How to Paint Adrik - From Our Dieselpunk Collection
This tutorial has been written by Marc; he's a professional miniature painter that's part of the Print Minis team. It's available for free on our website and Patreon page, but the two other tutorials releasing this month (January) will be exclusive to patrons only. If you'd like to support us and gain access to those tutorials, you can subscribe on our Print Minis patreon page 🙂
This tutorial focuses on painting Adrik, the second in command from the group of heroes in January's DIESELPUNK collection of 3D printable miniatures. When asked to paint one of the characters for a tutorial, I was immediately drawn to Adrik. His powerful pose, displaying a true sense of calculating composure, really appealed to me. Besides, who doesn't want to paint a four barrelled gun? 😉 At the end of this guide you'll find a full breakdown of the paints I've used, but during the tutorial, I’ll just refer to them by colour name rather than the brand too. When mixing colours I’ll state how many drops of each I’ve used and how many drops of water I’ve thinned the mixture with. This will vary for you depending on the specific paint brand you’re using, so take these ratios with a pinch of salt. Finally, we've placed the photo above and the steps that are demonstrated in that photo below. Let’s get started!
Tips & Tricks
A great tip for painting miniatures is to start working on areas that are on the “inside” first (meaning those which are most recessed), and paint areas that are easier to reach afterwards. For this reason, I started with the leather under armour and worked my way outwards, finishing with the most exposed components (the gun, buckles, hair).
Throughout this project I used my favourite size 2 brush from Roubloff. It holds a lot of paint and keeps a precise point for detail. We all have our favourite brush brand and type, so I simply recommend using any brush you’re comfortable with. However, I will add that higher quality brushes make the painting process easier and more enjoyable.
Before You Begin
Painting the Leather
1. For the armour, I went with a Russian Green colour. Cover all the panels in a couple of coats until you have a smooth, opaque finish. I used Ammo by Mig paint and I didn’t have to thin it since the consistency is already quite thin, but depending on what you use, you might want to add a little water.
2. For the leather, we’re going with brown. Take Brown Leather, mixing 3 drops with 1 drop of water. Cover all of the leather areas with this and do several coats until you have an opaque finish.
We’re now going to start developing the leather, making it look aged and worn.
3. Mix 2 drops of Brown Leather with 2 drops of Dust Grey, and thin with 2 drops of water. Use this to stipple on texture and edge highlight along the raised parts of the leather. Apply a few scratches. The aim here is to not be overly neat. Worn leather has an uneven and broken surface.
4. Add two more drops of Dust Grey to the mix and keep developing the texture. Focus on the most raised aspects, on the corners of the pouches and along the edges of the leather straps.
5. Then take 3 drops of Bone White thinned with 1 drop of water and apply a final highlight layer, focusing on the highest points.
6. We now have leather with very high levels of contrast. I want to tone this down and tie the layers together. To do this take 2 drops of Transparent Burnt Umber ink and thin with 2 drops of matte medium (or water). In a controlled manner, glaze this over most of the leather. Apply additional coats if you want to intensify the colour of the glaze.
I love using inks to paint miniatures. They add excellent vibrancy and can really aid with creating a smooth finish (they’re excellent when used through an airbrush too). To help control where the ink goes, and to take off some of the gloss finish, I mix the inks with matte medium. Also, mixing inks with a medium means you have instant contrast paints!
8. Returning to the highlights, retouch and enhance any scratches you feel were toned down too far using the glazes. The top of the pouches were my first focus, as was along the edges of the strapping. Use 3 drops of Bone White thinned with one drop of water to go over the scratches. Use pure white paint for a few dots and scratches to add more contrast.
9. To finish the leather mix 3 drops of Yellow Medium Azo ink with 1 drop of Transparent Burnt Umber ink and thin 3 drops of matte medium. Apply this carefully over some of the higher aspects, such as the left leg thigh and upper half of the pouches to add warmth.
You can add additional tonal variation by glazing on additional colours. Dark greens and purples work well for adding tonal depth to the shadows of leather items.
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Painting the Armour
Now we can start working on the shadows. I wanted to create a heavy contrast between the different angles of armour. This is most obvious on the shoulder armour, where I was careful to keep a clear contrast between the browner shadows and the lighter green highlights. I used the angles of the armour to help with this - trying to apply a lighter highlight against a darker shadow where the panels of armour meet, so it emphasises these hard edges. You can also apply the darker colour to aspects of the armour that are clearly in the recesses, such as around the base of the collar which would be in shadow.
