my entries are ready. So I guess I have two choices now.
1. I can simply panic and wait to see what's gonna happen - the most probable scenario here is me with only one, max two entries and huge pile of remorse, or
2. I can implement strict regime too meet the deadline with as little stress and sleepless nights as possible.
The second option is more favourable of course, but to be honest I'm not a big fan of any type of regime, so I'm not really sure what's gonna happen.

But just in case I'll get my act together, I can do some math now;]
19 days can give me from 190 to 230 painting hours (depends on the level of dedication). Well let's say 200, to leave some time for other activities than painting and sleeping. In this time I have to finish 5 miniatures (4 entries and something I simply need to finish before euro) so it gives me 40 h per mini. And all of them are more or less advanced WIP, so it looks  like 40 h should be enough time to finish every single one. At least I think so:D Life may have different opinion on that subject.
And what do you think? Is 40h enough time to finish a bigger scale miniature, or am I simply kidding myself?



12 Aug 2012

Textures - crushed velvet

This time I'll try to explain how I did the velvet robe on Menhom Dark Shadow.

I started the robe as plain red. As you can see I even added some initial lights and shadows. But then I realised that this robe is big enough (I'd even say huge) to add some freehand, or maybe texture.
Because initially I was going for old and dusty look, the embroidery, I was going to mimic with freehand, would have to be fairly damaged. I wasn't sure  if I'll be able to do that, so I decided to go with crumpled velvet look.

To do that I decided to try 'doting' technique presented by Alexi_Z in her video tutorial. That was my first try, so the results are far from ideal, but I'm quite happy anyway. I learnt a lot doing that piece, and the next attempt should be more successful.

On the first two pictures you can see the initial shading on the robe. It's not perfectly smooth or too contrasty, but it's OK. I'm gonna cover it with lots of dots.

When I made my mind how exactly I I'm gonna paint the robe, I did a little try on one of the creases to find out If I'm capable of pulling that off.

It looked quite nice, so I started to build shadows.
On the pictures below you can see how I was trying to control depth of the shadows not only by used colour, but also by placing more or less dark dots in the recesses.

Then I started to add dots with brighter colours to create lights. Like with painting smooth surface I was building lights gradually, by change of colour and placement of the dots.

Later it was mostly going back and forth with various shades to build a nice gradient. I used quite a lot of base colour to make shadows and lights less uniform. To soften the transitions a bit and made it look more like a fabric, not just collection of dots, I used some red glazes.

On the pictures below you can see the difference glazes did. Colour is more vibrant, and whole robe looks more consistent.

 And here, finished robe, with some final highlights on the edges.

And at the end, colours I used to paint the robe, maybe someone will find it helpful. I know that I'm using some really old and discontinued GW colours, but you can easily find something similar in other ranges.

Red Gore (GW)

1st light Andrea Flesh Paint Set
Offwhite (70820 VMC)

Liche Purple (GW)
Storm Blue (GW)
Black (70950 VMC)

Washes (GW):
Baal red
Devlan mud
Leviathan purple
Thraka green



8 Aug 2012

Spiderman - mission almost impossible!!

The word 'almost' is a key here...

I still can't believe I managed to assembly this little bastard. On the left picture below you can see red lines where the mini was cut by the producer. I'd love to shake hand of the person who made that decision... seriously dude congratulations...
On top of that, right arm was a 'tiny bit' too short (check on the pictuers the amount of Milliput I used), and basically I had to guess how exactly should I glue his arms to the shoulders. And to be honest, tight space between his legs didn't left too much room for tweezers.

But after a countless hours of heavily swearing, sweating, throwing the mini back in the box, and even trying to bribe Mr Bombel to eat his head (one little head = one can of tuna, sadly he didn't go for it), it looks like the mini is ready for a primer.
If the primer won't show me any uneven places (you can imagine it's rather tight there around his arms) painting should be piece of cake.
So please, finger crossed guys, and I'm off to my painting station;]



7 Aug 2012

Medusa - review

Miss Medusa is with me for a while now, so I guess it's time to introduce her to you guys:D

The bust was sculpted by Allan Carrasco, and it's my second piece from this sculptor (the first one is disturbingly detailed but beautiful Succubus), done for Lugdunum Figurines Club for their 10th anniversary. I bought it directly from their website Transaction itself was swift and very pleasant, so I can recommend it to everyone. If you want Medusa for yourself, just send them an email:)

OK, enough pleasantries, let's cut to the chase. Let's take a look at our beauty.
She arrived in a plastic bag covered with paper band, as you can see on the pictures below (the outer box was stuffed enough so the bust was properly secured).

On the inner side of the paper band is something you don't see very often. A short instruction where should we glue all the snakes. It's in french, and I don't understand a word, but it's helpful anyway.

Bust consists of 8 parts: body, head and 6 pieces of snakes. They seem to be rather clean, but some work will be needed after all.

Body is definitely the best part when it comes to the cast, there is just one mould line at the back and few air bubbles at the bottom (they're not even visible when you look at the front of the model, but need to be filled anyway). 
Head is more complicated. Face part is almost clean, with just little air bubbles and other imperfections on the chin, but this part will be easy to clean and I need to mask joining point with the neck anyway, so it's not a problem at all. Snakes on the other hand will need some more serious cleaning up and some work with joining the separate snakes with the rest. But what can we expect? It's very complicated part and I guess some imperfections are understandable.

The joining point seems to be well prepared and both parts fit together very well. Of course I'll have to hide it with some putty but it's in a spot where skin can fold a bit, especially under the chin, so it should be easy to conceal.
At this point I have no idea how much 'fun' will bring attaching snakes, but I'll find out soon enough (and of course will share the knowledge with you;p)

At the end I tried to take some pictures of snakes heads, to show you how detailed they are, but I'm not sure if you'll be able to see anything;]

I'm not very good at scoring miniatures, and all that, but I do like that bust. I find the quality good enough and I hope that I'll have some fun painting it.
And hopefully this little review will be of any help to you.