1. Copying kits is a crime that hurts original artists & producers. Help support your favorite artists by buying their original works. PlanetFigure will not tolerate any activities related to recasting, and will report recasters to authorities. Thank you for your support!

Online Workshop FERNANDO RUIZ cossack online course thread

Discussion in 'Workshop with Fer' started by Fernando Ruiz, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Hi all!


    There's only a week left for the start of the course so, as I said, I leave you here some comments about planning and setting of the miniature. So, here is Step 1 :).


    Although it seems the sensible thing to do before starting a project, not everybody sits in front of the miniature and stop for a moment to think in the context of the character and what they want to represent.


    When you plan the painting of a historical miniature, there's a whole dimension of documentation and info to have in mind. Some people consider all that as a nuisance, while others enjoy it as any other part of the process. I belong to the last ones. I like to investigate the story of the character, where did he fought and who was his enemy, which were his motivations and any other interesting information. For those who have some curiosity about that, I'll try to put into words that initial process.


    If you find any way to connect with the era or the character you're going to paint, the experience will be much more rewarding and the results will surely reflect it. While immersed in a project, some veteran painters read all they can about the character or his period, listen to OSTs of films related or displays images of paintings and illustrations about it on their tables. It doesn't matter how good at painting you are; when you put such love in doing things, it's always visible on the results.


    Our miniature is, as rightly stated on the box, a XVII century cossack. In fact, if we have in mind that he doesn't carry any element especially modern that mark any particular period, we can think about a character from a moment between the X and XVII centuries, situated in eastern Europe or even Russia.


    We have many possibilities here. Among many other times and places, it can be placed in the Hussite Wars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hussite_Wars), in the Baltic Crusades (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Crusades) or in XVI century Poland, when this country was the biggest in Europe. Having in mind a context is very useful for planning the painting and the scenery.


    In example, the scenery can be the frozen surface of a lake in actual Estonia or Finland, a road with a chart section that reminds us of the famous strategy of the Hussites of building defensive walls in battle with the help of their chariots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_fort), a wheat field in any place of Poland or Ukraine or a dense vegetation landscape in a remote area of Eastern Europe.


    Here we have some basic reference books links. They are the famous Osprey books, a true referent in documentation:


    http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/Armies-of-Medieval-Russia-750-1250_9781855328488
    http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/Medieval-Russian-Armies-1250-1500_9781841762340
    http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/The-Hussite-Wars-1419-36_9781841766652
    http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/Hungary-and-the-fall-of-Eastern-Europe-1000-1568_9780850458336/
    http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/The-Cossacks_9780850451160


    Of course, it's just a selection. Much more in their website :)


    For my version, I have chosen the continuous wars in which were immersed the diverse realms and principalities of the Middle Ages Russia. The Rus, direct descendants of the vikings who went deep into Eastern Europe through the Baltic Sea, hardly lived a moment of true peace. Threatened by enemies such as the Mongols of the Golden Horde, Hungary, Poland, the Livonian or the German Teutonic knights, this folk endured a true dark age of constant warfare between the XIII and XV centuries. Our miniature, with his rural but noble look, fits in the idea of a peasant soldier recruited from a village population (it seems the Russian term could be “peshtsi”). His weapon, a flail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail), is in essence a farming implement that can be used as a weapon if needed. That detail helps to reinforce this vision.


    After a bit of investigation, I decided to situate him in the Novgorod Republic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novgorod_Republic) around 1250. This important medieval state was a true power in Eastern Europe. They defeated an alliance of Swedish, Danish and Teutonic Knights in the battles of Neva and Lake Peipus. It disappeared after being conquered by Ivan III, Grand Prince of Moscow in 1478.


    Now, we only have to find documentation about the the diverse elements to use as reference during the painting of the piece. As the character is not complex and wears no uniform, is more a thing of personal taste than any other thing. However, always is a good idea to have a look to any reference book with pictures or illustrations about the period, watch the websites of reenactment societies related, search the diverse elements in Google Images or use any other resource. For the terrain, keep in mind that, as more complex is the idea you want to represent, more useful will be some pics of a real place similar to it.


    More links:


    http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser/Russia/Armor/armor.html
    http://www.xenophon-mil.org/rushistory/medievalarmor/parti.htm
    http://www.xenophon-mil.org/rushistory/medievalarmor/partiii.htm


    Sometimes, even if the images aren't particularly useful for the miniature, if they belong to the same period, can offer some inspiration.


