Megalith Step-by-Step

This blog was first featured as a guest post over at the Privateer Press website, here’s the original! Guest Hobby Blog: Stone and Gems with Griffon’s Roost Painting

Step 1: Prep and Prime

Megalith was assembled, cleaned, and the mold lines were removed with a sharp hobby knife. Prime with P3 Black Primer in a couple light coats.


Step 2: Gray Granite Stone

Base coat the stone with Bastion Gray. After this I would usually do shadows first followed by highlights, but in order to get a granite look, this time the order has to be reversed. Highlight first by two-brush blending with a 50/50 mix of Bastion Gray and Trollblood Highlight, and then do a second highlight with straight Trollblood Highlight.

Base coat, left; Full highlights, right

I wanted to make my Megalith look like he was fashioned from granite, since it is one of the hardest and most durable of the naturally-occurring stones. Granite has a sort of speckled appearance, and to get an approximation of that look on a miniature you have to get a little messy! Grab an old toothbrush, get it wet and dip it in some Thamar Black paint. Holding the model about 4-6 inches away from the toothbrush, run a finger over the brush and flick the paint, trying to get a fine spray. This was repeated with Underbelly Blue and Menoth White Highlight, separately, for additional variation in the speckled stone.

Gray granite example, left; Megalith speckled, right
Gray granite example, left; Megalith speckled, right

The final step of making a gray granite is adding in the shadows. This step was saved until after creating the speckled effect because fine details like that visually disappear in dark shadows. To start the shadows, make a 50/50 mix of Cryx Bane Base and Greatcoat Gray and apply it using two-brush blending on the model wherever the shadows would naturally occur. Use this mix to lightly outline the hard edges of the stone to add some further definition. Add a little Thamar Black to the shadow mix and apply to the deepest recesses and underneath overhanging areas.


Step 3: Wood

Base coat the wood with Gun Corps Brown, and any of the exposed core areas with Hammerfall Khaki.


Shade the wood first with Umbral Umber, painting in as much of the wood grain texture as possible. Then add a little Thamar Black to the Umbral Umber and use this to shade the deep crevices and outline the main elements of the wood. Shade the cores with Guns Corps Brown.


Highlight the wood by focusing on the texture of the wood grain and painting it with Hammerfall Khaki. For the highest highlights use a mixture of 50/50 Hammerfall Khaki and ‘Jack Bone with a little Menoth White Highlight added in. Focus this color on the upper branches as well as anywhere that would catch a significant amount of light. Go for a really high level of contrast as the next step will tone down the colors significantly. Highlight the wood cores with the mixture just previously used for the highest highlights on the wood, focusing on accentuating the rings.


Make a mixture of 2 drops Brown Ink, 1 drop of Turquoise Ink, and 1 drop of water and glaze this over the wood in two thin coats, letting each coat dry completely in between. Do not use any of the ink mixture on the wood cores. The ink glaze helps the wood grain look more natural and less stark.


Step 4: Ropes

Base coat the ropes with Rucksack Tan. Getting a good, solid coat can take 2-3 thin layers over black primer. Then shade the ropes with a wash of Guns Corps Brown.

Ropes basecoat, left; Ropes shadowed, right
Ropes basecoat, left; Ropes shadowed, right

Now the fun part… To highlight the ropes make a mix of 50/50 Rucksack Tan and Hammerfall Khaki and pick out each coil, except for where the rope would be in darkest shadow. Then take straight Hammerfall Khaki and highlight further where the ropes would catch the light, particularly on the front parts of the legs and arms. It’s painstaking, but in the end I usually feel like the precision is worth the frustration.


Step 5: Glowing Runes

To start the runes, thin down some Menoth White Highlight and paint them all white, without letting any flow over the sides. I might have gotten a little carried away and almost forgotten to take a picture, but I’m sure you’ll get the idea. Next make a mixture of 2 drops Green Ink, 1 drop Yellow Ink, and one drop Turquoise Ink and glaze this over the white. Try not to let any ink pool in the corners. A good trick to prevent this is to dab some ink out of the paintbrush on a paper towel before going at the runes.


Now go back with the thinned Menoth White Highlight and and lighten the bottom parts of the linear runes. With the more open areas, like around the gems and in the shoulders, use the white to lighten the center as if the glow were radiating outward. The Menoth White Highlight was thinned down and blended outward with a second brush to get a smooth transition. Next make a mix of 2 drops Yellow Ink and 1 drop Green Ink, and glaze this mixture only where you lightened the runes. This will gives the runes a more lively appearance.


The final step for the runes is taking some straight green ink and glazing it into the top parts of each linear rune, and the outsides of the larger areas of the shoulders and around the gems. This gives an illusion that the glow is fading out towards the edges.


Step 6: Gems

Base coat the gems with Thamar Black. Then take Gnarls Green and blend it up from the bottom of the gem, leaving the top third black. The smoother the blend you can get for these, the better. I like two-brush blending for just about everything, but go with what makes you comfortable. Now my camera couldn’t quite seem to get a good shot without a slight glare due to the dark colors and satin finish of the paint, but I think things are still mostly visible.


Next, in the bottom third of the gem, blend up Iosan Green into the Gnarls Green. The brighter colors are focused in the lower part of each gem because of the way light passes through the translucent stone and hits the inside. For the final highlight blend Wurm Green into the lowest half of the Iosan Green.


Next take some Green Ink and, in thin layers, glaze over the entire gem. Make sure to build up enough layers so that even the black appears to be a very deep green. Finally take a brush with a very fine point and use Menoth White Highlight to make a few reflective dots on the top of the gem. I’ve used a red arrow to point out where they should be as the glare from my painting lamp slightly overlaps.


Step 7: Finishing Touches

To finish off the model, I painted in the few bunches of leaves, and touched up the stone where any of my glow might have gotten a little carried away. The model was then sealed with Testors Dullcote to kill any shiny spots from the inks on the wood and the glow, and to help protect it as I’m sure it will be finding its way onto the table soon. Once that was completely dry, I took an old brush and some paint on gloss varnish and gave the gems a good coat for an extra dose of realism. Megalith got based with a bunch of forest foliage, including some ivy and a fern, and he’s all done!

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