D&D

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When someone approaches you and asks you if you want to paint an old Confrontation model, and they want to pay you to do it, you don’t say no.

This awesome Confrontation Red Karnagh model was a blast to paint, and there are some gorgeous paint jobs for it out there. It’s seemingly static pose radiates strength and menace and I was instantly smitten. The client had pulled some images from Google, and picked what he liked from them which was super helpful. He wanted a tabletop paint job that incorporated grey skin and a snowy-wolf pelt for the helm, and one of the sample photos had very stark contrast on the armor that he liked. The rest we figured out as I tried various things and the character took shape.

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I had free reign on the cloak, so I went with red for a few reasons. One, this model will be for a barbarian in D&D, and as we all know, they often see nothing but red. Additionally, the pose doesn’t do much to convey the anger hiding within, so a little outward representation of that would go a long way. Lastly, I hadn’t painted red in a while, so I wanted to.

So, my starting point was the skin and the cloth. Those are the most internal points to the model, and it’s always a good idea to start there. I apologize for the terrible pictures, some of these were taken with my cell. As you’ll see, I also added some deep red as the shadow for the skin, further emphasizing the anger hidden deep inside the barbarian.

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After getting confirmation that the red was OK, and the skin tone was good, I started in on the furry bits of the helm. We had originally discussed red eyes for the barbarian, and blue ones for the six eyes on the helm. I also put down silver lining on the armor, and took a pass at all of the leather bits using a very familiar recipe (GW Rynox Hide highlighted with flesh tones).

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After bouncing these off the client, we made some changes. The brown leather was tossed in favor of having a uniform look across all of the armor and leather. See, I’d made the assumption that the armor was to be metal, when in fact it was a black heavy leather. Thus, metal wasn’t a good choice. We also decided to nix the blue eyes and go for more red on the helm, transforming it from an icon of the barbarian’s frosty northern heritage into a reflection of / a source of his power. I also re-did the fur, since the wash I was trying to use was just too stark. Lastly, I did a sample of the revised armor scheme to see if it was more in line with what the client wanted.

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Turns out the new armor was right on the money, so off I went to detail all the armor bits. We made two other minor modifications: the horns went from a brown-to-cream fade to a black-through-grey-to-cream fade, and we made the axe shaft be made from black wood, not brown. Making the model devoid of any color other than red really made the red stand out.

In order to keep the nod to the barbarian’s frosty home, the base was made to look like dark rock covered in snow. I scrounged some wood chips from my yard and went to work on a simple base. Some crushed glass and water effects later and we have a finished model!

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Prior to the NOVA Open, I delivered the last two minis in my D&D Party commission. These last two couldn’t be more opposite characters, and they were both a joy to paint for very different reasons.

First, there’s the flighty, easily distracted, icy sorceress, Kava. The mini is by Guild of Harmony, and it’s a gorgeous piece.

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Kava was to be painted in blues, whites and silver (and in fact, has a silvery sheen over her skin due to her silver draconic heritage). I decided to use most of the same palette I use on the icy parts of my Aquablight. I started with P3 Coal Black, and went through P3 Meredius Blue, P3 Arcane Blue and finally P3 Frostbite as the final highlight. Each of these was run through the airbrush, but the final Frostbite was added by hand.

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Her skin was described as “tawny”, so after some research, I found that P3 Khardic Flesh was the best primary fleshtone. I then highlighted up with P3 Midlund Flesh and some P3 Ryn Flesh on her face, and P3 Idrian Flesh for shadows. This was all then glazed with a very thin layer of VMC Silver.

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With hair that was supposed to be such a dark brown that it was almost black, that’s essentially what I used to paint it. I started with my darkest brown, P3 Umbral Umber, and then washed with GW Nuln Oil. Nuln Oil is great because not only is it a fairly strong black wash, it’s also incredibly flat, and kills any shine from the usually satin finish of P3 paints. I then highlighted the hair with more Umbral Umber, and some P3 Battlefield Brown (which is a bit warmer than Umbral Umber), and added a second layer of Nuln Oil in some of the darkest recesses.

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Overall, this was a blast to paint. I don’t often get to paint things with so many folds of cloth, and so much skin, so it was great practice at keeping blends smooth (mostly achieved through glazing).


The other mini I worked on was a half-orc warrior, named Myrawhl. She’s a very focused fighter, and cares little for flashy things. Besides a weapon and shield swap from the standard Reaper model (#60171), the client also wanted her to have a certain hair style (and there was even a reference photo!). So, I hacked off what little hair the stock model had, and sculpted a new ‘do. It took two tries to get it how I wanted, but I think it came out very well.

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The client wanted her to have ash-grey skin, so I mixed a few custom colors to paint the face. I highlighted with mixtures with more green and less grey, and shaded with mixtures heavier in grey. Her hair is highlighted in greys and white, replicating the natural sheen of hair. This also helped me “draw” the hair, and help the sculpting work portray the look the client wanted.

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The only other colors the client mentioned were red and yellow. Since the brass armor conveys lots of yellow, I used primarily red, using it on the cloth and shield. The only nod to yellow are the bolts. Since Myrawhl is described as a very practical person, I reasoned that her crossbow bolts might be brightly colored, so she could easily spot them and retrieve them for re-use.

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So, that’s the last two models in this party, but it’s not the end of the job. The client has one more model on deck, and let’s just say that he’s not nearly as heroic as these other six. In fact, he’s rather villainous…

About two months ago, I finished up the first two models in a 6-model commission, a group of D&D characters for a play group.  This weekend, I’m almost wrapped up on the next two.

Grimnir Anvilfist is a Veteran Dwarven Cleric of Tempus.  The model chosen was Reaper’s Dain Deepaxe, (# 02811), and there were two modifications to make.  One, an eye patch was to be sculpted on, and two, the symbol of Tempus should go on the shield.

The eyepatch was easily added, and the shield’s stock detail was shaved off with a hobby knife and then ground smooth with an egg-shaped diamond bit on my Dremel.  Here’s the end result:

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The other bloke I was painting is named Owain, a Tiefling Cleric.  His story’s one of redemption, trying to do good to make up for the demonic pact that gave him horns and a tail.  The model is based off a Reaper model (#03349), with an added shield from a Reptus Warrior (#14425).  Again the shield was cleaned and ground smooth before painting.  I also sculpted on a set of ram’s horns and a barbed tail.  The shield was to have a symbol of Lathander on it.

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Yes, one horn is shorter than the other.  He tried filing them off as a boy, but it hurt and he stopped.  Thus, it’s blunt and short.

All in all, a pair of fun models with lots of freehand painting on their shields.  Stay tuned for the next two models in this group of awesome D&D characters!