How to Paint Varian Wrynn 3D Print: Interview with Gareth Lee

The stunning Varian Wrynn 3D print made by hobbyist Gareth Lee is a must to see. This WoW figurine boasts so many details, has such beautiful bulky armour and Shalamayne sword that working on this project is a real privilege for many fans of 3D printing technology and modern video games. Gareth agreed to share his painting tips and reveal some secrets that let you turn a 3D printed figurine into a real masterpiece.

In his interview with Gambody, Gareth Lee talks about his motivation, favourite painting techniques, best paint brands, 3D printers, model scaling, etc. Discover the ideas that can inspire you to 3D print and paint a beautiful King of Stormwing, heroic Varian Wrynn figurine willing to fight for Azeroth.

Gambody WoW Varian Wrynn model for 3D printing

Varian Wrynn 3D Print

Gareth Lee wanted a legendary Varian statue for ages, and his dream came true after he saw a beautiful Varian Wrynn figurine for 3D printing on Gambody – Premium 3D printing marketplace. This model was designed by Dennis who spent 155 hours depicting the legendary warrior.

The King of Stormwind is a well-known figure from the impressive World of Warcraft Universe with so many WoW 3D printing figurines and models to adore.

When turned into a figurine, Varian Wrynn 3D print looks fantastic. He is willing to lead his people of Stormwind to new victories and courageously fight against the Lich King. The lion and eagle guard his shoulders, and the imposing belt decorates his beautiful armour.

Varian Wrynn 3D print
Maker: Gareth Lee

The original 3D printing model turns into a statue of 38 cm (15 inches) in height. But Gareth Lee wished to make it bigger and scaled the original files to 150%. It took the maker about three months to complete his Varian Wrynn 3D print. So, let us adore his work and hear all the details of how it was created.

1. Gareth, your Varian Wrynn 3D print looks fantastic. Your love for details is easily observed. Can you tell us more about yourself and how you became fond of 3D printing?

I became interested in 3D printing around three years ago when watching some videos on YouTube. I still remember seeing some time-lapses and people making practice prints such as household repair brackets and thinking it had to be something I needed to try.

Being inexperienced and desperate, I bought a Da Vinci 3D printer on sale at my local electronics store. Instantly I was hooked. I was making key chains, and small statues and I began to re-explore my painting technique, as I used to paint ceramic bisques as a kid.

As time went on, I bought three other second hand FDM machines and sold the Da Vinci 3D printer.

Varian Wrynn 3D printing figurine
Maker: Gareth Lee

2. Is it true that you were inspired to download Varian Wrynn STL files and 3D print this WoW character after seeing the model shared by another Gambody enthusiast, Junwon Geem, on Facebook? Is this how you choose which model to craft next, or was it a spur-of-the-moment decision?

I saw that Varian Wrynn 3D printing figurine being available for downloading quite a while ago. I was tossing up whether or not to get it, as I knew that this would be a labour of love that would consume a lot of my time and that I had to get right.

Although Junwon Geem and I have very different painting styles, seeing his completed model helped a few puzzle pieces fall together for me in terms of colour scheme and made me start to think that this project was not only doable but worth the time and effort.

3. Do you play World of Warcraft? Which characters from this video game are your favourite? Which ones do you have 3D printed and displayed in your collection?

I have played Warcraft since its release in 2004, mainly Alliance faction as their motivations seemed to be more relatable.

WoW Varian Wrynn 3D printed model
Maker: Gareth Lee

My favourite character has been Varian Wrynn since I realised the quests from classic such as the missing diplomat and the attainment to Onyixia’s Lair (a cave system located in the southern parts of Dustwallow Marsh) made reference to this elusive king.

I love the main characters such as Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, Arthas both before and after his fall from grace, Bolvar, Tirion, the storage brothers etc. Some notable enemy NPCs such as Edwin VanCleef, Herod, Ragnaros, Rend and Vazruden were also particularly memorable. Right now, I am playing WoW classic and enjoying the nostalgia from when WoW and MMORPGs looked very different.

4. Why did you choose to scale Varian Wrynn 3D printing files to 150%? Do you also have a 100% version 3D printed?

I started with a 100% print of the Varian Wrynn head and thought that it was too small for such an essential piece to me.

Varian Wrynn head 3D printed at 100% and 150% scale
Maker: Gareth Lee

So, I chose the scale to 150%, the perfect testament to the many years playing alliance. I may do another 100% Varian Wrynn 3D print in the future.

