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Sculpting & Painting a Prussian Jager

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Billhoran, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. MarkL Member

    Hello Bill,

    beautiful work and thanks for the sbs, better than most magazine articles.
    Could you give a few details about your green mix, especially the highlightning tone?
    It's nice to see you go deeper and deeper into 19th German uniforms. There are many "uniform freaks" in Germany who count any button at a Prussian uniform but very few people actually produce figures of that period.
    Are you planning any cavalry figures? (What's about a cuirassier at the charge of Mars-la-tour.)
    Hope you go on posting your word!

  2. RobH Active Member

    Well, Bill, I've enjoyed just sitting back and watching this develop, and reading the questions and answers. Once again, it's a superb piece, and thanks for your generous answers.

    I have just left my bench while starting to make some new wooden cocktail stick sculpting tools, and it occured to me that you describe the toothpick tools you use (tapered and round) but I haven't seen a picture of one since the Gandamak article in MM.

    I was curious as to how many you use, how "tapered" is tapered, and what sort of speciality shapes, so to speak, you use?

    Maybe a picture? (worth a thousand words......) :)

  3. Marijn Van Gils New Member

    Hello Bill,

    Thanks for the answer! It is exactly those french canteens that are giving me troubles (well, troubles, I will manage anyway :) ). They are WW1, but other than a cloth cover, the design is basically the same as the 1870's model. A lot of fun to sculpt their funny shape though!

    Also thanks for the tips on the hands. Was it Stefano Cannone's influence that made you put more effort in the hands?

    Pitty about Euro, but I can't blame you since your schudule looks busy enough! :lol:
    I won't make it to Boston, and also not to Leon Rampante since I will already be visiting the AMT show (Valencia) at the end of april. Well, I hope Fabio Nunnari will carry around some of your work around the shows this year for me to see. :)

    Another question: any vignettes or dioramas in your near future?

    Best wishes,

  4. Billhoran New Member

    Wow. Gray! I'm getting depressed just thinking about all that stuff! I think you are making eye-painting more complex than it really is. This is how I do it (I have no idea what Raul's exact approach is).

    I start by painting in the "whites" of the eyes as crescent shapes, using a white mixed with Natural Wood. Once I am satisfied that the shape and spacing of the whites is correct, I paint a thin black line around the upper eye lid. Next I add the eyeball. I usually use a dark gray-blue color. This is the biggest step by far, as the size, shape and spacing of the eyeballs in relation to each other will have a big impact on the look of the face. Once this is done, I add a tiny dot to each eye for highlight. This would be a very light blue gray color. This needs to be a big contrast or it will go unnoticed. It also needs to be small - little more than a pinpoint (I think Raul's below are a bit too large).

    Don't mess around with trying to outline eyeballs, painting in pupils, etc. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to get that to look right. In 120mm that may be necessary, but not in 54mm.

    I sometimes paint in a light shadow colour along the bottom edge of the eye, but the real key for me is to "close up" the lower eye with a line in a highlight color.

    The overall appearance of the eyes will also be greatly affected by the quality of shading around them. Remember that the eye area is a single sphere, with the lid the upper portion, the eye the middle, and the bag below the eye the bottom OF THE SAME SPHERE.

    Shape and spacing are the keys to eye painting. Don't get bogged down in trying to do too much.

  5. yeo_64 Well-Known Member

    EXCELLENT reply on how to paint eyes,Bill (y) ! I'll have to give it a try for my next figure. Cheers !
    Kenneth :)
  6. bwildfong Well-Known Member


    Thanks for your sbs answer to Gray on painting eyes - this is exactly the info I was looking for when I posed my original question !

    Once again, I (we ALL) really appreciate the time and patience it must take you to answer all the questions about your "hobby" (BTW, does it still feel like a hobby to you, with all this mail to answer ? :) ) Console yourself with the knowledge that it's a mark of the incredibly positive impact you and your work have on this community.

    Thanks again for sharing !


  7. Billhoran New Member

    Brian, kind messages like yours make it a pleasure. Thanks.

  8. Einion Well-Known Member

    Hi Bill, super inspiration seeing your work develop before our eyes so to speak, appreciate the insight into doing fingers, I need to work on my hands now and I was resisting doing the fingers singly but it's the best way I see.

    Thanks for the sage advice on eyes too, considering them as a projecting sphere is one of the pieces of advice one will often see in portrait guides too. Nice to know one doesn't have to sweat doing pupils, I often kick myself for not being able to paint them accurately in smaller scales (mostly a matter of vision rather than brush control!)

    BTW, do you still put a gloss finish on the eyeballs at the end?

