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The Redcoat Veteran

The Redcoat Veteran is an easy project to pick up some colours again: it doesn't need to be assembled, which for a lazy assembler like me is a valuable thing, and it is a great gym for what concerns clothes and skin-tones.

After a long time without painting, I had to brush some dust away from my right hand but despite I think the result could be better, I'm happy with it the same.

On my Dwarves I painted a lot of textures, especially on clothes, because I wanted to highlight their plain&simple dress code, but with my Second Government characters I want to paint more smooth transitions to suggest a more fancy and elegant dress-style.

For this reason, I spent some time with glazes, trying to achieve a smoother rendition.

Before talking about "what I could do better", let's see some step-by-step of the main parts.

The skin has been made following my usual workflow, which I think is easy to understand even for beginners because the two crucial sides of a good skin-tone (contrast and hue) are managed separately. I've started with a smooth basecoat made by Tallarn Flesh, mixed with a little bit of Doombull Brown, to achieve a kind of desaturated, medium skin-tone (1). As always, don't focus on the colours' name, but on the result: you can achieve the same tone using other brands!

As I like to do, after the basecoat I give a wash on the whole surface: this way, I immediately have a clear look at the volumes and I start to build the shadows. In specific, I used a mix in equal parts of Agrax Earthshade and Carrobourg Crimson (2). I know that the use of washes is a bit controversial, because it is generally considered as a medium good only for armies and noobs, but I think that it is useful or, at least, I'm used to it, it's a crucial step to allow my brain to elaborate better the sculpt. Again, I highly recommend to experiment as much as possible, while painting, do not follow blindly the various dogma of miniatures painting: 15 years ago, for example, highly pigmented colours (like the Citadel Foundation line, which Tallarn flesh belongs to) were badly considered by the painting community, because it was believed that highly pigmented colours were not ideal for pro-painting and smooth transition. Nowadays, highly pigmented colours are highly considered and requested. So, yes: follow your instinct and your tastes and do not be scared to try your hand.

Once the wash was dry, I started to build the volume of the muscles and face (3). I used pure Tallarn Flesh, diluted with a bit of water and Lahmian Medium that helps to paint with glazes. Do not use too much Lahmian Medium, or you'll get a glossy finish. If you, for some reason, exaggerate with Lahmian, you can restore a matte finish by airbrushing the surface with...Lahmian Medium. Yes, it's a bit weird but Lahmian Medium, if airbrushed, gives a matt finish, while if added to a normal colour, it adds a glossy component.

I added some khaki to the Tallarn Flesh (I used a colour taken from the Andrea White kit, it has not a name but it looks pretty similar to Citadel Flayed One Flesh), and I highlighted a bit the volumes (4). Steps 3 and 4 are crucial to build the volumes of the surface you are painting, no matter if it's a face or a cloak or whatever: in these steps I try to individuate the main volumes and make them more evident by highlighting them. Moreover, I try to smooth the transitions, diluting a bit more the mix and glazing with it the transitions.

With skin-tones, I like to work at first with desaturated colours, simply because they have more coverage so I can paint faster and it's easier to smooth the transitions: once I'm happy with this first "sketch", I start to add saturation and hue variations (5). I generally use three colours to add hue variations to my skin-tones: a lime green (Scorpion Green), an orange (Vallejo Transparent Orange) and a red (Vallejo Transparent Red, mixed with a bit of Tallarn Flesh to keep it somehow realistic). I started with lime green, giving a subtle glaze on the whole surfaces: you will immediately see your skin-tone gaining life, with this glaze!

With orange, I add vibrance to the middle part of the face (temples). With red, I add saturation to the nose, forehead, eyes and lips. In this specific character, I added to my usual workflow also a light blue/greenish glaze on veins, and a desaturated green glaze on the chin, to give a shaved beard effect.

Once I'm happy with the result, I took my Tallarn+Khaki mix of step 4, adding a little bit of beige (I use Wraithbone) to start the final highlights (6 and 7). These are the last lights, and are meant to add not only contrast, but also definition to the volumes, especially the little wrinkles of the forehead. Take your time, it's not something you can achieve with just 2 brushstrokes: dilute your mix, help yourself with some Lahmian and slowly build the lights with glazes.

The red uniform, typical of Redcoats (well, obviously) was painted with three colours: Incubi Darkness, Mephiston Red and Kimera Kolor "The Red".

I started with a medium-dark basecoat, made with Mephiston Red mixed with Incubi Darkness (about 70%MR/30%ID), and I diluted some Incubi Darkness with Citadel Contrast Medium to get a kind of "DIY wash" which I used to wash the uniform with (1). Then I just started to build the volume, at first with pure Mephiston Red -as always with glazes, diluted with water and Lahmian- (2), and then I started to add KK "The Red" (3) 'till I used it pure for the last light (4).

I usually don't recommend specific products as a kind of "holy graal" of painting, but there are a few exceptions to that and "The Red" is one of them: it is indeed the best red colour out there, at least if we consider "out of the pot" colours (I think that you can achieve a same result adding some fluo pigments to an average bright red).

As you can see, I spared this red as the very last light of the uniform, there is no need to add other colours (oranges or whites) to it. Red, same as black, is a tricky colour and it's easy to ruin it for the sake of highlighting it, so my advise is simple: if you want a strong and bold red, use the brightest red (warning: RED, not orange) you have as the final highlight, then do not add any other light.

Once I achieved the result I had in mind, I just spent some time smoothing the transitions (6). To smooth the rough transitions of step (5), I just took some basecoat color, highly diluted with water and Lahmian, and then I painted many glazes on the transitions 'till they disappeared (or just they softened a lot).

The workflow on the trousers was pretty the same: I started with a kind of sand yellow (I mixed Averland Sunset with a bit of Dryad Bark) (1), then I washed it with Agrax Earthshade diluted with equal parts of Contrast Medium (2). I then increased the shadows with glazes made with basecoat colour mixed with Rhinox Hide, 'till using it pure (3). The secret not to ruin your bright basecoat or stain too much the surface, is to keep the shadow mix very diluted (as always, with water and Lahmian), and keep a very few amount of it on the bristles of your brush. Take your time, use en adequate brush (a size 2 is perfect) and build your glazes as you are Daniel-san and you have to wax-on/wax-off.

Once you are happy with your recesses, start to build the highlights: I added Wraithbone to the basecoat mix, and I painted 2-3 lights, to achieve a nice contrast (4-5).

The same workflow applied to the t-shirt (kind of...) and the green belly band (I don't know if it has a specific name, sorry). Concerning the t-shirt, I started with Rakhart Flesh (1), then I add some shadows mixing Rakhart and Rhinox Hide: I did not use this mix as a wash, instead I painted it with glazes (2).

I then added some white to Rakhart Flesh, to highlight the surface (3-4).

The belly band has been painted with a basecoat made with Caliban Green mixed with a bit of Rhinox Hide, washed with Agrax Earthshade (1), then I just add some Dorn Yellow to the basecoat to build a couple of lights (2-3). I didn't want this detail to pop out too much, I wanted a nice contrast between two complementary colours (red uniform and green band), but I want to keep the uniform as the main focus of the scene.

So, here are the main parts of this project: I wanted to show you also the black boots and the wood of the gun, but my camera decided to corrupt all the pics taken of those steps, sorry!

I think that, after 10 years of career, my camera needs to retire!

Luckily, there are plenty of other Second Government soldiers to paint, so you won't have to wait too much, to see new step-by-steps!

I hope you liked this little tutorial, don't hesitate to ask for advices or just to leave your feedbacks in the comment section!

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