Friday, February 27, 2009

A discussion about test miniatures

I've been on a minimalist kick lately on this blog, but today, I'd like to provoke a little dialog. The subject is test miniature.

Instead of painting a whole squad at once, you paint just one to see how you like the color scheme. It's also a chance to figure out what colors you're going to use to get your desired effect.

Here's selection of some of mine:This is the miniature off of which the rest of my Thousand Sons are based. It's actually the second test mini I did. This is the first:

This is the third and final test mini for my Renegade Space Marine Chapter, the Sentinels of Truth. I had a real hard time getting the grey just right. This color scheme has yet to be, "put into production" since I decided to concentrate on demons for now.

Speaking of daemons, her are the test minis for my flamers and horrors. The Horrors have been finished with a slightly different look. The Flamers are in the queue.

One of the few test minis I was satisfied with the first time out. I still need to work on how that gold is going to look, but the flesh tones (blue body and pinkish claws) are pretty much what I was going for. Another unit in the queue.

This is a test miniature of a diffident sort. I just wanted somewhere to practice some highlighting and shading techniques. I figured a spawn was a good place for that. I don't intend to paint a whole squad like this, but I figure that if it doesn't come out perfect, no big deal,it's just a spawn.

The reason I'm bringing this all up is that with the unit I'm currently painting (the bloodletters), I wanted to forgo the usual test mini. I figured that they're mainly just red so how hard can they be?

Another reason I didn't want to paint a test mini was this it takes the limited painting time I have away from the unit as a whole. I really wanted to bang this unit out quick. Plus, I don't want to agonize over this unit too much. I'm more of a Tzeentch/ Slaanesh kinda guy, you know?

I painted the Bloodletters this week but didn't post pictures because I'm just not happy with them yet. I think I've come to the realization that it's harder to work without a goal in mind.

Here's what I mean. I started with a white under coat and started with a couple layers of Blood Red.

The first shading layer was Blood Red mixed with Red Gore(1:1). This layer didn't show that much, but I figured that as it was just the first layer.

I did this on all 8 miniatures in the unit. This took about three painting sessions (yeah, I paint slow).

The next layer was pure Red Gore. However, the shading wasn't really coming out the way I wanted. After I painted about half of the unit, I added Dark Angels Green to the Red Gore and painted one mini with it.

This one miniature looked OK, but I had too many questions. Is this final layer going to be dark enough? Should I add some Black? should I strat to build up some highlights? I wanted to work some purple in there; how would I do that?

I came to the realization that I'd have to paint a test mini. I hope I can nail it on the first try and not have to paint three of them.

What about the rest of you? Test miniatures: Good, bad? Waste of time? I'm open to suggestions if you have them.

6 comments:

Chicago Terrain Factory said...

I always test out a set of figures before starting a new army. Better to sacrifice a few test subjects before doing a squad or two and deciding you don't like the look.

jabberjabber said...

I try to do a test model on most colour schemes - especially for when I'm painting up big squads. Singular characters (such as daemon princes) are harder to test as I don't want to purchase duplicate models and don't have the time to paint-strip them, so I just go for it.

RonSaikowski said...

I almost always do a test mini.
For a couple reasons...

1. It allows me to paint one of the models to get a feel for the actual process.
2. I find any difficult areas before committing to the whole squad.
3. I can see my color scheme and make any changes.

And if I'm not sure about a technique, I'll try it on a spare bit first before even going to the test model.

Cawshis Clay said...

I almost always do a test mini before I start a new paint scheme. Rarely do I exceed more than 1 mini though. If I liked the test model, great.

If not, it's usually re-prime and then try again. I can't be testing schemes on all my minis!

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