Painting Poorly: A Song of Ice and Fire - Grey Wind

by CMON Games

"He's a Direwolf, Not a Dog, and Dangerous to Men He Does Not Trust..."

With all the death, dismemberment, and generally horrible things that happen in A Song of Ice and Fire, I think I get the saddest when anything happens to the wolves.  I don't know why that is.  I'm not some PETA crazy, and I enjoy a hamburger as much as the next person, but I think I just like dogs and pets in general.

So, we come to Grey Wind.  The leader of the pack, the alpha of the Stark's direwolves, and one of the more tragic endings... which I won't spoil here.

As we get ready to paint him. the trick will be to try to pull out all of the great color variation that is present in a wolf's fur, specifically Grey Wind's, without making him look too cartoony.  So, buckle up, this might be more challenging for some of you, but trust me, you can do it.

1. Gameplan, Prep, and Prime

So, for Grey Wind, I actually used a few different pictures for reference.  In particular, I used this great still from the HBO series when Robb is threatening Jaime with him:

And this picture of a wolf's profile, which gives us a great idea of the pattern of the fur on the side:

Factoring all of these things in, I've gone with the following colors:

Black and white from the craft store, standard gray, light gray, and sky blue from Target, and Flat Earth by Vallejo, though any standard brown will work.

Prime with Matt White spray on primer by The Army Painter, and you're off to the races.

2. Basecoats

Quick reminder to thin all your paints 50/50 with water.

The VERY first thing you're going to do is put a little brown on the top of the snout.  It doesn't cover any of the nose, but try to keep it in the middle, as we're going to want some of that brown to accent the base that will go over it.

Next, we move onto the gray.  You'll use your standard gray to paint the rock, and the back and flanks of Grey Wind.  When you start to color the legs, you only want to get the most surface level painting on it, almost like a drybrush.  You'll want to leave a good portion of him white, such as the cheeks, from the ribs down, and the bottom of the tail.

Also, take this time to paint the forehead, but avoid the eye sockets and ears.

There's also a small triangular patch of white above his chest, right beneath his neck, so make sure you leave this as well.  You can also take this time to also use Red Tone by The Army Painter to color the inside of the mouth.  Just put a small layer of the wash on the tongue and roof of the mouth to give a natural pinkish look.

Now, using your 50/50 black/white mix, you'll paint the face, nose, and ears.  There's almost a raccoon-like quality to Grey Wind's face, where you paint the eye sockets, the cheeks, along with a small line from the forehead down the snout to the nose.  Be careful not to cover ALL of the brown that we did earlier, as you want just a bit of it to remain visible.  You'll also notice that we left the small line of white on his eyebrows and inside his ears.

Once you're done with the face, move onto the sides, again using your 50/50 black/white mix.  You'll want to leave a line of gray running all the way down his back, and only use your black/white mix around his shoulders, armpits, hips, glutes, and the lower half of his tail.

You'll also want to pull the black down his chest, avoiding his white patch of fur, like shown above.  Once that's all down, you'll be finished with your basecoat!

3. Shading

We're only using one wash for all of Grey Wind: Dark Tone by the Army Painter, or any black wash like Nuln Oil.

It goes everywhere, all over the wolf and all over the rock, but be careful that you DO apply it EVERYWHERE.  Areas that you miss will stand out and look garish due to everything else being muted by the wash.  You'll even want to get the inside of the mouth, even though we technically already washed it with Red Tone.  In general, you want a thin layer of the black wash covering the entire mini, but you don't want it to pool in areas.  Just enough to darken all of the colors, even the white.

Once that's dry, we move onto highlights.

4. Highlights and Finishing Touches

Drybrush, drybrush, drybrush is the name of the game here.  Using your light gray, unthinned, and your chisel brush you'll drybrush the flank of Grey Wind.  Make sure you try to only get the black areas, even on the tail, and avoid the sections that used to be white and standard gray.  You'll also use this to drybrush the rock as well.

Now, using your white paint, unthinned, you'll drybrush the very top of the wolf, including his head and face all the way down his tail.  Don't go too heavy with the drybrushing, just enough to give it some texture, and make the pattern of the fur stand out.

You'll also drybrush the white onto the front of the legs and tops of the paws.  Once you're done with that, use your detail brush to brighten up the side of Grey Wind's snout and his eyebrows back up to white.

Now, you cal also take your detail brush, and use a TEENY TINY drop of sky blue to make the eyes, as wolves tend to have blue or dull yellow eyes.

Spray with your matt spray, and when that's dry, you can add some gloss varnish to the tongue and roof of the mouth to give it a glistening, wet look.

5. Rip Apart a Some Lannisters!

That's it!  Base him however you like, and you're done!  If you've done things the right way, you should have three distinct, but subtle, variations of color running through Grey Wind's fur.

Hopefully you're finding these tutorials useful, and if you are looking for any more of my tutorials on CMON's A Song of Ice & Fire Miniatures Game, you can find them here.

Stay tuned for more adventures in Westeros...

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