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Dark Sword Archer


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I'm painting this archer from Dark Sword as a "classic" ranger, all greens and browns. I've put in about 8 hours, but I think it could use at least 2 more to fix a few things.




Things I Like

1. Cloak - I think I've gotten pretty good at cloaks

2. Colors - I think they work well together


Things to Work On

1. Lighten and tone down the yellow in the hair - make it more light golden brown, closer to true blonde

2. Paint metal studs on armor

3. Paint metal caps on each end of the bow

4. Touch up the base

5. Paint arrow shafts through the fletching

6. Add detail to belt

7. Add more color to the face


Things I'd Like Advice About

1. Fur - How can I improve it?

2. Reds - are they too bright? If so, any suggestions on how to tone them down?


Anything else?

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Hey Mama Geek. Here are some things I would advise doing.


Things I'd Like Advice About

1. Fur - How can I improve it? Use a dark grey or grey/black wash to give the fur some depth. Then highlight it up to pure white IF you want to. You can also use some brown in there as well and make it look like bear fur rather than wolf.


2. Reds - are they too bright? If so, any suggestions on how to tone them down? I'm thinking you're asking about the reds on the feathers right? Use a dark barn red to give them some depth then highlight them back up to the red you have OR to the next brightest red you have MAYBE using a little bit of yellow in the mix.


3. Face. I would also use some brown brown/red glaze and glaze in some shadow around and under the cheekbones and jawline. Also using the same shade darkline around his hairline.


4. Hair coloring. Using some Autumn brown as a wash then adding golden brown for the first couple highlights. Then add in some white to 50% of the highlight color will give you a more natural looking blonde.


Here is the link to help you with some skin tone and hair colors. This might also helps with putting the highlights in the right spots too. http://darkswordminiatures.com/gallery/GRR..._nw_archer1.htm


Hope this helps!

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Mr. Wizard, I recommend Olliekickflip's blending tutorial here on Reaper:



It alone brought my painting up a significant notch. The rest is just practice. For colors, it's hard for me to say, because I mix all of my own from a basic set of only about a dozen bottles of GW paint, Liquitex Titanium White, and a couple Reaper Master Series paints. The base color is green, highlighted with yellow/greens, and shaded with purple.


Demonelf3, are you referring to the wide, flat areas of the cloak near the middle and towards the bottom when you call the blending "chalky?" Unfortunately, I should have sanded those better when prepping, because they are somewhat roughly textured. That alone accounts for the lack of smoothness in the blend there, and there's not much I can do about it at this point. I'm glad you like the colors, and I'll work on the contrast.


Darius Glenwell, thanks for your help. I've already put several washes of black over the fur, but highlighting is probably in order. I thought about adding some brown, but there is so much of it in the rest of the piece that I thought it might be overkill. Do you think not? I've already looked at the painted versions of this figure on the Dark Sword site, and I appreciate the link. Those faces are all rather dark, though, and I wanted a paler complexion on this one. I will work on improving the contrast there, though. I will definitely keep your instructions on hand as I work on the hair.


Thanks again, everyone!

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I put in about another hour trying to improve some things. I think the hair is getting too many layers. It's starting to get a bit gritty-textured, so I'll call it done.


I had a bit of photo-fu tonight, so they're not the best shots.


Any ideas for the rest?


The base needs some foliage. I have static grass, but that's about it. Flocking would probably look nice, though, so maybe I'll try to pick some up. No good photos of the base here, but you can see it pretty well in the first post above, and it hasn't changed much.



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The eyes are just tiny slits. I did my best to give them pupils, but what you see is what you get.


What do you mean by washed out? Do you mean not enough contrast, or too pale? I want him to be pale, but if it needs more contrast, that's something I can work on.

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To pale and not enough contrast. If he's a ranger his skin would be more ruddy since he's been out in the elements. Not hiding in a castle. But just my 2 cents worth.


Well...the character is actually an elf. I know, the mini is very human, but the character is not, so I'm trying to nod to the PC a bit here.

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edit:removed quote


A very nice piece!

If I were to spend more time on it, this is where I'd attempt to start separating materials and layers. Between the leather belt and leather jerkin, maybe a few darkening washes (precision applied washes) to separate the two similarly colored items. A nice mid-toned green glaze over the cloak to smooth the blends, then some darkening washes to separate the hoodie from the main cloak and some of the major turnbacks too. If I squint, I'm also losing the separation between the green cloak and the jerkin, and the jerkin and the leggings...so maybe darken those separations (darklining).


Looking forward to the finished images!


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I just wanted to say that if anyone seems harsh, remember that it's a very good mini, these are all nitpicks and crits. To answer you: When I said the blending was rough, I mean that where on the cloak the green fades to yellow, the yellow seems a bit thick. The whole blend looks a little bit thick. Try adding one more drop of water. Like I said, though, the colors work well, a very classic theme.

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Oh, I might seem a bit defensive in my replies, but I do take all your good advice to heart. Please keep it coming! (I'll try to soften my replies, and thanks for alerting me to any lack of humility and grace on my part!)


I put in another hour or two, working on the face, the cloak blend, the fur, and some darklining, and I think he's coming along nicely.


For this third step on the face (2->3 below), I used about 6 layers of very thin paint in various browns, light "peach", and purple.




The texture on the cloak is still frustrating me, and I'll probably apply some thinner layers next, as demonelf3 suggests.






Once the paint is finished, I'll spray seal him, then add some sparse foliage to the base.

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Wow, it took me almost a week to recognize this guy without the black Night's Watch clothes I've only ever seen him in before... Very nice variation on this mini! I'm now tempted to bump my copy up a notch or 2 on my to-paint list. Looks like your latest update has done a lot to improve the issues with the cloak which have been discussed, and I really like what you've done to the face with this update also. Actually, I thought he looked pretty awesome from the start, but now he's even better!


Foliage-wise, this might be a good time to harvest some of that "leaf-litter" stuff from any birch trees you may have in your yard or area. I'm sure this varies regionally, but one of the ones in my back yard still has most of them hanging off the branches, but they're perfectly dry and just beginning to slowly crumble away and fall off. In other words, they're basically ready to use right off the tree, aside from any painting or dyeing that may be needed. I'll probably be out in the yard tonight after work collecting some myself, though I still have a huge handful left over from last year's crop.



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