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Was cataloging my Reaper paints the other day and noticed I had a bottle of Green Black. I couldn't remember using it for anything (or even when I got it) but I liked the look of the colour and thought it might work well for some Orcs, which is would also be a good excuse to get back into painting some fantasy stuff. So I grabbed a handful out of the big bin of Bones Orc goodness and away we go.
I plan to put gaming bases on do the broccoli got lopped off. This actually slowed me down a couple of days as I snapped what turned out to be my last #11 cutting Kavorgh's base, and it took a couple of days to get over to the mall to get more.
And with a coat of Grey Liner. The little guy was my test of Green Black over Black Primer to see how it looked.
I have to admit I like these orcs quite a bit now that they are painted. They painted up quick and easy. They are more shiny here than in person, but maybe I will use this as an excuse to use some of the matte sealer I got in my last order. They will do nicely for D&D, at least until my Shield Wolf Orcs get here
77056: Orc Sniper x2
77042: Orc Marauder
77059: Orc Berserker
77051: Orc Stalker
77064: Kavorgh, Orc Warboss
This is my very first WIP topic here, and my very first time painting minis at home. My prior experience is painting about 15 minis in one-hour paint-and-take sessions at Reaper's booths at various PAX conventions over the last year. That's done with brushes that have been pretty beat up by other convention-goers, no palette suitable for thinning paints, and of course a rather short period of time. It was a lot of fun, it got me hooked, and I had a few results I'm actually pretty happy with, but I feel like a complete beginner about to paint his very first mini. I have never really done one before properly, at least as I see it, and very few of those 15 minis reached a "finished" state in my mind.
Consequently, this WIP is going to be pretty exciting for me, and a huge learning experience. What will it be like to have no time crunch? What will happen when I start mixing and thinning paints like I've seen a lot of you do? What level of detail will I be able to achieve with properly-tipped brushes and binoculars on my head?
Well, I want to learn a lot, and for that, I figure the more practice I have, the more systematically I go about it, the better off I'll be. To that end, I have amassed a veritable horde of orcs.
77042 Orc Marauder (Sword and Shield) x3
77045 Orc Hunter (Spear) x3
77051 Orc Stalker (Two Weapons) x2
77056 Orc Sniper (Archer) x3
77059 Orc Berserker (Two Handed Sword) x2
77064 Kavorgh, Orc Warboss x1
Yes indeed, 14 orcs in total, which will mean I'll basically be doubling the number of minis I've painted with my very first real project. It's ambitious, but I am an ambitious sort of guy, and I figure painting 14 figures that are all pretty similar will give me a lot of practice for new techniques I want to learn. Also, and I feel like this matters, the orcs are relatively large, so I'll be able to paint just a little less precisely and not ruin things, and also have a larger "canvas" to get experience on.
One small problem. I don't actually have my paints yet! So why did I make this topic now? Well, the paints will come on Tuesday, and I want the weekend to really look these figures over and think about colors and how I'm going to do them. I'm posting the WIP now to sort of think about that process "out loud" and maybe get a little advice before starting. Plus, well, I'm really enthusiastic.
One thing I'm gonna do is paint every individual orc of each type with some different skin tones. I figure orcs, like humans, have some pigment variations in their skin across the population. Over the long history of whatever fantasy world these guys are from, there would have been migrations of different orc populations, and random mutations (or magical mutations), and so a clan or orcs would be genetically diverse enough so not every orc looks the same. Since these orcs are all bald, I can't experiment too much with hair, so instead I'll experiment with skin.
The other thing I'll do is mix up the leather or fur they're wearing under their armor. Using just a bit of different color will help me diversify the horde, and make it easier to differentiate them all in a tabletop setting. Where possible, I'll try to contrast these leather or fur colors with their skin colors, for a nicer effect.
The armor, eyes, and teeth will probably all be the same for each of them. I'll paint the plate armor with dark metallics, and the mail with light metallics washed with black. My intention is to make their armor look well-used and not shiny-new. I'll probably give the war boss some nicer, shinier armor. Maybe some gold. I may try to do some freehand on his plate mail to give it a little tribal significance or an intimidation factor.
I'll try to vary things a little with details like bloodstains for the melee orcs. I may also attempt some war paint. We'll see.
For reference, I'll be looking at the examples in the inspiration gallery. Of particular interest to me is the skin color Citrine got on a couple of these minis, the skin on this one by Jeremie Bonamant Teboul and the furs by Slashhamster.
My rough plan for dealing with these orcs is as follows, though of course no plan survives first contact with the enemy.