12. To mix the shadow tone, take 1 drop of Russian Base and 1 drop of Dark Brown Ochre. Thin with 3 drops of water. Carefully glaze this where you want the armour to appear darker. Feather along the edges of this glaze to create a smooth transition between this layer and the previous layers. Repeat the process to intensify the colour.
Now we can paint the metallic sections of his armour using a very basic Non Metallic Metals technique. The buckles, piping, toe caps, backpack, and crate can all be painted this way.
14. Thin 3 drops of Cool Grey 3 with 1 drop of water. You will need to be neat, as by now you will have already painted your leather and body armour.
15. The next step is to edge highlight these components using 3 drops of Cool Grey 1 thinned with 1 drop of water . This can be a relatively fat edge highlight, as the next step is to apply a thinner edge highlight.
16. Develop these edges further, this time using 2 drops of Cool Grey 1 mixed with 2 drops of white, and thinned with water. This highlight should be very fine, and only on the parts of the metal that would be most exposed to light.
16. Next step is to apply a blue glaze. Take 1 drop of Inktense Blue and mix with 3 drops of matte medium. Apply this over the whole of the metal surface.
17. For the final shade, take Neutral Grey ink and mix with 3 drops of matte medium. Glaze this over the components that would be in the shade, covering approximately 30% of each metallic element.
18. To make the metal have a reflective glint, take pure undiluted white and apply a small dot of this at the apex of each metallic aspect.
Painting the Boots
Paint the steel toe caps in the same method as you just painted the metal parts of Adrik's armour.
19. To paint the leather, we’re now going to stipple and highlight the raised aspects of the leather. Take 2 drops of Cool Grey 3 and thin with 1 drop of water and use this to stipple. You’ll want to cover about 20-25% of the boots surface with a stippled effect.
20. Keep developing the highlights. This time using 2 drops of Cool Grey 1 thinned with 1 drop of water. Keep your brush strokes random and develop that textured worn look.
21. Tie the stippled layers together by applying a glaze over all of the boot surface, made from 1 drop of Neutral Grey mixed with 3 drops of matte medium.
22. To create warmth, a yellow glaze was applied over some of the highlights. Mix 1 drop of Yellow Medium Azo with 3 drops of matte medium.
23. Finally, the extreme highlights were applied with pure undiluted white acrylic paint. Simply place a few dots at the apex of the highlights to create a point of shine.
Painting the Gun
As with the other metallic parts, we’re going to paint the gun using a simple Non Metallic Metal technique.
24. Start by applying a foundation coat of Cool Grey 4, use 3 drops thinned with 1 drop of water. Cover the whole gun and apply enough coats to get a perfectly smooth finish.
27. Keep developing the reflective effect. This time using Cool Grey 1, taking 1 drop and mixing it with 1 drop of Bone White, thinned with 1 drop of water. Stipple on your paint, creating texture. Aim to target the most exposed aspects of the weapon, and other parts where light will hit its surface.
28. To tie the layers together, use a blue glaze, mixing 1 drop of Inktense Blue with 3 drops of matte medium. Apply this over most of the gun, only leaving the most exposed parts untouched.
29. Then make a dark grey glaze, using 1 drop of Neutral Grey mixed with 3 drops of matte medium. This should be glazed into the recesses, only covering approximately 30% of the surface of the weapon.
30. To finish the gun, apply a few dots of extreme highlight using pure white. As before, target the most extreme and exposed components.
31. The copper piping and gold banding was painted using the same process as above, but replacing the greys with coppery tones.
Painting the Hair
32. The first step is to start with the foundation coat. Thin 3 drops of Orange Leather with 1 drop of water and cover the whole area of hair and beard with this.
33. Next add a little shadow by thinning 1 drop of Transparent Burnt Umber with 2 drops of matte medium and glazing this over the whole area of the hair.
34. We’re now going to work on the highlights. Start by mixing 2 drops of Orange Leather with 1 drop of Transparent Burnt umber and thin with 1 drop of water. Layer this along the strands of hair, focusing on the upper parts and towards the hair parting. This obviously requires a steady hand; practice really does help develop the hand eye coordination required for this 🙂
35. Apply additional highlights using a variety of tones to reflect the complexity of natural hair colour. First take 1 drop of Orange Leather mixed with 1 drop of Bone White, thinned with 1 drop of water. The next layer should be 1 drop of Orange Leather and 2 Drops of Bone White, again thinned with 1 drop of water. Finally, take 1 drop of Orange Leather mixed with 3 drops of Bone White and thinned with 2 drops of water.
