Step by Step: Sha'un, Ram-Tribe Warrior

by Massive Voodoo

Hello Jungle Painters,

you voted via the last Tutorial Voting and choose to see the step by step article about Roman's approach on this beautiful bust by Forged Monkey.

You can also see a step by step on that bust by Raffa - his version here.

Massive Voodoo's year of the painter is proud to bring you the article in full force, even Roman was whining all the time about the size of the article with over 40+ photos. Stop whining Roman, write down your journey. NAUW!

You will also find an inside view into the paintwork on this bust in the upcoming issue #32 of the GAMEFORCE Magazine.


Well, if confronted with such a beauty of a beastman it is not easy not to paint it up. The sculpt is really cool, arrives in a very good resin quality and comes with several options to build up the bust. I went for the following pieces and prepared the resin parts for painting on different plinths and cork parts. In this case I did not want to glue the figure together and paint it as one as there are so many delicate parts and going this way allows me a better handle of the pieces.

Find something to put your miniature or parts of it on top. It will allow you a better grip on it while painting! Check for the article here!

Next step was priming the different parts. Recently I do enjoy priming only black sometimes if I know that the overall athmosphere of the piece should become a dark one. I used GW's black primer here.

Help the primer dry faster by using a hair blower. The heat will also help the colour to dry more matte in the end. Works great with GW's black primer. Take care of plastic models!

First I want to say sorry for the difference in quality of the WIP-photos. I always take them with my small digital camera and depending on the light situation, daytime and candles in the room they might vary in their appearance.

Usually I always find my way into a paintjob by sketching some colours here and there. This was no exception. I used a sandy tone via the airbrush to spray it to the horns, a little bit to the face, but had a drop of red to the sandtone colour to mix it more flesh-like.

While doing a sketch on the figure close your mind from thoughts of perfection here. It is just fun and joy and no place were you already should make yourself crazy by thinking too much. Follow your instincts and enjoy your colour choice! There is nothing you can do wrong in this stage while starting with colours.

 Pft! Pft!

Still in sketching mode I decided to give the fur a basic colour of dark blue black (a mix from black and blue), using the brush and while the colour was  still wet there I sketch some rough highlights in the fur with a bright grey. Also gave the leather parts and fabric on the necklace a quick sketch of their chosen basic colours.

Different leather parts can already have a different basetone. Small changes in the colour hues or their saturation can already provide a good start with different materials on your model.

Don't you worry now and paint on with joy.
Going a little deeper into your sketch. I was pretty unsure now with the main body and went for the horns. Using glazes of Army Painters Strong Tone, followed by the Dark Tone.

Use such glazes at one area more often to intensify the effect. Important is that you let them dry after each application or you will damage the smooth surface you try to achieve.

Working on the horns made me a little more confident and I decided to tackle another big part of the model: the armour parts. I prepared all metal parts and painted them black. I decided to go for bronze there and started very dark by using old GW's Tin Bitz as a base, but added a drop of black to it to really have a dark surface for my bronze. After this application I used pure Tin Bitz to already prepare a little light situation to the metal. Still sketching my way into the armour.

The black basecoating of the metal parts helps with avoiding sketching colours to show through and provide a good base for following dark metal tones.

Next I used some old GW's Dwarf Bronze to be added to the mix and made the light situation of my metal stronger. Still do not worry about nothing, as long as the fire of painting spirit is burning in you. Make sure you know you are sketching yourself into the model and to the hard work ahead of you. Let it burn.

                               This is how my mix looked like on the wet palette: 

And on top of the model - man it is really hard to take photos of light situations on metal, gna!

I made up my mind about painting bronze and thought about the miniatures where I painted bronze so far. In my memory all of my so far painted goes at bronze went too quickly into looking too silver. Why was that? Well, I quickly highlighted bronze with silver that was the reason. This time I decided different andadded a drop of gold before going to higher highlights and it worked pretty well.

As I do love colour and sketching with colour in this step I also decided to take a drop of purple to the mid bronze area to have some fun with variety in the big metal plates.

                                My colour mix I worked with on my palette:

And on the model's armour parts:
That gold in the highlights really convinced me for future bronze paintings, the gentle purple brings variety and a complementary colour contrast between the yellowish highlights. Yellow/Purple = complementary colours, can you dig it?

As I really enjoyed the way the bronze went I decided to give it a little more fun with testing around. I was fine with the highlight gold tone and the purple variety of the shadow areas but missed some varity in between them both.So I used the Dwarf Bronze and Salmon Pink, mixed it, applied it to small areas of the armour.

Do never be afraid of colours or new things!

Cool I thought and liked it. Now the metal was ready for some test with Verdigris. You can see the process I have made with using ModelMates Verdigris Effects in this article.

When you are done with the excursion to the Verdigris article we come up with this result here:

I was really happy how it turned out so far and decided to let the metals be for the moment:
Spending some more time on other parts now. Went for gentle highlights in the skin, some more colour to the necklace to show the different material there. Leather and horns recieved some shy highlightwork and I dug myself into the fur part. Going stronger in its highlights, going to start with detail brush strokes to achieve the fur look.

