This is a tutorial on how to paint and how to base the White Lion from Kingdom Death: Monster.
The White Lion is THE first monster you will encounter in your dark and dangerous exploration of the world of Kingdom Death: Monster. You will most likely continue to encounter the White Lion multiple times in subsequent Lantern Years. As such, it will provide you with some of your earliest resources in order to craft your first weapons, armor sets, and necessary materials for innovations and other upgrades for your settlement — that is, if it doesn’t maul all of your survivors to death. Its human-like hands make the White Lion unique, suggesting perhaps a human connection or even origin. That’s up to you to discover, but watch your step.
Assembly and Tools:
- Flush Cutters
- Xacto Knife
- Tamiya Extra Thin Plastic Cement
- Green Stuff (Optional)
- Stainless Steel Wax Carvers (Optional)
- Sand paper/File (Optional)
- Facemask/respirator when working with Plastic Cement (Optional)
Important Safety: Make sure to use the Plastic Cement in a well ventilated area because it has some pretty strong fumes, even with the facemask/respirator.
The miniature was cut from the sprues and assembled as directed by the KDM build site. The Xacto Knife and files were used to smooth out and cut out any extra pieces of plastic hanging off. The Green Stuff, though optional, I highly recommend. I used them to fill the unavoidably gigantic gaps between the pieces once cemented together. Once the lion was assembled, I waited until much, much later to glue it on to the base.
Painting the Lion:
- Vallejo Surface Primer – White
- Reaper MSP White
- Reaper MSP Dirty Bone
- Reaper MSP Leather Brown
- Reaper MSP Harvest Brown
- Vallejo Game Color Bloody Red
- Reaper MSP Shadowed Stone
- Vallejo Matte Varnish
- Water for thinning paints
Step-by-Step Painting Guide:
- Apply Primer – I used brush-on primer by Vallejo – Surface Primer White. The White Lion will be white, so a white primer will make every light coat easier.
- Paint Base Coat – 2:1 mixture of White and Dirty Bone creates a very light ivory color. Do NOT paint the White Lion with JUST white. This creates an unnatural color and does not allow you to have any highlights — white is the lightest you can go.
- Glaze lightest shadows of the body – 3:1:1 mixture of White, Dirty Bone, and Leather Brown creates a tone just below the base coat. I added 4-5 portions of water. The consistency is like a slightly heavy wash. Not too runny, but translucent enough. This shadow covered the most range and surface area. Basically everything not facing upward to the light source (directly up) had a treatment of this. Multiple runs on areas to be accented such as ribs and leg muscles.
- Glaze darker shadows of the body – Two more tones of shadows were applied as glazes. 2:1:1 White, Dirty Bone, Leather Brown and 2:1:1:1 White, Dirty Bone, Leather Brown, and Harvest Brown; both mixtures thinned enough to a skim-milk consistency to behave as a glaze. These were not coated on, they were glazed on in small amounts. The idea is to drag the darker tones toward the areas that really needed the shadows such as the darkest crevices of the muscles, ribs, and pelvis.
- Wash the mane with a dark wash (also used for eye sockets) – Not so dark wash though. I used a 2:1:1 ratio of White, Dirty Bone, and Shadowed Stone with 4 portions of water. I used this as a very watery wash over the mane. I made sure to drag the wash into the crevices of the mane and to do about 3-4 layers of this with more and more on the underside and sides. This keeps the mane a shadowed white while keeping the body at about a light beige/ivory. Make sure to allow each wash layer to dry completely. Otherwise you will be dragging around pigments where you don’t want them. **I also used a small amount of this wash into the eye sockets of the lion to give the eyes some depth and definition.**
- Paint eyes, mouth, and inside of ears – Pure red for the eyes. Two dots will suffice. 2:1 ratio of Bloody Red and Shadowed Stone, watered to a consistency between base and glaze. This was used to fill the mouth with redness. A small detail brush was used to trace the gums of the lion. The same color was used to paint the inside of the ears.
