Lands of Arran – Lah’ Saa painting tutorial

By Martin Goumaz


Hello everyone,

So we are back for the second tutorial, this one about a bear rider, Lah-Saa.

The sculpt has been done by MIKH and wow, this is a really big piece ! In fact, it is the biggest model I ever had to paint.

The bear really scared me at first, because it is so massive and its almost only fur with a very low muscle definition. Thats why I started painting the elve first !

Paint list

Elf's skin:

  • Dark sea blue (Vallejo Model Color)
  • Carribean blue (Scale 75)
  • Ivory (Vallejo Model Color)
  • Nuances with Royal purple (Andrea) and Violet ink

Bear's fur:

  • Mat Black (Andrea)
  • 1st Shadow flesh paint set (Andrea)
  • Golden brown (Andrea)
  • Ivory (Vallejo Model Color)
  • Nuances with Smoke (Vallejo Model Color) and Ultramarine blue ink


  • Mat Black (Andrea)
  • Black metal (Scale 75)
  • Chrome (Vallejo Model Air)
  • Browns for rust nuances

   Click on any picture below to enlarge it in a new tab!   

The Elf - Lah'Saa

First steps

As always, after cleaning the model with hot water and dish soap, I primed it black with the airbrush.

I just think it’s easier and faster to go from dark to bright instead of light to dark.

Over this primer I sprayed the whole skin areas with a dark blue.

Once dry, I added some light blue to this color and with the brush, started to define the muscles and push the lights.

Skin – Muscles

Adding more and more light blue to the mix and also some ivory, I pushed way further the muscles definition with the lights. At this step it is quite rough, I didn’t really take care about blending the colors yet. 

Skin – Smoothing

Using the airbrush with an intermediate tone, I sprayed with a 45 degrees angle, to tune down the contrast and to have smoother transitions.

Skin – Face

I started to give some particular attention to the face, as this will lead the rest of the piece. So I painted the eyes and the mouth and also pushed some lights to increase readability.

I also started to get nuances in the skin, like on the knee, adding some purples and reds.

Skin – Nuances

I keep adding purple nuances in the skin, to give some more interest to it and yeah, because I just thought it looked cool.

Skin – Highlights

Back to the skin, it received more and more light. As you can see the light is not 100% from above but slightly coming from the top right corner.


As the skin is close to be done, we needed to go further on the other elements to have a better idea of the finished piece.

So for the leathers I started sketching roughly where the lights will be, using pure white. After that I started working with browns and inks, trying to add some life and battle marks to it.

This is a back and forth progress, between colors, rough brush strokes and glazes. All you need is some time and to carry on until you are satisfied.

Details – Boots, straps, hair, metal…

In these steps I focused on painting all the little elements here and there like the boots, the weapons, the straps on the wrists and the metallics. It’s not very interesting, it just takes some time.

Be careful when you paint the lights because we want the face to remain the focal point. This means don’t go too far with the lights on little elements and don’t use too strong colors for them.

The hair also received some lights, adding some purple and ivory over the black base to simulate the light reflections.


As you can see on the artwork, this guy has some nice tattoos covering his body, so let’s paint them.

To do so, I took the previous blue mix and added some ivory in it. With the fine tip of the brush I gently painted them. Afterwards and to integrate them more in the skin, I used the airbrush to spray some blue and purple inks from the bottom. It added some saturation and also helped the tattoos to feel more natural.

[Note: you might already have notice those shadows in the last picture of the previous step 🙂 ]

The polar bear

Priming and the ice base.

Ugh, now I had to paint that polar bear!

I decided to use a grey primer, since this animal will be painted in bright colors, like the ice under his feet.

For the ice, I painted it using the same blue colors that I used for the skin of the elf, but in brighter tones and a bit less saturated. With a big brush, I mixed the colors directly on the model, wet in wet.

After that it was a lot of adjustments, alternating between the brush and the airbrush, also using some inks here and there, until I was satisfied. I knew that anyways, most of it will be covered by artificial snow.

Fur – First steps

In this step and after watching many photos of polar bears on the internet, I searched for some natural fur tones. For this I used browns, ochres and ivory, also going in the wet with a big brush.

Fur – Nuances

I also used the airbrush to smoothen some transitions here and there.

The face also receives more attention, painting the details like the tongue, the eyes and the leather straps. For this I kept the same colors used on the elf. For example the mouth and tongue of the bear are painted with the same colors used for the hair. The purple is also the same we find in the skin nuances.

All those details help to achieve an harmonious finish. At this step and with the airbrush, I also added some blue nuances to the bear’s fur, to create a link between the beast and the snow.

The whole piece

Where is the rider?

Time to glue the elf on the bear, and to get closer to the end!

I found very difficult to glue the resin chains in a natural way on the model. So, I decided to use some real ones.

I also started to add the first layers of snow on the ice, using a mix of white glue, baking soda and water. It creates a white paste, perfect for this effect.

Last steps

Last details took me a lot of time.

I added the snow layer after layer with the same components, waiting for the layers to dry between each one, until achieving a natural effect.

As you can see, I also added some on the bear itself, to integrate it to the base, like if it was really walking in a deep and heavy snow.

I also brought the final touches to the chains and added some blood effects at some spots, using tamiya x-27 and a tip of black. 

The end!

And now the final pics!

sit libero felis ipsum leo commodo

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