It would be an understatement to say that Iím very
happy to finally be painting again. What is it about this damn hobby that makes it so compelling? I completely respect that itís not for everyone, but for those of us who get caught up in itÖ mmmmÖ so good.
So, the first squad of Skitarii Rangers is almost
finished. I still have a few small details and a tiny bit of tidying up to do here-and-there but that's basically a formality at this point. They're all still held together with poster tack so the odd backpack or arm might be a little off. For some reason, Iím hesitant to actually commit them with glue even though I think Iím safe at this point, for fear of overlooking something that would be easier to do while theyíre still in separate parts.
To sort out my colour pallet and painting technique I focused on the Ranger squad to use them as a proof of concept.
Values, 1, 2, 3.
One of the most straightforward yet powerful concepts that I learned in college and it applies quite well to miniature painting. Used during the rendering process when you're colouring and/or shading an image to best communicate the form and detail, it's the simple guideline that you only need three distinct Values, light (1), medium (2), and dark (3), to create all of the desired contrast. Generally, beyond that point, any additional steps/values will start to have diminishing returns for the extra effort required to add them.
In many ways it seems really obvious and common sense but I found it surprising how often I would be working on something and wondering why it was lacking some visual punch, and then I would notice that there wasnít enough 1, 2, 3, value definition. Forcing this concept from my unconscious mind into my conscious mind was definitely something that took some practice but it pays off once it becomes more instinctive.
The idea translates well to painting where you can create a straightforward guideline to follow; determine the light, medium, and dark, value of each colour you plan to use and make sure each step is distinct. Naturally, thatís not to say there wonít be places where you may want to be more elaborate, but with or without blending itís surprising just how effective this simple approach is. Conversely, if a paint job seems to fall a bit flat, look at it critically and ask yourself if thereís good 1, 2, 3, value definition happening.
Group shot! It took a little longer to get this squad done, but now that I have a good idea what each step involves future squads will/should/might happen faster.
As I said, I still need to tweak a few details and do some minor cleanup. OSL really does force you to pay attention if you want it to be reasonably convincing so now that theyíre assembled there are a few spots that need some attention. I also want to boost the shoulder mounted lamps which are just not bright enough for my liking. The Vanguard weapons are also giving me pause as I continue to contemplate just how I want to treat the OSL glow with them. Iíve given them the first hit with the airbrush but I donít know Iíve itís too strong for the final look. Oh well, thatís a final puzzle to hopefully work out next painting session.
After years of painting predominantly black, the bold colours are also forcing me to accept that it might be time to upgrade my seven-year-old camera. The images arenít bad by any stretch, but even with a bit of Photoshop to adjust and darken them, the colours are noticeably more vibrant in the pictures than in person; in particular, the blue is bold but itís just not that
bright in reality. Itís not really a priority by any means but something with better colour accuracy would be nice at some point in the future.
The plan is to get 50-to-60 Skitarii done to roughly this point before I really contemplate how Iíll be completing the scheme.
That will give me time to finish the decal designs Iíve started and get them printed, ready for a marathon session of decaling them in one big batch. Part of me wants to try to add some freehand keyed trimming on the coats but the rest of me is a coward who doesnít want to screw it up. Thinking about it, I have an idea to get long strips of binary code printed in the smallest font possible (read: micro text) so it would appear as just a line unless you looked very closely. Iím just not sure if decals can be printed small enough to pull off the effect or how difficult it would be to apply the strips along the edges of some of the coats and hoods. I like the idea, Iím just not sure how realistic it is.
Thanks again for reading and following along. As always, any questions, comments, or general musings are always welcome. Mmmm... soooo
satisfying to get back to painting.