Sunday, December 08, 2013

General Cotton's Command Stand

I didn't put a whole lot of time into the other figure, and you can see that when I snapped the photo, the glue was still wet on the ADC figure. Anyway, here's a shot of the command stand without any terrain added to it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Update of Sorts, Sir Stapleton Cotton

I was hoping that my cyberbuddy, Paul, could offer some direction, but he's busy with his family, I'm sure. Here are some more pics of General Cotton after having fussed with the figure all day. I'll never get this one right. I'm thinking of just giving up and making a command stand as he is. I think I'll order another figure and see what I can do with a second try. Here goes:

A work-in-process: Stapleton Cotton in 15mm

Some figures are just not made for Quickshade, or quick anything. This is one of them. I intend to use this Sir Stapleton Cotton figure for my cavalry command stand. I've been working on it for three days now, and I keep messing with it. The thing is that the sculpting is so fantastic, that it is possible to paint a miniature portrait of General Cotton - Mr. Barton even sculpted in the long curved nose! I know I can be a perfectionist, but this one is a real challenge. I just can't get the gilded hussar braid down. I'm running out of gold paint! Anyway, I'll be sure to post the finished command stand, once I have the figure down.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

QuickShade Horse

This is the latest installment in my wash technique foray. This is a French Chausseur casualty marker for Shako II. The horse was done simply with Army Painter Quickshade, instead of deep shade tones and thin successive highlight tones. This makes the rendering of the horse quite simple. Base color, QuickShade, then highlights with more of the base color. I'll be fooling around with more wash techniques to see if I like any of them enough to finish my Peninsular armies with it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More French Hussar Pics

I figured that I'd post a few more pics of the French 3rd Hussars - here they are. These were painted without the AP treatment, but in the style I had been painting in. It looks to me that the only part I have down pat is the horses ass. I wonder if that says anything about me. Hmm.

Wash Techniques

I'm also considering cooking up my own "magic wash," which consists of future, water, and acrylic paint for pigment. I could be wrong, but I'm just guessing that a solution like that is what this guy uses:

Still working with the AP on some Old Glory skirmishing stands:

I'll be sure to post a full report when done. I will say that I like AP as a wash for white/ivory colors, because I prefer the warm shade tones. We'll see what happens with this bunch.

Monday, November 11, 2013

An Army Painter/Quickshade Test Figure

For this figure and horse, I used Paul Alba's technique of blocking main colors, applying AP, and touching up with highlights. It sure is faster than painting at least two color shades for every color. I'm considering whether I like this enough to switch for my remaining figures - but I'm also in the midst of using AP on some Old Glory figures, to see how the sculpting comes out with AP.

I still need to finish the horse and horse furniture, put a final dose of flat lacquer on it, and add the static grass. I figured that a casualty figure would be a suitable test figure.

Some pre-Army Painter Hussars

As said earlier, I'm experimenting with Quickshade/Army Painter. Here are the French 3rd Hussars (photographed in hand to show the scale). Next pics will be of post-Quckshade/Army Painter. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

After seeing the many blog posts and write-ups, I broke down and ordered a can of Army Painter, just to see if it speeds up my painting. I'm hoping it would also help me with details. I have a few figs primed, once it shows up, I'll be sure to post pics on the results.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

With the command stand completed, here is a Spanish "division" for Arroyo Dos Molinos. There were a limited number of Spanish troops engaged, and this is their OOB. Special thanks to Michael Hopper for excellent references regarding uniforms and orders of battle.  I understand that Michael is writing a scenario book for Shako II, which I intend to pick up as soon as it is available. Also, there are four miniature manufacturers represented here: Old Glory, Battle Honors, Fantassin, and AB.

Command Stand For A Spanish Division

Here it is - a command stand for a Spanish division in my Peninsular OOB. The horse faux-pas was a big one, but hopefully it's been covered up a bit.  At least the horses don't look like horse-shaped bananas any more!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Found Some Pics With Better Light

British Dragoons

 Here is a look at some of my figures with better light. I just don't have the best lighting equipment for taking pictures, and a number of the pictures on the blog are a bit dark.
What the figs look like on a game table - British Line and British Light Infantry w/command

Portuguese Line

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Horse Hell

It has been such a long time since I have done much painting, that I forgot how to do a number of important things. Painting horses would be a prime example. I had to scroll through my own tutorials just to figure out what colors I used, how the paint was applied, and how much contrast to put in the colors being used.  I tried to paint a Palomino horse, which was a DISASTER. It looked like a horse-shaped banana, so it was scrubbed. I should never let so much time go by again, otherwise, I'll forget how to paint anything.  Even a barn. Wow.  I'll post pics of the Spanish command stand as soon as I remember what I do with horses.  As a great Hebrew man once said, "oy vey."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Cazadores, Finished and Based

Well, here they are. This rounds out my Portuguese division for a great Arroyo dos Molinos scenario. Next, I'll be doing some command stands - Spanish, British, and British cavalry command.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oops, I forgot an important detail!

Figure with successive layers on the right leg.

One important detail I forgot to mention in my post about folds and wrinkles in clothing is this: the best effect comes from successive passes of diluted paint! If one looks at the right leg (to your left as your are looking at it), you'll see softer transitions between the shade color and the highlight color. If done well, it will look like a wash, but it isn't a wash.  It's just a judicious use of paint, thinner, and a finely pointed brush. What I do is dip the brush in thinner (with acrylic paint, that would obviously be water), then dip in paint, and then make brush strokes accordingly. For major areas of a 15mm figure, this would take about 10 minutes per figure, which is why this technique isn't for everyone. If you like the style, that's how it is achieved.  Happy painting!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

AB British Dragoons

Not much to say, just a few pics.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wrinkles in Clothing - Step by Step

Wrinkles in Clothes – Step by step.

