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2 - From Priming to the Face

Caesar Octavian
Product #
Suggested Retail Price
$4 USD


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Revision Log
15 October 2003page first published

3,364 hits since 15 Oct 2003
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Lee Olson of Pewter Illusions writes:

After getting the package from Bill, I opened it up and started getting to work. Caesar Octavian is a one-piece model, so the only assembly involved was gluing him down to his base, and attaching the metal disc Bill had included for the magnetic traveling case that will be his home.

Inspection of the miniature showed a slight mold line running across the shoulder pads, which was easy enough to eliminate with a needle file. The rest of him looked great, so it's time to get down to business.

Caesar Octavian is mounted

As I've mentioned before, I'm a proud member of the Clear Primer Cult, so I primed our Caesar using FolkArt's Glass and Tile Medium (G&TM). My priming mixture is a 1:1 ratio of G&TM to water, seasoned to taste with a few drops of black paint (ink works just as well). What you get is this:

Caesar Octavian is primed - can you see the difference?

You can see that he doesn't look much different from his unprimed self, but all the recesses have been shaded, which helps bring out the detail, and the overall model isn't nearly as shiny, which helps in picking out details as well.

Like any good miniature-painting monkey, the first thing I wanted to tackle was the skin. After a quick image search on Google for chimp, I had a pretty good idea of what color goes where. I started with a simple basecoat of black on the hair, and ended up getting his nose before I remembered I wasn't supposed to. No sweat, because it'll just get painted over in a bit.

After making sure my basecoat was even and hadn't missed any spots, I drybrushed on some dark gray to accent the hair. Unlike the Giant Gor, Octavian isn't primarily hair, so I wasn't too concerned with spending lots of time here. There are lots of other areas that viewers will focus on first, and those are the areas that really need to pop.

Caesar Octavian after the hairy parts are painted

With the hair done, I wanted to take care of what is arguably the most important part of any figure the face. In my research, I found that a chimpanzee's face is flesh-colored (which I knew), and that the fleshtones can vary quite a bit, from fairly pale to almost jet black. I decided I wanted something a little darker than "standard" Caucasian fleshtone, so I went with a basecoat of RP Asian and painted in his face, ears, and hands (#1 below).

After the basecoat, I applied two successively darker washes to the recessed areas, namely the eyes and brow, beneath the nose, mouth and chin, and wrinkles in his forehead (#s 2 and 3). Needless to say, I did the same for his ears and hands. After the shadowing was done, I did the same for the highlighting, this time with two successively lighter washes hitting the raised areas the nose, eyebrow areas, cheeks, tops of the wrinkles, etc (#s 4 and 5).

Lastly, I carefully painted ivory on the eyes (not white don't want him looking like he's just seen a ghost), and gave him pupils using a pigment pen (#6).

Ain't he a handsome devil?

Six stages of the face

The last thing to paint up on Octavian's head is his laurel. Here I simply gave it a basecoat of RP Forest Green, gave it a Hunter Green wash, and picked out the highlights with lighter green.

Caesar Octavian's head is done

Next Time - Caesar Octavian starts getting dressed for battle!