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My journey with Maggie (Pics heavy) (Bla-bla heavy too)

Discussion in 'Miniatures' started by Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    You can't deny it the Maghariba Guard is certainly one of the most appealing mini from the whole Infinity range.
    And if you deny it anyway, I'll just pretend you don't exist.

    As a consequence, this is one of those model you want to make it nicely so it get the wow it deserves when you put it on the table. At least, you just don't want to make it looks bad at all.

    So this is the kind of model that generates ambivalences in your feelings. You want to have it, you want to paint it, but you fear to paint it.

    That was my state of mind and I'm sure this is a pretty common feeling amongst the community.

    Based on that assumption, I think it would be worth sharing the way I went through it to show that even with my limited painting skills (or lack of it), it is possible to get something I'm far from being ashamed of and that is could be done by anyone.

    Disclaimer: this is NOT a tutorial !!! This is just me going from one point to another. I hope it will be of some help for those who, like me, are not confident when such a mini to paint in front of them.
     
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  2. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    First, a bit of background.

    I bought the box a few years ago with the idea of following the AG’s way described in his second book but never found the courage to jump in.

    I assembled her, even magnetised her so I could swap weapons but didn’t even primed her.

    First note: I magnetised the small armour parts that come on each weapon but I should have duplicated those so I just have one weapon, one part.

    Last year, someone (@jherazob irc) mentioned Dana Howl’s YouTube channel and I fallen in love with both the way she paints and the way the does videos ^^. So I started trying her technique on a few minis and get results I was really happy with because each step can be done in a brainless mode (so no pressure while doing it) and the result is pretty nice for me.

    It still requires to train a bit as some misses are needed to understand some subtleties, but that true for everything and honestly this learning curve is really smooth and short.

    Even with those promising results, as it works nicely when there’s a lot of small details, It may not work on bigger models with large surfaces. So I needed to try this technique on something bigger that I don’t mind if the result is not that great or I can easily strip if it really is that bad.

    At that time, Maggie was still far from my mind and all the tests were generic, not with her as the next target.

    My guinea pig was Deadzone’s Stryder from Mantic.
    0.JPG

    From it I learned a few things :
    • white can be easy with this technique but it is also not requiring that much of layer if drying time is respected (I didn’t on some part and lose some shading because of too many layers too quickly)
    • large surfaces needs a not so dry brush with the first colours because if to much black primed remains it will be hard to glaze (or use zenith first)
     
    #2 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  3. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    At this point, painting Maggie this way was still not something I considered. Neither starting painting her except seeing some done by other forumers.

    Due to (thanks to?) the pandemic situation, I was looking at the infamous PoS (Pile of Shame) but didn’t have a project above all that calls me to start it.
    • My Beyond the Gate of Antares Virai army ? A hundred minis with so many logistic reasons not to start yet.
    • My Warpath Enforcer army ? After all, the Stryder called for friends. Nah, no appeal at the moment.
    • The other Mantic’s minis that can be done quickly ? Nope.

    • The Beyond Red Veil and the extra Haqq minis ? Why not ? Seems motivating.

    Soooooo… If I want to stick with the rule I follow lately, I should finish what is already started before adding anything in the on-going queue.

    Here it comes. It’s either her or being stuck in a no decision loop. So be it. Let’s pledge her and see how it goes. A pre-Christmas seems optimistic considering Christmas and New Year’s Eves will eat hobby time a lot. But it makes more sense to start during a non-working week period than planning it within a full month with working time.

    So it is written.
     
    #3 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
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  4. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    First thing first: priming Maggie

    As I made a dedicated base in April 20...
    1.JPG
    Obviously the big one.
    ...and considered it ready, I choose to prime and paint Maggie off base.

    2.JPG

    Even if I don't consider it a mistake now, it may not be the choice I recommend for two reasons:
    • she's a pain to prime even with an airbrush, so not having a base to hold her is not making thing easier
    • I repainted the base anyway
    Still, she's intimidating.
     
    #4 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  5. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    Ok.
    I’m on my mark.
    I’m set.
    Ready ? Not really.
    … go ?

