Project diary: 1177 B.C. - 09

by David

Hey all,

welcome to Page Nine of my project diary. If you're wondering what this is, please check the announcement post, in which I explain the motivation and general goals of the diary. At the bottom of that post, you will find a link to all parts of this series (constantly updated as soon as new articles are published).

Finally, the day has arrived... My diary entry today will cover the painting of the sea raider's shield and sword. Let's get some Bronze NMM done! Starting with the shield, however, I first concentrated on the shield's inside. According to the archaeological and historical sources, the Sea Peoples' shields were mostly made of wood, which was covered with a thin sheet of often ornamented bronze. It is not documented whether the wood was also covered on the inside of the shield, for instance with leather. In any case, on the mini the shield's inside was sculpted blank and without any structure. Since I wanted to show the wooden core of the shield, I had to paint it. I started with a nice, warm brown basic tone (VMC Mahogany Brown), and then painted some very dark lines using VMC German Camo Black Brown to portray the wooden strips from which the shield was made. Then, I highlighted the individual strips (adding Tan Yellow and Ivory to the Mahogany Brown), and finally used a very diluted and carefully applied wash of the Black Brown to shade the whole area.

Painting on the strips, first the dividing lines...
... then some highlights...
... and shadows.

Once that was done, I could no longer dodge the NMM bullet - and I started with the shield front. Since I wanted the shield to be a nice, polished bronze, I decided to use the same color combination I already employed for the headband. I started with a slightly green-tinted, ochre-yellow (VMC Japanese Uniform) as the base-color. For the highlights, I used VMC Tan Yellow and Ivory, which were mainly applied in the upper parts of the shield. The outer-lower section was to reflect the ground area a little. For that, I again used VMC German Uniform Black Brown. For the mid-lower part, I wanted the shield to reflect the water (which reflects the blue sky), so I mixed a bit of VMC Turquoise into the Japanese Uniform color. Using these colors, I quickly laid down a first sketch:

Sketching the overall lights and reflections...

I then worked a little back and forth on the sketch, refining the reflections and softening the transitions, and especially I toned down the lower part of that strong very bright "stripe" of highlight in the middle. I also painted the shield rim, making sure to give it a nice edge-highlight where the Mediterranean sun would be hitting the shield directly from the top, and also added a few edge highlights on the little details engraved on the shield. I did not overdo this latter part, as too much of this detail lighting would quickly destroy the overall impression of the reflective surface. In retrospect - and if I ever did this mini again - I would remove the shield completely and replace it with a scratch-build shield made from plastic sheet...

Once I was sufficiently satisfied with the shield, it was time to tackle the sword. Since I wanted the sword's bronze color to differ a bit from the shield's color and have some variance, I started from a different base color, imitating a slightly different combination of tin and copper in the bronze alloy. For the base-tone, I used VMC Tan Yellow, to which I added a bit of VMC Woodgrain Ink, which is a warm reddish-brown tone. For the shadow and light colors, I used the same tones as for the shield, mixing Tan Yellow and Ivory into the base-tone for the lights, and Black Brown for the shadows. The final highlights were painted using pure Ivory. It was a bit of a struggle to find the a light/dark reflection range that looked somewhat realistic but also allowed the slightly reddish color to show. I did three of four attempts, and greatly benefitted from feedback from my MV brothers (special thanks go out to Hansrainer!). Ultimately, I got something done that I was somewhat ok with, even though I was not completely satisfied:

Not totally happy, to be honest...
... but I will return to it (maybe) in the final stages.

And with that, I left the mini as it was for the time being and went on to finalize the base - it was high time for some water effect! Read more on this in the next installment of the project diary. As always, if you like what you read or have questions, drop me a line in the comments. Talk to you soon!

Best, D.


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