Saturday, 23 November 2013

Happy Birthday Doctor!

50 Years ago a very strange man stepped out of a time and space travelling blue police box. Five decades later, he's still doing it! Yes, it's Doctor Who's birthday, frankly, if you are British you'd have to have lived under a rock not to know. Sorry non-Whovians, I'm throwing my hat into the ring too!

I had already painted a fair few pieces of Doctor Who stuff but I knew I wanted to do something extra for the 50th anniversary. Then Andy Foster of Heresy Miniatures brought out his Dr. Payne miniature which bore an uncanny resemblance to John Hurt's "War Doctor" from the anniversary episode (haven't seen it at the time of writing). The plan crystallised: I would represent one of each of the available regenerations of the Doctor. A quick order to Andy and suddenly my one Doctor had become four! Let's go in chronological order, which we now know to be:

John Hurt. I am very chuffed with how this one came out. My favourite of the three new ones. His costume was painted from vague promotional shots so I might need to make some small adjustments after the episode tonight. The black leather I'll talk about in the Ecclestone section, but of the rest the most interesting bits are actually the waistcoat and hair. In the shots I could get my hands on the waistcoat is a rust red with bronze brocade. Now, I'm not a Golden Demon winning lunatic so I needed to indicate the effect without actually painting it! What I ended up doing was putting a red basecoat mixed from Mephiston Red and Mournfang Brown. Adding XV-88 to the mix gave me a slightly yellow tone of the base colour which was mottled on to the base colour. A wash of Reikland Fleshtone and a remottling with more XV-88 added finished a nice deep layered colour that was a good approximation of what the waistcoat looks like from distance. The hair was one of those revalation moments. John Hurt has that salt-and-pepper greying hair that is so hard to paint. I suddenly figured how to do it. Basecoat the hair and beard with Dryad Bark. Then drybrush the hair first with Astronomicon Grey and then Ulthuan Grey. Go heavier on the beard, beards grey first and faster (trust me). Finally wash the whole hair with Agrax Earthshade. The finished effect looks pretty right. Another one for the memory banks!

Chris Ecclestone comes next in the timeline. Frankly, the reason I left the black leather description for this chap is that there is not a lot else to his paint job! The first of the New-Who Doctors had the most BORING costume! I've played with a lot of different methods for black leather but I like this one a lot. Basecoat with Val Leather Brown. Next, glaze with multiple layers of black wash. I used Secret Weapon Heavy Body Black as this stains quite badly and is fairly shiny. Perfect for this task. Two layers of that gave that lovely brown-black tone. A light drybrush of Val Leather Brown around the edges reinforced the worn leather look and finished it off nicely. As I reckon the Eccleston coat is the same one from the Hurt incarnation I painted them identically. Next death!

David Tennant, the man who made Russell T Davies's scripts watchable. Great Doctor. I'm not completely happy with the face, might have another go at some point (I only really had a day to paint these three). His painting is fairly unremarkable but if someone wants to replicate the colours: the suit is Val Luftwaffe Blue and Macragge Blue mixed. The coat is Val English Uniform highlighted with Val US Field Drab. Athonian Camoshade glazes and shades the colour nicely. Some mucky red and white Converse trainers finish his "look". Mucky white is fairly easy. Ceramite White is washed in a thin mix of Steel Legion Drab and then highlighted with a mix of Ceramite White and Steel Legion Drab. Simples. Another death, another Doctor:

My Matt Smith doctor was painted a while ago (he's my favourite NewWho to date, see). I have a full article on him from back then so I won't go over it and instead talk basing for a moment:

The bases are the nice Black Cat base toppers, metal casts. For three of the Doctors I've used their victorian brick paving as it fits the time bothering nature of the character. For whatever reason Chris Ecclestone's Doctor always feels more rooted in a council estate in Norf Landon so he got an urban one instead.

So there you have it. My tribute to one of my favourite sci-fi characters. Why do I like the Doctor so much? Well, the format helps, he can have a new setting, a new foe every week. The enemies are mostly ace (occasionally deeply naff) and when it is well done it is creepy without being traumatic so you can watch it with kids. But the most important thing? Do me a favour, picture in your head what you hear when I say "Male lead, action hero". I'm guessing that there will be clean cut, cool, probably all-American, square-jawed hero probably with a firearm. The Doctor is smart, dorky, pacifist and awkward. He solves his problems with tricks, cunning and guile. Violence is always a last resort but he can stick up for himself if he needs to. And with all of that he is still awesome. A manic blur of energy and complex vocabulary in a malfunctioning spaceship. There are precious few decent role models for geeky lads. The ones who will never be jocks. Never be cool, top of the attainment tables and bottom of the heap status-wise. The Doctor is their hero, and he's always coming to save the day.

So where next with my own little Whoniverse? Well, that rather depends on how many of us wheedle Andy to make more Doctors! I want all of 'em! I'd like companions too, there are models out there but their likenesses aren't as good as Heresy's. More bad guys are definately in the offing. If I can find Cybermen then they are in. Probably some Weeping Angels from Crooked Dice. Otherwise known as Paint All The Things! I doubt they'll ever make it to a wargame, they're the closest thing to display models I do. So happy birthday Doctor Who. May you have many, many more.



  1. Very nice. I liked the episode as well. Surely it could have had Ecclestone in it as well ?

    1. Yup, it was cracking! Sadly Chris Ecclestone is one of those people who think that saying things like "I never look back, only forward" is enough justification for taking his ball and going home. He refused to take part is the bottom line!