Elladan Elf Ranger by Reaper Miniatures is a nice miniature out of the box. A Werner Klocke original no less. The face is just great both in metal and Bones. I just love the subtle, but recognisable smirk. Elladan features a lot of equipment that could be made out of leather. So this time my focus will be on painting ‘brown’. The main challenge is to not just have a brown blob in the end, but a variety of tones and textures.
If you creep through the woods on a daily basis you sure will look rugged. So worn leather it is. There are a few techniques to achieve such a look. The interwebs offer dozens of guides, but I recommend Creative Twilights tutorial for starters and Massive Voodoo for the advanced painter.
The Bones version has the common issue of bendy swords, but is otherwise a good copy of the metal version. I am a fan of smaller, more realistic sized weapons, so this wasn’t an issue. Both orignal weapons got a makeover exchanging them with a dagger and curved sword from my bitz box.
If you compare my version to the original, there is another subtle change: the right arm is not stretched out anymore, but now is slightly bent. This makes the pose more dynamic and he looks like he is searching for an opening in his opponents defence.
Painting worn leather
Ok, but how do we actually paint Elladan’s equipment? The main idea is to either shade and highlight using texture (fine lines and stippling on areas seeing wear and tear) or to finish shading and highlighting as usual and then add the texture. Both techniques benefit from successive glazing until the texture fuses with the existing paint job. The first option looks better, the second is faster. I went for option two.
Accordingly I tried out a variety of leather tones, ranging from warm to cold, dark to light. For instance his leather cape is a warm chestnut brown, while the leather overcoat is a cooler brown. Straps, shoulder pieces and loin cloth are a lighter, untanned leather tone. So while it is all brown, with ‘warm’, ‘cold’, ‘dark’ and ‘light’ you have a few options to keep it interesting and to differentiate areas. I am happy with the worn leather look, but I will try option one with the next leather heavy mini to achieve a more refined look.
I only added two more colours: a warm green for the cloak (fairly pleased about the blend) and a warm purple as an accent colour.
All in all I am happy how Elladan came out. The skin blend around his cheek bones could be smoother and the leather at the front could be a tad more contrast rich, that is I should have deepened the shadows more. I hope you enjoyed this week’s showcase and got some ideas how to approach worn leather effects. Any questions or suggestions please comment below. Pointy ears or not, always wield your brush with honor.