Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Queen is dead! Long live the Queen!

So, while I've been chipping away at Long, I've had Queen Ariad in her human form (so, technically just Ariad) staring at me in a sad, half-painted state. I had such grandiose plans for her!

The box art seems to intimate that her bodice is quite a red/brown at the top and fades to a darker purple as it progresses downwards. So, a long time ago when I had my airbrush out for something else, I smoothly transitioned from a 50:50 mix of Scarlett Red and Mahogony at the top through Hexed Lichen and finally Imperial Blue at the bottom. The blend was hellishly smooth (that's why I love the airbrush) and the top part looked fantastically warm and red and the bottom cold and blue/purple, but the middle colours always bothered me - they just looked...muddy.

Anyway, I continued regardless. To tie the bandages back into the rest of the mini, I basecoated them in a Hexed Lichen and Wolf Grey mix that produced a nice rich lavender colour (1:4 from memory), then drybrushed over it with Wolf Grey, and then Wolf Grey with a touch of white.

Then on to the gold - there's an extremely fine spiderweb pattern modelled into her bodice, so I set to carefully painting all of this pattern in Glorious Gold, along with her head and the backpiece. Except the modelled spiderweb was either moulded so delicately, or my airbrush painted over it too thick, so as to make it impossible for me to get a smooth gold line on most of the pattern that I could see. Or perhaps it was just a lack of skill.

Finally, I set to highlighting her dress/cloak. Unfortunately, as I had blended using the airbrush, trying to highlight an extremely fine series of folds required me to continuously blend a highlight colour. It just didn't work.

By this stage I was seriously unhappy with how it all looked, and I could feel it sucking my painting motivation out of me. I set the miniature down, took a photo, and walked away from it to clear my head. Sitting outside with a coffee, I looked at the photo (below), and saw this:

1) The bandages looked horrible (I hate how drybrushing looks most of the time, but this was worse than I've seen in a while)
2) The highlighting on the dress/cloak looked horrible. There was a bright blue streak on one section, but you could hardy tell the rest was even highlighted
3) The gold spiderweb was horrible! Nuff said
4) There were obvious mould lines everywhere; on her arms and legs especially. On finely detailed elements like the bandages I think this is inevitable to an extent, but the drybrushing really brought all this out and made it more obvious.
5) Perhaps worst of all, I hadn't really noticed how chunky the paint looked in sections. The gold backpiece and parts of her skirt had visible lumps on them, and the holes in the backpiece were irregular and poorly cut out.

I knew immediately there was no saving it. I've considered it a couple of times, but for the first time in 20-odd years of painting, I ordered another copy of the miniature. I could have repainted her, but my crappy prep and blobby paint just couldn't be fixed to a point I'd be satisfied. Better to start with a fresh copy and make brand new mistakes with that one.

I'm not quite up to binning the old copy yet - because I don't care anyway, I experimented with something I should have just done but didn't want to risk it; I cut the backpiece off. This confirms that when the new copy comes I can do the same and have a much easier time painting both it and her back. I'm also going to try painting the bandages in pure Wolf Grey, then washing with purple to see if I get a cleaner effect than drybrushing.

So, Queen Ariad is dead. But a new copy is on its way, and I'll move on to something fresh and new in the meantime.

I've got both Lady Eliza Farrow and two Merriods sitting on my desk ready to go - I plan to work on them in parallel, but I'll post progress separately soon. Until then, happy hobbying!