The Painting Hour: Smaug (Hours 1-3)

The Painting Hour: Smaug (Hours 1-3)

A very good friend of mine has been reading The Hobbit with his daughter.  I would say to, but I’m pretty sure she’s the one reading it to him.  I absolutely love the interaction between the two of them, the introduction of such classic fantasy, and the father daughter bonding time they are having.  A while ago, he purchased a bunch of dragons from the Reaper Bones Kickstarter with the idea of giving them as gifts, but circumstances have led to me him and his wife being unable to paint them.  Thus, I’m painting them for him!  He decided that it would be ok if I were to post about it here, so long as I don’t tell the people they are for.  Since his daughter doesn’t internet yet, and she wouldn’t know I was talking about here here, all is fine.

Anyway, since the next part of the Hobbit out this year is The Desolation of Smaug, he wanted to paint one of the dragons up as Smaug.  And not just any Smaug, but the Smaug from the old 1977 animated movie.  Who just smiled with glee when remembering that movie?  If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for?  It’s amazingly awesome.  Here are the reference photos that I’m using for color.

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And now, onto the crafting hour!

Hour.5: Cleaning and prep.

The model I’m working with is Reaper’s Deathsleet bones dragon.  The models come un-assembled, so they need a bit of prep work.  First I washed them and boiled them for a few minutes to make sure there wasn’t any weird warping.  Then, I adhered the wings with a bit of Zap-a-Gap (just a brand of superglue).   Deathsleet has a known issue with standing up straight (his ankles can’t support him), so I’ll probably push a bit of wire into his ankles later and use both the feet and the tail to adhere him to the base.  Earl calls his inability to stand his “go home, you’re drunk Deathsleet” pose.

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Hour 1: Basecoat.

Next up was laying down a coat of grey.  It doesn’t look like much happened here, but trust me, he’s all grey now.  It’s a rather light coat of grey, and I wish that I had gone with a darker one, but *shrug* live and learn.  Hopefully once I add my washes it will help with the light crevices.


Hour 2: Red Base Coat

Next up is the red scales.  It looks bright, but it should be ok in the end once I add some shading and highlighting elements.  This is a bit brighter than what I want my mid color to be, but I think I can salvage it ok.  This took a bit longer than the base coat, since I needed to be careful of my base coat.  There are a few parts where I got a little messy, but overall it’s not too bad.


Hour 2: Gold underbelly.

Smaug must have a gold underbelly, right?  Right.  I’ve done two parts of his belly so far.  The first was to put down the gold, and then the second to add in some dark gold in the crevices.  I’ll give a dry brush over the dark parts, as it was a bit messy even with my smallest brush, but I’m confident that it will all come out right in the end.

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Hour 3: Spike and Talon basecoats

I’m going through all the base coating first, so next up were the spikes and talons.  The spikes have a muddy brown color to them, reminiscent of the fur on Smaug’s back.  Smaug doesn’t really have any talons in the movie, so I decided to go with an ivory for that.  I’ll darken it up to look like a weathered bone in the end.

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And that’s it for today.  Short and sweet.  I’m waffling between tackling the wings or his face next.  The wings will be several thin layers of lighter reds and oranges, so no real basecoat there, and the face has quite a bit of detail.   We’ll see what I feel like next time I take up the brush!




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