1/9 V-Bust – Lt. Col. John Frost cmdr 2nd Parachute Battalion – Arnhem 1944

20th March 2016

After the last update I have been reliably informed by an ex Para that Paratroopers don’t wear hats they wear berets (thanks for the heads-up Kevin McWilliams) 🙂


So for the next part of the process I’m going to be painting the brooch on the beret…


Only kidding – I’ll be painting the badge 😉

For this I’m using Vallejo Model Color Silver as it’s a nice bright metallic paint and the fleck is quite fine.



Here’s the finished badge, it has two thinned coats of Vallejo silver, and the embossed lines of the badge were picked out with thinned Vallejo black to give the badge a bit more definition. The strings of the parachute on the badge weren’t all present in the sculpt, so some of these have been added with the black.

The beret has also had a coat of Humbrol Matt Cote (thinned 50/50 with white spirit and brushed on). This is because the paint for the beret was thinned with Citadel Lahmian Medium (acrylic glaze medium) which gives a satin finish. The beret needs to look totally flat as it would have been made from wool.



Next up I added some highlights to the piping at the base of the beret. First a bit of dark grey was brushed on the upper edge of the bottom bit of piping, and also on each side of the indentations in the piping.

Next some pure flat white was added to the upper edge of both the lower and upper section of the piping to create highlights. Basically anywhere the light is going to catch on the piping got a white highlight.




Ok, back to the tunic…

I originally started to paint the tunic using Vallejo Green Grey as this was the best colour I had in my paint stash. However the colour wasn’t right so I ordered some Vallejo English Uniform.

The Khaki pictured below will be used for the shirt.



Here’s the shirt and tunic after a couple of thin coats of Khaki / English Uniform.

At this point the pre-shading is still showing through, though I was tempted to add a third coat as the finish still looked a bit patchy.

When faced with these decisions I always prefer to make them with fresh eyes so I slept on it and decided to leave it as it is.

I always like to quit while I’m ahead, and whether it’s modelling aircraft or figures, it’s best to apply too little paint than too much. If you obliterate your pre-shading you can’t unobliterated it unless you start again. If you under-do the paint you can always add more later.

As it was I made the right choice and the pre-shading still shows through the paint and adds a lot of light and shade to the finish.




Now onto the first shadows for the tunic…

As mentioned previously, highlights and shadows centre around a mid tone or base tone (tone means colour). The base tone is the basic colour of the thing being painted, the shadows are a darker version of this tone and the highlights (lights) are a lighter version of this tone.

But wait, there’s more…

Shadows are not just the base tone with added black. True adding black would create a darker version of a tone, but shadows aren’t just blackened colours. In real life shadows tend to contain a bit of blue, and if you just paint all shadows by adding black to the base tone, the end result can look very monochromatic (one coloured).

A good way to create shadow tones is to use a colour wheel to determine the complimentary tone of the base tone that you are using. The complimentary colour is whatever colour is directly opposite your base tone on a colour wheel.

Below is a screenshot from an application I use on my smartphone. This has the ability for you to snap the colour you want to start with using your smartphone camera, it will then show you all kinds of colour schemes based on the options you choose.

Below you can see the English Uniform in the top left, and in the top right is the complimentary colour (dark blue).




So based on the complimentary colour of English Uniform being blue, I’m going to mix my shadow colour from Citadel Altdorf Guard Blue (the only blue acrylic I have) with English Uniform.




Here you can see the two tones on the palette. Below and between the two colours is what you get when you mix the two.

When you mix two complimentary colours you get a desaturated (reduced colour) tone that is a good choice for creating shadows.

Because the blue is quite lighter than the actual complimentary colour the shadow tone will look a bit green, but that’s fine – it will add to the tonal variation.




Here’s a shot after two glazes of the 1st shadow tone has been applied over the shadow areas.

