It's been a little while since I finished the figure and got approval from the client to keep on trucking, but real life has intervened and thus a lagging blog post. I'd like to think it was worth the wait, though, as I've got hi-res pics and there's a few areas that I think turned out very well that I was to touch on.
For starters, this figure is part of an investigators of the unknown set (exact product/part # unknown) released by RAFM specifically for Call of Cthulhu. He looks to me like a doctor with a kit bag and a vague air of professionalism - in reality, the figure struck me as extremely creepy and representative of the religious cult leader from Poltergeist II, so that's what I rolled with in the final presentation.
I was aiming for a paler "realistic" skin tone than I've used in the past, and made specific effort to accentuate the shading in places like the hollows of the cheeks and around the eyes - in reality, some of this was a "trompe l'oeil" effect on my part, as the sculpting was a little misshapen and the left and right sides of his face actually don't match up well. Anyhow, from extreme shadow I went through 6-7 color progressions to almost a near white for the facial highlights on the bridge of his nose, his upper cheekbones, and the pate of his skull as I really wanted to accentuate a somewhat skeletal appearance.
The blacks I used in the figure are two different shades, having used cool colors for his suit from a cold grey-black worked up to highlights of pure neutral grey and Vallejo Model Color Deck Tan worked in (I love this color!), with pure black shading; and for his hat and shoes, and wanting to make the hat somewhat of a warmer color to draw attention up to his face, I went from pure black straight to highlights with Games Workshop Graveyard Earth worked in and Graveyard Earth/Deck Tan for final highlights.
I really like the way the stone turned out, and despite the appearance in pictures, there's not a single element of grey at all!
Edit: Color recipes!
The "Mad" Doctor's Skin Tones
As mentioned in my previous post, I approached skin tones on this figure differently than I have in the past, mostly for the sake of trying something new. I've had the Reaper Master Series Bright Skin triad set for some time, but never used them outright, so there's that. I also have had some untried recipes for flesh color progressions thanks to Keith Robertson of Forge World/Games Workshop fame and an old printed article from Mike McVey's painting site (Raven Priest Assembly and Painting - Pt. 2). I took the Reaper paint set, combined the two recipes with some tweaks for an older, paler-looking flesh tone, and went to work!
- To start with, I painted all the skin areas using several thinned coats of Games Workshop Tallarn Flesh, although really any dark neutral tanned flesh color would do.
- I applied shading with a mixture of Tallarn Flesh and Vallejo Model Air Dark Green, being careful to only apply this to areas where shadow would naturally fall - on the face I painted this color in the eye sockets, from the below the cheekbones down, under the nose and lips, and the entirety of his neck.
- I added a deep blue to the shade mixture, in my case Vallejo Model Air Intermediate Blue (or an equivalent royal blue) and painted this onto any deeply recessed shade areas - on his face I worked this into the tops of his eye sockets, directly under the cheekbones, beneath where his hairline met skin, and the neck recessed within his collar.
- I began the highlighting and defining process with slightly thinned Reaper Bright Skin color, essentially working over any skin areas untouched by shading and taking care to draw the color upward with my brush to the above-lit areas I was trying to represent.
- For the next highlight step used thinned Reaper Bright Skin Highlight color, accentuating everything from roughly a 45° angle upwards, making sure coverage on his bald pate was good, as well as touching up his lower lip and eyelids slightly.
- For the next highlight step, I added pure white to the Reaper Bright Skin Highlight paint previous and accentuated everything visible from roughly a 75° angle upwards, again making sure coverage on the upper surfaces of his bald pate were nicely transitioned, as well as focusing on areas like the bridge of his nose, his upper cheekbones, hints of color on his earlobes, and the sinews of his hands.
- Finally, I went back with thinned pure white for the final highlights, applying them minimally to areas where I wanted to draw attention as well as play up his somewhat skeletal appearance - the vertical lines at both temples, the bridge of his nose, and the very top of his bare pate.
- I did need to go back and smooth out some of the transition of the facial shading so for that I went back in with a 1:1 mixture of Vallejo Model Color Russian Uniform (great color, btw!) and the basic Reaper Master Series Bright Skin color thinned so as to more smoothly transition the lighter color of the jaw evenly on both side of his face into the shadow under his cheekbones (did I mention that the face seems unevenly sculpted on both sides? Oh well, that's why this one's a classic!)
This is actually one of my old color recipes that I tweaked slightly for this model, as I wanted the stone to be less"warm-looking" so as not to detract from the cooler palette of the rest of the figure.
- To start, I applied a basecoat mixture I've had for ages (Games Workshop Chaos Black and Snakebite Leather mixed - only this is the Snakebite from the early 90's color range that was a dark brown) - you can use any neutral dark brown, but a good equivalent would be the P3 Battlefield Brown color - just make sure you have good coverage over any areas you want to look like stone.
- Next, I heavily stippled slightly thinned Battlefield Brown all over the stones - the trick when I'm stippling or drybrushing is that I thin my paints about 1:4, so that when I wipe away most of the liquid out of my loaded brush, I never have to worry about it laying on too thick or dark, because it was already somewhat diluted at the outset - this makes for an excellent "dust" effect on figures using different colors, by the way.
- Trying to avoid any warmer colors in the paving stone basing, I next lightly stippled thinned Vallejo Game Color Khaki over all the stone, but with greater attention paid to upper areas.
- The first actual highlighting I did was with (again) a thinned color - this time Vallejo Model Color Deck Tan, which is an excellent light cool beige-grey. I drybrushed this color primarily on edges using a squared-off Filbert synthetic brush - I like the brush shape (think tongue-depressor roundness) as it allows me to drag mostly along sharp edges, and I like synthetic bristles for drybrushing as it chews up natural hair brushes like nobody's business.
- The final highlighting on the base was more drybrushing with a thinned pure white color, being very careful to only apply it to edges and raised stone edges on the base with very careful dragging.
- The very last step on the base was a wash of a mixture I've had for ages - 3 parts Brown (or Sepia) Ink, 1 part golden yellow paint, and 1 part mid-range green all mixed together and painted more or less once over all the stone and then primarily into the crevices to darken things down a bit.