Monday, January 7, 2013

Showcase: The Skethar King

Last week I debuted my first 100% original model sculpt, the Skethar King.  The completion of the S.K. was definitely a milestone in my modeling career, one that started 10 years ago and has steadily progressed from simple weapon swap conversions to large scale sculpting additions.  In a few short years after that I was making models from scratch and adding a few manufacturer's components to finish.  It has truly been a labor of love and an absolute delight to take an idea in the mind and bring it to life on the table top.  That's why I created the Monster Lab a year and a half ago and gave it its namesake, so I could share my work with you and the rest of the world.  That goal has never changed, and as I've shifted from one career track to another, hobby has always remained a mainstay in my life.  It's really a dream come true to now be doing it for a living, and I'm excited to see where it will go in the future, studio painter? studio sculptor?  I can't wait to see.

I'd like to thank you for reading and sharing a piece of that journey with me and I hope that maybe, in some small part, I've touched you and inspired you in your hobby aspirations.  There's so many in my local hobby community and the blogosphere that have inspired me.

As for the S.K., here he is,  painted and complete.

Face in focus

Crown in focus

Last week I discussed the decisions I made in modeling the S.K.'s pose, so this time I'd like to talk about the colors used to paint him.

Drawing my inspiration from the original DGS Freeblades Skethar sculpt, I felt there was a strong classic "devil" theme there (red skin, horns, spaded tail, pernicious and mischievousness attitude), so my first decision to give the model red skin was an easy one.  I wanted to take that idea to the next level and add another level of depth to what could easily be an overly simplistic paint scheme.  I'm a big fantasy art enthusiast and a casual Magic: the Gathering player and I love checking out the new art featured on M:TG cards with each new release.  When considering what I wanted to do with the S.K.'s base scheme, a card, Rakdos Cackler, immediately popped into mind.  I decided I would paint his spine darkest and freckle down from there onto his arms, face, and chest.  The highest points on the model (spine, spikes, and ears) would be the darkest areas on the model, a reverse highlight if you will.

Everything else would be shaded in contrast hues to add strong focal points on the model, like his fingernails, horns, eyes, and teeth, drawing attention to his hand gestures and facial expression.  The base he's standing on is painted in the rugged earth tones of the scrubland deserts native to the Grular tribes, those who summon the Skethar demons in battle.

As I mentioned last time, this model was a special gift made for my long-time customer Jon C. over at DGS games.  He commissioned me to paint a group of six Skethar, two "alphas" with six arms and four regular little 'uns.  He asked me to convert two separate alphas, each from two existing Skethar models since DGS doesn't currently have a sculpt for the model.  I knew I wanted to do something special for Jon, and decided it would be be really fun to do the first original rendition of the Skethar alpha.  All the little Skethar out now are females, so I thought to sculpt a male "king," complete with a crown stolen from a human counterpart!

I'd like to present the Skethar horde.

Here's the S.K. surrounded by all his ladies, along with the female alpha in back.

Here's the alpha I made as a conversion from two existing Skethar models.  To distinguish her from her lessers, I wanted to highlight her exceptional strength and magical mastery by adding glowing eyes and runes across her body (the little 'uns have beady black eyes and mundane coloring).

Each of the little Skethar received a different form of color blending, this one is red from front fading into orange on her back.

The first Skethar I painted out of the batch, I did a "mittens and boots" approach, fading brown into orange. I got the idea when I asked my girlfriend, Harley, for color suggestions, "paint her orange!" she said, suggesting her favorite color.

Since I had already done a traditional red-devil scheme on the first Skethar I painted for Jon, and I was again doing a similar color scheme on the S.K. I wanted to dig into a whole other palette of color options, like purple, black, and magenta.  These two Skethar are both from that selection, blending colors from the top of the model to bottom.

Here's the whole group together!  If you line them up from orange, to red, to magenta, to purple, to alpha, there is a visible transition across the color palette and the squad.

That's it for this week, thank you for stopping by and checking out the latest project I've been working on here at the Monster Lab!

As always, happy hobbying and good gaming!


  1. Very nice. They all look really good next to each other. I really like the Female Alpha paint job.

    1. Thanks Aaron, she was fun to do and a little out-of-the-box. I'm looking forward to doing more paint schemes like that.


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