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Step by step painting of Dwarf Hero

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Ok, someone asked me a while back for tips on how to paint skin. So, instead of just doing that piece, I am going to do a full step by step on the entire model.


Model: Dwarf Hero

Model Number: AoW01

Manufacturer: Avatars of War

Sculptor: Felix Paniagua


Background on the model and the sculptor. Felix Paniagua has done a lot of models in his time sculpting. You can see some of his other things at: Felix's Site. He started his Avatar's of War company a few months back and ever since I have been in love with his models (he currently only has three in his range, but they are all magnificent). This will be the first of his models that I have painted, so I am really looking forward to it.


Chapter 1: Pinning.


Ok, this model has come in 4 parts: The main body, the right hand and axe, the mohawk hair, and the lock of hair.

Tools needed for this section: Clippers, super glue, model pinning drill and a 1/32 bit, a paper clip, and a razor blade




Ok, the very first step will be to clip the three small pieces (axe, lock of hair, mohawk) from the piece of flash that they come on. Use the clippers to do this (sorry no pics of this step).


Next will be to decide where you want to pin the pieces together. There is no great science to this. Some people suggest that you pin one end, line it up, put a dot of paint, and that will mark where you will drill the adjoining hole. I just guestimate and save myself all that heartache.




Next, cut yourself some pieces of paperclip to pin with. I use the paperclips that have a rubbercoat on them, as they fit perfectly into my 1/32 inch holes.




Once you have that done, place the paper clip in the smaller piece and glue it into place.




Then, match the two pieces up to make sure that you have a proper fit. You may have to trim the paper clip or drill your hole deeper at this point. You also may have to trim some of the pieces a bit to make sure that they fit.


post-2668-1172433198_thumb.jpg post-2668-1172433344_thumb.jpg


Once it all matches up, add some super glue to the area to be pinned and join the two pieces together. You do not need a large amount of superglue, just enough to cover the area.




And it is as simple as that. For larger pieces (dragon tails, etc) I use a larger drill bit (1/16) and pieces of coat hanger.




Up next will be prepping the model, so stay tuned.

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Chapter 2: Prepping the model


Alright, so we have pinned the model. Now we have to get it ready to be painted. This means washing the model, getting rid of mould lines and flash, and filling in any gaps with epoxy putty.


Washing the model

Equipment needed: Dish soap, hot water, tooth brush.


Alright no pics here... because I skip this step. It is highly recommended in almost any painting manuals that I have read, but I have never done it and never had any problems.


Mould Lines

Equipment needed: Exacto knife, files, dremel


On this particular model, getting rid of the mould lines was easy, and there was almost no flash at all. All I had to do was use my exacto knife to carefully shave away the mould lines on his arms and the axes. However, on other models this can be a major step, and may involve more tools like files and a dremel, which I highly recommend getting if you are serious about painting.


Filling in the Gaps

Equipment needed: Exacto knife, epoxy putty (two part putty, blue and yellow, often referred to as green stuff), and water


Mixing the epoxy putty is very easy. Cut yourself a small piece of yellow and a small piece of blue (or just pull it off the lump). Wet your fingers (this is probably the most important step, as it keeps the putty from sticking to you). Then roll the putty between your fingers until it has a nice green look to it. Easy.




On this model we have three main parts that needed to be fixed up.


The first is that gap between the mohawk and the tail in the back. In order to get the putty into the gap, I find it to be much easier to take a small piece of putty on the end of my exacto blade and stick it into the gap. Then, I dip the blade into some water and use the back of the blade to blend the putty into the model.




The second area that needs attention was mostly my fault. At the end of the tail in the back of his head there needs to be a piece of hair, and I think that that is the piece that I stuck to the center of his beard in the front. Oh well, I think it looks better anyway. So, the easy fix is to sculpt a quick little tail. This is very easy to do. Take a ball of putty and stick it under the tail where you want the extension of hair. Then, wet your blade again. Start by using the back of the blade to make indentations in the putty, making sure to pull away from the join. Once that is done, flip the blade over and use the sharp side to distinguish the blades of hair to your liking.




