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JackMann

77001 Skeleton Spearmen (My First Bones)

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It seemed appropriate (not to mention easier) to go with the skeletons for my first attempt at painting bones.

 

skelliesfront.jpg

 

I'd like to get a better close-up, but my camera won't focus any closer than this (I've a Nikon Coolpix L19). As you can probably tell, I went a little crazy with washes this time around. I started off painting them a nice solid Uthuan Grey from the citadel paints I got. Next came a wash of Reaper's Walnut Brown, to bring out the details. It was a little too strong on one of them, so he also got a wash of Reaper's Pure White on top of that. Then they got a wash of Ushati Bone, to give them a bit of yellow, some dry-brushing with Pure White and then finally Citadel's Agrax Earthshade to give them that just-crawled-out-of-the-grave look. Or at least, that was the intention. I think they ended up a little too dirty, and the white ended up a bit too blotchy in places. Need to work on my dry-brushing skills.

 

The shields were painted with Citadel's Leadbelcher, with the rims and central button done with Reaper's True Silver. Some Earthshade was used to make the shields look older, less shiny. The spears were painted with Reaper's Intense Brown, with a wash of Walnut Brown to make the stripes. Just the hafts took probably the longest of any part of this project, because I forgot that you're not supposed to thin out the first layer onto the plastic. The one time I remember to thin my paints... The heads of the spears were painted with True Silver. I tried to use a wash of Reaper's Carnage Red with the Earthshade to give them a rusted look, but I don't think it quite turned out as I was hoping.

 

The eyes are also Carnage Red, and I used the wash around them to try and give them a "glowing" look. Sadly, I think it looks more like they're all cosplaying as Raphael. Ah well. At least I know that method won't work. Have to keep experimenting.

 

skelliesback.jpg

 

You can get a better look at my failed attempt at rust here, as well as a decent shot of the straps. The fasteners on the straps were done with a spot of True Silver. I used a 3/0 brush I picked up at Michael's to get them done. Hard to see here, but I think that's actually the best looking part of the models.

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If you're painting for tabletop or armies: My advice is to now paint the base. Figure out a good regime for dirt/grass, one that you'll use consistently. I like Vallejo Model Colour Flat Earth drybrushed with a bit of tan, beige or cream... a warm yellowish very light brown. (Done over some superglued fine sand, it looks like dirt with some gravel.) Then I glue on some clumps of GW Static Grass. Figure out something you like, write down the formula, and base everything the same. It will vastly improve the look of your army or gaming monsters. Do that, and these will look finished.

 

With broccoli bases, you might want to paint brown then just stab a mostly-dry brush with a lighter brown on it to make a mottled-earth look, since drybrushing the texture might just make it look even more unnatural (at least to my eye).

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For my skelly's broc bases I paint a base of dark grey (Ash Grey) and then drybrush with a pale green (Sage) and then a few drybrushed little bits of pale yellow-green (Gnoll Flesh). Makes it sort of resemble soil and dead grasses.

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My suggestion to improve the look of your skeletons is to sharpen the shadows between the bones, personally I like the simple black between the bones method I used here but it is not necassary to go so dark. Anything that tightens the contrast between the bones and the spaces between them will improve the look of the miniatures.

 

In this case applying a thinned paint directly into the gaps, though it requires a steady hand, is easy and makes a good look.

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I'll give a try to basing them. Right now, I'm pretty much just painting them to learn how to paint, but basing is the next step. I'll probably paint the rat's base next, and then come back to the skeletons.

 

Obsidian, thanks for the advice. I'll give it a try.

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Haven't retouched the skeletons yet, but I did get a decent camera, so I have some better pics of the skellies, so you can see my mistakes up close and personal.

 

skellyfront.jpg

 

This gives a better look at my attempt at glowing eyes. I think it might have worked better if I'd just put the wash over a much smaller area.

 

skellyback.jpg

 

Back view of one of the skeletons.

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I'm going to be honest, even after all these years I stay away from the OSL (Object Source Lighting) required to make glowing eyes work on miniatures. That said here is a tutorial, handily focused on the eyes of a model, on how to do OSL so you can learn.

 

On bases, I once saw a nice analogy; the base of a miniature is like the frame of a picture - neither is absolutely necassary but the right one enhances the art greatly. The easiest base to do that is more than just paint in my experience is to paint it a dark green then paint it with PVA glue and dip the whole thing in some sort of static grass. This always looks "ok" and makes a big improvement in my experience.

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A mate has a WHFB undead army. One major thing is that while the rank-and-files are super-speedy-army paintjobs, ALL have paint, and ALL have a quick but thorough static grass base. My wife took one look at the unifying and "completing" look of the basing and ordered me to start basing properly (tabletop, but not speed-paint standard).

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skellieslinedfront.jpg

 

Okay, did a very simple base paint. Just some intense brown with a walnut brown wash. Tried my hand at lining (using Reaper's Gray Liner). The results are... mixed. I think the effect is definitely an improvement, but I really need to work on my brush control. Also, I think the brushes I got with the starter set are pretty near destroyed at this point. I'm still working on not getting paint into the ferules. I'll probably go through some more cheap, synthetic brushes before I move onto the nicer brushes (that is, when I feel I can be trusted not to destroy them).

 

skellieslinedback.jpg

 

You can see more of my inconsistent results. Having trouble getting the right amount of paint onto the brush for any given circumstance.

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When doing the lining if the paint you are using is not a thin wash, thin it down considerably. I do lining on things like the skeleton with a thin wash first (at least as much water as wash) and then touch up with a coat of normal wash as required on the deepest recesses. Yes it takes brush control but... practice makes perfect. :)

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I've got some skellies coming with my Ogre order. If you like the look of this dude:

 

post-3313-0-00802700-1347318457_thumb.jpg

 

 

Then after the Ogre project I can do a step by step WIP of my new Bad Bone Boys if you want. My method is heavy on wash and drybrush, which are two skills you're already coming along with from the paint kit. It's also pretty quick. Might help fill in a few blanks and let you see a little bit of the why behind a technique as well as the what - the "if you want this look, do X" sort of thing. Anyway, let me know. I'm not the greatest ace painter in the squadron, but I'm always happy to do a step by step WIP if somebody thinks they'll get something from it (even if it's a laugh at my hilarious screw-ups).

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If you want a quick and dirty way to paint skeletons, this worked for me with my Ravenloft mini...

 

1. Paint the skeleton entirely black

2. Dry brush dark grey

3. Dry brush off-white/cream/yellowed bone color

4. Paint the not-skeleton bits.

 

Basically, if you base-coat the whole thing black and then use dry-brushing for the rest of the exterior, all of your lining and shading and done right at the start! It's not pretty, but it's really fast and easy.

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