Friday, 29 June 2012

Paint a Ninja (how to paint black!)

Greetings all, today I've got something a little different to my normal work. This is a Pegaso models 54mm ninja (54mm is roughly double the normal height of my normal 28mm models). This was a pressie from Charlie of the Beard Bunker and represented a pallete cleansing afternoon of painting in the middle of other projects.

He has formed a nice study of how I paint areas of adjacent black as a ninja is nothing but adjacent black tones! There is always a problem with capturing these subtle differences in tone on camera but you can clearly see each element of clothing. That would not be the case with using one colour. On this model there are an absolute ton of different colours used, the next image shows where:

Each of those colours were mixed with a little black for the basecoat. A Badab Black wash was then used to darken all of the shades and to provide the deep shading. Using one colour for the shades also helps to unify the shades across the model. You'll also note that I've made extensive use of foundation colours. This is deliberate as the less saturated colours give a more natural feel to the cloth. The exception is the saya (sheath) of the ninjato (sword) and the silk bindings on the hilt. These have been painted with what is now called a layer paint. Fully saturated and making a contrast between the hard saya and the soft cloth. Once the shading wash had dried I went in and highlighted the raised area with the original colour. On a 28mm miniature I would have used a second highlight with a little bone added for more kick. This is not needed on a 54mm as the light does a lot of the work for you. Much of the extreme highlighting you see on 28mm miniatures is there to simulate the light's effect.

One of the things I love about Pegaso are their posing and casting. Absolutely brilliant. He came with that scenic base too.

I've been painting a fair amount of oriental models lately and have settled on an oriental skin tone that I am happy with. It starts with a 3:2 mix of Tallarn Flesh and Vallejo Bronze Fleshtone. My usual shading of Ogryn Flesh is followed up with the original mixture as highlighting and then further highlights of the mix with increasing amounts of bone. The eyes were painted a mix of bone and white as pure white looks unrealistic on a larger scale miniature. Rather than just dotting in a pupil I first painted a larger brown iris and put the pupil in the centre. Seriously, don't try this on 28mm minis, your own eyes will bleed.

This shot shows how the adjacent blacks work, take a look at the sandle straps. You can clearly see them but they don't stand out. Now, while the base was nice I felt it needed a little more interest. Thus I glued tufts of static grass in the vertices of the cracks between stones and scattered some Antenoceti's Workshop leaves around to give it a more natural feel. That's all for now folks.



  1. I knew you'd do this model justice, Mr Viking. It's a very realistic model, and suits your painting style down to a tee. I'm particularly enamoured with your Asian skin tone; it looks perfect. I also love what you've done with the base; the leaves and grass on such a 3D stand have me imagining the scene around him.

    OK, I'm going to stop humping your blog's leg, now.


  2. This is a great post fll of wonderful tips on how to paint what is possibly the most difficult thing... It might sound stupid to some people... yea, painting black is not hard... but painting black well, convincingly and accurately most definately is! well done!