Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Soldiers Roman Navarca Update #2

As of this evening this is where we are at on this figure. I have completed the face and removed the masking agent from the helmet cheekpieces. The final touches on the face consisted of final shadows with Burnt Umber, touches of Alizarin Crimson added to the shadows under the cheeks for color and onto the lips. This was followed (once dry) with highlights of Titanium White and Cad Yellow Deep applied as a glaze progressively whiter, and finally tiny catchlights in the eyes to add the final bit of life to the figure. You can see the progress combined in a triptych photo below. This same mix was used to highlight and shadow the arms, hands and legs.
I have also completed the shoes with the colors described in my previous post. This does not guarantee that they are 100% as once the figure is attached to the base I may well adjust the coloring further. I have also begun applying color to the greaves with a base tone of gold printers inks and Burnt Umber with a touch of Burnt Sienna added. To this I will apply shadows of Burnt Umber and Mars Black and highlight with the Gold printers inks. I use Grumbacher Oil Painting Medium #1 as a carrier medium for the inks. In addition I have attached the top of the helmet and applied a finish to the natural metal of the kit. In this case I applied a stippled layer of Mars Black oil paint to the polished white metal and allowed it to sit. After about two hours I used a bit of soft lint free cloth wipe off excess paint leaving a stain or patina that I feel appears natural for the helmet. Once dry I will be able to apply further shadows or other tonal values if necessary. I also used the gold ink on my pallet to paint the crest design on the upper front of the helmet. Finally I began painting the under tunic white by applying a mixture of Raw Umber and Titanium White, more Raw Umber in the shadows and Tit. White on the highlights. Once dry I will work the shadows and highlights more before applying the purple stripe to the cloth.

Soldiers Roman Navarca Update #1

As of Christmas this is where I stood with this figure. As before the cloak and head are simply resting on the torso for the picture. I have kept them separate so that I can access the figure for painting. I used Winsor-Newton Indigo and Titanium white for the inside of the cloak as Indigo would be the only blue dye available to the Romans at that time. The face had some Payne's Gray used to indicate shadows in the areas where stubble would appear and Burnt Umber will be used next for the rest of the shadows. My next post will show a triptych of the face showing progress step by step. The shoes began with a mixture of Indian Red and Burnt Sienna as a base coat. I will apply a wash of Van-Dyke Brown and highlight with a dusty Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna and Tit. White mixture to indicate both highlights and wear.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Photobucket Gallery

In an effort to get some of my older miniatures on-line I have created a Photobucket account. I have found that this is useful for posting to other sites as well. The address is:


I hope this will be helpful.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Something Old - Caesar at Alesia (2003)

I've toyed with the idea of posting a few of my old miniatures on the blog for those that haven't seen them before. I think of a blog as a discourse on what we are doing currently so I hesitated doing this but I don't have a web page at the moment so maybe someone out there will enjoy seeing some of the pics from time to time as sort of a sidebar from the progress being made on current projects. After all it is from one's past mistakes or successes that one learns.
This vignette consists of two figure kits from Soldiers in 54mm and depicts Julius Caesar and one of his tribunes at the Battle of Alesia. This was my first foray into the world of non-metallic metals and was a lot of fun. The groundwork was created from A+B putty carved with a Dremel, coated with small sand and gravel and static grass patches. The base was then painted with oil washes to achieve the subtle colors. All of the figures are stock and again painted with oils. Brass/Bronze and Gold were painted using Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Black mixtures while Silvery metallics were painted using Titanium White, Mars Black, Payne's gray and reflected colors. After making sure everything that needed it had a flat finish, a semi-gloss sheen was applied to the metallic areas to give them a bit more "Pop". To this day I am still refining this technique but it is a lot of fun experimenting and learning.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Soldiers Roman Navarca, Battle of Actium 31 BC

For all of the wonderful things about painting with oils, the only drawback is drying time. To battle this I seem to have three or four figures on the bench at any one time. With my recent acquisitions of the latest Roman subjects from Soldiers came this figure (just when I think I'm caught up they come out with more - that new Senator will be a challenge in white no doubt). SR-46 depicts a Roman Navarca or Naval Officer from Marc Anthony's Fleet at the Battle of Actium in 31BC. As with all of Soldier's figures sculpted by Adriano Laruccia this figure is a real beauty. The casting is perfect and the sculpting couldn't be any better. As you can see from the box art this will be a colorful and different addition to my Roman collection.
So far I have primed all of the pieces and have begun the flesh (basic mid-tone highlights and shadows - wet on wet technique. The head and cape are not glued on yet as I want easy access to the details on the torso. The cheek pieces are masked so that I can work with the natural metal of the kit once the face is completed. A hint here for everyone. For a masking agent I simply go to the nearest can of latex house paint in the basement and use a bit to paint on the areas needing to be masked off. Once dry you can then spray your primer. Once the mask has served it's purpose simply remove with tweezers and move on. Everybody that owns a house has some latex house paint around so why spend money on a little bottle of frisket or similar. I replaced the shaft of his lance with brass rod as one can never truly straighten the cast metal shafts included in kits. I used brass as the shaft will be painted blue. Normally for shafts that remain natural wood I will sand down a wooden dowel to scale thickness and use oils to stain the wood.

