Paint Minion
Painted & Unpainted Miniatures for Gamers and Collectors

PaintMinion Dragon Diary...

Well, you waited forever for this one, so I'll do my best tp pick up where I left off and give what info I can so that your own dragon prep can go more smoothly!

To condense a bit and get the beastie put together: Get your head together!

The top of the head is pinned to the neck, glued and let stand to cure a bit. Then I put on the side frilly details to the head and let the glue cure again. Once those are solid and secure, it's time to fill in the cracks with Aves Apoxie Sculpt.

First, the back of the neck where the pieces come together I pushed in a bunch of the apoxie and then smoothed down with sculpting tools and water. Next I did a bit of fill and sculpting to blend in the frillies on each side of the head better and a bit on the inside of the mouth as well. Once complete, this all cured overnight and was filed and tweaked before doing anything else with the head ... so let's move on to the torso and legs.

I pinned each of the legs on, one at a time ... remember that I drilled all the holes before putting anything together so once I'm to the "putting together" stage, I shouldn't have to handle the beastie anymore than glue and prop in place until set.

So, one leg at a time, I glued them in place and let sit a bit before gluing on the next leg. I made a lot of dry runs on the piecing together so I could check how the legs needed to fit in order for this beastie to stand up straight. Remember that the front legs must fit into the base sculpture ... and that needed a bit of tweaking by the time I got there, no matter how careful I thought I'd been. Once they were set, I mixed up some more Aves and was ready to work again. Most of the leg filling is in the deep creases of the muscles, so it's pretty easy, but avoid putting too much Aves in there and mucking up the details. I roll a long string of Aves and lay it into the crease and use sculpting tools dipped in water to push it into the cracks big time.

Once filled, I take off most of the excess Aves and work to smooth it out and blend it into the figure. Then sculpt a bit to tweak it. Then it all dries overnight.

In order for the tail to fit and lift off the table a bit, I ended up raising the feet a little by putting a pad of Aves on the bottom of the feet. You can see that on the back legs there. Again, all blended in to just look like a larger rock he's resting on.

All set to move on now! Remember that the puttied feet have to cure upside down before you can flip him over, or he may putty himself to your work surface.

Okay, now remember that head that we'd already prepped and let set up? It's ready to get pinned in place and once again puttied after ... you see the trend. Mostly each piece is prepped as much as possible and the Aves let set overnight so it's solid when the next piece comes together with it. Yes, it takes a few days to do this, but you can cheat by doing stuff in the morning, let sit until solid, and come back that evening for the next part, then let it set and be ready to go again in the morning.

When I decided on the pinning for some of these pieces, I considered any twisting or torque motion on them, and so for the head and tail I actually pinned to the side, instead of in the middle. This just gave it more stability and will cut down on breakage when handled.

Again, glue the pins and putty after. Here's the piece pinned in place so you can see the line that needs to be puttied up for a smooth transition.

And here I've filled in with Aves and worked towards smoothing it out and then doing a touch of texture to make it blend into the torso.

And filling in with some texture, which sometimes means adding a bit more Aves to play with, or taking a lump of Aves left on there and blending it back into the sculpt when it's hard to figure out how much to take off and how much Aves to leave on.

And below you see the same thing with the tail ... again, making sure to blend it into the sculpt as much as possible ... the point is to make it look like one solid piece!

Okay, the only other things to add on are the front base piece, and the wings. Same process! I mounted him on the front base piece first. Again, I made sure he was stable, then glued the pins, let set and filled with the Aves again, blending it into the rock. Then the wings went on one at a time, making sure it was cured solid before attempting the second wing to avoid any breakage problems.

Once all was set, I primed him in white ... I generally use Citadel primer.

Check the piece over carefully for all of your work, for stray hairs and whatnot that get caught in all that primer, for join work that might need more sanding or tweaking with a knife ... and then use brush on primer to cover up the spots you rework.

Check around the frilly bits and see if they blend in okay.

Check the base mounting to make sure all is solid and go ahead and sand or trim down rough edges like you see a bit here in the rocks under the right side there.

Check the smoothness of under the wings - you've just been handling this beastie to get it primed from all angles and every spot, so make sure no cracks show in your joins, or you'll need to determine why and fix it before you go on ... cracks now mean bigger damage later.

Your dragon should be one solid piece, as smoothly blended together as you can get, primed completely and ready to paint! Remember to give the primer some time to cure as well ... and remember to dust the beastie every time you start to paint it to minimize the stray dust and particles that might drift down and attach themselves.

So ... next edition, in a week or so, I'll have the painting of this dragon ready for you! Good painting and luck on your own dragon!