SHOWCASE: Arena Rex: Painting Medusa – Finishing The Figure
It’s time to finish up Medusa from Arena Rex.
Here’s where I left off with my last article. She seems pretty close to finished but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Before I go back to the face, let’s take a break and focus on a very different area of the model.
Let’s do some NMM for a bit shall we. I start on the bronze of the shield. The basecoat is P3’s Traitor Green. Coal Black is blended into the middle to represent a reflected “horizon.” The bottom part gets a subtle highlight of Hammerfall Khaki to represent light reflected up from the ground. At the top I blend it up to pure Menoth White highlight for a nice sharp reflection of the upper light source.
I darken the center “horizon” with a bit of Thamar Black mixed with Bloodstone and Red Ink. Then I add some distressing with quick brushstrokes with just a little bit of paint on the brush. More deliberate thin strokes of Menoth White Highlight are then added sparingly using a much smaller brush.
I finish adding a line of highlight to the ridges of all the bronze scales. Then I start on the copper with pure Bloodstone. Still wet!
I proceed in a similar fashion as with the bronze. I start blending up to Menoth White Highlight, while the horizon gets that same strip of Coal Black blended in.
All the little details have to be defined with highlights of Menoth White Highlights along each ridge.
For the eyes on the owl, I went with a colored glass look with Coal Black and Menoth White Highlight. In retrospect I think some nice bright emeralds would maybe have gone better
At this point some of you may be thinking that this Medusa looks a lot more like Athena… and now there’s an owl too? Remember, in the Coliseum there were many warriors who played the roles of historical, divine, or in this case supernatural warriors. This Medusa is a disgraced Athenian priestess who plays the role of monster in the arena to spite her former patron. I guess Athena has actually cursed her too as that would be the only way to explain her being ten feet tall.
Now back to that face. One of the most interesting things Benoit Cauchies did with this model was to actually sculpt the details of her face under the folds. He could have just gone with a veil and skipped all of those details, but he chose to put it all in there. That meant my challenge was to paint those details while trying to make them look as if they were being seen through that veil.
I had been sticking mostly to flesh tones up until now, but that wasn’t giving me quite the shear effect I wanted. It made her look like she had a face covered in wrinkly skin. I decided to add some purple to the shadows to vary the color, keeping the skin tones only on areas where the cloth would be touching her face directly.
I went back and forth a lot trying to get the tones just right. Here I felt like the purple shadows were too dark.
This was a little closer, but now I’d added too much paint and it was starting to cake. I went at it really gently with a toothbrush to try to smooth it out again.
Still a little rough…
It was around this point that I began to feel like she was about where I wanted her to be. I decided to move on to the next step, although I would go back to the face quite a few more times for a few subtle changes.
I started on her mask using the same colors I had used for the copper on the shield. I also added a few warm tones sparingly to the face.
Trying to add highlight ridges to the mask. Those will need to be cleaned up obviously.
Here it is at the end with everything cleaned up.
The next step was the hair. I added highlights of Coal Black, then Underbelly Blue to the warm black undercoat. I used the same Bloodstone and Red Ink toned black for the hair basecoat as I mentioned on the shield earlier.
Here’s a view from the other side where you can see more hair. Black hair can be a little tricky starting out. You want to keep sharp highlights so it has that hair shine, but you have to keep them minimal or risk the hair looking gray.
Next I did the snakes. I went with a pretty basic green to give these guys a flash of color. I started with a basecoat of that same warm black (to contrast the green) which was highlighted with Gnarls Green, then Iosan Green. Then I began to add some Cygnus Yellow and to the Iosan Green and began stippling on this highlight in such a way as to kind of give the appearance of scales. Menoth White Highlight was added towards the end to give some final highlights. Another snake tutorial can be found here.
Here’s another part I didn’t get god WiPs of: the steel rod coiled around the spear. The base color for the metal is a three part mix of Umbral Umber, Exile Blue and Thornwood Green. This is highlighted with Underbelly Blue and more of that omnipresent Menoth White Highlight. As on the shield, a thin under-highlight of Hammerfall Khaki follows along the base of the wrapped rod to represent reflected light from the dirt.
Here’s a look from the other side. I hadn’t straightened the spear tip yet at this point. Bendy spears are unfortunately common in resin. Usually replace them but that wasn’t possible here. Fixing them is easy enough to do. Just use a hair dryer or hot water to heat it a bit and bend it back into the shape you want.
I took one last shot of her before she went off to join the rest of the Gladiators at Arena Rex HQ. I think this photo shows a little more detail than her final studio shot, although the color ended up being too saturated, and I just couldn’t get it to look quite right. The picture looked perfect on the camera…
Hope you enjoyed the article! If you like the model, maybe you’re ready to start playing some Arena Rex yourself? Medusa is part of the Gorgon’s Cohort, which is a nice easy three model force to start the game with. They count as 6 models and are actually tad more inexpensive than six regular gladiators.
~And if you’re coming to Adepticon make sure to stop by our booth!