It’s difficult to see because the effect is very subtle, and also my smartphone camera doesn’t pick up the colour variations very well. They will show up better at the end when I take the final photos with a DSLR and continuous lighting.



And another shot of the same state of play.

The aim here is to start to re-inforce and darken any shadow areas, so any areas that would receive a shadow get a thin glaze of the 1st shadow tone (English Uniform and Blue as described above).

Again, subtlety is the key, the effect should not be too obvious at this stage, these are just the 1st shadows which are slightly darker than the base tone.




With the 1st shadows applied, I move onto the 2nd shadows.

For this I mix the same tone (Blue and English Uniform) but this time darken it down with black to create the dark green tone on the right below…




Again, the 2nd shadow tone is applied as a thin glaze to the shadow areas, this time takin care to not glaze such a wide area. This time the 2nd shadows are applied in the darker areas of the shadows.




By avoiding applying shadow glaze over the light areas, the shadows don’t dull the overall tone of the torso.

You might have noticed when applying a wash to a model or figure that it tends to make the overall finish look very drab. This is what we aim to avoid by using a selective glazing technique. A wash affects everything whereas a selective glaze goes only where you want it.

At this stage I reached a point where I needed fresh eyes to be able to tell whether to carry on adding shadows, or to leave it…




Having slept on it once more, the tunic definitely looked like it needed more contrast. Contrast just being the difference between the darkest tone and the lightest tone.

I mixed some more shadow tone (equal amounts of blue and English Uniform) but this time added lots more black.

This gave me the dark brown tone as you can see bottom left below:




Once again the dark shadow tone was added only to the deepest shadow areas.

In the photo below you can see that the right side of the tunic (your right) has received 3rd shadows (the darkest shadow tone) whereas the left hand side (your left) has not.

The breast pocket on the right of the photo has nice dark shadows to it, whereas you can see the breast pocket on the left of the photo doesn’t have such deep shadows.




Here’s the tunic after the 3rd round of shadows. I’m pretty happy with that, and am going to stop adding shadows at this stage. I don’t want too much contrast.




Again, the trick to applying glazes is to use thin paint, and remove most of the moisture from the brush before applying them.

Below you can see the kitchen towel I use to remove excess water from the brush in between strokes.

My routine for applying glaze goes like this:

  • Pick up some glaze from the palette (just the end 3rd of the brush – not a brush full).
  • Draw the brush backwards across the paper towel, rotating it to draw moisture from the glaze.
  • Apply the glaze by dragging it towards the darkest area of the shadow.
  • Immediately swish the brush in clean water, dry the brush by drawing it across the paper towel. ( I say immediately because at this point the glaze is rapidly drying).
  • Quickly use the clean damp brush to feather in the edges of the glazed area to prevent tidemarks and “coffee stains” at the edges of the glaze.

The above process is use for each individual crease and shadow on the figure. It takes a little time but if you tried to go over all the shadows in a single brush full you would get a lot of hard ines between the glazes that you apply.




Here’s a rear view after 3rd shadows, note the shadows under the epaulettes and the collar.




And the 3rd shadows can been seen here around the epaulettes, and also around the badges on the epaulette.

Basically you want to paint in shadows around any raised item on the figure, concentrating them on the under edges of raised areas where light would not naturally fall.




Before I move onto the lights for the torso I decided to block in the remaining items such as scrim scarf, buttons and cloth badges.

This will help me gauge how the finished figure will look while I finish off the highlights.




A front view with the scarf and badges blocked in. The scarf, badges and buttons will be finished at the end. They will each be treated as a separate volume or item, being shaded and lit as appropriate.




And finally for this update another side view showing how he’s coming together.

Gotta say I’m not looking forward to free-handing “PARACHUTE REGIMENT” on each of those shoulder badges :-$



Next update – lighting the torso…

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I write this blog for fun, to share what I've learned, and to share my builds with you. If you like what you see here please leave a comment, and head over to facebook and like my page!

Cheers - Rich

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