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As described in the assembly guide, I recommend you paint the main body and the base as separate parts attached on their individual stands and sprayed with a primer, I use a grey colour. Any imperfections can easily be seen at this point and any further cleaning completed.
Regardless of what paint brand you use, the overall colour palette for the Demogorgon is olive green, warm brown and light sourced fire colours.
Quick coverage and early blending with an airbrush
Using the airbrush allows you to cover a lot of area in fast, smooth coats and is very good at producing flawless blending otherwise only achieved with many layers of thinned down paint. One of the benefits with this system is that you can make large jumps with the lighter tones, instead of small changes in the lighter colour tones.
Before you start turning on the compressor, you need a few things in front of you.
Airbrush gun. Same as paintbrushes, I recommend that you buy the highest quality that you can afford, as this will improve the quality and save you money in the long run. I use an Iwata HP-TR1 with an underslung trigger, which is comfortable for those long sessions.
- A clear desk covered with a sheet of cardboard. This is for any overspray or to test the paint flow before committing to a miniature.
- Latex gloves, no-one likes green hands!
- A roll of kitchen paper.
- A bottle of cheap car screenwash. I use this to thin down paint to a 50/50 mix and it helps atomise the paint before it hits the target causing it to dry almost instantaneously, unlike using water, which causes the paint to run and collect in pools. You can buy premixed airbrush paint from all major paint suppliers, Vallejo, AK Interactive, Scale 75 and Zero Paints, which are all very high quality, but I keep coming back to the £1 screenwash and my normal paints.
- Air brush cleaner. Essential for cleaning afterwards and on the spot nozzle cleaning.
- Cotton buds. Really useful for removing unwanted paint and applying cleaning fluid where needed.
- Compressor. It really doesn’t matter which brand you choose as long as it has a moisture trap, to stop unwanted water droplets entering the gun and ruining your work. It is worth experimenting with the pressure to find the right airflow; I normally work with 2 psi.
- A block of wood or something similar to attach the figure onto, as a holding tool. I use double-sided tape or blu-tac.
- Ventilation. The airbrush produces a lot of fine particles in the air while spraying and settle like dust.
I still start with the darker basecoats, working up to the lighter colours. As the airbrush produces such a fine mist it covers every surface, which means the shadows will have to be applied at a later stage.
You can see in the example above that the light green highlight tones have bleached out any richness and depth, especially at the extreme ends on the feet, tail and tentacles. To counter this, I have started the shading with more gentle ink washes and moved on to the stronger black and dark brown oil filter washes.
Using inks and oils always dry in a high gloss finish. This will be rectified with a couple of coats of aerosol matt varnish periodically through the whole painting process.
The body is now left over night to cure properly, time to move on to the base.
I wanted to reflect the Underdark in this scene, so I have opted for a Drow purple colonnade colour, which has the benefit of complimenting the greens and making the whole piece really stand out.
With a 50/50 mix of Royal Purple and Black, I have carefully applied the basecoat by hand, making sure that every part is painted.
The same goes for the coat of straight Purple, just leaving small shadow corners of the darker basecoat.
Before the drybrushing stage, I have masked of the tentacle with tape where it touches the colonnade.
With this large scenic piece, you will need a selection of larger brushes. I have used a cheap half inch chisel ended brush.
After using these progressively lighter colours, the detail are really starting to reveal themselves.
The final stage is to add the highlights normally with your regular small brush. This is the stage where the light direction or light sourcing is decided.
Like with the airbrushing sequence, the whole base is looking bleached out so 2-3 coats of ink are washed over the whole thing, to bring it back to life.
For the final spot highlight on the extreme edges and points is applied with a light grey colour.
The mid-grey flagstones are carefully painted in, around the broken columns.
This image shows the blended light-sourcing starting to come into effect. You can see I have kept the light showing from only one direction, apart from the very front on the base.
The final edge highlights are painted in using an off- white / grey colour.
Attaching the Demogorgon to the base at this stage may seem premature. With the main colours set and the shading finished, there is no need to paint into the hard to reach places again and the main benefit of this is it allows the highlights to be painted in situ with the lightsourcing completed at the same time.
This bigboy has a lot of hair!
A dark brown basecoat frames each separate area, making each part stand out even more.
The ink washes add the richness required, but the trade-off is it inevitably dulls down the fur, so re-highlights are required in lighter colours.
Teeth and claws
You can see where the tooth / claw meet the skin; the benefit of painting the dark border colour first it makes them appear as a separate part.
The most difficult part of the model to paint, due to their extremity, I use wooden blocks to steady my hand while working on these.
I have painted a small line texture on the final highlight for some visual interest.
Just like in nature, most animals have paler underbelly colours for example. I have replicated this by using a mid-tone grey as a basecoat working through the colour range to an off-white tone.
Return to the skin
Using very thin coats of this mid-green and using the shadows as a guide, the green tone is layered up to the tone I want.
Using a ‘00’ size brush the highlights, creases and details are picked out.
I have kept the painting quite simple here, as it will eventually be re-painted with the fire effects and light-sourcing.
You have just to look at this awesome artwork to see the fire effects (and raw power!) at work.
Note- before using any strong transparent paints, give the whole model a couple of coats of mat varnish. This gives your model a good layer of protection.
To achieve this effect, you have to start with subtle washes. I have chosen Tamiya transparent paints thinned down to very thin washes and carefully applied them around where the fire light reflection would appear.
After another local coat of varnish (I hand painted it this time), I have moved on to regular acrylics, painting closer to the source of the fire at each stage.
The final stage is a few thin coats of ink. As these are the weakest of the layers there is no point competing with the powerful transparent colours, but add an essential richness to the area.
Adding a yellow pupil really makes the whole Demogorgon even more malevolent, not that he needs much help!