Step by Step: The Aquila - Hero of Rome 41 A.D.

by Massive Voodoo

Hello Ladies and Gentleman,

today Roman will speak about his progress on one of his latest bust:
The Aquila - Hero of Rome 41 A.D.

If you are a constant reader of MV you might know that Roman is truely into ancient Rome, reading a lot of books about it and enjoying to drift away in his mind to ancient glory or not so glory. Depends on the perspective of events. Well, once in a while it is a good thing to let impressions out into a model or a drawing or a painting. Roman did so with this bust.

It was planned that this bust is the second one in Roman's long term goal to have a display with several ancient Roman models. The first one is the Roman Legionary he painted a while ago. Roman did not plan to sell any of those as he already was proud that the collection was at two figures.
Well, mysteries happen and the Aquila here was shipped to China last week to a miniature collector.
Now the plan to make that display grow lost 50% of its volume. Ouchy!

Well, let's stay with the facts: If miniature painting is your daily life, your work you have to pay bread and rent from you paint figures to sell figures. And sometimes you just can't say no to a good deal for both sides of the bargain.

Enough of these emotions, maybe one day he paints him again for his collection. Another version, another day. Now we head over to the article and jump right into Roman's thoughts ...


Step by Step: The Aquila - Hero of Rome 41 A.D.

Every Miniature I paint comes from the heart. 
Some are more important for me than others as the topic or the theme of the model is just the right one which occours my personal interests. There is no big plan in doing them, I just see a model and know this is it. It calls me to put in my emotions and it was the same with this beautiful bust by Nuts Planet. You can find a Miniatures Unpacked about it here.

As I am used to do many photos during MV's year of the painter to write article after article for our readers and jungle visitors it was no different with this one. This always takes time: Doing the photos while working, making them ready for the article, preparing and writing the article. If you have some spare coins for a coffee for the work that is put in here for you to read, please feel invited to say thanks via a jungle donation.

Painting Progress
Well, now to the topic. Painting Fun.
This article will show you the steps I took through the model and gives you insight in the thoughts behind the steps. Sometimes I feel bad not being able to tell you every single colour I used in the progress, but honestly I just can not do it as I do not remember them on my own. When I am in the midst of painting fun, I am happy to be able to remember to do the photos for the article and colours, brushes, airbrush, dirt, etc. is just used without proper names. As I am not a big fan of colour recipes at all this way of explaining suits me better as I am a believer that using too many colour reciepes often blinds you to the endless freedom colour can bring you. Ok, now I hope you enjoy the article.
For me it is always important to know why my models recieve the colours I paint, so it is good to get into the right mood by thinking about what the models story is. The reasons why he/she is somewhere? What is he doing there? What has he done earlier? Is he exhausted or relaxed? What daytime is it? Where is he located?

I imagined my roman hero somewhere in a gentle snow storm of an early winter morning somewhere in Germania. He and some other lads had a really though mission. Retrieving a legion's eagle from an unfriendly barbarian tribe who stole it in a battle many years ago. Recently a spy informed the Empire about the possible location of that eagle and so the hero and his small group of trusted friends were sent to the place. Careful to avoid contact with the enemy at all cost, stealthy, invisible until the location of the eagle was confirmed. Not an easy task. Long story short, the eagle was stolen back again, but at a high price. They had to kill and they died. He is the only one returning home from this mission and he is still on his travel to safety.

To catch this emotion I started with my basic colours really cold. I know this looks like painting madness but it was fun. Throwing colour there to just get into it. The face was done first via airbrushing sunny skintone from VMC. The rest of the sketch was done with the brush. Bam! Bam!

Ok, after my initial painting madness calmed down a bit, I used many brown washes to get the right colour for his leather cloak and his hood. Did the leather parts on his armour. I painted the basic colours of metal to the bust and used all earthy sandy tones to recieve a sketch on the fabrics too.
The face recieved some strong shadows too while I worked with the washes and some first light sketches have been painted to the face. Eyes black.

You might ask: Why did you start with the blueish colour on that cloak at all?
Well have a closer look, it still is visible in the shadow areas.

Still at rough work I am. Sketching some textures on the fabric with brighter colour. Additional information to the following photo: I started the bust on a work-plinth and will change it later to the bust plinth.

