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!

Trying to get ahead of the game

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Kimmo, Jan 29, 2023.

  1. Kimmo A Fixture

    Got around to doing something that's been on my things to eventually do list. Namely, how different coloured undercoats affect the final result. The final impetus came about seeing a head done with Verdaccio here recently. I grabbed a bunch of 1/35th scale heads in my stash (I could use the practice in this scale to be honest) and primed groups of them in 5 different colours, then one group with initial highlighting and shading a la Grisaille/Verdaccio, one smaller group with a grey scale and a couple of 75mm heads that I plan to try out something slightly different with. I will be trying out various skin tones as well. I had to double up heads as I was running out of corks to mount them on... Click on photos for full versions.


    Group 1 Primed (Normal flesh tones)


    Group 2 Primed (Tanned flesh tones)


    Group 3 Primed (Cold Flesh tones)


    Group 4 Grey scale primed (Normal flesh tones)


    Group 5 Pre-shaded (Normal flesh tones)




    Group 6 75mm Primed and base coated (Not normal flesh tones)




    This should keep me busy for a few days. I need to sort out my palettes for the different skin tones and will of course provide details on that as we go along.

    dmcHobbes, Blind Pew, Nap and 8 others like this.
  2. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    Wow that is a very painstaking experiment but will be great to see the results-look forward to following.

  3. KenBoyle PlanetFigure Supporter

    Fascinating! A real challenge. Can't wait. :)

  4. captnenglish Well-Known Member

  5. Kimmo A Fixture

    Cheers Keith ken and Matt!

    It is going to be interesting to see what we eventually get. Still playing around with colours and should get the first groups started by tomorrow.

  6. Steve Ski PlanetFigure Supporter

    This is a good exercise, to be sure. Standing by to stand by;)
  7. Kimmo A Fixture

    Cheers Ski! Even though I try to avoid exercise like the plague, this one I'll gladly do.

    So we've got the palette sorted out and some base coats down. The initial observation is that there are some very subtle variations, although in this scale I'm not sure if it will be worth any of the fuss in the end, time will tell.

    First off, the palette. You'll note Sunny Skintone is conspicuous by it's absence, I find it very tricky to control when dealing with such small areas so I thought I'd try some alternatives. White Flesh, Pale Flesh and Malefic Flesh are from the Malefic Flesh set. Click on photos for full sized versions.


    Group 1 (Normal) Iraqi Sand base, a recent addition to the collection and a perfect place to try it out.




    Group 4 (Normal) Cork Brown base


    Group 5 (Normal) 1:1 Iraqi Sand and Cork Brown base




    Group 2 (Tanned) 1:1 Cork Brown and Orange Brown base




    Group 3 (Cold) 3:1 Iraqi Sand and Malefic Flesh base


    While the effect of the primer colour isn't as obvious (with the exception of the tankers), the pre-shading certainly is. I tried out 3 different normal flesh tones to see what we get since this is one big test anyway. Next up are some darker washes and a redo of the base colours to begin the shading process.

    Martin64, KenBoyle, Blind Pew and 3 others like this.
  8. Russ Active Member

    Fascinating! And your head-to-cork ratio problem is obvious: You need to drink more corked beverages. ;)
    Scotty likes this.
  9. Scotty A Fixture

    This is a great experiment, a bit too disciplined for my lazy attitude, it'll be interesting to see where it goes.
    ps, I can only support Russ's comment, you MUST hydrate! ;)
    All the best,
  10. Kimmo A Fixture

    Cheers Russ! Unfortunately I don't get to enjoy many corked beverages at home, I'll have to pester the relatives to drink more...

    Busy day of applying highlights and trying to get some tones back. The one issue with trying out a new system is that you have to mess about a little and see what you get. My final highlights were for the most part much too light, nothing glazes can't fix though. The biggest challenge was the cold skin, my first sessions had them looking like classic vampires from a 60s B-movie. Medium Grey mixed with Cold Flesh glazes and a wash of red with a touch of blue has things pointed in the right direction. The tan tones are coming out nicely. If you view the larger pics, things look a wee bit horrible at the moment. The smoothing out process and adding back some tones will start tomorrow, then a round of shading.

    The palette


    Group 1 (Normal)




    Group 4 (Normal)


    Group 5 (Normal)




    Group 2 (Tanned)




    Group 3 (Cold)


    Plenty more fun ahead.

    Martin64, KenBoyle, Blind Pew and 4 others like this.
  11. Scotty A Fixture

    Those cold guys do look much better now, well done.
  12. Kimmo A Fixture

    Cheers Scotty!

    Not as much bench time as I had hoped lately, so not much to show for in the update department except for Group 2, our tanned lads. I'd say the group is about 95% done. The left pair is almost done save for the hair, and a bit more tweaking on the others is needed. Overall I think they're turning out rather nicely. The primer has no real effect anymore, with maybe the exception of Blondie, who was primed green. I think his mid tones are more muted than the others. I've tried to paint each one the same way, the sculpts and expressions make that somewhat difficult, but generally the amount and consistency of the paint and the shades are pretty close to one another.




    Hopefully the weekend will be productive.

