Tuesday, November 27, 2018


This post is about painting Saruman.
It was such a lot smaller model than the dragon!

For those of you who don't want the step by step, here are the three wizards: Gandalf the Grey, Radagast the Brown and Saruman the White.

I started with Zandri Dust on all the under-robe areas, Ushabti Bone on all the rest of the robes. The hair was grey, staff was black and white on the top.

From the back you can see it's just a lot of Usahbti Bone!

I highlighted the Ushabti to Screaming Skull fairly broadly along the ridges and then a bit of Ceramite White just on the very edges. I also used the white on the hair. I made sure I did the eyebrows and moustache as well as the beard after painting skin colour on the skin.

You might be able to see the bone/white colours better on the back.

Next I did an overall wash in Seraphim Sepia for the robes and Nuln Oil on the hair. 

The reason I went with the bone rather than grey white is because I didn't want him to just look like a lighter Gandalf. Having said that, at this stage I thought I'd pretty much mucked it all up as it looked way too yellow.

However, all was not lost! I got out my Tyrant Skull drybrush and went fairly strongly over all the exterior sections (including the hair!). I did it in two or three lighter layers until I was happy with the tone, then went along the very edges with Ceramite White paint. The skin had some Elf Flesh (I don't know what that's called now).

So it's still got a bit of a yellowy/sepia/bone colour to it, but is still quite light. It's particularly bright when it's on the game-board, as you can see from the first photo.

So now I've got the three wizards, I'm unlikely to play with them, but it's still fun to have them =)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Dragon Painting Guide - Blightfang Blue Dragon

Well this was $30 very, VERY well spent. It has kept me busy for about a month! 

This is a bit of a long story, so bear with me and then I'll get to lots more pictures and talk through (briefly) how I painted the dragon.

Blightfang Blue Dragon

So I've always wanted a Cave Drake model, but they're unavailable anywhere, I've been looking for ages and couldn't even find one second hand or on eBay! So I decided that I'd look for alternatives.

I found this Blightfang model that I thought I could convert into a Cave Drake by just green-stuffing the gaps where the wings were meant to go.

My son has been reading "A Tolkien Bestiary" by David Day, a book my brother bought me years and years ago when I graduated from my astrophysics degree (back in 1996!) He noted that there were things called "Cold Drakes". There are lots of  ideas about them in various Tolkien writings, but essentially they couldn't breathe fire. Most often they didn't have wings, though it seems that in the main they were just differentiated by not breathing fire.

In any case, we decided that our Cave Drake (which don't exist in Tolkien as near as I could tell) would instead be a Cold Drake. My wife was reading a book about Icelandic mythology and came up with the name Hallgerd from Njal's Saga.

So, here's the work in progress shots and stuff that go along with our newest "miniature". Hallgerd the Cold Drake. It can go solo for monster related missions, come up from under the ground surrounded by goblins or even be followed into battle by worshipping Serpent Horde (my blue themed Haradrim).

So, firstly I traced the right size oval for the base, then used it to cut out an ice-cream container lid. I also had a cork floor tile (I got a lot of them from Bunnings hardware store years ago). They cut well and with a little pair of pliers you can sort of pinch and peel bits off them to make it nice and rough.

So I cut and pulled apart an oval of cork and a hole in the middle. I also pulled apart a few other chunks to make some varying heights. 

Blightfang was modelled with rocks under her feet, but I chopped some of them off so that I could pose her the way I wanted.

Here she is next to a goblin for scale. 

So firstly I glued most of the bits on (not the wings, as I was planning on not using the wings) and used lots of greenstuff to sort of fill in and smooth over some of the gaps.

You can see just how big the gap is where the wings go. You can also see how the rest of the body sort of bulges out near where the wings go in. It was at this stage that I had to re-think my wingless idea as I wasn't sure that my green stuff molding skills would be up to the task.

While I was thinking about what I was going to do I used one of my many old spare skinks to have a go at a colour scheme.

As you all know, I like blue, like my Mumak and Harad force as well as the spot turquoise colour on my dwarves =) link: Blue Mumak

My wife always wanted the wings on, and I didn't think I could fix the holes nicely with greenstuff, so my plans changed! I added some sand to the cork for texture.

We went on holiday for a week and I took a few paints with me to start the intimidating process of painting Blightfang, or Hallgerd!

Firstly I started by filling in the blue colour with Caledor Sky. Then I worked out that if I glued her down, I wouldn't be able to paint the underside very well, so I decided to do the underside first.

Next I wanted to set off the blue with a lighter colour and decided to go with a creamy/bone sort of colour. I achieved this with Zandri Dust, followed by a wash of Seraphim Sepia, then I made lots of strips of Ushabti Bone.

Inside each of the streaks I put thinner stripes, close to the edge, with Screaming Skull. I tried to do the central ridge separated just a little from the rest of the plate and went up along the edges.

This is an old brush of mine, it used to be a 5/0 and now has worn near the tip to be quite fine right at the tip, but sort of triangular. It was what I used to do the little strips. Don't throw out your old brushes!

Here you can see the process a bit in progress. A fat stripe first, followed by little strokes to fill it in a bit. 

You can see where I was holding the drake by the white showing on the leg and near where the wings attached. I knew then that I'd have to be careful handling the model. I undercoated it with a white spray paint but I don't think it held very well as the whole time a squeeze or touch would rub off the paint. Maybe I should have given it a good wash and scrub and used a newer paint rather than 10 year old 1/4 can I had left! I will definitely be spraying it with a fixative coat afterwards!

