Wednesday 9 April 2014

Painting samurai. Tutorial 2

This tutorial is about how I paint black samurai armour. Also in the tutorial I'm featuring how I paint that really closely laced armour.

Firstly I undercoat the miniature spraying it with grey car primer, you could also use darker grey. I don't undercoat black because I want the grey to shine through giving a lacured armour look.

Next I have allowed the primer to dry completely, then apply a coat of black wash, I use GW nuln oil.
Don't put it on too thick, this will act a a guide coat, but also forms the base coat for the armour.

Now I have added a few of the base colours, try not to use an over complex colour scheme, I feel most figures need to be somewhat muted, leaving a few boldly coloured miniatures to standout. 
However I usually like to slpash a bit of colour on the miniature, here I have used the bright green of the bamboo sashimono to add that splash, as I want the rest of the miniature to look dark. The horse furniture is chestnut, and the base colour of the horse is bay brown, at this point I have also painted the horses feet tail face and main black, as this is to look like a different black from the armour. And I have painted the spear tip and the mail metal. 

Now I have given the armour another coat of black wash also cover the sashimono, lance and tip with wash to give some base shade.You can see the armour starting to darken now. Also I have given a couple of small splashes of red to the miniature, I have also but the next level of shade on the horse furnature. And painted the under arms with drab, this part was lots of different colors, just pick one that compliments the colour scheme your going for, I find neutral colours like drab compliment most armours, however grey blue was often used, and that compliments most armour too.

Here I have painted the katana fittings gold, later to be washed with brown wash like agrax earth shade. For the katana case they were usually black, browns, reds or a similar colour to armour lacures 
Also the little bag on the back of the horse a neutral colour. Note on the horse furniture the laces on the side are where it is tied to the saddle so should be the same colour. 

Once you are happy that the armour is dark enough, usually three coats of wash for me, plus one more on darker parts, we start the tricky bit.
Using a mid grey colour on a smaller brush it's time to start highlighting the armour, just on the points that catch the light, such as the top of the cheeks chin and nose of the mask, the edges and brim of the kabuto, I have also put I slight crescent of grey on the upper helmet bowl. You will note in this closer picture that the washes have gone between all the lacing, I have not highlighted It and it does not need to be, this will save you a lot of time because you don't need to pick each lace out just let the washes over the properly dry base coat do the work, as the wash will highlight detail that's almost impossible to paint by hand for most painters. Just remember when using washes to allow it to dry properly between coats, and don't put it on too thick or it will looked botched. You can of course highlight the lacing I sometimes do but it's not necessary.

I have now started highlighting the bamboo leaves with lighter green painted the sash, sandles, and started highlighting other colours.

Now for the finishing touches, I have painted the clothes under the armpits blue, highlighted the bamboo with lighter green, and brown washed the horse furniture for definition. Also higlight the spear tip and sword fittings. 

The rest of the highlighting is up too you, I have not based the miniature so may soon update the tutorial.
Finally here are some quick tips to get a classy looking collection. 
Take your time, think about what your painting, not what your going to paint next.

Use complimentary colours, balancing bold colours with neutral contrasts.

Don't over complicate things for yourself, I also recommend you don't attempt eyes on these figures just let the ink slip into the detail. I have seen to many well painted miniatures ruined by massive eyes.
If it does not look like it needs highlighting don't bother.
Finally correct mistakes at the end, because you may forget where they are, and if you forget they don't matter.

Monday 7 April 2014

Assembling a mounted samurai

This tutorial is to help you assemble your miniatures, as the have some difficult bits and some collectors may find this helpful in getting their miniatures to look natural.

First you will need these or similar tools, please note if you use these kind of tools you should know how to use them safely and you accept your own responsiblity as they can be dangerous.

Next here is the miniature I have chosen, a variation of one you will have already seen, there is also a separate crest and steel lance for supporting the sashimono.

First thing is to use your files and scalpel to remove any mould lines, I will not explain how to do this as most of you will already be familiar with how to do that.
Then we want to drill out any holes for holding weapons sashimono swords.

Here you can see the hole for the sashimono this will need drilling, I recommend a one point two drill bit but one mm will be fine. 

Firstly put the miniature on a solid surface, use something to pad it so you don't crush any detail. Then support both your hands on the table, and place the drill bit central to the hole, and slowly gently drill the hole to a depth of 3mm, take your time so as not to break the holder on the back of the miniature. You can measure the depth with your finger shown below.

Next put the drill through the center of the hand, this is important to do properly as otherwise the grip on the weapon won't look natural. The slide the drill bit back and forth to get the hole good.

Next the sword will be drilled in

Finally you will need to drill the sashimono itself, look for the indentation to see where to drill.

Next prepare the head for fitting, although a the heads were fitted during sculpting, they may need something trimmed of the neck, depending on the figure. Use a sharp knife or file very carefully slowly remove bits of the neck particularly the edges and bottom, regularly check the fit, also turn the head from side to side to ware off any little obstructing bits of metal, as in the pic below. Bear in mind working with metal heads is harder than plastic because you cannot melt it with the glue.

Next prepare the head for the crest. Now unfortuatly the mould maker decided to remove all the crest lugs I made. So you may need to file a small flat area on the front of the head. Also I don't pin these just use good glue. And be gentle. These kind of miniatures do not take rough handling anyway, because I don't like the dwarf look. I personally recommend muti basing anyway as this protects the a little more.

Now to glue your miniature. Cut the wire spear using strong cutters, to a length you like, and glue the sashimono in both ends, glue the head in too, I recommend Turning the head a little as it looks natural. But some look better looking down or straight ahead. You need to choose what kind of character your going for. Then glue on the sword and yari.

And your done. Also remember that with forthcoming releases you can really customise your collection, and capture the real look of a samurai force. 
You can use these principles for all the miniatures requiring assembly.
The next tutorial will focus on painting your miniature.