Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Painting camo

We've had a few people asking about the camo paint scheme on Ali's version of Kara - so I've managed to persuade her to do a quick tutorial on how she did it.

She used quite a simple technique, but it produces great results. She paints the pattern, in this case - a base colour and two additional colours over that - then she simply glazes in the shading to give some form and definition. On the original version of Kara she went back in and added some simple highlights to the prominent areas (like the pockets), once the other areas round the camo were finished.

She has very usefully drawn up a quick illustrated version to show this along side the painted miniature. Her are some brief notes to go with the pictures.

The base colour was a mid greeny-grey, the second colour applied was Kommando Khaky with a little bone added. The third colour was a very dark brown - Scorched Brown with a little blue ink added. She kept the dark shapes smaller than the light ones, and always overlapped the edge of a lighter area.

Once the patterns were down in a way that looked right (don't be frightened to go back and adjust the way they work with each other), Ali added the shading. She mixed up quite a dark 'dirty' colour from Graveyard Earth with a little dark blue added - and used this to carefully glaze in the shading. The glazes were built up in gradual stages that are allowed to dry between applications. Obviously - the more applications to an area - the darker the shading comes out. Don't go too deep though, or you will obscure the camo pattern.

When you are applying camo schemes it's good to treat it like any other detail painting - keep the colour a little on the thin side, and don't overload the brush. Use a good brush with a fine point. It's also really useful to work from reference - so you can clearly see things like what patterns are used, and how the colours are distributed.

That's it! It's really best to keep things simple - if you try complex shading you will tend to lessen the effect (and go insane trying to smoothly apply highlights across all those colours...).

Just a quick update on orders for Kara - things are still moving a little slowly I'm afraid, but we are sending out orders as soon as stock arrives, so things are moving. We didn't expect her to be this popular! Thanks for you patience and support - we'll get miniatures out as quickly as we possibly can.



Friday, 11 December 2009

Kara concept art

I thought I would share the concept art for Lt. Kara Black with you. It's by Sam Wood, who has been working in the games and miniatures industry for many years. Sam did a lot of the concept work for D&D 3rd Edition and has worked on too many fine gaming products to mention here. We loved the concept he did for Kara - it was one of those pieces that I just couldn't wait to see sculpted.

The original idea for her was that she would be fighting an 'opponent' in a sort of mini diorama - and Sam did that concept for that piece too. For one reason and another we decided to just make her for the time being - but we may well re-visit the subject at a later date and let everyone see what it is she's been battling against!

The reaction to Kara has been extremely positive - beyond our expectations really, so we might be a little slower than normal filling orders for the next few days. Don't worry though, if you've ordered already, we have shipped one batch out this morning and there will be more going out soon. She's a great miniature, and I hope you agree she's worth the wait - thanks for being patient with us!

I have just about finished my painted version (hopefully she'll be done over the weekend), so I'll be showing her here soon after.



Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Lt. Kara Black

I've just added the latest miniature in our Limited Edition resin series to the Studio Store over on the main website! The latest miniature is our first non-fantasy release - we're delighted with how she came out, and it's a subject we certainly plan to explore further in future releases. The concept was by Sam Wood, and Kev White sculpted her in stunning detail.

I particularly like the pose of this piece - depicting her in the midst of a fierce fight with an unknown assailant - the recoil from her gun kicking her backwards. Kara is scarred and bleeding, but undaunted! She comes complete with a scenic base insert showing some great details - like her discarded helmet and a slime covered skull.

I have another painted version on the way - and that will hopefully be shown here in the next few days. Ali and I also plan to collaborate on painting another miniature, which we will show in stage by stage form on the blog. I'll also be showing the original concept here soon.



Monday, 30 November 2009

Blog Stars

Just a quick post about some of the blogs I have been reading (well mostly looking at the pictures if I'm honest...). A quick warning before I begin though - if you start looking at these blogs and clicking on the links they contain - you could loose hours of your life...

The first one is Dead Fish Painting - which is Sebastien Picque's work. I absolutely love his painting on the Smog miniatures - which is without doubt my favourite miniatures line at the moment. The creativity of Christophe Madura is just mind blowing, and Sebastien's painting complements it perfectly. Another amazing painter who has done some work on the Smog line is Angel Giraldez who is the staff painter for Corvus Belli - there's a lot of great work on his blog.

The next is Jerome Otremba - Amazing work here... I especially like the larger scale busts he has painted (and in some cases sculpted too).

Another painting and sculpting blog is Darkeden, featuring the work of Remy Tremblay - who produces some of the most frighteningly realistic painting I have ever seen - just look in the SFX section and you'll see what I mean...

This blog is by a painter who work I wasn't familiar with until recently, Guillaume Hemery. I just love the bright intensity of his colours. I like my miniatures to have strong contrasting colours, but he has really taken it to 11... His Bad Moon Orcs are just stunning.

Great use of colour on the work in this blog by Roberto Chaudon - really nice sculpting too.

I'll leave at that for now or I'll get lost in all the links between the different blogs! Plenty to look at though, and I have only shared a few - inspiring stuff.



Thursday, 26 November 2009

A plague on you!

Just finished the Skaven commission I mentioned in the last post - pretty happy with how he came out. I loved the miniature as soon as I saw it - except the banner... To me it totally unbalanced a beautiful sculpt, the figure itself has some of the best animation I've seen on for a long time.

I clipped the banner off the back-plate and built another from brass tube - decorated with elements of the original. I've always liked Japanese style banners for Skaven - and I wanted to give him a banner that looked like it has been around for a while, passed down between warlords - tattered and faded. The cloth is made from lead foil - the sort that you get on old battles of port or sherry. It's really soft and pliable and perfect for banners - I have a small supply that I hoard away for miniatures I really like.

