Sunday, 22 January 2017

Hasbro Princess Leia [WIP - Diplomatic Gown]

Nondescript yet elegant in its simplicity. That about sums up Princess Leia Organa's iconic white robes aka diplomatic gown in Star Wars A New Hope. Painting whites can be tricky because using just pure white results in a flat look lacking depth and volume. As the diplomatic gown is a major part of this repaint project - forming almost 80% of the action figure - it's a no-brainer that a considerable amount of time had to be set aside for the task. In the end, I think it took me at least 12 to 15 hours to paint/blend the warm whites of Princess Leia's diplomatic gown that you see below.  

Hasbro Princess Leia action figure repaint - work-in-progress of the white diplomatic gown
Princess Leia's knee-high boots and belt were painted in ivory with silver adornments for the latter 

With Leia's skin tone and hair yet to be painted, the whites of the gown has the potential to look even whiter. Confused? Well, it's like this. The way we perceive a colour tends to change based on what hues are next to it. As the darker hair and skin tones are painted in, the gown will start to look whiter. An optical illusion if you will. This allowed me to concentrate on creating depth and volume using warm white hues without having to worry too much about how white the gown looked at this stage.  

Pure white actually formed only about 55% of the hues painted on Leia's gown
With so many fabric folds on the back, the shadows assume prominence at this angle

Only one reference source was used for the painting of Princess Leia's gown namely Titan Book's Star Wars Costumes. If you want to paint Star Wars characters be they miniatures or action figures then this books is a must-have. The photographs in this book give an excellent view of the costumes used in the original trilogy. Most importantly, they provide an accurate colour reference for painting. 

For something that looks so simple, white sure takes a long time to paint
Whiteness of the gown is relative to hues next to it, so expect the gown to look whiter as skin tone and hair are painted 

Leia's knee-high boots and belt differed from the gown in that they had warmer tones akin to ivory. The belt also had some adornments which were painted in metallic silver and given a black brownish wash. Subtle the boots and belt may be but the differences are there and as screen accurate as I could possible make it. Both too are differences only a Star Wars fan would care about.

Star Wars Costumes (Titan Books) - Princess Leia Diplomatic Gown

To paint the whites of this Hasbro 3.75" action figure, I used the Vallejo Model Color Black & White acrylic set. It's a wonderful set that is a must-have, especially if you want to make your whites (and blacks) pop! The set also comes with an extremely useful step-by-step  painting guide. I would highly recommend it for painters who want to recreate whites with more depth and volume.

Vallejo Model Color Black and White painting set

Now that the whites of Leia's gown is finished, next up will be her famous hair buns. Those should be fun to paint. Thank you dear readers for following my progress on Leia so far. See you again soon.


  1. Outstanding. White can be a real bear.

    Good point in how colors affect each other (or rather how they're perceived).

    1. Thank you Finch. I'm starting to love painting white now that I better understand the methods behind it.

  2. That's coming along nicely already! Whites are somewhat difficult to get right, but you've certainly mastered it. The ~15 hours were time well spent I'd say.

    1. So kind of you to say so Moiterei. Thanks :) It's kind of silly to spent so many hours on the white but it's so hard to paint white as you very well know.

  3. A nice model you have little Padawan, a great work you've started...

  4. Absolutely sweet job. Wow, those whites are amazing.

  5. Definitely worth the effort as it is looking great, bravo Sir.

  6. Looking forward to see this one done


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