Friday, April 12, 2013

Miniatures: Looking Back at Old Techniques

Last week I first mentioned going back through our old figures to see what worked in terms or painting and what didn't. This time I'm going to focus on my work (I'll get to some of the Sherri's stuff next time). I went through two major rounds of painting, the first when I was working on samurai and other large scale armies and the second when I started working on figures primarily to use with our tabletop rpgs. In that second round, I read about the Wargame Foundry/Dallimore method of painting. While he didn't invent it, it is often called after the notable Kevin Dallimore. The brief guide I read showed how to use it to do simple highlights and work with decent volumes of figures. Basically you use what's I now see called a 'triad' of contrasting colors, painted over black. Essentially each layer is done in a smaller area. Of course Dallimore's superior work uses more stages and advanced techniques. But given I felt like I was struggling with my work, I grasped at the idea and went with it. It fit with the method I used to prepare figures- priming black and then highlighting white.
My work had two major problems. First, as you'll see, it was messy and rough. It looked decent at a distance, but close up looked terrible. Second, I am the worst person at picking colors. The few color schemes that managed to come out well were a direct result of my asking Sherri her opinion and actually listening to her. Note that some of the figures in the pictures below have darkened from the fire or worn in places from the cleaning. But generally they show my style.

First some historicals I did at the beginning:
Civilians from a Swashbuckler line
I like the idea of guys in fancy clothes stealing treasure
Some Cossacks I Believe- Really Basic Colors
Ship's Crew- in bad shape. You can see the roughness of the painting style here.
Next some fantasy figures
Several Different Figures from the Flintloque line. You can easily see the chunky brushwork here.
These are Confrontation, my favorite line
Alchemists of Dirz. Notice how I manage to stick to colors in too close in tones. I like the yellow, but the whole thing doesn't work. The close up shot really shows the lack of blending.
Griffon Riflemen- The Cloaks Only Look Decent Far Away
Painting everything dark helps hide bad technique.
By far the worst- and a figure which really shows the limits of this method in my unskilled hands:
I couldn't even bring myself to finish this one. The photo makes it look ten times better than it does in person (surprising since it usually goes the other way). I'm going to clean the paint off and start from scratch.

Finally for comparison and contrast some figures I did this week, first some samurai...
Crazy eyes cover a small error.
The leggings are still a little to abrupt in transition.
Second, some Griffons from Confrontation. They're painted in a color scheme based on the new style of digital colorists for modern films- turning everything to hot orange and cyan. 

Birds are hard.
I'm really happy with the way the cloak came out.
I think I'm doing better- I certainly don't hate the figures I've done recently like to do those earlier ones.


  1. Don't be so hard on your past paints, they still look great!!!

    But the latest really look fantastic - especially the oil washing you did on your Conf. Dwarves.

    Can you post up the exact method of oil washing and how you mixed the wash?

  2. I watched a couple of videos- and after I saw the BuyPainted guy use oil washes to make some stuff look awesome.

    The process is pretty simple
    1. Gloss coat figure (allows the wash to run better)
    2. Mix up a wash of a little oil paint and white spirit or mineral spirits. Thin so that the paint flows when you touch brush to paper towel.
    3. Apply wash to model.
    4. Allow to dry for a time, just to let it set up for a bit. (The oil paint won't finally dry for about 24 from what I've heard.)
    5. Use a cotton swap with mineral spirit to remove the excess paint, leaving the wash shading in the recesses.

  3. Thanks, Lowell! Gotta go to HL to get some oils.

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