    Next Tuesday, we'll start with Step 2 and the real work in the miniature. It would be nice if you have decided the context of your version.
    Regards
    FeR
  2. langeler New Member

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Sorry for posting on the instuctors Thread. Feel ashamed.
    Ton
    Fernando Ruiz likes this.
  3. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    OK. Let's start with the 2nd step and the real work in the miniature.


    The miniature right out of the box:


    [IMG]


    As you can see, the assembly is quite simple. As the material is resin, besides the cleaning of mold lines, we have to rectify the curve of the flail's shaft and seal some pores with putty.


    The tools needed to prepare the miniature:


    [IMG]


    Let's start cleaning the mold lines with a sharp modelling knife. Due to the resin, we can scratch the line with the knife in perpendicular position to the surface until there's no trace of it. In the most flat areas that require a more polished finish, we'll end the work with a bit of fine grade sandpaper. Don't forget any area:


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    When you do a hasty cleaning process, is very easy to find mold lines or other imperfections when you are already painting. This part of the process is one of the most important because, if not done properly, you can ruin the final result. You have to check the complete path of the mold line, even if it's not visible at first. Is the only way to be sure of having removed it completely. As we are dealing with resin, you have to check every inch of the miniature for bubbles created during the catalyzing of the material. In my copy, I just found one in in the chin, which was repaired with a bit of Duro without any problem.


    I've been thinking that, even if I'am not using the stone slab terrain included, I will also paint it in the corresponding step, in case that anyone wants to use it. So, that means I have to clean and prepare it also:


    [IMG]


    I removed the parts for the resin to enter the mold with the pliers and sanded flat the edges of the terrain with the emery board.


    The other thing to do was to straighten the shaft of the flail. As you can see, it's a bit bent, a typical problem with thin and long pieces of resin likes shafts, swords and things like that:


    [IMG]


    You just have to apply a bit of heat with a hairdryer until you soften the piece of resin. Then, you just keep it on the desired position while it cools down and we are done:


    [IMG]


    If you are working with larger pieces of resin and they are bent, it's possible that you have to immerse then in hot water until they soften and then, put them in cold water keeping them in the right position until the cool down so they don't recover their original form.


    After finishing the cleaning of the pieces, we drill two holes in the heels so we can place a pair of pins to fix it to the base. As it is a soft material, you can use a simple manual drill:


    [IMG]


    We glue the pins in the holes with a bit of Superglue. Try to have them parallel and straight, so they can enter in th holes in the base without problem:


    [IMG]


    The anchoring pins are ready. Now we glue the hand with the flail to the body. I haven't used a pin there, as the union is clean and the piece weighs almost nothing. Having it glued will not be a problem during the painting and there's one thing less to be done later. When building a miniature, you have to reduce as possible the number of pieces you'll have to glue in the last moment, with the miniature painted. Thats the moment when is more fragile. Just leave out those pieces that may difficult the painting process. In this case, is the knife. We can paint that piece glued onto the figure, but only when everything beneath it is done:


    [IMG]
  4. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Let´s start with the base. I've chosen a simple wooden base:


    [IMG]


    For my version, I have thought in a terrain that allowed me to demonstrate how to build a simple decorative element. In this case, it is a small road shrine with an orthodox cross. Later, this element will be useful too for practicing the painting of wood surfaces. First thing is constructing the element. I've used various balsa wood parts, cut to the needed measure for the shrine:


    [IMG]


    That's how it looks assembled (provisional):


    [IMG]


    It will be anchored to the base with a pin:


    [IMG]


    We will put it in other provisional base to paint it easily. The balsa wood is a porous material with lots of grain that needs some preparation prior to its painting. We have to seal the pore with something. I use the same matt varnish I later apply to the miniatures with the airbrush:


    [IMG]


    We you apply it on the wood, it tends to a rough finish. We'll need some sandpaper to get a smooth surface. Here is the piece, sealed, sanded and partially assembled:


    [IMG]


    Now, I add some small details, as the small planks that complete the cross, some brackets for the shelf made of Plasticard and some nail heads made of Duro. Ready to paint:


    [IMG]


    [IMG]
  5. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Having done the shrine, I'll start to prepare the base. First of all, we scratch all the base surface with the help of a Dremel and a drill. That will make a better union for anything we put over it:


    [IMG]


    Now, I drill the holes in position and place the miniature and the shrine as I have in mind:


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    If you look at it, you can see that I didn't placed the miniature in a full frontal view. I thought it could be more interesting to leave it this way and then paint the eyes looking to one side to reinforce that angle. Besides, the axis formed by the arms and the flail “divides” the base in a diagonal way. This solves a problem that appeared with the decision of including the shrine. This element should go in one corner so you can see it behind the miniature. In that case, with the miniature in a frontal position, the composition was somewhat out of balance. That way is better.