And the last place that needs attention is the join of the wrist where we pinned the right arm. This is the easiest piece. Take a small piece of putty, very small piece, and place it in the join. Then, just like before use the back of the exacto knife to blend it into the creases of the hand.




Now, the last stage of this game is to set the model aside for a few hours so the putty has time to dry. This will prevent you from accidentally ruining your work with fingerprints.


Up next will be basing.

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Chapter 3: Basing


Ok, so we have the model prepped. The next step for me is to base the model, or at least get the majority of the stuff that I want on the base there. This is important because it allows your basing material to get a coat of primer also.


Step 1: Decide what type of base that you want.


For me this is my favorite step, as I really enjoy doing bases. Also, if you are building an army, it is important to have a really nice theme. Usually, for dwarfs I go with a rocky, wintery theme, so for this one we will do the same.


Step 2: Base it.

Materials needed: Cork board, elmers glue, super glue, sand mixture


Choose the materials you want to use. There are so many things out there that you can use, from real rocks to bark to erasers, the sky is the limit. I like using cork because it is nicely textured and very light.


Take the piece of cork in your hands and start picking pieces off of it until you are happy with the product. Set them on the base in the layout that you prefer, and make sure that you test it with your model before attaching anything permanently. Once you are happy with the product, super glue the pieces of cork to the base.




Let the superglue dry for a bit so you don't mess up the cork. Then, add some texture to the rest of the base using sand. I do this by applying a couple of drops of elmers glue (or any sort of wood glue will do) and smearing it in the areas I want texture with a brush. Once that is done I dip the entire base into my sand drawer and press it into the sand.


NOTE: I think it is very critical to keep an entire drawer of sand. Some people use baggies or tupperware, but I really like the ability to get into the sand and play with it. Also, I use a mix of fine and medium sand to give a more realistic texture.




Step 3: Attach the mini


Ok, sometimes I find it best to permanently attach the mini later, but for this particular mini I am going to permanently attach it now. This all depends on taste, and how complicated of a base you are going to have.


To attach the mini, I clipped off the slotta piece from the bottom of the miniature with my clippers. It may be necessary to file some of the excess off the miniature, but in this case it did not make a difference. Then I drilled a hole in his right foot so that I can attach the model to the base. Once this was done I clipped a piece of paper clip and attached it to the hole in his foot.




At this point you would normally have to drill a hole in the cork and the base to attach, but somehow I managed to line everything up so that the original diagonal slot on the base had just enough of a hole that I did not have to do this (amazing how things work out sometimes).




Next up will be primering.

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great tut so far


just curious but does the wrap around the clip interfere with the glue??



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Chapter 4: Primering


Ok, so we have the model prepped and ready to go, now all we need to do is primer him so we can begin painting.


Something to keep in mind here is that there are a few different ways to primer, the top three being spray primer, brush, or air brush. If that was not difficult enough, you also have to decide what color to primer, the primary choices being black and white, but almost any color can be used. I prefer to use a spray primer, and the brand in particular that I use is from Games Workshop. A also prefer to primer in black, but I will on occasion use white. The big difference in my opinion is the way the paint looks afterward. If you primer with white, then your initial base coat color is going to be much brighter, but you will also need to make sure and do more darklining. If you primer in black then your basecoat is going to be much darker, but the shadow areas will need much less work.




Weather can play a big difference when primering. If it is raining or humid outside, then the primer is not going to stay on the model as well when you first spray. If it is below freezing, the primer may not stick at all.


To begin, make sure and get yourself an old box top so that the excess paint does not go everywhere. You should always spray paint in a well ventilated area, as many of the fumes can be toxic. I do all my primering on the back porch and place my box top on an old stool. The stool helps because it allows me to rotate the box.