    Did I mentioned that she's intimidating ? Also, I was not completely sold on the choice of the underpainting method for her. Colour scheme remain the studio one as I'm not good at picking colours.

    She really was difficult to prime. So, even if I know I can strip her and star again from scratch, it looks like the strip part will require more effort than for other models.

    As I made the choice to keep her tail unglued to ease the painting process, I use it as an opportunity for trial and error on a small part (and an easier to strip one).

    Let’s start with the tail.

    3.png

    Here is how it goes so far (from left to right, up to down):
    1. one cold grey VGC72050* (not so) dry-brush, one pale sand VMC70837** dry-brush and one white (very) dry-brush
    2. sombre grey VGC72048 glaze for NMM parts (a blue-ish grey but not too blue and dark enough but not too much).
    3. dark sand VMC70847 / heavy khaki VGC 72149*** 50/50 mix glaze for armour plates
    4. flat red glaze VMC70957**** on missiles and white edge lining (and white balance correction)
    If step 1 is properly done, step two already gives an easy NMM without effort.
    Step 3 mix choice was made because of AG's tutorial but with what I had in stock.

    Note 2: I didn't realised it at that time but the colour substitute was far from ideal. Something a bit more vibrant would have been better I think.

    To be honest, at step 3, I was less than convinced, and divided between stripping it and going on.

    Anyway, at this point, it was really little effort to push this test to the end so I continued with step 4 and it REALLY makes a huge difference.

    This is where you realise how much a single step improves a work a lot. But also, that it works because of the previous steps too. I think this is the kind of thing you need to understand as early as possible during your painting path because it helps to push away a lot of frustration.

    I didn't note how long it took but it was both really quick and not that demanding.
    • Drybrush: how difficult is it?
    • Glaze: once you practice a bit and found the proper transparency, it's just putting paint all over and waiting for it to dry (very important step, not as easy at it sounds). Repeat if needed.
    • Edge lining: it's just a matter of being sure you don't forget one but now I kind of find it relaxing.
    At that moment, I had a piece of Maggie which looks promising enough so I feel confident to continue and didn't get any feeling doing any effort. I've said it above but it was really brainless work leading to stressless hobby time even relaxing.

    4.jpg
    In the end the red parts were the tricky ones.

    *paint ref. are here for me to keep track of what I use but this is NOT a tutorial
    **this is what I should use but I lacked it and paint refill is still problematic in my FLGSs so I mixed sand yellow VMC70916 with white
    ***this is an extra opaque paint so I added more gaze medium than usual
    ****one of my favourite colour, it's red with a bit of gold in it. Plus,in French, it's called Garance, a really nice name I like a lot
     
    #5 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  6. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    With a nice tail done, it was time to start the body.

    Of course, she's still intimidating at this stage.

    So repeat the dry-brush steps.
    5.jpg

    In general and even more with this technique, I almost don't work the below of the mini. Sometimes, not at all. But here, I feel that she deserves more so instead of one dark all-over dry-brush, a top and side mid tone dry-brush and only top light one, I did an all over of the first two and a top and side of the last.

    6.jpg

    The pictures faded it but the sand part was more visible in front of me.

    Easy part done, I can't help but feel a bit anxious for the nest step.

    Also, I did the weapons.
    7.JPG
     
    #6 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  7. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    If I did the tail with brush only, at that point I'm wondering if I should stick with it or if I switch to the airbrush.

    Brush: may takes more time but won't require masking.

    Airbrush: should be quicker but masking will be required and I don't have an easy pas with masking. Also, I replaced my previous art masking goo with more classic Maskol (but didn't ad the opportunity to try it yet).

    After checking some maskol tutorials, I choose to give it a go so airbrush it will be.

    The NMM parts are smaller and should be easier to mask compared to the main yellow/green/khaky-ish colour of the armor so I decided to go grey first then khaky.

    So grey it is.

    8.jpg
    Note that the yellow of the sand mix reappeared in the picture due to the grey contrast and better settings on the camera.

    Masking was not as easy as expected but I was satisfied and proceeded with khaki.
    9.jpg
    Pictures result was really inconsistent but at that time I blamed the weather.

