Written by Jim Capone
Before starting any paint work some minor structural items were addressed. There was a very slight gap at the point where the legs crossed, admittedly barely visible. A small amount of Aves Fixit was used to fill the space and add a slight bulge to indicate the weight of the upper leg resting on the lower one.
A large post under the thigh accurately positions the figure in the base. The lower portion of that post (on the side away from the feet) was removed allowing it to slip into place easier.
The legs were pinned into the torso by drilling up from bottom. I received a prototype clear base with this piece. The resin was a little low around the edges. Rather than grind or sand the entire bottom down to level it, Fixit was used to fill the outer edge.
The transparent base allows for lighting from beneath. I decided to use the transparency to create the illusion of a sandy bottom beneath water. The thickness of the base made the depth appear the same everywhere. I wanted a taper that would be highest at the sand and deepest at the outer edge of the base. The bottom of the base was ground away with a Dremel tool.
The resin remained about a half inch thick at the deepest points then tapered to about an eighth inch by the shore. (Note: if I ever did this again I'd attempt to remove more resin and get even closer to the surface.) The same was done around the legs because she rests on the sand in shallow water. After the surface was finely sanded, Floor Finish restored the original transparency.
The transparent base created a slight continuity issue for me. It must be noted that there is NOT a problem with the sculpt or engineering of the kit. The figure's leg fits precisely along the base of the wave and her ankle disappears beneath the water. This is the only way it could have been accomplished and looks perfect. There is no issue if everything was painted and opaque. With a transparent base I was afraid the missing foot might be noticed. The only solution was to devise a way to insert a foot into the clear resin. This was achieved by creating a cavity where the foot would be. A hole the diameter of the ankle was drilled down through the resin at a slightly steeper angle than the leg. This wasn't a problem because the refraction of light causes things in water to normally appear that way. Dremel work added the heel and the top of the foot. The inside of the cavity was then painted so that the foot looks submerged.
The kit was left in major subsections for ease of painting.
I try to avoid a rigid, formulaic approach to painting flesh tones, i.e. using the same exact steps, colors, and mixes. This would result in every kit having the same exact skin tones. The desired effect with Aspen a darker tanned look. After prep work and a thorough cleaning she was primed with Gray Surface Prep. Dark African Flesh was airbrushed into all the recesses and undersides of the figure. Next an overall fill color of Medium African Flesh was sprayed as the skim base color.
A layer of Toffee Brown was applied next
to begin the buildup of lighter values. The successive colors do not completely cover previous ones. Bronze Flesh mixed with an equal amount of Future Floor Finish (=F) was followed with GK Flesh =F to highlight.
The overall color was then enhanced with a misting of Gold Toner. Transparent Bright Flesh was sprayed on the chest, knees, elbows, buttocks, and side of the breasts to add warmth. The layering of color was thought to be completed with an application of Chestnut =F.
Ground chalk pastels were then brushed on to add a little more definition and emphasis to the color. Rust helped define muscle forms and hot pink added warmth. The overall feel of the flesh seemed a little too raw and so it was toned down with a little Sepia =F.
One of the most difficult thing about figures with so much exposed skin is that extra care must be taken not to damage the surface while completing the piece. I encase the figure with plastic wrap and wear cotton gloves. Base colors were next applied to facial features. The eyes were given a mix of Sandstone with a touch of Denim Blue then sealed with Tamiya Clear to smooth the surface. The edge of the upper lip and philtrum were lightened with a watercolor mix of burnt sienna lightned with white. Burnt Sienna was used on the lips. Black watercolor set the eyebrows and outlined the hair.
Next the irises were positioned in blue watercolor. Sandstone was used to lighten the sclera. The eyelashes were also lined with black watercolor.
Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic was used for iris highlights and striations. A touch of white watercolor highlighted the sclera along the iris. The lips were lightened with a mix of Burnt Sienna, Toffee, and True Red.
The hair was filled in Jet Black then highlighted with Burnt Sienna and dry brushed with and red oxide LSBA. Transparent Rich Brown was sprayed over the hair to tone down the dry brush work. Transparent Black darkened the color and added shading.
Another layer of gloss coat was applied to the eyes then the pupils were dotted using a toothpick and black watercolor.
Aspen's swimsuit was based in Black Pearl then filled with Blue Metallic and highlighted with a Blue Metallic and Silver Metallic mix. The edges were trimmed with a Blue Metallic and Pearl Gold creating a greenish color. The barnacles have a base of Neutral Gray tinted with a touch of Transparent Red Violet and Jet Black. The jewelry was first based in Jet Black.
A mix of a little Jet Black and Silver Metallic was then brushed onto each individual bead as the fill color. Highlights were dotted with Silver Metallic. The blue beads were done with the same approach using Blue Metallic. After sealing, Tamiya Clear was used for a gloss finish.
The underside of base was sprayed with Future Floor Finish to smooth the surface and hide any scratches. Some Yellow Ochre and Bambi Brown =F was used as the wet sand color. It was applied solid along the shore edges and under the figure then faded away towards the outer edge of the base.
A mix of Denim Blue with a little Yellow Ochre was applied over the first color then feathered out a little further as the transition color. The entire bottom was then covered in Denim Blue. Very little color was applied to the top to preserve the transparency of the water. The splash was glued using Zap-a-Gap then the entire seam was given a generous layer of Future which flowed into and filled any spaces between the parts. Turquoise Enhancer =F was used as a heavy wash on the waves to darken the recesses. The same color was used lightly over the water for a tint. The splash joint remained somewhat visible so a slightly more opaque color was used at the base of the wave to obscure it. A very light blue was sprayed to the tips of the wave followed with a touch of Pure White. It was difficult to decide on a color for the sand. Initially it was more yellow, then brown, gray, and finally off white. There was some dry brush involved along the way.
Unfortunately I can't say exactly what I did because I failed to document the process.
That was my approach to painting Aspen. As always, please feel free to post comments, questions or suggestions about this article. Now put your time to good use, have some fun and paint some resin. I'm looking foward to seeing how others present this amphibian water elemental!
Here are a couple of pictures of the finished piece: