Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Hanging Tree 2: Bark Is Not Brown

I originally wanted the tree to have a dead look to it, which from what I've seen, meant no brown.  But when I looked at what I had at the close of my first post, which had no brown, I wasn't happy. 

So with my very grey-looking tree, I used some dry-brushed in some FolkArt Mushroom and then Barn Wood on top.  I also washed in some more black, FolkArt Coffee Bean and FolkArt Fawn.

Still not happy.  Now it just looked like a stone tree.

So I looked up a few trees that were actually used as gallows trees.  Running this one picture through Reaper's Power Pallete (such an awesome tool) - yes, the greys are there, like the Ashen Grey I used - but it's juxtaposed with strips of olive and mossy greens.

Meanwhile running this picture of another in Texas the undercoat has very dark browns - like in a brown liner or walnut brown.  But where the light hits is a dark muted greyish-purple, which Reaper notes it as Dark Elf Shadow and Dusky Skin Shadow.

My painting buddy and I were talking about the color palette trees. During the winter season, I see a lot of leafless trees on my walks.  We both observed that - despite all your crayon drawings as kid to the contrary - most trees are not brown. Or at least not the bark of most tree (pine trees excepted).  The outermost layer of bark (called "cork") is usually grey. Couple layers under that is secondary phelloderm, which is more brown.

Eventually I got it right or close to right.  Its all about washes. Rich brown washes in the underside shadows, mossy green washes on the side hidden from the sun, and some final very wet black wash to end.  A little dove grey highlights at the top, but otherwise its all in the wash.

Here's the backside...

The Hanging Tree 1: Framing It Up

So in Malifaux, the Hanging Tree is an iconic landmark to warn visitors and immigrants to obey the law or dangle from a rope. It's the third thing travelers on the train see before pulling into the Malifaux. There's a cool official mini that Wyrd sells on holidays, and I've always been tempted to buy it, but the price tag is a big turn-off.
Since I've been reading more terrain blogs and watching some videos, that cost-effective voice perks up and says, "I could do this myself."
So here goes my Xmas 2015 experiment.
I'd kept and old extension cord ever since I saw this YouTube video on making wire frames for miniature trees.  So one game session I stripped it and made a tree with one long arm perfect for a rope to throw around.

Knowing I had to apply wood filler, I applied some masking tape so it had something to stick to.  Here's a shot of the the taped up frame with some putty applied to the trunk. 

I'd tried some white wood filler from a tube on another mini but nothing got the wood feel quite like this stuff from Elmers. It's pretty amazing how little you have to apply. But you really need to make sure you get some watered down PVA glue or wood glue to harden it up after it dries.  It crumbles really easily and moving it around is a mistake.

Slowly adding filler up the branches...

Filler progressing up the tree.

At this point, I realized some of those branch ends had to go.  Time to trim them up.

As to the base, I added some spackle to get a simple impression of the trees underside.  Spackle works for that dirt feel (though like the wood filler, it needs some watered down PVA glue to harden it up).

The Hanging' Tree sits by the entryway to the city so I wanted to get some city cobblestone underneath - to get that  impression this evil tree is bursting up over the city, unable to be subjugated. The green stuff was used for  cobblestone  (once again, using miniGirl's template). Spackle was used for the dirt.
Applied my Terraclips City color scheme, and some Burnt Umber for the dirt color.
Had to break to hangman's rope into two sections: the rope around the tree and the noose. For the noose, I used "InstaMold" to copy the noose from the Malifaux Bayou Accessories pack.For the rope, I straightened two paper clips and then twisted them together to create the rope hanging from the branch.

I primed the whole tree section with Army Painter Uniform Grey, and did a little black wash but I decided against drybrushing white.  Most dead trees seem to have a strong grey hue so muting that as the undercoat I felt would undo a good start.  The rope I gave a light brown coat - combining Linen and Coffee Bean (FolkArt).
I eventually decided on using Reaper's Ashen Brown from their HD line as the main coat. Its a very muted brown with a hint of purple to warm it up a little. I watered it down to a thing glaze and gave two coats. The first went everyehere. The second was more selective, leaving some if the knot holes untouched for the grey to come through.

More to come.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Vasilisa 2: The Duller Details

After my first pass on Vasilisa, I feel I'm looking at someone dressed in bright interesting colors yet is supposed to have been through the wastelands.
In the same breath, the wood grain got a little too faded thanks to over-applying the dark Walnut brown glaze by accident.
So first up to fix: that cloak - too bright a purple.  So I mixed the base color (Ceramcoat Purple Smoke) with a little Dirty Grey for a heavy glaze to dull it down. Conversely, I took a little of the wood grain base (FolkArt Teddy Bear Tan) with a brighter yellow (FolkArt Buttercup) to punch it up in the muddy areas.

I started working a plaid design that I figured was appropriate for all the half cloaks I'd seen. I wanted something detailed but not really interesting, like a tartan.  Using the colors I already on the figure I pulled a pattern together on my pallette.

The tricky part was applying the stripes in a realistic way that clothing hangs - especially since I've broken her cloak into two pieces.  I found a pic or two that was a little helpful, but getting a good 180° view was night impossible.  Time to just put brush to figure and wing it.

I eventually got something that was okay.

The pattern by the arm holding the spool (not yet attached) was messy.  The lines didn't meet up exactly and I had to flub it a little.  It's noticeable to me, though not sure it's as obvious to others.

Here's she is on the base. Front side...

.... and backside.