SBS: Grünkfül, the Dwarf Slayer

by Roman aka jar

Hello Jungle, 

time for another step by step article that gives you insight into my working flow, thoughts and failures I encounter while tackling a project.

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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.

This time it is about a dwarf figure
that is well known in the figure world, sculpted by no other than Raul Garcia Latorre for his own company Mpryoec, that, unfortanetely is no more. In the meantime this figure is really rare and a true classic.

This figure arrived at my table as a comission for a client. I knew already it was hard for him to get hold of the figure as it is strictly limited. He made the catch via ebay and had to pay quite the sum to get it. Limited stuff issues. Well, for me it meant a little pressure in the way I was thinking prior before I accepted the comission. My client picked me to paint a true "Roman" on this classical and rare sculpt! Can I give it justice?

It is an amazing sculpt, but also a very complex one.
Raul's traditional and classic sculpts have tons of complex volumes. I knew from some painter friends who painted this Dwarf Slayer up, that it is one of the hardest sculpts they tackled, just by its complexety. I already saw that when I prepared the resin figure for painting!

Challenge accepted!

Painting Process
First I got to say that painting this fella up was not done in a month. If you are free in your decisions and your client allows you - even wants - to paint a personal interpretation of the figure and vision the process starts way earlier before priming. It starts with thinking about a vision, it has blockades on the way, it has breaks, it needs time and in the end comes to a point where you understand your vision and can finish it up, but this process is not done in a month. At least for me.

It would have been easier to have a recipe from my client, telling me what I have to colorise in the way he wants, but this was not the case and I am happy for it. It challenged me as an artistic soul, not as a robot. Many thanks!

I started to bring paint on the dwarf during
a two day private coaching in 2018 with Christoph from the US.

It has been an easy way to get into it for me, as I used the figure for demonstration and explanation purpose.

Basic Skin colors applied.
Finding a way into the figure.

More basic colors applied.
Yes, this is how I often start with my skintone. Very desaturated.

Then I start pushing the saturation from this point on ...
You can easily spot the difference from one half of the back to the other.

The beard was started also very desaturated, recieved some depth via a wash. The Orc body was tackled in the same manner. Very desaturated in color. My plan in such start is to be in control in how far I will push saturation of different basic colors to let them grow together to a level where everything fits well together in harmony. In my case I could never finish one area of a figure, as I would not understand the full picture.

Slowly pushing saturation ratios ...

Click the photos to enlarge them ...

The beard was way to yellowish, so I went in with some more orange.
While other areas grow too on texture and saturation. See trousers and Orc.

Looking into the light box and on a photo with the big camera I saw how much work still is ahead of me. I am somewhere in the beginning of my idea. He is a very pale dwarf, not a Slayer used to be on the outside and hunting monsters.

In this stage I decided to go more into the idea of the Slayer. As a big fan of the old Felix & Gotrek novels by Games Workshop and also the fluff around Slayers it was helpful to remember these ...

This guy has so much skin!

... in the meantime I was also playing a computer game called "Vermintide" and played as a Slayer. I was fascinated by the tattoo design and decided - even in the middle of the process, somewhere on my journey - to bring some tattoo sketches to the figure ...

... to be more in control of the large skin areas.

It helped me to understand what is in front of me and seperate all that muscles and skin.

They were painted rather intense as I knew my later on coming contrast work will include them and blurr them again.

The next stage was exactly this: Contrast
Working my way through contrast and starting with skin variation here and there. Placing everything in zenital light by highlighting it with its material properties. Photos in the big photo booth again with the big camera.

Btw the demonic skull is usually not a part of the kit. I really enjoy such minor changes to make my projects unique and not out of the box. The skull is from a 54 mm Skull set by Pedro Fernandez Works. Amazing sculpts! Highly recommended.

These do help me to see how the figure looks at the moment. With high quality photos I am able to zoom in and check for any issues I want to change.

With the questions...

  • What is there that I like? ---> Improve and increase its effect
  • What is there that I do not like? ---> Change it, so I like it more 

... I continued to work my way through the model. Gave attention to details, highlights, shadows, defining material properties and pushing saturation.

I even went for ginger dwarf body hair on his butt and arms and feet. I mean why not. It is natural.

I pushed on and always had in mind to keep the color balance alive. An harmonic look. Nothing that breaks out, but still a focus that the viewer can follow ...

From the photo above I decided for final work that I wanted to include to call my vision finished.
On photos or here in the article it sounds like a quick thing, but it ain't. The last 10% often costs the same amount of time as the first 90%.

These detail work included:

  • pushing final contrast everywhere
  • finalising color variations
  • redefining tattoos
  • including battle wounds
  • checking back with constant level of saturation of paint
  • edge highlights in detail under influance of the light situation
  • including light that might bounce from one material to another, material properties!
  • falling in love with a detail here and there and pushing it to beauty 

All in all, even when done with such a step it was not done, nor finished.
It is a game of wax on, wax off that you can play until Ragnarök.

The final dwarf ...

Beard that reflects back into metal parts ... bounce light, material study.

Toes and nails, wounds in detail, texture in fabrics, even on small areas, dwarf feet hair ...

A lovely thumb toe nail ...

Tiny bounce lights in metal parts in the beard, saturation pushes it for me ... mouth work, lips, wounds ... blood splatters from the orc ...

Dwarf butt hair, leather texture ...

Skin reflecting back on metal parts ...

on black backround ...

Also important for me is looking at my paintjobs in black and white to see the difference in hues and tonalities. To understand basic color applications and their help how they can guide the eyes through a figure and see if it worked to paint the drama of light and shadow games ...

Painting up this model was quite the challenge,
one that I truely enjoyed while painting my way through my final vision.

It was a tribute to all the imagination I had in my mind when I think about all the Slayer stories I've read and played in my imagination. A Slayer, doomed to seek his death in challenging enormous foes. It is always important for a painter what episode of life you are in while you create a paintjob. For me, back then I was in the middle of immense changes of life through a break up from a long relationship. I was seeking for answers, guidance and reasons. Seeking demons inside me to understand them and hopefully slay them.

Now after one year of questioning the past, seeking demons there is one thing I have learnt: You can not change who you are. You can improve yourself, but at a certain age you will never change all over. This acceptance made me understand myself much more and it has been a rough ride. This figure shows this very well. It is brutal, in expression, in color placement, in brushstroke, in detail. Yet it shows that the slayer will never achieve his goal as his inner doom is that he always is on the hunt. Lesson learned: Stop hunting for forced brilliance in yourself. Learn to be happy with who you are. It is what it is. And you are beautiful the way you are. Some people might just not see it. It is not your fault.

very philosophic. I know. This is how I paint, with my emotions.
I also learned last year that I am tired of painting warframed subjects. At least for the moment. They do not give me happy feelings. The brutality of so many sculpts is not speaking to me anymore like it used to do. I will do some of course as the miniature world is dominated by weaponry and boobs. It is sad, but I enjoy everything that I find for my painting joy that is not based on these subjects.

You can also find this Slayer up to Putty & Paint if you would like to leave a vote or a comment:

I hope you enjoyed the insight into this project!
Keep on happy painting!


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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