Craft Section

DHL 3000 Kyra & Lavarath WIP

by Eric Polovich
aka ThePolo

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 14 2006, 12:44 AM

So, I got a package while I was out of town! Woot!
I spent a little time today doing cleanup. Wash, file, fill and glue... So much fun. A great model, IMHO. Just a few minor mold lines. The one I ended up with had the tip missing from the banner, and a very slight mis-cast on the wings (both sets)... but that seems pretty common with big, flat pieces. Such a purty piece in person!
All the pieces, laid out, washed, filed and cleaned. As you'll notice, I'll be using the Ebonwraith wings on Lavarath instead of the wings that came in the blister... Maybe I'll use those on Ebonwraith.
Leg and arm went on really nice. Easy to pin, and I probably don't even need the greenstuff.
My quick-fix on the banner. I just hope that the green-stuff'll hold, or I'll need to come up with another solution (probably more greenstuff, but with some copper wire in there for stability).
Waiting for the arm, leg, and head joints to set and dry before I pin the tail on.
Below are my basing choices so far. Gonna put em' on a big rock, I think.
Tomorrow I test-fit both sets of wings, and see which I like better. The other set'll go on Ebonwrath (my next 'big'project). After the wings are on, I'll be painting the two of them (dragon and rider) separately and pinning Kyra on as one of my last steps.
I'll update this thread as I go... wish me luck, ya'll!

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 14 2006, 10:15 PM

Okay, I made a little bit of progress today on my big friend here. First, I wanted to flesh out the base a bit so I knew what the 'feel' of the model would be. Last night, before I went to bed, I stuck the styrofoam together with some white (PVA) glue. I also shoved an old broken paint brush shaft through it to give it some stability (and to give me something to fasten it to the base with!)

When I got started today, I placed Lavarath on top, and outlined his feet (so I'd know what to leave behind). I also trimmed down the stick a bit... I left bout a centimeter in the bottom, and trimmed it nice and close up top.
Then it was just a matter of rough-cutting out some rocky shapes. I used a hobby knife to get the rough shape, and them carved out the details with a wire styrofoam cutter (not necessary, but I have the darn thing, so I'm going to use it!). Quick work, and always decent looking results. Styrofoam is great... even if you screw it up, like I did, it still comes out decent!
Then I hit that with some extra cuts from a sharp hobby knife, and then smoothed it out a bit with some fine sand paper to make it look a bit weathered.
Next, I drilled a hole in the base, and stuck that sucker on with some white glue. Ahhh... now I've got the makings of a fine base.
My next step was to come up with some way to attach Lavarath to the base... I went with some long pieces of brass rod inserted about 1cm into the feet, and long enough to fit all the way through the foam. I just drilled a few holes in the feet, and superglued them in.
I plugged the sucker in, and stuck the wings on to test fit... the tabs on the wings did require a bit of trimming to get them to fit snuggly, but the few minutes of work waas worth it! VERY imposing, eh?
I've still got some major gap filling to do on the wings, once I glue them in permanently. I've got 2 fat pins in each wing at the shoulder (brass rod as opposed to the standard steel straightpins that I usually use). I drilled them in as deep as I could, too. Those things aren't going anywhere!
Maybe I'll get to the greenstuff work tomorrow. I really think that I should let the glue dry for 48 hours before messing with it, though.
I bent the tail a little more than on the box, to make it hang down the side of the 'rock'. I think it looks a little more natural like that, and it breaks the 'base' plain, which is always dynamic.
I did need to get a beefier pin in there for the tail (you were right Neyuttad, I didn't even bother test fitting the little one...). I went with a thicker bras rod, in as deep as it would go into both ends.
We'll see how my progress is tomorrow night. I plan on at least doing some work on it during the afternoon.

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 15 2006, 05:22 PM

Okay. I had a little time before and after some errands today to work on the base. The last thing that I did last night was add some texture. I basically just threw some on the top to break up that big flat area, and added some on the sides where stones might have crumbled or fallen:
Once that's dry, I get to do a whole lotta drybrushing.
As for the rider, she's pinned, she's primed, and she's waiting for paint. I used a single straightpin in her arm to support the hand. I drilled into the arm to about the elbow with a pin vise, and went almost all the way through the hand on the other piece. Quick tip: shave off the little nubby thing on her wrist before you start. It'll give your glue/epoxy a litle more surface area to 'grab' onto, and it'll make the drilling qute a bit easier.
Now that she's ready to paint, I think that I might leave her on the desk for a while and see if inspiration strikes. (I've got a few minis waiting for attention before her anyway).
I'm almost done with the assembly... just need to greenstuff the gaps in the wings (is 'greenstuff' a verb? Hmmmm.)

