I’m still very much enthused by the Test of Honour Game and my only regret at the moment is that I’m not getting enough game time in! However, I still have my Napoleonic project lumbering away and having just finished 18 British Lifeguards with another 6 about to hit the paint board, I fancied painting something different. I remembered that I had yet to paint the limited edition Geisha Spy that was released with the bundle, so I thought I would spend a few nights painting her.
I had already done some research on Geishas wearing Kimonos (not the most unpleasant of tasks…) and collected some pictures onto my Pinterest board here:
I tend to think about projects in advance and often will put together a reference board way in advance of actually painting the subjects. If you check out the rest of my boards you will guess what my next Napoleonic theme will be if I ever finish my British! I digress, the pictures are very inspiring but way beyond my painting capability. So having given the overall colour scheme some thought, I went with a similar scheme that worked well on my unarmoured samurai. They came as a pair so I thought that I would keep to the same pallet. The picture below sort of captured the look and colour scheme that I was after.
So one evening was spent cleaning up the model, assembling it, filling the gaps that seem to appear around the joins on the hand and priming in a neutral grey, my preferred primer colour. The initial colour blocking was quite straight forward. The model is beautifully cast and molded so it was a very straight forward task to paint. I used all Vallejo Colours. The main kimono was painted in Sand Yellow 70916, the trim, Sky Blue 70961, the Kimono sash, Dark Prussian Blue 70899, Hair, Black 70950 and skin tone was done using Light flesh 70928. I did think about using white for the face but many of the pictures show Geishas with a pale flesh rather than the full white make up and I preferred this. The fan was painted in green…for the time being…
To add shadows and depth to the kimono, I gave it a wash of thinned down army painter dark tone ink. This helps me to see where the folds in the cloth lie and hence where the shadows would be. I then repainted the Kimono with the sand yellow, leaving some of the darker shadows. I then added some white to the original colour to add some highlights to the top of the folds. I also used a very fine brush to add some dark lines to the deep folds and creases and the borders of the sky blue trim. I used a skin wash to add some shadow to the face but this was watered down until it was practically clear. It just added enough shadow to the face and neck.
I then painted in the eyes – I’m not good at these! The next step was to thin down the black lining and shadows by over painting and to add a bit more detail to the hair ornaments. I also added some highlights to the sky blue Kimono and the sash. The sash was easier to do than I thought. I first dry brushed it to show where the detail was and then carefully painted on the ‘stripes’ in a lighter blue.
I use the photographs as a way of reviewing my work. It allows me to see the model and pick up on any obvious errors. In the next picture, you can see that I had missed painting part of her sleeve – I couldn’t see this in ‘real life’!
Despite constantly picking up errors and correcting them, there was still something very wrong with the figure. It some how wasn’t working. I asked Rob, a colleague at work what he thought the problem was. It was obvious, the fan was the wrong colour! The green just wasn’t working. We had an interesting discussion on colour theory but the upshot was that I had introduced too many colours onto the model. I over painted the fan in light blue and it instantly looked better.
Once again, using my pinterest boards as a reference, I painted a simple cherry blossom design onto the fan and added a few further highlights to the kimono. I also added her finger nails in Ivory 70918 and touched up any more obvious mistakes.
The final stage was to add some pink and white to the cherry blossom to the design on the fan and to re base the geisha on a plain MDF base that I had painted to match the Sarissa shrine that I had previously completed. My Geisha Spy was ready for the table!
The geisha was a most enjoyable model to paint and certainly stretched my painting skills. It made a pleasant change from painting Napoleonic units! Although close up, there are still a few errors and the paint job isn’t as smooth as I would like, she looks great at a distance and is a nice addition to my collection!
If you would like to join the fun with the Test of Honour game we have a full range available in our shop here:
All the paints used are also available from our Vallejo range here:
Incidentally, if you are looking for a specific colour, rather than browse through all the 200+ colours listed, just put the number into the search bar. So sky blue is 70961:
Finally, at the time of writing, all products, except aerosols, are post free to most world wide locations! I hope that you enjoy your modelling!