Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchanment [Completed]; a proxy for Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons

It has been an extremely long time, roughly more than a year since I started this Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen proxy project using the 70 mm Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment resin figurine. Although the miniature in no way resembled the popular character in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy novel series, I had set out to at least capture the spirit of Daenerys in the Akelarre Enchantment figurine. This project is arguably a miniature conversion (I'm well aware most don't consider it a conversion unless parts of the miniature have been physically altered) in the sense that its original paint job has been modified to resemble the subject matter, a proxy if you will.  

Akelarre Enchantment, used here as a proxy for Daenerys Targaryen and her dragon Rhaegal
Scale of the 70 mm Nocturna Models resin miniature as compared with a paperclip and 5 Malaysian sen

Having a predominantly light pastel colour scheme is key to allowing a casual observer's focus to fall on both her face and the young dragon on her arm. This required very subtle blending of the shadows and highlights of her dress as is most noticeable on her light turquoise dress/head gear and light pink pants. When contrasted against her face/skin tone and the young dragon, the light pastel colour scheme actually made both look 'much more alive'. I'm not sure if I'm making much sense here but that is how I feel about the piece or at least wanted to convey through my painting.  

Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment [Completed]
Side view highlighting the main, non-neutral colours used - light turquoise, pink and green
Achieving smooth blends took many hours due to the pastel lightness of the overall colour scheme 
Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment [Completed], back view

One difficult part of this project was the ribbons on her head gear. Both ribbons were shaped in a straight line right out of the box and both needed a blast of hot air (using a hair dryer) to make them pliable enough to be reshaped or resculpted. In what was a perfect example of different art forms overlapping, I took what I had learned from my self-taught figure drawing lessons about "S-curves" to reshape the ribbons into a dynamic form. More on this little trick in a post on my other blog.

Two ribbon-like adornments attached to her head gear was the final pieces of the puzzle
A stance that befits a queen and the mother of dragons
Use of pink helped make the 'Princess Leia buns' more prominent
Focus of this piece centred around two conflicting elements i.e. her face and the dragon

In an interesting development, Daenerys Targaryen's overall colour scheme resulted in the miniature being well suited to having a video taken of it. For some reason - maybe I just got the lighting right this time - the 360 degree YouTube video I took of the Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment turned out really well. It was in fact the best video of a miniature I have taken so far. Do check it out below if you can and let me know what you think.  

360 view of Akelarre Enchantment
For a 360 degree view of the Nocturna Models Akelarre, please check out the YouTube video below. For videos of other select miniatures that I have painted, kindly visit my YouTube channel at FourEyedMonster Miniatures. Please choose high definition (HD) for the best video viewing option.

Nocturna Models resin model kits continue to play a huge part in my development as a miniature painter. This Spanish company's figurines always push me to a higher level artistically as is the case for any well sculpted miniature. But even as I feel genuinely pleased with what I have achieved with Akelarre Enchantment's paint job, I remain utterly convinced there were so many things I could have done better, and will try to do better in future projects. With this Daenerys proxy, a large chunk of my current project pipeline has now been completed. Another massive round of prep work, assembly and priming work lies ahead for a new set of miniatures for the pipeline. More on that in my next post but until then have a great week with your hobby or loved ones or even both. Cheers!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star [Nickelodeon Best Friends Diorama - COMPLETED]

What better way to celebrate the return of sunny blue skies after a haze-free week then to complete perhaps the most cheerful pair of figurines in my collection. And who else better exemplifies such a happy and optimistic outlook than both SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star. Back in the day, when my son was a preschooler and I had less whites in my hair, our first SpongeBob episode together was one that revolved around bad breath. It was disgusting enough to make me wonder what SpongeBob's appeal to kids was. But in the end I got it. Now I wish more people have SpongeBob's innocent goodness in his heart than the Squidward Tentacles we have all become.        

Patrick Star (left) and SpongeBob SquarePants (right)

Shading for this mini-diorama looks deceptively simple but it actually took a lot of layering as well as wet-on-wet blending to achieve the smooth transitions you see, especially on Patrick. Less shading work was done on SpongeBob, partly to balance out the fact that he had more details than Patrick. 