The next step is to shake your primer vigorously for a full minute, as this will help to ensure the ingredients are well mixed. This is especially important if the can of primer has not been used in some time. With the model in an upright position, begin spraying by holding the can approximately 12 inches away and spray evenly across the surface of the model in short bursts. You want good coverage, but do not go overboard because you may obscure the details of the miniature. If need be you can always go back and respray the model. Once the model has a good coat on it, begin rotating the box around on the stool so that the entire model gets a coat. Allow this to dry for 30 minutes.




Once dry, lay the model on its back and begin primering again in the same manner as above. This will ensure that you are able to get the entire model. Allow this to dry for 30 minutes, then lay the model on its stomach and repeat the process.




Allow the model to dry for at least 30 minutes. Then you can take some watered down black paint and an old paint brush (I achieve this by dipping my brush in my water, then into the paint) and touch up the spots that you missed with the primer. Don't worry if there are still a few small spots that are showing, as this will be covered up later with the initial basecoat.




Let the model stand overnight, and you can begin painting.


Up next, starting on the skin...

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Chapter 5: Painting the skin


Ok, now the fun begins. To start, I want to explain how to hold the brush. This is important, especially if you have extremely shaky hands like I do. Hold the miniature in one hand, and the brush in the other. The trick is to keep the bottom portion of the hand that is holding the brush against the miniature, this will allow you to place the brush exactly where you want it on the mini. Take a look at the picture to see what I mean.




Lets start painting. For a really nice table top quality model I like to use between 7 and 9 stages of paint to achieve the desired effect. If you want to enter golden daemon then I would go with up to 10 to 12 layers. Or, if you want a quick and good table top quality you can go with 3 to 5 layers. To paint the skin we are going to be using a technique called Feathering, which is simply the application of progressively smaller transparent layers of color in order to visually blend each layer into the previous one.


First we have to decide what colors to use. In my case I am going to use Citadel Paints for the skin: Dark Flesh, Tanned Flesh, Dwarf Flesh, and Elf Flesh. So, we will end up with a good 7 stages:


1. Dark Flesh

2. 50% mixture of Dark Flesh and Tanned Flesh

3. Tanned Flesh

4. 50% mixture of Tanned Flesh and Dwarf Flesh

5. Dwarf Flesh

6. 50% mixture of Dwarf Flesh and Elf Flesh

7. Elf Flesh


Another question I get a lot is what do I mix into my paints for consistency. My answer is simple: water. When I use paints a lot, like I do with this particular skin recipe, I will add the water straight to my bottles and also I will have my 50% mixtures all pre mixed in there own bottles. Remember that the definition of feathering includes this statement "the application of progressively smaller transparent layers of color". So to get a transparent layer of color I go with a 50% mix of water to paint, with the exception of my base color which is a 25% mix of water to paint. The thing to remember is that you want your paint to have a nice milky substance when you begin painting.






For this stage I use a Fine Detail Citadel Brush (which is not as small of a brush as they would lead you to believe). I simply cover all the areas that are going to be skin, ensuring to get right up against the edges of things like bracelets, hair, etc. This only needs to dry for a few minutes.






This stage is going to use the same brush as before. I am going to ensure to cover all of the skin areas, leaving only a little of the Dark Flesh showing at the edges where the skin meets the bracelets, clothes, hair, etc. Again, this only needs to dry for a few minutes.




Up next, the next few stages...

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Chapter 5: Skintones cont.




At this point, I drop my citadel paint brush and start using a 2/0 Vellejo Kolinsky Sable Brush. The goal with this stage is to leave the Dark Flesh/Tanned Flesh mix showing in only the deeper recesses of the muscles. Also, start getting into the habit of following the path of the muscles with your brush, as it will give the strokes a more realistic look. During this stage you are effectively breaking your model down into a lot of little parts with the deep creases being the breaks. Take a look at the picture below.






Ok, now we are getting somewhere. At this point you want to start recessing your strokes a bit, so that each inidividual muscle still has a little bit of the previous color on it. Also, start breaking the individual muscles down a bit to give them further definition. See the picture above.




