Donnerstag, 1. September 2011

Step by step tutorial: 33rd Regiment in Abyssinia

As this miniature is now finished, I thought it might be a good idea to sum up the different wip posts and make one single article out of it. This way you can easily reconstruct the whole process without clicking too much. Raffa kindly took picture of the finished miniature , which you can find at the bottom of this post. Thanks a lot for that mate, extra banana promised!!! I also added a bit more theory to some parts, enjoy and let me know what you think.


Choosing the base, preparing the miniature

Usually I begin with the base of the miniature, just because it is more fun and you see process very quickly. With this miniature, I will not do so. The reason for that is because it will be a very simple base, more or less just sand and a few rocks and a bit of dry grass.
However, there are a few important things I would like to say about the right wooden base:

Height: usually, the base should NOT be higher than the miniature, nore should it be much smaller. Both effects will usually have a negative influence in the overall impression. The picture below shows, that the miniature and the base have about the same size.



Top: The top of the base should be about 2/3 the miniatures size, when you don't plan any walls, buildings, trees or whatsoever. Very often I see well painted miniatures on way to huge wooden bases. That way, the miniature seems lost, small and out of focus. That is bad....


Colour of the base: For years I only used bases that I sprayed black. That way, all of the focus went on the scenery and miniature on top of the base. Today, I try to use bases, that have a similar colour as the ground (not necessarily the miniature). By using similar colours for wooden base and scenery, you don't see a strict border between base and the rest. The final result of this miniature shows that the colour of the wooden base, the painted ground colour and some areas on the miniature itself are the same. That is good...


Preparing the miniature

I removed all moldlines yesterday (edit: at least I thought so^^) and filled some gaps on the shoulders and the neck with green stuff. This morning, I drilled holes into the legs and pinned them. This way I can attach the mini onto a painting base in the right position. I always drill the holes into the heel and up the leg. Otherwise, there would be very little space for the drill and I would ruin the shoes.











Painting the face


Painting the face (theory): For me, the face of a miniature somehow determines the feeling, the ambiance and the sympathy. Although the face is very small, I think it catches about 50% of the viewers attention, the rest is bonus (what does not mean that you should rush there). A well painted face show good blending skills AND hard lights at the same time. You need very strong lights and shadows on a rather small surface to achieve something that seems individual, that gives the miniature its face. Most important is the T-zone, what I will now explain in detail.
Imagine a "T" right in the middle of the face of your miniature. The horizontal line are the eyebrows, the vertical line is the nose down to the chin. This "T" shows the lightest areas in the face. In addition to that, you have the nasolabial folds, which are very light as well and determine the harshness of the miniature. This "T" and the nasolabial folds are surrounded by the darkest areas in the face. The area under the eyebrows, running down the side of the nose und the point under the lip but above the chin are really, REALLY dark. By putting this contrasts together, you get a well painted face.

Colour choice: Everyone has his own recipe for painting skin, I use Tanned Flesh, Bronzed Flesh, Elf Flesh und Skull White for the basic blending and lights. Shadows and nuances are set with every colour  I like, green, purple, red, blue, grey.....



Basic colours, codex grey for the beard




Base colour is Tanned Flesh + Bronzed Flesh (3:1) - the face is primed quite rough




First lights by adding more Bronzed Flesh, you can hardly see any difference




More Bronzed Flesh has been added, you start to see the "T"-line





Elf Flesh has been added to the mix, the lights are now very clear and you just follow the path





The lights are very strong now, to strong in fact. Don't care about that, you can change that later.

 




The lights are finished, the miniature looks more like a ghost at this stage.





This is quite a huge step in one picture, I glazed the face several times with
the base tone. Then I painted the beard with a mix of Tanned Flesh and
Codex Grey (3:1). Then I painted red under the cheeks, green onto the temple
and several mixtures to darken the area next to the "T"-line.

 
Note that the face still looks rather strange and unfinished. This is because the moustache und the hair is not painted yet. I didn't paint the neck because I will now mask the face and do some airbrush work. Painting the face without any reference colour around can be difficult when you just begin with the hobby. Most often the contrast will seem way exaggerated and just not right. This will change as soon as the surrounding areas also get some colour. No need to panic at this point....


Finished face

Here are some pictures of the finished face, you can see what I just mentioned above. The hair takes some attention away from the face, the colours work together and the contrast seems less strong.












The colours, lights and shadows strongly influence your further process with your miniature. There should be no area that is lighter than the lightest point in the face. That would draw the attention to the wrong place (exception: for some reason, you want the focus to be somewhere else).


Using airbrush on the uniform

 I used Tamya masking tape to protect the face, boots and the free hand from the colour that will be sprayed onto the miniature. The Basecoat is a mix of Vallejo Dark Sea Grey, Vallejo Model Air Gray Primer and Vallejo Model Air Skin Tone (10-1-3). After two layers of basecoat I added a bit more Skin Tone to the mix and sprayer the first lights. I then added more Skin Tone and repeated this step. The nuances on the uniform are very narrow, there is still a lot of work to be done with the brush.








