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  • The Grey Wolf

    The Grey Wolf
    The Author is grateful for the help and support of all people participating in discussion of this mini at all stages of painting. In particular I would like to express my gratitude to Denis, aka Bad Russian Guy, without whom this article probably would never be written and Yurii, aka Skeeve, responsible for English translation and editing of this text.
    Instead of Introduction
    To start it all, for my minis I am using Citadel Color paints (GW). A number of people were asking whether is possible to use paints by other manufacturers. The simple answer is yes, it is possible. Andrea, Racham and Vallejo brands are as good as GW and are successfully used by many miniature painters. If you prefer paints by Vallejo you might want to use the table of correspondence between GW and Vallejo here.
    This text should not be considered as a cookbook to be followed exactly. Miniature painting is a creative, «trial and error» driven process. Experiment! Don’t be afraid to use new techniques. If you decide to repeat color schemes described below but you are missing specific colours I was using do not despair and use different ones (or paints from different manufacturers). By mixing appropriate replacements you will end up with something very similar or even identical to the paints I was using here.
    Another important point. I always use relatively diluted paints (at least 2 parts of paint to a part of water, more often equal amounts paint and water). Some people might think that it is inconvenient but I strongly believe that the more water you have in paint the easier it is to make smooth transition between colors. The most important is to limit your brush load to avoid paint flood and then you should have no problem controlling brush stroke and paint delivery.
    I would like to apologize for the small number and certain lack of system in illustration. I was not planning to write this article and it grew out eventually from my WIP photographs and my blog that I was posting on one of the forums. Nevertheless, I hope this article will be of use.
    The painting
    The model was primed black. I started painting wolf fur initially thinking that I will simply drybrush it. The fur was drybrushed with the mix of Chaos Black and Codex Grey with small addition of Regal Blue, then overbushed with Codex Grey, and drybrushed with the mix of Codex Grey and Fortress Grey. Finally, I lightly drybrushed with pure Fortress Grey. The end result of this exercise you can see on this picture.

    Not bad, in principle, but doesn’t look much like wolf pelt. Not satisfied I started again from scratch, this time actually painting individual bristles. I used the same colors for highlighting as above. Final highlights were done by a mix of Fortress Grey and Skull White.

    Having finished the pelt I started painting the face. I basecoated it with Scorched Brown and then painted eyes. I don’t think it makes much sense to describe here how I painted the eyes, since there are a number of good tutorials on the internet on the subject. The only difference I would like to mention is that instead of using pure Skull White to paint the sclera (whites) I added a little bit of pink to create an aggressive «bloodshot» look.
    To paint the skin I gave a coat of pure Terracotta, followed by the mix of Terracotta and Bronzed Flesh, highlighted with pure Bronzed Flesh, and finally with Elf Flesh. If you want a paler look you can give you mini an additional layer of highlights with the mixture of Elf Flesh and Skull White. If, on the other hand, the face color becomes too pale you can give it a wash with diluted Bronzed Flesh (which I end up doing here).

    For the armor I prepared a mix of Chaos Black, Codex Grey and Regal Blue in a separate bottle for continuous use. If I had mixed this right on the palette more likely then not the paint would dry out before I finished. Reproducing the mix exactly would be difficult and you really want to have as consistent basecoating as possible. Later on I was also using this mixture for cleaning up and correcting small mistakes.
    Using «wet feathering» (applying multiple layers with highly diluted paint) I lightened up (highlighted) the armor with Codex Grey with small addition of Ice Blue, followed by Space Wolves Grey. Final highlights were painted with the mix of Space Wolves Grey and Skull White.
    While painting armor I often washed with highly diluted Chaos Black to create smooth transitions between colors and to deepen the shadows. On one of forums I was asked how I avoid streaks of black paint on the mini. The secret here is that I am not painting with black but rather wash with a semi-transparent mixture of water and Chaos Black with no more then 5-10% of the paint in the final mixture. As a result there is no streaking on the miniature, yet the underlying colors become muted with each following layer of the wash.
    You can probably see on this photo that the right shoulder pad remains unpainted and awaiting for some freehand I was planning to paint later.

    I decided that hair should be auburn so that it will stand out well against the grayish background of the fur and armor. I started with Terracotta, that I further highlighted with the mix of Terracotta and Vomit Brown, then with the mix of Vomit Brown and Fiery Orange, and finally pure Fiery Orange. To increase depth and add some more character in the end gave it a wash with very dilute Blood Red.