  9. Billhoran New Member

    Answers to a few questions I missed…
    Could you give a few details about your green mix, especially the highlight tone? Are you planning any cavalry figures? (What's about a cuirassier at the charge of Mars-la-tour). (Mark Lerach)

    Answer: Mark, I used Humbrol 88 (Deck Green) with some black added. Flesh was added for highlights, and black and Prussian Blue oil paint (how appropriate!) added to deepen shadows. The Prussian Cuirassier idea is a great one, but Derek Hansen did a brilliant one years ago, and I’m afraid mine would be disappointing by comparison. Maybe an Uhlan…
    I was curious as to how many (sculpting schools) you use, how "tapered" is tapered, and what sort of specialty shapes you use? (Rob Herring)

    Answer: Photo below as requested. I draw black lines around them so I can differentiate4 easily between these ands the plain toothpicks I use for other purposes. The one on the right end it a pick with some Press-stik (a South African blue-tack equivalent) that I use for picking up and placing small pieces.
    Was it Stefano Cannone's influence that made you put more effort in the hands? … any vignettes or dioramas in your near future? (Marijn Van Gils)

    Answer: Not that I can recall. Just an observation from studying my work in photos.
    Do you still put a gloss finish on the eyeballs at the end? (Einion Rees)

    Answer: I’ve never done that. In 54mm it is too easy to make the figure appear to be crying. The tiny highlight dot serves the purpose of suggesting moisture.


    Attached Files:

  10. RobH Active Member

    Thanks Bill, that's superb! and the blue-tac idea is simple but so logical!

    reallt appreciate the photo and your time answering!

  11. trooper Member

    Bill, if I may, one quick question. When you are using Duro or Duro/epoxy putty mix, do you use talcum power in rolling the mixture and handling?

    I have not used Duro that much, but I do like it properties. I am planing on using your suggestion on making rifle slings with rolled and quired Duro. Thanks again.
  12. Billhoran New Member

    James, I always use a little Vaseline when rolling out Duro, or a Duro/A&B mixture. A "little dab 'l do ya!".

  13. Billhoran New Member

    Gray, beware of the tendency to get things "perfect". One's concept of perfection changes with time in this hobby, I have found. Focus on doing the best you can, AT THIS TIME, and move on. As you get better technically, you will find your standards growing higher. Trying to match Raoul's painting skill might be too tough a mountain for you (or any of us!) to climb.

  14. Marijn Van Gils New Member

    Gray, listen to Bill! As this last advice is much more important than all the technical tips he has given already! This is really the only way to move forward!

    Also try to be happy and proud of your latest work (no matter wat imperfections you still see in it), just untill you finish the next. Then be happy and proud with that one untill the next. :)

    I am very sure that one will always keep seeing imperfections in ones own work, no matter what standerd you get to, so don't let it spoil your modelling pleasure or output rythm. Being able to see the mistakes is even one of the most important assets to reaching higher standards...

    Sorry for the preaching, but I see so many (often very talented) modellers around me bogging down completely because of wanting too much too soon. And that it makes me feel depressed sometimes... :(

  15. Guy A Fixture

    I agree with Bill and Marijn. I am never completely satisfied with any figure and I am sometimes the only one who can see, or know, any imperfections. I have painted thousands of figures and have never "dipped" any. I just look at the most recent and try to do better on the next. To me, each figure is a learning tool that helps me do better on the following.
    just my 2c
  16. Billhoran New Member

    This is a very important point for everybody, I think. After completing my first major conversion (31st Foot, 1846), I was very proud of myseld. I don't believe, knowing what I knew then, that I could have done any better. Now I would do almost EVERYTHING differently! My definition of what a well-painted, well-sculptured figure is for me, has changed enormously over time, as should everybody's.

    "Paralysis by analysis" is an affliction from which many modelers suffer. Studying sbs articles, getting input from friends, studying good work at shows and on PF, are all great ways to fine tune your own work. But still the absolute best way to improve is by doing - and completing - figures. Absolutely be proud of what you have done, and be excited about how much better the next one will be.

    Each piece we do is hopefully a step in the ongoing process of improving our art ... and if you're lucky, that's a process that never ends.

  17. diosytexas Member

    well put bill. i will finish the two i've stripped six times and in my way be proud of them.thanks dave.
  18. RobH Active Member

    Perfect description of myself.............

    I know, I know so well that I should finish and move on, learn, gain experience and expand my experience.

    Instead, pieces stop because I sit at my desk and ponder and wonder and study; then I find i've been at my desk for ages and done nothing!!

    Still. Paralysis by Analysis. PBA. It's got a name!

    time to shut up and get on with it!

  19. amherbert Member

    There are a lot of posts like that here too!

    Shep Paine's book has a good description.

    I find trial and error have improved my skills with eyes, and I'll have to try Bill's approach now.

  20. trooper Member

    If I may, I wish to offer my coments "never give UP'. I started out as sketch artist, painter, now sculpter. I have drawn, carved, pinced and slapped paint on them and run them out the door. I can always say, the next will be better, and it usually is. However, when you get chance to gain some insight with a true master, take it and put to use. Enough preatching! One question Bill, and I will leave you your evening. Have you or know of anyone who has used cruched pumus stone in putty to get extra texture in clothing, or animal hides. It may not be done at 54mm, but I am trying to find some tricks to texture, cloth, blankets, etc.. Do you have any experience? James

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