    Let's talk for a moment about composition. Great part of the success when planing a figure stems from the composition. It's very important to place the miniature in such way it's the mos balanced possible in the base and you have to conceive any other element in a way that you get a scene that works from a visual point. Besides, the base needs to be of the exact size to tell the story you have in mind, non a single centimeter more. If the base is too big, the observer attention wanders in a terrain that most of the times doesn't add anything important to the scene. Even if you decide to include an element of scenery, the less space it takes up, the better... It's better to build a section or fragment of it than place the whole thing if it's too big. In that case, your miniature can get lost in its background.


    As a proof of that, you can try the following; check some works of great scale modelers having that in mind and you'll see that is hard to find some works with elements distracting the attention from the miniature itself or take up too much space without adding something to the scene. The thing is that every element must be there to enrich the scene and balance the composition.


    Let's start the terrain. I'll do mine with Aguaplast (some kind of pre-mixed plaster for walls repairs), the stuff I normally use for that:


    [IMG]


    You can surely find some similar product at hand or use any other putty suitable. I give a coat with the basic shape I want for the terrain. Before that, I placed some sections of wire in th holes so the plaster doesn't cover them. I apply it with a palette knife:


    [IMG]


    When I have it the way I want it, I let it dry a bit (an hour or so) befor I go on:


    [IMG]


    Now, I place the miniature and the shrine so they mark their position in the terrain. I leave the there while it harden, I'll take them out later. In this step, you can add more plaster and soften a bit the stuff with a wet brush:


    [IMG]


    Now it's dry, I can remove the elements and start the work on the texture of the terrain. As it is a simple ground with some vegetation, you can just glue a bit of thin sand and small stones with wood glue. I'll use some cement, as it includes diverse size fragments. Besides, we can add some bigger stones:


    [IMG]


    Of course, you have to avoid that the sand gets glued to any contact point with the miniature or any other element ;).


    Terrain is done, apart from the vegetation, that I put at the end. They will be mainly some bushes or tall grass of various thickness. I'll add a particularly big bush near the shrine, behind the miniature, so the composition gets better balanced.


    Now for the painting planing. I've thought about painting it in similar tones as the ones of the version of the box art. A simple but effective scheme that allows some practice without complications (my friend Ernest has a nice talent choosing tones ;)). I said I'll do a list with the needed acrylic colors for those of you who are used to oil paintings. Keep in mind that it's very difficult to know 100% beforehand which colors I'll use. And hose will be the ones for my version, of course. In any case, tomorrow I'll post a list of the colors I have in mind so you can buy anything you need or consider proper.


    If you paint anything in a different color than my version and don't know which tones you can use, just let me know and we'll come up with something.


    So, that was step 2. Next step in 15 days. Any doubt, just ask. Now, I wanna see you shoulders to the wheel!


    Regards
    FeR
  6. megroot A Fixture

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Fernando,
    Even if i don't participate in this online course, i really like what you are teaching.
    I learn also from this.
    So keep up the good work. Its great to learn.

    marc
    Fernando Ruiz likes this.
  7. sirhogr Member

    Country:
    Greece
    Nice touch the road shrine Fernando!
    Fernando Ruiz likes this.
  8. Instructorrob Active Member

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Nice to see we're off. LUckily, now I don't have to worry about what to do tonight :)
    Fernando Ruiz likes this.
  9. Patrick Kamsma Active Member

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Time to clean the workbench, get my tools and brushes and find a base.
    It's nice to know we have two weeks.

    Now, where did I left that figure?........ :D

    Grtz
    Patrick
  10. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    :D:D:D
  11. Meehan34 A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Just so you don't think I am slacking, my figure isn't here yet. Probably most U.S people don't have it yet, customs has been a bear on shipments. But i can pick out my base, what size did you go with?
  12. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Hi, Mike!
    I hope they arrive soon enough to avoid that anyone gets behind... For the base, it depends greatly if you're going to include any scenery element. If you are going to put the miniature alone, I recomend a base not larger than 40x40mm. Maybe even smaller...
    Regards
    FeR
  13. Marcel Active Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Great SBS Fernando with useful tips!
    I keep following your thread.