    At that stage I had two major problems. Both related to masking.

    First I get some paint removed on the top of the "head". I suspect this surface to be a bit too smooth. Next time I 'll get large surfaces on a metal mini, I'll sand it. But it could also because I primed her without a base to manipulate and had to put her on the back to prime below.

    The second one was that, because of the no base choice, I removed some of the maskol while manipulating her. Thus, some grey parts are now yellow.

    Anyway, the airbrush clearly speed up to get to that point but it also generate extra work to fix a few things.
    The good news is, using glazes means that it cover less so it's easier to fix overlap.

    Right now, I think it may have been a better option to paint the khaki part all over first as it is close to the dry-brush tone so painting grey above should have been easier. But nothing 100% sure. In the end, both way should be viable.

    Am I happy with the result?
    At that moment, I'm more concerned about all the fix work I get and should have avoided.

    Is it worth fixing the effort or is time to say stop?

    The armour seems dull, the NMM doesn't look great.
    I just put the tail in place and check the overall.
    10.JPG

    A single step and everything looks so much more going in the right direction. Once again, if I need to strip it, it doesn't matter if I make it bad now. I may even have something I like.
     
    #7 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  8. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    I didn't take pictures of the fixing steps as it was pretty close to the previous one with just some parts switching form yellow to grey.

    The main step here was to apply black wash at specific places. I'm usually more an all-over wash kind of painter but I tend to change this habit little by little. And here, it really makes a difference.

    The only exception is on Maggie's legs and tracks as I want them black and, in this specific case, a wash will do the work as much as a glaze.

    11.jpg

    At this point, I have to admit that the result really cheered me up. It's still far from what I hope to get, but I got a nice base that the next steps should benefit from.
     
    #8 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  9. archangeleong

    archangeleong Deadly Ninja Assassin

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    Please go ahead and share your progress. Looking forward to seeing it. Hope I can help you with it :-)
     
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  10. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    Here comes the time consuming process of edge lining.
    Considered the surface painted, it sure is the slowest part of all :grinning:
    But how rewarding it is. Especially with a complete Maggie.

    12.PNG

    Ok, she still is a bit dull because of the colour mix I used. But it really gives her a tank's vibe.
    Plenty of details to do, but I was so happy she turns out this way.
    Obviously, I now fear more than ever to screw everything, to me this is already an achievement.
     
    #10 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  11. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    Once again, the smallest step can make the biggest improvement.

    Here, most time spend was to fix anything I forgot (like the weapon's shields, a few lining...), rework of previous steps...
    But the real difference comes from two things
    • the little colour breakers:
      • lights: repaint it white, add some VMC fluo colour (mix of 70935 orange and 70934 red)over , white point, fluo orange over
      • red electrical wire
    • two tones shading to the khaki armour

    The last one was not obvious to me but I knew the armour was lacking something so I checked AG's tutorial again and noticed something I overlooked before. He gives some orange and green tones at some places.

    This is where I have a problem to follow artist's advices. I'm a tech guy, definitely not an art one. So I need rules to follow when doing things. Once I integrate those rules, I can interpreted them, be creative with them. But first I need to have them stated.

    I can see what some green and orange will bring but how do I implement it?
    So I came with my own rules:
    • lower shadows will be done with green (Army Painter wash but don't remember if it's Green Tone or Military Shader :sweat:)
    • "upper" shadows will be done with orange (here I used transparent orange VMC70935 because it was easier than make a wash with orange paint)
    I know "upper" shadows doesn't make sense but it speaks to me and I don't know how to call it. Let assume you understand what I mean.

    In the end, this part is a bit subtle to notice but I really think it helps the render.

    13.PNG
     
    #11 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  12. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    It's a bit of a paradox but at this point, I think I was beyond what I could have expect at some point and feels like it miss something.
    So, once again, I checked AG's book to find what makes a difference (beside him being him and me being me). The answer was not long to find.

    MARKING !!!
    14.PNG
    Something I didn't dare to work on until my recent Blue Wolf.
    I'm ready to go this way but as for colours, I'm not good at being original thus I blatantly imitate those from the studio paint.

