Right. So that’s got to be my most attention-grabbing headline ever. Am I crazy for attempting such a thing? Turns out yeah. Pretty much.
In case you’re wondering what I’m referring to, I’ve finally started on my Asuka Kisaragi model. It’s probably not controversial to say that this miniature is very sexy. When I sat down to think about how best to paint her, I couldn’t help but feel she’s maybe a bit too sexy.
That could mean a bunch of things, so to clarify: the thing with Asuka is… well… she has extremely bounteous cleavage. And for some reason she has decided to unzip her leathers between the neck and breastbone so that said cleavage pops out. This is obviously not a bad thing in and of itself; but I like my models to look a bit like soldiers, since they’re going to be fighting in, you know, a wargame.
The real issue is aesthetic: I’ve looked at a lot of Asukas online, and there seems to be no way to avoid the boobs becoming the focal point of the model. It’s been designed that way. But I think she’s sexy enough – and a great model besides – without boobs being her face, as it were. So how do I tone down the cleavage and bring the rest of the model out? Well, I have this habit of biting off more than I can chew and trying things beyond my abilities when it comes to miniatures. So I decided to tattoo her cleavage with ridiculously intricate traditional Japanese designs.
First I did some legitimate research on Yakuza and Bosozuku tattoos, since Asuka is basically a Bosozuku bikie who’s become a soldier. Then, I did entirely too much “just as legitimate research” looking at pics like this:
Then I started to paint her, and that’s when it all went horribly wrong. Infinity models are just so fine and tiny in general, and Asuka’s impressive cleavage is approximately the size of half a grain of raw sushi rice. The model is so fine that the skin had to be painted first, and then the tattoos added in thin layers. My first attempt looked like a dirty green stain on her skin. I had to use alcohol to clean it off. Oh, and I swear my eyesight is going. Because my eyes kept unfocusing at the wrong moment, like I had to force them to look and stay focused.
What I learned is basically this: if you’re going to attempt something in this vein, go for the impression of intricate designs rather than actually trying to do them. The lines of a tattoo in 28mm scale are finer than any brush that exists, and maybe finer than the human eye can see. So go for outlines (I used a .03mm pen) filled in with thin washes, and a single highlight to make it look like there’s more going on than there actually is. Oh and bright colours – orange, pale blue – work better than dark ones.
It doesn’t look as good as it did in my head, but you can see it’s meant to be tattoos. And I think my aim has been achieved: you can tell she has her boobs out, but it might not be the first thing you notice. Depending on how boob-attuned you are I guess.
By the way, I realise I’ve written a few painting articles without any pictures of models! Sorry. I’m not much for work in progress shots, because taking decent photos is hard for me, and time-consuming. So you’ll have to wait a bit to see the finished product, because I’m still working on the bike. But I’m proud to say that she looks quite different from any Asukas I’ve seen online.
Till next time,