Monday, July 01, 2013

Piping and Lace - Simple Procedure

As promised (a couple YEARS ago), this is the article on painting piping and lace in 15mm.  For this posting, I’m using the British Foot Guards from the peninsular campaign.  The figures pictured are from AB, a brand that I am slowly beginning to embrace as much as Old Glory 15s. 

The pictures in this entry assume that one had already primed the figure with some sort of figure primer or paint.  Here we have a black undercoat being used, and the very first step I usually take is to paint the faces and hands with shade and highlight colors.  This is because as Ian Marsh wrote, it “gives personality” to the figures.

After painting the flesh areas, I proceed to shade the areas of the piping color.  In this case, the battalion in question is the British Foot Guards from the Peninsula, so I pick a reasonable shade color for white, which is the piping and lace color.  Any sort of gray will do.  Here, I’ve used Vallejo #821, German Camouflage Beige (picture #1).  The areas shaded do not include the fine piping or lace that should be painted, only the larger areas of the same color.

The next step is to paint the piping and lace colors – in this case, white. The key is to paint the areas of piping and/or lace that would be smaller than other colors on the figure.  So, the idea is to paint the piping color (in this case white) in a way that is careful, but not necessarily too tight because any white that is overplayed can be covered up by shade colors of the areas in question.  Since most of the shade areas are red, and painting a maroon color over white leaves a weird sort of bright maroon color, which just doesn’t look right, I outline the white lace/piping colors with an opaque black (picture 2).

The whole secret to painting sharp piping and/or lace on a 15mm figure is to have a brush with an exceptionally well defined point to it. Then use that point with shade color (this example uses the black undercoat color) to make the narrow lines that give the detail. For example, the piping at the bottome of the figure’s coat looks like an impossibly small line – which it almost is. What I did was paint the line, using the point of the brush to follow the contour of the coat, then use the point of the brush above and below the line with black to give it the extra fine quality to it. The finished figure is in the battalion of Foot Guards, shown below.

Here's a closeup of a company of similar figures, finished and based.


Chris Stoesen said...

Nice guide. Would it work just as well to paint the red coat first then go back and do the piping as you describe? The effect that you achieve is wonderful. I am just not sure I can paint the red in afterwards and not mess up the piping.

Mark Case said...

Hi Chris

You could do that, but I do it this way, because the piping is a light color, and it may take more than one coat of the shade color (maroon in this case) to totally cover the white. Each coat is an opportunity to mess it up, so I do this because the cost of messing up is less. Also, you may notice that the space between the lace/piping work is big enough for a sharply pointed brush to go, leaving a miniscule strip of black, if you want that for contrast. But . . . that's just me! There's no right or wrong way to do it, I've just used trial and error to arrive at this procedure.

Chris Stoesen said...

Thanks. I still have a pile of Napoleonics to paint at some point. I will definitely give this a try.