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Roman Aquilifer, a MPM painting guide - 1° parte
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English language     27.02.2022



Hi everybody!
Here we are again with a new painting guide that we think it will be of your interest!The piece was sculpted by Ramón Martínez for FeR Miniatures and its scale is 1/12
After a primer coat with the Vallejo’s Black Primer spray, I put together the whole bust and airbrushed several coats of Basic Skintone 70.815 from above. I normally don’t do this, but this bust has certain volumes that project shadows over other parts and thought it would be a good idea to use it to demonstrate how this system is very helpful to determine where highlights hit the surface in a zenithal highlighting scheme. The trick is to take some pictures from different angles and keep them as reference.
The first thing I did was the face, as usual in a bust and in most of the figures. For the basic job, I used a few tones from the Malefic Flesh Set 74.102, Forest Skin 74.013, Purple Shadow 74.011, Pale Flesh 74.015 and White Flesh 74.016. The idea was an overall look way paler than what I normally do.



I started with a basecoat of Forest Skin 74.013 plus a bit of the main highlight tone, Pale Flesh 74.015, and a bit of the shadow tone, Purple Shadow 74.011. Forest Skin was a bit too much green to use it alone for my taste and incorporating the other tones into the basecoat is always a useful trick to make everything come together nicely



First thing was to do the usual sketch, to set the right degree of contrast and the interpretation of volumes. I started with a first shadow, adding more Purple Shadow to the basecoat mix.

Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I applied the first highlight, adding more Pale Flesh to the basecoat mix. The contrast started to be noticeable
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I intensified the shadow with a second application, adding more Purple Shadow
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
And I also added a 2nd highlight adding more Pale Flesh. The basic sketch was ready
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I worked a bit on the transitions between highlights and shadows, mainly using the basecoat and the first highlight and shadow and added some final highlights and shadows using Purple Shadow and also White Flesh 74.016 in very few spots. The skin surface is quite reduced, due to the helmet and side guards, so I got it done in no time
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Ok, now, all that was left was to apply some additional tonalities to the face, painting the eyes and doing the fine detailing. I used, along with the previous tones from the Malefic Flesh set, Flat Red 70.957, Deep Green 70.970 and Black 70.950.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
This time, I wanted to have a stark look in the eyes, so I started with them. I painted the eyeball with Pale Flesh 74.015 and applied a really thinned wash of Flat Red 70.957 over it
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I painted the iris with a mix of Deep Green 70.970 and Black 70.950, paying special attention to its position and shape.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I applied some highlights to define the tone, using some Deep Green and also Deep Green mixed with Pale Flesh.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
And finally, I added the black dot of the pupil and a light reflection dot with White Flesh 74.016.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I enhanced the cold fleshy look of the face, adding some thinned glazes of pure Flat Red in the midtone to shadow areas. This enhancement accentuates the pale look we were looking for
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I recycled the previous mix of Deep Green and Black and mixed it with the previous fleshtones to create the five o’clock beard effect in the lower part of the face, saturating the effect a bit further to draw some subtle facial hair in certain areas and also the eyebrows. Here is where Forest Skin 74.013, the tone I used on the basecoat that was a bit too greenish, comes in handy when applied straight from the bottle in glazes to integrate the whole area
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I kept on working on the fine detailing of the face, working with all the previous colors to add small scars and imperfections, accentuating some points of highlights and shadows here and there so the face got certain richness to tell the story of a battle-hardened veteran.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Sometimes, even for an experienced painter, critical mistakes happen.
I painted the head as a separate piece as you have seen. After recording the video, I was working on some other paintjob but had the finished head on the table. As clumsy as it sounds, it fell over the table with the misfortune that it landed on a wet palette with some fresh leftover mixes and I didn’t realize about it until later. The bad news was that it had paint all over one side of the helmet. The good news was that the face itself was not affected. While removing the mess, I partially ruined the previous metallic job…