At this stage we want to start really dividing the big muscle groups into smaller ones (like the biceps, shoulder muscles, etc) so that they start taking on a sinewy look. I really like painting like this because it gives all my heroes a superhuman looking strength. Take a look at the picture below.






Ok, at this point I drop my brush size down to a 3/0 Vellejo Kolinsky Sable Brush. I do this so that each brush stroke can be just a little separated from the last, which will allow us to separate those muscles even more. This color will be an extreme highlight for the lower portions (like under the arms, the belly, under the legs, etc). Take a look at the picture above.


Stage 7: ELF FLESH


Alright, this is the final highlight, and should only be used to eccentuate the muscles on the upper portions of the body, the parts that would be getting hit by direct sunlight. Also, really define these lines. Take a look at the pics below, in the close up I think you can see what I am talking about.




And that is it for the skin. Really simple. We will revisit later when we come back for final touchups.


Up next, we will start the hair...

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Chapter 6: Painting Hair


Ok, so the skin is done. Now, let us move on to the next piece, and that is the hair. For those of you that do not know, Dwarf Slayers are supposed to be fanatic type dwarfs who die there hair in really rediculous colors to add ferocity to their look. I like to paint my slayers with flaming orange hair. So, let's get our colors together:


1. Dark Flesh (Citadel Paints)

2. Blood Red (Reaper Pro Paints, although it is very close in color to Citadel's version)

3. Blazing Orange (Citadel Paints)

4. Fiery Orange (Citadel Paints)

5. Merigold Yellow (Reaper Master Series)

6. Sunlight Yellow (Reaper Master Series)




Ok, I use four different brands of paint: Citadel, Reaper Pro, Reaper Master Series, and Vallejo Model Color. If you only use one brand of paint, you can still follow along, just substitute a color from your brand. For instance, Merigold Yellow can be achieved by mixing 50:50 of Fiery Orange and Sunburst Yellow from Citadel Paints.


Stage 1: Dark Flesh

This is going to represent the deepest shadows, so apply a solid basecoat. I use the Fine Detail Brush from Games Workshop for this step. See the picture below.




Stage 2: Blood Red

Ok, at this step I begin using a dry brush. Dry brushes can be achieved in several ways, I myself use an old Fine Detail Brush that has lost its point, but some companies also sell Dry Brushes. Either way, the technique is very simple, just apply paint to the brush, rub the brush across your finger or a napkin to get rid of the excess, and gently pull the brush across the model. If you want more coverage, than go back and apply the step again. For the water ratio on this one, I add very little water when I am dry brushing. Also, for this color, you want a liberal dry brush at the base, and almost complete coverage at the top. See the picture above.


Stage 3: Blazing Orange

Ok, this step we are continuing to dry brush. At this stage, we want to apply a somewhat liberal coat of Blazing orange, as this is really the goal color that we want for our dwarf. See the picture below.




Stage 4: Fiery Orange

This is the last stage where we can get away with drybrushing, so go easy. Apply a gentle drybrush across the hair, allowing yourself to be a bit more liberal just at the top. See the picture above.


Stage 5: Merigold Yellow

At this stage we are going to switch to a Vallejo 3/0 Kolinsky Sable Brush. Here you want to start picking out individual strands of hair and highlighting the higher points. Make sure your paint is at that milky phase that we talked about during the skin chapter. Also, make sure to dab your brush on a napkin or against your hand to take off the excess water so that it does not leak all over the model. Take a look at the picture below:




Stage 6: Sunlight Yellow

Last stage, and the easiest. Same as stage 5, just hit the really high points to bring them out. Take a look at the picture above.


A Quick NOTE: I will probably go back once the model is "done" to apply one additional highlight to every stage. I usually wait to do this because it allows me to touch up any parts of the model that may have gotten messed up at the same time.


Up NEXT: Metallics

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Chapter 7: Metallics


Ok, this is the part where things get kind of strange. Metallics, for me, are different on every miniature, and so I normally have to experiment with them to get them to be just as I want them to be. Also, we will be using some washes. A wash is nothing more than really watered down paint or ink.


