Painting Poorly: A Song of Ice & Fire - Veterans of the Watch

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by CMON Games

"Hear My Words and Bear Witness to my Vow..."

Welcome back, Westerosi.  Today we're going to be continuing our painting journey through the North of Westeros by taking a look at the elite defensive unit of the Night's Watch faction: the Veterans of the Watch.


For the most part, all of the Night's Watch faction can be painted similarly to how we did the Sworn Brothers a few weeks ago, but there are a few additional things that I did with the Veterans to make sure they both stand out, but also the help break up the black on black on black.

1. Gameplan, Prep, and Prime

So, for the most part, I'll be trying my best to emulate the look of the amazing in game art:


That's a lot of black, but we're going to be using some familiar tricks to break that all up.  As such, I've assembled the following paints:

Vallejo

Dark Sand, Basic Skin Tone, Hull Red

Army Painter

Plate Mail Metal

Ceramcoat

Black and White

Handmade Modern

Slate (Standard Grey) and Elephant (Light Grey)

You'll notice that I also pictured Field Blue and Flat Earth above, but I ended up not needing them.


I primed all the minis with matt black spray on primer by The Army Painter, which will do most of the heavy lifting.  Once they're all dry, it's time to start painting.

2. Basecoats

Before we start, another quick reminder to thin all your paints 50/50 with water unless I say otherwise.


The first thing you'll do is mix up some black and white paint in a 1/1 mixture, creating a slightly lighter black tone, and painting the tunic, collar, gloves, and outside of the cloaks of all the Vets.


Here's what it would look like on one of the other sculpts, and you can see how much of a different color it truly is compared to the pure black.


Once that's all dry, you'll take your wedge or chisel brush and your standard grey paint and do a drybrush on the whole figure.  Remember when you're drybrushing you don't thin your paints at all, and you want BARELY any paint on the brush when you start going over the mini.  Use a paper towel or the back of your hand and wipe most of the paint off, only leaving trace amounts before dry brushing the figure.


Next, you'll actually drybrush again with your light grey, but you'll only be focusing on the upper half of the figure to give contrast between the highlights.


After that, take your basic skin tone and paint the face.  Don't worry about painting over the facial hair, it's easily covered up later, but you might have to do two coats in order to get even coverage.


This next part is optional, as you may want your Veteran's furs to remain dark, however, I took the opportunity to introduce white as a way to break up the monotony of the black.  Paint all the furs of each figure white, but don't worry too much about covering up the black undercoat too much, as it just makes the fur look dingy, which is kind of what we're going for.


Don't forget the fur in the front of this particular model, either.


Now, take your hull red and paint all the leathers for the figures.  That includes belts, straps, and eye patches as well as the sword handles.  Use your detail brush as the details can get quite small.


Next, take your plate mail metal, unthinned, and paint all the metal portions of the figures.  The scabbard on the back, the dagger, the sword blade, pommel, and hilt, the belt buckle, and any metal studs in the leather straps.


On this particular model, whom I always thinks looks like Berric Dondarion, you can also take small drop of dark sand to make the actual patch of the eye patch pop, though this completely optional.

After that, paint the hair, whatever colors you like, however, since these guys are the veterans, the old guys, I made sure that a good amount of them had white hair.

3. Shading

Other than the individual washes for the various hair colors that you'd choose, the Veterans of the Watch are pretty simple when it comes to washes and shades.


We're only using two: Flesh Wash and Dark Tone by the Army Painter.


Start off by using your flesh tone on the face.  Just a little bit will add depth to the paint job, but you don't want it pooling up too much on the face either.


Next, apply your dark tone everywhere else.  All the furs, the cloaks, the pants, the leathers, the swords and knives...  All of it.

As you can see, it helps mute the stark contrast of the the drybrushed highlights, but it keeps them still visible.  It helps make the drybrushed highlights much more natural looking.

Once that's completely dry, move onto the highlights step.

4. Highlights and Finishing Touches


I always start off my highlights by highlighting the skin.  Using your basic skin tone and your smallest brush, apply a highlight to the forehead, down the front of the nose, and the center of both cheeks, right on the cheekbones.

The goal here is to make the light portions of the face even lighter, which pumps up the contrast and helps make the face pop.


Next, you'll want to highlight the hair with whatever basecoat you originally painted it.  The best way to do this is to look at the figure from a bird's eye view and apply highlights from there, avoiding the darkest portions of the hair, such as where the hair parts.


Since you're already up there, you should also take this time to highlight a few of the tufts of fur on the shoulders and upper back, if you chose to paint it white originally.  Just apply the highlights to a few and it really gives a more realistic look to the fur.


Now, mix a little dark sand into your hull red and you can start highlighting the straps and belts.  This will give you a SLIGHTLY lighter color and you just want to draw a line across the top of each belt and strap.


The last thing you'll want to do is use some Vallejo Dark Earth to give the cloaks a little weathering, by painting the texture paint directly on the bottom portion of the back of the cloaks, just like we've done previously with Jon Snow and the Sworn Brothers.

Let it dry (it can take a few hours) and...

5. Counterattack!


There you have it, guys.  A super simple, super quick method to paint these guys that'll look just stellar on the battlefield.  You should be able to paint up a whole unit of these guys in no time.  As always, this, along with each of my A Song of Ice & Fire painting tutorials, is available on my blog for reference, and if you've found these useful, please consider becoming a Patron.  Every dollar helps me bring you quality AD-FREE content.

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Until next time, Westerosi!

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