Posts Tagged '28mm Miniatures'

28mm Napoleonics Painting Update

I’ve switched back to working on more 28mm Napoleonic figures after doing little but Warhammer 40K Tau for the last 8 months or so.  This is prompted by my new friend Jason cranking up his 1813 project using the “Black Powder” rules, and inviting me to participate.  Before getting sucked into 40K in the middle of last year I had started working on my 28mm Napoleonics again, albeit without a real goal or direction in mind.  It’s my favorite historical period, so I always fall back on that when I run out of other project work.  I dithered along but without an organized group project, maintaining focus is hard, so naturally I didn’t keep it and shifted around to other things.

The purpose of this post is to show how I’m choosing to paint up my rank & file miniatures.  A project like using Black Powder for Napoleonics will require hundreds of figures for an army.  It’s just the way of things, and if you want the massed battle/”Big Battalions” look you have to accept it.  I like to think I’m a pretty good painter, but for whatever reason I had a devil of a time moving up to 28mm historicals from a painting standpoint.  My main bugbear was figuring out ways to paint black and white without looking unnatural or just dirty.  I’ve been using my Sash & Saber Russians as test figures for a while to figure things out before investing in the new Perry and (maybe) Warlord Games Russians for my core force.

First, I think I should spend a few sentences talking about what I’m aiming for.  As mentioned above, these figures are going to be for mass combat units in Black Powder.  As such, they will be based on multiple figure bases two ranks deep.  They are not going to be used or looked at as single figures.  They will be part of a unit of 24 figures (on average), and will be viewed at arm’s length or farther for the most part.  As such, I’m going for a paint job that looks good ‘en masse’ and not trying to turn each figure into an individual work of art.  It would take too much time and, since many of these figures will be obscured in the middle of mass formations, the work would be almost useless.  Since I’d like to get a full army or two up and running before I die, sacrifices must be made.  So, some details will not be picked out or highlighted for the rankers.  I see this as the best compromise for the goals I wish to achieve.

Anyway, enough pontificating.  Let’s see some lead.

Here’s a picture of a figure I painted up in the middle of 2012:

Old Method

The picture isn’t the greatest, but you can see the following things

  • The trousers are offwhite washed with Army Painter inks.  The creases shaded in well, but the overall effect is way too ‘dirty’ for my liking.  I also wasn’t totally happy with the colors I selected.  Trying to find a good-looking color palette for linen trousers isn’t easy.  It has to be a ‘warm’ white with brown tones in it versus a ‘cold’ white that has blues or greys in it.  
  • The flesh paint was globbed on and again washed.  Doesn’t look too bad, but not enough contrast to stick out well at arm’s length.
  • Shako cords were offwhite washed with Army Painter “Dark Tone” (i.e. like old GW Badad Black).  Looked too bright and, again, messy.  I have a tenency to lay whites on thick to get it to cover over darker base colors, which doesn’t look very good at the end.
  • The reds are washed with the Strong Tone as well, which muddies up the color a bit.

There are all mostly niggling things, but the end result didn’t turn out that great so I went back to the drawing board.  More experimentation and conversations with Jason and other folks have led me to working on this as a new test:

 

New Method

What do you think?

Here are the main changes:

  • The trousers are not washed.  I used a few colors from the Andrea Miniatures White Paint Set to build up a nice brownish color.  Might have been able to use another highlight, and my shading technique needs more work, but overall I’m pleased with how they turned out.  I have a method to build on if nothing else.
  • The skin tone is GW Dwarf Flesh, washed with Army Painter Soft Tone, and then highlighted with a mix of Dwarf Flesh & Elf Flesh. I think this lightens the flesh up a bit as well as gives a nicer contrast you can see at distance.
  • I used Vallejo “Light Grey” and “Sky Grey” for my belts, straps & shako cords instead of offwhite.  I think it looks a little more subdued and is easier to work up without looking dirty like the whites always seemed to.
  • The reds are washed with GW’s “Carrowburg Crimson” and then highlighted with Vallejo Scarlet.  Makes for a nice red tone that isn’t too bright or too pinkish but still stands out at distance.

I expect the quality of the paint jobs to raise a bit once I get more experience with things, especially with the shako cords and the trousers.  Overall, I think this does a nice job of concentrating the eye’s focus on the face and upper torso, which is where most of the action is for historical figures.  Once I get a full unit based up and ranked I hope you’ll agree that the effect looks great even if the individual figures aren’t masterpieces.

In case anyone’s interested, here are the colors I used:

  • Trousers-  Andrea White Paint set 2nd shade, base, & 2nd highlight
  • Shako, boots, packs, scabbards – Vallejo Black Grey
  • Coat – Vallejo Extra Dark Green, GW Athonian Camoshade
  • Cuffs/collars/turnbacks – Vallejo Red, GW Carrowburg Crimson, Vallejo Scarlet
  • Musket – Vallejo Hull Red
  • Musket strap – Vallejo Red Leather
  • Flesh – GW Dwarf Flesh, GW Elf Flesh, Army Painter Soft Tone ink
  • Straps/shako Cords – Vallejo Light Grey, Army Painter Dark Tone ink, Vallejo Sky Grey

Happy Painting!  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here or hit me up on Twitter.

 

 

 

Back With a Brand New Plan

So I post a long-winded 2013 update and, of course, less than an hour later I get an email from another local gaming acquaintance that throws my plans into upheaval.

