“Alain” – A 28mm Iconic Cavalier by Reaper (WIP Post)

Before, during and after Christmas, as well as after the New Year, I have barely picked up a brush.  My routine such as I had one went out of the window and I simply got lazier and lazier.  I managed to maintain a slight grip on my “Fools Gold” diorama and to some extent the blog but that is as far as it went.  When I finally picked up a brush I realised I had ran out of time to get a figure done for this Saturday’s post.  Accordingly, and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I was confronted with a blog dilemma, do I not post at all or do I try and make a post out of what I have done to date? 

I decided against no post at all.  I could hear the cries of “thank goodness TIM hasn’t posted, we will get a few days respite!” and concluded that annoying you all was more important to me than I realised!

So, what I have I got for you?  Well let me start by saying this is not a tutorial, it is however a brief guide on how I paint faces.  As you will know I am sure, there a great many ways to paint faces and painters far better than I am have tutorials on YouTube that you can follow and replicate.    If this post is of any use then all well an good but other wise it is just a work in progress.  Next week I will hopefully have the figure completed.

As I have mentioned before I prime using White Matt Enamel paint, Humbrol or Revel, diluted a little using white spirit.  The face paints I use are from “Lifecolor” and the set of six I bought comprise of Flesh Base 1 & 2, Flesh Shadow 1 & 2 and Flesh Light 1 & 2.  The first image below shows Flesh Base 2 having been applied.  Please allow for the fact these images appear at 6 times or more bigger than the head of the real figure.


Next using Black, Vallejo in this case, I block out the eyes and apply a thin line to the mouth.  I don’t concern myself if I have gone outside of the lines as that will be tidied up in due course.


Next I paint the whites of the eyes.  Any white will do, I don’t get excited about an exact colour, perhaps I should but I don’t.  This white was again a Vallejo colour.


Pupils come next and again I use black.  I try to take account of where the figure is looking and position the pupil accordingly.


Time now to tidy up the black around the eyes using the base colour again and then, using the darker of the two shadow colours, outline the areas which need to be darker – around the eyes, hair line, neck, chin and nose.


The next image is a little blurred but at this point I am using the lighter base colour to start the highlights – forehead, chin and cheeks.


The next level of highlight is added to the same areas above.  


Finally some near white to the nose, corner of the eyes and chin plus a little Old Rose Vallejo paint to the bottom lip.  


Now the images on my Samsung Tablet show the head way larger than in reality (as mentioned above already), accordingly the end result looks far from great but in normal eyesight mode the exaggerated lines provide good definition.  Hopefully the finished model will demonstrate that next week but if not then I will go back and touch a couple of bits up.  That forehead is looking a bit to white as things currently stand.

Meanwhile I need to get my act together as this is not a great start to the New Year.  I have lots to paint and do and shrugging off the festivities and establishing some sort of routine is a must.  There are challenges on the horizon and my arse is not in gear for anything right now.


36 thoughts on ““Alain” – A 28mm Iconic Cavalier by Reaper (WIP Post)

  1. After I got the last team done, I got stuck in a bit of a rut too. I think sometimes I need that downtime after painting a ‘small army’. I’m sure you will snap out of it.

    Interesting approach on faces. For eyes, I tend to go an off white. I also use a dark brown for the eye cavities or most likely, as wash. The downside is that I don’t get the eyelash look that you get by using black.

    I’m always looking out for different flesh paints, but Lifecolor isn’t one I’ve heard of. Not available in my usual online shops.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. As I said there so many ways of painting faces but what really matters is are you pleased with the end result? I’ve always thought yours looked very good indeed which kind of backs up the more than one way of doing it thing. Will be interesting to see if others have any comments to make. Hopefully we will all pick up on something to try that is a little different. 🙂 Now that the UK is in lockdown again I am sure a new painting routine will emerge, there isn’t much else I can do with nowhere to go. That’s one positive at least. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m not sure I would call my way, “my way”, quite yet. Most of the stuff I do is recipes from good ol Games Workshop or stuff I’ve picked up off videos. Well, in a way, it becomes mine…because as you said, there are many different ways of painting faces, and I’m the one making the choice as to how my mini is painted.

