Painting Penguins

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Irregular Magazine editor, Nick Johnson entered a pair of penguin models into the October painting challenge (Winter’s Touch)- proving that SI has more than just Games Workshop painters in it’s midst.

Nick shares some info on the hows and why’s of painting penguins.

I hadn’t really been intending on doing an entry for Winter’s Touch. While I had a Khador Manhunter that I’d considered doing, he wasn’t really grabbing my imagination. After about a week, someone reminded me of the blister of Frisky Penguins I had from the Copplestone Castings High Adventure range.

Some frantic searching (and tidying of my flat) later, I found the penguins with less than a week to go to the conclusion of the challenge. Given the variety of poses in the pack, I knew I wanted to use a couple of them on one base. Some dry-fitting of poses later, I’d worked out how to pose ’em – one stood on higher ground, looking at the stars, while a second (probably bored) penguin had decided to start sliding down the hill.

Following a quick Chaos Black undercoat, it was time to get painting. I don’t think I helped myself here by not defining which breed of penguin I was painting until the Friday evening. Reasoning that penguins were, in essence, just black and white, I started……on the rock.

P3 Greatcoat Grey gave it a slate-ish colouration again, and a mix of Greatcoat Grey and Vallejo Pale Greyblue was used to highlight the edges of the rock. A quick wash with GW Badab Black tied the highlights down around the edges of the rock, and it was done.

For the penguins chest, I started with a couple of thin coats of P3 Menoth White Highlight – slightly off-white, but with good coverage. Multiple thin coats of P3 Morrow White were used to finish the chest plumage.

Following some research, I decided to make the little fellows King Penguins. The pictures I’d found had indicated that they had a dark grey colour to the feathers on their back, with pure black only appearing on their head. Some swearing later, I mixed Vallego Basalt Grey with a little P3 Thamar Black, and gave a couple of coats to the back and wings of the penguins, being careful to make sure that the grey collar was present under their chins. Once I was happy with the coverage, I hit them with a Badab Black wash, to add some shading.

King Penguin by Guwashi999 on Flickr

After touching up the head with Thamar Black, I broke out the P3 Ember Orange for the spots towards the back of their heads, and the stripes on the underside of their beaks. Two or three thin coats later, and we were in the home stretch. All that was left was a very thin coat of P3 Cygnus Yellow for the crest at the top of the chest, and the birds were done.

For the snow, I used a mix of Woodland Scenics “Soft Flake Snow” (code SN140) and PVA glue, mixed in an old Privateer blister pack with the aid of a coffee stirrer I’d liberated from the canteen at work for another project. I mixed this into a thick paste, with a bit of trial and error – it needed to be smooth, yet not so runny I’d come back to a pool of snow setting on my desk. The first set of snow was used to build up the shape of the hill, while the second finished the hill off, and went all the way to the edge of the base. Before applying the second coat of snow, I used some Spring Long Grass from Antenociti’s Workshop, superglued to the edge of the slate & the snow, to add some indication of life below the snow. ‘

For more info on snow effects – check out our recent post ‘Realistic snow and ice effects

Careful application of snow on the rock gives the impression that its melting. While the second coat of snow was setting, I used the rounded end of a sculpting tool to lay in a groove for the sliding penguin to be making as he makes his way down the side of the hill. On the morning of the deadline, with the snow set, I used my pin vice to drill a hole for the sliding penguin’s pin, and super-glued him in position.

So, there you go – Penguins on a Hill. It isn’t quite Snakes on a Plane, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.

All photographs by Nick Johnson unless stated otherwise.

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One Response to “Painting Penguins”

  1. Bitzoomma Says:

    Wow enjoyed reading your blogpost. I submitted your feed to my reader.

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