Hunter and Hunted...
So I've been semi-regularly been featured in a Malifaux Podcast called Flippin' Jokers, featuring a few friends from our area that are really good at the game and are my regular opponents. In one of our last episodes we mentioned wanting to do the Iron Painter competition but not wanting to commit due to flakiness, schedules, new babies, planned crimes, etc. and decided to hold a friendly one among the cast titled The Aluminium Painter. Like the IP we would base our models on themes, basing our paint jobs on these restrictions. A Wyrd Place (I think) had a Google Hangout to decide the theme and came up with "Don't Be Fooled," in honor of the April 1st deadline. The restriction that came up was that the model had to look good and complete from one photographed angle, but from any other angle you can see bare plastic, bad paint, incomplete, etc. as a jab one of the cast members uses about models looking good in the pictures they share but completely different in real life (usually not as impressive in his, and sometimes my, opinion - see previous post regarding photography).
This seemed like a fun challenge at first, and we made the deadline be a month rather than 2 weeks like the Iron Painter. Once I got going on it, though, it seemed a lot tougher than I anticipated and a lot of ideas changed due to making it not as complicated. In other words, my grand ideas ended with me biting off more than I could chew.
So being that we had a month to do this I of course procrastinated and didn't really get started until this Monday. We agreed that since we're making these models half painted that we'd use the Through the Breach multi-part kit to prevent making a game piece useless. When I got the kit in I looked at all the pieces for inspiration on what to build and found the kit sort of lacking, especially when used to Games Workshop's awesome modular kits. Not all the pieces can be used with everything. I did find a kick ass shotgun to use, but it would have been a lot of work considering that it's only held in one hand in a static pose with the wrist. I ended up using the only dynamic legs in the kit with an open and pistol hand, along with a cool head with a handlebar mustache.
I also had some plasticard I ordered previously for other projects and decided to give it a go for this. I never worked with Plasticard before, but man it is handy. I can see tons of utility come from this material.
Initially I planned on making this a door going out to the street, with lamps and puddles and newspapers with skulls and way too many things. I decided to simplify once I started the planning in my head and went with a simple interior. I cut the wall out, then the door out of that. I Then cut some balsa wood strips and little Popsicle sticks for some paneling.
I hit a conundrum for a doorknob. I researched Victorian doors and found they mostly had knobs in the middle for some reason, and decided in order for it to read correctly I'll keep it to the side. I initially thought of using a round bead as the knob but couldn't find one small enough to fit the scale. My wife and I ran through some ideas, as well as some input from my friend Reuben, but then I came to the realization that I could make one from scratch using plasticard.
I took some plastic tube and strips of styrene and made this:
I was pretty darn proud of this little knob...
Man, plasticard is tons of fun. Scratch building is tedious but well worth it in the end.
What it looked like before paint
I ended up adding one more strip on the right panels to even it out and decided it was ready for paint. I knew this would be tons easier if I painted the three separate pieces apart, although I tend to not like assembling models after they're painted for fear of super glue frosting or not seeing the end result the way I anticipated. But there was no way I was going to try to paint a dude in a doorway and a bug on a wall with a door in the way.
Here you can see the first steps I took on the wall. I used some sand and olive colors airbrushed over black with white mixed in to highlight spots, leaving some black in the shadows. I painted the wood with Vallejo Flat Earth as a basecoat.
Here I skipped through a bunch of steps, but I'll try to list them from what I remember. I took some foam similar to blister foam from packaging and ripped off a piece and dabbed some of the base and highlight colors on the wall and door to create some interesting textures. I airbrushed some black on the wall and door, but I'm not to pleased with how it turned out on the wall. I was trying for some directional lighting in a more rounded shape, instead it turned out V shaped and I went too far in. Oh well, it's not terrible, but certainly wasn't what I was hoping for. I painted the door knob using Vallejo Orange Brown as a basecoat, adding white for highlight and black for shading. I can't exactly remember what I did for the wood, but if you like it you can use the recipe in the Vallejo Wood/Leather set they sell, I just followed the instructions for panel 5. It wasn't what I was picturing, but I knew it would be a weak part of the wall as it was actual wood and it doesn't respond well to painting like plastics or metals do.