1. Clean the minis. I got a new toothbrush for just this occasion.
2. Quick coat with brown liner.
3. Eyes. I've been reading and re-reading the various tutorials and topics on them.
4. Base coat the skin.
5. Base coat leather, furs, and armor
6. Finish skin
7. Finish chainmail
8. Finish furs and leathers
9. Plate armor
10. Weapons and shields
11. Detail work
I'll try to do all 13 orc mooks at the same time, step by step, and then do the warboss at the very end after I've learned as much as I can about orcs from the earlier painting. I'll be taking detailed notes as I go, writing down recipes and each step I take, especially with skin.
I'll also be photographing a lot. My mini photo booth is ready and waiting (well, backdrops come tomorrow).
Right now I'm thinking about five different skin colors I'd like to try with my orcs. I'll try to do at least two orcs of each color, avoid duplicating colors for the same orc minis, and I'll paint the warboss with my favorite result.
I'll start with a green base coat and then layer on some brown. I don't really care for the Warcraft-style bright green orcs, but I think green is a decent color to work with for them. I'll aim for a fairly dark green with enough red in there that you figure he still bleeds red.
I'm going to try to match Citrine's orc skin as close as I can, because it's awesome. It looks like khaki and muddy brown or brown sand. Citrine, if you're reading this and remember what you did, I'd love some tips.
In other words brownish-yellow, right? Well, maybe, but darker. I'm not exactly sure how to describe the color I'm thinking of, but I'll know it when I see it. More brown, less khaki.
I think of this as a sort of rage brown. Good for a berserker. I'll probably base coat a darker brown and then layer on reds. I might even throw in a little purple there. Orc smash!
Sort of a Lord of the Rings orc skin color. I think I'll base coat with a dark orange of all things and then layer on grays and maybe some tan highlight.
If, as I'm mixing, I stumble across any other skin colors, or a different way of doing what I'm thinking of doing, I'll certainly talk about that here in the topic. I'll be happy to hear from anyone with skin tips, while this topic is running.
It's a little too early to start thinking about the leather and fur pairings, since I don't even know yet which orcs will get which skin colors and not every orc mini has leather or fur. Still, I'm thinking I'll probably do the sorts of furs you'd find in highlands, as I imagine these orcs live in the shadows of mountains. They raid settlements for livestock and slaves and live a nomadic lifestyle, retreating back into the hills where organized parties of soldiers can't track them down too easily to end the threat once and for all. So, wolf fur, deer fur, maybe even mountain goat fur. The leathers I can have a little more leeway with since leather can be stained a variety of colors. I'll use what I think is appropriate in contrast with skin tone, though I'll probably stick to brown leathers of various shades.
Wood is another interesting set of decisions to make. There's the shields and spear shafts. I've seen a couple good tutorials already, but I'll want to see some more before I do them. I think I'll probably go with old, aged wood. The shields may provide some interesting opportunities for freehand painting.
I'm aiming for a blackened steel type color for the armor plates, as a base coat. I may get adventurous and start experimenting with a little color on top to dull them out and age them. I'll probably try some highlights as well with a lighter metallic. For details, I want to see if I can do a freehand painted design representing their clan, and make it look like it was smeared on there with a crude old brush (at their scale), or even finger-painted (at their scale). Could be a challenge to replicate that effect, but maybe I can do it. I'll spend some time thinking about what orcs would use as a thick, crude paint, what color that would be, and what technique I'd need to replicate that.
And oh yes, there will be blood.
Anyway, no pictures today, since there's nothing to see, really. Best I could give you is some pictures of unpainted minis against a very white background and that wouldn't be very fun to look at. Paints should arrive by Tuesday, so just four days to go. I'd appreciate any comments, advice, well-wishes, etc. in the meantime, and I hope you enjoy following along as I ramble about orc skin and teach myself to paint almost from scratch.
As a bonus, I've been taking a drawing class (crazy me, starting two hobbies at the same time), and maybe I'll sketch some of these minis every so often and post those sketches. It's a non-credit, casual sort of thing at a local art museum, and the first class was only just last night so I can't promise quality, but it'll be good practice for me and maybe it'll help me figure out what I want to paint. It would also combine all three of my artistic hobbies (painting, drawing, photography) into one giant megahobby and completely take over my life.
Just as a disclaimer, I would really thank you for your constructive criticism throughout this topic, even if it's harsh. Only way I'll get better is if people don't treat me with kid gloves and I can guarantee you'll never be able to hurt my feelings. I find that infinitely more useful than just a quick bit of nonspecific praise. If I've done something well, tell me specifically what that thing is, and if there's a way to do it better let me know that too. Of course some things will just be stylistic choices, but I still like to hear about how other people do things. I'm my own worst critic but I'm sure there's stuff I'll miss so let me know where I'm in need of improvement.
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