Nickelodeon Best Friends mini-diorama featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star
Having more details meant SpongeBob warranted less shadows/highlights transition work compared to Patrick
Side view (left) highlighting SpongeBob's nose
Olive green shadows on SpongeBob could easily have been shaded olive brown instead

One thing that could have been done differently was the olive green shadows on SpongeBob. An alternate choice would be to use olive brown instead. However, I chose the former to brighten up SpongeBob's colour scheme and hence the overall look of the piece. Meanwhile, my son cheekily suggested that Patrick's belly button should contain more shading (if memory serves me right, there was an episode showing Patrick's fascination with the contents of his belly button .... ewww ?) to reflect the contents of Patrick's innie. I passed on that! There is a case for too much realism.

Back view of the Nickelodeon Best Friends mini-diorama featuring SpongeBob and Patrick
Hands on back shoulders, the classic best friends pose
Side view (right) highlighting Patrick's tummy
Patrick had more shadows/highlights transition work done on him to compensate for lesser details

Living in a pineapple under the sea means the base has to be a sandy beach. It's a no-brainer. To accurately simulate such a texture, I used a combination of three old Citadel acrylic paints i.e. Bestial Brown, Bubonic Brown and Bleached Bone. Dry-brushing the latter two hues on top of the the initial basecoat colour created a sense of depth on the already nicely sculpted beach. But one challenge the base threw up was the difficulty in getting paints to penetrate the tiny ubiquitous pockmarks. To solve this problem, I mixed Citadel Lahmian Medium into the basecoat colour of Bestial Brown to reduce surface tension of the paints. This then allowed the basecoat paint to penetrate the pockmarks.

Base comprises three layers of dry-brushed paint to simulate depth in a sandy beach 

It has been a slow couple of weeks hobby-wise. I must be suffering some form of burnout as my productivity seems to have nosedived drastically. Even my plan to draw at least one portrait a month has been effectively curtailed. Try as I might, I can't quite put my finger on what's ailing me. If I don't get a handle on this soon, I might just find my painting or drawing activities come to a complete standstill. And that can't be a good thing if the law of inertia is anything to go by.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Adapting House Martell heraldry for miniature form

House Martell's heraldry is that of a brownish red sun pierced by a yellowish gold spear on an orange field. Adapting this simple heraldry for miniature form was fairly straightforward although some modifications were needed to spice up what is essentially a very boring design. For reference, I used a photograph of a House Martell banner on the set during the filming of a Game of Thrones episode.  

Freehand painting of the House Martell heraldry on a 28 mm scale shield
Design for the House Martell heraldry was based on a banner motif found on set 
Steps (four out of five) involved in adapting the House Martel heraldry for miniature form

Due to the scale involved (heroic 28 mm), I kept the heraldry design as simple as possible. In addition, I tried breaking it up into basic steps, each building upon the previous one. As seen above, I started with a simple circular shape and followed up by adding primary and secondary flames to the sun before capping it off with a diagonal spear. But if you observe the knight's shield closely, you will notice a lighter shaded line-painting of a circle on the edges of the circular shape. This was necessary to maintain the illusion of a round sun. So essentially this is a five step process.

House Martell Knight [Completed sans warhorse]
Dark brownish reds of the heraldry help create some contrast in the overall colour scheme
With the knight completed, now all that's left is the freehand painting of the heraldry on the warhorse

Having finished the freehand painting of House Martell's heraldry on the knight's shield, I must admit I'm having second thoughts as to whether the same symbol would work on the warhorse's caparison. Firstly, it would be difficult to account for the natural folds on the caparison. Secondly and more importantly, it might look too boring. With that concern in mind, I'm toying with the idea of using a motif of a sand viper's head instead; not unlike the one you would find on the Dodge Viper. Nothing is finalised at the moment because a) I'm riddled with indecision and b) I haven't yet figured out how to design a cool viper motif. Just as you are, I'm truly sick of the sight of this yet unfinished House Martell knight/warhorse. But on the other hand, rushing through this last bit will inevitably ruin it.

Latest progress on the warhorse invloved the completion of its base
Bright green grass was added to contrast the orange hues on the warhorse

As I am no where near deciding what House Martell design/motif/logo to actually put on the warhorse, I decided to base it first. Nothing fancy. In fact it pretty much looks the same as all the other bases for my Game of Thrones knights/warhorses so far. Only slight variation is that it might have had much more bright green grass glued to it than normal. Green is a great complementary colour for orange and I took full advantage of this fact when gluing on the grass. I was planning to finish the whole miniature by this post but it wasn't meant to be. Hopefully it will all turn out well in the end.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Ork Painboy of the Bad Moonz Clan [Completed]

Each and every W40K ork that I paint seems guaranteed to be a time sink. So it was with the Ork Painboy that I started working on three months ago. After hours and hours of trying to bring the many small details too life, I pronounce this latest addition to the Bad Moons clan finished. At least as finished as any miniature can be, considering none in my collection were given a protective anti-paint chip coat, which in turn leaves them open to paint modifications in the future. I guess that's a way to mollify myself with the thought that I can always come back to them when my skills improve.   

