View Full Version : Sebastian - The tutorial

10-11-2009, 12:51 AM
Hello everybody! This thread is intended for the tutorial part of this group activity. Here I will post my step-by-step descriptions and you can ask questions about what I do. I will start a second thread tomorrow for your WIP photos and there I will answer questions you may have about your own work and I will give you feedback and advice. Others are of course welcome to give feedback too, but try to keep it short and to-the-point so that the thread doesn't get too long and difficult to keep track of. The same goes for this thread... do ask questions, and I will answer them to my best ability, but please don't chit-chat.

10-11-2009, 01:22 AM
Part I: Introduction

Ok, this first part is going to be more of an introduction. I'll tell you a bit about the mini and what I've planned to do with it. The first hands-on part will follow in a few days.

For those who haven't followed the planning of this activity, this is the mini in question:


I painted this mini for Wyrd Miniatures a few years ago and it's a very simple, yet characterful, sculpt by Steve Saunders.

Colour Scheme

For this tutorial, I'll do a different colour scheme. I am going to do a bluegrey robe with a hint of green instead of the mousy grey. The apron will be something similar, whereas the gloves will be heavy leather and the saw will be yellow. I will also use real metallics instead of NMM.

Below I will list the main colours I'll be using. The following abbrevations are used: VMC = Vallejo Model Color, VGC = Vallejo Game Color and VMA = Vallejo Model Air. I'll take some pictures of the paints tomorrow and add to this thread so you can see what the paints look like.

For the robe I will use these paints for base coat, shadows and highlights: VMC Field Blue, VGC Black and VMC Ivory. I will then use various colours to glaze with afterwards, and I always chose those on a whim, so I'll let you know when it happens.

The apron will be painted using: P3 Commando Khaki, VMC German Cam. Black Brown and VMC Ivory.

The gloves will be base coated with a mix of VMC Leather Brown and VMC Flat Earth, shaded with VMC German Cam. Black Brown and highlighted with VMC Flat Flesh.

The non-metallic parts of the saw will be painted using: VMC Dark Yellow, Citadell Chardon Granite and VMC Ivory.

The skin will be painted using a mix of VMC Brown Sand and VMC Azure, shaded with VMC Black Red and highlighted with... yes VMC Ivory.

I will use plenty of other paints as well, for smaller details and nuances, but I'll mention them as I'll go along. These are the main colours.

Oh, metallics... I'll be using Citadell Boltgun Metal mixed with VMC German Cam. Black Brown for base coats and highlight it using VMA Chrome and VMC Metallic Medium. Shading will be done using glazes of all sorts of colours.

Prepping And Priming

First step, and something that it pays off to do carefully and thoroughly, is prepping the mini. If you want to do a quality paint job this is very important. Mould lines are of course unacceptable, but you can do a lot more than just removing those. I spend a lot of time filing and sanding the mini to get rid of the lines, flash, rough spots from the casting etc. By litterally going over every surface of the mini you'll minimise the risk of missing a line. There's nothing more frustrating than finding a mould line when you've already painted half the mini.

After filing and sanding I assembled the saw. The mini comes with a quite good fitting for it so that you don't have to pin it, but I pinned it anyway. I always pin if it is possible for me to do so, at least with metal minis. After assembling the saw I had to fill some small gaps with Magic Sculp. I also took the opportunity to smooth out some deeply pitted surfaces.

When the MagicSculp had set I mixed some Milliput Superfine and mixed it with water to the consistency of cream. I brushed this on to most of the mini (everything but the head) with an old brush. The purpose with this is to fill out all the finer surface irregularities. When the Milliput had set I went over the whole mini with a small piece of 600 grit wet-and-dry paper. I cut out a wedge shape and glued it to a cocktail stick to make an impromptu superfine "file". With this homemade tool you can reach most parts of the mini. After having polished the mini with the wet-and-dry paper it was ready for priming.

