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Author Topic: My Albedo collection and a short guide on using oilcolours with miniatures.  (Read 419 times)

Offline General Greymouse

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In this thread I will post the pictures of the "things Albedo" I do or plan to do. I started this one for all thread to avoid making a thread for each miniature I do (I'm not the fastest painter ;) so that everything is in one place.
Chris asked me on an short article about painting with oils as I wrote I use them a lot. Well that's kinda open a can of worms because It's difficult to decide where to start. Working with oilcolours is a bit different than with acrylics which most people use for their miniatures. It requires a bit of insight how oilcolours work - optical and chemically. It's not that complicated though - a lot of people pait with oils without ever coming cose to a degree in chemistry ;) (me included)
I think the best way might be to write some notes how the miniatures were painted and how certain effects are achieved. If you find that interesting it will provide a a starting point for further research.

Edit (important): I corrected this post several times and I just give up. I'm no native English speaker so please simply excuse spelling and grammer faults and funny sounding phrases/ expressions - thanks!

So before the first post with photos I'll give a short description how I paint my minis. If you are not interested in painting techniques skip that part and scroll straight to the pictured posts :)
Basically I use a layering technique similar to the way renaissance painters did their pictures. That means several transparent or semi transparent layers on top of each other. As the light penetrates each layer a small amount will also be reflected through the layer above resulting in a very "rich" hue that seem to shine a bit. Also each layer has an influence on the hue of the layer above and you can achieve interesting results by adding a layer in a different colour. It takes  some practising to get the result you desire (and some knowledge of colour theory definitly helps) but nothing ever comes easy, does it?
So at first you need a single layer that is throughly opaque and even. (bare metal isn't a good basic layer) Even more than when using acrylics the colour of this layer is defining the final result.I would recommend a dark tone, as white will make the colours shine much to strong. Still there are a variety of colours  to choose from. Black dark greys (warm and cold) browns, blues, greens...
Now you sart to apply a thin layer of your desired colour. Wait till it's dry to the touch, then add the next layer. Continue till you can perceive your colour (you won't be able to see much during the first layers if you do it right) then apply another layer but smaller - feather the rim with your brush to achieve a smooth gradientand repeat till you have achieved your "basic" hue" on the top of your mini. Then go on and mix in some lighter colour - depending on the base colour and the result you want to achieve this should be a lighter shadow of your base colour and some very light or even white hue for the final edge highlights. don't use white to much as it will "wash out" your colour - spare it for the final edge highlights.
When doing a multipart session with oils as is required when layering that way (now that's the chemistry part!^^) you have to keep in mind that each layer will dry separatly and that means you must make sure that the layers below must alsways dry faster than the layers above As it takes days to weeks till a layer has dried throughly (when it's dry to the touch it still has a long way to go) waiting for each layer to dry completly is not a good way to go - it would need a lot of time and als it would deny you the advantage of beeing able to smootly blend each layer with the one below easily.
The reason is when colour dries it looses volume and shrinks. So if the layer below dries after the one above the shrinking will cause the already hasrdened layer (which cannot shrink anymore then) to crack - an interesting effect but usually not one you will be keen to have on your miniatures^^.
So what you need to do is to control the drying time by thinning the colour with a mix of turpentine and oil. The more "meagre" (turpentine is "meagre", oil is "fat") the layer the faster it will dry. Turpentine will also make the result more opaque and matt, while oil will make the colour more translucent and shiny.
So your first layers will be thinned with turpentine only and then you'll mix it more and more oil untill you use pure oil with the last layer.
Basically that's it - try and have fun :)

Err - no wait! While this would work it has two major drawbacks in my opinion. Building up the colour from nil aka a dark background takes a lot of time (be prepared to apply blue layers for several days till it look something like the blue of the paint you squeezed out of the tube.) Too long for even the patient kind of guy I am and secondly, that many layers mean you will end up with a lot of oil in your upper layers - again slow to dry and also way to shiny for my taste. (Of course if you like your miniatures glossy - go ahead) Sure you can seal them with a layer of matt varnish but that will destry the look" you achieved with oils. (No i am not sealing my miniatures with varnish - some of them are in use for more than 30 years and I never had problems with paint chipping of - at least as long as you don't drop them on a hard surface or scratch them with something hard or sharp - but then varnish won't help you either) Google pictures of Rembrandt and Caravaggio to see how much glow you can achieve with this technique!

My solution to this is I start to paint the figures with acrylics up to the base tone and then I continue with oils.
So first I have the mini primed in some dark colour (black, dark grey or dark brown usually. I usually use spray primer or Vallejo Primer applied with a brush. It's important that the primer covers the miniature completly as it will serve also as the base for the applied colours.  For this purpose I glue them to a piece of wood with blue tac and then spray them from all sides, above and below. I spray them 3 - 4 times, always applying only a very thin layer and let that dry for about 10 minutes. If you are doing it right the minis won't be covered fully befor the third time. This of course requires warm weather and a place outside - or a very well vented room. My alternative are the primers from Vallejo applied with a brush. You can also apply them with an airbrush but 'm not keen on cleaning my pistol afterward so I only do this when I am airbrushing anyways..
Next step is to layer up to the he base tone (basically the same way as with oils, you can find lots of guides and tutorials for layering with acrylics online) - actually even a bit lighter as I apply an acrylic wash after the last layer to get a smoother finish and also to adjust the hue to my liking. The wash tones the colour down a bit so I go a bit lighter first. There is no hard rule for this and it doesn't matter if the resut is somewhat lighter or darker - it's then just one layer more or less with the oils that are applyed afterwards.
After the wash I let the miniature(s) dry throughly at least 24 or better 48 hours so that i can be sure that the turpentine won't do any damage to the acrylic paint. If in doubt you can seal them with varnish before starting to apply the oilcolours but I found that not to be necessary. Acrylics are one of the toughest colours around (the were originally developed for ouside wallpaintings on houses that were so popular in South America in the early 20th century.
Well and from there on you use the layering technique described above - there you go :)

One last word on the colours I use - I am often asked that.
Generally the best colours a re the ones that you like most. The brands you can buy differ in consistence, opaqueness, the exact hues - well all a matter of taste. Use the ones you feel comfortable with, there is no right or wrong. Wrong is what doesn't give you the result you want and that's a subjective matter.
I myselve use a mix of Vallejo, Games Workshop and Foundry paints when it comes to acrylics and washes from GW and Army Painter. - In the end you have to try and stick with the ones you like.

