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Dwarfology -part IV-

Last days of Kickstarter campaign have been really tough, indeed, so what's better to relieve the stress than painting a new Dwarf?!

This tutorial is a bit weird because I had to face a strange color behavior that made me suffer a lot to fix, so I'd call it "how to face unknown setbacks while painting and try to survive to them".

After all: not all donuts come out of the hole.


One of the most scenic parts of our range, is for sure the cauldron of the Augu Nornir. Since the beginning, I wanted to paint it with a strong "The Black Cauldron" vibe: it was one of my favorite movie cartoons of my childhood, and I thought that the Augu Nornir had a great affinity with that style. So I decided for a green smoke, and I started to airbrush the first tones using two Kimera Kolors: Phtalo Green and Cold Yellow. Kimera Kolors is a new line that I've recently started to use, and I though they were perfect for my purposes because they match the pure brightness with a high coverage quality. I started with a basecoat of pure Phtalo Green (1), airbrushed to have a smooth and quick base. To build the first lights, I mixed Phtalo Green with Cold Yellow, approx. 50%/50%, using again the airbrush to highlight the mouth of the cauldron and, zenithally, the magic smoke at the base (2). Using almost pure Cold Yellow with airbrush, I painted the final lights, focusing more on the mouth of the cauldron (3). Arrived at this point, unfortunately, I noticed that a weird reaction occurred to the paint, and a weird super-rough finish appeared on the surface of the smoke!

oh gosh why.

I honestly don't know exactly what happened, but the only thing I can suppose is that the Kimera Kolors don't react very well if mixed with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner, or maybe they just don't work very well if airbrushed, or I've just done something wrong. As we say here in Italy when facing an unexplainable unknown: boh.

Upset, but not tamed, I decided to fix the situation instead of simply put the cauldron into ChanteClair to remove the paint and re-start from 0.

To have a more yellowish tone, I mixed Vallejo Transparent Green and Vallejo Transparent Yellow, and I give a subtle glaze on the whole smoke (4). Here, as you can see, the super rough surfaces reacted weirdly and darkened a lot: actually, it was like painting on blotting paper.

I realized that, without at least reducing a bit that powdery finish, I simply wouldn't be able to paint. In order to do it, I gave a gloss varnish glaze, using airbrush, to the whole smoke (5).

The gloss varnish smoothed a lot the rough finish, allowed me to paint. Finally.

With lights and mid tones already done, even if painfully, I then adjusted the shadow with glazes of black and the lights with pure Cold Yellow: I insisted a lot on the back of the smoke with black glazes, to make it almost pure black (6). It's not a difficult task, but take your time to properly smooth the black glazes: this step is important to add definition and restore the deepest shadows. Painting glazes on a gloss surfaces isn't properly comfortable: the diluted color slides on the surfaces so I had to insist a lot with more and more subtle glazes, before seeing something worthy to be called "paint".

When I decided that the shadows were fine, or at least decent, I airbrushed a layer of Matt Varnish to reduce the "candy smoke" effect (7).

Even if I'm not totally happy about how the smoke turned out, I think that I managed to save the situation and I'm quite satisfied by that. I think that I should highlight a bit more the smoke on the base of the cauldron and define better some shadows, but for the moment I move on.


Luckily, the cauldron was really fun to paint, so it balanced the previous issues that I had with the smoke. I wanted a kind of very dark bronze, with a strong green vibe: not only to reflects the fact that the cauldron is flying on a green magic smoke (the proper OSL will be painted at the end!), but also to give a sense of ancient relic.

I started with a mix between Vallejo Hammered Copper, mixed with a bit of Scorched Brown (1). As for the steel/silver of the previous step-by-step, also here I recommend you to try to have a smooth surface. I then made two washes: the first using a mix of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil, and the second using pure Nuln Oil (2). Before giving the second wash, wait that the first one is completely dry! With the two washes I wanted to darkener a lot the base color, and to give a first "ancient patina" to the metal.

Once the second washes is completely dry, I started to paint the first light adding a bit of Citadel Foundation Macharius Solar Orange (any bright orange works too, don't worry) to the base mix (3). As you may easily see, I painted the cauldron with stippling technique, using the same way explained in the previous metal tutorial.

I continued to build the lights, adding more Macharius Solar Orange to the mix (4). Here, I started to focus on the edges of the cauldron face, and I started to build the contrast: being a metal surfaces, don't be shy and try to reach a high contrast between lights and shadows!

I added a bit of Kimera Kolor Cold Yellow to the mix, to increase the lights (5). As you can see, now we have a kind of "bright bronze", so if your purpose is to have a more yellowish finish (I think about, for example, Khorne/Dwarf metals), you can skip the step 6. However, I wanted more green hue on this metal surface and to obtain it I gave several subtle glazes of Vallejo Transparent Green (6). As you can see, the metal turned out very green, exactly what I wanted.

"But why you didn't add green directly to the mix since the beginning!?". That's a fair question, indeed, and the answer is simple: as I wrote in my first tutorial, I've not the "artist's eye", so I have to go step-by-step, separating as much as possible the various components of painting. At first I always focus on the bases: lights and shadows, and after that I focus on saturation and hue.

After having found the exact amount of green hue I wanted on the metal, I then applied the last lights adding to the mix a bit of Bleachened Bone (7). Being the last, brightest, light, be careful to control the dots size: try to paint very tiny dots, almost invisible, or the effect could be a bit weird.

At this point the Cauldron is done: for the final adjustments and a proper OSL I'll wait to have the whole miniature painted, because I need to have a general view of my work, before going into the smallest details!

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Oct 08, 2019

@Ludovic: I agree, the texture I made using stippling technique I think doesn't work on the smoke (or better, I like more smooth transitions on surfaces like that!). You've started nicely, the cold green of the smoke contrasts really well with the warm tones of your Augu Nornir!


I started working on the painting of this cauldron and your texture creation gives a great result, but I think I only use it for the cauldron and not for the smoke. My version that only has the 3rd coat of paint:


Apr 29, 2019

@Chris: ahahaah, actually I will collect all these tutorials in a pdf that will be given for free. I'm a weird Ligurian XDXD


As always great to see, maybe an idea if it works, but carry this on you will have the making of a book which I'd be more than happy to buy. 'Dwarfology' by Matteo inspired by Mighty Chris. ;0)

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