Wargaming Tradecraft: Felcaller Shaman, Painting Skin and Fur


Felcaller Shaman, Painting Skin and Fur

I recently finished the Hordeblood Felcaller inspired by the troll shaman from the original Warcraft 3. There were a few fun things that I wanted to try out while painting him. The first was multi-tone skin and next was demonstrating painting fur.

This mini was also a lesson in recognizing your mistakes and going back to repair them. It's also important to realize that gimmicky techniques aren't always the best route to take.

Confused? Click on through to see what I'm talking about.

Painting Multi-Tone Skin

Most of the time we do skin in a simple method: Paint it beige or an off-skin tone like elf / dwarven, then wash it with some kind of brown or orange. (Yeah, try an orange wash for skin sometime, trust me.) A little highlighting might finish it up. But during that process we tend to use similar colours, ignoring that even our skin has traces of reds, blues and purples.

I used the above image of the troll as inspiration for an example of troll skin. When painting it, I started with magenta in the shadows and purple skin highlighted with light blues. I carried that through using a red wash and further purple and blue highlights. I really like how it turned out. I've used yellow to highlight green before, but think this range of colours is much more interesting.

Painting Fur

There are multiple ways to paint anything and I'm sure I'll do something different when painting my Tuffalo War Wolves. (Probably involving an air brush.) But the original shaman had this wolf pelt thing going on. I took one from a Space Wolf sprue, cut it so the hands hung down his shoulders, then added copious amounts of green stuff to build it up down his back and on his wrists.


To begin painting, I started by creating a base coat of uneven colours. I just basically used some light browns, thinned them into washes and applied them together, not waiting for them to dry, which allows them to mix a little.

It's looking pretty ugly though, but that's OK. All we're trying to do is create the shade that'll appear under the overall highlight.

So next I painted some brown shades into the shadows and deepened it overall.


Working on the top-coat, but applying the same principle. I've done a light dry-brush of  grey, not as strong in the shadows, followed by another brown wash.

From there, I added another, more controlled highlight of grey, then used a black wash focused specifically on shadowed areas.

From there it's all highlighting. So I break out my tiny little brush and start painting light grey across all the fur. I've also painted the eyes at this point.

Finished Fur

Final highlights are done with white. Gotta love that profile pic in the middle where the wolf pelt appears to have its mouth open when factoring in the troll tusks.

Painting the Totem

I stumbled on this part much more than I should have. Couldn't for the life of me decide how I wanted to paint it, finally occurred I should do it up like a wooden totem. Even experimented using Liquitex Blending Medium to thicken the paints and actually blend the browns on the surface of the mini.

You'll see below that I've done some further highlighting in addition to the OSL effects and smaller details.
Freehand Details

Nothing too complicated. Took a small brush and painted a little orange/blue detailing on the wider straps.

Recognizing Mistakes

My original idea was to mimic the WC3 glow effect. I used some neon red pigment, mixed with sculpting gel for shape, then pouring medium to smooth it out. I also used orange neon pigment for the fire totem on his back. Had a great, bold and bright look, but it didn't quite fit the aesthetic of the model.
To fix it, I used a dental pick and verrrry carefully scraped the gel off. It was a very scary process, worry about damaging the good paint the whole time.

I couldn't get all of it, but when I painted the area with white gesso, (paint on primer) the extra little bits just added to the charred fire look.

Some of the OSL I'll cover in the next step came about during this phase too. You can see some of the traces of neon pigment on the wolf fur.

Painting Fire and Object Source Lighting

Now that I've removed the mistakes, I've painted some OSL in their place. Just looks so much better. As always, when you're trying to paint something realistic, find a photo demonstrating it, like this fire.

I've used that wood burning effect on the totem strapped to his back first, then also to his fists. I did like the purple fists he had before, but the paint just came off when I removed the neon glow. Now he's got a more realistic glowing fire hands appearance.


And here he is in all his glory, the Hordeblood Felcaller Shaman!

One thing I haven't touched on yet is how I created his claws. I glued some guitar string in to the green stuff fur. Only trick here is because of how smooth the string is, glue didn't stick well. I had to make sure it could sink deep enough that the putty held it firm too.

Take a look at my Step by Step page for the entire Hordebloods project.

Here you will find each model broken down into links showing each step:
Concept, Works in Progress, (for both modelling and painting) and Final Shots

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