The paint scheme is obviously quite similar to the GW studio version - and that's totally intentional, I really love the way that one's painted, and couldn't see the point of doing him in different colours just to be - well, different... I also think the bright red armour fits well with the slightly Japanese feel.

There's a lot going on with the miniature and banner - strong colours and fine details, so I wanted the base to be quite simple and muted. I didn't want something that fought for your attention with Queek himself. I cut out a small section of tube, lined it with brick patterned plastic card, and built a box round it. It's good to break up the smoothness of the brick pattern by cutting out some of the bricks to make them look like they're loose or broken.

Ali is pretty much done with painting the next Studio McVey release and we should be able to preview it next week - looks good, just talking about names!



Monday, 23 November 2009

Studio Update

Just a quick post to give an update on what's happening in the studio at the moment - updates have been conspicuous by their absence lately.

We just got the first resin casting in for the latest Studio McVey release - in fact Ali is sitting here painting it as I type. It's a great mini - and another first for Studio McVey, I'll let you guess what that means for yourselves! I had originally intended to have this one out before the end of the month - but I think it might just spill over into early December. We'll most likely preview it on the mailing list first - as we have done for the last couple of releases.

I have been busy with all sorts of things in the last couple of weeks - some of which I hope to talk about here at some point in the next few months, and filling in my 'spare' time with a commission from the new GW Skaven range. I'm really enjoying painting it - it makes a nice change from 40K miniatures, which I seem to have painted a lot of lately (when I say a lot - I mean a lot for me!). I hope to have it finished soon.

I have also been meaning to post a link to the WAMP Little Angels charity painting contest - it's for a great cause - the details can be found here.

More details about the next release soon!


Monday, 9 November 2009

Ali's Vitharr

Sorry for the lack of posts recently - we just seem to have been really busy in the past week.

Here's Ali's version of Vitharr - a very different look and feel to mine, I think you'll agree. I really like the gritty realism on this one - and there's some wonderfully subtle painting.

I have finished a few commission pieces lately - so as soon as I get round to processing the pictures, I'll post them here.



PS - Dropped off the next Studio McVey sculpt at the production company today. It's actually one half of a pair... More news on the release soon!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Seraphine : Take 2

Just a quick post to show the fully finished version of the Seraphine Ali has been painting for the tutorials - I think you'll agree it came out great...

What I find really interesting is how you can change the character of a miniature by highlighting and shading the face differently. Compare this one, to the Ali's original version and they look like different people.

She's also over on Coolminiornot, and just in case you want to take a really close look at the actual miniature, she's up for auction too!



ps - tutorials on Vitharr coming soon...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Race for life!

Ali just finished painting this great little miniature - it was sculpted by the very talented Andrew Rae as a prize for a fund raiser for Cancer Research UK. A couple of the chaps over at Frothers Unite are running a raffle and Ali's version of the miniature is one of the prizes. It's a great cause and tickets are only £10 each - but hurry, the draw in on November 1st!


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Vitharr Bearclaw!

I have just added the latest Studio McVey miniature to the Studio Store - Vitharr Bearclaw is a six-piece resin miniature, and as with the previous releases it is limited to 750 castings. As I mentioned over on the main site - like previous releases, we are continuing the free prize draw for one of the Studio painted versions - either mine of Ali's. My version is the one shown here, and we'll be showing Ali's version on the blog soon - I have to say it's well up to her usual standard and is looking stunning...

The concept for this one was by Karl Kopinski and the sculpt was by Thomas David - who has done so much amazing work for the Helldorado range. The detail on the sculpt is mind-blowing - and I have to say it was a pleasure to paint. As with all well sculpted miniatures, so much of the work is done for you by the crispness of the detail.

We've included a little scenic base insert with this one - just to give him some extra atmosphere. It fits neatly into the top of the 40mm display base. He also comes with two variant heads - with and without helm.

We'll be doing some stage by stage articles here in the next couple of weeks - maybe not for the entire miniature, but certainly looking at painting some of the features of this miniature.

Hope you like Vitharr - we think he hits the same mark for quality and character as the previous Studio McVey miniatures.



PS - Just in case you aren't signed up to the mailing list - I'm afraid I have to tell you, that you missed an exclusive offer on the release of this miniature...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Seraphine snake tutorial

Sorry it's been a while since the last Seraphine painting tutorial - but here's the next part, painting the snake!

It may look quite complex - but when you break it down into individual stages, it's quite a straightforward process. The photos are fairly self-explanatory, but here are some additional notes.

The first step was to paint the entire snake an off-white colour. In this case it was a linen colour from the Foundry range called Moss - it has a nice natural feel, so suits a 'live' subject very well. The snake was then highlighted by adding white to the base colour. Even though a lot of this (nearly all in fact) is going to be covered, it's a good idea to highlight at this stage as it gives some 'shape' that will help you with the rest of the painting. The highlights help to define the upper and lower halves of the snake - thankfully it's very realistically sculpted and that makes the painting a lot easier.

It's really important to find some good reference for things like this - the added realism that copying from a real subject brings can make all the difference. Once Ali had found some reference she was happy with she broke the pattern down into logical steps.

The first picture shows the white highlighted and the pattern painted in black - try and be as neat as you can here, if you aren't happy with the markings at this stage, you can change the shape and neaten them up with the base colour. Once you are satisfied with the layout of the patches, paint inside each one with a camo-green colour. This is applied quite thinned down in two coats, for a slightly blotchy effect which makes it look softer and more natural.

Once you are happy with the patches, paint between the markings with a mix of greeny-brown and white - this is applied very thin as a controlled glaze to tint over the base colour. Leave a little of the base colour showing in a line round some of the markings.

The final stage is to add some pure white highlights to give the skin a natural sheen. These were applied as dots of pure white that were quickly blended in with a damp brush.

