01 December 2010


A recent forum discussion of Wargames Factory figures brought up the topic of the eyes on their latest figures. As I painted some of the newest figures, I had some personal experience. I thought I would try to show some close-ups and explain why I like this style of sculpting.

Click the images to enlarge.

Here's a step by step of a pair of really quick heads I painted as an example. Mind you, these are really close up, so every little irregularity of my painting is advertised for all to see. I think they look fine when viewed normally.

The way I've done the flesh & eyes is the same as any style of figure: base coat of flesh, followed by a wash, followed by some highlighting & maybe a bit of color. Then the whites of the eyes are painted. In any case, this is a horizontal line across the eye. In the case of the majority of figures, there will be eye lids sculpted on, so you run your brush along the recessed portion (the eyeball itself. In the case of WF and some other figures, there is a sold orb. So the way I paint, the horizontal line is the eyeball, and the part above and below, which are left flesh colored, are the lids. Lastly add some dots for the pupil & iris.

I drew up a quick diagram (in profile) on the paper covering my work area while I was waiting for paint to dry. :) This shows the two styles of sculpting...

So the top diagram would be like the WF figures in the photo above. They have a solid orb. The lower diagram shows the eye with sculpted lids.

The reason why I prefer the solid orb style is that when you are putting the brush to the whites (or pupils) of the sculpted eyelid style, it is easy to accidentally get your white or black paint on the edges of the lids, since you have to maneuver the brush past this raised area, to get to the eyeball below.

An alternate method for the lower (well, for either, really) would be to paint the eyeball first, then go back and paint the eyelids over the top of them, but that seems like an extra step to me. I also tend to paint the flesh on most figures very quickly, as its usually the first step. Plus it's tedious enough painting eyeballs, I'm not sure I want to paint eyeballs, then carefully paint the lids after.

As with any painting techniques & sculpting styles, this is a matter of personal preference.

But the point I wanted to make is that the solid orb style eyes are only "eggy" looking if you paint them that way. Furthermore, the sculpted lid figures still require the painter to carefully paint on all of those details, otherwise they will produce equally awkward results.


  1. Impressive tutorial; your sketch is also very impressive - very professionally done. Regards, Dean

  2. Thank you. That's very flattering.

    Like I said, that was seriously something I just did with what was on hand while I was watching paint dry. :)

  3. Great tutorial.

    As an alternate point, for those who do not paint eyes, the sculpted eye shows up with a wash, so that the figures do not look like their eyes are closed.

  4. That is a good point.

    Sculpted lids will probably look better if you're not painting the eyes. Especially if you give the flesh a wash of some sort, as the eyes will appear to be in shadow, which is pretty realistic when you look at someone from a distance.