A while ago, someone asked me to post a step-by-step on how I paint clothing wrinkle and crease patterns on 15mm figures. Well . . . here it is.  Finally.

Once you see how this is done, you’ll realize that anyone could paint figures like this. One big drawback is that it is so slow, that painting an army for gaming would take a long, long time. Then again, when one gets as bored as me, you really won’t care.  If I were painting for gaming, with a deadline, the style would be considerably loosened, just to have enough figures to use for a game. Not only that, but when these figures are on a game table, no one would notice details like wrinkles in clothing. Therefore, it isn’t for everyone, but if you like the style, it isn’t that tough to do, if you have the right equipment and patience to pull it off.

The first thing to consider is the equipment you have. There are a few things that come in very handy, especially given the small scale.  The first is some sort of optical aid – here is a picture of mine, a pair of OptiVisor binocular magnifiers. The binocular part is really important; if you just took a magnifying glass, or light with a magnifier on it, you’d lose depth perception, which is essential. By magnifying both eyes independently, you can see not just the figure better, but you can see the contours sculpted into it, and you can tell where your brush meets the figure. I think these are 5x. I used to paint without optics, but you can go blind that way.  Not the way my mother thought I’d go blind . . . 

Another useful tool is something to hold your figures steady at various angles. One hand can be shaky enough; two hands are doubly shaky. Therefore, I have these weighted clamps that can be used to hold the figures. This helps a lot. I think these clamps can be found in almost any decent hobby shop – I bought this at a HobbyUSA store.

An item that is not to be without is a good paintbrush. I’ve found that it is impossible for me to paint in the style I paint without just the right paintbrushes. These two are sizes 00 and 10/0, but more important than the size is the sharp point at the end. You’ll see why in a minute. Suffice to say that without the right paint brush, painting details like folds in clothing is a non-starter.

The last big consideration is the figure manufacturer. Lately, I’ve been using AB figures because they are so well sculpted. For wrinkles in clothing, it’s hard to find a better brand. Most of the major wrinkle and fold patterns are sculpted into the figure – subtly but enough to notice. Other brands are o.k., like Warmodelling or Old Glory – but with either of them, the features of the figures are exaggerated in a way that makes them look great from a distance, but not so much when up close and personal.

For this demonstration, I’ll be painting Portuguese Cacadores (I need a battalion for my Arroyo scenario). Again, the manufacturer is AB, which always turn out nicely.  The first thing to do is to paint the major clothing areas with your base color.  The Cacadores wore brown uniforms that faded to tan after time. I painted the base color with Vallejo Flat Brown (70984). The next thing to do is choose the highlight color (I only use two tones on 15mm figures). In this case, I have Delta Ceramcoat Raw Sienna (02411).  You’ll want enough contrast between the dark and light colors to see the detail, but not so much contrast that you paint a cartoon. I always start with the delicate stuff first with the small brush (10/0), dipped in water and rolled to a very sharp point. It is important not to dip the brush too far into the paint – just enough to put a little paint on the brush. Then I roll the brush one or two rotations on a palate to make sure that the point of the brush still goes down to just about the last hair.

Basic background color painted on the figure's clothes.

One shouldn't sink the brush too far into the paint. That will eventually ruin the brush and keep you from achieving fine detail.

Brush rolled a couple times to sharpen the point.

A comparison between the shade color and the highlight color. There's contrast enough to make a nice figure without being too contrasted.

I usually start by doing the intricate parts first with the small brush. This includes the crinkles in the pants around the athletic cup, bends in knees, and elbows. At this point, the figure isn’t anything to write home about.  In fact, Martha Stewart would have a cow.

When doing tricky wrinkles like the inside of the elbows, I usually give it a very light touch with the point of the brush, then add pressure as the brush moves away from the center of the crease. Most of these types of folds are triangle shaped, and you can achieve a good sharp point to the triangle on the inside of the arm this way.

Here I have a couple of the minute details done. I use the bigger brush for the larger areas.

After that, I use the bigger brush (still with a sharp point on it, though) to fill in the bigger parts (thighs, back of legs, back of arms where the tension of the arm in the uniform doesn’t leave creases or wrinkles.

If you don’t like what you have, you can touch the whole thing up in reverse. Just take the small brush with a fine point, and add wrinkles with the shade color. You could do this forever, but really what you want to do is leave soft and subtle changes in shade in the shape of the wrinkles of the clothes.

Then, as an aside, I’ll paint the tunic between the strips of piping.  This is the secret to painting piping and lace – turn the figure on its side so that you are using the brush vertically. Why? The muscles of the hand operate differently when you use a vertical stroke versus a horizontal stroke. I think you’d be amazed at the accuracy of your brush strokes just using this simple trick. If you make a slight boo-boo, you can just paint over it with the piping base color (in this case, black). That way when you highlight the piping, you can just let the very tip of the small brush ride along the raised contour of the piping, leaving what appears to be an impossibly small strip of piping. In this case, I use Vallejo Dark Gray (70994) to highlight black on the figure, including the piping.

Figure held sideways to allow for vertical brush strokes while doing the

The same figure with the piping and belts highlighted.

A finished figure, ready to be mounted.

And that's it. It's enough to keep the hobby challenging, but without going batshit crazy. Below you can see a pic that this guy fits in o.k. with his line infantry comrades. Happy painting!  BTW, I'd like to see your stuff, too. If I could figure out how to have you put your stuff on here, I think that would add to the quality of my blog. Best wishes!

A Cacadore next to the line infantry.