For 2022’s benchmark I have decided to paint the giant model from December 2021’s CastnPlay release Adventurer’s Guild. This included a group of adventurers coming in from their days dungeon crawling and drinking at the tavern resting and relaxing. The models also include an amazing tavern bar build and a quest board which is on my painting agenda. The giant in question I do not think was sculpted with “Frost Giant” in mind but rather a friendly giant adventurer. However I painted a Hill Giant last year and wanted to accomplish something different. Applying one of my goals for the year of trying to paint in different skin tones I decided to approach the model with a blue skin for Frost Giant and do something I’ve never done before, apply paint to a model that wasn’t primer via a brand new tool in my arsenal.
While painting this model I was faced with a few hurdles that I am sure you are familiar with.
- psyching yourself out
- burn out
- being paralyzed from self imposed extreme expections
Well in my 2022 Benchmark Model I encountered all the above. I have had such a difficult time trying to articulate everything that I felt, did and aspired to do while painting this model that I even have been procrastinating in writing this post.
Regardless I am incredibly proud of this years benchmark model and can’t wait to see what I come up with in improvement for the year. But before I get ahead of myself, what the heck am I talking about?
What is a Benchmark Model?
A benchmark model is essentially a painted figure or model which you can use at a later time as a form of measure of standard to compare to. Therefore a benchmark model is my attempt at gauging my personal growth in the miniature painting hobby. The rules are simple I’ll paint a model to the best of my ability and then I will paint a second version of the same figure (thank you 3D printing) in one year to see how I’ve grown in that year.
Can I See My Growth Two years in a Row?
I did a benchmark model comparison for 2021 and it was actually really quite incredible as a way to Gauge my Growth in miniature painting. I never thought i’d be able to see my growth yet let alone have people actually comment guessing the areas of growth I focused on for that year. Interested? Read More from 2021’s Benchmark
Battling your Worst Enemy, Your Mind.
So if I successfully set a benchmark last year and could see my growth, why was it so intimidating this year? Well to put it simply I kinda felt surprised that I could see growth in the last year as I didn’t paint many models and put as much time into gaining skills as i’d like. My mind is my enemy married to my low self esteem that I could pull it off again.
I also suffered from burnout. Painting to the best of my ability two models in a row was exhausting. Sometimes not seeing much completed on your hobby table can make you feel like nothing will ever get accomplished. Spending so much time on these really exhausted my desire to paint and push through. It also didn’t help that I decided to paint one of the largest models I’ve ever tackled. A frost giant.
On top of that I have decided to focus on areas of painting that are difficult or out of my comfort zone. This has resulted in more anxiety in my color palette, techniques, etc.
So What am I working on this year?
2022 Painting Goals
While I did make a lengthy list of things I want to work on for my 2022 Hobby Goals. The goals for painting this year are simple….
Master the airbrush
Having just receiving an airbrush I have barely started utilizing it to the best of its ability or know how it can help me in painting. I am aiming to get started in airbrushing and making it a regularly used tool in my toolbox.
Learn more Skin Tones
Learn how to paint non Caucasian skin tones. This includes different colored skins like green, blue, purple, red etc. for monsters. I have recently started my airbrush journey and am still not confident in my knowledge.
Paint out of my comfort zone
I am tired of painting generic fantasy character with a green or blue cape. I need to stretch my imagination beyond and try more color schemes.
Gain a better understanding of volumes
I want to understand how light hits various shapes and be better at highlighting models. This will start with muscle groups but I hope to go beyond that and especially show in armor.
Begin my long long journey into a greater usage of color theory.
Painting Hair & Fur
I am ready to build on the above statements and paint hair and fur to a more realistic mentality and result.
Utilization of Environment & Basing Methods
I deeply believe that a base can drastically change the story of the model, its tone and really elevate figures. I am going to try to improve my basing game while also improve model storytelling.
Setting the Standard: Benchmark 2022
Now lets get into the painting of the model.
Breaking Out the Airbrush
I received an airbrush for Christmas 2021 and up to this point have only primed a few miniatures with it. I have gotten better and have to say that I am immensely proud of the zenithal highlight of this model. It might be the best I’ve ever done.
After priming I applied a blue contrast paint for the skin to see how contrast paint would go through an airbrush followed by various browns that make up the leather of the body. My goal was to try to go from largest areas of the model to smallest in the attempt to improve my aim via practice. I have never used my airbrush to apply base coats to a model before and am genuinely surprised and thrilled by how fast it was to get a model base coated.
The entire time I was doing this I was being supported by my friends of Goobertown hobbies as the continuously encouraged me to Paint Bravely. I pushed through and worked up the various layers of skin. I definitely feel like I should have pushed this highlight more but alas I did not get to it.
To finish off my spray basecoats I painted the tree and did my best to not have too much overspray. An area of improvement is definitely improved aim, masking off areas of a model to prevent overspray, and gaining a better understanding of how to angle my airbrush to help me in highlights and volumes.
All in all I feel like this was a pretty strong showing and attempt for using an airbrush to paint for the first time. It definitely helps that I choose to paint a large model knowing that my aim was not going to be very great and wanted a place to practice before I paint a standard miniature.
The Devil is in the Details
Once I put my airbrush down I set to work on the details. Picking up a brush to paint the model was actually really exciting and I felt a significant sense of relief now that I am using tools that I am familiar with. I set forth to do colors and choices I have not used before, namely in trying to not use brown hair and fur. So I decided to go with a blonde head which was mostly a dirty blonde. I know air is on the agenda and perhaps i’ll learn how to do different colors better this year. I also wanted to try to contrast the bright blue of the skin and went with a dark black, grey fur for the areas of clothing that had fur.
I then started to work on details such as leather work, skulls, pouches, etc but… I got worn out. I spent several nights at this point painting the figure and I walked away from it. And it sat on my shelf for probably about two weeks before coming back.
Just Calling it Done
Seeing that all motivation to keep pushing through the model and feeling a significant thread of diminishing returns I decided to base the model, varnish, and flock with snow to call it done. At this point I was truthfully disappointed with myself because I always feel like I can do better. I could catch more detail, improve a highlight but there is a point when you should just call it done.
It all comes together!
Know how I mentioned that I want to improve my basing game and telling a story in my basing. Well I feel like this model is the perfect example for that. I felt for so long that the figure was missing something and that wasn’t until I added the snow. And oh boy did it feel great to see everything just slowly come to life. Adding the snow to this model and its base really had a great marriage between the two. However I couldn’t fully realize it until a friend recommended that I add snow heavier on the feet like he has been wading through the snow. Boy did it really make a difference. I think the snow was one of the most commented aspects of this paint job.
A benchmark would not be complete without a good ole photoshoot of the figure. And this has been an aspect of the hobby that I think is super important to capture the full detail of the model to convey to readers, inspire others, and capture mistakes. I worked on taking photos of this model in both black and white backdrops (poster paper). I think the black backdrop was the better choice in the final shots. What do you think?
On to 2022
While I am happy with this model and would be a fantastic figure to put on my table I still desire to grow and improve. I tried many new things and even color choices on the figure such as the skin, fur and hair that were well outside my comfort zone. Now that the benchmark is set. Lets see what we can accomplish for the rest of 2022.
Carrie, Crazmadsci the crazy mad scientist
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