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Dire Wolf (Dark Heaven: 2415)

by Derek Schubert

A furry wolf provides a fine opportunity for drybrushing. The texture of the fur helps you to shade and highlight. And a wolf doesn't have all the articles of clothing and armor that a humanoid figure has, so the color scheme can be pretty simple.

It would be easy to paint this wolf dark gray or black, drybrush with a lighter gray, and then paint the eyes and nose. From a photograph of real wolves, I noticed that their coats have many different colors: not just grays but also browns, russets, and creams. Still, the real world doesn't have wolves this big -- the size of a horse! -- so you could deviate from a natural color scheme.

The sculpted bases of most Reaper figures could be grass, stone, snow, or any other surface, depending on the color you choose. I choose to paint the base as snow.

I use only nine paints on this figure: Stone Gray, Walnut, Dragon Black, Dragon White, Hawkwood, Woodland Brown, Ice Blue, Amethyst, and Blood Red.

Step One (Primed):

The figure is primed white.

Step Two (Base Coats):

The base coat is Stone Gray on the lower fur and a mix of Walnut and Stone Gray on the upper. You could use Dove Gray for the lighter tone and Ash Gray for the darker, but these neutral grays didn't match the warm gray of my photo-model. The tip of the tail is Dragon Black, as are the mouth, nose, and eye sockets. The snowy ground starts with a base coat of Ice Blue.

Step Three (Shading):

I shade with a wash of Woodland Brown (with some Walnut and Stone Grey mixed in) on the light gray and a wash of Dragon Black on the dark. Shading on the snow is a wash of Ice Blue mixed with Amethyst and Dragon Black, with more of the black right around the paws.

Step Four (Highlighting):

I drybrush the light fur with Dragon White and the dark fur with Stone Gray. The tail-tip gets a highlight of Dragon Black plus some Dragon White. Dragon White also gives the highlights to the snow.

Step Five (Glazing/Details):

A final judicious wash of Dragon Black defines parts of the fur and a glaze of Woodland Brown makes the overall tone warmer and smoothes the layers of highlights. Then the facial details bring the wolf to life. The nose gets a highlight of gray (Dragon Black plus Dragon White). The gums are Blood Red mixed with Walnut (for the shade color) and Dragon White (for the highlight); the teeth start with Hawkwood and finish with Dragon White in the layering technique. Tiny dots of Dragon Black mark the whiskers. The eyes are also Hawkwood, highlighted with a mix of Hawkwood and Dragon White, finished off with a pupil of Dragon Black and a white spot of reflected light.

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