Painting Minis – Tabaxi Fighter

Tabaxi 2

As I mentioned in my previous painting post, I’m gearing up to run Curse of Strahd with our D&D regular group.  And since I enjoy the satisfaction I get from painting minis, especially for other people, I offered to paint minis for everyone.  One of my players is playing a Tabaxi fighter.  For anyone not familiar with the Tabaxi, they are cat people, recently created for Volo’s Guide to Monsters as a playable race (alongside the Aasimar that I painted last time).

Fortunately, our friend found minis for his fighter online, and they’ll work really well!  The downside for me is that I’ve never had to paint too many minis with fur before, and I will say that painting on a fur texture is NOT an easy thing to do well.  While I think these minis turned out pretty well, I’m quite certain there are better techniques to painting fur.  And fur with tiger stripes, at that.  These were probably one of the most difficult minis I’ve done, so far.

All that said, here’s how I went about painting this mini:

Tabaxi 3After trimming mold lines and priming with a white primer, I laid down an orange base coat.  This was challenging in and of itself, because a natural-looking orange for fur isn’t something that I have in my kit.  I ended up mixing a burnt orange with some yellow to tone down the orange saturation a bit.  Then I lightened that up using a lighter tan color.  The base coat was pretty orange, so I had to go over it again with this lighter version.  Then I brushed some highlights over the fur texture.

I then took white and mixed a small amount of the orange color into it so it wasn’t so stark, and I used that to coat areas with white underbelly and the face around the nose.  I tried to dry-brush this so it faded into the orange fur a bit.  I also made the fingertips white.  Overall, this fading effect turned out okay.

I painted the nose black and added black whisker spots.  For the mouth, the teeth are the same off-white, and the inside of the mouth is painted a crimson red.  The eyes I made black, with little white spots to mimic a reflection.

Next, I added the stripes.  This was the hardest part.  I had to figure out how to use the tip of the brush, vibrating it back and forth a bit, to try and get a more jagged-looking stripe.  I’m still not terribly enamored with the stripes.  I can’t complain too much, though.  They look okay, and it was only my first attempt at striped fur.

After the fur was done, I tackled the armor.  My player wanted dark leather armor and a lighter brown leather waist cloth.  I mixed up my custom leather brown again (1:1 RMS Shadowed Stone and RMS Harvest Brown) for the strapping.  I made a darker version for the armor bits, using RMS Armor Gray instead of the Shadowed Stone.  I ended up needing 2:1 brown to gray to get a good color.  Otherwise, it was too dark and gray-looking.  I added RMS Leather Brown for highlights on the armor, as it’s a medium brown color.  I lightened that up with RMS Dirty Bone to get highlights for the strapping.  I hit the leather with Citadel Agrax Earthshade wash to deepen the shadows a little.

Last up were the sword and shield.  He wanted a metal shield.  So, I gave it a black backing with leather handle, then dry-brushed RMS Honed Steel and RMS Polished Silver to give it a two-tone metal look on the front of the shield.  I gave it some contrast with a Citadel Nuln Oil black wash to fill in the details.

The sword I hit with a base coat of Armor Gray.  Then I dry-brushed Honed Steel onto it, and used Polished Silver on only the top half of the blade to give it a bit of upper highlights.  For the hilt, I made that brass-colored with Citadel Skullcrusher Brass.  (I really like this brass color, in addition to the Fulgurite Copper.  They don’t look too fake, like other metallics can.)  While I had the brass out, I also hit the flower pins around the waist cloth with brass.  The sword pommel I just made leather brown.  And inset in the hilt I used Citadel glazes to look like gemstones.  The base coat for these gems was Polished Silver for sparkle, then the top was a couple touches of red and blue glazes (Citadel Spiritstone Red and Soulstone Blue), and RMS Viper Green mixed with Vallejo metallic medium, since I don’t have the green glaze.

Lastly came the base.  I had just recently picked up a new technical paint from Citadel that creates a cracked, dry earth look.  It’s called Agrellan Earth.  I tried a thinner coat, and it just doesn’t crack properly as it dries.  I discovered you need to apply a very, VERY thick coat.  As it dries, the material shrinks and cracks, giving you the look you want.  I ended up needing two coats, as my first was too thin.  It also shows the base coat underneath as it cracks.  I didn’t put a base coat down, so I saw the white primer underneath.  Before the second coat, I applied a dark brown base coat for some shadow underneath the cracked dirt.  After letting it dry overnight, I used the Agrax Earthshade wash again to deepen the shadows in the cracks.  I then dry-brushed some highlights with Leather Brown on top.

To top off the base, I added tufts of GF9 grass for a little color.  I do this by applying a thin coat of super glue (cyanoacrylate) gel and dropping a bunch of grass fibers onto it.  After tapping off the excess grass, I blow at it from all directions to try and stand it up.  This only works if you use a thin layer of glue, otherwise it just flattens down into the gob of glue.  If need be, add a touch more glue and another tuft of grass to get a thicker patch.

Once done with all of that, I painted the edge of the base black and hit it with clear matte varnish to protect it.

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