|Together at last! Testing the composition
for the Troggoth & Zarbag.
I left Zarbag just as his paint job began to come together but also as I came across my first problem: my palette of colours for Zarbag was the same as for my Troggoth. This made good sense as they are going on the same base and exist in the same environment. The difference is in the proportions of those colours. On my Troggoth the reds, greens and grey/blacks are secondary colours to the flesh tones but on Zarbag they are dominant. The highlight and shade colours are common to both minis.
The problem occurred with the red. On the Troggoth I used P3 Skorne Red in the flesh tones and it brings a lot of warmth and life to an otherwise cool and desaturated palette. Skorne Red is a great shade but the formulation has a soft shine when dry. This was fine on my Troggoth but on Zarbag’s robes it looked horrible! First of all it was too shiny for fabric but even worse the shine meant that it was difficult to see the blending while I was painting. This resulted in a slightly patchy and uneven finish.
The solution came in the form of AK Interactive Ultra Matte Varnish. So far this stuff has worked like magic for me! One thinly applied coat and the surface takes on a beautifully even ultra matt finish. I was then able to retouch my painting on the hood using Scale Colour paints to refine the highlights and shading to my satisfaction.
|The red hood before and after the matte varnish.
The hands and feet were fiddly but otherwise straightforward as I was working with the same flesh tones that I’d used on the face. Although Zarbag’s flesh looks, naturally enough, predominantly green, the shadows are a warm red/brown. This gives added depth and nuance to his flesh but it also helps to tie him together with the Troggoth. In addition I’ve glazed some subtle blue tones onto the yellow/green flesh. This helps to create a range of warm and cool greens.
|The colours used for Zarbag's flesh tones.
The other main area of note is Zarbag’s sickle, which deserved special attention. I decided to use true metallics for the blade, as the shine of the metal would create an interesting material contrast with the other surfaces. In addition, the verdigris effects I planned to use look especially good against true metallics. I painted the blade with a warm coppery gold and then worked up to a yellow gold mid-tone and then to a cooler silvery gold highlight. I then used some Citadel Colour Contrast Paints to glaze over the blade. The Contrast Paints tied everything together and softened the shine.
|The metallics used on Zarbag's sickle.
The verdigris is the fun bit! Using a very dilute blue/green, I applied blobs and spots of colour to the blade. Before that was fully dry I removed the paint with a clean wet brush. This will leave stains and tide marks where the edges of the paint started to dry. I repeated this process several times with varying blue/green shades. I then glazed over the verdigris with a dark green to soften the effect.
I repeated a similar process with dark brown on Zarbag’s red robes to create some unpleasant looking stains which were further enhanced with the addition of some brown texture paint. This was created with a mix of paint, chinchilla sand and matt varnish.
Zarbag is such a small mini that I’ve been able to finish him with in a few days. All together I painted him in about a week although that’s been split up and spread out over time.
With Zarbag done I could then turn my attention to the base but, before I started painting, I had to get the back and side surfaces flush and seamless. Although not complicated it was a frustrating task. I’d used a mixture of materials to build the base including plaster, plastic, MDF and Milliput. The varying degrees of hardness meant that even when sanded flush the boundaries between the different materials could be seen and felt. The solution was to prime the base and then gently wet sand the seams - multiple times! A seamless surface can be created this way but it’s frustrating because I had to keep checking my work in different lighting to be sure I was successful.
With the base as well finished as I am ever going to get it (there is no such thing as perfection) it was time to test fit my models onto it. This would be the first time I’d been able to put the two models together in the context they are intended for. With a little fiddling the composition came together exactly as I wanted. This is a great relief as it means I can move on to painting the base with a degree of confidence that the overall project will come together well!