This mini “Anna” from Bold Miniatures was an impulse buy a while back because I have a big soft spot for rangers of all sorts. She’s quite large and covered with characterful details that help you tell her story, really a beautifully sculpted mini. I especially love that she looks like a fantasy mini at first glance, but once you look closer you find the modern-era items like the binoculars, canteens, messenger bag, etc… They give her this understated post-apocalyptic vibe that reminds me a lot of the Stand Still Stay Silent comic, so I decided to paint her like someone from that setting.
The broad idea I wanted to work with was using more muted tones for a ‘realistic’ sort of feel and slightly grittier atmosphere. Since the comic uses predominantly cool tones I chose to do the same, limiting my use of warm tones to parts I really wanted to draw attention to like her head. Since she’s a ranger or hunter of some sort she would be out in the woods, so I began by sculpting a woodland base on a plinth for her.
Using Milliput I created some levels, and added some dried out sticks to be a dead tree and root. Then I textured the whole thing with some dirt and leaves, creating a believable woodland ground cover. After priming I painted the whole thing very roughly using a sketchy wet-in-wet technique, sticking to desaturated greens and browns with blueish shadows. I’d come back later to refine this a little more at the end once the figure was attached to her base, to tie things together more.
When I started on Anna I did a very similar thing, rapidly sketching in the blue-grey of her dress with rough shadows and highlights.
I followed up by blocking in sections one at a time and working from the ‘inside’ to out, starting with the pants and boots under the dress, the armour and straps next, so on and so forth. I realized pretty early that I wouldn’t be able to avoid some warmer tones when it came to the leather, at least not without making it all look really same-y and boring. The solution I came up with was making it very desaturated, and keeping most of the forward-facing leather surfaces the dark neutral brown. Given this though, I needed to make the hair either really saturated, or a much warmer tone like auburn/red in order to draw the eye the way I wanted.
I spent a lot of time adding depth and nuance to her hair since it was going to be a focus of attention, and I think it turned out looking pretty good!
Choosing a color for the wood of her bow was tricky too, but I realized that as long as I painted a woodgrain texture it would be convincing enough and went with this pale neutral brown. I used the same palette to paint the feathers she’s carrying and on her arrows, but the difference in textures allows them to look different enough. In any case, once the majority of her was painted I mounted the mini on the base I’d built to get a full idea of how it all looked together. The base needed a bunch of highlights and a little variety, so I added the little flowers and a few little spots of green on leaves and as a sort of moss on the tree. I also saved working on her face for last, so I could make sure to get the angles of the light right for the setting. Looking back, I probably should have worked on it earlier when I wasn’t sprinting to the finish line because it could stand to have been smoothed out a little more and just generally given more attention. Something for me to think about with the next one!