Sunday, 17 January 2016

Vostroya Today Cover Shoot

Greetings people (never have figured out a satisfactory clever collective noun for readers of PVP), today we have a rather more glamorous guardsman than usual:

I'm fairly sure that she is one of Raging Heroes sculpts and one of the better ones in my opinion. Less obviously sexualised (note "less", as opposed to "not"), more a soldier. However the pose did strike me from the get go as, well, a pose, she looked like she was striking a suitable heroic pose for a cameraman somewhere behind the fourth wall. So in my head, that's what she became, a trooper pulled out for the commissariat's civilian propaganda and recruitment wing, more on that later.

The sculpt is nice enough, technically very nice, lots of crisply cast details and equipment, nice. There are two minor quibbles I have, one is her hair which is filling a big undercut for the one piece casting of the body and head and thus only looks good from one angle. Fair enough, it's a technical rather than an aesthetic one but I might have tried to find a less obvious place to sacrifice. Hey ho, I am neither a sculptor, nor a caster so I know nothing, no-thing. The second is more of a subjective thing, it's the face. There is a tendency for female faces to be impassive masks devoid of expression. I know the problem stems from trying to get an attractive sculpt at 28mm scale where the slightest twitch of the sculpting tool radically alters the end result but I believe these were digitally sculpted so... Ah, I guess it's a personal thing, I think character comes from expression, displaying an emotion - determination, trepardation, fury, concentration... something. Anyway, on with the painting!

The brief was a delightfully Inception-like thing. I was to paint a Vostroyan-esque figure in the beige Death Korps scheme that was itself based on an old Vostroyan figure! Thus the scheme will be a familiar one to long term readers. Most of the choices thus made for me by Past Jeff I was able to just relax and enjoy the process. Really, the only choices I had to agonise over were the hair - I ended up going for platinum blonde to make the face pop from all the beige and to reinforce the already catwalk model physique - and things like the fur trim on the coat and hat. One big section that had me scratching my head was the flag. She's holding a large piece of fabric in her right hand, clearly a flag of some sort but not held with any respect, more a trophy. I figured I wanted a little bit of red and gold on the flag as, well, I'm painting a Vostroyan and I have something of a Soviet bent to my Bolt Action collection. Trouble was, that was going to be a very, very bright spot and would draw attention away from the face. Not ideal.

The solution came to me by first painting the flag as a captured arch-enemy banner. I would drag the flag through the dirt of the battlefield, thus dulling the colours and keeping the focus where it ought to be. My normal dirt weathering sequence wasn't going to work too well with my client's preferred urban basing. Mud doesn't work well with rubble. Thus I started by stippling a drybrush of Val German Camo Black-Brown - it's got to be a very dry brush - building up layers of dirt. Then Stormvermin Fur and finally a little light grey (can't remember which) mixed with the Stormvermin fur. I used a clean wet brush to do a little blending of the final layers that hadn't fully cured and finished the whole thing off with some spots of black for soot. Perfect. A point of interest but not a distraction from the rest of the model.

With the shoot finished (the camera and I are gradually reaching an accord) I couldn't resist a five minute photoshop job and create a trashy supermarket tabloid cover for her. I think Vostroya Today works ;)


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