Ali has finished painting this version of Seraphine now - and I will be publishing it here in the next few days. In the mean time keep a look out for the next Studio McVey miniature - Vitharr Bearclaw!



Friday, 9 October 2009

Brother Goriel

I picked up a copy of the new Limited Edition Space Hulk box set a little while ago - not for the game though, I have never played Space Hulk (or many other games for that matter...) - but for the fantastic miniatures. I think the plastics in this box are amongst the best GW has ever produced. There is some amazingly fine detail on the Terminators, and they have been really smart with the way they have designed them - creating strong animation with minimal drafting (which is what causes some of the detail to be smeared on plastic miniatures).

Alison and I plan to paint some of them over the next few months - just between other projects really. I thought I'd start with Brother Goriel - I like the pose and detail a lot on this miniature. The Genestealer head also offered a good opportunity to add extra interest.

I've added him to the Studio Store on the main Studio McVey site


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Seraphine face tutorial

Here's the second part of the tutorial about how to paint the skin on Seraphine Le Roux - this time concentrating on the face.

It's generally best to paint the face separately from the rest of the skin on a miniature - especially if there is a lot of skin showing. This allows you to really concentrate your efforts on the face - it's the focal point, so will draw the most attention when you're looking at the miniature. Of course you need to make sure the face matches the rest of the miniature for colour and lightness - so it might be worth taking notes while you're painting the main area of skin. Actually that's another whole discussion - do you paint the face first or last...? Either way - it's a good idea to make sure the colours match!

Ali used exactly the same colour palette as the rest of the skin - a rich chocolate brown highlighted with a warm skin tone. See the previous Seraphine tutorial for details. The photographs are largely self explanatory, but here are some brief notes.

1 - First highlights. There are quite a few different areas to concentrate on when you're applying highlights to the lower part of the face - the cheek bones, up the sides of nose, down the bridge of the nose, top lip, chin - picture 1.1 shows where they are applied.
2- Highlighting the forehead with the same colour.
3 - Mainly going over the same ground but with a slightly lighter shade. It's important to take these first highlights up the sides of the nose - there's nothing worse than hard lines down the sides of the nose.
4 - Gradually bringing the highlights up further - covering less area than the previous layer.
5 - Lighter again, and then dots on the forehead, nose and chin to give a reflective shine.
6 - The rest is make-up really - the eye sockets are darkened after the make-up is applied there. Note how the eye make-up is taken higher than the natural level of the brows.
7 - A light flesh tone is painted into the eyes. Don't use white here - it's far too bright and stark looking. The eyebrows are added following the line created with the make up - this gives her a very 'arch' look. You obviously don't have to do it this way, but it does give her a little more attitude...
8 and 8.1 - The lips are painted dark pink - the underside of the top lip is darker because the light doesn't hit there. The bottom lip is highlighted in a couple of stages, and two spots of a light colour are added to give the lip fullness. Ali also added a final highlight to the top eyelids at this stage.

The last stage is to paint the eyes - not a great deal of advice we can give here.... Use a really good brush, get the paint to a consistency where it will flow smoothly from the tip, and keep your hands as steady as possible. Ali painted the iris deep brown, then black for the pupil and a final white dot to give the eyes shine... I know - makes you sick doesn't it! She says it's lots of trial and error...

General face painting notes - Use a fine brush and quickly blend the highlights as you apply them - work on small areas at a time. Female faces have less sharp definition than male faces, so try and get the blends as smooth as you can. Concentrate on lighting - if you get the lighting right, the whole effect will look much better - things like that final highlight Ali added to the top eyelid make a huge difference.

Ali will be finishing up this version of Seraphine soon, and we'll show it here. I don't know if she plans to take stage by stage photos of the snake, but hopefully I can persuade her...



Monday, 5 October 2009

Seraphine survives rabid dog attack!

Well maybe not actually rabid, but definitely vicious - well probably not that either, but it was definitely a close call! The above picture was sent to us by Andrew McLellen - who's dog, Ellie got to the post before he did the day the latest Studio McVey miniature was delivered. Seraphine managed to escape completely unscathed, but her certificate met the full force of the 'attack'.

We're sending him a replacement certificate - and we'll be happy to do the same for any other animal related damage...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Seraphine skin tutorial

As promised - here is the first part of the Seraphine Le Roux skin tutorial from Ali. She didn't take pictures of the original Seraphine - so this is a whole new version we'll be showing stage by stages photos from over the next few days.

The photos are largely self explanatory - the shots of the palette go with the picture above, and show the progression of the skin tones lightening as the highlights are applied. Here are some quick notes to accompany the pictures, the numbers correspond to the photograph -

1 - Base coat with a rich chocolate brown, being careful to not apply it too thickly and obscure the detail on the face. As usual - it's best to apply several thin coats rather than one thick one.

2 - To highlight black skin, add a warm skin tone (the one Ali actually uses is Butter Fudge from the Foundry range). Adding white would totally skew the colour and make it far too chalky. Follow the lines of the limbs when applying the highlights - apply small amount at a time and carefully blend the edges with a damp brush. It can be useful to hold the miniature under a desk lamp - and see where the light naturally hits the surface.

The highlights are applied thinly and build up slowly in layers - the successive coats will become more opaque and intense as they are applied. Just keep going until you are happy with the effect. You'll find that you cover a lot of the base coat with this first layer of highlights.

3 - The next layer is quite a bit lighter - add more of the fudge colour and some light flesh tone for this. With this application you will cover smaller areas of the surface - usually in the centre of the last area of highlight. See picture 4.

5 - Ali wanted her skin to appear sweaty and glistening, so there was a big jump in the final level of highlighting - and it was applied in very specific places. - A thin line down the front of the leg and dot on the knee, down the length of both forearms, a dot on the bottom edge of the belly button, a dot which is blended horizontally across each breast, the bridge of the foot, curve of the thigh, base of the back, and shoulder blades and buttock.