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 15 2006, 06:41 PM

Actually, the weight on the draggon is really well centered... most of it's right in the hips. When he's on the base, it seems pretty stable...
Howver, now that you mention it, I might not want to take any chances. I may need to bust out the router this week and take our advice :)
However, the last few things that I've gotten done tonight are... well... done.
After the first coat on the base dried, I washed the whole thing with watered down black ink and picked out the parts that I wanted to be 'dirt' in walnut brown (Basically, anywhere that I wanted to add flocking material/static grass to later).
Then I hit it with a few layers of drybrush... My standard mix for 'stone', base with Reaper Pro 'Armor Gray', then wash with Black Ink, then drybrush with GW Shadow Grey, then VJ 'Cold Grey', then either GW 'Fortress Grey' or 'Spacewolf Grey'...

Then I finally did the same to the dirt (Walnut Brown, Brown Ink, Drybrush Chestnut Brown, Snakebite Leather, Bleached Bone), picked out each individual stone on the sides, and hit it with some static grass...
Not to shabby, eh?
I also finished my 'greenstuffing' (I've coined a phrase! Hoody-hoo!), so Lavarath is up for some priming before I go to bed. As usual, I've greenstuffed every joint, and tried to 'sculpt' the putty to match the surrounding areas... I'm not a sculptor, so we'll see how it comes out, eh? It shouldn't be too bad once the paint's on it.
Not bad for a weekend's work.

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 16 2006, 08:08 PM

Okay... so last night I primed, and today I'm ready to paint. Figured I'd update first, though. Since this sucker's pretty big, and I don't want to take a chance on ruining that base, I'll be using my hobby vice and an industrial size paint rig (works really well on the rods I glued into the feet!):
Now, ever since I saw this piece I had one of two paint schemes in mind... and since I'm not too keen on a gold or bronze color scheme I'll be going with blue. It's not often that I use a photo reference, but this image has been stuck in my mind since I saw the mini together. Kitiara from Dragonlance Chronicles, and her mount Skye.
Time to slap paint!

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 16 2006, 10:34 PM

Okay.. a few hours painting, and there's some progress! First off, I basecoated the whole dragon with a mix of Master Series "Midnight Blue" and "Sapphire Blue"... heavier on the Saphire than the Midnight... I'll want to work towards Saphire as my 'main' color, so I want a little darker than that for my base.
I did the basecoat with an airbrush, just so I wouldn't have to spend so much time with such small brushes. I thinned the paint a lot with windex (thanks for the tip, Jester!) so that it'd flow better. Worked fine!
Next, I wanted to get some work done on the wings, since they're large and flat, and probably the most challenging part to blend well... I needed as much time as I could!
First, I lightened up the middle sections of the wing with a mix of MS "Saphire Blue" and MS "Ghost White":
After getting the blending somewhat decent, I used a technique I picked up on 'This Old House'. I took some Blue Ink, and applied it to the webbed areas just like wood stain. I thinned it a little bit, and put it on thick... then, before it had a chance to dry, I wiped off the excess. This works really well for the large areas with little cracks and crevasses... I used the same technique on Verocithrax's wings last year. I'd strongly reccomend experimenting with this (or any new technique) a bit before jumping into it with a mini that you don't want to take a chance on!
After the ink dries, it looks really nice:
Then it was just a matter of lightening it up again, while keeping the definition:
Next I'll move on somewhere else, and come back to the webbed portion of the wings during my final details... That's it for tonight. I'll finish up the other colors of my base coat tomorrow (or Weds, depends on if I can sneak away to paint!)

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 17 2006, 02:13 PM

I started using Windex so that I could use Vallejo Game Color paints in my airbrush... it was a tip that Jester posted a year or so ago. Why Windex? I don't really know, but it works. I know that using alcohol as a thinner is common, but Windex was new to me. Maybe the amonia holds the pigment better or something?
For airbrushing (which I'm certainly no pro at) I use about 3 to 2 ratio of straight Windex to Paint (33% Windex, 66% Paint)... basically to your 'standard' consistancy of skim milk. When I base coat, like I did last night, I usually mix up more than I need in a cup, and use the rest to brush on in any spots that need touching up...
When I'm painting by brush, I usually thin with water, or sometimes the 'magic wash' mixture of Future Floor polish and water. Occasionally I'll think with windex, but usally it's only for base coats that are going directly over white.\

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 18 2006, 10:42 PM

Okay... a bit of progress, although it might not look like much. First off, I got the belly and underside done:
Since I'm saving all the metal, for last, that means that my base coat is offically done.
Second, I got my first wash done. I washed ALL of the blue (excluding the wings) in a diluted dark blue ink. This'll give me a little more definition to the scales before I start my next step, which'll be shading. But since there's a LOT of broad areas to deal with, there won't be too much of that... hence, the wash.
Tomorrow's geek night (Shadowrun 3rd edition campaign... 3 years and counting!), so no painting for me... I'll probably update this weekend.