        Fast forward another 5 or so years, and I might feel up to owning it, as I’ve hopefully found a method I really like and have tweaked it to fit my style and skill.

        But then it still wouldn’t be perfect…because as true artists, we should always be evolving and experimenting. Maybe the comfort therein, is knowing that I had a method to fall back on that really works for me, even if an experiment fails? Or maybe parts of that experiment get added to my repertoire?

        How’s that for some late night thinking?! Haha!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Wow that’s some deep thinking whatever the hour was when you wrote it! 😉 I think it is hard to come up with anything truly unique. Unless new products come out it is hard to believe other people aren’t doing exactly the same things somewhere. What I do is derived from bits learnt here and there just put together slightly differently maybe but certainly not truly mine thats for sure.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Well, you got us fooled, because your stuff looks pretty damned unique! 😉

        Ah, and I should have added “my fellow bloggers” as well, because I’ve probably picked up more specific (and super helpful) tips from my fellow bloggers than any other source.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to see you still managed to take the time to post even if things have been going a bit slow, I think Xmass is always a fine time to slow down and this one especially!
    Thanks for sharing your processes, never thought about black on the eyes first. And I really would never paint eyes before I had done the rest of the skin. Interesting to see how people do stuff different. I might have to try bits of this next time I do a face.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You’re right, it is very much that time of the year and moving into full lockdown has made me even more sluggish. Thank goodness we have a dog which has to be walked. As for painting we all have our set ways. When I started many, many years ago I worked on 54mm figures. As with the bigger scales the bigger they are the more a bad face stands out. Over the years I slowly improved but I always started on the face. If the face wasn’t right then I could start it again and not mess anything else up that I had done. When I went down in scale I placed the same importance on faces, albeit that I had to adjust my technique quite a bit, but the rest of my habits stayed with me. As with all what we do it’s practice and trying different things and doing what best works to your satisfaction. Oh and having fun is pretty key too! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Great insight into how you do faces TIM, I do mine in a similar order, as you say if you make a mess on the eyes you can tidy it back up with the flesh colours.
    Hope you can get back into your swing soon, as much as possible in the current situation

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Roger, the post was really aimed at being a lazy work in progess one but if it helps anyone then that is just a bonus. So many different ways of painting faces as I am sure you are all to aware. I started years ago on 54mm figures and always thought a bad face stood out. The way I see it if the face isn’t right then I can start it again and not mess anything else up that I had done so I always begin there. When I went down in scale I placed the same importance on faces, albeit that I had to adjust my technique quite a bit, but the rest of my habits stayed with me. I’m not stuck on the paints I currently use although I do like them. What I do think is important, for me at least, is to have at least 4 or so flesh shades. This can be achieved just as easily with one dark flesh colour mixed with different ratios of white.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Interesting post! 🙂 My dad showed me how he painted eyes a long time ago and I’ve stuck to that (although I don’t paint them anymore on 20mm figures)! Paint the eye socket in something like sienna or Vallejo saddle brown, paint in the whites, add the pupil in a dark brown (burnt umber) and then line the top of the eye socket in umber and the bottom in sienna (just in case the white has got out of hand). I find the pupil should not be a circle, but should be “clipped” by the top and bottom shading on the eye-lids or it looks too much like a stare. Although a lot of people use black and paint eyes really well (include yourself here Dave) I find black too dark for me, but tharts just a personal choice!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Totally valid John. Over the years I’ve come across a great many techniques and found everyone of them merited either in part or in there entirety. I wouldn’t say I have tried them all but some I simply could not get on with. Don’t ask me why it was to long ago! When I painted 54mm figures I did try to do more, different colour eyes being one example, skin tones another but at 28mm and given my eyesight I’m lucky if I can see the head let alone the colour or the eyes!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow, I don’t think you could pay me to zoom in that close on one of my models, especially when it’s still WIP! (Well, actually it would depend how much you were offering…). Very useful tutorial, and of course I’m looking forward to seeing the finished piece now. Working over white though *shudder* It’s a dark art I tell ye!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to say I did find it more than a little scary which is why I was at pains to emphasize that it was a 28mm figure! haha, I know where you are coming from with the white. I primed in black once and couldn’t see the detail for looking, never again! Funny how we have our habits.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful tutorial and its always great to see how others work, yourself included. I always look at your posts and imagine how you do faces – and have tried to emulate your final product, though honestly you far surpass my work. I do paint eyes off white first, usually over a white prime. Then I apply black on the iris and often around the pupil, then flesh tones and wash. I use three flesh tones and a wash (though on my Aztecs I used 4). I so paint faces and flesh generally first depending on the model. I also find a Windsor and Newton 0000 brush indispensable for painting eyes and faces in general. Now I’m finding new challenges painting eyes on war dogs and horses – that is indeed new for me. Anyways, glad you posted, get the lead out and paint! 😎😎

