Painting an Infinity Nomad Intruder Sniper
Finally my new Scharff brushes arrived. These replace my Raphael brushes which were of poor quality and I was so eager to use them that I had already primed a Nomad Intruder from Corvus Belli’s Infinity the Game. It feels like forever since I’ve painted a miniature and while I probably should finish painting my Star Wars Princess Leia as Boushh statue I jumped right into this 28mm gaming piece.
I started by priming the miniature using Vallejo Surface Primer. I started with black and then applied a zenithal highlight using white. I didn’t want a stark transition so I mixed a mid-grey and built up the layers slowly. This is my first time priming like this but I think I like it. It doesn’t take much extra time but the model’s details stand out clearly during painting. I had primed the model before my brushes arrived so it had plenty of time to cure. Vallejo’s Surface Primer is strongest after 48 hours. If you notice missed mold lines that you’d like to correct you need to wait for the primer to cure before attacking it with a file. Even then the Surface Primer does have a tendency to peel. I think this is related to how it is applied, the surface and the surface prep, and is more common on plastic model kits.
This zenithal priming didn’t have a pronounced effect on the final rendering as it would if I’d only applied a couple of translucent coats of paint. However the underpaint was educational regarding the placement of highlights and shades. Having the painted transitions between light and dark match the natural transitions makes the painted transition appear more realistic and blended than they normally would.
I painted the entire model within a couple of hours in a single sitting with the exception of the head. This was painted earlier in the day and I didn’t pay much attention to how long it took. I probably spent as much time on the head as I did on the entire body-armour section since it’s important that it looks smooth. It isn’t perfect but these figures are being painted in a quick army-painter style. The head was painted with a mix of white and light blue.Flatting: By covering all surfaces of the miniature it is easier to see adjust colour contrast before detail is added.
Next I flatted the miniature by applying a base of all the colours I will be using on the model. I’ve been using a wet palette for this but I don’t think it suits my style of painting, I don’t make many intermediate mixes when I paint. From time to time I decide to skip this stage. Whenever I do and then return to using it on my next miniature I am reminded why I like it so much. Hopefully I’ll soon learn why.
I move quickly when I flat my model and do not aim for perfect coverage. I did apply a couple of coats to the orange but everything else just got one coat and then I moved on. I also aim for the midtone to help my judge value contrast but it will all be covered up again before the miniature is complete. You can also see how little an effect the underpainting has had even with only a single coat of paint.
Here I’ve rendered the orange bodysuit. I’ve reversed some of the decisions I made on my other Intruder in regards to which parts are bodysuit and which are armour. You can’t see the effected areas but I think it looks better. The last time I painted this orange I used a whole bunch of shades. This time I just used a bit of the green, brown, black and a touch of dark red to mix my shade, and white for the highlights. It has been so long since I’ve painted a miniature I had forgotten my preferred order of highlights, shades and midtones. Fortunately the area is so small I didn’t have to worry about it too much.
It looks like I had a bit of a focus issue on this picture but you can see how I rendered the blue body armour and hardware. Again I just made use of the colours I had in my palette for mixing the shade. At first it was a little too green and I adjusted in on the fly. Again I was still recalling how I like to add my highlight and shades so the order was not perfect. This, in addition to the high number of individual surfaces I had to paint meant this stage took the longer. I’m happy with the result although it could probably use a bit more edge highlighting.
I really love the blue, which is mixed from a light grey and turquoise. This is really my favorite colour to paint lately.
I was starting to get a bit tired when I reached the pants and didn’t take separate pictures for the leather and green weapon parts. The base is also simply painted as I hate detailing bases. I really wish I had bought some resin base inserts instead of trying to cobble something together out of plasticard and brass rod. You can also see the transitions in the highlights for the armour pieces since the image is crisper than the last.
Now that I’m finished this miniature I’ve fully remembered my painting style. I’m not sure if I’ve gone over it before but I’ll recap in case I haven’t, or for those lazy few that haven’t read my entire archive. Since everything is already flatted there is generally a single layer of my mid tone when I start to render Render: I prefer the term render or rendering from the world of fine art over highlighting since I’m describing adding highlight and shadow, not just highlights.an area I start with my shade. This is applied loosely to all the shadowed areas, anything that’s darker than the base colour. I also don’t worry about applying it neatly in folds and creases as it’s much easier to repair those later in the process. I mix another, darker version of the first shade and pick out the darkest colours such as surfaces which point directly down or folds and creases in the surface within a shadowed area.
Next I follow the same process with the highlights. In this case I mixed white in with my colours to create my highlights with the exception of the brown where I used some of the orange to keep the colour warm. If your highlights end up looking chalky or washed up you can try adding the next hue up on the colour wheel to your highlight. To find which is the next hue orientate the colour wheel so that yellow is at the top. I believe the theory is that since sun light has a yellow cast the closer you get to yellow the more light the hue appears. Like the shade I added a transitional highlight over the entire surface which is being lit and then applied a full highlight only to those areas getting the most light. This means none of the highlight should extend into the shadow zones.
Once I’m happy with where my light and shade fall on the surface I return with my mid-tone and clean up any messy areas. I’ll applied a couple of quick, translucent coats to blend the transitions between the stages and then proceed to edge highlighting.
The theory behind edge highlighting, beyond it’s usefulness in revealing surface detail, is that a curved surface collects more light in a smaller area than a flat surface. To avoid unrealistically highlighting downwards facing edges I will use all shades and highlights for the edge highlight. I start with my edged surfaces in my darkest areas and use my transition shade to pick out the edges. For surfaces in the shadow transition zone I’ll use my mid-tone, my highlight transition colour edges my mid-tone area, my final highlight edges my highlight transition area and a new, brighter highlight is mixed to edge my highlighted areas. This is a good way to define the edges without the miniature looking too unrealistic. This is a technique I developed painting my Heavy Gear miniatures which are essentially just a bunch of rectangles floating in space in different attitudes.
That’s about it for painting. I don’t want to talk about the base, I just put together all the colours on my palette to create a brownish grey. By this time I had been painting non-stop for a couple of hours and just wanted to be finished. To be honest, I was in a loss the next day over what I should be doing, I had expected to still be painting this guy. If I keep this up I’ll have all my Infinity miniatures painted before all my kickstarters start arriving. Maybe I’ll even be able to play a game or two of the new edition.
If you have any questions about how I paint my miniatures please leave a comment. I know I didn’t really give colour recipes. I’m not a fan of them, even though I always record what paints I use on a miniature for future reference. I really think people just need to use the paints they have and not be afraid to mix. In fact, I’m planning to move to a palette of only a handful or two of colours. I’m not sure when, and when I’ll write the article, so make sure you subscribe. You can also find me on Twitter and Google Plus.