13 December 2010

Journey into Madness - Arctic explorer [Tutorial]

This is a model from the West Wind blister "Arctic explorers", comes with 3 male and 1 female models. I didn't like the look of the female model so I doubt I will paint her, but here's the first of the 3 male explorers.. The difference in quality on the pictures is because 2 different cameras were used. Started out with my own crap camera, and as the batteries died I borrowed my parents camera to finish the tutorial.

I knew I wanted to paint them to look like being part of an arctic expedition, with white jackets, though I didn't want to make snow bases since this would make them extremely "static" in terms of what boards they could be played on. And I also imagined them being used for "cavern exploration" or something similar to the Lovecraft novel "At the Mountains of Madness" where a small expedition finds an ancient civilization far down the Antarctic snow wastes inside an uncharted range of mountains. Thus the base is painted as grey cold rock.

I was asked for a "Face tutorial" a few days ago, this will be very similar to the "Painting flesh" tutorial, but this time I hope the amount of pictures (and maybe quality of the pictures as well) will make it easier to follow. And while I was at it I made it a full length tutorial of how this model was painted.

Step 1
After undercoating with black primer I nowadays tend to paint the entire model dark brown as well since I find it a good starting point for many of the colors I frequently use for my painting. The skin starts off with Vallejo "Tan" on the dark brown basecoat. This is then followed by a Leviathan Purple Wash. Once the Wash is dry I paint the eyes, as all my tiny brushes are worn out this got sloppy - but I always do the eyes this early on because you can afford to be sloppy as you are going to clean up your mistakes over the next few steps.

 Step 2
 Now with the facial features marked by the wash, I paint the face with Vallejo "Tan" once again, leaving the dark patches of the Leviathan Purple wash intact around the eyes, between fingers, near the hairline, along the beard etc. This layer is followed with a layer of Vallejo Tan mixed with Vallejo Dwarf Flesh, 50-50. This is followed by one layer of pure dwarf flesh. These stages are still quite "rough" but it's where you start to pick out existing details ( highlights on nose, eyebrows, cheek, chinbones).  When I paint my models, I always start with painting the nose as I begin a new layer, this is to see whether or not the tip of the brush is pointed enough to pull off small detailed strokes with the brush.

 Step 3
 Final highlights and hair is done now, I highlight skin with a mix of Vallejo Dwarf Skin and Bone White, mixed 50-50. Sometimes when called for, you can use pure bone white, especially on large models. But using that on this tiny face would make too much of a contrast.

For the hair I picked Charred Brown, Dark Sand (nevermind the bone white). Started out with mixing Charred Brown and Dark Sand. Applied it roughly on the hair area, followed by a more controlled layer of pure Dark Sand. Always paint away from the recesses, one line at a time, and always in the same direction (downwards).

 Step 4
 Starting with the jacket now, as I said I planned for it being white - as this is an Arctic explorer. I do however want to make it look a little "dirty" in tone, with darker shadows and a milky look rather than pure white. I will use the following colors, all Vallejo: Charred Brown, Beasty Brown, Bone White, Dead White. Starting with applying a first rough layer of Beasty Brown over the Charred Brown undercoat, to give you a general idea of where the dark patches and shadows will appear.

 This is followed by a layer of Beasty Brown + Bone White mix, 50-50 to create a "creamy" color in order to make the brighter tones cover more easy as well as give an interesting mix of shadows. Make sure to leave some of each previous layer as you progress with this step.

 This is followed by pure Bone White, you may need to paint one rough layer followed by one thinned down layer to get good coverage. The jacket is finished by adding one final layer where you mix Bone White and Dead White , again 50-50, and apply it in a thinned down layer as a highlight over the entire jacket. Try to highlight all wrinkles, folds etc with care.

 Step 5
The pants are just painted rather fast using a mix of black,  German Uniform and Bone White. The pants are really not that important a part of this tutorial, and you might just paint them in whatever way you like. As long as they create a nice contrast to the white jacket.

 Boots are painted with Black mixed with Dark Brown, nothing fancy. Base is drybrushed with dark brown over the black undercoat, followed by a tiny mix of Vallejo Stonewall Grey into the dark brown.

 And here's the finished result, after a coat of Tamiya Clear Flat matt varnish. Ready to test his sanity against whatever eldritch things that may dwell in the deep cold caverns of the Antarctic.


  1. Yay! I'm not alone in the cult of odd coloured washes! Great tutorial too mate.

  2. A very thorough and useful tutorial. By the way, the paint is just called 'Black', 'Negro' is Spanish for Black in the same way that 'Blanco Hueso' is Spanish for Bonewhite.

  3. @ Schlumpfsa, thanks. Haha yeah I know- a friend told me afterwards but I forgot to change it. Considering some paint names from certain companies to be quite offensive I just thought Vallejo had a brainfart when they labeled that particular bottle of paint.


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