    Martin64, Scotty, KenBoyle and 3 others like this.
  13. Nap Moderator

    Hi Kimmo

    Apologies for not posting sooner .....decorating our cottage ..curtesy of Mrs Nap !

    What a excellent thread to show , very interesting to see the effects .....certainly great to see the pictures and the explanations

    Appreciate seeing the palettes with the colours in use

    Sort the cork situation out ...you deserve it doing this ...lol

    Following with interest

    Happy benchtime

  14. Blind Pew A Fixture

    Excellent. Always fascinating to see differing techniques and approaches. Thanks for sharing this with us.
  15. Kimmo A Fixture

    Cheers Nap and BP! Sharing is caring and to be completely honest, it's easier to blog than to write down what I'm doing so I remember stuff...

    A bit of progress on our other groups today. Still rather rough but the values are set, and the tones are almost there. Just a matter of smoothing things out and adding the details.

    Group 1 (Normal)




    Group 4 (Normal)


    Group 5 (Normal)




    Group 3 (Cold)


    The biggest challenge is waiting to see what the colours really look like once they dry completely and flatten out. This is particularly vexing with very light/white colours. Another good reason for the practice so you get a better idea of how far to go with the highlights. I'll add a palette shot with the next update to show some of the tones I'm using for the shadows, and to liven up the flesh.

    Martin64 likes this.
  16. Kimmo A Fixture

    Finally gotten to the point where the wheat gets separated from the chaff. Some of these heads aren't that well sculpted, particularly the eyes, so it doesn't make much sense to try and fight them as I'm not using them on any figures. The good ones will get stripped and used at some point in the future. I'll continue with a few of the better ones and see what I get. Continuing from last update, I did some more glazing to smooth out the roughness by adding matt medium, roughed in eyes and added a bit more tone here and there with ultra thin glazes. Click on photos for full size.

    Group 1 (Normal)




    Group 4 (Normal)


    Group 5 (Normal)




    Group 2 (Tanned)




    Group 3 (Cold)


    And the final palette. I went and added Royal Blue and Gory Red because I wasn't getting the right punch with the other colours. I could maybe have mixed up something that would have worked but couldn't be bothered. This is actually the second set of paints, the first had dried up as the foam wasn't wet enough.


    Now I can get on with the 75mm heads, which should be fun. It will be an exercise in colour theory, or perhaps a better description would be to see how well I understand it.

    Martin64 and NigelR like this.
  17. Kimmo A Fixture

    Going to call this one done, I sort of ran out of steam. I started off with the 75mm heads and wasn't too happy with my choice of colours. I was going to rework them on the fly, but I jiggled my palette a bit too much and everything got soaked and messed up and just couldn't be bothered to clean up and start again. On to the conclusions:

    Primer colour: No real effect on the outcome with the possible exception of the green. The caveat being that in this scale, you don't have a lot of surface area and context to be able to see subtleties very well.

    Primer value: A very noticeable difference between very light and dark values. I think this is why the green looked different, it is somewhat lighter than the other primers. The effect is very noticeable on the grey scale heads.

    Value sketch: Very noticeable initially, will fade depending on the amount of paint used. It is a useful technique to get a good idea of what you want before committing to paint. If the values look good at this stage, you will have a better chance of getting the values right in the end. Colour choice here was the same as above, no real difference.

    The different mixes all worked, it becomes a matter of taste and setting as to which one works for you. I particularly liked the tanned and cold tones. Normal Caucasian skin is kind of boring at this size so a bit more experimentation will be needed.

    I found it better to go a few steps darker for the base colour ( i.e. darker than your mid tone) and lighten up, you get more nuances this way and you can tell immediately if you over lightened.

    Using Red produced a pinkish-rose hue on light and normal skin, using Gory Red brought it up to a more redish rose.

    Red Violet with a bit of blue around the eyes and nose gives good depth. Avoiding black helps keep the tones more lively/natural.

    Not using Sunny Skintone meant that some of the highlights are a bit more desaturated, that can be fixed with ultra thin glazing.

    Use glazes to add variety and to bring out tones. This is a bit experimental, sometimes you want more, sometimes less and it really comes down to taste. Go nuts with tones. Use blue, green, red, purple etc to accentuate contrast or adjust temperature. Granted, this will be more noticeable on larger pieces, but can be effective even at this size.

    One thing I will emphasize is to let the paint dry properly before going too far with your shading and highlighting. A hair drier might come in handy here so you don't spend a week on one small head. The more often you paint, the better understanding you will get as to how things will look when dry.

    There was one thing I didn't do that I wanted to, which was to add a thin layer of Satin varnish to get a slight sheen. Skin shouldn't be matte if going for something realistic, and should stand out from clothing. The varnish will also help to blend and smooth out transitions, so bear that in mind if you try it.

    So, a lot learned, a few more questions arisen and on to the next project. I'll have to revisit this exercise again with new mixes for the skin tones as I get more paint. Thanks to everyone who followed along and commented. Any questions, fire away.


Share This Page

planetFigure Links

Reviews & Open Box
Buy. Sell & trade
Link Directory

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 - 2022.