6 - The final stage was to add some deep shading to better define the shape of the body. This was a mix of the base colour and blue ink.

That's it for the body - Ali took pictures while she was painting the face (which is usually a different process), and I'll post them here shortly.



Thursday, 24 September 2009

Broga finished

Sorry for the delay with posting the rest of this article - things got a little busy with the release of Seraphine...

Here's my version of Broga finished. There wasn't really a massive amount left to do after the last stage - add the freehand design to the cloth, paint the back of the cloak, detail the face, and paint the shield.

I did originally plan to take stage by stage photos of the freehand design - but once I started painting it, I don't think I moved (of breathed) until it was finished. I do plan to do an article about freehand at some stage though.

I decided on a different take on the shield - it's supposed to be made from dragon bone and scales for extra protection from fire attacks. I wanted to make it look like bone - but with a slightly strange colour cast to it. I painted it quite a warm colour initially - and then shaded it down with quite a lot of blue.

I really enjoyed painting this miniature - it suits my painting strengths I think. Next up is Seraphine - and after Ali's version I am a little unsure about how to approach the colour scheme. It's a hard act to follow!


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Voodoo magic

Just thought I'd share the original concept with you for Seraphine Le Roux. This one is by Ali - yet another string to her bow... It certainly won't be her last either, in fact we are talking about ideas for future minis Ali's going to concept at the moment - one of which we're really excited about...

We've been blown away by the response to Seraphine - in fact it's been pretty much all positive. It's always a nerve-wracking couple of days around the release of a new miniature - we're always confident in the quality of the work, but taste in miniatures is very subjective. What one person might like - another will absolutely hate.

Ali has already started working on the skin tutorial for this one - and I hope to have it up here some time next week. In the mean time I will be getting back to the Broga tutorial (I know, I'm sorry...) in the next couple of days, just as soon as I can really - but we're going to be quite busy with packing and shipping ...


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Seraphine Le Roux

The third Studio McVey Limited Edition resin miniature is now available! I have just updated the main website, and Seraphine is now on sale in the Studio Store. Of course this is old news to anyone on the mailing list! We pre-released her to members of the mailing list at the weekend - so don't forget to sign up if you want to receive pre-release offers and exclusive news.

Seraphine is our first female miniature - and what an woman to start with! Ali drew up the concept for this one, and she was sculpted by Jacques-Alexandre Gillois (who also made The Raven Priest) - it really is a beautiful piece...

As with our previous Limited Edition miniatures, we will be giving away the Studio painted version in a free prize draw. Once the full run has sold out we will randomly draw a number between 1 and 750, and the holder of that certificate will win the studio miniature of their choice. I haven't painted this one yet - but I will be surprised if I come anywhere near the quality of Ali's version... So it should be an easy choice!

Ali is going to be doing a step by step article on the blog soon, to show how she paints darker flesh tones. In the mean time Ali has posted her over on Coolminiornot - please show her some love!

We're really proud of this miniature - so we hope you like her!


ps - I haven't forgotten about the step by step Broga article, I know I promised to get it all wrapped up before the next release, but the best laid plans...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.4

Here's the next part of painting Broga. As you can see, things have moved on a little from the last stage! I do have pictures of that stuff - but to be honest, it's not particularly interesting, so I thought I would skip on to the skin and talk briefly about the bits I missed out.

Since the last stage I painted the inside and outside of the cloak. The inside was painted in the same way as the armour - I took the highlights quite pale and then glazed and deepened with red ink. The colours were different to the armour though - I kept the whole thing darker and deeper.

I also painted the scales - these were base coated with Chainmail, washed down with green and black ink (with a little matte medium added) and re-highlighted with Chainmail. I picked out the shape of them by adding a fine highlight to the centre ridge and the points with silver. I glazed a few of them with thinned down turquoise.

The skin was a fairly straightforward process - mid tone first, then shadows, followed by highlights and warmth. The base colour was a mix of mid flesh with a little brown added. Our favourite flesh colours are Wargames Foundry - Flesh 5, then I add a little Dusky Flesh 6 to give it some depth and warmth. As with most areas - apply a few thin coats of paint to get a good, even coverage - rather than one thick one.

A good basic thing to remember after this is to keep the shadows fairly cool and the highlights warm - so at its most basic level this means, add a little blue for the shadows, and yellow for the highlights. In reality it means that I add some flat brown (and by that I mean a cool tone) and just a spot of deep blue (nothing too strongly pigmented) for the shadows and highlight with a warm bone colour. I do add some quite strong blue round the eyes and to the side of the nose - but applied very thinned down and in a controlled manner. I think this gives a little extra depth round the eyes and makes them stand out. You can see from the second picture in sequence where the shadows were applied. It's common sense really - the more recessed the area, the deeper the colour. So the sides of the temples are a little deeper than the base colour, but beneath the chest and main shoulder muscles the colour is really quite dark.

After the shadows are in, it's simply a case of building up the highlights. I start with the base colour and re-apply to the areas next to where the shade tones have been applied. Then I add a little light flesh tone, bone and warm off-white as the highlights get lighter. I like to 'light' the miniature quite strongly from above as it gives more of an out-door look, and apply the highlights accordingly. When the highlights are finished I add a little colour to the sides of the cheeks, lower lip and nose - you have to be quite subtle here of you can get more of a clown look than you might have wanted... I add a tiny spot of red to a deep flesh tone and apply as very thin glazes. I then add a small highlight over the top to blend the colour in a little.

The stubble effect is a mix of the base tone with a little mid-grey added. Again - I apply this in thin, controlled glazes, and add a highlight over the top. The last picture in sequence shows the skin basically finished (I do tend to go back in a smooth things out if/when I see something I don't like), with some lining round the areas that border the skin, and the eyes and mouth blocked out in deep brown.

