Commission: Mindstealer Sphiranx

My friend and local GW manager wanted a model painted by me for his collection before I move away, so this is the last commission I’m doing while still living here in Germany! He’s given me complete artistic freedom with this one, except the base which he will be painting to match his Slaves to Darkness bases.

When left to my own devices, I usually lean a little more ‘realistic’ with my color schemes on fantasy miniatures, which is to say I’m often inspired by real animals and such. I also like being a special little snowflake with schemes that feel unique, or are at least not the ones from the boxart. What I ended up deciding on was to base this giant demon cat on a mountain lion – orange/brown fur going into a warm off-white on the underbelly and the mane. I feel that golden armour would have been too much in that yellow/orange direction to really stand out so I went with a slightly darker bronze there. The three eyes need to draw a lot of attention and I wanted to do something to show the chaos magic infused within the creature so I decided on blue eyes and gems that would really stand out against all of the other warm tones.

Once the scheme was decided, all that was left was to paint it up! I began with a wet-in-wet sketch to place highlights and shadows at the same time as my basecoat, a technique rapidly becoming my go-to for every project.

Next I worked to refine the fur, mostly by deepening shadows and adding bright white highlights to the mane. I blended the brown mid-tone from the fur into the ivory as the shadow color, not going too dark at all. Titanium white was added incrementally in successive highlight layers, with the mane getting lighter towards the head. The orange/brown areas got an all over glaze of the fairly translucent Trollslayer Orange and then a few more layers to touch things up as well as on places that would be getting the most light.

Next I jumped over to the metal armour, which breaks up the model nicely. It was done so quickly I forgot to take pictures of the process, but it also wasn’t terribly complicated. I began by blocking the areas in with a mix of black and bronze, then washed it all in purple, re-established the color with a rough coat of the black & bronze mix, followed by pure bronze, a bronze & copper mix, and lastly a little bit of silver as a final highlight. I also blocked in the gems and eyes with Kantor Blue to set them up.

Yep, I did forget about the two little rings lower on the braids

After going back to do the metals I missed I began to work more on the head. I brought in the same highlights and shadows I had been using on the mane, though it might have been better composition to use more warm browns to separate the face from the areas around it. The ram’s horns needed to help frame the face more instead, so I went with a much darker tone of warm grey. The idea there was that it would contrast the fur while drawing as little attention as possible. Mixing in the ivory fur color to highlight them also help the somewhat natural appearance, since animals’ horns are nearly always a warm brown or grey tone not too far from their fur/skin colors.

Highly saturated, dark reds and magenta were used on the mouth to emphasize the expression and provide a good background for the lighter, yellowy teeth to stand out from. The teeth could have looked great in any number of colors, but I went with yellowy-brown because that’s what I tend to see in wildlife photography.

Lastly came the eyes, gems, and other little facial details. Well, not quite last actually because the feet needed a tiny bit of attention too. With the base being done by someone else I just did the very basics on the feet like ivory claws and darkening the recesses. This is so that the client can then hit them with the appropriate dirt or dust as they do the basing and it will make the model look as though it actually inhabits that environment.

Anyhow, the gems and eyes are painted with the exact same colors, just Kantor Blue with increasing amounts of Ivory mixed in for each successive highlight. At the very end I did tiny dots of pure white, which really helps to sell the reflections and inner glow from the eyes. I also glazed some brown into the ears and tufts of fur by the face in the hopes that it would make both the blue of the eyes and the entire face as a whole more noticeable.

That was it though, all I did after that was paint the base and rim black. This was for me so that the pictures would look better, and I’m happy with the way that everything turned out. I kinda wish I could keep it now for my own warband, might need to paint another of my own in the future!

4 thoughts on “Commission: Mindstealer Sphiranx

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