    It is very frustrating to realize that the chosen color scheme doesn’t work, but after several people pointed out unnatural color of the pelt, I , thinking myself «the great master» decided to repaint the whole thing shifting color more toward orange/red. Nothing good came out of it so swearing bloody hell I returned to my original scheme adding an additional level of highlights with Bleached Bone and starting with a darker shade of grey.
    To paint glowing eyes I used two colors: Sunburst Yellow as a base and Fiery Orange for highlighting. After this I wanted this wolf to look more aggressive and increase glow. Reading Cyril’s paper on Coolmini (Glowing Eyes, an effect "a la Hybrid") I realized that additional white reflections under eyes might help. Thus, after adding highlights with Skull White, I did three consecutive washes with Sunburst Yellow, Blood Red, and then Sunburst Yellow again. Now, this wolf acquired aggressive, predatory and slightly crazy reddish glowing eyes.
    All bones, including wolf’s teeth were painted as follows: basecoated with Scorched Brown, and then highlighted sequentially with Bestial Brown, Vomit Brown, and finally Bleached Bone. In the end washed with the mix of Scorched Brown and Snakebite Leather and re-highlighted with the mix of Bleached Bone and Skull White.

    To paint golden elements of armour I ventured to attempt SE-NMM technique. The idea behind this method or rather the goal that one tries to achieve is to imitate the sharp separation in the reflections of «sky»(bright) and «earth»(dark) by metal parts. For a detailed description of this method I refer you to the paper by Siphild (Magmatrax Tutorial) with a detailed description.
    After basecoating golden parts with Scorched Brown, I gave them a coat of Vomit Brown to create a smooth base layer. Then I used Snakebite Leather to create «horizon» and accentuated horizontal lines. Using the same color I painted everything below these lines including recesses and surfaces in shadows, while doing this one have to consider that «horizon» is not always a straight line and might also reflect hills, mountains etc. Then I emphasized horizontal line with the mix of Vomit Brown, Sunburst Yellow and Skull White (1:1:2). From here onward I was brightening the lower parts of the golden elements and darkening the upper parts with Vomit Brown. As a result my horizon lost its contrast and I rehighlighted it with the mix of Vomit Brown, Sunburst Yellow and Skull White adding more white at 1:1:3 or even 1:1:4 ratio. I also increase highlighting of all edges with the same mix and washed the recesses with highly diluted Chaos Black.

    After this wash using the mix above I rehighlighted certain parts again to emphasize details even further. In some places I had to tone down the brightest highlights with diluted Vomit Brown, while in others I increased the intensity of reflection with the mix of Vomit Brown, Sunburst Yellow and Skull White, progressively increasing the amount of Skull White with final highlights done with a pure Skull White. This whole process is rather tedious and time-consuming yet it is not as complicated as I thought it to be when I just started.

    At this point I returned to skulls and the fur, that I was not quite happy about, and added an additional highlight with Skull White.

    Then I finished several smaller details such as joints of armor plates on his arms, cables and wires (First with the mix of Chaos Black and Codex Grey then Codex Grey and reflections with - Fortress Grey), wolf’s fangs (same colors as above), and the skin on the side of wolf’s pelt (basecoat - Scorched Brown, then - Snakebite Leather, and finally - Vomit Brown).
    The next big thing was the bolter. I started with a 1:1 mix of Chaos Black and Codex Grey with tiny addition of Scorched Brown è Regal Blue. Then I started to dilute this mix with addition of increasing amounts of Codex Grey / Space Wolves Grey mix and finally highlighted it with pure mix of Codex Grey / Space Wolves Grey.
    To increase contrast I was adding the Skull White to my base mix of Codex Grey / Space Wolves Grey applying consecutive layers to the reflecting parts of the bolter with the brightest reflections painted with pure Skull White.
    The axe was painted in a similar way.

    The leather-covered handle and the strap on the axe was basecoated with Scorched Brown, and then highlighted several times with the mix of Scorched Brown and Bleached Bone, progressively increasing the amount on Bleached Bone in each consequitive layer.
    Now to the freehand. I used the wolf from the Space wolf codex and painted it with Chaos Black on the shoulder pad over the base color. Then I brightened and highlighted it up, leaving the black contour with Codex Grey and Fortress Grey and finally highlighted it with Skull White. Later I also tried to highlight the shoulder pad itself but then dropped this and instead filled the empty space with stars (rays with - Codex Grey, and the bright dot in the center with Skull White).

    I decided against complicated base but spiced it up by addition of several details that stands out. I painted sand and stones with Scorched Brown, then drybrushed it with Codex Grey, and finally with Fortress Grey. To improve depth and contrast I washed base several times with very dilute Bestial Brown. I completed the base by adding snow, made from the mix of baking soda and grounded glass and several withered stems that I made from tooth brush bristles painted Catachan Green.
    Thus the work of two and a half month was completed. It is hard to tell how many hours I spent on painting, but I think it was close to 60. As it always happens I have a number of ideas both mine and generated during discussions on forums and with my friends but I had no strength left to implement all of them. In particular, I decided against painting runes on armor and made a rather simple base, that in my opinion is quite effective but the snow that, at least on pictures doesn’t look very expressive. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed painting this miniature and gained an invaluable experience developing and using new for me painting techniques.
    I also hope that text of this article will be of use to fellow painters

    Miniature on CMON
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    The Russian original of this paper is posted here
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