The reason I had some hobby time tonight is because my wife went out with her sister. They don't go out much together outside of pretty regular coffee catch ups, so that's pretty rare itself, but tonight they had the special honour of being asked to attend the opening night of My Fair Lady at the Opera House in Sydney. They were invited because their mother, Paddy Roberts, was a dancer in the original Australian production of My Fair Lady back in the 60's and toured the world with the show. Pretty amazing stuff. Unfortunately Paddy passed away a few years back after a pretty inspiring battle with cancer, but the revival production company (directed by none other than Julie Andrews herself) weren't aware so they sent Paddy tickets for herself + 1 in respect for her original performance, and then allowed my wife and her sister to attend on her behalf. My wife's on her way home so I'm sure she's full of stories and a blend of emotions, but just wanted to share this story with whoevers reading this as its a pretty amazing story; to us anyway.
So, as they say, on with the show! Back to Trenloe and my Frankensteinian experiments :)
Tonight I started by masking off the miniature so I could safely airbrush the shield. Now, I would advise way more patience than I displayed (I reckon I was lucky nothing went horribly wrong), but in short succession the shield received an airbrushing of Satin Varnish, then Chipping Medium, then Scarlett Red. After each coat I'd simply use the airbrush to spray pure air on the model for 10 minutes until it was dry to the touch. Like I said, I'm surprised I got away with it.
Here's the shield masked off and ready for chipping:
I then used a damp brush (a standard Kolinsky, which is surprising given I'd read I should use a stiff brush) to wet sections of the shield and slowly brush away the Scarlett paint, revealing the woodgrain underneath. I worked slowly and cautiously until I realised how hard it was to judge whether I'd removed enough red with all the masking, so I set to removing both the tape and the masking fluid. This brings me to the only minor issue I experienced all night - the masking fluid was an absolute fucking nightmare to remove! Now, granted I used a bottle that has been sitting on a shelf for a little over a year, so maybe it was way thicker than it should have been. I also wasn't masking a nice flat surface, it was detailed and curvey and quite complex. But I easily sat there with my toothpick and at a few stages a scalpel too, pulling away what had both the consistency and visual appeal of dirty snot! Sorry for the visual, but it's a direct correlation to my experience with this stuff. Painful. Slow. It probably took me longer than the 3 airbrush coats and chipping...oh well, lesson learned.
In the end I decided to leave the chipping where it was - it looks great and did exactly what I'd hoped, it really does look like the front of his shield was originally painted red, but years of battle has worn away the paint until only a hint remains on an otherwise bare wooden shield. I'm very pleased, and impressed with Vallejo's chipping medium (the newer, smaller bottle. No idea if it's the same as the old rebadged AK formula Vallejo still sell in the larger bottle). I'll go back in and hit the larger areas of Scarlett with a highlight in Blood Red, but other than that, the jobs' a goodun.
To finish off the night, I painted the shield and shoulder pad detail and his belt buckle in Vallejo's amazing Liquid Gold, this time in Old Gold. I also touched up some red overspray with Silver while I was at it. I really can't speak too highly of this paint - beyond feeling a little high from the fumes, it really does give an authentic "metal" look that I've never seen in a miniature-targeted paint. I had also planned to create some small highlights in Liquid Gold's "gold" colour, but alas I've been sent a bad bottle and it had coagulated in the bottom of the pot. I ran it in my Paint Shaker (brilliant little machine, that) for a full 10 minutes, and while I've found 30 seconds to be sufficient to properly mix a bottle of acrylic paint no matter how badly separated, this stuff was just way past saving. Oh well, I don't think it'll matter in the long run.
So, next up I'll seal the whole miniature in Satin Varnish, then I get to play with oil washes for the first time :) I've got to say, while I think I did a horrible job on his face, this miniature really does feel like it's coming together nicely - the colours all work well together and it certainly provides a strong contrast to Shiver who I painted before him. The experiments are also teaching me a great deal about new techniques too, so that's invaluable.
Anyway, I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of where he's at for now. Hopefully I can get back to him this weekend because the oil washes really will make a huge difference in terms of detailing. Until then, Happy Hobbying!