Sunday, April 28, 2013

Centurio Quintus Sertorius Festus - 54mm Alexandros Kit

A new item on review here prior to my starting assembly is this wonderful new kit from Alexandros in 54mm from the capable hands of Larrucia. Quintus Sertorius Festus a Centurian from Legion XI "Claudia Pia Fidelis" is based on a famous burial stele found in Verona Italy. One of three brothers stele and the second from the family that has been reproduced in miniature form.
The kit is cast in white metal as is standard for this manufacturer and the quality of my kit is extremely high. Eleven components are included. No instruction sheet is provided but the current color box art is quite good. Additional research is easily made on this subject so I have no complaints in this regard. A complete photo of the kit components is below, followed by individual close-up photos of the three most important parts.

The figure is accurately depicted wearing the "braciae" or pants, typical for the 1st century AD. All aspects are well sculpted although the sword hilt appears a bit short to me. Coloration for this piece should follow the box-art although I don't care for the coloration and patterning used for the cloak. The stele used for this portrait is shown below. My intention is to stage this piece in an urban Roman setting of some sort. Stay tuned.

Soldiers Gunther von Schwarzburg - Update #8

A bit of honesty here.....I love medieval subjects, but I HATE painting heraldry, especially the more detailed it becomes. This figure has a ton of lions, equally spaced all over the blue surcoat. I started painting them by using a mixture of Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Yellow Deep. This mixture is very transparent as can be seen in the photos, but makes a nice base outline for the heraldry. Not shown below is my progress today on these lions. The larger one on the shield is of a size that I can outline and delineate the lion with black oils. Fine lines from a very small brush!
These photos show the fence and shield on the base temporarily to see how everything is coming along. I am still painting the two items separately until the heraldry is complete.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

MFCA 2013 May 10th and 11th

Time for a bit of blatant advertising here! Upcoming in a few weeks is the annual MFCA show in King of Prussia/Valley Forge, PA (Philadelphia area). This is the original and certainly oldest show in existence in the US, having been started as a club in 1941. Their exhibits are distinguished by Ordnance, Fantasy and Historical subjects with Gold, Silver, Bronze and merit awards being given based on quality of work and using the time proven "Open" system of judging. Come see the best work of painters, sculptors and modelers from all over the world. See you all there. Jim

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Soldiers Gunther von Schwarzburg - Update #7

Progress is very slow considering the amount of time I have spent working on the metal details. Getting everything fine tuned is a long process and there is still quite a ways to go here. I would love to have this one done for MFCA - who knows, maybe.

I have started on the sword, legs and belt as seen here. My technique makes me go dark to light, dark wash, light highlights. This is very aggravating at times as I constantly have to think about reflected light, reflected color, shadows and hot spots.

I am happy with my progress on the sword.

YoungMiniatures Roman Aquilifer bust - Update #7

A few quick shots of the face and helmet portion of our Roman friend. Work proceeds on the fur and the Eagle sculpt. More to come soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Young Miniatures Roman Signifer Bust - Update #6

Work now begins on the bear fur as well as many of the small details on the helmet. I started by applying an overall coat of Mars Brown and Mars Black, followed by a wash of Mars Black to both darken and dull out the base color. Bear fur is variegated in browns, tans and bits of pinkish grey. This will be done by applying successively lighter tones to the fur, building up both color and depth as I go. I have to say however that with the addition of this base color, the piece is really beginning to take shape.
This will also be the last time that the blog posts are titled "Signifer". In the future they will be titled "Aquilifer", as work has begun on scratch building the Eagle. That will be the subject of my next post so stay tuned.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Young Miniatures Roman Signifer Bust - Update #5

Final highlighting of the arm and hand was done last night using the same techniques as usual. I mixed a small amount of Cad. Yellow Deep with Titanium White and added a bit of thinner to create a glaze which once applied and blended outward, developed the lighter highlighting of muscles, skin folds, knuckles, etc. Fingernails were first outlined with Van Dyke Brown and then painted with a mix of White and Burnt Sienna, further highlighting with more Titanium White. All of this was done wet-on-wet for subtle blending. Once dry, I will lightly highlight the ends of the nails with more white. The larger the scale, the more important small details like this are to the finished piece's overall realism. Once everything has had time to completely cure, I will begin to attempt arm hair. If the piece isn't completely dry the colors could be muddied and more importantly, if I wasn't happy with the results, removal with thinners could lift my previous work.

The chin scales were attached next. These items had previously been primed white and the insides painted Mars Black. The leather pads were painted using a mixture of Van Dyke Brown and Burnt Sienna and highlighted with Titanium White. The next three photos show the steps to getting my initial tones of metallic finish.
1.) A mix of Silver printers ink and Mars Black is applied to the edges of the chin scales, taking care not to get any paint on the leather cheek pads.

2.) Raw Silver ink and Mars Black were applied as shown below, in patches of color that will then be blended together with a soft brush.

These areas are blended together and additional black is worked into the natural shadow zones. I also applied some thinned black in a few spots and after sitting for a few minutes, blended with a stippling motion from a soft brush. There are a number of gilt details that will be painted in the next step.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Young Miniatures Roman Signifer Bust - Update #4

Large swaths of highlighted plate were brought out with an overcoat of silver printers ink that was softly stippled over those areas reflecting the most light on the body armor. The problem with printers ink is that it doesn't truly seal or dry. This would not be my first choice for duplicating the armor color but it is what I am experimenting with here so I will keep plugging along.

As an experiment I painted the armor plate that barely shows inside the fur pelt using simply white/black with a touch of Umber to warm the grey. Up close it looks like paint but when you look at the piece overall you can't see the difference between styles - a learning tool for the future?

Still dark but each stage gets lighter and brighter as I go.

More silver ink and the face has been completed in the highlighting department. I am toying with how to tackle more facial hair using the same technique I will use for hair on his arm at the next stage.

So now we have to work on the helmet, fur, arm and begin work on the Acquila or Signum (Still haven't made up my mind).

Erich von Ludendorff bust by Ulrich Puchala

I have prepped the next bust in my on-going series of busts portraying famous individuals from Imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary during the First World War. This bust portrays Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff in his role as "Quartermaster General" (appointed by von Hindenburg in 1916). This is a very nice bust sculpted by Ulrich Puchala and part of his wonderful line from this time period. I have included three portraits below that I feel depict his steely, sullen, sober and downright intimidating demeanor. The eyes are piercing and they would have made most officers and men wilt under their gaze. My challenge is to capture that look in the painting of this bust. I want harsh, crisp highlights and shadows to rule the tone of the piece as this will contribute to the strength of the portrait in my opinion.

The bust consists of three pieces, head and torso as well as the usual iron cross base. I tend not to use these bases as I think they are novel but distracting from the bust itself. The three photos below show the prepped and primed bust ready to start receiving paint.

Young Miniatures Roman Signifer - Update #3

Once the face was far enough along, I felt comfortable base-coating the inside of the fur pelt/helmet and assembling the head/torso/helmet. As can be seen in the pictures, none of these areas are complete. They are however far enough along that in order to tie them all together from a color standpoint I needed them as one big unit.

However, no matter what I did, I could never get the fur to line up perfectly. As you can see in the photo below there was a good line that needed some work with A+B Putty. I left it loose and the second and third photos show the area after working the putty in and applying texture to it.

A base mixture of silver printers ink and Lamp Black oil paint was used to start the armor plate. shadows of pure Lamp Black were applied to outline the plates and a stippling technique was used to blend out those tones.