It looks like 28mm Napoleonics is back on the front burner again so it’s time to order some more Russian figures.  I’m still not happy with the quality of painting I’m doing with 28mm Horse & Musket figures so I’m going to try some new techniques (again).  The upshot of all this is that my second battalion of Sash & Saber Russian Musketeers is going back in the pickle jar for paint removal yet again.  These poor bastards should be used to it by now.  First I was multiple attempts with a black undercoat, then one with a white undercoat.  Now it’s something completely different.

I’ve been watching videos on YouTube regardind different airbrush techniques, and one I plan to try out now is zenithal shading.  In a nutshell, basically you prime the entire figure in a dark primer (black in my case), then shoot the figure with a lighter-colored primer (Grey) from above at a 45 degree angle, putting a lighter base on the areas that you would expect to be hit with sunlight.  Finally you pick out the areas of interest or topmost parts of the figure with white primer.  This allows some natural shading & highlighting that you then overspray with thin coats of color, so hopefully allowing some built-in shading.  

 

I’ve been frustrated with trying to get clean paintjobs over dark foundations, so instead of slopping on the black & dark green paint & then trying to do a decent job with belting & shako cords I’ll get the white details sorted first & then carefully fill in with the darker colors.  We’ll see how this goes.

My goal is to use the S&S miniatures as guinea pigs so I can have a technique figured out before I start working on Perry, Foundry and/or Warlord Games’ ranges of figures.

 

Foundry Sees The Light

It’s the end of an era today, folks.

Wargames Foundry, one of the earliest drivers of ’28mm’ historical miniatures, sent me an email today:

Dear Sir/Madam,

While you may not have noticed yet, things are changing at Foundry and we are the middle of a process of restructuring and reorganisation. This will include bringing back some old ranges and reintrodcuing some old packs that were inexplicably removed from others. This will all take some time but we want to return to being the company we once were. As a symbol of this we have reintroduced the English Civil War and Thirty Years War ranges.

Although some of these things will take some time to put into place, one immediate change we have made is to make sure that those ordering from outside of the UK will pay the same price as everybody else. It was a particularly bad policy that we have rectified as of today, no matter where you live in the world you will not pay more than our domestic customers

Watch out for further changes in the future.

yours faithfully,

Neil Littlewood

 

There have been a number of things that historical miniatures gamers could whine about with regard to Foundry (dalliances with fantasy/SF ranges, declining quality of new ranges, the whole ‘our customers are collectors, not wargamers’ bit, etc.), but the main thing US customers would whine about was the fact that Foundry was purposefully screwing overseas customers through bloated local prices for their products.   This note from Mr. Littlewood indicates that this practice is coming to an end, which is good news indeed.

Foundry’s prices are still not cheap, and they still need to restock their stable of sculptors IMO, but at least everyone is getting treated the same now.  Well done.

Painting Update, or How I Learned to Live Without the Optivisor

After finally kicking myself in the butt I’ve started working in earnest on my 28mm Sash & Saber Russians again.  As I described in my last post I’m trying something new (and old) starting from a white undercoat and then blocking in the main colors with a bias toward the brighter end of the spectrum and then toning it down with washes.  Instead of using Minwax I’m using my current supply of Citadel washes instead.  Unlike previous go-rounds with the washes I’m not just slathering the entire figure in Devlan Mud this time.  The faces are being done with Ogryn flesh, the hair & linen pants in Devlan Mud, and the rest of the figure in Badab Black.

I like the effect a lot and think it looks good at tabletop distance.  I’m not trying to produce award-winning paintjobs with this technique; I just want to complete some units and play some games.  With a good basing job and some nice flags these figures will look good, and let’s face it, unless you’re a top-shelf painter displaying your figures with professional-quality photos, no one will look that closely at the rank & file figures anyway, especially when you need several hundred of them.  So why slow yourself down?  I also got rid of the optivisor for everything other that shako cords and straps which again saves time and removes the neurotic need to add one more highlight to that musket firing lock.

So, here are some WIP shots of my new figures.  I took them with my mobile phone so apologies for the meh photos.  The flash bleaches out the wash details a bit more than they should.

Sash & Saber Russians, White undercoat, basic block painting and citadel washes.

Compare that with one of my attempts to start from a black undercoat and do more of a Foundry/3-layer paint job:
28m Sash & Saber Russian Musketeer
More photos are available at my Photobucket page.

Enjoy!

Rank & File Rules Arrived

 

I pre-ordered a set of the “Rank & File” fast-play 1700-1900 horse & musket rules from Crusader to take advantage of the free postage deal, and my copy arrived yesterday.   I was able to spend an hour or so going over it after putting the kids to bed last night.

Initial impressions look very good.   The production values are excellent and well worth the £15. Kudos to Crusader for putting out an attractive book at a great price.  Compared to the $70 being asked for what is essentially a reprint of Napoleon’s Battles, Rank & File’s $22 for a full-color, 68 page book is a good deal in my opinion.

My first reading of the rules looks good so far. As befitting a rules set that covers several hundred years of warfare some areas are pretty basic, but I can already think of ways to augment the rules with more period-specific details.  These rules look to be a good ‘toolkit’ set that you can add optional rules just like in the book.

I’m looking at the rules for 28mm Napoleonic combat at the battalion level, and I’m already thinking about some tweaks to better reflect what I’m looking for.  The mechanisms in the rules are straight forward enough that it should be easy for end users of the book to add whatever ‘chrome’ they desire without altering the basic flow of the game.

Well done! There has been talk of releasing more period-specific supplements for these rules… I would be interested in seeing what they do as well.

New Perry Miniatures 28mm Plastic Napoleonics

Tempting… very, very tempting….

36 French infantry plus 6 skirmishers for around $30 USD (£15 GBP)? That’s a deal, boyo. Especially when you can mix & match with the Perry & Foundry 28mm metal figs.


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