- Highlight the body – The body was highlighted using glazes with 1:1 ratio of White and Dirty Bone. This was in a glaze consistency and very carefully applied to the smallest surfaces that are directly facing up such as the tips of the shoulders/pelvis, the backbone, forehead, top of the nose, and the toppest/roundest parts of the muscles.
- Drybrush mane white – Pure white was used to gently drybrush the top-facing parts of the mane with a huge emphasis on the top of the head.
- Varnish/seal with Vallejo Matte Varnish. The skin and hair should not be glossy. Should you choose, you may use a dot of Gloss Varnish on the eyeballs. If you don’t like it, you can always just layer on Matte again.
- PVA Glue (Elmer’s Glue works or the glue from The Army Painter Battlefields Basing Set)
- Tamiya Extra Thin Plastic Cement
- Cheap paintbrushes
- Green Flock/Static Grass from The Army Painter Battlefields Basing Set
- Woodland Scenics Wild Honey Flock/Static Grass
- Woodland Scenics Field Grass – Harvest Gold
- Rubber bands
- Plastic container/tupperware to catch flock/grass
- Vallejo Surface Primer – Black
- Reaper MSP Leather Brown
- Citadel Technical Paint – Agrellan Earth (Optional)
- Army Painter Ink/Wash – Dark Tone (Optional)
Step-by-Step Basing Guide:
Important Note: I do NOT recommend using the same paintbrushes on basing as you do for your miniatures. You will end up ruining some really good brushes just for base highlights and dry-brushing.
- Prime and paint the base BEFORE placing the Lion on it. I primed the base black, then I used Citadel’s Agrellan Earth to create a cracked, dry earth. After drying, the cracked earth was washed using a Dark Tone, couple of times, in order to accentuate the dark cracks. This step is optional because you will be covering the earth with grass soon anyhow, but I liked it. I then dry-brushed the surface with Reaper MSP Leather Brown.
- Apply Plastic Cement to White Lion and the base. Attach the two together and let them sit to harden and bond.
- Once bonded, apply PVA to the base and around the White Lion’s foot. I used a cheap paintbrush to evenly apply the glue around and to the edges of the White Lion’s foot. It is also important to make sure to add glue in between the White Lion’s claws. Otherwise, you will have empty patches of no grass which might look weird.
- Drizzle the grass onto the base and gently press it into the base. For this I created an approximately 60:40 ratio of Wild Honey and Green Grass flock. The Wild Honey alone is too bright and flat and the Green Grass alone is too vibrant. A combination creates a somewhat dry, yet not-so-dead, grass.
- Shake off excess static grass/flock from the base. Depending on the volume you are looking for in terms of the first layer of grass, you may wish to repeat Step 4.
- Place Field Grass. Okay, it’s not that simple. This is actually the most difficult part of the basing. So here are some mini-steps:
- Place a dollop of glue on your plastic container. You will be dipping the tips of the Field Grass bundles here before you place them on your base.
- Gather a bundle of Field Grass. Hold it between your index finger and thumb. Find the length you are looking for.
- At this point you may use a rubber band to keep the bundle together.
- Gently twist the bundle in your fingers to create some natural unevenness in the height of the grass.
- Cut the grass at your desired length.
- Dip the flat end (part where you just cut) in glue.
- Place on your base. You may have to hold it for anywhere between 5-15 seconds so that it sticks in place.
- Adjust and readjust the grass so that it looks and positions the way you want it to. If you find that you need more glue, take your paintbrush, load it with glue, and gently press down on the base of your field grass, being very careful not to pull out the grass.
- Repeat the steps above until you have reached the amount of grass you like.
- “Groom” your grass to the proper length and style.
Other Ideas for Painting/Basing:
- Use any amount of grass as you feel is necessary to get the right look for your White Lion and its base.
- Other debris such as small rocks, eroded armor/weapons could add to the scenery of the base.