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PAINTING FIGURES' FACES

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Painting Figure's Faces How To
For armour modellers, figures' faces can be a real challenge. It’s tough to get a good result. But there are ways to try.

The problem is, figure painting is an artform in itself – so it’s hard to cross over between disciplines. However, using acrylics & following a few basic steps might help the AFV modeller who is willing to try.

Now, we are not saying this is the way to make award-winning figures – for that you need years of practice & the figure-painter’s skillset. Something we do not possess.

Also, as with all aspects of our hobby it is highly subjective & a question of personal style. We like to have figures that look dirty & tired – just look at period archive film to see what real soldiers look like after a few hours of battle.

So, if you are looking to paint realistic figures to go with your armour models, read on.

We took a French Tanker supplied as a gift to subscribers of our favourite model magazine, Steelmasters. We added a Hornet head with a homemade skullcap & scarf – sculpted in Duro. It was then base-coated in Tamiya grey.

When we paint figures we find that everything starts with the face. Beginning here imparts your figure with a life & character of its own before you even tackle the uniform & so on.

We like to use Vallejo acrylics – just remember to keep the paint diluted & not too thick. Also you can sometimes use their retarder or “Slow Dry” (Ref: 70.597). This doesn’t really aid mixing on the palette, or even on the face itself, but it just means you can repair any mistakes more easily with a wet brush before the acrylics dry.

We start by picking out the eyes. A loose coating of white where the eyes should be was followed by a dark brown line or dot roughly where the pupil should be.

Do not get too fixated on whether it all looks right at this stage. In this scale the eyes will end up pretty tiny & our goal is to paint around them until they are very small.

So pick a dark flesh colour – here, Vallejo Medium Flesh (Ref: 70.860) – and start to paint around the eyes. Carefully narrow them by painting around them.

When happy, seal with gloss varnish to protect them for the future paint stages. This means you can always wipe off any mistakes going forwards without damaging the eyes.

Next, create a lightened flesh mix using Flat Flesh (Ref: 70.955) & block out the rest of the face.

Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To

You can keep lightening as you go with very thin watered down mixes. We used an off-white called Stencil (Ref: 70.313) from their Panzer Aces range. Just use the lightened highlights on the cheekbones, eyebrows, chin etc. Basically, anywhere not in shadow.

Add some red to create a darker fleshy tone - here, Hull Red (Ref: 70.985). Use this in the cheek hollows & on the lips. You can also use it in areas of mid shadow like the inside of the ears.

Make an even darker mix using German Camouflage Brown (Ref: 70.822). This is the deepest shadow, which can be used very sparingly to create the shadows either side of the mouth, under the lips under the brow above the eyes as well as for eyebrows. Again, here, thin watered down coats are the key.

This is now your basic foundation. You can keep taking the base flesh mix, lightening until it is almost white or darkening until it is almost brown or black & gently applying shadows & highlights. Subtlety is essential. Seal with matt varnish & then keep on going in progressive applications until happy.

Use the darkest mix to add a line under the eyes where the lower eyelid would be.

Finally, we added some highly diluted brown to show the goggle marks on our French tanker as well a bit of stubble & facial dirt. We did say we like our figures dirty! Just seal with matt varnish before tackling the rest of the figure.

Have a go at trying this technique on your figures’ faces. We also filmed this figure being painted, so if you are interested, a step-by-step video will be released soon.

Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
Painting Figure's Faces How To
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