Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WiP: Tanfrwydr Mawr

Ten days since my last WiP, and there's one more Cawrdraig left on my desk to work on. This is the last one that will have the purple skintone, so let's see what I can do with it!
After the break: from start, to finish...

This is the one I've been waiting and wanting to paint the most, because of the amount of conversion put into this guy.  I came close to losing the side of my thumb cutting this guy apart, so now's the time where I get to see if it was worth it! I even named this bad boy before I started working on him: Tanfrwydr Mawr.

Intro layers of skintone. Since I've already painted up two of these bad boys here and here, I'm going to be focusing less on the step-by-step work of the layers, and more on the process of painting the same model for a third time.

First off, the first few layers of skintone. There's a trap that would be very easy to fall into with this model; specifically, painting it the way I painted the other two. Because of the conversion work that's been done, I can't just blindly follow the same highlight pattern I used before. There are similarities, but because the hips has been repositioned, the light is going to strike the model slightly differently. This is most visible in the tail, which actually turns upward as it gets closer to the tip. When highlighting the skin, I have to redo all the visualization in my head about where the light hits, and adjust accordingly.

Complex lighting calculations are made easier by Oskar Blues' Dale's Pale Ale. You can see that the highlights on the tail, rather than going along the ridgeline that gives us the creature's spine, instead are shading up along the edges of the plates of the tail. In addition, the feet are highlighted completely differently, as the light is hitting it from a very different angle than the previous two Cawrdraig.

There's a lot going on with the skintone, including my continued attempts to find a purple scheme I like. I went with a bit more red on this layer to get it away from the blues, but fear I may have gone too far.

It's OK, though, because the joy of painting is the next highlight can correct it back to closer to where it's wanted! The skin highlights look good, for now. I'm debating coming back and giving all of them one extra highlight for popping, but I'll wait until I have the whole unit painted to make that decision.

On to the bone/scales/wood color! These photos were taken about halfway through the layering, at the Leather Brown/Medium Grey stage.

Here, the bone is completed. The earlier models didn't really give a sense of the bone-white underbellies of the creatures, so having this one posed so dramatically gives me a chance to show that detail off, especially on the tail, where it really pops through.

I've moved on to the blue here; this is about three layers in. One of the things this vibrant blue layer does is give the model some color and make the palette a lot more interesting. One of the traps that's easy to fall into with miniatures painting is to make everything dark and gloomy. Adding sharp colors like this can take a dark, gloomy model and give it a little spark of life, and bring some playfulness into it.
The blue's all highlighted, now. I'm not going as light with my highlights on these guys as I normally would, because the Darklands aesthetic that I've seen so far seems, well, dark. Instead, I'm starting my layers one shade darker than I normally would, and stopping the highlighting one shade early. The darkness-to-light contrast ratio is kind of the same, so the model still "pops" in my style, but it's not highlighted up to a step away from white. If I become really upset with the way it looks, adding that last highlight to everything will probably be my first step, as I mentioned earlier while discussing skintone.

Next up, we add some non-metallic metals. The chainmail was a nice little challenge, because the highlights hit it completely differently when the model is standing this way. There are ripples to the chainmail that get picked up in a different way because of the angle the light's coming from, which makes it seem like I'm painting a new model and not the same one for a third time. I also made the decision to do the head armor in iron instead of the gold I'd been using for Cawrdraig, to set it off more from the horns and claws (which share a similar color palette with my bronze).

The sword blade, as usual for a model like this, was done last. For most of my NMM it's a combination of layering and wet blending to get the transitions right. For large, flat surfaces like this, I prefer to just wet blend the entire piece, and then come in and pick out the highlights later. It adds a rougher, more burnished look to have these linear highlights come in over a wet blended metallic, and makes them seem like scratches and reflections, rather than random freehand.
Remember me talking earlier about not highlighting up to white? I kind of lied about it; with NMM, I always come in with a touch of pure white to finish up the metallic effect. It's very visible up top on the mask, and on the bracer on his right arm.

Only one layer left, and that's the bronze! To be continued tomorrow...
[Edit: it's tomorrow!]

First off, last night I needed to get some basing work done before I could dive into the NMM-bronze blending on the last of the Cawrdraig. Here's the unit, ranked up and (just barely) fitting on their 50mm x 75mm bases. But, wait, why would anyone want to put Cawrdraig on 50x75mm bases? Ooooooh... I see what I did there...

And, the bronze is finished. This was a wet-blend special, and went very quickly (hence why there are no WiP shots of it). The midtone is 5 Bestial Brown : 1.5 Hot Orange : 1/2 Bone White. It's shaded down to 3 Bestial Brown : 2 SS Camo Black Brown, and down further to 3 SS Camo Black Brown : 1.5 black. The highlights were done with bronzed flesh, and bone white. Finally, I picked out a few of the very brightest highlights with pure white. I'm very pleased with the way this bronze has been coming out, and also pleased with the Sierra Nevada collaboration beer in the background.

Here are the three Cawrdraig on their 100mm round inserts. They're not attached to the bases yet (so I can prime and paint them without messing up giant dragon feet), but it's easy to identify where the footholes are supposed to be. The challenge will be in flocking the bases so the seams of the 50mm x 75mm inserts are not visible...

Reverse view of the unit, with bad lighting around it. I don't take my best photos at 2 AM.
Finally, a fun model's-eye shot of Tanfrwydr. He still needs a few details picked out in red, but he's 95% done...
Now, to get them based and on the WAMP forums!

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