Painting a larger miniature

So a while ago, I wrote about painting a regular 1" sized miniature. This time after painting a few more miniatures, I am ready to paint a large miniature that is 3" high. I am painting the Solar Angel from Reaper. The wings are detachable which makes it easier to paint the wings and his back. The plastic is fairly soft and flexible.

All photography by Fred Jung. 

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First, I wanted to prime it with an acrylic-polyurethane gray surface primer. Primer is used so that acrylic miniature paint can adhere to the plastic miniature. If not, the paint won't adhere as you paint it and also it is for longevity as paint could chip or flake off without a primed surface. Now they say it is better to airbrush primer onto the miniature. I do not own an airbrush nor ever used one before. I added primer using a brush.

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When using primer, you should paint a thin layer onto the miniature. You don't want to cover up the details or fill up the grooves and indentations in the miniature. Less is better. I removed the wings and primed both the angel and wings separately. I waited a day for the primer to dry but you could paint after 12 hours. Don't forget to wash your brush or you won't be able to use that brush again.

This guy is primed and ready for the base coat!

Base Coating

Sweet. My miniature is ready for the base coat. This time I do not have a manual on how to paint. I have to plan out what colors to use for base coat, the wash, Drybrushing, and drybrushing highlights.

Here is what I planned to do for the base coat. When doing the base coat, you should do at least 2 coats. Don't worry if the first coat is not opaque and too transparent. Do as much as you can without repainting the areas that are not covered. Wait until it dries before repainting. I usually use a hair dryer to get it to dry faster.

  • Skin: Leather brown & Candlelight Yellow
  • Hair: Deep red
  • Robe: Blood Red
  • Armor: Candlelight light & Desert Sand
  • Sword and dagger hilts: Mountain Stone 
  • Sword blade:  Candlelight light
  • Claw: Steel Blade
  • Wings: Steel Blade
  • Ground:  Mountain Stone
  • Robe flaps: Dragon Blue

Here I started with the skin, hair and robes. I used my size two brush which can cover much area. Being this is a larger miniature, it took a while to paint the base coat. The wings were very hard because it has so much details and grooves that it took alot of the Steel blade paint. 

Then I went onto paint the rest of the miniature. And then added a second coat so that the colors are more uniform.

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Now is the fun part is the wash. While the base coat took me a long while to do, the wash takes less time. Now make sure the base coat is dry. Wash is diluting a drop of paint with a few drops of water. It has to be translucent and use a darker color than the base coat. The wash is used to darken areas that would be in shadow and to draw out the details like the grooves of the armor and the crevasses of the beard. 

Here are the colors I choose for the wash.

  • Skin: Dark red
  • Hair: Black
  • Robe: Black
  • Armor: Dark red
  • Sword and dagger hilts: Black 
  • Sword blade:  Blood red
  • Claw: Black
  • Wings: Dragon blue
  • Ground:  Black
  • Robe flaps: Black

To make a wash, add a drop of the paint onto the palette and add drops of water. It should be watery and translucent. Like if you take the brush and paint a small section of a newspaper. If you can't see the words on the newspaper, its too opaque. Add more drops of water.

So I let the wash pool into the grooves, dents, and crevasses. I would wash one area at a time and use the hair dryer to dry it before going to the next area. Here you can see I pool the dark red into the eyes and mouth to draw out the details and darken them. The red wash on the armor draws out the details of the armor and adds a red tint to the yellow armor.

I added a blue wash to the blade steel colored wings to give it a cool metal look. The wings was hard to base coat, but the wash just flowed into all the grooves and crevasses easily.

Much of the other areas, I used a black wash in the robes, ground, hair, claw, and hilt of the weapons. You can see the shaded areas on the robes and beard because of the black wash. I added red wash to the sword blade to give the glowing yellow more reddish tint to denote red hot. The wash brought out the facial features more. But overall, the wash darkened all the colors. This is where the dry brush comes in.

Drybrushing base color

I don't need to list the colors of the Drybrush because I used the base colors for drybrushing to lighten it again. Drybrushing is opposite of wash. I lightly dip the brush into paint and then I would wipe most of it on a paper towel. You want less paint as possible as you be dusting the paint.

I only just Drybrush on areas I wanted lighten to the original color. I leave the shaded areas alone. I use quick light strokes. Like dusting your table. You don't want to get into the grooves or crevasses. Just the surface.

The changes the base color is subtle, but it helped lighten it from the wash. Especially the armor and sword blade, I dry brushed more to make it brighter. Since I was using yellow for the sword, I decided to Drybrushing the highlights of the beard to show the glowing quality of the sword blade even though drybrushing highlights is next.

Drybrush highlights

Now the fun part. Drybrushing the highlights. I want the glow of the sword to emanate throughout the miniature. I used Candlelight Yellow for all the Drybrushing highlights. Again same technique but I dusted the paint even lighter so I don't overdue the highlights by accident. I just kept dusting to let the color build. 

After the drybrushing, I added some detailing. I dry brushed some blade color into the details of the sword hilt as well as adding red color to the jewels. I washed some bright red into the eyes. And added more red wash into the lion face on the armor. And finally I am done.

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