May 02, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Steampunk in Miniature by Steven Lowenthal

Steampunk in Miniature
Published by Scale Editions (Scale 75) ref. SCL-SEB-001

Steampunk in Miniature is a 184 page softcover painting guide by Julio Cabos, Rafael Milla, and Mario MIlla. Packed full of step by step guides of the techniques of painting the key aspects of Steampunk miniatures.

The book’s contents are as follows:
Steampunk History, Trends and Relationships with Miniatures
Chapter 1. Preparation of a Figure and Primer
Chapter 2. Basic Concepts For Painting With Acrylics
Chapter 3. Brush Painting Techniques
Chapter 4. Nonmetallic Metal
Chapter 5. Metallics
Chapter 6. Glass
Chapter 7. Airbrushing and Brush
Chapter 8. Full Process of a Steampunk Figure
Chapter 9. The Smog Riders
Chapter 10. Constructing and Painting a Scenario
Art Gallery

After a quick discussion of the history of Steampunk, the book goes into the basics of figure prep and priming. Including explaining the different types of lighting schemes for you figure.

Using Scale75 paints throughout the book, Chapter 3 presents an overview of the fundamentals. While brief, it conveys the information, concisely with clear pictures and step by step guides.  A beginner will easily grasp the concepts to base their future advanced work on.

Brush Painting Techniques concentrates on key aspects of figures with a focus on the characteristics of Steampunk. Demonstrations include different styles of hair, various colors of leather, and stripped pants.  While other books cover these painting techniques, I found the explanations here are more complete and clearer than many other titles.

The Steampunk style usually includes the use of body mechanics. Mechanical arms, gears, guns, and mechanical creatures; all have various types of metals in their composition and the next chapters discuss the techniques used to simulate these metals. The first method covered is called Non Metallic Metals (NNM). Using figures from the Scale75 line, the author uses various colors to simulate the highlights and shadows these metals cast. The author’s detailed explanations and paint formulations are very informative, making grasping the concept simple for those new to it.

Using paints containing metallic pigments is the other technique used for painting metals. Again using paints from the Scale72 line, the painting of the various tones necessary in this technique is thoroughly examined.

A topic I haven’t often seen covered is painting glass. In this case, the glass used in goggles. I think you will be impressed by extensive number of colors that go into this technique and how effective it is.

While miniatures can be painted to extraordinary effect with brushes alone, using an airbrush to expand your creative options is worth exploring. Beginning with a short primer on using an airbrush, the next chapter will teach you how to use it to paint the subtleties of female and male skin, pants, dresses, and sheer stockings; culminating in the more complex technique of painting striped pants.
Now that you’ve absorbed the techniques of painting Steampunk, it is time to put it to practice.  In the next chapter, Scale75’s “Brigitte LaFayette” figure is used to illustrate the full process of painting a figure. This is an appropriate choice as many of the previous techniques are used on this one figure.
Following is another start to finish painting illustration. This time the figure is from Scale75’s Smog Rider line, “Fat Bob” Mecha and Tiny Tin. Both brush and airbrush techniques are used on these figures, and they are more beginner friendly as they are less complicated than the LaFayette figure from the previous chapter. My one nitpick with this chapter is it probably should have appeared before the previous, more advanced, painting of LaFayette.

Now that you have the techniques down and some pained figures under your belt, the next chapter brings everything to a logical conclusion with “Constructing and Painting a Scenario”.  Using their “Fix It Sam” figure, a female mechanic, to scratch build a scene of her working on the pipes and gears of a steampunk clock tower. This is a highly detailed build showing how they scratch build intricate framework, supports and gears. With additional gears sourced from old clocks, toys, and printers. While this may not be a project you would want to emulate, there is plenty to learn from the authors work.

The book concludes with several pages of fully painted, highly inspirational, steampunk figures from the Scale75 line. 

Steampunk in Miniature is a step by step painting guide targeted to the specific qualities seen in the genre. There is a lot here for the beginner and intermediate painter to sink their teeth into. From the basics of painting skin and eyes to the more complicated process of painting striped pants, the topics are well detailed and highly informative.  Even if Steampunk is not your typical subject, the chapters on the various colors of leather, NMM, and Metallics are particularly noteworthy and make picking up this title worth it for them alone.

View to purchase HERE

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