Queen Alien Bust
by Erik Gosselin
Someone created a resin bust I always dreamed of painting some day.
The Alien Queen 1:4 scale showstopper from Narin.
For this specific painting project, my compressor was the Power Jet Pro (very little noise, double air attachment) , my detailing airbrush was the IWATA HP-C, and for my general coverage and shading the IWATA ECLIPSE was the a must.
I used some ComArt paints, FW acrylic inks, Rembrandt ground soft pastels, Skin Illustrator alcohol-based make-up, and finally, Krylon primers and sealers.
First off, let me say that I did not get this incredible kit for the assembly challenge…it only has 4 huge resin pieces to glue together, and 6x back spikes! But this creature design has always been amazingly ‘organic’ and ‘dangerous’, and the sculpture is wonderful…perfect for a painter that likes putting in the details, using many overlays and techniques as possible.
ASSEMBLY AND BASE
After completing the general assembly of the actual bust, I filled some gaps with epoxy putty and
sanded some mold lines on both the bust and the base, keeping them separate for ease-of-access when
painting; routine stuff, nothing major.
I decided to paint the base first, a ‘hammered-metal-gold-silver-rusty-type’ color, contrasting my intended dark brown-charcoal marbling of the head. Along the same line of contrast, and keeping with the original concept of ‘Aliens’, the base was to be very matte, compared to the ultra shine of the Alien skin-shell.
A grey primer/ adhesion promoter was applied first, and then ‘Krylon hammered-metal-silver’ was sprayed as a base, both directly out of the can. The latter renders the hammer effect beautifully in just one step.
Brown and black washes (at least 2 different colors, in 2 different layered applications) were used unevenly, bringing out all the creases and shadows. I used a mix of 1:1:1:1 ratio ‘antelope brown’ FW acrylic ink, ‘burnt umber’ ComArt paint, Liquitex ‘matte medium’ and water, brushing that everywhere, but, instead of toweling off the excess color with a wet piece of paper, I ‘tap’ it out with a sea sponge.
This one-step technique ends up being two-steps, creating nice shadings and contrasts in recesses and cracks, while building up some uneven marbling effect on flat surfaces.
Keep a hairdryer close by and use it every minute or so, to ‘move’ the liquid excesses around, see quickly if your transparency is good, and help make it dry faster.
(in the past I have used commercial wood furniture stains, that worked very well also)
Two hours later, when all is dry, on specific areas that needed to shine, I added very detailed silver and gold highlights, with a fine brush, using the ‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ pastes from Rub’nBuff, sealing the whole piece 12 hours later.
Lastly, rust touches…’dirt/ rust’ drips and puddles were laid down.
To do my ‘rust’ I mix actual… rust, scraped off metal in the backyard (necessity is the mother of invention!), in a 1:1:1:1 ratio with ComArt ‘red oxide’, Liquitex ‘matte medium’ and water.
Again, let dry overnight. Moving on to the star of the show…
PAINTING THE HEAD
Now, the bust..
Deciding how I wanted the resin Queen to look was easy. Believe it or not, I chose to paint it to look similar
to the darker skinned ZOMBIES in ‘Mayhem: part 2’; by the way, I also used that reference for a full size dead werewolf (‘Connor Wolf’) I just did for the tv series ‘Being Human’. Probably two of the most obscure references ever mentioned in an article of that type!!
It is somewhat different from the usual ‘Alien’ color scheme, which is much more ‘black’; a marbled brown-charcoal, with many tonal variations on specific parts…very contrasty, very organic. I like it very much and it makes the sculpting details pop-out.
A primer was sprayed to help adhesion of the entire paint job and to cover the epoxy repairs; since I am a big fan of multiple overlays of transluscent colors though, I chose for my primer a tint that would end up being the palest of my desired final look… to work WITH the final intended goal, not AGAINST it, also giving me the option to not cover every single square inch of skin and shell completely, leaving paler ‘spots’, creating depth.
To start the actual coloration process, once the primer is dry and ready, I brush some different grey shades everywhere to break-up the uniformly colored base, giving it texture and the appearance of transluscency. Just like I did on the base, the 2-in-1 technique of ‘wash’ and ‘marbling’ was done by using the mix unevenly everywhere toweling off the excess color with a wet sea sponge, not a paper towel. Same mix ratio as for the above mentioned base wash, but in dark greys instead of browns. (again, I recommend at least 2 different tints, in 2 different layered applications, giving the look of a much richer marbling)
The goal here is to give the flat areas a granit look, and have cracks and recesses pop out even before we fire up the compressor. It also provides an excellent template for the crazy details that we will add later.
Now, we fire up the compressor, using the HP-C for details, and the Eclipse for shading.
ComArt ‘burnt umber’ with a drop of black, is used to paint veining everywhere you judge it necessary…as in ‘cool looking’!
Redo that step, with an even darker shade, being more specific in the application…
then a third pass with a ratio color of 1:1 black and burnt umber, really deepening those recesses and ‘important veins’.
Keep each color showing through, even the primer, until the end.
Again we are doing 2 steps in 1, veining and shading, double-action airbrushes being the best tool for this job, saving time, and giving a more finished look to the piece, quicker.
Finally, I airbrushed, and brushed, some more minute details like gums (almost black to see the teeth and lips better), wounds, scratches, teeth (a subtle yellow-to-white fade), and any other ‘points-of-interest’ to your kit. PPI’s Skin Illustrator colors (whites and yellows), and Rembrandt grounded pastels (purple, dark red, and dark blue) were used for that final step.
Seal everything with triple-coat glossy finish from Krylon…and step back!!
I gave mine 5 thin coats, letting each dry well before the next application.
NOTE on transluscency: (I wrote that before in other articles but, in my opinion, it warrants it!)
my personal theory on this, based on the magical ‘color wheel’…
it is better to use 2 different colors, overlapping, than using any of the pure ones alone. Let me give you an example.
If I need GREEN somewhere, to cancel RED or add some interest to that area, I add BLUE and then YELLOW, on top of each other, unevenly, instead of the straight green!
Same goes for shadows; if you want a BROWN shadow, use RED and GREEN overlapping instead of the pure brown.
It always did wonders for me, but only after some practice on ratios. The airbrush is the perfect tool to do that, by the way, preventing ‘muddying’ and ‘greying’. Try it.
The superimposition of multiple, subtle, transluscent colors, really helps trick the eye into perceiving the opaque unicolor plastic as a transluscent, organic piece of art.
Thanks to painters and sculptors everywhere that inspire me!
On to the next resin kit or monster…