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Merciless mercenaries: practice made... not perfect.


R2ED
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Practice did not make perfect on this one, but there are some good things that came out of them.  

I'm going state UP FRONT that the hair went poorly on all of them.  I'm not willing to go back and fix at this point, since it wasn't my main focus in getting them done, but wow - really came out bad.  Oh well.

 

Battle Report.

Mercenary w/ Mug = #1

Mercenary w/ axe = #2

Mercenary w/ crossed eyes = #3

 

Wins:

1.  Capes all turned out pretty good.  Was trying to go from dark color to light color and see if I could mix in different tones to get different results.

2.  Attempted a different skin tone.  Used Game Color Flat Flesh and added in some MSP breast cancer awareness pink for some "life" in it, and it worked out well.  Not my best skin, but better.  Plus I've got to use as much of that pink as a I can!

3.  Did two different primers: #1 and #3 got black primer to start.  #2 was a Vallejo Leather Brown primer to start.  Definitely liked the leather brown better than black.

4.  Again, used very, very thin paints and had to do multiple layers, but the overall look came out better. At least, before Iattempted to drybrush and f'd up #1 and #3.

5.  Worked on using blacklining around boots, belts, and areas where the two colors were close.  #1 and #3 had this the most.  I will do it again!

6.  Used washing only in folds of cloaks or where seams were.  This is something I've been attempting to use more sparingly as I often get that coffee staining and can't figure out why my wash looks like hell and other's looks great.  Using less and buliding up is better.

 

Misses:

1.  Dry brushing.  DO NOT use a brush I 'think' might be dry and isn't.  Now #3 looks like he's in the frigid north.  

2.  Dry Brushing.  Still need to learn what colors I can mix over others for drybrushing.  I thought a grey might be neutral enough.  nope.  Need help here on what color can be drybrushed over others to bring out a contrast without looking like it's frosted.

3.  Eyes on #3 got a little crazy.  He now leads a life of trouble because of how the other mercenaries made fun of him...

4.  Steel on the #2 was better, but still needs work.  Tried thinning with a little ink and then going back over with another non-mixed coat.  Work in progress.

5.  Hair - all of them have terrible hair.  This is a major pain point for me.  I hate hair.  If I can't figure out how to start getting hair under control, I'm going to start hunting for bald heroes or creatures only.  NEED HELP!

6.  Attempted on #1 and #3 non-wash.  #2 I did a sketch style start, but the results weren't that great.  I think my dry brushing might be a little heavy-handed.  (See brown prime and light dusting start)

 

 

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@GM_JohnI recently found these brushes called Kolinsablon over at hobby lobby.  Dude... game changer.  I did the lining with both a size 2 and size 0.

 

Ink used was Daler Rowley - black. 

No dilution. Slow and steady. Only recently started doing lining, so all i can say is the brush definitely helped. 

 

Just to be clear, the boots where they meet the pants have lining.  Only on #1 and #3.  I was using these as some practice.  

 

Depending on where you're at in your painting game, one of the best pieces of advice i received that helped immensely was - by 4 or 5 of the same mini.  Practice on it consistently : Meaning improve it each time, but don't change the colors and scheme. Keep to the same thing over and over.  You'd be shocked what you gain from it - right down to how you clean it, prime it, and paint it. Good luck and thanks for the kind words. 

Edited by R2ED
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I enjoy you sharing your experiences. I like your colour choices for the figures.

Now I will give you some of my knowledge:

Dry brushing:  
In nearly all circumstances its better to add a glaze after a dry brush, as always there are exceptions. 

 

Hair:
It's all about shadows and volumes. You don't want to highlight every single piece of hair. Instead you want to have dark and light areas. Get a reference photo and copy the locations of shadows and highlights (will come out the best). A controlled dry brush with the mid-tone can help in getting hair definition in the shadows (if you really want), though its always a good idea to then darken it again with a glaze or wash.

 

If you don't want to have a reference I have found that an oblong/semi-oblong highlight area works well for a highlight on the top of the head (leaving the hair parting line dark). Other areas of highlight are: raised areas of wavy hair, bottom of hair, and shoulder location of long hair

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Better, but long way to go.  I tried to specifically hit the folds of hair and then keep the crown the darker color.  Meh.   

 

I've got a ton of minis to test on some more.  Glad i won't need to buy bald only ones like i feared.  Mini improvements.  Literal and pun.

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On 1/23/2021 at 10:05 PM, R2ED said:
Quote

 

@GM_JohnI recently found these brushes called Kolinsablon over at hobby lobby.  Dude... game changer.  I did the lining with both a size 2 and size 0.

 

Ink used was Daler Rowley - black. 

No dilution. Slow and steady. Only recently started doing lining, so all i can say is the brush definitely helped. 

 

 

thanks for the tip, I picked up a brush and ink this weekend.  I've never thought to buy ink.

 

I really like your color choices on the fighter with the antlers on the shield

 

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@GM_Johnthanks for the color compliments.  I made the original color scheme based on that shield.  The cape and pants were matching the blue.  I decided it was too intense, and swapped to other hero color - red.  The tunic was a cream color, too. What you're seeing is a nearly 80% switch.  Glad it worked. 

 

As for inks... wow.  They are amazing to use.  Thinner and easier to use.  Also great to touch up areas with.  Glad you find inks useful,too.

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Thanks for sharing your experience! There were quite a few things for me to learn from you - I will definitely try those inks when I find them!

 

About the frosted look: 

 

In my experience it has a lot to do with the combination of the paints you use, namely the amount of white pigments in them. The white pigments reflect the light very well and so they will tend to "stand out". If you are using a dark base coat (or a paint without white pigments) and dry brush with something white-ish you'll get that chalky look - which can be great if you're painting stone. But with hair: not so much.

 

You want to transition carefully. Start mixing a little bit of your highlight colour in the fist drybrushing round. Then carefully increase the amount of highlighting colour. Every round of drybrushing should be done lighter than the one before. Also it helps to use a soft dry brush - cheap makeup brushes are good for this. This way you avoid the accumulation of the white pigments in the paint on the edges of the mini (which is the reason for the frosty/chalky look).

 

At least that's the way I do it.

 

Hope that helps a bit.

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