Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Soviet Steel

I finally went back to my X-Men miniatures. I figured Colossus would be quite quick to paint, and he would have been if I'd had the time and motivation to actually sit down and finish him. Sadly, lately I've been lacking in both.

The other reason I elected to paint him next out of my superhero figures was that I figured he would be a good model to test out an idea I had. You see, I've been focusing on painting smooth gradients across organic shapes (that is, comic book style muscles) when painting my Knight Models minis. So far I've been painting each gradient with a single colour, however with some miniatures - such as Pyotr here - there's instances where a single shape (muscle) requires painting in two colours. This would mean trying to match the gradient when painting two different colours at two different times.

This sounds challenging to me, so I wanted to see if there was an easier way. I've read in the past about shading in greyscale then applying colour on top; this sounded like it could solve my problem, so I decided to try it here.

I painted the metallic skin first, trying to get smooth blends from darker to brighter metallic shades the same as I would with normal skin/spandex (I believe this is similar to "true metallic metal" techniques). Then I painted the rest of the model in various shades of grey (I purchased several new greys specifically for this; I think I have around 8 different shades now, and I still think I need more sometimes), building up my gradients as before using heavily thinned paint mixed with medium and drying retarder. Finally I applied a wash of Badab Black over both the metal skin and the spandex costume. I think the first wash was watered down, then I applied straight Badab Black into recesses such as the lines across his skin for extra shading.

I then glazed the different areas of his costume with Badger Minitaire Ghost Tints: Fresh Blood and Yellow. Finally his hair was Vallejo Black-Grey drybrushed with Mithril Silver (I think). His eyes were just dots of Scale75 Speed Metal.

The whole experiment didn't work as well as I had hoped. The colours came out darker than I had expected - especially the red. Meanwhile the raised areas (which were also the brightest highlights) weren't as saturated as I had hoped - you can see the red is quite pale (without necessarily being overly bright) in some areas, especially around the legs and shoulders. The gradients don't look as good as I had hoped either; they look a bit flat to me overall. Perhaps I could have avoided that if I had added more contrast in the greyscale stage, but I think I will try painting the next "dual-colour" costumed model more traditionally, and just try to match the gradients manually.

Having said all that, I think he looks decent overall. Not one of my best to be sure, but certainly table-ready.

One of the better Knight Models casts I've had, although some of the muscle striations were lost and I had to try to carve some back in. As usual I tried to add a bit of variation to his base.
You can see his card in the background, which I was using as a reference.
I named him Ivan Danko, after a Russian character played by seven-time Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger. I think it fits.


  1. Very nice!! the "metallics" on this mini are superb!! everything fits just naturally!!