Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to paint red miniatures

Hi there guys and girls!

I apologize for taking so long to write a new article. I have been very busy at work and real life, showing from the fact that I started writing this article like two and a half week ago.

I have also been repainting my X-Wing miniatures and trying to learn the game.This article will have nothing to do with that though.

Today I will share two methods I use to paint red.

A finished example of the final result

While a lot of people still prime their models black, I find it really hard to paint red over black. A simple reason for this is that red paint is usually very transparent so before you have a solid red color you are at least five or six layers in.

Now for the people that know me or have read some of the articles on this blog they might know that I am fond of using pre-shading and zenithal highlighting. For painting red I like to use a combination of these two techniques.

For the first example I want to create a bright red color. I primed a miniature in white primer. You could use any color you like but white is easier for me.

Miniature primed white
I like to work with light colored primers because it lets me see what I am actually doing. It's easier to see how thick your coat of paint is if you can actually see your miniature.
Once the primer is dry (a blow-dryer can certainly speed up this process) I proceed with the shadow color. Some people like to use black, and this is certainly the best choice for high contrast, but I used a medium brown and coated the whole miniature with this color.

A medium brown is used as a base color 
Using the brown as a shade for the darkest shadows I continued with a zenithal highlight with a medium to light grey color. Spray it from about 45 degree angle so the brown will stay in the deepest recesses and places where light would not hit the model.

Medium/light grey sprayed from a 45 degree angle
Next step is to spray white right on top of the miniature. Focus points should be the top of the shoulderpads, the face, the top of the backpack, hands, knees and toes.

White paint sprayed from above, creating the final highlight
Now comes the step where the magic truly happens. Using the transparency of most red paints we are gonna spray slightly thinned down red paint over the entire miniature. The idea behind this is that the brown stays mostly brown, the grey will make a dark red and the white will become a very vibrant red. The picture below is a bit fuzzy (sorry!) but you can see the gradient from bright red to slightly darker red on the shoulderpad and an even darker, red-ish brown on the elbow.

Final result
The downside of this technique is that you will need to apply a bunch of washes or paint the shadows in the crevices. A different technique I will share is where you build up the red from a dark brown up to red. This is my personal favorite technique because I really like the result.

I start with a primed model. I used grey primer because I wanted a darker basecolor then white or light grey but I still wanted to see what I was painting so I black was also not an option. The winner was this slightly dark grey.

Model sprayed with grey primer
Once the primer dried I coated the model with a layer of dark brown paint like scorched brown. This will be your shadow color but its important to get a contestant layer because you will be painting red over this and because red is a little transparent you might see any inconsistencies in this layer. 

After a solid layer of dark brown paint. 
Next up is building up layers of red paint. Make sure each layer covers less of the previous layer, building up a gradient. Focus extra on the shoulderpads, head, backpack, knees and feet.

Building up layers of red paint
Sadly I forgot to take a picture for the final layers of red. Just make sure that each layer covers a smaller surface of the previous layer. That way each layer will be progressively brighter red.

In the end you will end up with something similar to the picture below: a model with a nice gradient from brown to red.

Final result once all the details are painted.

I really hope this article gave you a little more insight in how I paint red miniatures. Of course there are many more methods that can be used but these are the two I prefer most. 

If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments.

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