Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mantic Elf Dragon Lord WiP: Part 4

In this post, Ryan finishes the painting on his Mantic Elf Dragon Kindred Lord by painting the rider.

This is part four of a WiP project for the Brush With Death: Texas contest. The contestants are challenged to paint up a model from Mantic Games, straight out of the box, with little to no modification.
Part 1 of the project, the assembly/prep, can be found here.
Part 2 of the project, where I paint the red and dark brown, can be found here
Part 3 of the project, the underbelly, teeth, horns, and freehand flames, can be found here.

Caught up? Awesome! If you remember, we had one thing left to do on the dragon; fortunately it's going to be the same color as the first thing we paint on the rider: white!
Rider/Harness White
White's a stereotypical color for elf armies to be - it's easy to do (I see at least one painter a year at the Alamo who just leaves the primer on) in beginner armies, and it looks good at a distance.
I use a heavily layered grey for my white, and actually stop short of white. When I paint a model, white is only used on surfaces that are producing light, or reflecting light (like metallics).

White layer 1: Medium Sea Grey

I start off with medium Sea Grey, which looks white in context of the model, only because all my highest highlight layers so far are close to it in shade. This will help the white pop out even more, which is another reason people like using it.
White layer 1, left side
For the rider, I decided to go with white on his shirt sleeves, boots, saddle, and whatever tunic he has on. The majority of the model will be done in reds and yellows, to continue the color scheme from the dragon.
White layer 1, rider

White layer 2: 1 Medium Sea Grey, 1 Wolf Grey

I add Wolf Grey to Medium Sea Grey; the blues in the Wolf Grey pigment will do more to draw the white away from the warm tones of the dragon and make it stand out even more.
White layer 2, dragon left side

White layer 2, rider

White layer 3: Wolf Grey

White layer 4: 1 Wolf Grey, 1 Skull White

I did these two layers in rapid succession, so I didn't document them separately. I used layer 3 to add a bit of detail to the harness (scratches) that will probably be covered up by the rider, but are there just in case.
White layer 4, dragon harness

Dragon rider skintone

After I was done with the harness, I finally mounted the rider up on the dragon, pinned him in place, and glued him down. I also painted the skin very quickly, moving from Vallejo Khaki up to a 1:1 mix of Elf Skin and Bone White.
Dragon rider, mounted, skintone complete

Rider: reds

I used the same colors for the rider's reds that I did for the dragon, so I won't cover those in depth. The only really noteworthy addition was the addition of some freehand scales in the area of tunic between the knee and thigh.
Dragon rider, reds completed
The way the cloth falls to either side of the dragon's neck and flares out in the back helps continue the flow of the model, and allows the two components to merge into each other, particularly with the scale motif repeated along the neckline.

Dragon rider, reds completed, right side

Rider: gold non-metallic

I knew I would use a ton of gold on the rider, but started painting it not really sure what combination of paints I would use to make the effect.

Gold NMM Layer 1: Heavy Brown

In the end, I started with a Vallejo NMM kit I had picked up a month earlier, which began with Heavy Brown.
Gold NMM layer 1, front view
I also did a freehand design on the back of the cloak, because it was a lot of room and I felt like it needed one. I was originally going for a double-teardrop kind of look, but ended up adding someextra lines, then it looked like a spider, so I added more. I don't recommend doing freehand without knowing what you're drawing! I also did the border for the cloak, as gold trim made sense to me.
Gold NMM layer 1, rear

Gold NMM Layer 2: Sepia wash

The second layer was to wash the NMM with Sepia, which is a brown ink. This brought the color down, and allowed me to distinguish the borders of the gold a bit more.

Gold NMM layer 2, front

Gold NMM layer 2, rear

Gold NMM layer 3: Heavy Gold Brown

The next recommended color was heavy gold brown. I used this one unmixed as well, just cut with my usual 3:1 water.
NMM gold layer 3, front

NMM gold layer 3, rear

Gold NMM Layer 4: 1 Heavy Gold Brown, 1 White

The fourth layer called for a 50/50 mix of Heavy Gold Brown to white, which matched my instincts for what the penultimate highlight should be as well. However, something about the paint just wasn't working for me...
NMM gold layer 4, rear

NMM gold layer 4, front

NMM gold layer 5: Moon Yellow glaze

Once I finished the fourth layer, I finally figured out what was bothering me with the gold - it was going too greenish-brown. The NMM blend I was using expected it to be next to silver non-metallics, in which case you'd get some blue tints from the silver into the gold. Since I wasn't doing that, the model was starting to look a bit sickly. To fix it, I used some Vallejo Glaze Medium with the Moon yellow from the scale highlights, and applied a thin glaze over the NMM golds. The result was a much brighter yellow, which I felt worked better with the model's palette.
NMM gold layer 5, front

NMM gold layer 5, rear

NMM gold layer 6: 1 drop Moon Yellow, 2 drop White

Once the yellow was drawn back out to where I wanted it, I took moon yellow and added it to twice as much white, to create a very whited out tint for the final highlight.
NMM gold layer 6, front

NMM gold layer 6, rear

Final cleanup: Browns and NMM silver 

For the rider's boots and stirrups, I used a very quick series of browns.
Layer 1: 1 drop Dark Fleshtone, 1 drop Bestial Brown
Layer 2: 2 drops Bestial Brown
Layer 3: 1 drop Bestial Brown, 1 drop Cobra Leather
Layer 4: Cobra Leather
Layer 5: 1 drop Cobra Leather, 1 drop Gold yellow
Finally, I grabbed my typical Andrea NMM mix, and finished up the silver of his weapons, crown, and buckles.

Cleanup completed!

Brown/NMM silver completed
The elf rider has a couple of gems, and I left the breastbone portion of the dragon's chest black to echo that gem shade. Just these little points of blue create immense contrast with the rest of the model, and really make the warm color palette resonate everywhere.

Finished paint
I must confess that I was disappointed with the face sculpt of the rider. It looks very frumpy and un-elven. The rest of the model is great, but the face bothered me.
Close-up of the rider. Why are you scowling? You're riding a dragon!

Close-up on the dragon head and rider
I have concerns about shipping the model with the long, fragile spear as it is, but that's a problem for another post!

Shot of the flame freehand mirroring the cloak freehand

Model's point of view looking up at the dragon's head

In case you have a 3D computer screen.

A "tie it all together" picture

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