So here you can see how the big strokes have been sort of filled in with very faint brush tips from that old brush. 

While waiting for the wash to dry at one stage I painted the base. My usual formula of all black followed by a heavy drybrush of Dawnstone, then a lighter drybrush of Fortress Grey, then a light brushing of White. Lastly a heavy black wash of Nuln Oil and a final touchup of Praxeti White here and there.

The lava is Flash Gitz Yellow everywhere, then Fiery Orange (a very old paint, probably has a new name now) leaving a bit of yellow in the middle, then Wild Rider Red further out, Evil Sunz Scarlet. These colours are dabbed on with another really old brush to make little dotty splotches. Finally some patches of Scorched Earth (dark brown, I think it has a new name now) and drybrushed on the cork near the edges too and lastly Black as well. Then back on with the grey colours to blend into the rest of the base.

Test fit of the drake on the base made me smile =)

So here's the underside with the belly scales done.

All the way along the long belly!

And the tail was the same colours as the belly, but with drybrushed layers on the higher bits rather than painted on.

And I put a gloss coat 'Ardcoat on the lava to make it shiny, though I think it doesn't really come up in the photos.

Now I did the head, as one side of the head will be hard to reach once the wings go on. The tongue is red, the webbing near the mouth I ended up doing as Scab Red (old name) Red Gore (I think this might be an old name too) and a wash of Leviathan Purple. The blue colours were Caledor Sky, a Drakenhof Nightshade wash, mid blue was Teclis Blue and light blue was Lothern Blue. Here you can see the undercoat, wash and mid blue.

The horns were done the same way as the belly scales. And the lighter blue drybrushed over the scales really brought out the textures, especially the skin on the arms.

I decided to do the back webbing in the same colours as the belly scales. But again, I used drybrushing rather than painting.

I left the webbing close to the body darker, and lightly drybrushed the upper edges.

I found this was a bit tricky to do and wasn't 100% happy with the results as it was sometimes a bit too patchy for my liking.

I used a few washes on the back webbing and while they were drying I finished off the head. I put a yellow eye with a black vertical stripe then drybrushed the lighter blue colours on over the head. I also painted edge highlights on the raised bits with the lighter blue. 

The horns were painted so that the tips were the lighter colours with streaks leading to the tip.

The wings I decided to do the underside in the same colours as the webbing and the scales. I tried two versions before deciding what to do here. Firstly I drybrushed the lighter colours like I'd done with the webbing. Then I actually painted from darker to lighter like the scales. 

In the end I got my brother in to look at it to get his advice too. In the end I sort of did a bit of both! I painted them like I did the scales. All Zandri Dust, then big triangles of Ushabti Bone then smaller triangles of Screaming Skull (obviously they weren't triangles, but you get the idea). Then I used Seraphim Sepia wash a few times to get the shading how I liked it. Finally I drybrushed the lighter colours a little near the edges. The blue parts were done the same way as the body.

This picture shows on the left the painted version, on the right the drybrushed version.

The top of the wings I did blue, here they are with two layers of blue.

And here they are done. I used the wash a few times lightly, and also between the muscles of the "arms", to give them a bit more definition. Also a few light layers of wash in triangles where the long ribbed parts meet the "arms". I tried to keep the lighter parts towards the middle and edges of the wings, with darker near the top and ribbed parts.

And here you can see the finished underside of the wings. You can see I still have to paint the stone where the dragon's foot is resting. There are also other touching up bits to do.

The last main job was to glue the wings in, wait for the glue to set, then greenstuff the gaps. I rolled out tiny thin little rolls of greenstuff, then carefully used a long tool to poke the greenstuff into the gaps and sort of shape it into rough ridges. Of course, then I had to wait a day for it to cure nicely and then paint those bits too, but they seem to have blended in quite well!

So then I touched up the base by adding a bit of sand to the flat bits near where the feet glued on and painted the grey bits like before. Oh, I also did a little bit more Sepia wash in a few small stripes on the tail.

And here it is all finished and on the board!

Blightfang Blue Dragon

Here's a closer up view of the head.

Blightfang Blue Dragon

And from above the lava looks pretty cool... or hot? I thought that the blue might contrast nicely with the lava and I think it does!

Blightfang Blue Dragon

This wing casts a lot of shade, but hopefully you can see how it turned out a bit.

Blightfang Blue Dragon

And from the back you can see the tips of the spurs between the webbing, I forgot to mention that I sort of did the tips of them in lighter blue too.

Blightfang Blue Dragon

And part of the reason Hallgerd is scary is the muscular tail, which looks like it could whip out pretty spectacularly!

Blightfang Blue Dragon

For scale here are a few very brave dwarves ready to attack!

Blightfang Blue Dragon

You can sort of see the bluish tones on the dwarves as well. Maybe I should do a purple dragon next =)

Blightfang Blue Dragon

From above you can sort of see the curve of the dragon spine and the wings, which are raised fairly high, still cover a large area. It looks quite stunning on the table!

Blightfang Blue Dragon

Wouldn't want that beast looking at me! From a low angle, Hallgerd really rises up above the dwarves!

Blightfang Blue Dragon

And finally, here are some of my Harad army, perhaps this dragon lives down that way and has collected some human worshippers.

Blightfang Blue Dragon

So there you go, this took me a long time, working an hour or so at a time and was a great project - though very intimidating and I had a lot of moments that I thought it wasn't going to work or be any good. In the end, though, there are some bits I don't like, but actually from a bit of a distance it looks great - at least it does to me!