Wayne’s – PSC 2

Well, we had six weeks to come up with something and get it done. I did not spend six weeks or even 6 days on this. In fact, as you can probably tell with the bits and pieces I did making the base including the painting it was more like 6 hours total. Of that, there was 2h20min of painting time.

So my second paint swap. I had lofty ambitions when I set off on this second paint swap, so many idea’s and that seemed to work so well with my assigned colours. What colours do you ask? Yellow and dark blue was what I ended up with this time. Perfect, though I already had printed the ideal mini from TitanForge’s vampire pack, Lucien Hesus. With a couple of other bits from the same pack, I was dying (sorry I need to pun!) to have a crack at painting this up so I came up with a little narrative to explore.

Foreboding clouds draw in close, further darkening the valley floor. In the distance, the castle home of the Hesus family stands like a silhouetted sentinel against the newly born winter moon.

Why can’t I move? Why is everything black? That sound. Whatever it is, I can’t take it. It’s a chittering, pounding in my head. No, it’s a soft comforting whisper. I can barely make out the words. Master? What… I am no man’s slave?! I am one of the freeborn!

Shrill laughter fills the cold air! A calm stillness descends on the land as the ground is carpeted by a heavy mist that finds its way home to the Wyvern spire after centuries away. Louder now… the laugh coming from everywhere, echoing. In the distance, a light flickers in the window of the far off castle. Heavier, the mist drawing higher and denser. A shape forms, the laughter louder now, filling the valley. The air icy cold.

Slowly the shape becomes mass, the laughter piercing as candles on the ground burst into life as if something brought them back from the dead. The warm yellow glow bathes the gravestones in an eerie light as the laughter finally stops as he is finally… home. Floating above the graves he holds aloft his chalice surveying all that will be his once more. Silence gives way to the beating of leathery wings on thin cold air. Screeching terror fills this dread place once more. A wry smile creeps across his pale face, long dank hair framing his features in the flickering candlelight. Lucien Hesus as risen once more.

No one thought this day would come. It was supposed to be a legend, a myth, a scary tale told to frighten the children into behaving. It wasn’t meant to be this… not here… not now… not… Me… a rotten hand breaks the soil as I drag myself from my… grave. I see him… Master Lucien… Nothing escapes my emaciated mouth other than a groan. Hungry, I must eat…

Wayne Hanley, 2020 – Narrative PSC-2 backstory
The final piece as it ended up.

So I guess I had a pretty solid idea of what I wanted to do then so off to it. Compared to my previous paint swap this was a much easier build though with much more going on. Add in the fact I only had a couple of hours, realistically, to get it all done I had to manage my expectations.

I wanted to explore more of the light and shadows I had started to look at in my first PSC since its not something I get to look at a great deal with my gaming minis. After building a quick MDF base and figuring out the position of the pieces I grabbed some Milliput and started to make some interesting ground to bring the scene to life. Here was my first issue. I had planned on painting the main focal piece (Lucien) separate to the rest of the diorama so I could get some really subtle effects to the under-lighting going on. However, after getting the putty on the base and positioning him in my last session I had thought he would just lift out. Nope, the Milliput had a hold on him and he was not going anywhere! I didn’t have time to print and cure another model so he was getting painted in place.

As I usually do I threw on a little fine sand, added a few bits of larger stone and some skulls for good measure, sealed it all with a little super glue and started out with the paint.

Much like my first PSC the majority of this piece was done using an airbrush, my trusty workhorse the Iwata HP-CS. After laying down an all-over matt black I went with a 45 degrees rear highlight with dark blue to the first of my PSC colours. I planned to have a backdrop to give it some context and the moonlight casting from the top right down. I also, at this point, established where the shadows would need reinforcing with black (though this didn’t work as well as I wanted and is something I will be working on in future!). Adding more blue-grey to the pot, I bought up the moon highlights to the point I was happy with. I could have maybe gone a little further but I will be doing some brushwork and I wanted to keep the night feel so I stopped here.

Getting the yellow over the black and dark blue was going to be difficult. To get around it I added some Liquitex white ink to my pot, dropped the pressure right down and started to bring up the areas around the candle and under-light everything from where the light from the candles would hit. This was a right nightmare and I really wish I had not have left this until the last min to do. It would have been so much easier if the main figure and the bat had been painted separately. Oh well just get on with it and learn.

After a number of progressively brighter Coats, it was looking ok if not something monochromatic. It was at this point I noticed the blue really was almost not visible at all. My plan was to paint a simple backdrop in blacks and greys but instead, I thought I would be able to bring out the blue more by adding some to the backdrop. Turns out this was a solid idea and really worked. I also added a little bit of sepia ink to the black and used this at this point to reinforce all the shadows to provide some variation to the earth and the impression of cold mud. Not really 100% within ‘must only use black, white and the PSC assigned colours’ but it was literally a drop and it did help. I also added some to Hesus’ leg armour to help with the texture and bring out a different yellow reflection from the candles.

We are almost there now. The last thing to do was to clean the airbrush and get the yellow laid down. Again I went with Liquitex inks for this. I wanted to keep the highlights I had already established but give the rich vibrance of the candles a really mystical feel so I wanted a really opaque yellow. It turned out pretty well. Going over it with a little sepia on the armour really worked well and brought in a whole slew of yellow tones that gave a richness I don’t think I would have been able to achieve using just yellow alone.

Finally, it was just a case of bringing in a couple of brush highlights on the parts I really wanted to draw attention to so a little on the face and to tie in with the narrative, the zombie familiar dragging himself out from his grave. I think this was my favourite part to be honest!

The backdrop was totally off the cuff. I cut a couple of pieces of card stock stuck them together and based them with the airbrush at the same time as I was doing the rest of the diorama. I wanted to keep it quite vague so as not to detract from what is supposed to be in the viewers centre of attention so I intentionally kept it very loose and went with the what I had written in the narrative. The idea was to place the piece in the world and give the impression of time and intent. I think for a simple 2 mins of work it does what I want if not to the quality I would have liked.

And so there we have it. All done and dusted for another paint swap. I certainly learned a lot in a short amount of time. Most of that is just how amazingly good Milliput is at holding things in place! I think building something based on a little narrative really helped me pull this together and it was maybe the most fun part for me. Tying in the zombie guy to the narrative and telling some of it from his point of view really was fun and also added a little Easter egg to the piece. If you have not read the background it just looks like a run of the mill zombie but if you know you have a little more insight into what’s going on. I really do like exploring OSL and shadow and light within the constraints of the PSC and it does help me focus and get something done and out of the door. It has certainly been a hectic few weeks with little hobby time but, for a couple of hours work and the amount I have learned, I’m taking it as a win!