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 20 2006, 10:20 PM

Okay... a little bit of work on Friday. The first thing that I did today was wash the belly scales with a brown ink. I wanted something that would soak into the cracks a little bit and darken the scales a touch... I plan on highlighting up from here and using RMS Amber Gold as my final highlight..
Next, I hit the metallic sections with a base coat. I was going to save them for last, but I got impatient. I used a dark metallic on all the metallics on the figure. (Game Color "Gun Metal").
Next, I used a mix of Black Ink and Blue Ink to shade in the recesses on the main body scales. I hit the muscles, the elbows and knees, as well as doing some general dark-lining to make the figure 'pop' a bit.
Final step this evening, I washed the metal in watered down black ink.
I'm making a little progress, eh? It feels like it's awfully slow going.

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 21 2006, 01:19 AM

Got one major milestone done tonight. I'm either finished, or close to finished with the belly scales. I went over the washed scales with Leather Brown on top, and Game Color Plague Brown on the bottom half...
Then, I layered it up by adding a darker brown to the mix, and worked that towards the top of the scales, and by adding RMC Amber Gold to the Plague Brown and working towards straight Amber Gold on the bottom...
Part of me wants to take it a little futher, but I'm not sure... I could see taking the Amber up a bit. Maybe hit it with a fine line of Desert Yellow or something... We;'ll see how it looks when I'm doing the finishing touches (whenever that is!)

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 21 2006, 07:25 PM

Okay.. a little quick work today.
First, I picked out the scales on the back of the hands and knees in Ultramarine Blue... I had previously already washed around them and in the cracks when I did my dark wash on the whole figure:
Then, I started layering lighter color towards the middle (using a similar technigue as I did for the belly scales). I first added some White to the Ultramarines Blue, but I wanted to end up somewhere around RMS 'Sky Blue' as my lightest highlight...
I let the layers get tighter and tighter, kinda like you would on a gem, until I was left with just a pinpoint of sky blue at the center of the scale... I ran through the gaps with blue ink again, and I think I'm done with these scales...

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 22 2006, 12:37 AM

On to todays progress... on the note of the belly scales, I give you the definition of 'monotony'. Lot's of scales on that tail. Four colors on each scale, plus the ink outline, that's 7 brush strokes per scale, that's ... too many to count.
Also, I finished up the eyes, and the horns. As for the eyes, all the pictures that I took came out horribly, so I put together this little animation of the steps I did... basically, painted the eye white, then yellow, then added the slitted pupil, then added in some reflections... hope this sums it up (animated gif):
Now the horns... in every picture that I've seen of Skye, the horns have been white tapering up to blue at the tips
This was something that I was going to skip, mainly because I've got a decent formula for horns... brown at the bottom, tapering up to white. I've done it dozens of times... but heck, if I'm going to try a photo reference, I should be true to it if the model allows, eh? So, I painted the horns white, and (while cringing) washed them in blue:
After the wash, I started to paint in wide bands, from the bottom up (leaving a little of the blue wash showing through in slits)... first with white, then with VGC 'Wolf Grey' over the top of it...
I blended up with RMS 'Snow Shadow' until I got to Ultramarine Blue at the tips... I went back and blended it all together as smoothly as I could, and picked out the very tips in GW 'Regal Blue'... After that is was just a little touch-up with the white along the bottoms...
I don't think they came out nearly as badly as I was afraid they would. In fact, I kinda like 'em. There's a lesson, kids, don't be afraid to try something new when you paint... You just might like the results!

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 22 2006, 01:05 PM

I'm thinking of going with straight old steel... Althought that might change. Right now, that's what the mini's 'saying' to me...
I wanted to put the wings on post-paint, but it was quite an undertaking to get them attached in the first place...

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 22 2006, 01:28 PM

I wanted to do a blue metallic with the armor, but now I just don't see it... Mini says steel, I must obey!

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 22 2006, 08:26 PM

:Okay... at least sick days are good for something.... progress! I got in plenty ofpainting Fri, Sat, & Sunday this week.
I'm down to details... General scalework on the blue portions, then just cleaning up the metal, and finishing his teeth and talons. That's really it. Oh... and the rider, which I started on today, but haven't made significant progress with (so no pics!).

