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Friday, 1 September 2017

Painting Tutorial - 28mm Viking Warriors

Hi folks,

The good news is - Vikings are easy to paint! In fact, most 'Dark Age' models are. Its down largely to the simple tunics of the age, which for the regular folk tended to be plain died wool. This makes it simple for us to get great results with a few basic colours and a little highlighting.

1.Assembly and Undercoating. Its probably best to go with a light colour for the undercoat as most of our colours today will be plain, flat, and light.

2. Research. There is plenty of good source material available on the internet for Dark Age clothing. Here is a good chart which shows the dyes of the period, what source they came from and the kind of shades of colour they produced.

3. Choosing Paints. Now we have the research done, its just a matter of selecting colours that are similar to the dyes. Dont worry about getting exact shades, use whatever you have to hand as long as they are close enough it will be OK. Here are the 8 I chose - 

4. Base Coats. Paint the main bodies first. Dont worry about painting over belts and pouches, or slipping onto the arms and legs. Just get the paint on the main tunics. We will tidy the rest up later. For now we just want block colours on the main tunics.

Once you the tunics done, then we can do the arms and legs. This requires a little concentration not to slip onto the main tunic, but dont worry if you accidentally do clip the tunic at this point, we have a trick to sort that later.

5. Painting the rest of the model. Once we have the tunics and arms/legs done, its time to get the skin, beard, belt, pouches, shoes and whatever else the model may have. Everything but armour - dont worry about that just yet.

Paint the flesh on the face, then the beard around that.

Take your time here. The belt is tricky, but dont worry if you clip the tunic (we still have a trick in hand still to play). The pouch and straps are easy as they are raised up from the model.

6. Ink wash. Optional, but easy! Use a brown ink on the wood and leather, and a flesh wash on the skin and beard. Ink is easy to use and gives a real quick and good looking result. Carefully brush the areas with ink, dont flood them. And again, dont worry if you slip up anywhere, we'll come to fixing mistakes in a bit.

With the beard and flesh - let the ink run into both areas. It gives a more natural look.

7. Highlighting. Remember the trick I mentioned to fix any mistakes? This is the part where we can do that.

Now we are going to mix the base colour, with a little dollop of white, to provide a paler shade. The trick to mixing is WATER.

Drop a little patch of water on the area where we are going to mix, then add the original base coat, and then stir in a little bit of white paint. Use only a little drop of white, and mix  until you can see a visibly lighter shade. Then paint this over the top of our tunic, leaving the original basecoat only in the darker/shaded areas.

You can repeat this highlighting as much as you like. The key to mixing really is WATER. Not too much, but each shade you want to apply should be both,
1. A little lighter with white paint, and 2. A little more water.

This really is the key to 'blending'. Paint the lighter coat over any raised areas, or where the fabric calls for it. Just be careful when adding water - too much and it becomes too watery and not very good to use. With practice you will get it though, so dont give up! Each lighter coat should be on a smaller area than the one before.

For example, if the base coat is the entire arm, the first highlight should be 80% of the arm, leaving 20% of the arm in shade. The next highlight may be just the elbow and the cuff. The highlight after that just the cuff. Each highlight a little lighter with white, and little more watery.

8. Armour (and shields). Paint any armour black. Helmets, swords, shield rim etc all black. Then use a 'dry brush' technique for the silver. If you dont know what dry-brushing is, then just paint the silver on very lightly, run the brush over the area instead of trying to paint over the black. You should get an equally good effect. Remember - dont paint 'over' the black, instead run the brush gently over the top of it.

For the shield colour and design, I took a little inspiration from a TV show. You can google 'viking shields' and you should find plenty of designs and inspiration for your own.

And there we go - told you it was easy!
Remember - block paint tunic, then arms and legs. Then pick out the details of belts and pouches. Skin then beard. Wash wood, leather and skin. Add white and water to your base coat to highlight tunics.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your painting!


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1. 28mm Viking Warriors