Thursday, 20 November 2014

Nocturna Models Enchantment [WIP - Soft colours]

In perhaps a bout of overconfidence, I decided to forgo the use of a colour wheel when deciding on the three main soft colours I wanted on the Nocturna Models Enchantment 70-mm scale miniature. All I had in-hand were some reference photos of all the costumes ever worn by Emilia Clark when portraying Daenerys Targayen in the HBO series Game of Thrones, from which I picked and chose several colours that I liked and felt might go well together. Now in all fairness to the series' costume designers, these three colours were never used together in one costume. And it had me worried.

Nocturna Models Enchantment, work-in-progress - deciding the main soft colours
All three colours had to be muted for them to co-exist peacefully and not clash
I'm too sexy for my ... (admit it, that song is in your head now)

Soon after I had finished laying down the main soft colours, I panicked big time and started to second guess my choice of colours. Moreover, I couldn't really find these three combinations in the colour wheel. Then I remembered a book in my collection which I had forgotten about until now - Color Index by Jim Krause. To my relief, I found that the colours I used is indeed a valid combination when used as light tints, which my soft pastel-like colours kinda resemble. But some good did come out of my impetuousness -  if I had referred to the color wheel beforehand I would never have selected the colours I did. Also, I now have a new tool in my miniature painting hobby, the Color Index book.

To my relief, the leftmost 'Light Tints' colour combination on the top row shows my choice does exist  
Adding light pastel green into the mix, made it less Barbiesque

Going forward, there are two important things I need to do with regards to painting the clothes worn by the Nocturna Models Enchantment figure. Firstly, I will have to place more of the three main soft colours at strategic locations on the miniature to ensure they complement each other well. Secondly, I will have to decided on a neutral colour I can use to tie the whole piece together. This colour will also be sourced from the many costumes worn by Emilia Clarke when dressed as Daenerys Targayen.

Next up, the three main soft colours will be strategically placed at other parts of the miniature ...
... and a suitable neutral colour will be added to tie everything together

This has been an unproductive week hobby wise. My son came down with high fever so I dropped everything hobby-related to take care of his illness. He is recovering now so I should be able to get more painting done soon. That is unless I am coming down with the bug he had ... perish the thought!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Ax Faction Zombie Hunter [WIP - Base]

When working on Ax Faction miniatures, I have come to expect highly detailed bases. The Zombie Hunter is no exception with it's cliff-like structure with a dead zombie (hey, an oxymoron) sprawled at the bottom. I love a mini with a well sculpted base as it saves me the trouble of creating my own. 

Ax Faction Zombie Hunter, work-in-progress with just the base completed

While I am pretty sure the Ax Faction Zombie Hunter's base was meant to be painted as a small stone cliff, it also had a texture that reminded me of a gnarled tree bark. So with that in mind, I primarily used dry brushing and washes to replicate the texture as well as colours found on tree bark. 

Base was sculpted in such a way that I felt it could be painted either as a small stony cliff or gnarled tree bark
Back of the base was painted to somewhat resemble wood grain

In keeping with the wood-theme, I also tried painting the back of the base to somewhat resemble wood grain. At this stage, it looks like it will need a fair bit more work before I am happy with it.

Tree bark was painted primarily via a combination of dry brushing and washes
Zombie on the base is highly detailed and will be the part painted next
Good details on the base made painting it fun and easy

Next up for the 32-mm Ax Faction Zombie Hunter will be the zombie at the foot of the base. I have a rough idea of the skin tone I want to achieve but still no clue as to what colour I should use for its cloak. That in turn will determine the colour scheme for the Zombie Hunter himself. Well, that's it for this short update on my miniature project pipeline. Thanks for reading and have a good weekend.

Monday, 10 November 2014

An odd group of Starfleet zombies

Captain's Log, Stardate 7208.37 - We have uncovered yet more Starfleet officers being afflicted by a condition that renders them undead, for a total of seven affected crew. It is interesting to note that so far all those who have turned into zombies were part of a later group of shore leave participants - still in their Starfleet uniforms - from the USS Enterprise. Meanwhile, an earlier group which was attired in 20th century Earth-like clothes to fit in with the locals (refer Appendix 1A) is still unaccounted for.  

