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New challenge - large figures


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Hey everyone, I am about to take on a new challenge, painting one largish dragon, and one huge dragon (Argent).


Now I've been painting for decades, but I have never really set out to do a really good paint job on a dragon.  The couple times I've done it before, it's been "prime base color, wash, drybrush, get it on the table", wargaming quality.


Should I forget the brushes entirely and just airbrush it?  What size brushes work best for something this size?  I typically use from 2 down to a 10/0, but I have bigger.


Wet palette required?


What are your best tips for tackling something that's an order of magnitude bigger than what I'm used to?

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There's probably 10 different answers for each question.  You'll probably end up using a mixture of techniques.


Bigger brushes generally work best on larger surfaces, but you'll switch to your smaller brushes when you get down to the details.   I know some people use large flat brushes to the base coat.  If you have access to an airbrush, no harm in using it.


A wet pallet isn't any more required that it would be for for normal size figures.  Use whatever you're comfortable with to get your paint consistency right.


The best advice I can give is to be patient.  Painting large figures isn't really that different, but they definitely take longer.  If the model is in pieces, you also want to figure out what parts to assemble, and which parts to paint while detached.

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If you aren't using an airbrush, big brushes are a must. I personally really like big filberts (broad and flat, but with a rounded edge) as opposed to flat/square brushes (broad and flat work a straight edge). Filberts are nice because they're broad enough to make basecoats very easy, but I find the rounded edge makes it easier to feather in large areas of highlight or shadow. Much like our usual brushes, I would say use as large a brush as you feel comfortable using (that makes sense for the model). I own 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 and 1 1/2 inch filberts, and I mostly use the 3/4 and 1 1/2 inch brushes.


I'd also suggest that you have a plan each time you sit down to paint. If you're going to highlight "all the green scales," for example, have a plan to be sure you actually get all of them, otherwise you'll miss a section and not notice for a while.


If you mix colors at all, either keep good recipes or try to do all of one mix in a given sitting... Nothing worse than realizing two weeks later that you never finished highlighting that wing, and now you don't recall what paints went into that color.


Have a plan for supporting the model. Even in bonesium, big dragons are heavy to hold in one hand. Painting a partially assembled model can help by shrinking each part you work with. If you have a turntable, you might be able to avoid picking up the model most of the time. I also once built a cardboard-and-bubble wrap cradle for one large model, so I could lean it into the cradle while I painted its face.

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The advise these guys have said is great, also don't feel you have to do whole stages at once after you main basecoat it may be easier to do one leg or wing it at a time to break it down into more manageable and interesting chunks.  


Will look forward to seeing it when it's finished!


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