When I started this model, I didn’t plan to be writing this guide to painting her. She has a number of primary colors that I think make great foundational tutorials into painting those colors which can be applied not only to this model, but to other models where these colors are going to be used. In this article I am going to focus on painting the red areas of the model.
One thing I want to mention before I get started with how I painted the red on this model is that for models like these it can be useful to reference character art from the comics as well as the manufacturers painted model as a reference point to where the color should go. Atomic Mass Games has some great pictures of the painted model including a 3D rotation to use as reference.
So every story has it’s start. With this model, I wanted a rich red color, not to dark, to compliment the blue that was all ready completed. I selected Reaper Paints 09402 Heraldic Red to be the base coat color. Much like with the blue, I painted it so that I had good, solid coverage over all areas of the model.
The next step and much of this process is going to be a repeat with just different colors of what I did with the blue. That means that next up is to wash the base color with Secret Weapon Soft Body Black Wash. This will deepen the color of the red and provide some natural shading to the red tone. Once the wash is dry, I then mixed a tiny bit of Reaper Paints 09037 Pure Black with the Heraldic Red and touched up the darker shadowed areas such as under the ribbon, between fingers, and the red padding/armor around the feet. This will really help these areas as I work my way into brighter colors have defined shadow and lines where armor pieces meet and ripples in cloth hide some of the light.
Next up was to go back through the model and re-establish that Heraldic Red base on the raised areas. It’s again at this point that you can start to see the real transition in colors on the model. I know this seems like a lot of effort to get to this point, but I feel it really makes a difference in the transition in the shadow transitions. If you look at the blue which it was similarly painted and is now in it’s near finished look you can see the direction that it is going.
Now it’s time to start bringing up the highlights on this model. For this work I will start blending in Reaper Paints 29802 Brilliant Red to the Heraldric Red base tone. To accomplish this I will start with about a 50/50 blend of the two colors and start touch all of the raised areas with this tone. I always mix in a little Liquitex Slow-Dri Blending Medium into this blend and all future layers. It’s also really important to then thin this so that as you brush on the paint it’s slightly opaque. After the initial layer of this mix, which was applied pretty generously to the raised areas, I went back with a straight Brilliant Red, water and slow dry medium mix but limited the amount of surface contact. The difference in color is subtle at this point, but it’s really important at this stage to build those transitions from dark to light gradually. It also takes quite a few coats of the straight brilliant red in places before I was happy with the result at this point.
At this point the model could be called tabletop ready for the red and you could stop here. I want the red to really pop much like the blue is doing currently so it needs to be highlighted. This is an area where I know many hobbyists struggle as red can easily be turned orange or pink at this stage. My goal will be to highlight the raised edges to a near white color to accentuate the lighting highlights that I did with the blue.
With red there are two ways to approach this, either highlighting with orange/yellow or to add white which will make things go pink. If controlled appropriately, both methods work very well. The key is to avoid doing large surfaces. Stick to the edges and raised areas. You don’t want to add tons of color here or you change the color from red to pink/orange and you don’t want that. For Captain Marvel I choose to go with an orange highlight layer. The character is known for her ability to generate fiery plasma energy bursts and to surround her self in a similar aura so this approach seemed natural.
To start this, I blended again a 50/50 ratio of Brilliant Red with Reaper Paints 29806 Fireball Orange. Add in a small amount of the slow dry medium and thin with water to that same opaque consistency and then focusing in on the edges where I want this extra layer of highlight to go I went to work. I want to pay special care to try to extend the areas where the blue highlights were applied as this should help lend the illusion to where light is hitting the model.
As I work this layer of highlight up I transition to a full Fireball Orange highlight. I am starting to work semi crescent shapes and triangles now and really reducing the amount of surface area I am hitting with highlight. It’s at this point you probably start thinking to yourself that you have went too far and it’s turning orange, but much of your original red should still be there. Working these layers is most certainly an effort in patience and time. However, the end result will be worth it.
Next step is to move on to the highest of highlights. First is to add in Reaper Paints 09090 Misty Grey to the Fireball Orange/Slow Dry Medium mixture. If you need to mix some more up the mix is about 50/50 paint and then water and medium same as before. Just worry about those highest points. I continued to mix in the Misty Grey as I worked up those highlights. Finally finishing the most extreme highlights with an almost pure blend of Misty Grey (probably 80% or so) to Fireball Orange.
At this point, there needs to be a bit of work to tone down the orange, but I need to be careful to not over do it and dull the highlights too much. The easiest way I can think of is to create a glaze with the Brilliant Red color from before mixed with a roughly equal amount of Liquitex Glazing Medium. To that blend I add a lot of water. I want a very thin wash consistency for this to work. This is definitely a point where over thin is a good thing as you can always do a second glaze if you aren’t happy with the first result but if you put too much on you have to redo most of the highlighting work.
Wrapping it up
Red can be a real challenge. In this exercise I hope I have showed you some ways to really over come the challenges of painting red. Overall I am pleased with the result, though there are some parts of this such as around the shoulders that I may tweek as the model gets closer to finished. Areas like those larger flat areas can be a real challenge when you start shifting to orange. Next up I will work on her flesh tones before moving on to the final yellows.
List of products used in this paint guide:
- Rust-Oleum flat white primer
- Reaper Paints 09402 Heraldic Red
- Reaper Paints 29802 Brilliant Red
- Reaper Paints 29806 Fireball Orange
- Reaper Paints 09090 Misty Grey
- Reaper Paints 09037 Pure Black
- Secret Weapon Soft Body Black Wash
- Liquitex Slow-Dri Blending Medium
- Liquitex Glazing Medium
- Windsor Newton Series 7 paint brushes