36. At each stage apply slightly less paint, with the highlights increasingly getting whiter towards the parting and fringe. To tie the highlights together apply a glaze made from mixing 1 drop of Flesh Tint with 3 drops of matte medium. Apply this over the whole head of hair.
37. Finish the hair by painting a few white dots very near to the root of the hair and at the top of the beard.
Painting the Face
38. The key to painting skin is having a very clean foundation on which to develop the highlights and shadows. Heavy Skintone by Vallejo produces a very opaque Caucasian skin tone, and is an excellent foundation colour for pale skin. Thin with a small amount of water (3 paint: 1 water) and apply over all of the visible skin areas.
Next develop the shadows. Look at your hand - you will notice two different forms of shadows: warm and cool shadows. Warm shadows are more red, whilst the cool shadows are of a dark green/blue hue.
39. We’re going to start with the warm shadows, which are generally those that lie closest to the highlights. Mix 1 drop of Heavy Skintone with 1 drop of Indian Shadow, and thin with 1 drop of water. Carefully layer this (or stipple – stippling tiny dots can help create a smoother colour transition) into the shadows and recesses, such as around the eyes, the ears and around the back of the head.
40. For the cool shadows, mix 1 drop of Heavy Skintone with 1 drop of Coal Black and thin with 4 drops of water. Apply this as a glaze to the deepest recesses. Generally speaking, this shadow layer should cover less of the skin than the previous shadow layer. Apply a second or third coat to intensify the shadows.
41. For a final shadow layer, make a glaze using 1 drop of Neutral Grey mixed with 2 drops of matte medium. Very carefully apply this to the most extreme recesses.
42. To paint the highlights, take 2 drops of Heavy Skintone and mix with 1 drop of Bone white. Stipple or layer this on, focusing on the raised parts of the face, such as the forehead, nose, and cheek bones.
43. The next highlight is simply a mix made from 1 drop of Heavy Skintone mixed with 1 drop of Bone White and thinned with 1 drop of water. Focus on the same areas that you targeted with the previous highlight stage, but remember to leave more of the surface of the skin as that tone.
44. Tie the layers together by applying glaze made by mixing 1 drop of Flesh Tint with 3 drops of matte medium. Start by applying this over most of the face (do this very carefully, it’s not a wash!) Apply additional glazes if needed. Add a touch of Indian Red to the mix to create a shadow glaze, and use this to smooth the areas in the shade.
45. For a final highlight, take 2 drops of Bone White thinned with 1 drop of water. Carefully stipple this along the top of the forehead, brow line, along the nose, and at the apex of the cheek bones.
We really hope you enjoyed this free painting tutorial 🙂 Printing your miniatures is only the first step, and painting them can really bring the models to life!
When following this tutorial, you can do each step or you can pick and choose the parts you'd like to do. The aim here is to have fun, so let that be your main goal 🙂 The next two tutorials - Painting The Huntsman Hover Tank and Painting a Diesel Trooper will be locked to Patrons Only.
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Paints I Used
These are the exact paints I used across the tutorial, in case you have them in your collection:
- Coal Black, P3 Paint
- Art White, ScaleColor Artist
- Brown Leather, Scalecolor
- Orange Leather, Scalecolor
- Dark Brown Ochre, Scalecolor
- Artist Dust Grey, Mr Paint
- Bone White, Mr Paint
- Cool Grey 4, Warcolours
- Cool Grey 3, Warcolours
- Cool Grey 1, Warcolours
- Transparent Burnt Umber, Liquitex Acrylic Ink
- Carbon Black, Liquitex Acrylic Ink
- Yellow Medium Azo, Liquitex Acrylic Ink
- Muted Violet, Liquitex Acrylic Ink
- Inktense Blue, Scalecolor Ink
- Neutral Grey Ink, Aero Color
- Flesh Tint Ink, Aero Color
- Russian Green Base, Ammo by MIG
- Russian Shine, Ammo by MIG
- Slime Green, Scalecolor
- Heavy Skintone, Vallejo Game - Extra Opaque
- Indian Shadow, Scalecolor