That's it for this stage, I'll try and get another part out tomorrow - as I said, I want to get it all wrapped up before we release Seraphine! Ali has just finished painting her, and if you're on the mailing list, you'll be getting a preview ahead of the release.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.3

Here's the next stage on my version of Broga - actually there are two stages here. The first thing I did was to glaze the red armour. Unfortunately that process didn't photograph very well - the changes in colour are so slight between each glaze, I would have to show lots of photos that look basically exactly the same... So the first photograph in the series above is when the glazing process is finished.

I applied around 12-15 glazes of ink - and as I have said before, it's very important to use transparent ink for this process - it gives an intensity of colour that glazing with paint simply couldn't achieve. The glazes are applied very watered down and very evenly - if you allow it to pool on the surface, the finish will be patchy and messy. Dip your brush in the glaze colour and then dab it on a piece of paper towel to remove most of the liquid from the brush before applying to the miniature. You are aiming to apply a thin, even layer consistently over the surface. You may think 12-15 glazes will take a long time to apply - but if you give the miniature a quick blast with a hair drier between each layer, they actually don't take very long at all.

I used a series of deepening colours for the glazes - starting light and getting deeper as they go on. I also change the area that I hit with the glaze each time according to the highlight areas - so the first glazes is a mix of yellow and red (I aim for a rich golden yellow), and this is applied to the whole area. Subsequent glazes are deepened with more red, and painted onto the miniature avoiding a little more of the highlight areas each time. So the final glazes are deep red and are only applied to the areas with no highlighting - this effectively shades them down to a deeper, richer red. For the really deep tones (in the most recessed areas) I add some blue to the glaze mix. It's important you don't glaze over the highlights with the deeper colours, or you'll tone them down too much.

The trick with glazing like this is to be patient. When you apply the first glaze, there will be hardly any difference - but as you go on the colour will get deeper and richer.

The photos sequence above shows the loin cloth being painted. I knew I wanted to add a freehand design to this area, so I planned to keep the whole thing quite light and simply shaded. The base coat was a mix of bone and off-white, with just a little black added to take the clean edge off the colour. The next step was to roughly apply the shading - this is the base colour with a little more black added. I didn't bother blending this stage very carefully as I knew I was going to cover it again. When that was dry I used the base colour to clean up the transition between the colours. The next two steps show the highlights being added - and these are a mix of the base colour plus more off-white. There is actually about four stages of highlighting on those two pictures - just adding a little more white each time, and blending the colour in with a second brush.

The final photo show the loin cloth finished, and cloak with the base coat applied - it's just to show how much neater everything starts to look when you fill in the unpainted areas.

That's it for this time, I'll get the next part up soon. It should take to long to get through the rest of the miniature as I only took stage by stage pictures of some of the parts. With any luck I'll get through the whole article before we release the next Studio McVey miniature! Ali is currently painting her, and I know I am biased, but both the sculpt and paint job are absolutely stunning...

talk to you soon


Thursday, 10 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.2

Here's the first set of stage by stage photos for Broga. I decided to drive straight in and tackle the largest area of the miniature first - the armour. I decided right away (as soon as I saw the sculpt actually) that I wanted to paint the armour red and base the whole colour scheme around that. I went for a really strong saturated red - as if the armour was enamelled.

A lot of my painting, especially for strong colours like red, relies on a combination of over-highlighting, and then glazing with ink. I take the highlights quite a lot lighter (and paler) than I want the finished effect to be - then I put the depth and saturation back in with ink glazes. You really need to use strong, transparent inks to do this successfully - glazing with paints just won't work the same.

The first step is to get a good solid base colour to work over. I wanted a strong red that was somewhere on the deeper side of the final mid tone - if that makes sense... Basically it a little further towards the shade tones than the highlight tones. It was a mix of GW colours - Blood Red with a little Scab Red added. I also thinned the consistency down by adding red ink rather than water. It took me three coats to get a good flat base with no patchy colour.

The highlight tones were created by adding yellow for the first few layers of highlights, then off-white for the top levels. As you can see from the pictures, each successive layer of highlighting covers a smaller area until the final highlights are just picking out the sharp edges.

I took a picture of my palette to show the progression of colours. I like to complete areas like this in one go if possible - that way you can ensure continuity. Of course it's possible to stop half way through and re-mix the colour, but it can be difficult to get it to match exactly... I make sure to mix a lot of the first level highlight, as that's the 'pool' that you work from - adding a little more of the highlight colour to it at each stage. I also try and pick a time when it's not going to be too warm so the paint doesn't dry quickly.

You can see the armour looks far too pale and pastel at this stage - but that's what you need with this technique. The ink glazes will put the saturation back in the colour and make it almost glow. I also add shading at the next stage and smooth out any mistakes in the highlights.


Mailing list

Just a quick post to say that we now have a mailing list! Please sign up and you will receive exclusive updates, previews, news and offers.

Thanks to Poots for setting that up for us! - Check out his great new miniatures line, Kingdom Death.

I'll be posting the next part of the stage by stage Broga article today, so check back later.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Freebooter Mermaid

Ali just recently finished this piece - it's a Limited Edition Mermaid from Freebooter miniatures. Werner Klocke's sculpts are quite distinctive and paint up really nicely. I love the base Ali added to this one - she drilled out the top of a wooden display base, just quite roughly, and then lined the hole with greenstuff to make it a more natural shape. The little rocks were also made from greenstuff - as was the starfish that's nestling in the pool. Once the separate elements (including the miniature) were dry, they were glued to the top of the base.

Ali painted the inside of the pool in mid sea-green colour - getting lighter towards the edges. The rocks were picked out in various different shades or pale grey, sand and brown. There is plenty of great reference for beach rocks on the internet - a distinctive look is to paint faint veins of lighter or darker colour running through them.

