Dwarf down a Dungeon

I’m drawing to a finish with this guy. As I said before, I feel like he’s the best example of my abilities at this point. The whole project has been interesting and I’ve pushed myself a bit to achieve the look I wanted. Now he’s almost finished I can take that ~2 day period to appreciate him, before I start to see all the flaws and problem spots again.

This project has not been easy however. There was a solid two week period when I could not face working on him because my head wasn’t in the right place. I would sit down and work on a small bit, and then get overwhelmed by how many more small bits I had left to do. Eventually they all got done however, and in fact the bits I’m happiest about emerged during the final period. I would also like to point out that there were several minor and two major fuckups I made. The minors I will pick up as I go along, but the two major issues I had I should acknowledge because they’re pretty big in my book. Firstly, I varnished the model. Now that stuff was supposed to be matte, but it is not. I don’t know why but this little fella is currently shiny as hell, at least to me anyway. It’s obscured a lot of the hard work I did on specific elements, and I’m annoyed that I did something so total without thinking about it. The second issue is the base. The model was cast with a pretty large stand, which I left on when he was on the cork. Once I decided to put him on his base this became a problem. Thus I ended up clipping the integrated stand off, but only after accidentally pulling off the paint on his right boot with a dremel trying to grind it down. The varnish prevented me from chipping paint off, but I also think some of the metal chips stuck to it as some bits of the model have small flecks in the varnish. So a few lessons on technical stuff to learn.



This is the first photo I have. I picked up this model randomly at last year’s Vapnartak (the York Wargames Society annual show) and left him sitting around after trying some wet blending on him. I picked him back up for no apparent reason, and did some tinkering. At this point I thought I’d try creating a lamp glow effect as he’s holding a lantern, so I used a bit of colour theory and a colour wheel to figure out that yellow light on blue cloak = green. I was pretty crude in my highlight placement because I’m sloppy like that, but the model is very forgiving, with large cloak folds and otherwise small areas to cover. I was properly buzzed with this, so I posted it online and the response gave me encouragement to continue.



I re-used the blue from the sorceress because it’s pretty clean but not too bright.


This stage was the most fun I think. I really pushed the lighting on the model to make the front area stand out. This was also the point at which I figured out an easier way of doing the light affect. By highlighting up with a very pale colour (Vallejo Model Colour Iraqi Sand) I could then glaze the light source over it, or the base colour, to play with the brightness. I use this technique a lot in batch painting in combination with washes, but it makes sense. The green tunic is not quite right, and I never really corrected it fully, only dulled it down in brightness. Ah well.


I also managed to figure out my additional colours. The inner cloak I’m particularly happy with, as it started as a very dark turquoise mix which when highlighted provides a slight change to the overall palette without clashing. The waterskin maybe could have been a different colour, as my mum mistook it for a bottle of wine. Ah well.


I think this was the point my patience started to go. I attached the lantern only to knock it off four times, each time requiring a repaint of scratches. Most of the highlighting was done at this point.




Again, I was flagging at this point. All the elements were in place but they weren’t quite right. As stated above though I did sort out the minor elements on the model, especially the backpack. That means of course I have no photos of it at this stage. Cracking.



This is how he stands today. On a base, freshly varnished and looking for treasure. The base I feel ties the whole thing together. I basically went a bit nuts with some sculpey, trying out a few more intricate designs. I went with the staircase however because it gives the piece a bit of interest. He’s clearly somewhere he’s unsure about, and he has to make a decision. I guess. I fixed up the lantern a bit by making it brighter using a very pale yellow mix. The skin got a few more glazes to add contrast, which I’m not too sure about. Oh yeah, the eyes. I’m damn happy about them. Worked an absolute treat. Main tip for them is PRACTICE. Literally right before you apply the white, put a few white dots on your hand. Test the consistency and use it on the model when you’re happy. For the pupils get the black and try to put pupils on the little 2d eyes you’ve got in your hand. This allows you check the consistency of the paint and develops some muscle memory which gives the confidence for the actual model. In this case the eyes really help to create some drama.


The backpack bits and pieces I’m really happy about. I tried a little stitching pattern on the backpack itself, which is subtle but creates some interest. The bedroll is the same turquoise mix as the inner cloak, but because it’s in the shadow of the model the colour is different. The saucepan I’m really happy with. I used some pigment powder and black glazes to make it look like one of the ones I have here in my house: completely battered and scratched up. I even managed to get the buckles on the leather straps.


The base still needs work. I need to establish the actually colour of it first before trying to do the lighting. That however is a post for another day, as I am officially declaring this model finished. So in summary:

+I shouldn’t be afraid to push myself and have a bit of fun

+Thin glazes are pretty nifty. Who’d of thought?

+Small details such as eyes and posing on bases can be very good at conveying specific environments. I imagine it would work even better if the base was painted…….

+A good sculpt can be a joy to experiment on

+I’d say the colour choice was pretty spot-on

-I need to work on patience. There were many bits of the model that I sacked off before I was 100% happy with it, and I never got around to correcting them.

-Plan ahead. I should have either removed the base to begin with or integrated it. Instead I ended up nearly ruining one of the bits of the mini I had worked hardest on.

-Test on a spare piece before committing on the model I’ve spent tens of hours on. Varnish being case in point.

-Sort out the sloppy brushwork (this is half a joke, but yeah there were a couple of points at which I got lazy)


Thanks for reading!



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