My usual Saturday plans tripped over the starting line today which, while unfortunate, allowed me to get in some more brush time. I got a little too zoned-in while painting the skin so I didn't get a lot done, but what I did finish I'm very happy with. While I'd like to say I got the heads done, I came up short of that. Instead I finished the soft tissue parts of the heads, meaning skin and eyes, plus did some work on the black areas. After another session of fumbling about trying to paint black I think I'm going to have to seek out a tutorial or something similar.
If only it looked this good in person.
My latest round of futility saw me try out a couple layers of grey highlights. While this is my usual approach, I mixed it up this time by starting with a darker highlight and working it up in a couple steps. The results were as usual: a featureless mass of black with the occasional stark highlight. I took a few passes with Badab Black, which I hadn't used until then, and while it helped a little I still didn't like what I saw. Maybe after some drying time things will look better, but I remain skeptical. Recalling my past failures with the olive drab green that forms the base of my scheme, once I tried highlighting with a light grey (Fortress Grey?) instead of a light brown (Bleached Bone) things turned around in a hurry. I hope to find a similar breakthrough for black, perhaps by using blue instead of grey, but there's still the lack of shading to contend with. I'll have to scour the interwebs and pick some local brains to see what I can come up with. Eventually I'll have to paint some Death Company and Chaplains, so either I figure it out before then or I suffer through making a mess out of completely black models in the future.
Looks better than this, really.
Most of my time today was spent on the unit leader. In a twist of photographing irony the pictures of her look much worse than the reality, in my opinion, while the shot of the grunt's hood looks much better than the ugly truth. Such is life I suppose. As I said before I'm very happy with how the skin turned out. Shading skin has been a problem for me previously in that I never do enough of it, so this time I made a conscious effort to leave more of the darker layers uncovered than I normally would. I rationalized this to the part of my brain that tries to sabotage my shading and highlighting by telling it that snipers spend more time outside than regular soldiers, so they'd have deeper tans. While this makes little logical sense, it seemed to work. The leader was an exception, being female and thus getting a lighter skin tone, but with her I still kept the strong shading and just added a layer or two of extra highlights. It's been a while since I've had to do eyes (between the angle of his head and the epic scowl he has, I skipped Vlad's eyes), which are also traditional problem areas. This time they went very smooth though, with no bug eyes, lazy eyes, or madman stares to be found. It helped that I only had four total eyes to paint between all the goggles, eyepieces, and eye-patches, but you take your victories where you can. I had intended to do the leader with black hair but changed to a light blonde on the fly for the full pale ice princess effect. Since the last handful of models on the painting table have all been singles I'm having to fight the urge to just paint the leader and neglect the rest of the squad (plus the Marksman), though now I'm thinking that I could finish her off and use her as a Marksman until I get the rest of the models done. If the Marksman is FA:2 I could order another of the hood-up grunts, use the hood-down grunt as the unit leader, and field the actual leader as a second Marksman...