After counting ten and deep breathing for a couple of minutes, and considering that I was documenting the whole thing, I decided to transform the mistake into an opportunity and paint the helmet again in a different way, so you have 2 alternate ways of doing the metal of the helmet, the one of the video and the one of the painting guide. The lesson here is that you shouldn’t get discouraged by mistakes, even by serious ones. There is always a way to sort a mistake and, if not, take advantage of it as an opportunity. Long story short, here is the head with the metal parts painted back in black, hehe!
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
This time, I wanted to try a different approach. I decided to go for darker and less polished steel with some degree of patina. The tones used for this part are Black 70.950, MC Burnt Iron 77.721, Periscopes 70.309, Leather Brown 70.871, MC Silver 77.724, GC Green Ink 72.089, GC Violet Ink 72.087, Basic Skintone 70.815, MC Copper 77.710, and MC Gold 77.725
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
When you are aiming for a metal with a dull patina effect, a useful trick is to mix metallic and non-metallic colors, as the appearance will look more “solid” and it will be easy to achieve an underlying tonality. I made a mix with MC Burnt Iron 77.721, Periscopes 70.309 and Leather Brown 70.871 for the basecoat.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I mixed some Periscopes and Black 70.950 and used it to apply shadows, aiming towards the lower part and sides of the helmet, as those areas are going to be really hidden inside the lion pelt.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I brought back some shine, adding MC Silver 77.724 to the basecoat and applying some highlights towards the centre, the area that would end up more exposed.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I added the final shadows with some controlled applications of GC Green Ink 72.089 and GC Violet Ink 72.087, adding some extra tonality and carefully outlining rivets and details.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
And I enhanced the highlights adding a bit of Basic Skintone 70.815 to the previous highlight tone. With this tone, I just picked up some edges. Adding a bit of a light non-metallic tone to this final highlight makes it more solid and noticeable, quite convenient when you want to bring up just a few points.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I did the brass parts. I started with a basecoat with MC Copper 77.710, mixed with a bit of the shadow mix I applied in the steel parts (Periscopes and Black)
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Then I added MC Gold 77.725 to start building up the highlights.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
The final points of highlight were done with a mix of Gold, Silver and a bit of Basic Skintone.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I glazed the shadow areas a bit with Green Ink and it was ready.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
And this is how the head looked in its place inside the pelt. The lesson here is that if you take a minute before starting painting, to think how the light will affect a certain part once is placed in its final context, your life will be easier and the result much more natural. I built the shadows towards the sides and the lower part of the helmet and the highlights towards the much more exposed centre. The reward is the cool way in which the edges of the helmet blur into the shadows of the pelt.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I normally try to paint the elements from inside to outside and from up to down. Following that logic, I started with the cloth elements. The colors I used for this were Model Wash Dark Brown 76.514, Model Wash Black 76.518, Basic Skintone 70.815, Black Red 70.859, German Orange 70.805, and Flat Red 70.957
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
The first thing I did was the white piece of cloth that covers the neck. Over the previous base I had done with the airbrush, I added a wash with a mix of Model Wash Dark Brown 76.514 and Model Wash Black 76.518. These washes are quite matt and it is interesting to keep them in mind as potential weapons of choice for doing stuff. For the highlights, I added small amounts of Basic Skintone 70.815
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I wanted some subtle texture in the red wool tunic. I started with a basecoat of Black Red 70.859
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
The best way to do this type of wool texture (at least for me) is to build it up while adding the highlights. Instead of applying the highlights in brushstrokes, I carefully stippled the surface with the tip of the brush damp with the lighter color. The transparency inherent to the acrylic paint creates a random overlapping pattern that builds layer after layer. I added German Orange 70.805 to build the effect bit by bit
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
After that, I applied some shadows glazing carefully in the lower areas with the previous mix of Model Wash Dark Brown and Black that I used in the white cloth. That way, the texture gets muted down gradually towards the shadows. To finish the effect, I enhanced the intensity with a glaze of Flat Red 70.957 over the whole area
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I did the same on the remaining tunic areas and painted a dark basecoat on the leather straps to frame the work.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I worked on the metal scale coat. The colors used were MC Copper 77.710, MC Gold 77.725, MC Silver 77.724, Periscopes 70.309, Model Wash Dark Brown 76.514, Model Wash Black 76.518, Flat Red 70.957, and German Orange 70.805.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
First, I applied a basecoat with a mix of MC Copper 77.710 and MC Gold 77.725.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Next, I applied a cold shadow toward the lower parts and the sides with several careful washes of Periscopes 70.309. The tonality gets instantly toned down.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Now I needed some general shadow to make the individual scales stand out properly. I recycled (again) the previous mix made with Model Wash Dark Brown 76.514 and Model Wash Black 76.518 and applied it all over the surface.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
With some Flat Red 70.957 and German Orange 70.805, I added a bit of reflection on the scales, saturating the effect in the points nearer to the shirt.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Finally, I enhanced a bit more the highlights, concentrating on the front part of the coat. I used MC Gold 77.725 and a bit of MC Silver 77.724 for the final highlights
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
The last bit remaining to finish the torso was, besides the crossed shield belt, that would be painted after the lion pelt, would be the leather straps of the shoulders. They are a bit plain in the sculpture, but I saw that as an opportunity to try something.

