Tony Barton's 1/6th Scale Head Painting Page

Please note: This is not my work, I have included it on my pages to help fellow modellers.

This is an excellent tutorial by Tony Barton about how he painted his figures heads. And he very kindly allowed me to make this page, as I feel this will help us all to make better figures. The text in italics below are the instructions from Tony Barton himself.

Tony's Painting Technique

First thing, before starting, is to thoroughly scrub with detergent to "wet" the head. If you don't do this (and this also applies to resin heads) the paint will puddle all over the place, and not stick properly.

I generally start by using a matching brown to detail the hair, grading it down the back and sides from the coloured Fimo, and put in the eyebrows. Then I add the irises in black, establishing the "gaze" of the subject. I've also put in the faintest stubble, by slightly washing the beard area with a tone matching the hair colour. This is done with very dilute paint, remembering to feather the edge to avoid a sharp line.

Then the skin tone, nothing too extreme with this subject as he's going to be in Europe in winter.


This picture above shows the colours I use, and they are diluted and dispersed with "acrylic matt medium" from Windsor & Newton. This acts like a blender. You have to chase this around for a bit with a large brush, to get it even and avoid blotches. It's better to do several thin applications rather than one thick one. Once dry, he now looks like this.

Now the tricky bit the eyes. There's no getting away from the fact that you need a steady hand, and a good OO brush for this job. The irises are already defined in black, the shape here is very important. Notice the actual shape made by the circular iris, overlapped at the top by the upper lid, and just touching the lower one.

Next, select a suitable eye colour for your subject, and fill in the iris completely, save for a fine line all round the edge. If you're feeling clever, you can add a little white to the colour and pick out the paler ring around the pupil and the radiating veins.

Lastly the pupil. I use Vallejo gloss black No.861 for this. Position the pupil so that it just touches the upper eyelid (if you want a relaxed expression), and by repeated applications build it into a little dome.

The more the pupil is covered by the eyelid, the sleepier the expression will be conversely. if there's space between the pupil and the eyelid, the subject will look alarmed (or angry, depending on what the rest of the face is doing).

Below is the finished head:

There are one or two subtle additions, a little carmine around the eyes on the inner edges of the lids, and flushed on the ears. I've also run a fine line of carmine darkened with black into the join between the lips. The edges of the hair have been fine detailed with a tiny brush, to blend the edges where hair meets flesh. The last thing is to flood the eye with gloss acrylic varnish.

Finally, here he is. Finished, on the assembled figure, there will be another version later of him in his combat dress. But that, as they say, will be another story...


Many thanks to Tony Barton for the idea, and your kind permission to use the images above.

Tony's Website - Tony Barton

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