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EPIC STAR WARS LEGION!

EPIC STAR WARS LEGION!

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Project Blog by fourtytwo Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

In this project, I will finally collect, assemble and paint miniatures for Star Wars Legion and explain some of my painting processes. Also, I'm opinionated in that I grew up with the Original Trilogy in the 1980s and also really enjoy some of the new stuff - like the Clone Wars and REBELS animated series.

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My process of and thoughts on painting faces

Tutoring 12
Skill 12
Idea 12
No Comments

The first thing I do is to apply the base colour of the skin. When it is dry, I mix the base colour in equal parts with a warm darker shade and a bit of thinner medium, and paint the very thin mixture where I want shadows: under the chin, under the nose, in the eyes, optionally under the cheekbones, and on the sides of the nostrils. Where I want the shadows to be stronger, I darken them further with a darker shade of the base mixture: Under the chin, under the nose, and in the hollows where the eyes sit. Please note: I’m painting the shadows specifically here, and not applying the mixture like a wash slapped all over the face.

In the next step, I lighten the mixture of the base skin colour, dilute it with water or thinner medium, and carefully apply it in several layers with the tip of the brush wherever more light falls on the face: the upper half of the chin, the bridge of the nose, the forehead, the area between the upper lip and the nose, the cheekbones, and the upper edges of the ears. A second layer is then applied in spots all over those areas that should be emphasised even more in order to bring out the character’s facial features. If the character has a strong chin, the upper half is additionally emphasised; if the character has a pointed nose, the tip of the nose is emphasised; if the character has a hooked nose, an additional highlight is applied to the first third of the bridge of the nose. In the same way, cheekbones can be additionally emphasised, the parts of the forehead above the eyebrows, the cheek areas directly under the eyes, and so on – depending on how the character’s face is to look. By deliberately placing shadows and highlights, you can shape features of the face beyond what the sculpt dictates.

Now we’ve reached the point that requires a steady hand, a very fine brush tip, and practice using thinned paint and a brush very lightly charged with thinned paint – but it’s all a matter of practice, as I said, so don’t be intimidated, just do it.

The first thing I do is take care of the eyes. To do this, I dilute white to a milk-like consistency, using a fine brush tip loaded just a little with the diluted white, I apply it to the small depressions that define the shape of the eyes. Here I only use the capillary action through the modelled eye depressions to bring the colour into place – I don’t paint with a brush here! It’s best to be very gentle and repeat the process several times if necessary until you achieve the desired brightness. The eyes should end up sharply defined and almost white. Now we come to the pupils. I always mix a dark, saturated colour in the tone I want the iris to have. This colour mixture is diluted again, a little of it loaded into the brush tip and then applied as follows:

I don’t paint the whole pupil right away, but first only a very small, transparent dot as a guide in both eyes. Then the dot is carefully widened step by step and both pupils are slowly built up. This way I can make small corrections in each step and thus avoid the figure squinting at the end. When you think of the pupils as a circle, the circle should be slightly covered by the upper eyelids and just barely touch the eyelids at the bottom. When I’m done with this, the eyes are accentuated with eye shadow. To do this, I again paint diluted black or black-brown in a thin line on the rim of the upper eyelid in an arc. If you are not quite sure, you can overpaint a little upwards into the eyelid, and touch up the overpainted areas by counterpainting with the colour of the eyelid – always with just a little bit of the heavily diluted colour in the tip of the brush! For female figures, make the eye shadow darker on top and emphasise it a little more than for male figures. Next, paint an eye shadow at the bottom in the same way, only it should always be thinner and less dark, and for male characters you can leave it out.

The eyes are not quite finished yet, because the eyebrows are an important part of the eye area and also contribute a lot to the character of the miniature in shape, position and strength. The eyebrows play a major role in shaping the facial expression of the figure – angry, determined, sceptical, amused, thoughtful, and so on. For the untrained, I recommend taking a look at pictures of characters from comics and studying how the artists convey states of mind through the eyebrows, because the knowledge gained from such observations can be excellently transferred to painting miniatures’ faces.

The mouth completes the painting of the face and can be designed to literally underline the desired expression of the eyes – smiling, pouting, lips pinched together, shouting or screaming, open mouth, and so on. As a general rule, paint the upper lip darker and slightly narrower than the lower lip. Make sure that there is some of the skin colour of the face left between the upper lip and the nose. On the lower lip I often apply a gloss effect in a much lighter colour. As a rule, the lips of female characters should be painted a little darker and more voluminous than those of male characters.

Painting Anakin Skywalker

Tutoring 9
Skill 11
Idea 11
No Comments

He arrived on Monday and today I got my new brushes and paints, so I started painting. Anakin wears dark clothes and doesn’t have as many small elements as the Mandos or the Phase 2 Clone Troopers, but there is a face to paint here, and I love painting faces (actually). I built Anakin with the grim looking head variant, because his design corresponds to the later seasons of Clone Wars as well as Revenge of the Sith. Accordingly, I wanted to give his face some intensity. I hope that I succeeded at least to some extent. Here are two WIP pictures of the current state of painting – everything is just basic colours, only the head is completely painted:

Painting Anakin Skywalker
Painting Anakin Skywalker

The first squad of individual clones is done!