Checking for prominent spots on the face and put some more work in them by applying the colours more often to recieve an opaque look.

Also adding thin colour glazes (reds/purples/oranges) to the eyes, nose and mouth.
I learned about facial colours while I studied to paint dark/black skin at Juva.
In fact this is also happening in brighter skin and I learning more everytime I paint.
Eyes have been sketched white and the pupils were sketched with black.
Sorry for the blurry photo.

Well, good for the sketch now. As the leather cloak is really a big part of the model I decided to start with this first by working more detailed on it. Using Army Painter's strong tone I decided for a really worn out look on my leather work as a start.

Doing just spots out of the bottle to the model.

Dry them for some seconds with the hairblower.

Take a wet brush without colour to remove the inner colour that did not dry ...

To recieve random dirt spots on your old worn out leather. I now again used brown and even green glazes to add more colour to the cloak. I enjoy t work on leather parts like this with layers. Creating different textures and pulling them together with glazes again, then do it all over again to recieve really interesting layers and structures.

If you look close you might also recognise a structure on the hood and cloak which is not painted. I used Vallejo Putty 401 before priming the model and added some structure to this really old cloak. Why is it old? Roman's are used to look great and ... well, he stole it from a barbarian guard who stood watch at the eagle's hiding place and it smells like hell.

Next, another layer of structure and texture to the cloak, now using different sized sponges  to recieve different sized texture with different looks.

Make sure the colour is not to wet if you apply such or you will not recieve what you are aiming for.

Use different bright colours to also install a light situation on the part you are working on.
Looks rough I know, but feels great to do :)

A little voice in my head told me that I am loosing the cold look I am aiming for in the whole bust so I took the chance and used some masking putty on the face before spraying thinned blue/tourquise with the airbrush. Gentle.

The aribrush work already helped to calm down my texture work everywhere. Just a little bit. More was needed. Now patience was up on the plan again. Working with glazes. Bringing it all together once more. I used mainly different browns, from yellow browns to red browns, greens and a little purple.

The glazes were really thin - as you can see in the upper example - and I applied many and can not remember how long it took me. Felt like ages.

Four things I prepared to be painted seperatly: The helmet's check protecotrs, the gladius handle and the rope part with whom the cheek parts are closed. I used blue tac to prepare them on a piece of cork.

After the face recieved some more attention in working out more prominet details I painted those parts and glued them in place. But not the gladius for now. You see I also used some blue glazes here and there in the metals to show the reflections of the cold environment. If you plan to paint an athmosphere do not lose it. Take it to all the parts, no matter how small they might be.

While I was working on his beard with thin brush strokes to recieve hair texture there I also worked again on the leather cloak and the fabrics with some more detailed textures.

Now it was time to close into more detail work and with that I mean careful work. So let's start with some dirt. This hero of Rome is hunted through the deep winter forest and is going in a strong pace. So I thought it might be realistic to show some dirt on him.

Using matte varnish, soil and brown colour I mixed this paste:

And applied it. The matte varnish in the mix will keep it in place. I also switched the working plinth to the final bust plinth that I put to fire. Click photo to enlarge.

With some help of red wine I found bravery to apply more colourful thin glazes to the face to make it look more alive. Purple, pink, reds, orange. Plinth was painted black to have a better vision of the final result.

Right now I already enjoyed the cold athmosphere everywhere on the model. 

Well, time to do a break on the figure and go for that gladius. The wood parts were painted with chocolate brown by Hobbyline. A very matte colour range that is highly recommended when you look at the quality and the price/amount part of the bargain.

I did not paint it totally opaque as I wanted to keep some of the texture I did put before by drybrushing the piece.

Inked with Scale75 Inktense Wood.

Now more or less careful, using my fingernails to add some scrateches to the wood parts. I try to only "hurt" the upper layer of ink.

Well, I was not sure if this worked well, so I decided to go for some snow finally. I decided to apply a version of the snow you can also find explained in the article about masterclass snow.
These materials were used: White texture paste for volumes, bicarbonate of soda for tiny flakes, crushed glass for some glitter effect and some white powder which I forgot where it came from - I think Battlefield-Berlin - which also has a little glitter effect in it. Yeah, white powder I know what you all think.

