Wargaming Tradecraft: Back to Basics - Fantasy

Back to Basics - Fantasy

Ron's Fantasy Model
We're at the half-way point in Ron's and my Back to Basics series - this week we're looking at a Fantasy model (showing off cloth and leather and such). So far we've kept things pretty simple with a few easy techniques thrown in. You'll get a couple more helpful but easy techniques thrown in this tutorial as well. Take a look at Ron's method.

As mentioned above, this is the half way point - only 2 more left after this. Because of this, I'm going to start bringing together things that I've shown you earlier, but in ways that are more natural. It could make some of the steps a little trickier to see, but that's because it'll look more natural. I'll try not to miss pointing anything out.

Here's the elf I've decided to use for this tutorial - there's a little more detail in some of his clothes, but you'll see it's not as daunting as it might appear.
For his facial details, I've decided to try a page from Ron's book by painting the eyes first. I can, and prefer to paint eyes last, but I could see this being an easier method for some.

I've painted white eyes, followed by purple pupils. You don't have to be too concerned about painting within the lines here, because you follow this up by painting the face and outlining the eyes.

Once the face is complete, I finish with his mouth by painting his teeth white and washing his tongue with Warlock Purple. (more on this type of wash lower)

His skin gets the treatment next with Elf Flesh followed by Ogryn Flesh wash. You can read more on dry-brushing, but I finish up with an Elf Flesh dry-brush.

By using a wash that compliments the colour it's going over, you can use the base colour also as a highlight. This is a simple 2 colour, 3 step method of shading and highlighting that I'll use a bunch in this tutorial.
To paint the hair, I use Space Wolves Grey washed with Leviathan Purple. The blue-grey washed with purple gives a slightly surreal look.

To highlight his hair, I want to use a colour not sold by Games Workshop. (gasp!) This is really easy - honest. I've taken the clear plastic from a model blister (smooth, glossy, disposable surfaces are great for mixing) and slapped two dots of paint on it - some white and some Liche Purple. I'm after a light purple, so I use my brush to pull some of the darker purple into the white blob - this creates a wider range of lighter purple. (dragging the white into the purple would have created a wider range of darker shades) Now just use the light purple shade you'd like to.


Before I start on the green of his cloth, I want to make a note about colour theory. The reason I painted his eyes and hair purple is because of complimentary colours. If you look at green on a colour wheel, the colour directly opposite is red. (Therefor they'll stand out / contrast strongest against eachother) I didn't want to use red, so instead I went next door to purple.


I start with Snot Green on his clothes and Catachan Green on the inside of his cloak.

The next step are the washes. For the lighter green, I use a Thraka Green wash and Badab Black wash on his cloak. I decided to darken the lighter green a little more by painting Badab Black wash into some of the recessed areas like under his arms and closer to the cloak where shadow would be darker. For the record, I first tried Thraka Green to wash his cloak too, but the wash was actually lighter than the colour of the cloak - this caused the wash to be ineffective - that's why I went with Badab Black instead.

The final step, shown on the right, is a mix of line and area highlighting. Looks a lot more subtle in this tutorial, right? That's because, just like his face, I've used the same colours to highlight as I did to base, and I used washes that are a similar shade.


For the cloak, I begin with Scorpion Green, wash with Thraka Green and dry-brush with Rotting Flesh.

I chose to dry brush for a couple reasons. The main one, is look at all those leaves! You seriously don't want to paint all of those individually like a sucker, right? (at least not until you're prepared to invest that kind of time and detail) Instead, just slap a quick dry brush on and see how nice the highlighting looks. The second reason is that dry-brushing adds a little blending to the highlight that solidly painted line/area highlights don't do. When the colour you're highlighting with is rather different from the colour(s) it's going on top of, dry brushing makes the highlight look more natural


Moving on to leather and some other cloth, here's the base coat.

His gloves and hood are Vomit Brown.

The darker leather is Snakebite Leather.

Bags and belt are Bleached Bone.

The rope is Sunburst Yellow.
For the two darker leathers, I wash with Devlan Mud.

For the bags, belt and rope, I wash with Gryphonne Sepia.
Except for the rope, as with previous steps, I'm using the same colour to highlight with as I used to base with.

Vomit Brown washed with Devlan Mud ended up much darker than the Vomit. This would have meant using Vomit to highlight would have been too bright. To keep things simple, I just dry-brush. I apply many layers to cover up a lot, bringing most of the colour back to the origonal Vomit Brown.

I line highlighted his belt, but dry-brushed his bags. This was to highlight while keeping detail in seems, folds, etc.

To finish off, I dry-brushed the rope with Bleached Bone.





I painted with washes to do his weapons which only requires a single step. The white that shows through ends up creating highlights. You may need to paint some white touch ups first.

His sword got a thick coating of Leviathan Purple. Once it dried, it created some very nice shading. Just be sure to leave the model standing up, or the shading won't look natural.

The arrow ends were coated with a thick Baal Red after being touched up with P3 White.

Here's another new trick for his bow and sword handle. Wanting to paint all his weapons with washes, but not wanting to use one of GW's washes, I create my own. I get some Scorched Brown (very dark) on my brush, then dip my brush in water and apply the mix to the items. The only complicated thing about creating your own washes is learning the proper paint to water ratio, which changes depending on how thick you want the wash.

As an optional step, but a nice touch, I took some Shining Gold and accented a number of details over the model.
To finish up, I put a glob of white glue on the base and spread it around with a toothpick. I make small circular swirls with the model as I sink the base into some green flock.

Always let the glue dry before removing excess flock, sand, etc. This ensures that all areas should end up covered, you won't shake off flock and glue won't run off the base.
And here we are with the final product!


So, just to recap regarding a few of the things I covered in this article, when using quick and/or easy techniques:
  • A quick way to paint is to base, wash, highlight.
  • You can highlight with the same colour you based with. (though it looks cleaner if
  • If the colour you're highlighting with is close to your painted model after washing then line and area highlighting will look more natural. (you can of course highlight with bolder colours if you want to)
  • If the colour you're highlighting with is not close to your painted model, then dry-brushing will help you highlight in a way that will blend the bolder colour in. (you can of course still highlight in any situation)
Also, you can always wash with any colour you like - just add water. The more water you add, the thinner the wash will be. I'm a big fan of GW's new line of washes - before them, I didn't like to use their brand of wash and would always just thin my paints. Snakebite Leather was my favorite paint to thin when doing any washing of leather, cloth and such.

1 comment:

  1. I can second the look of the final model, since it's sitting on my desk (thanks to the Back to Basics contest). The three step painting method looks great and is a solid technique for painting.

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