Saturday, July 13, 2013

moding and painting

i have finally finished this mod and hope to carry you through some steps which may aid your painting skills to presenting and producing a higher level of finish.
so im going to throw some disclaimers in first
i dont claim to be the best painter or modder. but i do hope to show you some common errors i make. and that even simple errors can still result in a good finished article.
this article follows how i painted this actual model and many of the principal apply to all figures. but some do not as all models are different.
i hope to cover some basic principles of painting that can be carried over to any form of paint work as well as additional tips
i do use only games workshop paints. so i do apologise in advance for that.
i will be using 3rd party links to show some variations on painting also.
id also like to point out algrims fantastic modders resource guide
which im sure has helped many modders before this. and hope that the 2 can be cross referenced to help bring everyone much better results
so that hopefully you can all have your very own masterpiece figures!
i will be covering how i painted this ACTUAL figure so therefore not all aspects will be covered. but i hope the basics will shine through.

so lets start with how i finished off from the last article
with that big green dude!

now onto my tools for the job
of course you need paints and brushes etc
so i cant vouch for everyone, as everyone uses different brands of paints and so on so all i can do is tell you what i use and hope that is enough.

-Games workshop ACRYLIC paints
these are expensive i think in comparison to a lot of other places. and ive never really trialled any other brands. there is a local games workshop store not far from me. so its very easy for me to pick up my stuff from there. and it does the trick. so i stick with what i know.

dont use enamel paints to paint miniatures very few people can achieve good results with enamel paints. so why even bother? take the easy option and buy acrylics

placing a small natural colourless pebble into each pot of paint can help when shaking your paint ready for painting. dont use a metal bearing as the rust will discolour your paint

-Paint brushes
i actually have about 20 different brushes that i use for different things
i buy games workshop brushes for detail
i like to pick up any little paint brush i see anywhere as i find i can have uses for all of them
after all you dont want to be using your most expensive paint brush that you use to paint eyeballs in with to mix a big blob of paint do you?
so i tend to keep 4 or 5 high quality brushes of varying sizes that i use for the detailed paint work and so on
i tend to have 4 or 5 brushes of varying sizes that i use for dry brushing techniques. this can ruin brushes pretty fast. so i just tend to either use a cheap brush or my more expensive ones once they start to wear out.
i also have a few larger brushes for mixing.
and a few for basecoats.
of course you dont need this many brushes. but this is what ive gathered over the years and i take a lot of care with my brushes so they end up lasting me a lot longer.

here is a external link with a little more advice on brushes

simple h20
now some people say mineral water is better to use. and i agree it is. but i dont plan on being a world beater so for now i use the free stuff from the tap.
this does have a little effect on the paint due to the added elements that water companies put into the water system to make it drinkable (in the uk anyways)
its always handy to have 2 pots of water for washing brushes if you are using metallic paint. do not ever mix the two together as metallic flecks can end up getting mixed into your none metallic paint.

-Mixing pallete
this can be anything from a piece of paper to to a actual mixing palette.
i personally use an acrylic white chopping board.
the reason white is better is because its better to mix your paints on better. and with it being made of plastic it cleans up nicely after the job is done fresh and ready for the next paint job!.
some people use acrylic retarders that slow down the paint drying process when mixing. allowing your freshly mixed paint to last longer.
i on the other hand just use a little water and go at it like a madman until the paint is dried on my palette.
of course using a clean palette mean you can just mix some more and match the mix up pretty easily.

for cleaning your brushes of course. ive always just used standard kitchen towel its absorbant and soft and doesnt ruin your brushes. if you know how to clean them correctly.

Never twist the bristles of your brush when drying them off, it ruins the brush. Wipe your brush back and forth like taught by mr.miyagi on a clean paper towel until no more paint comes out of the brush.

righto! i think thats everything covered so far.
so lets move on over to the painting of this actual model


most commonly undercoats are either black or white.
so colours do not paint well over black at all. and unless you want to have a very layered look and use a lot of paint for brighter colours i would recommend going with a white basecoat instead. and use more shading techniques at a later date.
when using this method you can often end up with a drybrushed bumpy look on your paint work. always try and use as little paint as possible as to not lose those precious details!
for this particular model. it will generally be using darker colours except for the flesh. which just so happens to be one of the colours that you can paint over black pretty easily.
so i paint him all black (GW chaos black) to start with

as you can see now he is all black. further down the line i am going to want to paint his belt yellow. and as stated yellow doesnt go well over for the time being we shall ignore the belt as if it doesnt even excist. due to its special treatment it will require i decide i am going to ignore this until i move onto the detail work.