5. You mentioned that it took you three months to complete Varian Wrynn 3D print. Can you please describe your 3D printing process? Did you face any challenges? What were the best moments? Which 3D printer did you use, settings, filament type (brand), etc.?

I used two different 3D printers for this figurine. The base and flag were printed with my Mankati Fullscale XT Plus (UM clon), and the body was done with a Geeetech A10.

I used Filaform filament for the base and flag in my 3mm machines and a local brand Progressive3D filament for Varian Wrynn 3D printing figurine.

Tips on 3D printing Varian Wrynn figurine
Maker: Gareth Lee

Firstly, all prints were done to reduce layering effects by orienting them vertically, using tree supports for small overhangs and standard supports for large ones.

My support roofing needed a little tweaking to come off easily without damaging the print. Adaptive layers are a must for the body parts to ensure there are small layering effects.

Once everything was printed, I glued the base and flag (material section only) together using 2 part Epoxy and filled the gaps. Then I filled the seams (superglue and baking soda for the flag and wood filler for the base), sanded, sprayed filler putty, applied another sanding and finally a black Matt coat.

How to 3D print and paint WoW models Varian Wrynn King
Maker: Gareth Lee

For the body pieces, I used a putty spray, then sand followed by a black spray coat for all but the head, which was just putty sprayed, sanded and brush painted.

Lastly, I used a Matt varnish over the entire piece sparingly.

6. How much filament did you use?

I used about 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs) of filament if counting failed prints and reprints. I used over three rolls of filament.

7. What is the height and weight of your King of Stormwind, Leader of the Alliance, Varian Wrynn 3D print?

The Varian Wrynn figurine is 60 cm (24 inches) tall roughly, and about 3 kg (6.6 lbs) in weight.

Best Varian Wrynn model to 3D print
Maker: Gareth Lee

8. Your painting work is fantastic. The Varian Wrynn 3D printed figurine looks alive. Can you tell us more about your painting technique? Do you work with airbrush or regular brushes?

Following on from my process in which I show depth, I use primarily standard brushes. Make sure they are taklon brushes as any other produce scratchy or blotchy results.

I have tried my hand at airbrush but feel that the traditional hand brushes work best for me and my propensity to dry brush often. I have to get into airbrushing one day. However, I feel that I need a lot of practice before I have the skill to produce similar quality paintwork when compared to where I am with regular brushes.

Painting 3D printed model tips and secrets Varian Wrynn
Maker: Gareth Lee

9. Which paint brands do you like?

I like paints that are very opaque rather than translucent. Vallejo and Citadel are great options.

However, I would rather spend a bit more and get a larger bottle of artist-grade acrylics (not student grade) such as Jo Sonja and Matisse. They do the job, as long as you make sure they are quite opaque.

10. How did you manage to make Varian Wrynn 3D printed figurine look so real? Which reference images did you use while working on this project?

In terms of realism, depth is the most critical aspect. Spend time using dark and light of the colour you are using.

I used the Varian Wrynn artwork created by Farhad Nojumi as a reference for my art as I felt the colour composition was very striking:

Varian Wrynn artwork reference
Art by Farhad Nojumi

11. Where did you learn to paint? Do you have a special education or a degree in fine arts?

Nothing so formal. I have always loved art, both of my parents painted and drew, so I grew up around it. They always made a big deal of any small artistic milestone I met, which kept me either drawing or painting most of my life.

As I said earlier, before 3D printing was mainstream, I used to paint ceramic bisque, such as dragons, native Americans, animals etc. It was where I learnt that a proper dry brush technique and added depth would let you bring anything 3D to life.

I still consider myself an amateur and learn something new about painting with every new project I 3D print.

12. How did you achieve the right skin colour while painting Varian Wrynn 3D printed figurine, WoW legend?

Never do a dark coat where you intend to paint light colours. In other words, use no black spray paint, unlike the rest of the model.

Painting a 3D printed model of Varian Wrynn from WoW
Maker: Gareth Lee

My filler crimes were grey and coated with dark flesh colour from Vallejo, then two coats of basic flesh. I then used some ivory and basic flesh, wiped most of it off my brush and brushed on the highlights of the face (nose, lips, in between wrinkles).

I then used some light black pastel with a dry makeup brush to dab on some five a clock shadow, very lightly as I wanted it to look as if he had prepared himself well and had just been fighting for 12 hours straight, rather than look too ragged or too clean.

The scars I filled with ivory white and then used a flesh wash and sepia wash to make it look pink and collecting dirt.