Pegaso Mayan Priest Bust - Part 6

I have completed a few more steps on this bust at this posting. The most obvious is my work on the Jadeite decorations (Next post on this piece will show step by step completion of the jewelry). In addition I have applied the base color for the straps of the headdress, finished the tan banding and top piece of the headdress and, although not seen in these pictures I assembled the feathers as a unit and completed their paint work. As a side note on the feather assembly, it is heavy and I am concerned about how it will hold up once glued to the top of the headdress. I may well have to add additional pinning to make sure it holds up to movement once attached.

Kharkov Diorama - Figure #1 Part 3

Final shadows have been added in preparation for highlighting using a thick wash on Greenish Umber. This serves two purposes, the first being the deepest shadows and outlines for belting and equipment and lastly to bring the overall color of the parka back to it's proper greenish hue. As this wash is actually a bit thicker than a true wash it also leaves a grubby appearance on the cloth that will show up well as the dirty effect I was looking for after final highlighting. Now I can begin to turn my attention to other areas on this figure. I have also begun working on figure #2. Really when you get down to it my efforts on this figure will better define the techniques used on the other figures.
I have actually looked at figures from other manufacturers supposedly in the same scale as John's and have been really disappointed to see just how different people's visions of 1/16th scale really is. For figure painters scale doesn't always come into play. We think in terms of millimeter size and every sculptor measures that from either top of head, top of headgear or eye-line. However in WWII modeling when so many figures are matched to vehicles, scale is important. In holding up figures from various other manufacturers I see that none of them go well in scale with these figures or the Tiger kit. Do I really want more figures for this scene? Work wise, NO! However if it truly adds to the story or feel of the piece then, yes. In the end my mental exercise seems to have been resolved for me.
However I now have some very cool figures from other manufacturers that will look nice all by themselves on their own base. Currently I am quite excited by the figures that Jeff Shiu has available. He seems to be stuck on two subjects but so far I haven't had any complaint with the subjects chosen. His kits are well cast, affordable and he provides very fast service.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pegaso Mayan Priest Bust - Feathers Continued

The blue feathers were tipped in black and over coated with Daniel Smith iridescent blue. The red feathers are completed with a combination of washes using various cadmium red shades, cadmium maroon, black and over coated with D.S. Ir. red. These photos really don't do the feathers any justice and I may well attempt further photos after I complete the feathers all together. I have also completed work on the woven design at the top of the headdress.

The green feathers were striped with a mixture of Lamp Black and Prussian Green. Winsor & Newton Prussian Green is very transparent, so combined with the black it made just the perfect transparency to allow for subtle transitions in the stripes. I was really happy with these feathers at that point and the addition of the D.S. iridescent green just made it that small bit better. Now I am painting the off-white feathers in the front and will then mount the whole piece to the inside of his headdress.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Kharkov Diorama - Figure #1 Part 2

In an earlier post I talked about how much I was going for a certain feel to this piece that I hoped would come across in the paint choices for the figures, tank and the groundwork. Amongst the photos that I have chosen as reference material along the way is the one reproduced above. Along the lines of this photo I hope you will begin to see the effect show in the in-progress pictures below. As the details are eventually worked, the dirty coloration achieved now will show through.

I began painting the jacket using a mixture of raw umber and titanium white. Once painted on the figure and while still wet, I added touches more raw umber in the shadow areas and blended upward. This is done to the overall figure without regard for folds or details. At this point I am thinking of the figure like one big shape with no detail.

Once dry I began applying rough shadows with a mixture of raw umber and Mars black. This mixture is "scrubbed" into shadow areas acting as a glaze over the original color. After reading various descriptions of the coloring for these jackets and looking at photos of the actual jackets, I have found that colors vary and as you could see in the black and white picture at the beginning of this post they quickly became filthy as time in the field took it's toll. The look at this point is still brownish grey (actually appearing more brown in these pics than in real life). This will moderate more as the highlight and detail shadows are accomplished in the next steps. More to come as the week progresses hopefully.