Sculpting and Painting Realistic Flames

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Ok so hopefully this will help out anyone who has to paint or sculpt fire or flames in their army.  Grin
Please excuse the hastily sculpted flames.

First off, here is an effective and easy method to sculpt flames.

You will need:
Needle nosed pliers or tweezers
A mini to sculpt flames on or a clean surface
Lube (water, saliva, moisturising cream, I use sun-burn-fixing cream with extract of aloe vera)

Start off with some greenstuff.
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Mix it nicely and stick it onto the top of a paint pot or your model where the flames are going to be. WAIT 30 MINUTES
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Ok now 30 minutes is up and you can get your nice needle nosed pliers or tweezers.
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Apply your moisturising cream/water to the pliers or tweezers, this stops the Green stuff sticking to them too much.
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Ok, so now what we are gonna do is take our pliers,
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And pull up chunks of the green stuff while twisting the pliers.

Start off with a rough shape
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Then keep twisting and pulling smaller pieces, tapering the flame at the top, don't be afraid to pull pieces off entirely, this creates a nice edge to the tongues of flame.
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All done, when you are happy with the result.
Leave it to set and then we can start painting.

Flames are different to the rest of the mini as you are actually painting a light source rather than an object that light is falling upon. So giving your fire shading in the conventional sense (darker in the recesses) is not going to work particularly well.
One of my pet hates is "upside down fire"  > Sad. The hottest part of the flame is the bottom, this is the white area, not like in the cartoons where it is red at the base and yellow at the top.

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Darker at the top lighter at the base.

Of course this varies depending on what is actually burning. Wood gives of a redder flame and gas a bluer cleaner flame for example.

Ok so here is how to paint it

You will need:
Standard brush
A fire/flame to paint.
Grey/white primer (fortress grey, skull white works well if you don't have special primer)
GW Badmoon Yellow/  Vallejo Lemon yellow
GW Fiery Orange / Vallejo Orange red
GW Blood Red / Vallejo Flat red
GW Ultramarines blue
GW Skull white
Water (optional matte medium, glaze medium to thin paints)

Ok got all that? Good. I used the Vallejo paints as opposed to the GW,Definition: Games Workshop but in all seriousness it doesn't matter - both are equally good here.

Step 1:
Acquire your fire!
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Be it on a mini or sculpted - get it to hand

Prime it grey or white.
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Grey flames

Basecoat it white
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For pretty uniform white coverage.

Yellow glaze on the upper parts, leaving the white at the bottom like so.
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Water down your yellow or use glaze medium, it should tint the white yellow rather than painting solid colours.

Orange glaze on even higher parts.
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Again water the orange down, apply it to the upper areas, blend it down in places into the yellow to make it look natural.

Red glaze the very top. Lightly, don't paint solid colour - your should just be tinting it red remember.
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Also around the very base of the flames at the bottom apply a little red.

Highlight a few areas with skull white, the pronounced tongues of flame are a good place to do this. Think where the fire would be hottest.
Also apply the slightest amount of UM blue to the base of the flames.
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And that's basically it. As the flame is quite light, when placed along side a dark mini it becomes more effective.
Hope people think that doesn't look too bad Tongue
Remember flames are perfect opportunities to try out some source lighting if you are feeling brave.

Good luck. Wink

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