I just came back from a nice relaxing holiday in Apulia followed by an extended stay in Germany visiting family and friends. Finally some time to prepare new blog posts. I thought I keep the holiday spirit alive and show you in one of my next posts how to make some olive trees and mediterranean pine trees. After all Apulia is well-known for its olive oil production and in fact produces a significant amount of the European Unions output. Pine trees are also a common sight on the heel of Italy, together with Thyme bushes, vineyards and cypresses.
This post is however dedicated to the Sweetwater-Forum miniature exchange 2016. A German forum that was and still is one of my favourite places to discuss wargaming, terrain building etc. in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. I’ll show you the miniature I painted and then in another post the one I received.
You know the drill: People send each other miniatures to be painted and receive a unique artwork in the end to add to their collection. There were no limitations in terms of period or setting, so I decided to sent out a slightly converted Dragonborn Bones miniature. I am sure it will see quite a bit of play in our DnD campaign.
I received a miniature from a period I was not familiar with at all, namely a musketeer roughly dated to the beginning of the 17th century. Yes, you think right: The three musketiers. Hagen miniatures sells a set called ‘The four musketiers‘ based on the 1973 film ‘The three musketiers‘. French author Alexandre Dumas published his historical novel Les trois mousquetaires in 1843/44 which all movie adaptions are based on.
Dumas work is, however, not entirely fiction, rather it is based on historical figures with similar names. D’Artagnan for instance is based on Charles de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan, a bold soldier, spy and bon vivant with a brilliant career at the french court. He died during the siege of Maastrich in 1673, again on campaign and ever loyal to the French king.
Given history and fiction go hand in hand in Dumas work, I thought I would take a similar approach to painting the miniature: Coming up with my own version of one of the famous musketeers, but naturally inspired by history.
I stuck with red and blue as the two main (royal) colours, but did not paint a white cross; the traditional emblem of the Mousquetaires du roi. Instead I felt like trying something new: a brocade effect. The miniature wears a doublet, thus a nice even surface is provided to experiment.
First I tried to paint a floral scheme using red and yellow as contrasting colours. Unfortunately the result was far from perfect and I had to repaint the doublet. My second attempt was more subtle: Just the appearance of geometric patterns in a light blue on top of the dark blue doublet.
Naturally there is still room for improvement, and masters like Marike Reimer can pull off truly stunning brocade patterns. That said, this easy pattern might be feasible on a whole regiment, while extremely detailed work is more for display and competition painting.
Boots, straps and belts are kept in different brown shades so that the focus is on the doublet and the face. I thought of making the coat draped over the arm blue or red with a white cross, but I think the light brown adds some variation without making the miniature too busy.
Some white accents on the feathers, sleeves and pants add some interest to the red cloth and the black hat frames the face nicely. I decided to give him grey hair: an old veteran that has still some fight in him.
I think a good base complements a nice paint job, so I decided to put a bit more effort in it and fashion a diorama base. The idea was to capture an idyllic mediterranean scene, maybe in Spain or Greece. A weathered stone wall separates the base and allows to have two scenes playing out: The old musketeer facing an opponent, emphasised by a line he draws in the sand: “No further!” Behind the wall a chicken is oblivious to the ensuing fight and goes about its business.
I also added a small olive tree to emphasise the mediterranean theme of the base. Brushes, olive leaves and taller grass are all a mix of MiniNatur products. The taller grass is in actual fact Pine tree foliage. A good way to use any left overs.
Per usual light coloured soil gives a very naturalistic appearance and is in my opinion superior to the old sand and paint mix.
The stone wall is actually a custom sculpt that I will use in terrain boards and for dungeon modules.
Light leather parts and cloak: Basecoat of RMS Tanned Leather with a wash of Vallejo Umber Shade , followed by highlights with successive amounts of Vallejo Gold Yellow and RMS Pure White.
Dark leather parts, chicken body: Basecoat of Vallejo Flat Brown with a bit of RMS Blood Red. Vallejo Deep Yellow and RMS Tanned Leather mixed in for the highlights.
Hat: Basecoat of RMS Pure Black followed by highlights with MRP Sapphire Blue.
Hair: Basecoat of RMS Pure Black followed by highlights with Basecoat of RMS Pure Black followed by highlights with Vallejo London Grey.
Linen shirt, feathers: Basecoat of RMS Pure White with a hint of Vallejo Flat Brown, wash with Vallejo Umber Shade and highlights with RMS Pure White.
Pants, sword sheath, feathers, chicken’s comb and sleeves: RMS Blood Red mixed with Vallejo Flat Brown followed by a wash with Vallejo Umber Shade. Deepening of shadows with adding some RMS Pure Black to the basecoat tone. Successive highlights with Vallejo Golden Yellow.
Face: 50:50 of Vallejo Medium Fleshtone and Vallejo Basic Skintone for the basecoat followed by a wash with GW Reikland Flesh. Successive highlights with Vallejo Basic Skintone and RMS Pure White.
Bronze parts: Brown Base Coat (Vallejo Flat Brown) followed by Vallejo Bronze and a wash with GW Reikland Flesh. I then mixed some Vallejo Bright Bronze in it for the first and the second highlight finishing of with some Vallejo Silver. Vallejo Smoke was then applied to add again more depth in some places.
Steel parts: Basecoat of MRP Pure Black followed by Vallejo Gunmetal Grey. For the highlights Vallejo Oily Steel with successive drops of Vallejo Silver. Vallejo Smoke for added depth.
Blue doublet and brocade freehand: Basecoat MRP Sapphire Blue with a hint of Vallejo London Grey followed by highlights with successive amounts of RMS Pure White.
Chicken’s beak: Basecoat of Vallejo Deep Yellow with a bit of Vallejo Flat Brown, followed by a wash with GW Reikland Flesh and successive amounts of RMS Pure White for the highlights.