I gave it a few thin coats of grey primer from Vallejo. A primer should be shaken thouroughly before using, and I also warm it a bit under the tap with warm water running. The water shouldn't be too hot, as you don't want the can to explode! You should have no problem holding your hand under the water. Slightly warmer than body temperature. By warming the can a bit the primer will go on smoother and it will not go grainy as easily.

Now the figure is ready for painting, and that will be next session. I'll flesh this post out with some photos tomorrow.

10-11-2009, 01:32 AM
Anders- Will the base be part of this paint along? Will you base the model first or afterwards? I base my models first cause I find it easier and I usually paint the base first as well. Should I wait?

10-11-2009, 01:51 AM
I always paint the mini separate from the base. I will probably use a pre-cast resin base for this one. I'll paint it as part of this tutorial, but it will be the final thing. You can do as you please with the base.

10-11-2009, 04:01 PM
I don't have a pot of VMC Azure. What would a good close match from another suppolier be, or maybe a close match from mixing some of the other colors? It's a Bluieish Purple?

10-11-2009, 04:14 PM
Yeah, it's a light blue with a hint of purple. I think you could use Citadel Shadow Grey for more or less the same effect. I'll only be adding a small amount of it, to shift the hue of the Brown Sand I'll be using to base coat the skin. Thus, the exact nuance isn't that important.

10-11-2009, 08:00 PM
If it's a small amount I won't sweat it too much. TY!

10-11-2009, 08:24 PM
Should we be trying to emulate your version as things progress, or should we just take inspiration from your work to do our own thing?

10-11-2009, 08:30 PM
Im so looking forward to this. I might use mine for the little angels contest too!

10-11-2009, 08:31 PM
@SilentBob: That is completely up to you! You may get more visual guidance if you emulate what I do, but you can also just try to use the same techniques I use with different colours (I will try to be as thorough as possible explaining how I do things, so you can follow it), or you can just use this as an inspiration source and motivation to get your own mini painted. I don't mind either way. I'll try and guide you as well as I can along the way, whichever way you chose.

11-11-2009, 12:28 AM
Hi Anders, I would like to try and emulate what you do as closely as possible however I am struggling to find a colour match for P3 Commando Khaki. Do you know of any alternatives?
Also I have never used VMC Metallic medium, what is it exactly?

11-11-2009, 12:54 AM
VMC Metallic Medium is more or less a metallic paint that is white. Its main purpose is to make coloured metallic paint by mixing it with a colour. But, I use it for final highlights of metallics. You can skip that if you want to, or you don't have it.

Instead of P3 Commando Khaki you can use basically any khaki colour. Citadel Desert Yellow isn't too far off. There are some khaki paints in the VMC range as well.

11-11-2009, 04:54 AM
This is fantastic! I'll be following along closely...Thanks for taking the time to do this Anders!

Best regards,

11-11-2009, 09:22 AM
Thanks for that Anders,
I canít wait to see how you use the Metallic Medium.
I usually struggle with metallics and would like to follow your example so I will try to get some this weekend.

11-11-2009, 09:49 AM
I'll probably do the metallics last, or at the end, at least. So, anyone interested in picking up some Metallic Medium have time to do so.

11-11-2009, 11:20 AM
love metallic medium!

12-11-2009, 09:23 AM
If it helps here is the Vallejo colour chart

Also their own eqivilancy information
Doesn't include PPP or GW though :(
I have some other comaprison site links at hime I think
So I'll have a look later this evening

12-11-2009, 08:11 PM
Here's 2 others


And the Silicon Dragons one
Let me know if you find out how it works :)

12-11-2009, 08:19 PM
cheers Conrad

12-11-2009, 08:38 PM
And the Silicon Dragons one
Let me know if you find out how it works :)

For this site, I change the first box to Paint Search from RGB Color Search.
In the next box (Search Parameters) I enter the paint line I want to find a substitute color for. In this case for Sebastian I don't have very many of the VMC paints Ritual had so I entered VMC into the Select Lines to Search field.

