Painting Poorly: A Song of Ice & Fire - Tormund Giantsbane, Thunderfist

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by CMON Games

"Walking's Good, Fighting's Better, $%&#@'s Best..."

Welcome back, Westerosi!  With the newest faction's arrival, the Free Folk, I figured I'd start working through those North of the Wall, and who better to begin with than everyone's favorite Wildling, the Husband to Bears himself, Tormund Giantsbane.

Tormund is one of two commanders that comes in the Free Folk Starter Set, and thus begins our great Free Folk conundrum, which is very similar to our Night's Watch conundrum:  How do you make miniatures that are predominantly dressed in varying degrees of brown interesting?

Let's see what we can do.

1. Gameplan, Prep, and Prime

Okay, so, there's a large discrepancy between the way Tormund is described in the books (white beard, big belly, ringmail) and with who we all think of when we think of Tormund:

Kristofer Hivju has captured everybody's hearts as the Mead-King of Ruddy Hall, and has turned Tormund into a breakout character of the series.

Let's be honest, there's only one "Will They or Won't They" that we're really interested in anymore...

I feel like it'd be a shame to not immortalize his performance in 32mm scale PVC, so I've assembled the following paints:

We've got Basic Skin Tone, Hull Red, Chocolate Brown, Flat Earth, and Dark Sand by Vallejo along with Plate Mail Metal by The Army Painter.  From Target and the craft store, I have black and white and a burnt orange color.

I know I've been raving about my airbrush lately, and I JUST talked about zenithal highlights in my Jon Snow tutorial, however, for Tormund, we're going back to a matt white primer from the Army Painter.

1. The Fur

The first thing you'll do will be thinning some of your chocolate brown with water and give a nice coat on the fur Tormund's wearing.  This is his arms and legs, his fur skirt, and what appears to be a bear claw on his left shoulder.

Once that's completely dry, take some of your dark sand and dry brush that over the fur.  This will give the fur a good depth and highlight, and will pretty much be finished.

3. Basecoats

Again, quick reminder to thin all your paints 50/50 with water.

Once the fur's done, I started with the skin.  Using the basic skin tone, I simply painted the face, the ears, and the hands.  Don't forget the lip hidden within his beard.

Now, taking that burnt orange color, paint the hair and beard.  You may need to use a few coats of this in order to get even coverage.

After that, we'll be working on Tormund's doublet with the flat earth.  Don't worry about trying to avoid the large stitches in the leather, just go ahead and paint them, we can paint over them later fairly easily.

For the next part, I figured that Wildlings typically only have things that they've killed for, whether it be northern animals, or northern men, so I mixed up some 50/50 black/white mix and painted his cloak and inner portion of the scabbard with those colors, making it look like he took both of them off of a dead crow.

For his shoes and other leather features, we'll be using the hull red.  This includes his boots, belt, and satchel, along with the leather straps wrapped around his legs.  You can also paint the wrapping around the scabbard this color as well.

After that you can use your plate mail metal to paint the sword and the metal portions of the scabbard.  You can also paint Tormund's bracers this color as well, though if you REALLY want to be accurate to the way the book describes them, they'd be gold.

The final thing you'll basecoat will be using your dark sand to paint the bear's claws and the stitching on Tormund's doublet.

Once all that's dry, it's time for shading!

4. Shading

Normally, I'd use multiple washes for Tormund.  One shade for his hair, another for his skin, and another for his clothing.  Well, we're going to be simplifying it quite a bit.

We're only going to be using Strong Tone by the Army Painter, and this is going to go over the entire miniature.

We have to be especially careful to not let the wash pool anywhere, especially around the face or hands, as we're trying to add depth and dimension, not make him look like he's spent a little too much time in the tanning bed.

The dark brown tint that the strong tone leaves behind gives everything a dirty look to it, and can help add not only depth, but age to things like his sword and scabbard.

In fact, since we're only using a single shade, Tormund is a great candidate to try some actual Quickshade, by the Army Painter, though the drying time for that is anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, and it smells just awful, but the lacquer quality of it helps protect the mini.

5. Highlights and Finishing Touches

The first thing we'll be highlighting will be the skin.  Using your basic skin tone, highlight the brow, including the ridges of the forehead that run from his temples up to his hairline, but not the forehead itself.  You'll notice the sculpt for Tormund has some significant detail in the amount of wrinkles in the forehead, so to preserve that, only highlight a little dot above and below, almost like you're making a "Division" symbol with his wrinkles.

Also highlight the nose, cheekbones, and lower lip on the face, along with each finger and knuckle on both hands.

Now we will highlight the hair and the beard with some of the burnt orange again.  You really want to focus on applying the highlights from the top down for the hair, and picking out the most prominent tufts of beard and the top of the mustache in terms of his facial hair.

This is also when you'd paint his eyebrows that same color using your detail brush.

After that, you can mix together some of your dark sand and hull red to lighten the hull red a bit.  This mixed color can be used to add a subtle highlight to the top of the boots, the leather straps around the legs, and the satchel on Tormund's hip, simply by painting an outline around the edges of the satchel.

The last thing we'll be highlighting will be the stitches in the doublet and the bear claws using your dark sand.  Just paint the very middle of each stitch/claw and you'll give it all a great pop.

As an optional finishing touches step, you could mix together a snow mixture, like I describe in my Outriders tutorial and apply it fairly liberally to the legs, arm, shoulders, cloak, or wherever else snow might have fallen on Tormund, which is EVERYWHERE.  It helps to add that extra layer of immersion, but if you don't want to, you don't have to.

6. Kill Some Crows!

That's it, Westerosi!  Tormund in all of his glory.  Get familiar with some of these techniques, along with this suite of browns, as many of our future installments dealing with the Free Folk units and characters will employ similar steps.

This tutorial along with all my others can be found here, and like always, if you've found this tutorial useful, please consider becoming a Patron.  Every dollar truly does count, and helps me to bring you quality AD-FREE content on a weekly basis.

If you have any questions or comments, be sure to shoot them down into the comments.  Until next time, Westerosi!
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