Next on the Docket

This January I'll be turning this:

Into this:

Stonewall Complete

Here's the final version of Stonewall (hard for me to say, I'd keep messing with it infinitely if I didn't need to mail it out)
And you can vote on my work at here:

Yes, I know I left off the sabre, but to be honest once it came down to it, I found the sabre sort of like the stock base, overcomplicated and superfluous to the overall mood of the piece.  I rather envision Jackson, perhaps at a Christmas party, dressed nicely, and in the distance hearing the din of battle through the hills and valleys, and looking off in the distance, as uncertain as he was steadfast.

This was a pleasure to paint, I'd love to do more from Verlinden's great line of resins.

Wrapping up

Mixing various sands and modelling ballast, I began coating the base for texture
Even washed a few bits of gravel from my driveway to use as boulders. 

Over all this i put a wash of ogryn flesh, which has a nice muddy reddish color to it (and its certainly useless for actual flesh)

Regular old PVA Elmer's school glue, best stuff for flocking bases with sand.

Static grass I feel looks best in large amounts, especially the more brightly colored GW type:
Dried Parsley makes decent leaves
Since I didn't want to buy pigments (well, I WANTED to, just couldn't afford it) I used chalk pastels and crushed em up, mortar and pestle style with one of Ophelia's wooden blocks.  Then I dusted it over like rouge for a nice dried trail dust effect

Stonewall's Last Stand

This series is primarily to focus on the actual painting of Stonewall, so I'm going to gloss over most of the basing.  Standard pinning, some contour putty and frocking on a wooden plinth, nothing special.  I really had hoped to get further tonight as I wanted him mounted to finish his boots, but I ran out of CA and had to use Testor's, which is super slow drying apparently (I haven't used this stuff since I was a kid...  still smells GREAT...  its weird as a modeller you become a connoisseur of glues without actually just sitting and huffing them... mostly)

So this post will be primarily just pics, although I'm happy with his binoc case.

Stonewall's Vanity

Well, it's starting to look like something, finally.

Around his collar and on his gloves I started with Vallejo pale sand.  Naturally, the nozzle was clogged, so I tried to clear it out with an X-Acto blade tip.  Then I squeezed it over my palette... and squeezed... and squeezed... and BAMF!  nozzle popped out and the entire bottle splattered across my whole painting table.  Luckily Stonewall was spared, and no major works were affected, but a couple of semi abandoned pieces got a drop or two, and most of my tools got a rich striping, including my wash basins, my palette, the wall, my glasses, hell, the lamp got some.  ANYWAYS, once cleanup was finished, those areas got coverage, about 3 -4 layers for a nice solid color.  I used some of the W&N oils naples yellow hue to give the collar a bit of a blend, which looks pretty spiffy I feel.  Just to get a feel for the gloves, I put a thin thin wash of GW devlan mud (the first GW paint to touch the model), and used Vallejo flat earth to put a base coat onto everything that will be gold, so buttons, collar insignia, and forearm flocking.  Then another bit of devlan mud over that, and once dry, a wet brush layer of vallejo shining gold.  Pretty happy, although painting tiny wreaths is something I've never been very good at, especially with metallic paints.

Metallics are both simple and a nightmare.  Its basically a pigment with glitter in the carrier.  Maybe due to this extra mass, they get extremely globby and tend to separate so much quicker than normal colors.  That being said, Vallejos are a lot better than most metallics, due to the miniscule grains of glitter as opposed to larger flakes found in ...say... GW paints (sounds like I loathe GW paints, but I dont, I just dont like them for a lot of things that Vallejo or others do better, although GW washes and foundation paints are well worth the coin, unless youre mixing your own washes (more on that in a future post)).  Once that all dried, in a fit of excitement, I painted his hair.  You'll notice there is a sharp, bright line between his hair and his skin, which looks terrible.  I'll be using a glazing technique to smooth that out, but I wanted the black to be completely dry (still wet in the pics, hence the gloss sheen).

However by the time I got to this point, its nearly 2am.  I'm running on mostly coffee at this point, and I'm beginning to get the shakes.  Which brings me to my next point.

Potassium.  This is a trick surgeons use to keep their hands steady:  eat a banana or two and get a burst of potassium into your bloodstream, which helps to steady the shakes.  When youre painting, its important to be comfortable.  comfy chair, comfy climate, comfy music.  But its even mroe important to be comfortable in your own body.  you cant paint well if your body isnt doing what you want it to.  have some food on your stomach.  have a banana.  have something to drink on hand and stay hydrated.  Your brush will be like a richter scale if youre shaking too much (and we ALL shake), so do as much as possible to satisfy simple needs like hunger and thirst.

Not a lot left, dying to get it finished!  Then we can base him, let it dry, and ship him off (I dont see this being done in time to mail for Christmas, but itll be there before 2012 I hope)

UPDATE: Panzergrenadiers

If you were wondering what the Panzergrenadiers I painted up last summer were up to, here they are:

Is one of them offering it a flower?  VILLAINOUS!