Painting the uniform

The colour of the uniform refers to Osprey Men at Arms # 198, The British Army on Campaign 1856-1881 (page 29 ~ soldier on the left). This link gives some rough information about the regiment the miniature refers to, here you can read about the British activities in Abyssinia. When you intend to paint a historical miniature, make sure to do some good research on the equipment and uniform of the miniature. When you mess up the correct colour, like I did on this one, you can at least tell that you know you mistake before someone else tells you about it.^^


For further lights I used more Vallejo Air Skin Tone, what proved to be a mistake. The result is a Khaki uniform, instead of a light grey one. I painted several glazes of grey onto the mini but it didn't change the colour that much. Then I decided to either rescue or ruin the mini and mixed some Codex Grey with Chaos Black. This quite dark colour was painted onto all surfaces which were meant to be in the shadow. The result is not breathtaking, but it is ok for me. I then noticed, that the uniform looks very new and unworn, so I painted a lot of dirt by just tipping the brush with thinned down colour on the miniature. Unfortunately, the last pictures don't really show this effect.
The uniform still looks a bit too monotounos for me, so I will paint a few shadows using greens and brown, we will see what happens.



First lights have been added by using more Vallejo Air Skin Tone. After this
Mix, I should have used Bleached Bone....



Soft folds get blendings, hard folds get NO blending, very important...



Current state of the miniature, the focus is quite clear.




I just noticed that is might make sense to write an article about different kinds of cloth and the best way to paint them. There was a time when each and every fold on cloth I found became its own blending, what is absolutely not necessary and rather unrealistic.


Going into detail

The remaining things are fun, small details in different colours, nothing repetitive. I painted a rough surface onto the brown cloth, unfortunately the picture hides most of that. The contrast isn't that hard in real. I will add more nuances to the uniform when all details are finished to get the right colours.

 








Just a bottle

A really small update, the water bottle is finished. There are two hours left for painting, then I have to leave.








A worn bag

I took a wip shot during the painting of the worn leather but it turned out quite bad. This is the way I painted it:

> Ground Colour is a mix of Scorched Brown, Bronzed Flesh and Vallejo Air Golden Brown (10-1-2). I painted several thin layers of this colour onto the bag.

> I added more Golden Brown to the mix and took a "larger" brush (Da Vinci Nova Synthetics Size 0). I dipped the tip of the brush into the paint and removed most of the colour on a tissue. Note that the tip must not end in one point, an older brush does a very good service here. I then started dipping the almost dry brush onto the bag, trying to let the pattern look random.

> I repeated this step two times, once by adding more Golden Brown and once by adding a bit of Bleached Bone. The contrast must be very strong at this point.

> Then I used "Badab Black", one of Citadels new washes and thinned it down a lot. After about 5 to 7 layers, you start seeing how the colours run together, the contrast isn't that strong any longer.

> The last step is to take some undilluted wash and dip it on the bag, leaving really dark spots. This is it.





Drought soil

Yesterday in the evening I still thought about the base and decided to do some sort of dry soil, maybe a riverbed. As I ordered Distress Crackle Paint some weeks ago, I finally wanted to try it. As I never worked with it before, I had to try different sorts of drying, applying and thinning. That took me about 3 hours this morning, so I didn't paint anything on the miniature itself. However, I managed to create a base that seems ok for me. I will add some dry wood and the soldiers gun and that is it. Very simple but not just sand....

Here is the wip, I forgot to take a picture of the Distress Crackle Paint that was put on the base after the Vallejo Sanding Paste had dried. Sorry for that...




I carefully chose the front side of the base.





I use this quite often, a great product from Vallejo.




Using a toothpick saves your brush from dying an uncomfortable death.




This takes about 15 minutes to dry. Coffee time...




After the sanding paste was dry, I put a thin layer of crackle paint on top
and threw the base into the oven at 50 for 3 minutes.





The result, I am satisfied with this.





The rough paintjob is done, now I have to go into detail.

We need a medic over here

I painted some blood, Vallejo Air Fire Red mixed With Vallejo Air Black (5:1) plus some Glaze Medium. Not that bright red irl.





And here are the pictures of the finished miniature. As the Glaze Medium didn't work, I used Gloss Varnish as a topcoat for the bloody areas. Furthermore I painted the soldiers shadow onto the ground, I will do an extra article about that soon.








Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any improvement suggestions, please let me know.


Chris

Kommentare:

  1. Very nice tutorial :) thank you for this!

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  2. thx for the great tutorial!

    there is only some dirt missing. like dust on the boots. dirty knees and elbows und stuff like that.

    cheers harald

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  3. Thank you very much for your kind words. This positive feedback makes me very happy. Thanks as well to the voodoo-mokeys for linking this topic.

    Chris

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  4. Great work and thanks for the nice tutorial!

    What i really like, is the discreet and milimalistic socket in combination with the minature.

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