-Base Coat
as this figure is really only 4 colours (lycra, skin, hair, belt)
i decide that i will leave the hair black for now as black works well as a shade for brown.
also the lycra will be a dark blue so i decide i want to build up the black to blue
and the belt will take special treatment at a later date.
so the only real base colour i will go for is on the flesh.
i like to take a lot of time on flesh tones. as they can make any figure look impressive if done well.
i start of painting all the flesh areas with (gw dwarf flesh)

note - dont worry too much if you slip at this point. just take your time and touch up any areas you have slipped over.

With flesh tones i like to start with this colour and slowly build it up step by step before doing any shading.
due to the fact this guy isnt really of a muscular build i do not want to ink wash the flesh as most commonly done at this point with figures of a muscular build. simple because i want him to look fat instead of cut up!
when painting a 3d model you can look at it in a few ways.
1 point being using the contours of the figure with inks to bring out the details in a figure.
or you can look at it as a blank canvas (after all the mona lisa was painted on a flat surface wasnt it??) using your paints to blend and mold shape where there isnt any.
to cover ink washes i have provided this link to a fantastic site that i think will help many people with painting techniques

so onto my next step
i want to concentrate on the flesh.
now the colours i may be using are only for flesh but remember this method can be carried over using any colour you so wish on any areas.
so try and test methods to see what work for you.
so now i am going to start blending 2 colours together to highlight the flesh.
using (gw dwarf flesh) i add a little (gw elf flesh and a tiny tiny amount of water) mix this and apply using a wet brush to the raised areas of the flesh

as you can see this is very subtle!
for more muscular figure you can use more shades increasingly adding the lighter colour to give the figure more definition.
in htis case...hes the blob...hes fat. and he definately aint defined. so i take the subtle approach not using too many highlighted shades.
finally i add one shade that is predominantly lighter than the previous shades to add some subtle definition to his flesh on the most outer parts like elbows sharp edges, knuckles etc

i apologise before hand that you may already see some shading has occured in this photo. but i will cover this in the next step.

but now as you can see i have only used 3 shades of flesh to highlight the figure - base coat of dwarf flesh - 3/1 parts of dwarf flesh and elf flesh and then the final shaper highlight using 1/3 parts dwarf flesh and elf flesh

if anyone is familiar with algrims mods you will se he is a master of this. and applies these sharp simple outer lines of highlights excellently. particularly for heroclix this method looks really good as it adds that slight "off the comic page" sort of look.
take a look how the very fine highlights on the belt set the insignia off!
its subtle. but very very effective!

next up i decide to shade the flesh
firstly using a darker flesh tone that my original i decide to use (gw tanned flesh) i water this down so to not make it look harsh agains the other colours and pick out any subtle deepish edges as can be seen on the photo under the chin and the inside of his elbows (whatever that part of the body is called)
i then add a little ink wash (gw flesh wash ink) to the face and between the fingers to bring out the detail a little
i also run an ink wash of black ink into the mouth allowing it to flow and fill the mouth to add definition.
always use a little water with ink as this will allow it to run into crevices better and will not dry shiny.

so there we go. so far im happy with the flesh. also i tend to leave the entire face till last if i can really help it. as i believe a good face can make a figure look so much better so this will be left until the detail section.