Then the in last box (Color Match Config), go to the Lines to Search box and hold CTRL while you click the individual lines you want to add to the search. I wanted to find substitutes only in P3 and GW paints as that happens to be what is available at my hobby store.

When you click Submit Query all the colors should pop up for the line of paints you're searching for. Find and pick the one you want (ie: if you didn't have Field Blue and wanted to see if P3 or GW had a replacement, click field blue) and a window will pop up with your searched color example in the middle, and any other substitutes around it.

It's not perfect, but it's in the ballpark on the most of the colors. Sometimes you get an oddball that just doesn't look right on the monitor, and is even more off when you look at the paint pot it suggests. Color formulas change I suppose and it may be using old information but like I said, it's close on a lot of stuff and you can adjust a little by mixing.
It's a cool little site for what it does.

I'm sure you can do a lot more with it, but this is what I've been able to use it for with my limited brainpower :)

12-11-2009, 08:52 PM
The result is not just down to the paints being used, but how you use them as well. So, it is not important to have the exact same colours, as chances are it won't look exactly the same anyway.

12-11-2009, 08:53 PM
Also, I've caught a cold these past few days, so things are going a bit slow here... sorry about that.

12-11-2009, 08:57 PM
Good point.
For me it's just nice to know if someone says they use some color I've never seen before, (and with some of these names of the colors, who would know what they look like without seeing it :) the almighty computer can tell me & I can see if I have something from a different line in my paint arsenal that its close enough.

12-11-2009, 09:04 PM
BTW, that silicon-dragons site is nice to use the RGB colour search if you use the adobe Kuler site to come up with a colour scheme & need to find which paints to use

12-11-2009, 09:39 PM
Also, I've caught a cold these past few days, so things are going a bit slow here... sorry about that.

Not a problem mate , none of us are in a rush (except maybe scott!) just crack on when you have the time and inclination

13-11-2009, 12:51 AM
Also, I've caught a cold these past few days, so things are going a bit slow here... sorry about that .
That is actually a little bit of good news for me at the moment Ritual (sorry to hear you have caught a cold though), as we are experiencing an unseasonal heatwave here at the moment it has been roughly 37degrees + Celsius \100+ Fahrenheit since last Friday and not expected to end until at least this Sunday and this is during the last month of spring :hot , so i am definitely in no rush at the moment sorry .

13-11-2009, 12:54 AM
Nah I'm cool. I have one or thirty things I should be doing instead anyway.

26-11-2009, 11:39 PM
Part II: Painting the robe

Ok, let's get started on the actual painting. Here's the paints I will mainly use for the robe:


Fairly straightforward. Shadows are done by adding black to the base coat, and highlights by adding ivory to the base coat. I usually try to avoid using white, as I think white easily gives a sterile and harsh look. The ivory colour gives a softer and more pleasing "light", in my opinion. The GW washes will be used later on to give the robe a more complex and non-uniform colour.

First, though, the base coat is applied. I do this in two, or maybe three, layers. Using thinner paint and more layers than that for the base coat is a waste of time, I think. With good brush technique you can get a perfectly smooth base coat in just two or three layers with a paint of roughly this consistency (the paint where the brush is... the blob of paint to the left is simply paint straight out of the pot):


I usually pour paint straight onto the pallet without thinning, and then load the brush with water before dipping it in the paint. I adjust the amount of water loaded in the brush so that I get the consistency I want. This way I can jump back and forth between thicker and thinner paint without having to pour and mix new paint.

Ok, here's the mini with the base coat on:


For this tutorial, I concentrate on doing one arm and shoulder and show it step by step. Then I will do the same procedure over the whole mini, and just show the finished result. Ok, I start applying the shadows by blocking in the largest shadowed areas. In this case the underside of the arm and in the bend of the arm. I use roughly a 70/30 mix of Field Blue and black. Then I glaze in the rest of the shadows and start blending the edge between the blocked shadows and the base coat by glazing over it with a slightly lighter mix, perhaps 80/20 or 85/15 (the black is fairly dominant here, so a small amount of black will go a long way... this might be different if you use other paints).

