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Painting Tutorial: Hay stacks, bales, and rounds (oh my)

Hi all,

MiniCannuck here with another painting tutorial.  This time I’m showing you a quick and easy way to paint the various hay models we have to fill out your farm, medievil village or Sadie Hopkins dance.

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We currently sell three different hay products.  Hay bales that are great by themselves or stacked to create a wall, hay stacks and hay wheels.  All of these models were sculpted by Brad Leaver.  The great thing is that each piece has lots of texture that makes drybrushing very easy.

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The first step is to prime the models black.  I used a GW black primer but any primer will work for this step.  The important thing is that you do a light, consistent coat so that everything is black but you don’t take away the detail.

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Next up is a coat of Raw Sienna.  I am using the Americana brand of acrylic paints.  They are cheap, easily found in most craft stores and work great on terrain projects.  As you can see, I leave places where the black shows through in order to give a dark shadow to the final product.  I get this affect by using a larger brush and not overloading it with paint.  If you have too much paint on the brush, you will get a glob of colour wherever you first put down the brush on the model.  The trick is to use a light touch which started at the top of the model (where there would the most light) and doing a steady stroke to the bottom of the model.

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The next layer is where we add our main colour – True Ochre.  This is the colour I want to translate to the viewer as the colour of the straw.  Basically, the lighter and darker colours are all accents to this main colour.  To achieve this affect, I need to have around 50% of the colour showing at the end with the other 50% of colour split between my shading and highlights.  I came up with this colour choice by looking at photos and paintings of hay fields.  There are other valid choices but this is the one that I liked best.  I created a Pinterest account to collect inspiration photos and I often refer back to the pictures I collect when I’m sculpting and/or painting a new model.  Creating an account is free and I find it helps me make choices as I work.

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Next up is a heavy dry brush of Lemon Yellow.  You want this colour to hit all the raised areas of the hay with a stronger focus on the top and edges.  This bright colour will help your main colour “pop” and give a visual focus to the model.

When I paint miniatures, I try my best to decide on where the light source is and paint the model based on that decision.  Often this is at an angle and not directly overhead  It adds realism to your project and makes the finished model look more interesting.

When I paint terrain, I still consider lighting but most of the time asume that the source is directly overhead.  The reason for this is that terrain is going to be placed all over my gaming table along with all the other terrain I’m using at the time.  By keeping my lighting source generic, I won’t have pieces look “wonky” when placed beside another piece.  At least, that is what I hope.

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The final colour I added was a dry brush of Pineapple.  This is only applied to the top of the model and the edges – making sure not to cover all of the Lemon Yellow highlight below.  I liked this colour because it is very pale.  If I was using it to highlight a miniature, I would probably transition from this colour all the way up to white.  When painting terrain, I tend to not go that far and try to balance the time it takes to paint with the quality I can accept for the painting table.  I’d rather spend more time on the miniatures than the terrain.  That is why we try to sculpt terrain that has lots of detail and can look great with just a few layers of paint.

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Here is the finished product.  The only thing left to do is spray it with some sealing spray to make it more durable for the gaming table.

I hope that you found this painting tutorial helpful.  Please feel free to use the paints I suggested or substitute your own colours to create something unique.  Either way, have fun making the gaming terrain that your miniatures deserve.

Peace out, eh?