The colors used for this part are Game Color Charred Brown 72.045, Black 70.950, Orange Brown 70.981, Basic Skintone 70.815, and Periscopes 70.309.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
First of all, I painted a basecoat with a mix of Game Color Charred Brown 72.045 and Black 70.950, followed by some rough highlights adding Orange Brown 70.981, to get a foundation that looked like leather.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Then, I went back to the basecoat and carefully draw some lines parallel to the edges of the strap. Once I had them, I started highlighting the whole thing as if those lines were actually physical grooves, adding highlights to their edges too.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Now, armed with pure Basic Skintone 70.815 and lots of patience, I carefully painted the thread stitches inside the grooves
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I completed the work adding some washes in the shadow areas with Periscopes 70.309, and random stained spots with pure Orange Brown 70.981 to add a bit more of interest. With this, all the main details of the torso are done. Next stop, the lion pelt.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
First, these are the colors I used for it. Medium Fleshtone 70.860, Black 70.950, Game Color Charred Brown 72.045, Orange Brown 70.981, Black Red 70.859, Pale Sand 70.837, Basic Skintone 70.815, and French Mirage Blue 70.900
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
The first thing I did was to apply a solid basecoat with Medium Fleshtone 70.860. Even if it looks a bit too yellowish, it has the right degree of saturation, as I’ll modulate the tone here and there, de-saturating and transforming it where needed.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Ok, now it comes the tricky part. Using the tones previously described both pure and mixed among them, I created some sort of rough map of tones on the surface of the pelt. These tones were just brushed over the particular spots where I wanted them to be, not trying to blend them.

As an example, I used Orange Brown 70.981, pure and mixed with Black Red 70.859 for the shadows in the main tone, a mix of Medium Fleshtone 70.860 and Pale Sand 70.837 for the lighter parts, using some pure Pale Sand at the lightest spots. I also used Game Color Charred Brown 72.045 pure and mixed with Black 70.950 in the darker recesses and as a foundation for the darker mane area and Basic Skintone 70.815 as a thin basecoat for the inner hide parts.

The most important tool here was studying actual pictures of lions, identifying the way that their skin works and deciding which features I wanted to incorporate on the pelt.
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
Now, all I needed to do was to work on the transitions, the hair texture and adding details to make it look as much realistic as possible. For this kind of work, it is better to concentrate in different parts at a time. I started working on the lion’s face first
Roman Aquilifer painting guide
I started blending transitions and adding a bit of detail and textures. It is still very rough of course

         

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Miniature Painting Masterclass
Sculpted by Ramón Martínez
painted by Fernando Ruiz

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