It has been said that from humble beginnings come great things. Well, I'm unsure about the 'great' part but I certainly have started off my next project in a humble manner. After sitting in an unprimed state for months, I have finally put a layer of paint on the base of my Dark Sword Miniatures dragon diorama Kickstarter that I backed last year. The excitement of DSM's current Kickstarter project bubbled over and vanquished the painting lethargy I've been suffering through for the last few weeks.
For this project, I decided to start with the base this time instead of the miniature, as I normally do. Two reasons drove me to this decision. First, in this case the base is very much part of the miniature instead of just an afterthought. I will not say that it is the focal point (the dragon obviously serves in that role quite admirably) but for the diorama to come to life and provide the proper backstory to honor Larry Elmore's iconic painting, the base needs to be nearly as impressive as the dragon itself. To say that I will need to spend quite a bit of time on the base to make it so would be a huge understatement. The second reason deals with logistics. The dragon is huge! I do not have the proper equipment available to mount it for painting. By completing the base first, I can use it to securely hold the dragon during the construction and painting process. I will just need to be extra careful not to damage or ruin the already painted base while working.
My plan of attack is simple. I've already cleaned, primed, and thrown down the initial base colors to give me a good starting point. The dirt/grassy area around the stone was given several coats of a mid-range brown for a base. I will darken some areas and lighten others to give an overall impression of scattered dirt and rocks. Much of this area will be eventually flocked with grass and shrubbery so I'm not overly concerned with this particular portion of the model. The stone however will play a much more important role. I have an initial coat of Reaper Shadowed Stone (9085) covering the rocky areas. After a few light washes to bring back some of the detail, I will slowly bring up the mid-tones and highlights with successive layers of Stone Grey (9086) and Weathered Stone (9087). Then comes the hard part: the treasure.
The coins will take me some time but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I will not say that I will paint each and every one by hand but I do plan on avoiding drybrushing as much as possible to really concentrate on the detail. I plan on most of the coins being gold in color for two reasons. In literature and popular media, dragon hoards always seem to be comprised of gold coins. It's an iconic image that I do not plan on tinkering with. Second, even if silver were the preferred color of a dragon's treasure, I would still choose gold. The gold coins will contrast much better with the grey stone than silver. I do plan on mixing the treasure up a bit though. I'll add silver and copper here and there in small patches to break up the golden monotony.
As a basecoat for the gold coins I chose a deep red - Bloodstain Red (9133) to be exact. I can't remember where I learned the technique, but basing gold, copper, and brass metallic colors with a deep red will produce much more vivid and rich hues than when applied over black or white. I use this technique every time and have been quite pleased with the results. Try it and see if you notice a difference.
So that's it for now. I have thousands of coins to paint. I will post another update once I get a little further along.
One last thing though: today is the last day of the Dark Sword Miniatures G.R.R.M. Masterworks line Kickstarter. Lots of backer rewards have been unlocked over the course of the drive and the total number of included miniatures is now up to 24. That's more than double the initial offering. Plus lots of great add-on deals are also available. Go have a look at the funding page here before it ends tonight at 11pm (EDT).
Thanks for reading!