The water was added with Gedeo crystal resin - it's very easy to use, but make sure you mix it really thoroughly or it won't set properly... Ali actually added a couple of drops of ink to the resin to give it a turquoise colour - it's very easy to colour, but you have to mix the ink in very thoroughly to it's consistent.

If you're interested, she's up on eBay. Ali also posted her over on CMON, so please show your support!


Monday, 7 September 2009

Assembling and painting Broga Hourigsen pt.1

I managed to take some pictures of Broga as I was painting him, so I will be publishing them here in stage by stage format - much as we did with the Raven Priest. As the whole miniature is finished, I will be able to get the entire series published here in the next couple of weeks (hopefully!).

Just a brief article to start with. There's not a great deal of cleaning to do on this miniature - most parts are good to go without doing anything to them, but three of the parts have sprues to remove. These are added to the miniature to give the resin a place to feed into the mould cavity. I have indicated these of the photograph - though it's petty obvious that they are not part of the actual miniature. The best thing to do with them is simply remove them with a pair of clippers, then trim any unevenness away with a sharp blade.

There are very few mould line of any sort on this miniature - but due to the complexity of the body, there may be a mould line down the side of the cloak (where indicated on the picture). Most of the castings I looked at had no line there at all - but this one did. It's a nice smooth area with no surface detail - so it's very easy to trim down and smooth flat. I use a sharp blade to get rid of the line - then smooth it down completely with a needle file. Part of the beauty of resin is that it's so easy to work with - and mould lines can be removed very quickly with no trace remaining.

Once all the parts are cleaned, they are ready for assembly. I just glued the pieces together with super-glue. The only parts that I pinned for extra strength were the lance and right arm. It's a good positive fit - but the join area is quite small and the lance very long, so there is a great deal of leverage on the join. It's a simple matter to drill two small holes and add a short length of wire between the pieces. I did add pins to the two different heads - but only because I was painting both of them for this article, and wanted something to hold them by.

I tacked the shield onto the body for undercoating, but removed it after that to make the body easier to paint.

That's it for this part, I'll have the next part up in the next few days, and will be looking at painting the armour.


Thursday, 3 September 2009

Completed Raven Priest

So here is the finished Raven Priest. The last few steps were quite quick and easy - the hands were matched to the rest of the skin tones, the teeth and eyes were added in, all the bangles were painted gold and the straps and necklace were picked out.

Once all the little bits and pieces were completed, I very carefully removed it from the base it was mounted on for painting, and added it to it's scenic base. This was carved from a slab of dry plaster (well hydrostone actually) and painted with sponging and washing.

This step by step was a fun project to do - I hope that it was at least a little interesting to read about!

The finished piece is up for sale in the Studio Store over at the main Studio McVey website.

I have just finished off my version of Broga - which was great fun to paint. I will be showing step by step photos of that one too - starting soon, maybe even tomorrow.

Talk to you then!


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Assembling and painting The Raven Priest pt. 8

Here's the next part of assembling and painting the Raven Priest - after Ali completed two parts of the miniature last time, I thought it only fair to push on and finish it off. The last two areas to paint (apart from some small details) were the sword and the spell-effect birds - both of which are small, so quick to paint.

Sword - The first version I painted of this miniature had a bone sword, but with this one I decided on a straightforward steel effect. I gave it a base coat of GW Chainmail - being careful to avoid filling in the fine rune detail on the blade. I wanted to keep the shading nice and subtle, so I mixed black with just a spot of dark brown and watered it down to a glaze consistency before carefully applying it to the blade. I shaded down the bevelled edge of the blade, and close to the hilt - building up the colour in thin layers to get deeper shading. I kept the effect subtle as a lot of the shape would be picked out with the highlighting.

The first level of highlights was picked out with Chainmail - I concentrated this to the edges, with a wider patch of light added to the curved end of the blade and another half way down. The metallic paint was applied quite thin and the edges carefully blended out. The second and final highlight was GW Mithril Silver.

The final picture in the sequence shows a little faint blue added onto the shaded areas - this gives a colder, harder feel to the blade and suggests that there is some reflected light hitting it. This was applied as controlled glazes of very thin light blue paint.

Birds - These were painted with three colours - turquoise, light bone and black. The base colour was a mix of turquoise and bone - when this was dry I faded the colour (not very subtly) by adding more bone towards the base - and more black towards the end of the birds. The next two stages show how the effect is made to look more subtle - basically by filling in between the colours with intermediate shades. None of it was blended - I just worked quickly and kept going back and forth between the colours where the 'blend' needed some work. I like to mix plenty of paint on the palette when I am doing things like this - and work quickly before it dries out. That way I have every shade I need right there in front of me. It handy to have a hair drier to speed the drying time on the miniature.

I have just finished off all the small details (mouth, eyes, straps, etc), and am waiting for the base to dry before attaching the finished miniature. I'll post pictures of the completed piece tomorrow.



Thursday, 27 August 2009

Assembling and painting The Raven Priest pt. 7

Sorry it's been a while since the last part of this series - we got really busy with the release of Broga and have only just managed to get back to The Raven Priest. Here's two parts in one go though - the loin cloth and the hair, both painted by Ali.

Loin cloth - Quite a simple process this one. The base coat was a linen colour - which is basically a sandy buff colour, but with just a spot of green in it. I believe the one she actually used was a Wargames Foundry colour called Moss. This was shaded down by adding a tiny dot of blue to the base colour to give cooler shadows. As normal, the shade colour is applied to the insides of the creases - but on this miniature the bottom part of the loin cloth is over-hanging so gets quite a lot more of the shade colour - and even darker in the creases in that area.

