Monday, August 15, 2016

Painting Guild Ball Masons - Basecoat

For my Guild Ball Masons team, I decided to basically mimic (as best I could) the studio art scheme seen in the picture above.  For simplicity, personal preference and laziness I planned a few minor deviations but in general, this is what I was shooting for.  Sure a bit uninspired but painted models are painted models.

Not sure if anyone finds the amount of detail I'm about to give interesting, but I'm going to make a slight detour after the first batch of these guys are done.  So, I'm going to be fairly descriptive in what I did for my own sake when I return back to them.  Maybe I can even learn and remember what I did wrong or badly through this process also.  Anyway...

The gang all primed.
Just Brick.
For priming, I used a 4 step zenithal approach with my airbrush:
  • Vallejo Black Airbrush Primer - From bottom and concentrated shadows
  • Mix of Vallejo Black and White Airbrush Primer (for Grey) - Perpendicular to model
  • Vallejo Skelton Bone- 45 deg angle from above
  • Vallejo White Airbrush Primer - Directly above
The main goal for me, with the 4 step zenithal was to understand the shadows and highlights a little better, and why stop at 2 when you could go 3 or 4 (with the airbrush, it really didn't take that much longer).  That being said, as you may see (or not) from the above photos, I think I mixed my grey too light which ultimately washed out some of the definition I was going for.  For next time, I picked up a bottle of Vallejo Grey Primer to avoid some of my color mixing issues (I tend to mix colors toward my personal preferences versus what I need - like in this instance I prefer light grey over dark grey).  I took individual photos of all the models at 90 degree rotation increments to serve as reference if I lost my way.  To take full advantage of all this photography I really need to improve my photo setup and actually sit down and learn how to use my camera.  

From the primed model pool, I down selected to a more manageable 4 figures to concentrate on.  My intent was to airbrush as much of the base colors, working from the inside out, as I could.  For my previous airbrushing I had tried a number of thinning approaches and ultimately selected Lester Bursley's custom mix (winning out over pure water, water/alcohol mixtures, Vallejo Glaze Medium and Vallejo Thinner).  Back when I went through this process, I had meant to try/evaluate Vallejo Airbrush Thinner but never did.  This time around (mostly because I didn't feel like remixing Les' formula) I finally picked up bottle of Vallejo Airbrush Thinner to try out on these models and I am really happy with it so far.

Most of the base colors blocked in, except the hair and a few details
The base colors, in the order they were applied with the airbrush:
  • RMS Tanned Skin - Skin Base
  • RMS Templar Blue - Clothing Base
  • RMS Earth Brown - Leather Base
For the skin, I planned on following the recipe from David Powell, over at Powell's Painting Projects.  I'm trying the second male recipe.

After those colors above were blocked in with the airbrush, I went back in with a regular brush and cleaned up the over spray.  Using the airbrush, for me at least, was out of the question for the armor sections due to their locations and managing the overspray.

For the armor, I planned to follow Dave Taylor's Liber Metallica method for Polished Steel (a great class at Adepticon for beginners+ if you like his Mechanicum Army).  This meant, first painting all the armor areas black before beginning.  
  • VMC Black - Pre-Armor
  • AP Gun Metal - Armor Base*
Some the accents (buttons, buckles, etc) where hit with:
  • VGC Polished Gold mixed with VMC Smoke - Gold accents**
After I got to this point, I hit a wall.  The hair was the last base color I was going to block in but I really didn't know "what" I wanted to do or "how" to do it.  Eventually, I just went for it (after all, they are just going to be tabletop quality, I hope):

  • Brick - 50% RMS Chestnut Brown and RMS Mahogany Brown
  • Tower - Light Sand
  • Mallet - VMC Light Sand w/several thin VMC Black washes of black afterwards
  • Flint - VMC Dark Prussian Blue w/VMC Black over most of it afterwards
For Brick, I'm not sure why I went with this combination/color as I intended a more brown color.  I may have thought if I highlight with a more suitable brown it will all come together but who knows but I like it as is.

Tower, not sure this is going to work (or anything will) because his "hair" has almost no detail and therefore I have no idea what to do.

The method for Mallet kind of worked out, since I envisioned him as an older veteran player that is grey-ing but upon closer inspection, it actually looks like he dyed his "tips" (maybe should have used a grey instead of Light Sand).  I think I can live with it though.

The thought for Flint, based on some reading on the web, was to use a dark blue since cool colors give a sense of depth and then highlight black.  Maybe it's a bad method, maybe my blue was not dark enough or maybe I just did it wrong but it just did not work for me/on this model.  All I could see, even at distance, was blue.  So I got really heavy handed with black and called the base colors blocked in/done.

Individual shots:

Sorry for the bad photos, esp these last two.  I tried gain adjusting some of them after the fact.  And since I had already moved on to the next step(s), I couldn't just retake the photos.  Anyway, I will eventually try to learn how to use my camera and take better photos, someday.

They definitely could use a few more colors and variations but I'm trying to manage how much time I spend on these models.  There are a lot of other miniatures that are getting jealous of these guys having paint.  Next up, shading.

*Note, I am really please and impressed with this color.  See right below this partly why I am so happy with it and why I will be checking out more of the range.

**Note, when it came time to do my gold accents (buckles, buttons, etc) I became extremely disappointed about my Vallejo Air Metallics.  I had originally transition to them because they were the only paints I had found that I felt like I could actually brush paint on reasonably well.  But when I reached for my Vallejo Air Metallic Gold, the practically brand new bottle was all clumped up and unusable,  along with every other (about 5) Air Metallic I had.

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