Step by Step: Arthur, by Matt Di Pietro

by Massive Voodoo

Good Morning Jungle Painters,
time again to bring you your choice from last weeks tutorial Voting.

Today Massive Voodoo's year of the painter is very proud to bring you an article written by a guest author.

The guest author this time is nobody else than Matt Di Pietro.
Some of you might know him as the house painter of Privateer Press. His paintwork is truely beautiful and his ideas are fresh and innovative. It is always a pleasure to see a miniature project by Matt as he comes up with soulful ideas. Matt made it up to the second place of our Forged Hope Program with his Robot "Arthur".

Massive Voodoo is thankful that Matt found the time and made the effort to write a step by step about his plans and the execution for this project. A very cool read that we can only recommend, true happy painting spirit in every word!

Now let Matt speak for himself!
We hope you'll enjoy the read!


Hello to all the readers of Massive Voodoo!

1) My name is Matt DiPietro and I live in Seattle, USA, a city nestled amongst lush forests, magnificent beaches, and towering mountains. Building and painting miniatures is my passion and it is something I’ve been doing for over 19 years now! You may have seen some of my work for Privateer Press (Warmachine, Hordes) that I have painted during my 8 years as their head studio miniature painter.

Even though painting is my career, I make sure to clear time for painting display models. It is during these times that I work with no rules and truly I find my happiest painting. I am very excited for the opportunity to share my thoughts and process with you!

2) I like to start by sketching my idea. I use the outlines of some potential bases to setthe proper
scale for my drawings. This is very helpful for working out spacing and composition. My sketches are just rough ideas which are refined throughout the rest of the process.


3) With such a poseable kit, the base needed to be started before assembling the robot. An ancient and broken road will be the backdrop...beaten by rains, the earth turned to mud, fractured in the baking sun.


4) The RK1 robot kit has many options. I chose to stay close to human in design because I wanted my
audience to easily relate to him. Also, art is a very human trait and I felt my robot should reflect this. I imagined him living in a post-human world where humanity has attempted to preserve their minds from the ravages of a dying world.

5) Since I wanted to convey complex mood and emotion, I knew that the correct posing of the hands
would be critical. So I had my wife take photos for me to use as reference for the hands.


6) The following order of operations was vital to getting the hands posed correctly! Referencing the photos, I formed the fingers to the general shape using a little heat from my hair dryer (a pair of locking tweezers is a very valuable tool!). Then, I attached the hand to the face with small amounts of super glue. Only then was the arm pose set.

7) I used several thicknesses of plastic rod for this piece. It's a cheap and useful material to have on-
hand as the properties are quite different from metal wire (which you will see in the next few steps).

This length of 0.8mm plastic rod was gripped in my pin vice and shaped with diamond files into...

8) The smallest paint brush in my collection!

9) Referencing the photos, I glued the brush into its place, resting against the robot’s pointer finger.

Then I used a hair dryer again to form the fingers into position around the brush.

10) The joint between the robotic arm and the easel is made up of the easel backing, a spacer, and two sides with depressions that I createdusing a small drill. With the parts assembled, the joint hung
freely and the painting easel could be removed from/re-attached to the robot arm throughout the
painting process.


11) The pose for the robotic arm was worked out one joint at a time through careful dry fitting.

12) The modifications of the palette into a robotic paint dispenser and palette begin! Plastic rod was used instead of metal wire. This plastic finds its own shape, yielding a result that is (in this case) more natural and durable.

13) To attach the plastic rods, first glue them at one end. Then bend and dry fit to measure the proper length. Cut the plastic rods to length and bend it once more into the proper shape. Glue the rods at that end to fix them into position. The rods are flexible and will not easily deform or break.

14) The finished robotic paint palette. A dispenser runs along a track, mixing proportions of the primary colors and depositing the mixtures onto the palette. The loop in the feed lines is for added realism; the lines would need slack to allow the dispenser to move back and forth.

15) With all parts ready for priming and paint, my wife and I head off on an adventure to the pacific coast...

16)  ...and inspiration finds me there...

17) Back to work with some serious Painting-Mojo coursing through my veins! The selection of basing materials used: a worn plastic bag, a strange seed pod, and some grass.

18) Plants are made of a collection of repeating micro structures which are perfect for simulating miniature plants. Precision scissors were used to the dissect grasses. Next, the grass pieces were then stuck to tape and affixed to a block. Then I airbrushed one side orange and the other side blue to simulate the light of sunset.

19) The pieces were carefully dipped into a pool of CA glue and meticulously placed.

20) The plastic bag was torn and placed to suggest the lonely coastal wind. I also tried to mirror this imagined wind in the grass.

21) I saved the tiny painting until the end. Honestly, I had never done anything like this before. I did not know how long it would take, if I would be unable to complete the painting, or if it would be so badly done that all of my previous work would be wasted. I only had one day left to finish the painting and final assembly, so after a hearty breakfast with a big cup of powerful coffee, I attacked the project with all I had!

22) The painting was painted on a cigarette rolling paper. Other papers are too thick for miniatures and will be out of scale with the model. The paper was taped to a plastic block and primed with white primer. The dark lines were my planned cropping lines. It's good to be able to crop for added flexibility.

23) A smile as bright as that sunset spread across my face when I was done. Here are some pictures of the painting and palette before assembly so you can get an idea of scale. The coin pictured (US penny) is the same size as a two-cent Euro coin.

24) You can find pictures of the finished project at Putty & Paint.

A big thank you to Massive Voodoo for asking me to write this project log, and a special thanks to all of you for following along! I hope you find your inspiration and enjoy many hours, days, and years of happy painting.

Matt Di Pietro


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