    Cheers,
    Marcel.
  14. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Thanks, amigo!
    Glad you like it.
    Regards
    FeR
  15. housecarl A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Looking forwards to the painting stage now.
    Carl.
    phc35 and Fernando Ruiz like this.
  16. red_duc_04 New Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Have any US modelers received their figure?

    I know they have been sent out, but I'm still waiting.
  17. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Hi, guys!
    I know I should have posted the 3rd step of the course yesterday but, although I have the skin areas painted and all the pics, due to work issues, I had no time to sit and write the explanations... I'll try to post it today or no later than tomorrow.
    To avoid any other future delay, I'll go ahead and finish the miniature. That way, I'll have all steps ready to be posted in time.
    Regards
    FeR
  18. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Hi, guys!


    I'm sorry for this few days delay in the course. I had some unexpected work and I had no time to sit down and write the 3.1 step until now.


    In order to avoid any future delays, I will advance ahead with the painting so, when time comes to post new advances, I'll have them already done.


    Well. I start with bit of Citadel's white primer (as I use to).


    [IMG]


    As always, it's better to apply a thin coat than a gross ones that could obscure any detail of the model. Also, it's the perfect moment to double check the mould lines, bubbles or anything that could need fixing.


    For the skin tone, I'll use a simple palette:

    [IMG]

    From left to right, Ivory, Basic Skintone, Khaki, Orange Brown, Burnt Cadmiun Red and Prussian Blue.
    The base colour is a mixture of Khaki and Orange Brown. You can choose the proportion as you wish. The more Khaki added, more pale and grayish (as I did). The more Orange Brown, more bronced and even ethnic. For the highlights, we just add basic Skintone and a drop of Ivory in the last highlight. For the shadows, we add Burnt Cadmiun Red and a bit of Prussian Blue for the darker shade:


    [IMG]


    I don't use always the same palette for skins. Of course, there's many more combinations that work fine. But, in my experience, I start to favour simple mixes than you can always enrich adding any shade you like later, better than complex mixes that incorporate 3 or 4 colours just for the base tone. It's a problem when you have to put more painting in the palette, so it's hard to replicate all the same tones. In avoid that the acrylic paint could dry in a satin finish (in my case, a futile effort :)) I'll add a small bit of Tamiya's Flat Base X-21 to the shades:


    [IMG]


    We start with 2 or 3 thinned coats of the base colou in all skin areas, until we have a solid finnish. It's better to wait until each coat dries before appling the next one, in order to avoid any problem with the texture of the paint and achieve a smooth finish. You can speed up the drying time with a hair dryer (always in my table):


    [IMG]


    As some of you know, my system consist in painting a “sketch” to locate properly the highlights and the shadows. This way, I can get a quick idea of the whole thing and do any corrections in first place, instead of investing a lot of hours without knowing how will work everything together.


    I apply the first highlight with the base colour + Basic Skintone in the proper places in the head and the chest (we'll leave the hands for a later moment). You can't tell too much diference in the picture, but you can see the zones I talk about. Upper cheeckbones, upper parts of the nose, chin, lower lip and corners of the mouth. Upper part of the upper lip (where it joins the nose), upper part of eyebrows and the upper part of the lower eyelids and, with this colour, that is not too light, all the forehead and bald patch.


    [IMG]


    Now, we apply the 1st shadow, with the base colour + Burnt Cadmiun Red. The areas are the lower part of the eyebrows, the lower part of the corners of the mouth, the nose and the lower lip, and all the lower part of the cheecks and chin.


    [IMG]


    Now, the second highlight. We insist in the same places, but in reduced areas. That will create the sense of volume we all like ;)


    [IMG]


    And the second shadow. Now, the work is not too much refined but we know where to place everything and how much we can shade or highlight each area.


    [IMG]


    I add an extreme shadow in the lower part of the eyebrows and the part of the cheecks that joins the upper lip sorrounding the nose.

    [IMG]
  19. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Let's start the fun! With all colours at the same time in the palette, I start to blend the tones, giving the right shape to the volumes. As I use to say, I “polish” the areas. I add some extreme highlights in the points of maximun illumination. It's better to do this part of the job in delimited areas. I start in the left cheekbone area.