Games Workshop Ork Painboy [Completed]
Spin the doctor and he would move in a kaleidoscope of colours
Insane amount of details equaled many hours of painting put in
Colours are a mishmash of yellow-green, yellow, orange, red, red-violet, blue-green and neutral hues   

In a departure from the normal colour schemes expected of a Bad Moons Ork (or is it?), I went colour crazy on the Painboy. His colour scheme comprised a mishmash of yellow-green, yellow, orange, red, red-violet, blue-green and neutral hues. I was curious if such a variety of hues could work or would it just overwhelm the senses. Looking at the finished piece now I think it kinda does.  

Yellows of the Bad Moons Clan were limited to the bosspole and loin cloth
Temptation to splash blood everywhere on the Painboy's buzz-saw weapon was high ...  
... but in the end, only a dab of blood made it to a blade attached to the buzz-saw
This Ork Painboy has one of the most colourful schemes I have ever attempted

The Ork Painboy is actually part of a set with its other half being a Grot Orderly which I completed a year ago. Both complement each other colour scheme wise and are a welcome addition to my fledgling ork army. It will be a while before I return to painting orks though as I plan to move on to Chaos in my Games Workshop-related miniatures project. A break from green skin will do me good.

Games Workshop Ork Painboy and his Grot Orderly (front view)
Games Workshop Ork Painboy and his Grot Orderly (back view)

Perhaps it's fitting and ironic that my next Games Workshop miniature will likely be an ode to Nurgle seeing that this piece is dedicated to healing. More on that project in the coming weeks. Meanwhile the hazy conditions just won't go away. It's getting worse. A news report alleges that the carbon released from the Indonesian fires causing the haze have now exceeded the emissions from the entire US economy. Imagine that! In this day and age where war violence dominates global news, this environmental horror show seems to have largely escaped the attention of the rest of the world. I shudder to think the price Earth is going to pay for this tragedy that's slowly unfolding before us.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Nickelodeon Best Friends [WIP - SpongeBob Skin Tone]

Having to continuously paint miniatures with many small details can be mentally exhausting at times. That's one reason why I always try to vary the type of miniatures in my project pipeline. It can be very liberating to not worry about incorporating freehand designs into your work, or about bringing out the details on a miniature through fine detail painting. Sometimes I just want to apply layer after boring layer of paint (of a single hue) with minor considerations towards shadows and highlights. There is something to be said for the repetitive nature of applying stroke after stroke of thin (and diluted) layers of acrylic paint onto a miniature which has both a calming and de-stressing effect.

SpongeBob SquarePants, work-in-progress on his skin tone
Baaa Baaa Baaaaa ... a laugh to end all laughs

One of the best models I have for this purpose is the Nickelodeon Best Friends kit comprising SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star, of which the latter has been completed thus far. After a lengthy seven months in cold storage, this mini-diorama was pulled out and dusted off for work to continue, starting with SpongeBob's skin tone. At first glance, it does seem as if not much work has been done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Believe you me, many hours were spent patiently applying ever lighter hues of yellow to create a smooth texture on his skin. Yellow is a notoriously difficult colour to work with especially when armed with only a normal brush of the 'non-air' variety. 

Light yellow highlights on all edges of the sponge
Olive green shadows inside the sponge holes
After obtaining a fairly smooth semi-flat yellow on the body, both shadows and highlights were subtly applied to create more depth while maintaining the flat cartoon look of the TV show in the Nickelodeon channel. Bright yellow was mixed with white to form the highlight colour which was then applied to all edges found on SpongeBob. Meanwhile, a short gradation of olive green was used as shadows in the sponge holes. Olive green was preferable to brown because it looked less dull.  

Nickelodeon Best Friends Diorama, work-in-progress with Patrick completed ...
... and SpongeBob with only his skin tone done so far

Sadly, I don't have many figures of this ilk in my collection. Don't  get me wrong. I still love painting miniatures with wonderfully sculpted details. But there are times when one needs to enjoy the simpler forms of the hobby and the Nickelodeon mini-diorama was the perfect go-to piece in this case. I'm loving how this piece is coming together and hopefully will be able to finish it before the year-end. Now if only someone could get SpongeBob's high pitched laugh out of my head. Baaaaaaaaaaa ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...