Starfleet officers have been seen wandering around aimlessly in zombie form

Latest to fall foul of the mysterious affliction are the O'Brien twins Aiden and Sean, commissioned officer Katrina Gupta and security officer John Norris. Unfortunately the presence of security officers has not prevented more of our crew from turning into zombies. Early progress on my research into the cause of this undead plague suggests the method of transmission is via bites from the afflicted.

Latest additions to the Star Trek zombie horde
Back view of the latest Starfleet undead

At the moment, these poor souls are wandering aimlessly on the planet surface. In another surprising turn of events, the local inhabitants of the M-class planet Dukkha have also completely disappeared. Attempts to contact the first few crew members of the Enterprise to arrive at the planet have also met with failure. But we have not given up hope that perhaps they have escaped the strange plague.

Enterprise computer analysis shows the zombies moving at a slow pace
Majority of the victims are the red-shirt security officers

Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy standing in for Captain Kirk. Updates to follow, McCoy out.

Appendix 1A: Captain's Log, Stardate 7201.3

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Knight Models The Hulk [WIP - Skin Tone]

Painting The Hulk's skin tones has been strangely cathartic for me as the simple repetitive act of blending and layering of shadows, midtones, highlights and the many half-tones in between put me in a calm state of mind amidst the troubles of everyday life. There have been times when I have just peacefully sat blending and layering paints and have hours pass by without even realising it. For this Knight Model piece, most of the time I didn't even have any music playing in the background. My mind was empty save for these thoughts ... blend, blend, layer, mix, blend, blend ... you get the idea.

Knight Models The Hulk, work-in-progress on skin tone
Wonderfully sculpted piece made painting the skin tones very easy
Veins were painted using a mixture of purplish blue and dark green

Finding the right hue of green for the 1/28th scale Knight Models The Hulk miniature wasn't easy as there are a lot of versions out there, sourced either from the cartoons, comics or movies. Initially, I had  wanted to use The Hulk in the Avenger movie as reference for the skin tone but that hue was bordering on flesh colours which I felt may not be appropriate for the comic-book feel I was going for (I used a similar comic-book feel for Knight Models Spiderman). In the end, I settled for colours which ranged from a dark purplish green all the way to a bright yellowish green. This was inspired by a comic cover art by Gary Frank for Issue #110 of The Incredible Hulk (see last picture of this post).

Hulk's pants will likely be painted to simulate denim
Back view of the Knight Models The Hulk, work-in-progress skin tone
Muscle tone in The Hulk's legs were equally well sculpted

As my Vallejo Model Color collection is still pitifully small, I mostly used the old Citadel colours to paint The Hulk. Shadows comprised Vallejo Model Color Oxford Blue mixed in with Orkshide Shade and Knarloc Green while the basecoat was just Knarloc Green alone. From mid-tones to highlights, a mixture of Knarloc Green and Gretchin Green was used with an ever increasing ratio of the latter.

The Hulk has a physique any Mr.Universe would kill for
Flow of paint strokes were done to mimic actual human muscle fibre
Looks like Bruce Banner keeps a regular appointment with his manicurist

For The Hulk's nails, I went for an ochre-green look. Sadly, I forgot to record the paints I used but I believe I added some flesh colours to the general skin tone mix to achieve the results you see above. 

Cover art by Gary Frank was my inspiration for The Hulk's skin tone

Next up for The Hulk should be his pants which I plan to paint to resemble a denim texture. Although I had achieved pretty good results with Knight Models Logan when painting his jeans, I had - similar to the case with The Hulk's nails - completely forgotten what colours I had used to achieve the denim texture. So it will be like starting from zero again with the exception that I can at least remember the technique I used to paint Logan's jeans. Or at least I think I do ... I guess we'll find out soon enough.  

Friday, 31 October 2014

Grot Orderly of the Bad Moonz Clan [Completed]

Once when I was young, I momentarily harboured the idea of pursuing a career in medicine. Then, I asked myself if I was truly willing to dedicate my entire live towards the service of the poor and sick. Ashamedly, my answer was no. I couldn't reconcile between my selfish desires to live a normal life with lots of family time and that of a selfless health care worker. So to me, nothing is more horrifying than health care workers who kill patients with their ineptitude and indifference. This brings me to my piece for this year's Halloween, a bumbling Grot Orderly who calls himself Baldrick Greenadder. 

