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REAPER MINIATURES: BLIGHT FANG

This is Sandra Garrity's Blight Fang Dragon, from Reaper Miniatures


Hours 1-4: Assembly

Ten pieces of pewter, lots of crazy glue and green stuff, cork, sand, wooden plaque, and we're ready to get started.

The dragon is cast in solid pewter, and weighs in at 2.2 lbs, including the wooden base.  (That's just shy of a kilogram, for you Brits and Aussies out there!)


Hours 5-7: Prime and Proof

I primed this with Reaper brush-on primer, mixing white and black to make gray.  I had to remix several times, so not all of the dragon is primed with the same shade of gray, but the paint will cover it, so I'm not concerned.

I learned a valuable lesson about paint splatter in the process.  Running a brush over the scales of a dragon will splatter your paint, so cover anything you want to keep clean.  Long story short, I'll need to sand and restain the wooden base when I'm done.

Next was a proof of concept. I came up with an idea for the color scheme, and tried it out on a small section of the dragon, where I can see the black scales, underbelly scales, and backfins together.

I also painted white lines over the highlight areas of the dragon's body. This is where my proof of concept coloring will manifest itself later on.


Hours 8-10: Basing and extending the concept

I used a technique for making coins that Andrew Pieper wrote up in a Craft article for Reaper. I also found some weapons and a shield in my bits box, added some more green stuff ridges, sand, and static grass. Most of this will be at least partially covered with water effects, and I'll want it to be pretty bright, so it will show through. Right now it's just a base coat.

I also spent some time extending the proof of concept further down the dragon. That will get some touching up later.

I am using a set of just five paint colors on the dragon:

Blue-teal
Orange-brown
Black
Bone white
Gray

All of the scales are shaded with orange-brown and black.  The highlighted scales have blue-teal and bone white on them, and gray is used for blending.  The backfins have similar shading to the highlighted scales.  The belly scales are mostly bone white, shaded with orange-brown, teal, and black.


Hours 9-12: More basing and dragon painting

There's not much to talk about here.  I applied varying shades of green, brown, and gray to the base, painted the treasure, and added some scenic moss.

I also continued painting the dragon in the same color scheme as before.  Some areas I covered were very hard to reach.


Hours 13-16: Moving down the dragon!

I tried to concentrate on areas that were difficult to reach, both to "get them over with," and to avoid messing up something finished while going after an awkward angle later.

I'm really just continuing to extend the concept.  Until I get to the wings and face, there won't be anything terribly interesting to see, just basic progress.


Hours 17-19: Body just about done, next up, wings!

Formula for the scales

Whole body is primed with gray. That is the "base coat," so to speak.

First layer of paint is either the orangish-brown or blue-teal, depending on whether it is in a dark area, or a highlight area. This gets painted on to cover the base of the scale (where it underlaps), to about halfway down its length.

Next layer of paint is my bone white on the tips of the blue scales.

Third, I apply black, very thin, over the entire scale, brushing from tip to base, so that the base is darker than the tip. The blue and orange get muted this way. Then I look over the area and apply more layers of all of the above wherever it looks rough, or uneven, etc. Usually the black takes several layers, and sometimes I'll use some thicker black paint towards the base of the scale, if the area looks like it needs to be darker.

That last part is the trick. It's not something easily duplicated, and I wish I could explain it better. That's usually how I work. I come up with a basic formula, and apply it, then go back and mess with it using many layers until it looks right to me.


Hours 20-22: Brighten scale highlights and start the wings

I added some brighter highlights to the blue scales, after some online feedback about it lacking contrast.

Then, finally, on to the wings!  I painted the backs of both (the sides that are "interior" on the figure, and the underside of the dragon's left wing.

The right wing's underside, and the face, remain unpainted.


Hours 23-25: You can see that I need to smooth some of the blends on the face. The right side (dragon's right) is very hard to paint, because the wing is right beside it. Thus, the blends there are rougher than the outer side of the face.

The eyes will be painted yellow.

The wings need some more work, too...

Well, that about wraps up the process.  I put in a couple more hours touching things up, painting the eyes, and pouring the water effects, but you can see the result of that in the finished dragon photos in my Gallery.