Tutoring 8
Skill 17
Idea 17
2 Comments

May I introduce to you (from left to right) : Clone Medic Kix, Clone Captain Rex, Clone Trooper Tup, Clone Trooper Jesse, Clone Sergeant Appo, Clone Trooper Dogma, Heavy Clone Trooper Hardcase – all characters from the show.

The first squad of individual clones is done!

Painting the first squad - almost there...

Tutoring 10
Skill 13
Idea 13
No Comments

The work on the first squad is progressing – the armour with the individual markings is now finished on all of them, Kix is only missing the medic markings on his left shoulder armour. After that I can continue with batch painting: Boots, belts, hands, weapons and bases.

Painting the first squad - almost there...

Lots of clones - all unique

Tutoring 10
Skill 14
Idea 13
No Comments

I’m approaching the Clone Wars project from a different angle than I originally thought. I just like the idea of focusing on the 501st clones that we’ve met in various stories throughout the series, who were all unique people. I’m going to include all the notable 501st clones in my force – the lynchpin being the Darkness on Umbara storyline, which featured a bunch of them. These troopers all had their armour marked with individual markings, all of which I want to reproduce accurately. This means the batch painting that was originally planned falls flat except for a few basic and a few finishing steps, but the troopers end up all the cooler for it, and that always motivates me the most. Many take the opportunity to develop their own clone trooper forces, but I would rather memorialise the characters from the series with my force.

Of the first squad of 6, the painting has already progressed far on three, so the armour elements with individual markings are basically finished, although equipment and many details still need to be done. From left to right – Sergeant Appo, Trooper Jesse, and Trooper Tup:

Lots of clones - all unique

Captain Rex, reporting for duty!

Tutoring 10
Skill 18
Idea 16
No Comments

Rex is now finished:

Captain Rex, reporting for duty!
Captain Rex, reporting for duty!
Captain Rex, reporting for duty!

Painting Rex

Tutoring 14
Skill 15
Idea 14
5 Comments

The first clone I wanted to paint and set the bar for the rest of the force is – of course – Captain Rex.

What I was a little apprehensive about at first was the clones’ armour – I still remember the painting sessions of my Imperial Jet Troopers for Imperial Assault and how time-consuming it was to paint and shade the white armour cleanly. Now that I’m painting Rex, however, I’ve become very confident about the long-term motivation for the clones, as the 501st clone troopers’ armour tells the stories of countless missions and battles and is dull, dirty and scratched up. This is fun to paint, and the coloured markings also add variety.

I have worked out a method for this that goes smoothly and achieves accurate results: As usual, the mini is primed with black and then misted with medium grey and white. In the next step, I give the whole mini a black wash – something I don’t usually do. I let the wash dry messy and then paint the gaps between the armour elements black. Then I do what was difficult with the Stormtroopers but is easy with the clones: I lighten the armour with different layers of transparent white. Since the armour is supposed to look dirty, one can proceed more loosely here than with the Stormies and hatch, dab and proceed more intuitively. This leaves different impressions of the unclean wash underneath, but the armour still looks white, and with opaque white you can add glossy accents on edges and on top of bulges that shimmer through the dirt and dust. It is important that in the end the edges are all cleanly defined and the raised areas are the brightest.

As for the blue markings, I first paint them cleanly with clear edges. In the second step, I use a very light grey on a very fine brush tip to make small scratches in the edges and extend them here and there into the blue areas. I also put a few tiny white dots over the scratches, and with very transparent white I add a few subtle gradients of brightness into the blue. I then dull the blue in some areas with diluted medium grey – it is also advisable to paint here and there with the transparent medium grey over the edges of the blue into the surrounding white, or over spots in the blue that were treated with the previous steps. In this way I get very authentic traces of wear – they consist of several steps, but they are quite quick to do.

Rex is almost finished, here are two pictures of the work in progress so far:

Painting Rex
Painting Rex

Enter the Clones

Tutoring 9
Skill 10
Idea 13
1 Comment

I got my first two Phase 2 Clone Troopers Expansions and Rex and started prepping for painting right away. The first squad of clones will all be 6 named characters from the show by the time of the Darkness of Umbara story arc:

Enter the Clones
Enter the Clones

Ursa Wren joins the fight

Tutoring 10
Skill 15
Idea 15
2 Comments

Yes – she’s painted now and finished:

Ursa Wren joins the fight
Ursa Wren joins the fight
Ursa Wren joins the fight

Painting young Ursa Wren

Tutoring 17
Skill 18
Idea 17
No Comments

I’m currently in the process of painting Ursa Wren. Great thing is: We got a lot of good reference material for all characters in the Clone Wars, since showrunner Dave Filoni is a fan of cosplay and gladly had a lot of final concept renders and the like ‘leaked’ throughout the run of the show. There are also a lot of good screenshots.