When glazing I use paint of roughly this consistency:


The trick of applying shadows and highlihgts by glazing is not only to use the right consistency, but also to use the right amount of paint on the brush when you apply it. This amount is very, very small. The less paint you have on the brush, the easier it is to control it. Since the paint is very thin and thus quite transparent you will get very faint results when the paint dries. The amount of paint must be so small that the paint don't spread out or pool when you apply it. A brush stroke should result in a faint line that hardly looks wet anymore when the stroke is drawn. In folds and wrinkles, it usually suffices to just draw a line along the fold. Repeat this as many times as necessary. For larger areas I usually draw fine lines, parallel to each other, very tighlty, so that they form a smooth layer. This is similar to how you'd colour a surface with a pencil. I hope I make sense here. This is much easier to show than to describe. Don't hesitate to ask if you want me to try and explain more detailed or in a different way.

And here's the result after blocking in the deepest shadows and applying a couple of glazes for the rest of the shadows (and blending the edges of the blocked shadows):


Next I make a darker mix, 60/40 or so, and glaze in deeper shadows. I also deepen the shadows where I did the blocking in before, by using the same glaze. Here's the result:


I'm happy with this, for now. If you're uncomfortable with this glazing technique you might benefit from doing more intermediate steps than I have done.

Now, let's get on with highlighting. I do this pretty much in the same way as I do the shadows, that is, I use the same glazing technique. First step is to pick out all the raised areas in just a slightly lighter tone than the base coat. This step will cover quite large areas. By glazing two or three times you get a fairly nice transition, but you can also use thicker paint and a few more intermediate steps and get more or less the same result. Here's what it looks like at this point:


Then I mix a lighter tone, perhaps 50/50 Ivory/Field Blue, and start glazing the more extreme highlights. I concentrate these on the sharpest folds, and the shoulder where most light will be reflected using an overhead light source. Here, it's important not to cover too much surface. We want a good range of tones between the darkest and the lightest, not dark-light with nothing inbetween. Here's the result:


I'm quite happy with this for now. I might go a little bit lighter later on, but I'll wait with that until I've painted the other stuff on this mini. I will also wait with using the green and purple washes, so that I can make sure that what effects I do will work together with everything else. As with the shadows, if you feel this is going to fast, achieving too much in just a few steps, you can increase the number of layers and use more intermediate steps. It is much easier, but takes longer. A good way to train paint control, though, which is really essential.

Ok, this is it for this part. Next time, I will have finished the whole robe to this stage and then go on with the apron.

29-11-2009, 03:02 AM
Do you usually use black & off-white to shade & highlight?
I've started using more colour in my shadows this year - cooler, complementary colours.
I'm interested to see how you use the washes after this step.
I might be able to squeeze in a little work now, or I'll just have to catch up when I get back in a few weeks.

29-11-2009, 09:57 AM
It depends on what colour I paint with, which colours I use for shadows and highlights. I try to avoid using black as well, but for certain colours black simply is the best option. I use a dark brown for a lot of colours and a dark red for skin. I prefer doing shadows with either a neutral colour or something that harmonises with the base coat, and then work some complimentary, or contrasting, colour into the shadows afterwards by glazing.

For highlighting I use Ivory a lot, and for some colours I use a basic skin colour for highlights (black, brown, purple, red etc.). But for some things I light bluegrey might work better. It's all depending on what you're trying to achieve.

30-11-2009, 12:40 PM
Good stuff I have just started using this technique having read about it here and on CMON, but it is great to see it stage by stage, I intend to start this figure following your tutorial but will not be able to just yet as my home computer has crashed, give me a couple of weeks and I will be able to start posting pictures.

23-11-2010, 12:05 PM
Thanks for this tutorial its great to see it forming without jumping too far ahead . Thank you