How to paint face of Varian Wrynn 3D print
Maker: Gareth Lee

The eyes were done by painting two coats of white followed by a dark blue circle in each, then a light blue circle within the dark blue circles, a black dot for the pupil usually done with a toothpick and two white gloss dots in each eye to look like a reflection in the eye.

All hair was painted black and a very light white dry brush done over it to show detail.

13. How did you paint the model’s clothes and armour?

For metallic pieces, they are fantasy animals, you can use three different shades of silver, gunmetal or more. Or you can use your black coat, choose one shade of silver and use a dry brush technique to coat a general colour. Then just a slightly wetter brush of the same shade can be applied over the highlights of the piece.

How to paint metal parts of Varian Wrynn 3D print
Maker: Gareth Lee

I did the latter and used a Jo Sonja silver dry brush for the magic silver and leaving shadowed areas mostly black, with a bit more paint and wetter brush over the more exposed areas to make it look wiped clean. The gold needed one dry brush coat over the silver base.

Then on to the browns, greys, reds and blues. These colours needed to be done using opaque paint. Vallejo and Citadel are great, but I prefer Jo Sonja artist paints for pieces this large. I chose three shades of each colour, began with a thick base coat, i.e. dark blue on the flag, dark brown on shoes, dark red on the coat.

I then picked a lighter shade of the same colour, and dry brushed it on quite generously followed by a very light drybrush of the lightest shade. You can see that I did this on the boots/gloves, fur, flag, flag pole, the base and the cape.

WoW classic King of Stormwind 3D print
Maker: Gareth Lee

Lastly, for a finishing touch to the base, I used Elmer’s glue mixed with a bit of lime green and yellow to convey a wet look of the fell liquid in the rocks. It took three days to harden covered with newspapers to stop dust from drying in it.

I then glued most of the model together, and it just slotted on to the base perfectly.

14. How did you manage to achieve such impressive gold, metal and wood likeness?

Dry brush. Dry brush. Dry brush. The most important thing with all of these is depth. It means being able to see at least three colours. Darkest as a coat, a generous helping of a lighter colour, finally a sparse amount of the lightest.

In the case of metal, this means a black coat, a generous dry brush of silver or gunmetal, really blend that stuff in. Then more of a silver dry brush on the highlights.

Painting wood, metal and gold on a 3D print
Maker: Gareth Lee

With wood, it means using very dark brown paint over black coat followed by a generous dry brush of a dark red-brown, followed by a very light dry brush of ochre yellow and leather red.

Gold just needed a layer of gold dry brush over the silver base added when doing the silver section and blended in perfectly.

15. Which part of the work did you like the most: 3D printing, painting each detail of Varian Wrynn figurine, or glueing and assembling the model?

For me, the face of Varian Wrynn figurine is both the most stressful and most rewarding. One wrong move and you have gotten paint into a wrinkle that no matter what you do, it will come out looking botched. But if you get it right, it looks fantastic.

Painting Varian Wrynn 3D printed sword
Maker: Gareth Lee

Still, for this project, it would probably have been the sword. I had so much fun working with red hues instead of paints to get the gem in the handles looking lifelike and using orange, yellow and white to try to mimic an energy swirl in the hilt.

16. Where do you display your impressive Varian Wrynn 3D print?

The Varian Wrynn figurine is displayed on the top of my large-scale gaming PC case. As I am playing a lot of classic WoW recently, it is the perfect thing to complete my gaming experience.

17. Which is the next 3D printing project you are planning to make?

I am thinking of something Warcraft or Witcher related. However, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe Gambody will surprise me with something too good not to purchase and print right away.

World of Warcraft Varian Wrynn model 3D printed
Maker: Gareth Lee

18. Is there anything else you would like to say to Gambody enthusiasts who are in love with your Varian Wrynn 3D print about this project? Maybe some last advice?

Don’t ever be discouraged by your progress. It is easy to get into a rut and not like your work. But you still have more knowledge today than you had last month as long as you keep trying.

Always ask questions. Understand how people achieve the results they get. I remember annoyingly asking almost every single question I had. I wished to know how people get the results they did. If they respond then they are the type of person you want to learn from, if they don’t or get annoyed, then they aren’t.

We hope that the stunning Varian Wrynn 3D print made by Gareth Lee will motivate you for your next 3D printing deeds. Gambody and many hobbyists will be happy to see your 3D printed works. So please share them in Gambody community on Facebook, which is a great place to show your masterpieces, ask for advice and share useful tips and tricks on 3D printing, painting and assembling the models.

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