Monday, December 10, 2012

Breath of Life

With all of the trials of design and construction behind me, it was time to paint my sword mage. I really enjoy tinkering and customizing models, but a project never really comes fully to life until it gets a coat of paint.

I started off the paint for this project, as with many others, by applying a thin coat of black paint on top of my white primer base. I did not try to get full and thorough coverage everywhere. As you may be able to see in the picture, the white still shows through a little bit, especially in the raised areas of the model.

The classical advice is always to paint your model from the inside out, meaning to paint the parts inside the deepest details and recesses first, and the surface details last. I more or less followed that advice here. In recent times, my standard approach is to start with the flesh areas of the model. The face is usually a deep-set area, and it is convenient to apply the color in all areas early on. This particular may set a new standard for deep-set facial details.

Even as his chin and scraggly beard jut out from his hood, the eyes and nose (and, I assure you, they are there on the sculpt) are set very, very deep underneath his cowl. I did my best to give him properly done eyes, but it is hard to see, and even harder to photograph.

I didn't want to give him a green skin tone, but I did want to preserve some orclike brutishness, so I borrowed from my recent Ogre WIP and mixed some brown into the mix. Once painted, his tusks will help to reinforce his non-humanity. (Incomplete humanity? He is half-orc, but that would make him half-human too.)

The next layer out, approximately speaking, was his suit of armor. I used the Reaper leather browns triad to create a basic undyed leather color to the individual panels int the suit. I took the time to do a very rough non metallic metal steel job to the studs set at the intersection of each piece. The result shows a bit of contrast and sets the reddish-brown leather against the blue of the NMM steel.

Color choice is always a touch tricky for me, as alluded to in the title of this blog. I wanted to arrange a palette that would work reasonably well together, but I was also aware that the whole thing would take a big turn towards orange-yellow as soon as I painted the flame in his hand. I decided to use a dark green for his cloak, to off set all the warm tones in the rest of the model. If enough people's eyes start to bleed, I may decide to go back and switch it to a dark brown or similar, more neutral shade. The green shades here are all Vallejo model color shades. In this case, I used the imaginatively named Dark, Intermediate and Light greens as the basis for shading the cloth.

Still playing with color options, I tried out different choices for the detail portions of his clothing. I started out with a golden brown color, but I felt that it didn't look right with the armor tones, so I started playing around with more reddish shades until I found one that I liked. Happily, I had the presence of mind to snap a (blurry) picture before painting the whole kit to match. Eventually, I echoed this color on his scabbard and belt pouch.

All that remained at this point was filling in the details and, hopefully, bringing the whole package together.

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