Monday, May 13, 2019

The Smartest Belt Buckle In The World

It's so smart it even has it's own brain! But serious, I was very impressed when I happened across this Krang belt buckle sold by Christopher Genovese on Etsy. I figured it would be a perfect gift for a friend of mine. And hey, it should be easy enough to paint; I'm a decent miniature painter after all right?

The seller's amazing paintjob really sells the piece!
Yes, it is a functional belt! Practical? No, but functional? Yes!

Well, it wasn't quite that easy. First of all I was using mostly colours that I don't have as much experience with, that caused me a few issues. Then I discovered that my techniques for shading and highlighting don't quite work as well on this scale as the do on the smaller scales that I am used to. It didn't help that some of my less used paints had dried out due to neglect.

The biggest issue that I had was the yellow. I've never painted such a large area in yellow before, and I knew that yellow had poor coverage, so I decided to airbrush it over a white primer. I got some Vallejo Game Air Moon Yellow and ran it through a makeup airbrush that was... not completely suitable for the task. Anyway, I got a nice bright yellow basecoat and was happy with that.

Until I came back to try to clean up my mistakes that is. I hadn't much experience with Vallejo airbrush paints, so I didn't realise that their coverage is very poor when applied with a brush. I had to order some Vallejo Game Color Gold and Moon Yellow to try to touch things up. They also had poor coverage (as most yellow acrylics do), but they were at least usable. Except, as I discovered, by the time you build up Moon Yellow to a solid colour it's actually darker and slightly more reddish than the colour I had built up with a few light passes with the airbrush earlier. I managed to reduce the colour difference by mixing in some white, and luckily the trouble spots are subtle.

By the way, I had a hell of a time trying to mix a dark yellow for the background. There aren't really many "dark yellow" paints; most yellow "lines" darken into orange, but I wanted, well, dark yellow, not orange. I tried various mixes of GW foundation Iyanden Darksun with browns like GW Snakebite Leather, along with various attempts at glazes to darken without introducing too much red. By the end I had put down so much paint that I couldn't even get a smooth surface anymore. I don't even really remember what the colour was that I ended up settling on; it might have been or included Vallejo Kakhi Brown, but I don't remember for certain.

Close-up to show off some of the details.

I mixed P3 Morrow White into the Moon Yellow for the frame highlights. I believe I used Army Painter Red Tone Wash (which is only reddish and not actually red) to shade the yellow. The skin was GW Fulgrim Pink, washed with I believe GW Baal Red, and mixed with white for highlights and GW Blue Horror for the veins. The mouth was done with mixes of the pink with Vallejo Scarlett Blood. Krang's control sticks were Vallejo Neutral Grey highlighted with Sky Grey and washed with Arm Painter Dark Tone Wash. I used GW Liche Purple and Dechala Lilac for the eyes, with Vallejo Black for the pupils. Some of the paints used:

Initially I had the buckle mounted to a piece of cardboard, but I later designed and 3D printed a "handle" that I mounted the piece to, to make it easier to... um... handle.

After applying a couple of VERY heavy layers of varnish and attaching the metal bits to the back I managed to get it all ready JUST in time for my friend's birthday... only to not be able to give it to him that day for various reasons. Well, it was a few days late, but at least it was a surprise!