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think you’re only a few years older than I am Dave – I’m 1962! You’re no old dog. What do I mean? Well I do remember your comment on air brushes on IRO’s podcast and thinking about that. We do do different things of course with some common elements. I do lots of troops for games and not dioramas really. But if I had not learned how to use an airbrush and get all the stuff with them like an air compressor and spray booth (now I have three airbrushes) I would never have gotten as far – both because of the climate here and the demands of what I needed to do. Now my priming and varnishing are a breeze and I can use the airbrush on other projects if needed. Mostly I use a brush like you. You do dioramas and have a less difficult climate you may never need an airbrush. But given the brilliance of your work, the likelihood (given that that you have great genes) that you have 30+ more productive years, and that you jumped into the blogging world a few years back – you are, IMO, up for anything. Not saying an airbrush is the thing for you to get, just that I believe that you could and would succeed at anything you would try. Anything that moved you. So, have no fear! Of course if you do try something new there would be pitfalls along the way during which you have my permission to curse my name as much as you need to do so. If not, please kepp making brilliant stuff as always – I enjoy it all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m 1957 and boy do those 5 years make a difference ;-). An airbrush has been something I have been tempted by and maybe one day I might give it a try. To be honest I love being a brush guy and I know I am nowhere near pushing the boundaries of brush work My big thing is wanting to do more freehand. I think I mentioned in the podcast with IRO that this is my way of doing unique figures compared to conversions. I have barely touched the surface of what can be done but boy oh boy is it a hard skill to be mastered. Fun though and very satisfying when some things go right.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh no does that mean the next five years according to be difficult? Well one things for sure we’re not in our 20s anymore. I agree with you on the freehand that’s one hell of a difficult thing to master. But if you ever want help with getting and/or setting up an airbrush just let me know and we’ll chat. In the meantime we can forget our troubles with the brush, if only briefly!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate that you post like clockwork and never think, “Oh great, another post from TIM” so keep ’em coming! 🙂 I enjoyed reading this guide and seeing how you paint eyes. I also think this will be useful for people who are learning to paint to follow. I use a similar process except I don’t “blackline” the eyes. I just shade that area using a couple glazes of Reikland Fleshshade from GW before painting the white. I would say that I strongly agree with John’s idea above that experimenting with eye colors (using dark brown instead of black for example) and also using an off-white, I use a slightly bluish white, can be an interesting way to add a little extra realism to eyes if you’re interested in trying it. With that said, your method is extremely sound and delivers great results so I wouldn’t blame you if you stuck with it 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When I only worked on 54mm scale figures I varied the eyes a lot and when I first dropped down into 28mm scale I continued to do the same. It’s probably the ageing process but these days I can look at a 28mm figure and I wouldn’t be able to tell if the eyes were blue, black, green or brown. As a consequence I have just stuck with black but in all honesty for what I could see it wouldn’t matter too much what colour they are, haha. Faces and eyes though are often a cause for debate, as I said there are so many ways of doing them and generally they all work if they are done well. As a consequence I’ve tried to perfect what I know rather than start over too much. If I were younger …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That makes perfect sense. I consider myself lucky to have good vision for anything close to me as it really helps with painting. If that ever starts to change, it would make hobbying a lot more challenging for me, I’m sure. You’re absolutely right though about there being lots of ways to get a good looking set of eyes and face though as well. Keep doing what is working for you, I say!

        Liked by 1 person

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