One of the most difficult aspects of painting Mandalorians are the painted emblems and icons on their armour – especially on the helmets of leaders. In the case of Ursa Wren, it’s the iconic Night Owls-scheme on her helmet, which is later also used by her daughter Sabine Wren in REBELS.

When freehanding such elements, I always start by carefully painting them on in two layers of dilluted white:

Painting young Ursa Wren
Painting young Ursa Wren

This helps me to get strong colours without having to layer on a several coats. Thanks to the white base, I can now simply put on a filter using a very dilluted bright colour.You can see the result in the images below, which also showcase the progress with painting the mini so far. I plan on finishing painting Ursa Wren in the next two days.

Painting young Ursa Wren
Painting young Ursa Wren
Painting young Ursa Wren

Enter the Mandalorians

Tutoring 13
Skill 13
Idea 13
2 Comments

Since I’m currently waiting for Rex and my Phase 2-Clones to arrive, I got thinking about potential lists and units to include and how I could best match my little force to what we saw in the final story arc of Clone Wars concerning the siege of Mandalore and the battle of Sundari.

And then it occured to me: I actually COULD include Mandalorians who fought in Bo-Katan’s retinue and alongside Ahsoka and the Clones – I could use the official Clan Wren minis and modify them to match the armour types and equipment in the Clone Wars show, and use them in the game using the rules for ARC Troopers equipped with Jet Packs. An amazingly fitting match there.

I could even field a Mando commander instead of Rex, using Rex’ rules equipped with a jetpack. So, I started to re-examine my Clan Wren minis, which were not, yet, painted, and I sat down to create a screen-accurate Ursa Wren – the first Mando to join Ahsoka in the assault on the outer docks, intiating the offensive there (and a cool character to boot – a close ally who journeyed with and fought alongside Bo-Katan).

I used plastic card to modify and add to the armour of a fitting female Mando, whose pose I also modified. In the images below you can see what I added/changed: All white elements are thin plastic card.

Enter the Mandalorians
Enter the Mandalorians
Enter the Mandalorians
Enter the Mandalorians
Enter the Mandalorians

Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...

Tutoring 17
Skill 19
Idea 18
6 Comments

Okay – I wanted to start this project since Fantasy Flight Games announced The Clone Wars for Star Wars Legion and since I watched the premiere of the final story arc of the Clone Wars show. I only had one condition: I would only start the project once Ahsoka is available for the game the way she appeared in the series finale. With her being the focus of the Clone Wars show alongside Rex, I figured they might release her soon, with her being the main character, a fan favorite and such, but for whatever reason, we still got not even an announcement of her being released.

I’ve been ranting and raving and pulling my hair regarding this issue for the sheer incomprehensiveness of it with each and every new release announcement with her not being part of it. But in the past two weeks, I concluded that it’s not worth it letting myself be dragged into negativity by this inanity, so I decided to approach the issue from a constructive and creative point of view and bring Ahsoka into the game myself.

After some researching on the net I found a very good 3D-print version of Ahsoka in her mandalorian-style outfit and grown-up version as we saw her in the series finale, in the same scale and style of the Star Wars Legion minis. I immediately ordered it and had it printed in the smoothest, most detailed material possible and was looking forward to the day she got delivered, when I could start painting her.

In the meantime, I had to design a fitting hero-card and three command cards for her, so that she was represented in game terms. I’m not a fan of using an existing hero card as a proxy for a character who is not yet released, especially with such a unique personality like her. So I began workshopping some concepts and ideas and with the help of a Star Wars Legion-enthusiast I know, slowly forging them into data and values usable in the game.

I’ve done similar things before, and I know the pitfalls of many such creations which often are both too strong and sorely uninspired. I always opt to bring something new and unique to the game and have it be balanced. As for Ahsoka, I wanted her to be a little bit more brittle than the Jedi which already are available in the Clone Wars Setting of the game. At the same time, she should want to seek out close combat and have more options there as opposed to when you play her defensively or even passively. Last of all, I wanted Ahsoka to be courageous and fast, without having these aspects unhinge the game.

Some of these ideas proved to be easy to translate into the game, others took a lot of back and fourth with my friend who helped me, but in the end, we arrived at something which we both felt would be fun and interesting to play, so I used my grafix-fu to create the required cards:

Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...
Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...
Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...
Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...

When the cards were finished, the mini arrived a day later – perfect timing. I immediately sat down to paint her, and after three days, she was finished. This is it – my Clone Wars-project is finally taking off, and Rex as well as some Phase 2 Clone Troopers are already on their way to me. For the time being and to officially publish this project here, I present you Ahsoka Tano from the final 4 episodes which concluded the Clone Wars show:

Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...
Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...
Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...
Ahsoka Tano is the key to this...

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