    I started with race stripes (yes it makes her move faster, that's a fact). But simpler ones.
    I used masking tape but from previous experience I've learned something:
    • if the paint is too diluted, it runs under the tape
    • if it's not it will make the mark thick and visible
    Another thing I learned from watching artists: art is deception !!! to make it looks good don't go perfect, cheat !!! So I went with this.
    • mask
    • make one glaze, not important if it doesn't show much
    • unmask
    What you have here is a delimitation of your marking that you can paint into.
    It's easier to paint inside to build up the colour without going outside of the limit. And it's not important to build it up perfectly to the limit because the eye won't see it. The perfectly delimited glaze is enough to trick the eye while the inner part bring the colour.



    Tail's markings are also imitation of the studio model. Nothing complicated here, not important if not straight. It brakes the armour uniformity, that's all that matters.

    Extra details are:
    • green eyes/lights/whatever on the front with transparent green VMC70936
    • various weapons' tips (fluo blue, transparent yellow/orange/red...)
    15.PNG
    Obviously, the base was repainted.
    The original sandy colour was not contrasted enough with a simple wash and it blended the model to much.
    So back to the book.
    No fancy pigment are anything else here. I just put random drop of transparent red orange yellow and mix of those all over then a bit of sand dry-brush once dried. Same for Maggie's tacti-rock.

    And I now have a painted Maggie I never hoped I get.

    It started years ago with a buy I shouldn't have made at that time. Priming was made on December 23rd but the real paint job went from the 27th and ended with the new year. Only a small week for this. I think I could be proud (if anyone think otherwise I simply don't care).

    It really was a special experience. I hope it will help padawan painters to find motivation go start such a journey.


    For those who want to have a closer look at the pics, you could find all the unedited ones here
     
    #12 Koin-Koin, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  13. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Well-Known Member

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    That's a really nice looking model (and a really nice thread (and a nice thread title)). I totally appreciate it. :+1:
     
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  14. Uthoroc

    Uthoroc Well-Known Member

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    Excellent stuff. This is tempting me to write my own process. :D
     
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  15. toadchild

    toadchild Premeasure

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    I was hoping to see your project, but unfortunately all the images are broken for me. Do you have a link to another place where you're hosting an album?
     
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  16. archangeleong

    archangeleong Deadly Ninja Assassin

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    Yeah me too. The pics will not load on any device (phone or laptop) fro me.
     
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  17. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    If you're using chrome it's because I don't have SSL on the host.

    Link to the gallery is in the last post but here it is in clear just in case: http://koin.koin.free.fr/Figurines/Maghariba Guard/index.html

    Not a best practice, but on the desktop version, you could add the forum in the list of the authorised site to display non https components.
     
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  18. KedzioR_vo

    KedzioR_vo Well-Known Member
    Warcor

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    So, to start with a positive note - I like the idea of this thread, I feel a bit similar about Maggie and painting her. I also think that the final effect deserves a praise.

    But there's something that hurts my eyes - and I just have to add this constructive criticism, especially that you've wrote yourself about Maggie being one of the best models in the range and how she deserves the work and the wow effect. So - why didn't you gave her a bit more time to prepare her properly for painting? There are brutal mold lines on her tail and on her front, that are even more visible because of the style of painting. That's something I just can't understand, because IMHO it makes the whole model looks way worse, as it is such a basic error, that is easy to avoid.

    Sorry, no offence, just being honest.


    PozdRawiam / Greetings
     
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  19. Koin-Koin

    Koin-Koin Well-Known Member

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    No offense taken.
    First because this kind of thread calls for criticism. Second because you're absolutely right about the mold line.

    Yes such a model deserve as many effort you can put into.
    Unfortunately, in this specific case, it not just a classic flash that can be remove by scraping it with a blade and a file. It's a lot of extra material almost like the mold pieces were not aligned.
    The truth is, fixing it requires skills and tools I don't own nor master.
     
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  20. Sanvi

    Sanvi Member

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    I think you did an awesome job!!
    Maghariba is a really beautiful model, and you painted it really well.
     
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