Painting & texturising headsculpts – Fast-track

A good headsculpt is wonderful to work on, and I found Dragon’s 2001 Fallschirmjager ‘Werner Hesse” a delight. My reason for saying this is because to me, it captures the persona of a handsome young man of the 1940’s… the ‘Brylcreem’ Man of many a Brylcreem advertisement! The reason for this headsculpt repaint title is simply to illustrate a fast process to repainting a headsculpt without resorting to acetone paint stripping or even painting the entire head and neck. I did not paint the neck and hair area simply because it will be covered up! I also took the opportunity to share how I create skin texture. The headsculpts of 2010/2011 are infinitely different from those sculpted in 2000 – a lot of attention is paid to little details, facial musculature and skin texture are better defined – and heavily texturised; augmented by a tedious painting process which gives the effect of ‘realistic’ skin. The process/techniques I am showing are just my attempts at reverse-engineering on an early product that has already been realised; the techniques are as always exploratory and experimental – they can and should be improved upon – thus giving these decent headsculpts an ‘extended’ lifespan.

Left: Headsculpt in original paintwork prior to being rinsed in dishwashing liquid. Right: Once dried, the eyes were blocked in with light blue acrylic. This mix is actually a mixture of a touch of mid blue and taupe.

As this was a fast-track headsculpt paintjob, the original paint was left as is, there was no stripping off the paint with acetone. Left: With the paintbrush still loaded with the light blue mix, I quickly mixed up a wash of taupe + light blue. The idea was to quickly paint a thin acrylic wash of taupe with a hint of light blue over the existing paintwork; stopping at the jawline. Once dried, the lower inner lids of the eyes were painted with a mix of brick red + flesh.

Top left: A wash of thinned brick red with acrylic Medium is then applied. Top right: A stipple brush was used to create texture by a series of jabbing and stroking movements. Bottom left and right: The headsculpt with Medium drying out.

Top left: Another wash of thinned brick red with acrylic glaze Medium is applied, followed by the process of using a stipple brush to create texture by a series of jabbing and stroking movements. Bottom left and right: The headsculpt with a wash of thinned (diluted) brick red; the edges were vigorously painted and excess wash dabbed away, before the paint dried.

Top left: Some stippling of the cheek section with a stiple brush. I was not satisfied and had another go with a wash of diluted brick red; this time I was a bit slow and the edges of the paint dried out, leaving a mark. This will be retouched at the next stage.

Top left: A wash of extremely diluted brick red and acrylic glaze Medium is now applied, when almost semi dried the surface is 'attacked' with the tip of a stiple brush loaded with dark flesh paint. The eyes, eyebrowsand lips have been painted in, they would need a touch-up later.

Top left: Original head. Top right: Repainted head. After these photographs were taken, another session of 'spotting' was undertaken with accompanying brick red wash/Medium treatment.

I might do another session with lighter skin spots as i am not satisfied with the final outcome. There are certain questions I ask myself at this stage - does subsequent layers of glaze Medium 'cover up' the preceding textures? Perhaps, to a certain degree. While the texture appears to be quite apparent; it would appear that a layer of tinted glaze Medium wash would help to give that 'waxy' look to the skin surface.

Final output. Another session of speckling followed by a thin layer of acrylic Medium. The stipple brush was used to create little wrinkles on the skin by gentle stroking of the brushtip on the Medium. Once dried, another layer of diluted Medium was applied for that waxy finish. My eyes are not as good as they were and I might need the aid of a magnifier... oh dear!

Here's Werner Hesse in all his handsome glory!