Next, the main attraction: the nose art itself. I looked through tons of photos of actual WW2 nose art to find some themes that would translate well to this scale. I traced the outline of a dime on a piece of paper and practiced painting various ideas (demons, pirates, reapers, and a cartoon donkey called "Screaming Red Ass"). My favorite was the reaper head. I based my art on the "Axis Nightmare" image below, added a scythe, and depicted my reaper on background of a cemetery at dusk.
I started by painting the background on the left breast of the mini. Using GW Regal Blue and Enchanted Blue, I painted a fade on the horizon. I added some white dots for stars, and made tombstones with Delta Dolphin Gray. Though I was practicing on paper the size of a dime, the actual available space is a lot smaller than that.
For the nose art, I used an 18/0 brush and thinned all my paints down substantially. I painted the outline of the skull with a mix of Delta White and Cream, and the hood with Delta Burnt Umber and Toffee. At this point, I realized that my tombstones took up too much space, so I modified them a little bit. Next, I added the scythe.
I used a Micron Pen to do the reaper's teeth and to write "RIP" on the tombstone. I painted in facial features and the fingers to complete the scene.
To this point, I have left patches of black on the back of the legs and around the gun openings. I blended these in about 5 coats with Reaper Hawkwood and RMS Sunlight Yellow. On the backs of the legs, I added a bomber formation insignia. It is difficult to get crisp white letters against black, so I painted this in reverse. I started with 3 small black dots to lay out the triangle. I then made a white background, and used a Micron pen to outline the letter "L". Using the dots as a guide, I painted in the triangle with a mix of black and gray.
The pilot of this mech has named it "Grimm" after himself. I wanted to use red lettering, but simply using a red pen would make the letters too flat. Instead, I painted the letters with thinned down VMC Red, and highlighted their upper surfaces with thinned down GW Blazing Orange. I also added numbers an other logos to the mini at this point.
Page 1: Starting | Page 2: Assembly | Page 3: Painting | Page 4: Nose Art | Page 5: Finishing