Before we get started I wanted to cover another real quick trick that I use. As I mentioned before, I use some Reaper Master Series and some Vellejo Model Color paints, which come in squeeze bottles. So, to mix paint from these types of paints, I use water bottle tops. It is a really quick, four step process:


Step 1. Pour required amount of paint into bottle top. If you are mixing two types of paint, then pour both colors in.

Step 2. Dip the blunt end of your brush into your water.

Step 3. Remove from water.

Step 4. Place in bottle top and stir. Continue this process until the paint reaches the desired consistency.




With metallics, I tend to do them in a certain order: weapons, armour, jewelry. It doesn't really matter to me if these items require the same color paints, I work them in order so as not to miss anything. So, to start we are going to begin with the blades on the axes.


The colors we will need:

1. Gunmetal Blue (Reaper Master Series)

2. Blackened Steel (Reaper Master Series)

3. Tarnished Steel (Reaper Master Series)

4. True Silver (Reaper Master Series)

5. Pure White (Reaper Master Series)

6. Mithril Silver (Citadel Paints)

7. Black Wash (mix of black paint, future floor polish, and water)




Stage 1: Gunmetal Blue

Complete coverage, you can leave a small black line between the blade and the ornamentation. I use a citadel fine detail brush for this. First picture below.


Stage 2: Gunmetal Blue and Blackened Steel (50:50 mix)

Complete coverage, but leave a little of the Gunmetal Blue showing. Second picture below.


Stage 3: Blackened Steel

Ok, now I drop down to an older and used 3/0 brush. I use an old one because metallics seem to degrade my brushes more than normal paints. I now start painting lines on the axe blade. Third picture below.


Stage 4: Blacked Steel and Tarnished Steel (50:50 mix)

Staying with the lines that I drew before, I begin to thin them. Also, hit the upper edges of the axe. Fourth picture below.


Stage 5: Tarnished Steel

Continuing with the lines, I begin to bring the color up some. Fifth picture below.




Stage 6: Tarnished Steel and True Silver (50:50 Mix)

Now bring the highlights up some by hitting only the edges of the lines. First picture below.


Stage 7: True Silver

More highlighting. Second picture below.


Stage 8: True Silver and Pure White (50:50 Mix)

Hit just the highest points, and the extreme edges of the lines. Third picture below.


Stage 9: Black Wash

Apply a very diluted wash. Continue this process until you are happy with the result, just be very careful not to over do it. Fourth picture below.


Stage 10: Mithril Silver

Last highlight. I don't know what it is about citadels Mithril Silver, but I really like the shine that it produces. Fifth picture.



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Chapter 7: Weapons cont.


Ok, onto the gold. No great wisdom here, just a couple of stages. Only thing new that we will be using is a Brown Ink, but this is applied in the same way as washes. Make sure to water it down so as not to overpower your highlights when you apply it.


Colours we will need:

1. Ancient Bronze (Reaper Master Series)

2. Antique Gold (Reaper Master Series)

3. New Gold (Reaper Master Series)

4. Mithril Silver (Citadel Paints)

5. Brown Ink (Citadel Paints)




Stage 1: Ancient Bronze

Apply this color to all of the parts that will be gold. Make sure to completely cover the black. Take a look at the first picture. I use an old brush for this just like for the silvers.


Stage 2: Brown Wash 1

I use this to pick out the details, and to figure out where to start applying highlights. When dealing with metallics I find it is really hard to highlight without knowing where to put the highlight, because they tend to blend together really well and hide the detail of the mini. Take a look at the second picture below.


Stage 3: Antique Gold

Ok, now start picking out the details with your Antique Gold. I use that same worn out 3/0 brush for this. Take a look at the third picture below.




Stage 4: New Gold

Start really minimizing your use now, especially on the inside threadwork of the weapon, as this will be your final highlight there. Make sure to pick out the fine details of the dragon head. Take a look at the first picture below.


Stage 5: New Gold and Mithril Silver mix

Highlight only the dragon head and handle, as this will set it apart from the inside scroll work of the axe. Take a look at the second picture below.