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 23 2006, 11:16 PM

Once the base color's down on the whole thing, it's easier to get started. I think it makes the whole thing seem like a lot less of a chore. Before I got the airbrush, I did one large model by hand, and it took me 6 months to really get started on, since I'd often get frsutrated at not seeing any progress... After that, I used GW spray-on for my base coats, which limited my in color choice, but it made me get started a lot quicker!
Heck... after the base is down, it's the same as regular minis... just a lot more! :)

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 23 2006, 05:14 PM

When you break down all the little pieces, it certainly does seem like a huge amount of work... and quite honestly, it is a fair amount, and it does require some dedication.... butI think it's soooo worth it.
I paint for that 'fuzzy feeling' that I get when I finish a mini. Dragons, they're big.... that's big satisfaction! Also, I have a few of them scattered around my gaming space, and I swear not a session goes by that I don't see one of my players looking one over... again, fuzzy feeling. And a DM nothing is as satisfying as the look of terror on your players faces when you plunk one of these bad boys down on the gaming table... Flat out nothing.
But seriously, I hope I'm helpin'. The whole reason I posted it in the first place is 'cause someone mentioned how much of a pain she looked to assemble... then I just kinda got caught up in it :)

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 24 2006, 03:57 PM

Okay... first 'in progress' shots of the rider.
I started painting her yesterday evening, and the only part that I made significant progress on was the face. I decided to finish the face first, after I basecoated the hair and hit the armor with it's first coat of metallic blue.
Below are three of (about) 5 steps that I took on the face. I used the Master Series 'Fair Skin' triad (one of the first times with it!)
I basecoated with the medium tonethen used a light brown wash to outline the face and the eyes. I worked the 'Fair Shadow' in towards the edges, and into the recesses of the cheeks (as well as the chin... I figured a powerful woman should have a cleft chin, eh?). Then it was just a matter of doing the eyes, and highlighting up to the 'fair shadow' again...
Came out pretty decent, for my first time with those colors. I usually use a pinker skintone, but I bought em, so I'm using em! My only issue is that on the final picture (and the fact that it's so big, and almost out of focus) she looks crosseyed.

Posted by: ThePolo Jan 29 2006, 10:40 PM

Okay... due to some computer issues, the updates not as much as I thought it would be... got the rider base coated, and washed... I'm about 1/2 way home with her.
I've also been working on Lavarath some more... mostly little things that don't photo well (fingernails, etc...) I'll be getting to the more noticable stuff early this week, and getting pics up!

Posted by: ThePolo Feb 1 2006, 11:24 PM

Okay... so, lets try posting this again (weird board crash, right after along post is bad!)
Tonight I got some painting done, thanks to my wife's knitting night, and the obsession that this figure has become. I did manage to get some more done on the rider. Since the base coat is done, I worked on my first layer of higlights. I'm trying the whole non-metal highlights over metallic for the armor (it can really make the edges 'pop' some times). A lot of people don't like the look, but I think it's neat (and that's all that matters).
I'm starting to have second thoughts about the color scheme at this point... all that blue... Kyra could get lost, and look washed out. I think it's time for a test fit, especially since I had to replace the sword at her hip. I lost the original during assembly (knocked it off the desk, and it dissapeared into the carpeting). I replaced it with one that I had hanging around the bits box.
I worked on the teeth, talons, and scales a bit next... and, since she looked so good up there, I inserted the pin and glued Kyra to Lavarath's back. Yeah, I know... I should have left them apart until the end, but I was getting a bit discouraged with the monotony of the scalework, and I wanted to see some progress. Sometimes you need to do something stupid to get the juices flowing! Once she was glued in place, I did some work on the saddle... Bronze for the metal parts, and the RMS 'Midnight Blue' to 'Snow Shadow' triad for the pillow parts...
After that it was just a matter of hitting all of the steel parts with some Silver paint along the edges, and get Kyra's sword started (and eventually done!) Now that I'm getting closer, the time is flying. It doesn't seem like such a big project, just lots of little things to do. I'm really letting the miniature 'guide' me at this point. Paint a little, sit back and see what's left, paint some more, etc...
So. I finish the sword, hit Kyra with a few more highlights (I took the pillow part of the saddle up to titanium white), and I'm pretty near done. The only major part to do is the banner... and, man, do I hate freehand. Mainly, because I'm no good at it.
I think I'll spend tomorrow brainstorming about that banner, then give it a shot on Friday.
Pretty sharp so far, eh?

Posted by: ThePolo Feb 4 2006, 05:12 PM

Okay... last piece. I knew from the start that the banner would be the weakest part of the model... I'm no good at freehand, and I knew that going into it. I chose to go with a very simple design, and outlined it in black... it didn't come out too terribly, so I guess I did okay!
I'm gonna consider this sucker DONE. Glue 'em to the base, and we're set. This was a fun project for me.

Posted by: ThePolo Feb 4 2006, 05:11 PM

I had a great time doing the WIP on this piece. Here's a finished picture:

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