Orc Academic Bust

Much like the Wight King, this was another experimental attempt at painting with oil paints rather than acrylics. I was looking to get soft and subtle skin tones, but in the end I think this was at the cost of contrast leading to the model not popping as much as it could.

Painting in only grey values really helped me think about how light and shadow would fall on a model like this, and I found myself pausing and thinking about how far to push and pull shadows or highlights when painting.

Painting a large scale bust is also a whole different bag of worms compared to miniatures in the 28mm scale (such as Games Workshop or Infinity). Having a larger canvas to paint on is a blessing as a curse, as it’s easier to work on but the onus is definitely on the painter to bring in more details and texture to the model. This is an area that’s definitely lacking in my attempt, and in general I’m a total newbie when it comes to painting skin of any sort — power-armoured space marines tend to not show much!

I’m a huge fan of the sketching method used by the likes of Roman Lappat (who is an absolute master of texture and a huge inspiration, check them out!) and tried to apply this thought process when working on my highlights. As you can see above, I started with a base grey layer (an airbrushed acrylic paint) and applied the oil paint roughly in the right area. I was then able to blend out the highlights using mineral spirits and a soft paintbrush, dragging and pushing the oil paint.

The beauty of oil paints is that you can drag them out and very easily make a smooth gradient with just a brush wet with mineral spirit, and at the same time push the oil back and concentrate it into a smaller area – useful for creating highlights on raised edges.

As mentioned earlier, texture is incredibly important when painting models in this scale. I made an attempt at adding some rough skin texture to the top of the head of this model, imaging that an orc would have a tough, leathery hide rather than smooth supple skin. I feel that this is an area where acrylic paints come in to their own, as they offer a lot more definition and control when working with them versus solely using oils – this might just be not being familiar enough with either though, so take this with a grain of salt!

If you’re someone like me, who’s mostly stuck to wargaming miniatures, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up a relatively cheap bust and having a go at painting outside of your usual comfort zone. You might surprise yourself and find a brand new niche in the hobby to build a backlog in!

The above bust can be picked up from Hera Models, who also do limited runs of bigger and more detailed busts. I’m a huge fan of FeR Miniatures, which sells busts and large scale models from a variety of sculptors including one of my favourite painters and sculptors, Raffaele Picca. I’d also be remiss to not mention Mr. Lee’s Minis, a UK based seller of various interesting busts and scale figures.