For Mr. Skito I mostly airbrushed different grays over black undercoat. For the body I used Vallejo Sombre Grey and Wolf Grey, then used those colors for highlighting/shading with touches of black. For the abdomen (thorax? I don't know) I sprayed Vallejo Scarlet Red over the grey to make a vibrant look, and it seems semi-transparent as it blended into the black areas sharply. I blacklined any sharp gaps on the whole model including the tiny recesses in the wings. Then the wings got a white edge highlight. The eyes are Vallejo Foul Green with white and black for highlights/recesses.
I really just wanted to keep him simple as it's just a bug, but mostly I was on a time constraint. Turns out that restraint is what I like most about him and it kept him looking mostly black. I usually fail at keeping a miniature looking dark and black by putting too many grey highlights in, making it look more naturally grey than black.
A cool little angle
Then I got the victim done, and he was a true test of my patience.
When I was priming him I had to mask his back half to keep as much unpainted surface as possible for the challenge, which was a nightmare in itself. Then I had a ton of trouble with the first item I started painting alone, which were the pants. I ended up repainting over it 2 or 3 times before I figured out this look. I also didn't know how I planned on painting the rest. The miniature itself didn't inspire much desire from me, it seems sort of plain and dis-proportioned to me, like he had a tiny head and extremely long arms and torso. But once I got to spraying his shirt I got a happy accident in how the model got highlighted and decided to try a new technique on him.
I actually used a ton more black in this model than I normally do, keeping certain parts where the light wouldn't hit him in complete flat black. Half his face is black, the majority of his arms are black, and I heavily black lined most of the rest. This created a dynamic lighting look and the contrast just makes it pop. I don't know how it would work for tabletop miniatures, as if you look straight on into the black areas it looks flat, but from a one-angle challenge it worked out perfectly.
The leather and NMM colors are from all my previous recipes I've done before. The pants are Sombre Grey/Wolf Grey with black lined in the recesses. The skin was GW Tallarn Flesh, GW Flesh Wash twice, and then add white for highlights. Knowing that I was making the contrasts a lot more exaggerated than I usually do I also used GW Nuln Oil judiciously to create deeper shadows. Having a second layer of Flesh Wash makes a huge difference in contrast, you should try it out next time.
The finished product
Overall I'm pretty happy with it, it turned out a lot better than I expected it to. It's definitely different from what I had initially planned, as that plan involved making him appear as if he was walking through a "Breach" of color. I planned on adding more to this, like dust using pigments and spider webs, but due to my procrastination I didn't have time and didn't want to do it at 3AM when I called it quits last night. As I type I continually doze off due to 3 hours of sleeppppppppppppppppppppppkkkkkkkkkkkk.........
I left as much untouched as possible
Here's a view from the back, where you can see I left the other half without any paint, including the wall piece, which works out fine as you shouldn't be looking at it anyway ha! The wall does a good job in forcing your perspective when you look at it so that you won't see the unpainted parts.
True to form I left as much unpainted from any other angle, here you can see behind the door, as well as the part of the wing I kind of used as a testing area for how to spray the wings.
Here you can see exactly how much black I left in the face to help describe what I meant about using black to create dynamic work. Also, for some reason, I love the way this wing turned out.
I also left the top of the Skeeter as unpainted as possible, although I found avoiding primer was too difficult due to the rounded shape
So there you have it, round one of the Aluminum Painter. It was a great exercise for me in attempting more dynamic and directional lighting, as well as utilizing plasticard to create a diorama. Let me know what you think, and if you're a member of A Wyrd Place on Facebook you can check out all the entries soon enough and you can also listen to Flippin' Jokers podcast to hear yours truly!