Friday, 23 March 2012

Sergeant Nero - Painting the Mantic Orc Flagger - Pt.2

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, this is the second part of the article charting the painting of Mantic Games' Orc Flagger miniature.  You can read the first part here.

So where was I?

Oh yes...


The Flagger's cloak is split into two parts, the large mane at the top and the shorter hair making up the majority of the cloak.  Having finished the mane already, it was time to move onto the main cloak.

Now, everyone has their weakness - Superman has Kryptonite, a Cyberman has gold, Nicholas Cage has acting.  My weakness is fur.  Don't get me wrong, I can paint it, sure - but I certainly have to put a lot more effort into it than anything else on a mini.

I don't mind admitting that in the end, I was less than happy with the back of the Flagger - I had intended for the cloak to be the fur of a lion or some such big cat, so I plumbed for a sandy-yellowy-brown for the main body of it.

Sadly, though painted relatively well, I found that this colour was completely at-odds with the palette of the rest of the miniature - but having already painted it three times and being aware that there was scant time for perfectionism (being more than half-way into the competition time limit already), I had to grit my teeth and just let the cloak lie.

If time allows in future, I would be sorely tempted to re-paint the cloak a dirty grey-blue.  In retrospect, I actually think that this would make the flaming-orange mane look even better.

DAY NINE was the point in the competition that I had really been looking forward to since the start - the Orc flesh!

This stage is where a miniature goes from being a bit of metal with some (hopefully) nicely-painted bits on it, to being a living, breathing character.

I always like the flesh of a miniature to shine out a little bit brighter than the rest of it, so I always tend to err on the lighter side of caution.

For this reason, I basecoated the flesh with Goblin Green, using lots of thin coats over the Skull White undercoat, rather than one thick coat.  It takes much more time to do, obviously, but the amount of detail this preserves is well worth all the effort!

Though in terms of area, the skin was a relatively small part of the miniature, I spent a total of almost six hours working on it to get it right.

At the risk of repeating previous posts (Mantic's Goblin Sneek springs to mind...), the skin was shaded and highlighted with lots of blue tones, giving the flesh a cold look that would fit in well with the snow-themed base that I had planned.

I added a touch of Liche Purple and Necron Abyss to the original green, painting very thinly into the recesses over several coats, adding more Necron Abyss for the second, deeper, shading pass.

It's important to note that (though everybody has a different way of blending), you don't need your paint to be wet on the mini when you blend, nor do you need to continually alter the shade seven, eight, or nine times to get a smooth transition between your colours.  All you need is thin paint and a lot of patience.

The trick is to have your paint so thin that when you put it on, you virtually can't see it (seriously).  As long as you make sure that you don't 'pool' the paint on and that the area is completely dry before you add more, after fifteen, maybe twenty extremely thin applications, the translucency of the paint will have done all the hard work and you'll have a really nice, smooth, blend.

(Meanwhile, back at the Orc...)  I painted the highlights in two colour stages; a 1:1 mix of Goblin Green and Ice Blue and then finally, pure Ice Blue.


With all of the 'main' work done on the miniature, it was time to begin work on the actual design for the banner.

It was very easy to get carried away on the Flagger himself, without realising that the actual flag was just as important!

The image on the the right shows the banner after I 'pencilled-in' the design using a thin coat of Skull White, to give a strong, light base for the design.

Inspired by the flaming mane of hair on the cloak, I decided to opt for something similar on the banner.  Rolling flames, crashing like red waves across the banner... perfect!

Or so I thought...

I got about half-way into painting the 'flames' when I realised that I'd made a huge mistake with the design.  Even though I hadn't done any highlighting yet, I could tell that the design just wouldn't work.  The red and the blue just clashed terribly and the flames became lost in the undulating banner.

That was annoying to say the least.

The outline in the first picture seemed to be rather prophetic, as you can see from the finished banner below!

White worked so much better than the red because it actually dominates the flag, rather than clashing with the background.  It also is more in-keeping with the overall snow theme of the miniature.

I've not done a tremendous amount of freehand banners, so this was definitely a learning experience for me, but a welcome one all the same.


By now, the banner and the Flagger himself were finished, so all that remained were for me to finish off the last few bits of the base, and of course glue the banner to the main miniature.

The snow on the base was applied in three very thick 'gloopy' coats to allow it to 'flow' over the sides of the rocks, rasther than just cling to them like a thin layer of dust.  I basically mixed PVA glue with an equal amount of Skull White and applied it only to the horizontal surfaces, being careful to avoid any areas that would have been shielded from snow-fall.  The addition of white to the PVA is very important as the glue on its own will dry transparent and the resulting look is more grey than white.  Afterwards, I liberally coated all of the snow with Citadel 'Ardcoat to give it a realistic shine and take away the dry, powdery look.
Finally, to finish off, I painted on the blood splatters.  These were simply done by painting thinned Blood Red onto the affected areas before adding Chaos Black to it and then painting this onto the areas where the blood would be the thickest.  Finally, more 'Ardcoat was carefully painted on to give the blood that tell-tale glisten.

And that's it!  One Mantic Orc Flagger!

You can take a look at the finished model in the Flare Gallery if you want to see more pictures of the finished miniature.  Please let me know what you think!

And of course, if you want to know more about Flare Miniature Painting, you can...

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