Painting Post Mortem: Kingdom Death “Satan Twin”

This past Friday night I shared a photo of some miniature painting work I did that evening; I finished up a pair of Stormtroopers from Imperial Assault and did most of the work to finish up my first-ever Kingdom Death miniature (well, sortof – more on that in a bit).

Here’s a closer look at the Kingdom Death miniature – it’s one of a two-pack of characters called the Satan Twins, and beyond that I don’t know much about it. This isn’t a real KD miniature – it’s a Chinese bootleg I bought on eBay for $6; real ones are in the neighborhood of $35. So given that I’m a terrible painter but interested in learning and getting better, a $6 experiment was more palatable than a $35 experiment.

Here’s a closer look at how it turned out:

Miniature Painting Update 12/30/2016

I’m pretty pleased with it. Here’s a guy trying to sell the same miniature on eBay as “pro painted” (it’s really not) for $300 – and I think mine is in at least a similar ballpark.

Things I tried:

  • multiple stages of highlights on the skin and cape. Those were basecoated and given a wash, then highlighted with the basecoat and two (the cape) or three (the skin) highlights.
  • I used an old Gundam marker to draw on the black straps; it was a good idea that I didn’t execute very well, and I will definitely be trying this again.
  • I posted this photo on Facebook in a Kingdom Death group thats populated by some incredibly good painters. It was nervewracking to throw this out in front of people, but I got some good feedback that I’ll attempt to incorporate into my next model.

Things I will do differently next time:

  • I need to work with much, much thinner paint. I keep trying to push that, and I used far thinner paint on this model than I did on either of the Imperial Assault minis I finished up on Friday. But I need to go much further; I could tell a difference, but some of the highlights – especially on the waist cloak – are still far too bulky and chalky. The hair is a mess because of this, as well. This is just something I’m going to have to experiment with until I figure it out.
  • I made a wet palette that I’ll try to use the next time I paint a model. Rapidly drying paint seemed to go hand-in-hand with some of the gloppy application.
  • I may try doing some painting before I fully assemble the next Kingdom Death model I paint. These are incredibly detailed and intricate models, and it’s difficult to get the brush into some of the small spaces. The right arm on this model is a separate piece of resin, and I broke it off at the glue joint when I was painting it. That actually made painting the underside of the arm something I could do, because it was too close to the body to try and get a brush in there before.
  • I basecoated the shoulder and chest armor, waistcoat and legplates first and then didn’t basecoat the arms until much later. As a result, they’re a noticably different color (the arms are a far brighter red). I also didn’t do as much highlighting on the arms.
  • I made basically no effort to paint the eyes or mouth. There are a couple of token splotches of white paint on her eyes and I put some sloppy pink on her lips and that’s about it. I have no idea how to paint a decent face that’s an eighth of an inch wide – I have some ideas for things to try next time though.

And, given that this model is about an inch and a half tall, there are things about it I just didn’t notice until I looked at it blown up dozens of times in this photo:

  • I got grey from the hair all over the left shoulder. I had no idea that happened until I saw the photo. Same with the flesh highlight that spilled over onto the top of the right side of her waist.
  • The edges of the red outfit are really sloppy; painting the upper surfaces of the outfit wasn’t terribly difficult, but getting those tiny, half-millimeter edges to look clean is going to take a ton of practice, even for the basecoat. One brush bristle going in the wrong place and that’s not going to look right.
  • The shoulders are supposed to be bare and I painted them red like part of the outfit. I almost prefer this look though, and if I were to get another copy of this model (and I might) I’d be tempted to paint it this way again.
  • I could tell it was rough when I painted it, but the low quality of the bootleg cast is pretty apparent in this picture. Pretty much the entire right arm is blocky and ill-defined, the upper border between the arm armor and her skin is a mess on both arms, the feet are mushy, etc. Even so, I felt this was a totally adequate piece to try and push my abilities with.

Overall, even after looking over this from top to bottom in this huge photo and seeing the things I need to work on magnified to such a glaring degree, I’m quite happy with how this turned out. I’d put this on a table to play in a game without hesitation. And, I have a laundry list of things to try and do differently next time – which was the point of the experiment to begin with. I have two more Kingdom Death bootlegs miniatures to play around with and two more on the way from China, which I hope will get me comfortable enough to paint the two legitimate miniatures I bought from the Kingdom Death shop on Black Friday.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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