next up i move onto the lycra. and boots, applying the same methods as described with the flesh tones.
i build up the lycra and boots colour using 3/1 parts gw chaos black and regal blue)

then another layer using 2/2 of the same colours. before using a watered down chaos black to bring out any extra definition (there there isnt much of on a blob) under his manboobs and some folds of fat on his back were sufficient

next up i decide to add some flecks of sharp highlights to generate some definition and paint the belt pure white

note. i didnt do a good job of these extra highlights as i was trying to add detail where it didnt exist!!. i think its a fine art to pick and choose the best places where these flecks of highlighting will go. unfortunately i got it wrong in a few areas on the lycra,,,,but not to worry i will fix it later on.
after painting the white on the belt you may find you may slip a little or it just may not look straight or whatever. after painting the belt white i ran some black ink into the crevicies between his gut and his belt to add some definition and tidy up where i had slipped (my hands arent as steady as they once were)


not a lot of detail on this figure im afraid but i will cover some areas that are relevant
so after painting the belt with (gw golden yellow) i decide its time to work on the face

firstly i tidy up the eyes using some newly mixed flesh colours i tidy the edges around his eyes
now eyes are important..key to the soul and all that.
they are equally important on a figure of this size. because i could of painted this figure amazingly and then given him eyes like homer simpson ruining the whole finish!!
so its key that you get the eyes right.
what i do is this
paint the eye and around it brown (the ink wash helps bring out the detail where to paint.
then using (gw bleached bone) i paint in the eyeball.
then using black i paint in the pupil.
of course you will still have a brown (black eye sort of look)
this is where you use your flesh coloured paint to tidy it up!
again trial and error this method. i slip way too often so i find myself having to re-go over each step until i dont slip and get it as good as i can!
here is a good method and a graphic illustration that should help
its not exactly the same as the way i do it..but i did use this tutorial to get better myself before applying my preferred method

next up i paint in the teeth very delicately using (gw bleached bone)
in my opinion this is better than using pure white to paint teeth and eyes as it is a slightly off white colour and less harsh than pure white.
meaing that it tones down the overall look.

then matching our skin tones used earlier i use these to go to work on the face. watering down the mixes to keep things subtle and tone down some of the ink washes that were done earlier

finally using (cw chaos black) i delicately paint him some eyebrows on.

then using (gw scorched brown) i use a method called drybrushing to paint the highlights of his hair

as noted earlier by myself its a wise choice to use brushes that you use for dry brushing only for this particular method.


this is the point where i will look over the paint job at what i dont like about it..and simple fix it
simple case of tidying up the face as stated in the previous step.
and of course i could stand those added highlights on the lycra
so using a watered down (gw regal blue) i simple paint over them either toning them down or painting over them completely.

so here we have the finished article

the paint job isnt the best in the world nor is the mod.
but what we do have in my opinion is a good looking Blob hc figure. and better than the one we saw in clobbering time.
all it needs now is a decent dial to sit on!!!

id just like to add that in some cases its wise to seal a painted figure. (i have currently run out of sealer) but generally giving it a thin spray of testors dullcoat laquer will remove any shine from the figure as well as protecting the paint job from any unfortunate chips or wear and tear!
if you do this make sure that you put the figure outside and place it inside an old box and spray from a distance to prevent either getting high on the stuff and from clogging up the details with the laquer!

finally one thing id like to make a point of but something im not really covering here


if you wanna show your mods off on hcrealms
make sure you take a good photo. because theres nothing worse than not being able to see other peoples work is there?
i get inspired from seeing other peoples mods. and to spend such a long time modding a figure to then give it a half assed final shot is a let down to your own skills as well as others in the community (jeez i sound a bit heavy there)

i think that using one mod you could take a thousand pictures and make it look good or bad just down to the photo.
many different methods are used in which to present a figure
please take a read of Algrims thread here
hopefully this will give some tips.

when i take a photo i like to keep it on a plain white background.
use a good camera
make sure you have good lighting
keep camera about 10-12 inches away (dont worry about the frame of the shot you can always trim this using ms paint or similar) this also reduces flash reflection.
make sure its in focus (nothing worse than a blur)
dont take too big of a picture (i take the picture as large as possible then i resize it down. because a digital camera as much of a blessing they are. they also show up things that arent normally visible to the naked eye. this will also show up every single imperfection and can be quite heartbreaking after spending so long on a mod to see it looks awful blown up 20 times its size. so keep the actual figure size down on the photo
and mainly make sure the picture is of your actual mod. dont lie it down on an old pair of jeans or your bed. we dont really want to see what you ate for dinner either. just the mod (thats what its all about)
because the final picture will be how people view that mod over the internet! so make it count

well thats my lot done
i hope its helped and does continue to help anyone.
id like to include these links as i believe that if there are things i havent covered here
then you will find how to paint something via these links

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