Saturday, February 12, 2011

Secret Project Unveiled

For the last couple of weeks I've been putting together my girlfriend's birthday present. She's a big fan of dragons, so a week or so before her birthday we went onto the Reaper Miniatures website and picked out which one she liked best. The Dragon of Fire won out, so I placed an order with The War Store and waited. Unfortunately the mini arrived a few days late, so I went about cleaning and prepping the model as quickly as possible.The model is fairly large, and comes in only five pieces, so it wasn't too hard cleaning the mold release off with a bit of dish washing soap and some hot water.

Next came the dry-fitting. I'm glad I did this instead of assuming the model would go together smoothly, as the socket for the right wing was warped. Only just a bit, but enough that the socket and the tab both required a bit of filing and clipping in order to get them to agree.

First things first, I glued the pieces together. My preferred superglue is Gorilla Glue brand, and I then Zip Kicker the piece into place. I don't treat the entire join with Zip Kicker, just enough for the parts to stay together without assistance. It was at this point I noticed it- something I should have seen in the dry fitting- there was a gigantic gap in the dragon's neck!

No problem. Off to the freezer to pull out my (last!) roll of Kneadatite Putty. More commonly known to modelers as "green stuff", it comes as a half blue, half yellow epoxy ribbon. When mixed together the putty becomes green and sticky. This mixture was then used to fill the gaps in the model- in particular the neck and the bases of both wings.
...And now the gaps are almost invisible!
I basically had to rebuild the base of this wing.
Having completed the assembly phase of the project, it was on to priming. Now, I usually prime everything black, but in this case I opted for gray as it's a neutral color that would neither darken nor lighten the colors I was working with.

Next it was the easy bit- basecoating the beast. I applied G.W. Dark Angel Green to the majority of the model using the biggest brush I had at my disposal, The toughest part of this, believe it or not, is making sure you don't miss a spot as the brush will often skip over areas of detail. Finding these little blips of carelessness annoys me to no end, as it's usually only once you're in the middle of painting another color that you find you have to backtrack and touch up a color you should already have been done with.
Dark Angel Green in place.
Next to pick out the scales. This was, let me tell you, a nightmare. I decided to go over the entire model (several times) with the side of a brush loaded with the tiniest bit of G.W. Snot Green in order to build up highlights on the scales gradually. The alternative was painting every scale one at a time, and I'd sooner die than trudge through that madness.

Next came the other bits. My girlfriend had decided on a green and yellow color scheme, which normally would drive me mad, but luckily I have a secret weapon. Vallejo Model Color #70978; Dark Yellow! It's a wonderfully natural looking yellow that covers most anything in one pass. The wing membranes, the sail along the back, the frills on either side of the head, and the scales down the stomach all got a coat of this.

The yellow then received a wash of G.W.'s Gryphonne Sepia, followed by light drybrushings of Dark Yellow, followed by Dark Yellow mixed with Vallejo's Bonewhite on the highest parts of the wings.

Next it was time for details. as you can see in the above picture, I picked out the bones in the wings with the same Dark Angel Green / Snot Green blend as the rest of the body. All the horns, claws, and teeth got a transition from Vallejo Earth to Khaki, and finally to Bonewhite. The mouth was painted Vallejo Bloody Red, and the tongue was painted G.W. Liche Purple.

Finally the stones were painted G.W. Shadow Grey followed by a brushing of Valleju Stonewall Grey, and lastly Vallejo Ghost Grey. The eyes were painted Bloody Red with a yellow (exactly which one escapes me) iris, and finally a vertical cat-like pupil,
Almost done...
 I took a break to clean of my pallet after... let's say a year. A bit of paint had built up.
It was about cleanin' time!
Finally, i trekked over to Michael's Arts & Crafts to decide on a base. This was taken home, cleaned up a bit, and painted black. The dragon was then mounted on top, and the project was finished.

...At least until we get a day here where it's not too humid to clear coat him.

I'm rather pleased with the final outcome of the mini, and judging by the "so cool" responses I got from her, my girlfriend approves as well.


  1. Looks very nice. I'm glad to see you've stepped back from the dipping edge, even if only for a bit.

  2. I only dip entire armies, and even then only ones I intend to see a lot of tabletop use. The models tend to get banged around a bit, which can spell disaster for a paint job. With my short temper, that can be Very Bad.

    My MalifauX and Anima: Tactics stuff rarely even sees a wash or ink, let alone a dip. I just look at dipping as another weapon in my painting arsenal- one for when an army needs to get painted to a decent standard, but without driving me insane with details.

    Also, I would never "speed paint" a gift.