Step by Step: Kurgan Chieftain, Games Workshop, 28 mm

by Massive Voodoo

Good Thursday Morning Jungle Painters! 

The winner of this weeks tutorial voting has to arrive today. The voting time was not as long as usually, but Roman is travelling to another painting class today.

You did vote last week here on the jungle blog and it was a close call:
The winner with two more votes is: Kurgan, Chieftain

If you want to keep track with an overview on what has happened so far in
MV's year of the painter 2 please check this link!
You want to support Massive Voodoo? 
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.

Roman is now taking over and writing the article - we hope you enjoy!



this article takes you through my thoughts while painting this project. I would not call the miniature a high end competition figure, but it never was aimed for this. I'd call it high end happy painting.

I drew a lot of inspiration from the computer game "Warhammer - Total War" where I started to play a Chaos Campaign. With lots of Barbarians and later Chaos Warriors my warriors put the old world to flame and sword. I always liked the barbarian way. Most of the photos in this article are done wit my mobile. I apologize for some bad photos in this article.

A screenshot of my mighty chaos army ...

Well, computer games. 
They are good in a way to relax the brain, but too often they steal too much time, so I decided to put this inspiration also into miniatures. I did so with the Khorne Slaughterpriest, step by step here.

When I saw the content of Games Workshop's Silvertower Box I instantly fell in love with the Kurgan Chieftain miniature. Such a cool sculpt. I wanted to paint him for the joy of painting him, but with a slightly tiny conversion. I knew a lot of people like the sculpt and will do great versions of him, but I was also sure that most of the painters will use the model out of the box. I switched heads. The original head was no a gift to Khorne on the Slaughterpriests base and I used one from the Barbarian Raiders on horseback. Simple as that, but the whole character changes.

My end result of the model looked like this - so you all know about what we are talking about ...

Painting Process
It was a pleasure to paint this guy and I want to take you on a ride for explanation now.
I started with black primer, but instead of using white primer afterwards I used a dark desaturated green followed by yellow/green from Vallejo via Airbrush from a 45° angle. A kind of way too saturated color, but the painting gods are with me and I trust them, even when they laugh at me.

The beginning looked like this. If you ask me why, I can not even tell you. Just enjoyed using a different color than always the same:

So weird :D

As you can see in the photo above I already placed basic colors of bones and shoes (some Khaki/Sand/Desert color, mixed from primaries) and skintone to the model. For the skintone I decided to make him look ill or something. I really enjoyed the greyish/purplish color, but was not yet sure where this will take me.

I washed some leather parts with Soft Tone from Army Painter and painted the amour parts in a blueish grey. Some areas have more grey in it (shadows), others less (brighter areas).

Now I knew what use the strange yellow/green in priming had. Not to forget something. Sometimes GW models are so packed with ... yeah, stuff. I decided to give everything still glowing greeny at least a basecolor to be able to focus better.

In this state I used pure white to paint highlight reflections on my metal parts. BAM! BAM! NMM Roman style :D

While painting the maybe gold parts in black to block them out I also used black as a glaze here and there to add first shadows to most of the parts. The white looks weird, but I was not scared.

The skintone recieved more highlights, for it I used the basic color (purple/grey) and mixed in more skintone. I was able to paint most of the skin with it, leaving only a small glimpse of the purple, but still it is there.

I wanted more saturation. Everywhere.
I used Inktensity Inks by Scale75 to glaze over areas and tint them in a stronger color. Now the whites look megablueish. All good, I  hope.

Also reds have been used on the hand, nose and lower belly, knees, scars ...
Orange beard, yeah!

Time to clean up.
I went for every area again to clean it up and make it more readable for the viewer. Leather recieved some texture attention. I used a desatured blueish grey again to smoothen the armour. Placed some dark brown as a basic for the NMM gold. Also added highlights to it, by adding more yellow to the brown and even some white later on. With this same color I worked also on the bone parts and even on the skin again.

I enjoyed the textures appearing here and there from my wild brushstrokes.


Some more angles on this step. Oh yeah, painted the stones on the base greyish. Click to enlarge.

Time for definition.
In this stage I was in the need to go back to work on details. Pushing highlights to white again in the silver NMM. Pushing them in the gold NMM. Pushing them in the bone parts, pushing them in the skin, pushing them everywhere.

And a bad photo now, how great is that!

Better one.
I call it definition as the whole model gets sharper. It is annoying work to check back with every area and it takes a lot of effort to not skip something, but in the end you will be rewarded for each small edge highlight, texture improvement or shadow you did spent ten seconds on. It will be more defined. If you want, take the time. If not, don't. Simple as that.

I really enjoy painting on top of such a rough sketch as I am always in control how much more effort I put in. I used brown glazes for the NMM armour parts to show their worn look. Used really bright brushtrokes on the texture of the loincloth and loved how his boots turned out to be wild leather boots.

I really enjoyed my simple approach on painting Non Metallic Metal here. I know it is rough, I now it is fast, I know it is not smooth, but for me it works and it was great to enjoy it and learn more about painting NMM.

Here are some final photos of the Kurgan, Chieftain. Really big ones, if you click them. I mean in the end we all know that this is a 32 mm model. In the final stage I made final clean ups. Smooth main areas that I felt not comfortable with and adding final highlights or darklining here and there. I also painted the gems in red. The beard recieved more highlights and definition, but soon I realized I do enjoy the overall look of this paintjob. It works for me.

And I gave him a tattoo. I mean he is a chaos barbarian. 
 For me this paintjob was a study in a fast approach on NMM, keeping color harmony even with a weird start and training the use of my brushstrokes to be more accurate with my movements and the placement of the light and shadow. It is definatly a more BAM! BAM! paintjob, but it is one of this years paintjobs that I enjoyed a lot this year.

The model is already in private collection and I want to thank the person for his support in my work, passion and art. If you want to check back with my online PDF-cataloge please feel welcome to do so, here.

Last thing I did: 
I worked a little more love on the base and made it cold, with snow and grass, so the colors of the model were also repeated on the base. Bad photo now again.

Keep on happy painting!

If you want to keep track with an overview on what has happened so far in
MV's year of the painter 2 please check this link!
You want to support Massive Voodoo? 
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.


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