Well, I quickly decided to not work with the texture paste on the roman hero as I did not want to hide him in thick volumes of snow. I did a mixture of satin varnish, bicarbonate of soda, crushed glass and the white powder stuff. Mixed all together. Why Satin Varnish? Well, I did not have any matt varnish at hand and wanted to give this a try if it looks more like fresh snow which is still some kind of wet. You can also go with matte varnish here, but I do not recommend using gloss varnish as this might bring you looks of a lot of wet and shiny places to your model.

Now important is to decide the direction of the snow fall. I went for about 8 o'clock from the Roman's face. Maybe a little symbolic angle: He leaves the cold and danger behind, eh?

Think about where the snow might stay. Do not just throw it on top. This will take time but it is worth it. First careful.

When you are sure what you are doing and know about the direction of it, do it more aggressive but still careful.

Final Steps after the snow where checking back with areas I want to clean up and sharpen further. I'd say this was about 6~7 hours of brushwork still to make everything like I wanted to see it. Increasing contrast here and there, applying more colourful glazes to make some areas more interesing. Did so mainly on the skin and leather.

You can find more photos of the final result of "The Aquila - Hero of Rome 41 A.D." on Putty&Paint.

You can find this step by step article linked up to MV's article area, section Step by Steps.

I hope you enjoyed the article!
Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes

Tutorial Voting: SMC vs. the Barbarian beauty

by Massive Voodoo

Hiho Jungle Painters,

as said here comes today's tutorial voting.
Today you can decide between the following articles to see one of them up to the Massive Voodoo blog next week:

In this article you will see a project log of Roman's take on a 1:35 Military Model from Alpine Miniatures. See how it grew to become a special gift to the organisator of the recently held Scale Model Challenge.

For this article vote "Alpine" in your comment!

This article is about a step by step walkthrough on a female barbarian from the range of Ilyad Games. It gives insight in Roman's thoughts on the small base and the paintjob.

For this article vote "Barbarian" in your comment!

Voting lasts until Monday next week!
Happy Voting to you!

Mu 64: Norsgard Miniature Game, Wulfkin Armsmaster, 32 mm

by Massive Voodoo

Good Morning Jungle Painters,

instead of an early Tutorial Voting we deliver you a Miniatures Unpacked today.
You will find the Tutorial Voting later on this evening, don't you worry.

Today we will have a look on a miniature from the board game called:

"High fantasy skirmish gaming in the icy land of Isbran. Build and equip a band of warriors. Fight, level up, and conquer!"

If you like really cool looking Barbarians, powerful Wulfen models and evil, dark Warriors in 32 you are in the right corner with this game.

Norsgard Miniatures is running a Kickstarter at the moment - their goal is already reached but they have very cool stretch goals for your skirmish gang in the bay to be unlocked. So if you are not yet noticed this Kickstarter, have a look, it is worth it:

Norsgard Miniature Game - Kickstarter -10 days left!

Well, let's have a look on the miniature Massive Voodoo recieved for reviewing. It is one of the unlocked Stretch goal miniatures, called the Wulfkin - Armsmaster.

Here you can see the Artwork to the model:

The model arrives in 8 parts made out of Resin. The smaller models in the game will be produced in white metal but for the larger models the producers decided to go with resin to reduce their weight for gaming and painting.

Straight on, the head takes attention. The casts are well done, minor mould line work has to be done.

Bringing those pieces together is very cool work. Really every part has a perfect prepared glueing spot, really cool! A big plus on this one, if you are a gamer and want to start right away this will be fast. Well, it will also work for a painter.

As said, the model looks really cool when put together. It reminds us on some of the old Confrontation Wulfen. A cool dynamic pose and really worth the name Armsmaster. A quick gaming base was build for that guy, out of cork.

The models are said to be in 32 mm. Well, this Wulfkin here is a little bigger as he is supposed to be a big model in the game. We made a little comparision for you with one Demonette by GW so you can check back with the height of the model. A big guy in 32 mm he is.

Review Summary
This looks like a promising Skirmish game with cool models. The Barbarians remind us a little bit of old glorified Ilyad Games Barbarians and the Wulfkin - as being said already - bring back memories of old Confrontation sculpts.

