The list of artists who set the tone of the Battletech universe is relatively short. There are only a scant few pieces that we see and see again, across websites, blogs, and publications. These works inspired countless artists and players across the globe. On many occasions, these pieces both inspire and frustrate me, jumping from "I want to be like that" to "!@#! IT! I'M DONE!" When it comes to many of the most iconic images of Battletech created in the last decade, the artist of note is Adrian Gideon. Whether miniatures or illustrations, his work has been features across the gamut of publications ranging from the Battletech Boxed Set releases, to Total Warfare and Alpha Strike.
Adrian Gideon's style is characterized by rich contrast, bold colors, and dynamic, evocative poses. Renowned for his jeweling and reflective cockpits, each piece is carefully constructed with highlights and spot colors that compliment and "pop" with the rest of the piece. Whether it is his rich blues and reds or his hallmark black, his pieces always demonstrate rich variation of color without showing where the mixing or transition occurs. Whether a still and imposing Battlemaster or a leaping Mad Cat, each piece Adrian Gideon creates tells a story; each miniature construct a tiny narrative of the Battletech universe in itself.
Though his portfolio contains models and schemes from across the Battletech universe, he has a clear favorite faction. Long-time followers of his work will likely be unsurprised to learn that Adrian Gideon's preferred schemes hail from the Federated Suns. Many of his most viewed and frequently published pieces bear the colors of the Davion Bridage of Guards or Crucis Lancers as well as their FedCom Civil War allies, the 10th Lyran Guard.
His preference for AFFS-aligned models is apparent in his collected works as well, with many--even in other faction schemes--using the blues and greens of the Federated Suns. When asked what his favorite miniature is, he replied: Marauder MAD-3R. "The unseen or the classic?" you may ask. His favorite is in fact, both the unseen and the classic redesign by Anthony Scroggins. "It stood out of 3025 as something alien and predatory like a shark, and its name perfectly matched," said the artist.
More than his artistic contributions, Adrian Gideon has worked tirelessly to ensure that the production of quality miniature art of the Battletech universe continues. As the stable master of the Catalyst Game Labs Camospecs painters, Adrian Gideon has worked uncountable hours behind the scenes to coordinate this team of volunteer artists to produce amazing content for publications, websites, dioramas, and events. The success of Battletech miniatures in product and art would not be what it is today without the immense contributions of Adrian Gideon.
Below is a selection of the outstanding work produced by Adrian Gideon over the last decade. These works range from diorama's to publications and contests. More than any other artist, he has set the bar in our world and brought the Battletech universe to life.
These are not just miniatures--these are in the truest sense of the phrase game pieces elevated to art. In that, Adrian Gideon achieved one of his major goals--to turn "unpainted minis [that were] pretty ugly that way" into things "at the top end, treated as works of art," (Adrian Gideon on why he began painting Battletech miniatures, December 2016).
Here is where things are a little more complicated...
After sculpting the cracked earth on the base with green stuff, I mounted the piece and primed it black. Black is a good, safe airbrush primer to make great contrast with later colors. It does not, however, work so well for ultra-bright colors or if you intend to use preshading techniques.
Because I wanted a rusty and worn effect, I covered the primer with dark brown sprayed from all angles. On top of that, I used a medium burnt sienna color in splotches here and there that seemed like they would be the most worn and rusted. On top of that, and leaving some of the previous layer showing, I sprayed a bit of bright orange. Since this is rust, it doesn't need to be uniform or even--overspray and mistakes are okay.
Using the chipping effect (akin to the hairspray method), required me to seal the miniature with Matt varnish at the step. It's best to get a good deal and let it set over night before applying the chipping effect.
After setting aside for an evening, I applied chipping effect liberally to the miniature. The more you use--in several coats--the greater the chipping effect will be. Once it dries, the base coating began.
With an airbrush, contrast is key. The layering method was:
1) 1:1 dark brown:navy blue--sprayed from all angles and even coverage
2) 2:1 navy blue:medium grey--sprayed from 0* to about 45*
3) 2:1:1 navy blue:medium grey:bleached bone--sprayed from 0* to 45* or so, but leaving the other layer still visible
4) 2:1:2 navy blue:medium grey:bleached bone--sprayed from 0* to 30* or there about, with attention given to other areas that may have some highlight
5) 2:1:2:1 navy blue:medium grey:bleached bone:white--0* and highlights as necessary
Each time, I diluted the paints with twice as many drops of airbrush thinner.
After the last highlight, the chipping began! With warm water and a soft brush, I GENTLY scrubbed at the edges, knees, feet, and other areas that seems like they would be worn and rusted. Some of the underlying paint stripped off--though frustrating, this is okay. When I was satisfied with the results, I dried and resealed the mini.
To enhance the rust effect, I dipped a corner of a packing Sponge in dark brown, wiped off most of the pint, then stippled it onto the miniature. With an old brush, I stipples burnt sienna into the center of the larger scrapes. To create streak, I mixed sepia wash and orange together, stipples one to the piece in strategic locations where rusty water would collect, and before it dried, take a dry bush and streak it. It takes several layers to get a good effect.
The base was a similar method, but with desert sand tones.
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram the_artist_known_as_capn_ed for more updates!
Tutorials and Projects