Monday, 16 March 2015

Infamy's Mole - Part 2

Real life has its way of sticking a spanner into the works of even the best-laid plans and so it has proved with my painting schedule! My parents are moving home! This is fantastic news but after having lived all their lives in the same village and almost 50 years in the same house it’s a very big deal for them! All those weekends I thought I had free for ‘project Mole’ are suddenly looking very full with project ‘moving Mum & Dad’. 

I’ll carry on as best I can with Mole but the Salute deadline has to come second in my list of priorities. There are some ‘interesting times’ ahead for the Soper clan.

Trouser Troubles!

What could be simpler than painting a pair of brown trousers? Well apparently just about anything as I’ve really struggled to achieve a satisfying result on the offending garment! 

On reflection a combination of factors have contributed to my trouser troubles. I started the week in a very low mood and that rarely makes for a good painting experience. Also, I feel that my initial colour choices were not successful and, although they seemed right at the onset, they really didn’t work well in combination. After a couple of evenings, struggling to no good effect, it was time to reconsider my approach. 

My choice of a highlight colour seemed to be the chief culprit. Once on the mini it had a warm yellow/gold tone, but that didn’t work with the (comparatively) cooler base and shade colours. A brief trial with Vallejo ivory quickly yielded a more pleasing result. Feeling confident about my basic palette helped matters, but I decided that still more was needed because, when all is said and done, a pair of plain brown trousers lacks a certain something in terms of visual interest on a mini. Even worse, I’d decided to dirty Mole up with a lot of mud and dirt from his excavations and brown mud on those brown trousers gave me another reason to rethink my approach! 

I was ignoring the obvious! Mole has stripes sculpted onto his trousers and all I had to do to inject some interest was paint them as stripes. With that decision made I took the plunge and went for a red stripe (Scalecolour Red Leather) on the now light brown/cream trousers. That’s a lot more dramatic than I’d initially intended for this mini. However, the desaturated palette helps avoid too much colour contrast and somehow the whole thing looks a bit more steam punk to me with stripes. 

I’ve still got quite a struggle on my hands with this mini. This must be the most desaturated colour palette I’ve ever tried to work with, and it really goes against all my instincts. That said I’m feeling happier with the results I’m getting now, so I just need to have the courage of my convictions and see where they take me!


  1. Fantastic stripes on the legs, the darker edges make it look awesome. Are you going to increase the contrast?

  2. Hi Theren, I think the answer is probably yes.
    Although the photos aren't very good and a lot of the subtlety and contrast in the shading has been lost! So I'm going to work on some of the other areas of Mole and then take another look at the trousers to see if and how much I need to adjust the contrast. The face has the opposite problem and I will be going back in with some mid tones to soften the contrast.

  3. This sounds like a bit of a random question, especially on an old post, but can I ask for the colours you used on the striped trousers? I was considering doing a freehand stripe pattern on my current model and I suddenly remembered this, as I thoughtthou desaturated red/beige would work perfectly with my colour scheme.

    1. Hi Sam, as best as I can remember the colours for the red/cream stripes are:
      Shade - Scalecolour: black leather
      Mid tone: - Scale colour: red leather
      Highlight - Vallejo model colour: Ivory

      The cream striped are:
      Shade - Scalecolour: black leather/rainy grey mix
      Mid tone: - Scale colour: rainy grey
      Highlight - Vallejo model colour: Ivory

    2. Thanks a lot. I hope you don't feel plagiarized if I end up using your recipe haha. Do you have any tips for painting freehand patterns like this? I've never tried it before. I thought the best way would be to basecoat/shade/highlight everywhere with my lighter colour and then go over with the darker stripes.

    3. That sounds like a good way to go about painting the stripes. When you come to paint the darker stripes don't go straight in with the darkest shade. Instead pick a shade thats's only slightly darker than the lighter stripes and paint some subtle guide lines.
      Make sure your paint is well diluted when painting freehand deatail this avoids a build up of thick paint and ensures good flow.