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  • Scottish tartans

    How to paint scottish tartans:

    For this tutorial I used Kelen the adventurer, a Rackham-mini. He is a hero of the celtic army in their Confrontation tabletop game. As he would be a centerpiece of my army I decided to make him stand out on the battlefield by painting his cloak like a scottish tartan.

    I used Reaper Pro Paints exclusively on this miniature.

    I would like to thank the guys at the 'Mini-Painter'-mailing list for their great help to find out how to paint tartans, especially Bob Lippman, who painted that fantastic VIC 5 orc.

    Step 1:

    After choosing a specific tartan pattern (I don't know if this one exists IRL) I gave the hole cloak a nice
    and even basecoat with Dragon Blue (#8014). I thinned the paint down and therefore needed 3 coats to
    get good coverage.

    Step 2:

    The next step was to paint the main pattern of the tartan. I used a mix of two parts Emerald (#8010)
    with one part of the Dragon Blue (#8014).

    The blue/green mix simulates the real pattern with green and blue threads mixed in the cloth.

    The shiny surface of the green stripes is due to some Ink Extender (#8208) I added to the mixture to
    thin it down but make sure that there is enough binder in the paint.

    Step 3:

    The squares where the blue/green stripes cross was painted with pure Emerald (#8010).

    You don't have to be too carefull with the last two steps as minor faults will be corrected with the next

    Step 4:

    After painting the general pattern I decided that the different parts needed to be more defined from eachother in
    some way. I accomplished this by painting thin, darkgreen lines with Kilt Green (#8009) on the cloak,
    outlining the broad stripes.

    These lines covered all the little mistakes I had done during the prior steps.

    Step 5:

    I asked several people for their thoughts about the patterns so far and it turned out that the cloak needed
    something to liven it up. On idea was to add some red lines (thanks Ramon! ;-) ).

    The lines were done with Blood Red (#8001).

    Step 6:

    In the same way as in step 3 I painted small dots with Dragon Red (#8003) on the points where the red
    lines cross.

    Step 7:

    The last step was to shade the cloak. I mixed Emerald Green Ink (#8202) with Sapphire Blue Ink
    (#8203), thinned the mix down very much with water and some Ink Extender (#8208) and applied it
    to the cloak.

    I decided not to highlight the cloak for two main reasons:

    - I am not very good in highlighting such complex patterns and therefore there would have been a good
    chance that I ruin the entire cloak by attempting to highlight it.

    - A tartan is a one-piece-cloth. Highlighting each square of the pattern would have led to an impression
    like it was 'quilted'.

    I hope you can get something out of this tutorial. Feel free to ask any further questions via email:


    Sven "Vulture" Wichert
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