Friday, 10 February 2017

A small restoration project - St. George and the Dragon

I originally painted these two when the Green Knight was first released by GW back in the early 90's (I believe). It was a diorama that I had intended to enter for Golden Demon (I never did) which used to have a plinth with a matching base (now lost), to show the story of George and the Dragon. It was largely inspired by Paolo Uccello's and Raphael's "St. George and the Dragon" the former of which resides at the National Gallery, London. I thought the Green Knight was a great Citadel miniature with a dynamic pose, crisp, detailed sculpting and characterful for a human model, I still think this today. 

So I recently found these in a box back at my parents house and they were a bit battered to be honest. Chipped paint everywhere, flaking paint on the dragon's wings (where they had been bent), dust, broken sword and a missing shield to name the worst of the problems.

So I set about restoring them. Now I was so keen to get involved in this process that I forgot to take any pictures of their condition, which I'm very annoyed at myself for, however if you look closely enough at the wings on the dragon you can see the texture of the cracks/flakes still. Obviously I could have stripped the paint and started the process from scratch, but I was keen to keep my original paint job (20-something years old and two of the few models that I still own from my original teenage hobby time), consolidate the issues and make some minor improvements to the original paint work.

After the models had been carefully dusted with a soft make-up brush (the wifes!) the Knight had his sword pinned back into position and then re-painted, originally I had painted it green, I think to keep a link to the Green Knight, but it looked terrible and so instead I plumped for a kind of purple nmm style. A new (Elven?) shield was attached and painted - this is the same shield design that I originally used as I liked the dragon emblem. I have updated the painting of the armour, the original painting was quite poor (I hadn't mastered metals at this time in my development) and very dull black, so I went for a layered gold effect, starting with dark bronze and working through copper and eventually gold highlights. A bit of touching up on the horse flesh and barding was also needed.

The dragon required a bit more work. I had to initially carefully reshape the wings which had been bent, this did result in some more paint flaking away. I stabilised this by using some dilute pva which ran underneath the flakes and when dried consolidated beneath the cracks. A really thin fill of putty was added to the missing areas of paint so that there was not such a large "step" in thickness between paint/primer and bare metal. 

The lance was intentionally broken (the missing section was a part of the base) and the dragon itself needed a lot of touching up. Trying to match the colours was quite simple - I could pretty much identify the colours I'd previously used (for example it was clear that Bestial Brown was the base coat for the fleshy stomach and it had been highlighted/layered with increasing amounts of elf flesh). I still have both these paints and would probably paint it in exactly the same way if I would be starting from scratch! The blood looked quite poor, so I reworked this using some Tamiya Clear red for the glossy areas and some purple/brown/black washes for the more dried looking areas.

And here are the images that I used for my inspiration all those years ago:

Paolo Uccello's St. George and the Dragon. I'd love to add the maiden and a cave to complete the diorama.

Raphael's version. Here you can see why I originally painted the armour black and how I got the idea for the broken lance embedded in the dragon's torso.