Sunday, January 9, 2011

Woldwarden: Chasing the green glow

This model made its first appearance last Thursday in my less-than-successful introduction to Hordes.  I was so overwhelmed with all the new rules and interactions between units that it didn't get to do much more than walk a few inches and drop a forest template. In the future, I hope the Woldwarden does better, because I really like how it looks!

The stonework is entirely acrylic with a Raw Umber (Golden Fluid Acrylics) base and 3 or 4 successively brighter layers of drybrushed Raw Umber and Titanium White (DaVinci Fluid Acrylics). The first layer was nearly all Raw Umber. The last layer was about 50/50 Raw Umber and Titanium White. The brush I used was very large for miniature painting. I've had it for so long that the label has worn off, but I think it's a round synthetic sable size 3 or 4. It's large enough to make sure that the lighter colors stayed out of all the model's crevices.

After the stonework was finished, I went back and very carefully painted in the runes, using heavily-diluted Titanium White: 1 drop of paint, 10-12 drops water, and 1 drop of isopropyl alcohol. For this, I used a tiny brush (round size 1), and I let the paint do most of the work. Instead of moving my hand to trace the shape of a rune (which, given the shakiness of my hands, is a recipe for failure) I touched the loaded brush to the center of a line and let capillary action pull the paint out of the brush. It wasn't perfect and I still had to do a little tracing. But it helped me keep the lines relatively clean.

Once that was dry, I added a drop of Green Ink (Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India Ink). This turned out to be a little too dark, so I kept adding little bits of white (smaller than a drop, more like little dots on the tip of a very small brush) until I got a very light shade of green. Then I repeated the same process I used for the white paint.

The wooden areas are a mixture of acrylics and oil paint. The branches are Burnt Sienna (Golden Fluid Acrylics) and the ropes are Menoth White Base (P3). The tips of the branches are Raw Sienna (Golden Fluid Acrylics). Once the base colors were painted, I painted over them with a mixture of Raw Umber (Winton Oil Color), Ivory Black (Winton Oil Color), and Turpenoid. Then I let the Turpenoid evaporate (this took about 45 minutes), and wiped away the excess oil paint with a round cosmetic sponge. While painting the wash and wiping away the excess oil, I was very careful not to get any on the stonework, especially in the runes. If I had, it wouldn't have been a catastrophe, but it would have meant waiting a day for the oil paint to cure completely and then starting that section of stonework over from the beginning.

What went well?
Honestly, I am thrilled with this model. It's the first time I've been truly satisfied with the glowing runes (or glowing grilles) on any of my models . That's after 2 tries at the Sentry Stone, five (yes five) tries at the Shifting Stones, three Bonejacks, one Helljack, Lich Lord Asphyxious, and two tries at the Woldwarden itself. The results aren't perfect, but they are credible. And I finally feel like I know enough about the process that I can see the path to improvement.

What didn't go well?
There's still a lot of room for improvement. The runes are still somewhat monochrome, and I think they would look a lot better if I added one more layer of ink, this time with a drop or two of yellow ink. But since I was happy with this set of runes, I decided to stop while I was ahead. But now that I know how to get this far, I'll try to push it even farther on the next model.

I also think the lights and darks of the stonework could be better defined. If you look at the model's shins, you can see that everything looks fairly bright, and the recessed areas are hard to see. In future models, I want the stonework to look more like this model's forearms, where the recessed areas are noticeably darker than the raised edges.
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