Sunday, 30 October 2016

Diary of a Demon Entry Part 1: Beginning NMM

So, for the second entry to the blog this week we have the first part of my ongoing diary charting the progress of my entry for next year's Golden Demon (scheduled for some time in May, I think.) Hopefully getting started now should give me some time to actually get something finished. We'll see if that actually works out.

Anyhow, I've decided on the figure I want to do. It's Ionus Crypborn, Lord Relictor of the Hammers of Sigmar from the Age of Sigmar starter set. My reasons for choosing this model were:
i) I've had the boxed set since it came out and I've been itching to have a go at some of the figures,
ii) I wanted to do a single figure that stood out from the rank and file and would catch the judges' eye and the reliquary standard this figure is holding should do the trick,
iii) I thought I'd have a go at this NMM thing everybody makes such a fuss about (more on this below),
iv) I wanted to do a named character piece but stay within the rules for a single figure and,
v) It's a cool figure, especially with that standard, and slightly different from the rest of the Stormcasts in the set.

So, before launching into the WIP stuff, I'd better talk about the elephant in the room (it's like that for me, at least): NMM
I was originally going to do this figure in the turquoise colours of the Celestial Vindicators, as I painted a Hasslefree space elf in that colour recently and really enjoyed doing so. However, once I'd decided to do the figure as my Golden Demon entry I decided to switch to the posterboys of AoS, The Hammers of Sigmar, partly because I could do him as the character from the set, but mostly because it meant I could have a go at doing NMM on a whole figure.
The thing is, I've never been that much of a fan of NMM, mostly because 99% of the times it's seen it really doesn't look very good. There's a couple of painters who have nailed it and really make it actually look like metal but almost all other cases it looks like leather or biscuit or, well, anything other than metal, really.
It has been a long time since I've tried to do any NMM (before NMM even had a cool TLA) and I never really pulled it off, as can be seen on the Eldar Exarch shown below, so it really was time to see if I was going to be one of the few who could nail it or be one of the majority who couldn't. It may be sheer madness to attempt something like this, experimenting with a technique I barely know, on a competition piece but there you are.
Madness is something I do quite well.
It's another of the reasons I've left myself loads of time. If it doesn't work and I find myself unable to pull it off I'll have time to try something else.
We used to call it "Painting it to look like it was made of gold."

Therefore, with the gauntlet well and truly laid down, here we go:
My first step was to research real golden armour from movies, etc. This is important. It gives an idea about how reflections work in real life, as well as how much depth of colour and highlight to use. I also spent some happy times looking at how artists through history have rendered gold on armour and in still-life. This is also really useful as it gives an idea about which sort of colour combinations could be used and gives me an opportunity to think about what sort of finished effect I am going for. Am I going to go super-shiny or a more dull, unkempt finish? Warm or cold?
Having collated some research I decided I was going to go polished shiny and a middle temperature value, to sit well with the cool blue of the armour inlays on the figure but to also work with the small accents of warm tones, such as the red plume. With that decided, here's the colours I'll be using, at least initially.

Shown with my trusty Winsor & Newton Series 7 size 1, with which I did most of the painting on this miniature
As far as method goes it really is quite simple. Over a black undercoat I did an underpaint of Abaddon Black/Incubi Darkness all over the figure. This was to give me a nice base to work over. The leg, in the photo below, nicely shows the way I've been building up the layers of colour over this underpaint.

I start with a layer of Dryad Bark with a tiny bit of Incubi Darkness mixed in. This goes over almost all of the underpaint, except for the join between the plates. Gorthor Brown is then blended over the top of that, leaving the previous mix to show through as the main shadows. This is used to form the base for the next layer of Averland Sunset to give it a strong foundation. This is the point I've got to on the very top of the knee guard. On the other plates I've gone a bit further by adding in the strong highlights. The first highlight is Pallid Wych Flesh and this is applied with careful blending. I want this to be the smooth highlight from the previous colours so I then glaze it back with Lamenters Yellow before re-applying the highlight. The final stage is shown on the very bottom plate on this leg- a pure white highlight of White Scar. Again, this is glazed with Lamenters Yellow then re-applied. Also a couple of bloom effects are added to finish off the shine.
So far I'm happy with the overall effect as it is, so I'm going to leave it and continue with the rest of the gold. I will have to revisit the whole thing once the other elements of the figure are done, as I'll have to deal with reflections from the other elements so I can review the effect then. If you have any feedback on what's been done so far please feel free to comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts on whether I'm pulling it off or not.

Right, that's me
done for this week. My brother David is doing the Sunday roast and I'm rather looking forward to having a Sunday dinner that I haven't cooked myself! Nom nom nom.

All the best,

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