Meet Baldrick Greenadder, grot orderly extraordinaire and assistant to the Ork Painboy
With so much blood on him, things don't seem to be going too well for the patients
If your health care worker has this expression on his or her face ... run

Because I couldn't really make out all the items that were placed on Baldrick's surgical tray, I had to make things up as I went along. Hopefully you can spot some of the items listed below:
1. Magnet - For pulling out those hard to reach bullets;
2. Surgical knife - For slicing and dicing those damaged parts away;
3. Rusted blades - For initiating a medical procedure the orks lovingly call Gangrene-sectomy;
4. Piece of dirty cloth - For bandaging wounds as orks believe dirt helps initiate blood clotting;
5. Metal rods - For when all else fails, it doesn't hurt to poke around for a solution. 

Can you spot the surgical knife, magnet, spare blades, extra cloth and some pokey things on the tray?

Baldrick's cloths were painted in a colour that you would usually see in a human health care worker while some yellow bands of cloth were added to indicate where the Grot Orderly's loyalty lies i.e. the Bad Moonz Clan. The only other clothing on him were the bandages which had some blood effects painted on them using, for the first time in my miniature paint works, the Tamiya Clear Red X-27.  

Baldrick seems to have a lot of arterial blood on his work clothes ... not good
Grot Orderly's pants were painted in the colours of a hospital orderly's attire

One key challenge I faced when painting the Grot Orderly was trying to make the liquid in the syringe look realistic. Though I can't say if I truly managed that, it was my first try at painting a liquid inside a clear container so I certainly hope to get better at it in the future. The liquid is blue in colour because Orks use a human drug called Viagra which serves like a shot of adrenalin for them.

Is that a liquid solution of Viagra in the syringe?
Thin line of highlight was applied to simulate reflection of a cylinder glass syringe
Side view (right) of the Grot Orderly

I hope you liked meeting Baldrick Greenadder. But I hope too for your sake you never have to meet one yourself whether in-spirit or in-real-life. Happy Halloween and go give yourself a good scare.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Setting the tone for my Mother of Dragons

In the Nocturna Models Enchantment figure, I finally found a miniature that could be effectively used as a proxy for Daenerys Targaryen, a major character in my Game of Thrones project. To ensure she retains the spirit of the Mother of Dragons, I am limiting colours I can use to those worn by actress Emilia Clarke when she played the character in the HBO TV series, from Seasons 1 to 4 so far. To further complicate matters, I am attempting to achieve a very light pastel colour scheme overall.

Nocturna Models Enchantment, early work-in-progress

Having previously struggled with very light pastel colours, I was particularly pleased with the subtle highlights and shadows that I managed to convey on her long loose sleeves and bustier. Shadows and highlights on her upper clothing saw some of the smoothest colour transitions I have managed to date. That might not be saying much but it's still a huge personal achievement for little old me.   

Light pastel turquoise with bright highlights and subtle shadows
Crevices in Enchantment's headgear await a yet-to-be-decided dark shadow colour

Meanwhile, the crevices in Enchantment's headger actually requires a further (and darker) shade of shadow. But I have yet to decide on the shadow's hue. At the moment, I am torn between dark turquoise and a greenish blue grey. I am leaving it unpainted for now as I should get a better sense of which shadow colour is more suitable once I have painted articles of clothing near the headgear. 

Colours used to mix the shadows, midtones and highlights; white (not shown) was added to the final highlight

To obtain the light pastel turquoise mid-tone, I used a mixture of Vallejo Model Color Sky Blue and Yellow Green while various amounts of Deep Sky Blue and/or Light Turquoise was added to the various layers of shadows. For the highlights, I added increasing amounts of white to the mid-tone.

Back view of the Nocturna Models Enchantment, early work-in-progress
Light pastel turquoise sets the tone for how this Daenerys wannabe will be painted in the future
Darker hues of turquoise gave the folds of the sleeves their shadow

This light pastel turquoise sets the tone for how I want to go about painting this Daenerys wannabe. Going through my head right now is the many other light pastel colours that will soon follow to give her a soothing colour scheme that is light and airy. I hope to eventually convey what I always sensed from watching the character on TV which is an interplay between fragility and strength. To me, Emilia Clarke best portrayed the character when dressed in soft colours as it belied the harshness inherent in a daughter of House Targaryen. Only thing left to do is to try and translate it to paint.
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