The highlight tones are a mix of the base colour and off-white. You don't really want to use a straight white here - it's just a little too bright and harsh to mix well with the softer tones. The highlights are applied in gradual stages - getting lighter on the areas that would naturally catch light falling from above.

Hair - The base colour for this was a dark grey, with just a hint of blue added to give a cooler tone. The next step was to pick out whole areas of the hair by adding a highlight tone - it's pretty obvious which areas you should pick out - just look at the miniature and the way the hair has been sculpted. Breaking it down into smaller areas in this way gives a far more natural 'layered' effect than trying to highlight individual hairs... The base colour was highlighted with an off-white to get the highlight colour.

The white streak at the front was treated in exactly the same way - but the colour was taken quite a bit lighter.

That's it for this stage - just the sword and birds to go really (and some smaller detail areas to complete). I hope to get the whole miniature finished off as soon as I'm done with painting Broga... He's coming on really well, in fact I haven't had so much fun painting a miniature for a while - he's definitely suits my painting style more than The Raven Priest.



Friday, 21 August 2009

Broga Hourigsen Concept art

Here's the original concept art for Broga, it's by Bertrand Benoit, who has done so much amazing work on the Helldorado range. As you can see, it's by no means identical to the finished miniature - Kev White brought some great touches to the sculpt that really brought it to life. There's some beautiful detail he added to the inside of the shield that was a surprise even to me until I saw it!

I working on my painted version of Broga at the moment, and hope to have it posted here in the next few days - I have to say that it's really enjoyable to paint.


Thursday, 20 August 2009

Base insert

Just a quick post to show the base insert. We do plan to do more of these for future miniatures - it just depends on what we think is suitable for a certain release. It fits exactly into a 40mm base.

I should be posting some more today - I have the original concept art to share, so check back later.


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Dragon Hunter!

Very exciting post today - the second Studio McVey Miniature is now available in the Studio Store over at the main website! The Raven Priest was a pretty hard act to follow - but I think that Broga is every bit as good. It's a beautiful Kev White sculpt - with amazingly sharp detail and lots of character. When we were making this one, we couldn't decide if we wanted him with out without helmet - so in the end we went for both! He also comes complete with a little scenic insert that fits neatly into the top of a plastic base. The production costs on this one were a little higher, but we decided to keep the price the same as The Raven Priest.

As with the Raven Priest, he's a multi-part resin miniature, and the quality of the casting is just great - we really couldn't be happier with it. The pieces go together very well, and you can't see the join once they are glued. I'll be posting a step by step on the assembly in the next day or so, but there really isn't a great deal of preparation work to do.

The above example was painted by Ali - and I will be adding my version (hopefully) soon. As with The Raven Priest we will be giving one of them away in a random draw! Once the production run is sold out we will randomly pick a number between 1 and 750, and the holder of that certificate will win the miniature of their choice. The more certificates you hold - the better chance you have of winning.

Hope you like him!


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Logan Grimnar

Just a quick post to share some pictures of Logan Grimnar. I thought I had him finished a couple of weeks ago - but when I looked at him again there were quite a few things I was unhappy with, so I ended up re-painting some key elements. It's amazing what a fresh perspective you get on something after you haven't looked at it for a while...

I think the paint scheme came out okay - I made a conscious decision to keep the whole thing quite muted, so I used quite a lot of brown tones in the shading. It's a good way of taking the clean look out of the Space Wolf greys - which can look quite clinical and lifeless if kept plain.

I also originally had him marked down for a snow scene on the base - but decided to be different and went for a dusty, dry battlefield look.


Thursday, 13 August 2009

Skarsnik and Gobbla

Just finished this for a commission. I really enjoyed painting Gobbla - it was fun to experiment with some colours you wouldn't usually think of for this miniature. I decided early on I didn't want to paint him red, then I saw this squig by Sebastian Archer (definitely one of my favourite painters) and thought a pale colour scheme would create a strong contrast with the darker main figure. I'm happy with the way he came out - I think he looks quite striking. I would have liked to do something a little more inventive with the base - but he comes on a pre-cast base and the client wanted him for gaming, so my hands were a little tied.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Assembling and painting The Raven Priest pt. 6

Just a really quick update on the Raven Priest stage by stage. I'm doing the next stage as Ali's busy painting something else. I just painted the belt and head-piece this time - they are both the same colour so it made sense to combine the painting. As with a lot of areas on this miniature - a little painting goes a long way, and the trick is to use the detail that's on the miniature to your advantage. I wanted the belt to have an ancient, antique feel so I painted is quite a faded gold with greenish shading.

1 - The base coat was a mix of Shining Gold, deep (warm) brown and a spot of silver. This was applied very sparingly to avoid filling the detail at all. You have to be especially careful of this when using metallic paint - the metal flakes can easily fill fine lines.

2 - The next step was to apply a wash to bring out the detail. This was a mix of dark green paint and a spot of turquoise ink. I added a little matte medium to get rid of any shine from the ink, and make it stick better in the details.

3 - I used the base colour to bring out the definition again. When picking out fine work like the raised design, it can be best to use the side of a brush rather than the tip.

4-5 - These two stages show the highlights being applied. I added silver to the base coat for each successive layer. The lightest highlights are applied to the very top of the sculpted design and the upper edge of the belt.

6 - The final step was to use a little brown ink to give deep shading at the bottom of the belt and all the way round it. This really helps to give some depth and bring out the shape.

That's it for this stage!


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Raven Priest at GenCon 2009

The Raven Priest miniature will be available at GenCon! The first Studio McVey miniature will be exclusively available at the Cool Mini or Not store at GenCon 2009. Their booth is number 1524 - right next to the Dark Age booth and across from Reaper.

My painted version of The Raven Priest will also be on display at the booth.