Stage 6: Brown Wash

Apply this wash only to the inside scroll work of the axe heads. This will further separate the colors of the inside scroll work and the dragon heads. Take a look at the last picture below.



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Chapter 7: Weapons cont. (wood)


Ok, so even though theses weapons would probably look really great as all metal monstrosities, I have a tendency to try and incorporate wood into my pieces. So, the handles on both axes are going to be made of wood.


Colours needed (all citadel paints):

1. Scorched Brown

2. Bestial Brown

3. Snakebite Leather

4. Desert Yellow

5. Kommando Khaki


This is a recipe I use a lot.




Stage 1: Scorched Brown

Base coat. Cover all of the areas where you want the wood to be (for me this will be the shaft of both weapons). Leave a thin black line between the shaft and the metal pieces. First picture.


Stage 2: Bestial Brown

Ok, using my 3/0 Kolinksy sable brush, I begin to make lines on the wood. They don't have to be straight, or in a similar pattern. What you are trying to do is to simulate wood grain, so use your imagination. Second picture.


Stage 3: Snakebite Leather

Moving away from the shadows, but on the same lines you just created, begin to highlight the lines. Third picture.


Stage 4: Desert Yellow

Another highlight, even further from the shadows. Fourth picture.


Stage 5: Kommando Khaki

Final highlight, only in the extreme center of the lines. Fifth picture.




Up next: Glowing runes....

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Chapter 7: Weapons cont. (runes)


Ok, now for some fun. We are going to attempt to make the runes on this weapon appear to be very bright and glowing.


Rune Colours (reaper master series):

1. Black

2. Red Brick

3. Deep Red

4. Blood Red

5. Bright Red

6. Phoenix Red

7. Fire Orange

8. Merigold Yellow

9. Sunlight Yellow

10. Lemon Yellow


Seems like a lot of stages, but it is really not that bad. Also, note that I hit the dragons eyes with a couple of the stages.




Stage 1: Black

Ok, if you noticed the primer tends to rub off the more you handle the mini. Also, this stage is a good idea in case you got some other colors on the areas you want to paint. So, just go over your rune areas with some black paint. I am also going to hand paint some runes on the axe head (between the ears of the dragon) so I will outline the shape of the runes that I want. Sorry, no picture of this stage.


Stage 2: Red Brick

For all of these stages I use my 3/0 Kolinsky sable brush. This stage is really to help tone down the darkness of the black, since the end result that we want is going to be a bright color. Cover everything except a very thin line of black. Picture one.


Stage 3: Deep Red

Completely cover everything as before, just leave that really thin line of black. This color will be the deepest shade of the runes. Dot the dragons eyes also. This is really easy to do, just dip your brush in the paint (diluted with water of course), and then rub it across your finger. It is important here to be sure that your brush is not overloaded with water. Also, make sure that you have a nice point. Once all of this is in order, gently wipe your brush across the eye. Sometime there is not enough paint on the brush and you have to redo it. I will try to get pics of how to do this when we go back and do the eyes of the dwarf. Picture two.


Stage 4: Blood Red

Ok, leave just a little bit of the deep red showing in the centers of the runes (very small amount). Picture three.


Stage 5: Bright Red

Work your way out a little more at this stage. Dot the dragon eyes again. Picture four.


Stage 6: Phoenix Red

Ok, now start concentrating on the outer edges of the runes and the tips. Picture five.


Stage 7: Fire Orange

Edges and tips. Picture six.


Stage 8: Merigold Yellow

Edges and tips again. Dragon eyes for the last time. Picture seven.


Stage 9:Sunlight Yellow

Extreme edges and tips. Picture eight.


Stage 10: Lemon Yellow

Be greedy here, only a very small amount on the very extreme eges and tips. Picture nine.




And here is a final pic of the whole dwarf:




Up next: Loin cloth

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Very nice tutorial so far.As a beginner I love seeing step by steps of all the processes.




Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the rest!

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