Leather face – Leisynn to Lich Conversion

This weeks showcase features leathery skin, the pungent smell of decay and everlasting hatred. My, what a menu! We take the fairly funky Reaper sculpt Leisynn Mercenary Mage sculpted by Tim Prow and convert it to an ancient Lich. I will also focus on how to paint illuminated book pages. So keep your smelling salts at the ready and descent into the lair of the Lich.

As far as sculpts go Leisynn is definitely imaginative. The Bones version suffers of limp staff, but I guess a Lich really doesn’t care anymore. Otherwise the sculpt is nicely detailed, crisp, but naturally not as good as the metal version. With his horns and snake he sure looks demented. As I mentioned before, Bones miniatures are perfect for conversions. Easy to cut and cheap, so don’t try this with the metal Leisynn.

Triming the fat

Leisynn’s story is a sad one. He was once a half painted wizard in a dark storage box. The years of captivity took their toll and he lost all his marbles. Once released he underwent a painful procedure to take horrible revenge. Little did he know that his captor was also his surgeon.

The first step is to remove all the unwanted detailing: In my case the head and hair, most of the front detail, and the staff. I kept the parts, as they might come in handy down the road.

Transforming Leisynn’s head and front

With some wire and a bit of sprue I pre-shaped his new staff, added a Warlord Skeleton head and halved rip cage.

Next, with the help of some greenstuff, I sculpted leathery skin on the head, making sure the features of the skull were not covered. This was done with very little greenstuff and first a clay shaper to press the epoxy in the recesses of the skull and then a needle tool to get finer detail going. Usually I wait until the greenstuff is cured before I move on to another section.

As I cut away almost all of Leisynn’s frontal detail I now had to reshape the stola on both sides. A thin band of greenstuff was shaped and smoothed with a clay shaper.

To add some more interest to the book I made a press mold of a Statuesque head and made a copy of the face only.

Finally a wider band of greenstuff was applied to the front to cover the rip cage. This piece was then shaped to form the robe and belt. In hindsight it would have been easier to just sculpt the robe and the belt the next day.

A face only a Lich can love

With the front detail finished, I now was able to revisit the staff and face.

I added some more facial detail, such as a rotten nose and tongue, eyeballs, one eyelid and wispy hair. The staff got a gnarled wood texture and I integrated the crystal more, as if the staff grew around it. Again, the important part is to only sculpt one section at a time. Onwards to painting the lich!

Undead colour schemes

Painting the Lich posed a few challenges. The skin should read as old, dry and leathery, the robes dusty and weathered. As I wanted the book to feature an illumination and not only text, my work was set out for me.

I painted Leisynn in 2019, so back then I did not push contrast as much as I do now. Nevertheless, I went for a desaturated purple and red, combined with a bright purple crystal and faint brocade texture on the stola as well as bright purple ‘glowing’ eyes. To dirty is robes I used my trusty Tamiya Weathering Master pigments. The B-Set fetures white pigment for snow, a medium brown for dust and a black for soot. You can mix them, too, and achieve a variety of brown tones.

I was hoping to establish some contrast with the brocade texture and guide the eye along the sculpt with the glowing eyes, crystal and robe pattern forming a triangle. Nowadays I would make the shadows, say the folds of the robe, significantly darker and add some more varied tones to the skin. Maybe a cold green or even a blue to achieve more contrast.

Fancy freehand illumination

As I mentioned before, the illumination was difficult to pull off. The magnification shows that any writing is just an interrupted squiggly line. It helps if you use a bit of flow aid to get the paint off the brush. The drop cap and illuminations were both painted with a sharp tipped size 2 brush. First you make a sketch and refine it, then you go in again with color.

I am not sure if it is really that discernible, but the illumination shows the devil riding Behemoth from the medieval Liber Floridus. It kinda works, but these days I would try to add more detail.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s showcase. With a bit of imagination it is possible to transform even a slightly over-the-top miniature like Leisynn into a more grounded version. Maybe you feel now inspired to convert a mini or to paint a freehand. Any suggestions, questions or other things to share: comment below. Dead or undead, always wield your brush with honour.

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Mark A. Morin
1 year ago

Just amazing

Ann
Ann
1 year ago

That is a pretty fantastic conversion and the freehand on the book is wonderful Great stuff!

imperialrebelork
1 year ago

Absolutely brilliant conversion man

Kuribo
1 year ago

Really nice job on the conversion. That had to have taken some patience to get together. My favorite detail was the manuscript which has a lot of detail for such a small piece of the overall composition. It is funny because a Necromancer is a common subject for fantasy miniatures but there aren’t many great minis of them that I can think of. I like yours about as well as any I’ve seen 🙂

Kuribo
Reply to  DaggerAndBrush
1 year ago

Over the top is a good way to describe them I would say and I’ll be looking forward to that female Necromancer 🙂

Dacey
1 year ago

Fantastic conversion! And the detail on that book is just wonderful!

Dacey
Reply to  DaggerAndBrush
1 year ago

I can only imagine how fiddly it was. I’e only dabbled in painting book pages, I usually take the easy way out and scribble some lines to look like text using a micron pen and call it a day.

I think the illustration looks like the reference in a sort of abstract way, though I may not be able to identify it without the reference. That more to do with lack of familiarity of the original image, though. I look forward to seeing what you try next time you’ve got the opportunity to paint a book. 🙂

jherazob
jherazob
Reply to  DaggerAndBrush
1 year ago

It most freaking certainly does! I bet a medieval manuscripts enthusiast will see the mini and do a double-take 😀

jherazob
jherazob
1 year ago

Hell of a great job!

Ceda_Kuru_Qan
1 year ago

Absolutely brilliant work, and some handy tips in there too

bicskeiz
bicskeiz
1 year ago

Awsome conversion! I am by far not as talented as You, but exactly thats way, maybe I have a useful hint: I make such small writings and freehands (at least the outlines) with a fineliner (0,1 or even 0,05mm), and I think its much easier than with a brush.

borderguy190
1 year ago

That’s a heck of a conversion and paint job. Bravo!