Thursday, 6 August 2009

Assembling and painting The Raven Priest pt. 5

Here's the next stage with the Raven Priest - it's my turn this time and I have painted the legs. This was quite a simple area, but the main thing to take into consideration is the fineness of the sculpt - the detail is so small and sharp that it really needs the minimum of painting - it would be quite easy to 'over-paint' and make them look messy. For this reason I kept the paint pretty thin and built the shading and highlighting up with a few simple layers.

1 - The base coat was a sandy brown colour that was slightly dulled down with a spot of black. I didn't want it to be too warm, and close in colour to the feathers - so I just knocked the edge off it.

2 - I applied a thin wash of a mix of the base colour with quite a bit of dark brown added. I used a flat brown to darken it - again I didn't want a warm tone. I also added a little matte medium to help it adhere to the surface better.

3 - The next step was to use the base colour for the first highlight layer. This was applied to the tops of all the prominent small creases. The areas you are covering are a little small for effective blending, but it's good to soften the edges where you can.

4 - Further highlights are built up by adding off-white to the base colour and applying to smaller areas. Remember the light is coming from above, so the tops of the creases will be the lightest. Photo 5 shows another, lighter shade added after the first highlight. I just added these two levels.

5 - The final stage with the leggings themselves was to blend in a little shade tone to give some depth. This was the wash colour with a little brown ink added. I applied this very thin (in a controlled way), and blended it in with a second brush. I mainly applied it round the edges of the bracelets and bangles, but also between the legs and in some of the areas of most obvious shadow.

6 - Here I have picked out all the small details. The metal bangles were painted bronze and highlighted with silver. I added a little turquoise colour to the shading to give an antique feel.

That's it for this stage! Just few areas to go now - the loin cloth, belt and hair on the main figure - then the sword and birds.


Friday, 31 July 2009

Assembling and painting The Raven Priest pt. 4

Just a quick update this time - Ali painted the inside of the cloak, and since it's a pretty straightforward area, it won't take long to describe -

1 - The Base coat was Red Gore with just a dot of blue ink and dark green paint added . That gives a nice rich dark red. As usual, this was applied with a couple of thin coats to ensure it went on smoothly.

2 - Shaded in the creases adding more blue ink to the original base colour. Shaded darkest at the top of the cloth and faded down as the creases widened, and also behind his legs which is deep in shadow.

3 - Highlighted the tops of the creases with straight Red Gore

4&5 - Further highlights were mixed by adding Blood Red to Red Gore - then a final highlight with yellow added to the mix.

Ali didn't glaze over the finished cloth but there is the option of glazing the whole thing down with red ink - if you decide to do this, take the highlights a shade higher than if you weren't glazing.

6 - Gave the whole thing a mist of dullcote to photograph.

You'll also notice the feather attached to the arms have been altered. A little buff colour was added to the tops of the feathers and blended in. This helps to create to definition between the layers, and also makes the effect warmer to tie in with the rest of the miniature.


Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Assembling and painting The Raven Priest pt. 3

Next up on painting The Raven Priest is the feathers - and it's my turn. Feathers are obviously quite a feature of this model - and while they can sometimes be quite time consuming to paint, in this case the sculpting is so neat - they're pretty quick and easy.

For this version, we wanted to pick a different colour scheme from the others we had painted - so I decided to go with eagle feathers as the main theme. They give a nice warm feel and really give the miniature a distinctive look. I always think it's best to make life as easy as possible - so I tried to take advantage of the crisp detail to help with the highlighting and shading. I starting with a light base coat and added shading in thin, controlled washes. I only used a limited palette of colour for all the feathers - four main ones in fact. A deep umber brown, a rich mid brown (GW Bestial Brown), a light buff and a parchment off-white. The only other colours I used were a little touch of black, a warm grey and brown ink for deep shading.

Photos 1-8 show the progression of the feathers on the cape. 1 shows the flat buff base coat - this was two thin coats to avoid filling any of the detail. 2 shows the whole area washed down with thinned Bestial Brown mixed with a little matte medium. 3-4 show deeper shading added as the feathers go up the back of the miniature - these are applied as thin washes with matte medium added (the matte medium makes the thinned colour adhere to the surface a little better - so it doesn't all run off the miniature). 3 shows the first level of shading applied from the third row from the base upwards, and on 4 there are three successively deeper shades, each applied to a higher row. Bestial Brown is deepened for the successive shades - first with deep umber, them with brown ink. I didn't blend anything - it's really not necessary as the whole effect will be tied together when the highlights go on.

Photos 5-7 show the highlights being applied. The first level is just with the buff coloured base coat - I decreased the size of the highlights as I went further up the cape. The highlight colour was lightened with off-white and the colour applied to smaller areas each time - picking out only the top edges of the feathers. You can see that by the time the highlights are finished on photo 7 - the fade from light to deep feathers is quite smooth.

At that point I decided it was all looking a little samey - so I added a little interest by painting some of the feathers dark with light tips, and giving others deep bands. I also mixed a deep shade colour and defined the edges of the feathers a little more strongly.

Photos 9-12 show the large feathers on the arms being picked out. I decided to go for something a little more striking here, so painted them white with black tips. The base coat was off-white, washed down with warm grey and then re-highlighted with off-white. The dark tips are umber with just a spot of black added.

13-16 show the 'rough' of feathers covering the right shoulder. I used pretty much exactly the same palette of colours as I used on the cloak - except a little lighter where they would catch the light.

Looking at the whole miniature in the photographs now (there is nothing quite like seeing a mini in photos to highlight the flaws...) - I think I need to do a little more work on the arm feathers, they don't look quite right. At the moment they stand out too much from the other, warmer colours and aren't quite neat enough. I can fix that when the miniature comes back to me after Ali's turn!

Not quite sure what Ali is going to paint next - but I would hazard a guess that it will be some of the fabric areas - like the loin cloth and inside the cloak.

I'll post pictures as soon as I know!