Tony Barton's 1/6th Scale Head Modifications Page Part 2

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

After I contacted Tony Barton about how he painted his figures heads, he pointed me to his website. And he has again very kindly allowed me to make this page, this I feel this will help us all to make better figures. Especially, as this page shows how Tony starts off with a basic clean resin headsculpt.

Note: Please read this excellent tutorial fully first, as Tony explains the technique so well and makes it look so easy.

The text in italics below are the instructions from Tony Barton himself.

Tony's Painting Technique

Since I'm always being asked how I do it, here's a little rundown of my own acrylic painting technique. This is one of my own resin heads , No.1, but there is no reason why this technique shouldn't work on any resin or vinyl head. Whatever head you are using, make sure that it's scrupulously clean before starting, or the paint will not "wet" it properly. I scrub a bare resin head with washing-up liquid before starting, if you are working onto an already painted surface, omit the scrubbing, but a little washing up liquid will do no harm. Rinse and dry.


Now, my heads are moulded in a pale flesh colour to start with. So in this case I'm working from that starting point. If you are working on a grey resin head, or a stripped-off vinyl one, you'll need to start by covering it in a suitable pale flesh base colour. Once you've done that, we are all starting from the same point. For those of you who have not done this before, you will need something to hold the head. I use a length of dowel fixed into a block of wood, with a big blob of Blutack on the dowel, onto which I ram the head firmly.


I use the ProArte acrylic brushes : these are reasonably cheap , and can be got at any Art shop . You will need sizes 5 or 6 , 2 and 00 : these are a matter of personal choice : I often work with bigger brushes than that , but the important thing is that they should have a good , clean point when wet .


Here are the paints I shall use for this particular job:- (Note: I have put some links below for these paints)



They are a mixture of Liquitex (from any Art shop), and Vallejo acrylics, which are available from many wargame and model dealers. This selection could be much larger, especially for hair colours, but I'm keeping it simple for clarity. If you read the picture you can see what exact colours and code numbers they are.


Having got everything set up , with the base colour dry on the head, some water, a mixing palette (any old clean plastic surface), some rag or kitchen roll for wiping the brushes.

Now we can begin.
Start by putting in the whites of the eyes.

Now the hair colour. Mid-brown here. Paint the hair accurately using the big brush, and the smaller ones for all the fine bits round the edges. You can also suggest the eyelashes if your head has them.
Then wash the beard area with the Acrylic Matt medium. This acts like a kind of "slow" water, into which a dilute tint can be flushed. Very gently work a very dilute brown in to the stubble and keep it moving, Note: be careful to feather out the upper edge to grade it into the cheeks.

Less is better than more : you can always reinforce it later .

Now a basic flesh tone. Observe the palette in the picture below, with medium on the left and tone on the right. The flesh tone is a mixture of Taupe (a neutral beige), red oxide and the yellow brown you will have to use your own judgement on the exact mix. Mix plenty, because you may want to re-apply it as you go along. Again, wet the whole face with the Medium, then using your biggest brush float the tint into it. Moving the brush constantly to make sure there are no streaks or blobs. This will dry pretty quickly, so you need to concentrate and work fast.



Now, when that's dry. Do another wash again using the Medium, this time with a little Carmine (the Vallejo Transparent red) in the mix on the palette this goes particularly on the lips, round the eyes and on the ears.


Now I paint in the Iris of the eyes, using flat black. Observe the shape, a circle cut off at top and bottom by the lids.


Now a little stronger skin tone, and a little stronger tint in the beard.

Now for the tricky bit. The colour of the iris. Using your smallest brush, carefully put in the blue (or brown, grey, or whatever) leaving the finest black line around the iris. It sometimes helps to turn the head upside-down at this point to check if it's all symmetrical). If you are skilled enough, you can add the whiter ring around the pupil and radiating veins, from the iris colour with some white added.


There is no shame in having to adjust the shape of the iris. By touching up the whites and repainting the irises, the important thing is to get the "Gaze" just right.
When you are happy with it, put in the pupil with the gloss black. Make sure that the very top of the pupil touches the upper lid, unless you want a "startled" effect; this head is about looking relaxed but vigilant. I repeat the application of the gloss black onto the pupil several times, to build it into a little dome.


So now you've done it! A quick flush of gloss varnish to make the eye sparkle, and he's finished .

I recommend flat varnishing the head, since he's bound to get handled quite a lot, and it's worth putting two or three coats of paint on the hair to prevent it rubbing off before varnishing.
One final sophistication. Mix a carmine into the flesh colour to make a Coral shade, and paint the inside of the eyelids , and you may want to colour the lips with it as well. Gently does it though, or he'll look a bit too gorgeous.
Similarly , I always finish off my heads with a very fine line of Carmine 50:50 with gloss black to separate the lips, and to delineate the folds around the eyes.

If you are terrified at attempting this technique, take a head you don't want, put a pale flesh ground coat over it, and use it to practice on. If you make a cock of it, it doesn't matter and a little practice will help a great deal in the learning process.

Finally, there are as many ways of painting a head as there are people doing it. This method is not definitive by any means, and many people have their own methods which work just as well.

Links I found for the paints that Tony has used above:

Liquitex Paints -

Vallejo paints -


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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