    [IMG]


    After that, the nose.


    [IMG]


    And the chin/lower lip. In this point, I also paint the moustache with the darkest shadow tone to get a better idea of the area. I also paint the upper eyelid of the already worked area.


    [IMG]


    I start the work in the other side. Also, I mark the other upper eyelid. Now, the eyes have more or less a defined shape.


    [IMG]


    More polishing and the forehead started:


    [IMG]


    Forehead sketch. I added a couple of wrinkles, as Ernesto properly did in his version so the area gets a bit more interest.


    [IMG]


    We start with the bald patch and the upper part of the head. The most important thing in this area is a smooth finish, without rough changes in tones.


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    Although it need some more touches, the basic skin work of the head it's almost done. Now we start with details and shades. I paint the hair and eyebrows, with the darker skin tone so we can have a global idea.


    [IMG]


    The white area of the eyes with a bit of the lightest skin tone.


    [IMG]


    Now, I paint the pupils with a bit of the darker skin tone. I had in mind the final position of the miniature in the base, so he is looking at the front.


    [IMG]


    Next thing is the reddish shade in the cheeckbones and the lower part of the nose. I did it with a bit of pure Citadel's Blood Red, really thinned and applied with the brush almost discharged of paint. The effect must be really subtle. With the same technique, I apply a bit of Citadel's Leviathan Purple ink in the temples.


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    Now, I have to decide the final finnish of the eyes and the hair. As he is a direct descendant of vikings, he will have blue eyes and blonde hair. With a bit of Andrea Blue, I add the light blue tone to the pupil. With the lighter skin tone, we add two small dots to serve as light reflections.


    [IMG]
  20. Fernando Ruiz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Spain
    Let's finnish the skin areas before doing the hair. The work in the chest is very simple. It's better to avoid overdoing too much the highlights and the shadows and try to get a smooth finish. The same goes for the neck.


    [IMG]


    The work in the hands is made in the same way of the other areas. We start with the basic highlightsd/shadows map.


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    After that, everything should be blended and smoothed.


    Let's start the hair. For the base colour, I make a mix of the darker skin tone and a bit of English Uniform. For the first highlight, I add a bit of Khaki and, after that, Basic Skintone. If you manage to get the tones for the hair with some of the skin colours, you get a nice and integrated finnish:


    [IMG]


    Now we have the hair colour, we can add the 5 o'clock beard and the subtle shade of the shaved head knowing we are not going to end with a too dark colour. We just have to add some subtle and thinned coats of the skintone of the corresponding area, mixed with a bit of Prussian Blue so we can get the grayish effect we want. In the head, I used a medium highlight with Prussian Blue. For the 5 o'clock beard, I used the darkest skintone, that is already a mixture of Burnt Cadmiun Red and Prussian Blue.


    [IMG]


    [IMG]


    The tones for the shades and details, (apart from those of the skin tone).


    [IMG]


    From left to right, Blood Red, English Uniform, Prussian Blue, Leviathan Purple Ink and Andrea Blue.


    Painting the face has been a nice and instructive experience. The only problem I've had is that, althought I added Flat Base, I couldn't avoid the satin finnish (my personal nemesis). It's not a problem for the face, as the human skin as a somewhat satin touch. When you see the miniature in live, it's not a problem but, for the course, as I have to take enlarged pics for the explanations, it shows some reflections that sometimes make difficult to fully appreciate the work. So, in order you can see it the better way possible, I applied a coat of Titan matt varnish with the airbrush.


    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    Enlarged pics are a useful tool to be able to see those small details or imperfections you have to do and you simply can't view in normal circunstances. In fact, after considering done the paintng process of the skin, I have checked the images and found a couple of things I'll still have to mend later. :p


    The miniature so far:


    [IMG]


    Any question, just ask.
    Regards
    FeR
    sarouman, kaz6120, Piotrec and 3 others like this.

Share This Page

planetFigure Links

Reviews & Open Box
Buy. Sell & trade
Articles
Link Directory
Events
Advertising

Popular Sections

Figure & Minis News
vBench - Works in Progress
Painting Talk
Sculpting Talk
Digital Sculpting Talk
The Lounge
Report Piracy

Who we are

planetFigure is a community built around miniature painters, sculptors and collectors, We are here to exchange support, Information & Resources.

© planetFigure 2003 - 2019.