Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The Final Word ....

So with the figures painted, it only remains to bring the shiny and matt bits together, to get a consistent finish to the figure. I do this by varnishing first with a brush on gloss, revell email color no1, and then, once dry I spray matt with Winsor and Newton Professional Matt Varnish. I find this gives a really good overall flat look.

And it's job done! (apart from the other 40 rank and file I have to do for the rest of the unit .....)

My last word on the figure style debate ..... (is it a debate? 😄 )

Here is the previous image line up with the addition of a scaled down image of an actual person dressed in a period uniform .....

I'll scuttle off now and leave the chunky boys to the feast .......



Saturday, 23 June 2018

A Little about Figure Style

On a different tack ......

I recently attended a rather enjoyable wargaming weekend to help with running a large C18th game, using Charles's Grant's excellent "The Wargame" rules (other rules sets are available, ......they're just not as good! )

Anyway, the after dinner drinks discussion ranged far and wide, but at one point touched on the fact that the Crann Tara style figures look like they have been on a starvation diet etc.

So, I thought I would do a small visual comparison, between a Crann Tara figure, an Old Front Rank I happen to have, and a scaled down image taken from a drawing book, created to illustrate typical human proportions. Now whilst I appreciate folks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, it is a useful benchmark I would suggest.

At the end of the day, everyone has there own taste, and I can see why chunky, cartoon style figures are popular (they are so much easier to paint, the head alone being twice the size at least from what it should be), but I know which style looks better to me .... 😉

Finishing Off

With the bulk of the figure complete, it's time to finish by doing the final detail.

The musket is painted with a deep brown colour, then highlighted with a light tan/orange hued colour (I used Foundry Spearshaft 13c). I tend to do thin lines to give a suggestion of wood grain, it's totally out of scale, but seems to work. Metalwork is then painted in, using Coat d'arms 142 gun metal and Coat d'arms 220 silver for highlights. The gold is first painted Foundry Spearshaft 13a then overpainted with an acrylic gold. I find most metallic colours benefit with an undercoat of a base slightly darker flat acrylic colour underneath as they tend to be quite translucent and it helps give them depth.

Hair is painted all in an acrylic colour, like a light grey or light tan, then, once dry, washed over with a suitable oil colour (like Blue Black or Burnt Sienna respectively). Lastly the tricorne lace etc is painted, again, in this case, Spearshaft 13a as the base, with Foundry Ochre 4c as the top coat.

In all this detail work, it's important to leave a margin of a darker colour between surfaces, it helps to define the areas and makes it really "pop".

At this stage the figure is basically complete, all that's left to do is to deal with the fact that we have shiny and flat finishes at this point. An easy fix, which I'll describe next time.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Starting on the detail

With the core blocks of colour completed, it's time to start working towards finishing the figure by adding the detail. This stage of the process is very important, as, done well, it can help us deliver the third key element we are looking for, the "definition". 

My way of making the figure "pop" is to be quite focused when doing the detail to ensure that you paint in such a way that it leaves an effective "edge" between different colour areas on the figure. In the past some folk have thought that I lined figures in, in the way that Peter Gilder used to do, I don't, but the principle is the same. By creating a clear colour boundary and contrast on the edges of colours, you define them more clearly to the eye and make the figure much sharper and visually attractive.

If you don't do this than figure can often blend together in a way that means they get lost and it all just merges into a bit of an undefined mess.

So, on these figures I've done the following .......

The belts have been painted in with Foundry Buff Leather 7a, then 7b and finally with Foundry Base Sand 10c. Wherever there is an edge, eithet between the belts or the coat, I've ensured that its sufficiently dark to define the edge, in places this has meant a small amount of a mid brown colour being painted in.

The cartridge box was painted with Foundry Spearshaft 13c, allowed to dry and then washed over with Burnt sienna oil, I find this gives a nice tanned leather effect. The canteen painted in a dark grey then highlighted with some Coat d'arms Gun Metal 142, and then Silver 220.