Regarding Oil colours - well first say goodbye to your model colour names - no Chaos Black, Red Gore, Worm Purple and the like. Artist colours are usually named after the pigment they are made from - burnt ochre, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue, Greem Earth and so on. Of course nowadays most of the pigments are fabricated synthetically so the names are mostly historical ones. (which is not a bad thing - if ultramarineblue still would be made from Lapislazuli gems the colour you would need to cover your miniature would cost more than the same miniature cast in gold!)
Basically (regardless of the actual brands) you get them in two qualities. Studio paints and artist paints. Studiopaints are a cheaper version of the artist paints which use cheaper pigments that look similar to the expensive ones. Usually they will fade after a time and when exposed to light. They were meant for sketches and studies that wre not meant to survive eternity (and you remember what I said about the price of ultramarine blue - and there were even more expensive pigments). Well nowadays they maybe fade after a long time.  Some 50 or 100 years maybe and given the technical progress in pigment production technology maybe even more than that. So for our purposes studio paints are really good enough. The quality of the better pigments won't really come out on such a tiny thing like a miniature, so if you don't have plans for your miniatures to be shown around in the next century use studio paints.
I use noth artist and studio paints as I need the artist paints for my job and don't buy a colour just for minis when I already have it (a tube of oil will last many, many years...) and I can assure you that you don't see a difference. The brands I use are mostly Lukas, Schmincke, Daler Rowney and Winsor&Newton - but again - just a matter of taste and personal preferences.
Ok if you made it so far - congratulations - you're a tough bitch, that much I'll give you  ;D
Next post come with pictures...
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 10:42:56 PM by General Greymouse »

Austria - usually we don't have kangaroos.


Offline General Greymouse

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So far I finished the miniatures that I "preordered" before jumping into the Kickstarter. The first ones to receive paint was a squad of EDF Heavy infantry:





The miniatures were painted with the technique described above. A note on the greens. I used Russian Uniform (for the cloth) and Russian Green (for the armour) from Vallejo as base. This shades are very similar in terms of lightness and contrast very poorly against each other. to enhance the contrast I put a "filter" (a very thin wash of oilcolour thinned with turpentine) raw umber on the cloth and one of deep Ultramarine blue over the armour. The result is a warm green on the cloth and a cold green on the armour. As warm colours stand out against cold ones, that enhances the contrast and the armour stands out clearly against the cloth parts.
The subtle metallic effect on the guns is achieved by blending in a small white highlight on top of the black and once dry, aplying powdered graphite to the edges. Just scrap of a bit from a pencil with a sharp knife and apply it with a cotton swab.
I'm not really happy with the siamese cat, but I'm also not happy with the thought of repainting it so it will stay the way it is, I guess. Otherwise I'm quite content how the figures came out. Not really my best work but good enough for gaming purposes.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 11:40:29 PM by General Greymouse »

Austria - usually we don't have kangaroos.


Offline General Greymouse

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Next comes an ILR squad of light infantry.

The acrylic base was the bluegrey for GW's Space Puppies (forgot the name and too lazy to get to the painting table and look it up :) ) And a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade (also from the Evil Empire)
The highlights were blended in with a mix of cerulean blue chromeoxyde white and a tiny amount of paynes blue to make it greyish. The fur was painted not n a consistant layer but in very short thin stripes letting the leyers beneath look through to achieve that irregular hue fur has.




Austria - usually we don't have kangaroos.


Offline General Greymouse

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And finally another squad of ILR light infantry. Pretty much the same as the ones above. There are two minor differences, so that the squads can be told apart on the gaming table when they are close together or intermingle. First while the noses of the above  squad are dark brownish I went for a pinkish hue this time. You barely notice the difference but they look "smehow" different,  and secondly the colour of the boots. Many armies don't have an exact regulation for their combat dress' boots but rather state "black or brown". (Guess it has something to do with availability and or price) So different coloured boots are not an uncommon sight over here,  why not in the Albedo 'Verse too? I went for buff coloured boots this time as such seem to be popular with a lot of armies currently and also they contrast well against the blue grey.
I also wanted a "black bunny" in this squad - but a black face with black eyes isn't something that oozes character - so I did a white mask to bring out the facial features better. Not as sinister as I would have liked it but definitly better than a black blob.^^
Otherwise you might note that the paint job is a lot more precise than the ones before - I finally gave up to have a pair of "one for all" glasses and got myselve a pair of glasses optimized for painting. (their strenght would be very unpractical for the "near" part of my normal glasses. Well every time you get new glasses it's amazing what you suddenly can see - and therefore paint :D
Quite happy with this squad.



« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 11:45:15 PM by General Greymouse »

Austria - usually we don't have kangaroos.


Offline ACP_Chris

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Thanks for posting this Hanno, fantastic work.
When we put together a painting guide, we will definitely include these, if that is OK with you.



Offline General Greymouse

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Thanks for the compliment an sure - help yourself :)
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 07:41:54 PM by General Greymouse »

Austria - usually we don't have kangaroos.