Stonewall in Oils

So much went on with this phase, I'm not even sure where to begin.

Starting from where we left off, first thing was building highlights and shadows around the eyes
Pupils were a tad tricky due to his squint, but they look nice imho.

Here you can see the eyelid highlighting, which is never a spot you ever imagine yourself.  I held the figure upside down for this phase, an old pencilling trick to trick your eye into viewing it as a series of shapes instead of a human face.

Here you can see several things.  First off, I'm using a blank CD as a palette.  This was a last resort sort of thing.  Secondly, the basic gist here is applying thick gobs of both highlights and shadows, then blend them together with a larger dry brush.  this larger brush is still tiny.  And thirdly, my dirty ass fingernails.  You're welcome.

At this point he looks a little drunk because theres too much violet in the mix.  I corrected this, but you can see the effects of the wet blend

OVERHEAD SHOT!!  Don't you just feel like Stallone in Cliffhanger right now?

Compare with the skintone above
 The finished flesh.  The rest of the piece will be basically acrylics, which is an entirely different technique, but should result in a great variation in paint tone between clothing and skintone.  I love the finished look though, he really looks like hes been out on the march for weeks on end, sunburnt and weathered.  I can't wait to see how it looks once his hair is colored properly.

And beginning to paint his frock.  This is gonna take forever, and I really wish I was equipped for airbrushing, but hey there is ALWAYS just that "one more" tool you gotta have.  Once I've got an airbrush, I'm sure there will be some other fancy doo-dad I can't live without (zomg!  how can I paint this without a surround sound system playing the lord of the rings soundtrack!?) but never let that stop you.  Yes there's good gear and there's ideal gear, but whatever you have will probably get you a lot farther than you think.  I remember sitting in my bedroom as an awkward teen, my only paint table was a spare shelf, and I'd sit on the old broken down loveseat, setting drying models on the arm with a layer of paper towels.  no thinning, no water, just globbing paint right out of the pot onto my undeserving miniatures.  My results might have been less than ideal, but I was doing it, and I learned.  I picked up techniques and saw what could be done, and slowly improved, but I still started with crappy synthetic brushes and whatever colors of GW paint I could afford from Mike's Comics in New Baltimore, MI.

Stonewall gets a coat

Continuing from the previous entry, here is the state of the figure.

Mounted on a pin vice, two thin coats of primer (first a layer of Krylon white then Rustolem ultimate finish.  Not that these are special, they're just what I had.)  When first starting out painting, its often tempting to start with a black primer.  There is nothing wrong with this.  I used black primer for a long time, but I also used it as a crutch.  On a finished painting, the primer should never ever ever EVER be seen.  Its not a cheap way to get your figures all black or white before picking out details.  The color of primer will have great effect on the final tone of the colors you choose.  White primer will make the colors much brighter, while black primer can convey a mellow but intense tone.  Both have advantages.  Since the overall color of Stonewall here will be fairly realistic, I went with a white primer so my palette wouldn't need any kind of modification.
You can see on this last photo where the Green Stuff filler went.  I unfortunately am a better painter than a sculptor, but in this hobby you need to be a bit of both.  I didnt clean the green stuff properly, but fortunately this picture was taken after only the first coat, so I went back and smoothed out the filler before the final primer coat.

The workspace.

Here we have the first layer of the grey.  The paint color is Vallejo's "Pale Grey-Blue", with a touch of matte medium to keep the pigment from separating too much, because it was watered down to the consistency of skim milk.  This is necessary to prevent brush strokes from staying in the dried paint as well as clogging up detail (what we called Boatswain Welding back in The Guard)

While I'm using a single color, I went ahead and used my usual wet-palette to ensure good moisture.  You can purchase them at art retailers, but since I love money and hate giving it away, I made my own out of a Rubbermaid container, a simple yellow sponge (spongebob style) and non-stick baking paper cut into strips, then filled with distilled water.  Works wonders, and is a lot cheaper than commercially made versions (including Privateer Press' overt attempt to rip you off)

You can see the increasingly darker grey with subsequent layers above.  Now that the grey is dried, You can see here I'm staging for the base fleshtone.

Flesh of any ethnicity is probably the hardest thing to paint (well... that and Yellow, since yellow pigment is so damned finicky) and is really a unique mix of purples, blues, reds, and peaches.  I swapped to a dry palette since I'll be immediately making a tint and shade of the base tone.
Hair Dryer repurposed to speed drying times (until the next tiem there is a damp hair in need of immediate application of a warmed handheld zephyr)

Beginning the pre-highlights.  The shade is really just a visual aid at this point to help with application of the successive highlighting later.
and the tinting, the lighter shades to indicate brighter spots.
nearly done

The finished pre-highlighting.  This is the current state of Stonewall, and I am ecstatic with how its going.