Do not only paint your model further in one area if you are unsure of the overall look. Try to bring all areas from sketch to a higher level to see where your journey takes you.

 What a cool zenithal light on the painting Sanne, eh?

I slowly got lucky with my sketch and enjoyed the direction the bust went from now on. The vision was there, now it was time for the hard work. I decided to tackle the metals again. Adding more Verdigris but also having a look on real Verdigris, doing some studies via my photo blog tale-of-the-banana-whale:


Ok, Verdigris appears on bronze or copper, in areas that are collecting water or are clammy, but what I thought of interest is that before the Verdigris starts to appear the metal gets very dark in this particular area. I gently tried to add this by using Army Painters Dark Tone, glazed several times close to the so far painted Verdigris.

While I did that I also used my so far used metal colours to bring back the metal tones to the amour in case the dark glazes made it look to dark in bigger areas. I also used glazes of orange and red over the metal area to intensify the saturation of the bronze.

Don't understand me wrong, the work on the metal takes much time and I sometimes needed a little vacation from it. For that healthy mind vacation I went back to the lather parts, the skin, the necklace to paint some stronger highlights in it. I was also in the mood to paint two yellow eyeballs.

Don't push youreself through one task, if you need a break of a material work on another one, just do not forget the colours you have used so far on the different materials.

Next I spent some time at the horns, highlights, highlights, detail edge highlights here and there, followed by bringing back shadows with glazes to it.

The skin recieved some more highlights and I tried to keep the mouth area more saturaded with some reddish skincolour. I know some of you might think: Roman, please tell us which exact colour you took there? Please!! - ... but I won't as there is no golden rule in which colour is perfect for something you want to paint. If you want to have a cold skin colour, add a tiny drop of blue to your skin colour of choice, same with green or red or purple or yellow or ...

In between I threw in some more Verdigris to bring back its intensity, sometimes too much as you can see in the following photo - sorry it went a little blurry:

Close up of the eye, fur detail, facial volumes ...
 ... but I knew how to work with the Verdigris by now. In the beginning it is too strong, so I calm it down with glazes of Army Painters Strong Tone. Wax on, wax off.

I took my time to use silver on that armour and I decided to only use it for edge highlights and damage scratches. I went for it with VMC Silver and spent some time to apply it.

Think about where armour parts might recieve battle damage. Why is a part more damaged than another one? How is the warrior using this part of his armour, is it often used to defend or attack?


After all those tiny scratches have been put in place I went for the skin and leather parts again. I went there with a tiny lines and dots with strong contrast. Just check the mouth area, this looks pretty rough for the moment.

Do not fear roughness in the process. You can always use glazes to smooth something.

Like I said before I now went for glazes again to a) calm down the strong silver on the metal areas and b) with desaturated skin tones to calm down the rough work I have done on the mouth area. I used a glaze from skintone, mixed a greyish green in it to create the desaturated glaze. I also did so to to the teeth on the nexklace or the "random-necklace-stone-jewelry-thing". Wax on, wax off again and again.

Take your time for clean up and glazing work. It is worth it, even if you hate it! I was like five times saying to myself: Yes the model is finished today, but did decide otherwise, put it back in the WIP-cabinet and gave it another go on another day.

Now it was time to have a overall look of the piece. 

Decide for yourself if you want to finish your piece or if you want to work on. Let now one else decide this for you. You can have the ambition to go for your own personal perfection and write lists on what you want to increase or make better, but you will not create a perfect piece for the public. No piece is perfect at least when you ask yourself about your own. You always will know the little things that you don't like or where you should have spent more time on and such. You will always know them and you can decide if you work hard on them to make yourself more happy if you go through the pain of painting motivation.

Patience now was the key, even I knew I could call him done already.
I decided to spent some more time on the bust as I already went this far and knew there was still more to get out of it beyond the horizon. This is what I have done:

- Working on smoother transitions: checking for abrupt transitions in metals, skin, leather, smoothing them with the tone that is missing in between the two colours that are the reason for the transition "error"

- Bringing in more colour intensity: Using glazes on all materials to intensify the colours there. Using a lot of reds, browns and oranges in the bronze. Some reds, purple and pink on the mouth and face area. Browns on the leather parts and as far as I can remember a mixture of all those colours glazed in rich variety to the horns shadows.

- Working on details in edge highlights: If you have an edge highlight of at a material, check the colour there and maybe push yourself to add two to three more detail lights to just the painted edge highlight. Remember, they are getting smaller the higher into the light you go.

- Increasing contrast again: If you follow the upper steps and clean up transitions or do glazes on top of areas you might lose your contrast, mainly in the lights that you have painted. So - wax on, wax off time once again - bring 'em back.

Take a black and white photo of your model to see how good the contrast really is. If it is all in the same grey area it might still lack of contrast.

If you want to see more photos of this bust, feel invited to check Putty&Paint.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the article and I hope the hours pushed in the preparation of it were not useless to you.

Let me know if you did find inspiration in it?
Let me know what you liked or disliked?
Let me know if you did not read it all as it was way too much text?
Or just make a Beastman-comment like "Mmoooo!" ...

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes,


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