On the buttons, these are painted in Foundry Spearshaft 13a, and then gold acrylic applied on top. I make sure that the base brown colour covers the full button and a little bit more so that when the gold is applied it leaves a very small "edge" of brown behind, This helps really define the button and make it pop. Look at the buttons on the coat, the coat is yellow and the buttons gold, without doing this they would just be totally lost. It takes a little practice, but makes a huge difference.

With the detail now done on the core figure, next time I'll move on the the musket, hat, hair and complete the figure.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Progress on other things

Taken a break from painting last couple of weeks, but will be picking up the brushes again now. The work in the interim has been on finishing the French Dragoon Command:

And also doing a conversion to create a suitable Grenadier figure for the unit currently being painted:

Back again soon ....


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Two out of three .....

A bit more work on the figures has now progressed them to the stage where the main core colours have been completed.

In my mind, this achieves for us two of the three criteria that I first identified as objectives for the figure painting. Namely, we've got good depth and strong bold colour. My camera work is amateurish ( a single overhead lamp on my workbench) and it's a very old digital camera, so the images shown don't really do the figures justice in that respect. "In the flesh" the colours have a really nice depth, vibrancy and tone to them, but are still quite subtle in overall look.

So, the steps since the last session were .....

The blue was done using acrylics, mainly because I find oil washing on deep blues doesn't work that well, I find it's just a bit too translucent. So, I use a three layer approach using Andrea paints blue paint set. I really like these acrylics, they have good pigmentation and dry quite "flat". In this case it comes as a six tone set, my technique here was to go from 2nd shadow as the under layer, with the base colour on top, then moving to the 3rd highlight to finish. Effectively I've accelerated through the six available tones using the ones on either end stopping off in the middle along the way. It creates a fairly strong transition, and on a bigger surface are you might want to introduce a few more of the intermediate tones, but at this scale it works fine.

The gaiters were then completed by highlighting them with Vallejo Ivory 005. That pallete (using the wiped off Gold Ochre oil wash) is my "white" and is the white I use on all my figures. It's warmer and less harsh than many you will see.

Details on the gaiters were then painted black and then highlighted with a suitable mid grey for the straps and light grey for the bone buttons.

Lastly the yellow was completed by highlighting with Foundry Yellow 2c

So, now we have the core figure well on the way, further steps will be to add the detail, doing this in the way I'll show will provide us with our last element .... the definition 


Friday, 20 April 2018

The Heart of the Miniature

Is, in my opinion the face. It gives the figure life and is the aspect that makes us believe its a little human being.

For that reason I always like to paint the face early on in the process. It sort of makes me feel like the figure is coming alive and helps me push on to get the rest of the painting done.

So a few rules I apply to face painting on 25mm (I'm old school! 😁) figures .....

1. Paint the face to the very best of your ability, time spent on this aspect of the figure will pay you back more than any other element of the paintjob. A well painted face on an otherwise "averagely" painted figure will still look like a good figure overall, conversely, a poor face on an otherwise well painted figure will really drag the rest of the figure down.

2. Do not paint eyes on 25mm figures, unless you do this perfectly (and I do mean perfectly) it will ruin the face, make it look like a google eyed zombie, add nothing, and take your time to no real value.

So what's my technique?

I have five steps ......

1. Paint the whole face (and for that matter any other flesh on the figure) with Foundry Flesh 5a
2. Once dry, wash over with Coat d'arms Ink wash "Chestnut"137 (this is an old Citadel paints wash that I used to use when they made it, it worked for me and I've never changed, luckily it's still being made by someone else under this brand)

Having done this the face will look like this
Once the wash has dried (won't take too long as it's only water based). I then do the following

3. Repaint the face with Foundry Flesh 5a, but this time leave the deep recesses still showing the underlying colour
4. Highlight the bulk of the raised parts of the face with Foundry Flesh 5b
5. Finish by adding very small amounts of Foundry Flesh 5c to the bridge of the nose, the upper cheeks and point of the chin only.

The overall effect will be something like this

It's a fairly simple variation of using the standard foundry "flesh" palette, but it gives a really good effect (well at least I think it does! 😊)

So, now the figures are "alive" time to start adding more colour .....