The quality of the one cast we had for review is good. It is not super-ultra-high-end-quality a pure miniature painter might look for as Norsgard Miniatures aim is definatly on delivering cool models for gamers. Easy to work on, easy to assemble and still with great poses and detail.

The Wulfkin Armsmaster is looking like a guy who can handle his arms and is ready to rip apart his enemies in a skirmish. No doubt, a lot of fun is available in this game.

Have a look on the other models, get information about the rules and help Norsgard Miniatures to unlock more stretchgoals with your pledge:

Norsgard Miniature Game - Kickstarter -10 days left! 

Best Wishes,
your MV-Team

Review: Private Coaching with Erik

by Massive Voodoo


Hello, hello ...

The Jungle HQ is pretty busy with private coachings these days. 
Private coachings are always two days of fun and really intense training with our students to reach their personal goals. You can have more information on private coaching here, but be aware of that we are already booked with future coachings until next year April, considering also the ones we will fullfill out of the Ultimate Paint Rack campaign.

Some weeks ago we had Erik - a painter from Germany and long time friend of the Jungle - as a guest for some private coaching. We know Erik from various events, such as MV painting classes or the Duke of Bavaria. It is always a pleasure to meet Erik and so we were looking forward to welcome him to our studio for some private voodoo coaching.

Upfront we wrote several emails with him to get a good idea on what he wants to learn while at the studio and had some chats about preparations and material for the coaching.

Before further jungle words might be able to explain how Erik enjoyed the two days, let him speak for himself. Thanks Erik, for your time to sit down to write your impression:

"Hi Jungle of Massive Voodoo, I am Erik.
Well, its time to write a few words about my private coaching with Roman and Raffa.

I visited the jungle a couple of times before and it was always a funny and inspirational time with creative and kind people. This time my visit had a more serious purpose. My topics were a bit extensive, with a focus on bringing a miniature to the highest level. Additionally I wanted to improve my skills in creating of bases which would fit optimal with the miniature. A lot of work for just two days.

We started at thursday morning with a closer look at the miniature and the base. I chose the „Abyssal Warlord“ by Scale 75, not even the easiest option for a two day painting session. We talked about my intention of what he should look at the end, an almost black armour with a redish shimmer and a pale face. The base should represent a hall of a castle or a church, but to say it in Roman's words, the column I prepared on the base looked like a „cardboard cutout“ and he was so right. In comparsion to the miniature, it was much too small and so we planned a better fitting version of it. A hint for other painters: If your story behind the miniature is to shallow, your base will be the same!

As it was not enough time to do that by myself, Raffa was so kindly to take this part and he made an awesome job on the base in the end. Next step on the way was the theory. From advanced color theory, choice of colors, saturation, situation of light, brightness, material etc. to base theory, orientation, size ratio, allocation of pieces, a huge bunch of knowlege was floating to my brain and waited to be implemented.

Now it was painting time. Using the airbrush to apply the foundation colors, the big guy starts to looking nice and we reached the basis for the advanced techniques really quick. The brushwork then takes a long time and the details became the attention they deserverd. During that process, i began to recognize more and more details, which i had little or no notice before. For me, this was an amazing experience and shows me the potential of how the level of painting a miniature can be pushed further. Roman and Raffa always had a close eye to me and so i got a lot of usefull tips, like holding my brush correctly, color consistency and many more. Time flew away and after eating the best pizza in town and a short debriefing, day one was over and we fell in our beds to recharge for the next day.

Day two began with a short overview of the goals of the day and painting the face. In order to properly capture how much work Raffa has invested in the base, you have to notice, that he worked until the morning of day two to finish it.

At this point the miniature got a break and we went to the base for having it basicly colored. The colors of it were adjusted to the miniature and the environment which was given by the story. Deepen the story was my homework for day two. Still so much work to do, but unfortunately day two was almost over and so it was time to come to an end.

Two days of theory, painting, fun, nerdtalk, tasty pizza and other food were gone to fast and I was really sad that to leave the studio. As a summary of the private coaching, I can say that it was worth every cent. Roman and Raffa are such nice people with unbelievable knowledge, skills, creativity and passion in everything they do. If you want to make the same experience and if you also want to know what „Puttybobbels“ really are, don't hestitate to ask for an private coaching.

You will not regret it.

Cheers Erik"