Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

The pale horse

Posted by Martin on March 20, 2007

The verdict on the work so far on the pale horse has been too much at the extreme ends of the palette. Too much flat earth in the shadows and too much ivory on the highlights. It’s clearly going to take a while before my style adjustments for painting horses come naturally to me.

I’ve made some corrections now and eliminated an awful lot of the worst excesses. No “before and after” shot I’m afraid. I didn’t actually get round to pointing the camera at the “before” condition but here’s the “after”.

Pale horse w-i-p #1

Bear in mind this is still w-i-p, so there’s a whole load more to do and horses never seem to come together until the rider is painted up.


6 Responses to “The pale horse”

  1. Murray said

    Did you see the article in Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy (aka “that Spanish Magazine”) on how to paint horses. It was written by Javier Gomez (aka El Mercenario) and has the three coded (Andrea and Vallejo) colour suggestions for a range of common horse types/markings. It could easily be extended to 5 colours, if that is deemed necessary. I think it is an excellent reference. I could track it down for you if there is an interest.
    FYI, Javier is the guy I visited Peter F with. He is painting my second Prussian Brigade. I rate him amongst the best army painters out there.

  2. Martin said

    Hi Murray,

    I don’t have that issue of WSS but I have seen Javier’s work before – very nice with a definite style to it. I’d be really interested to see details of the colour palettes he uses. Lucky you, having Javier paint a whole brigade. I’d love to see the finished result.


  3. Murray said

    The article is in WSS number 7. It is probably still available from Caliver. If not I can scan and send you the pages. The horse types covered are: reddish-brown, light brown, dark brown, light grey, dark grey, white and black horses.For each he gives vallejo and andrea colours (base + up to 3 highlights (e.g., 4 layers) for the coat, manes, socks, muzzles and nostrils. I think it is excellent.
    As an example for the light brown e.g., the type of horse I think you are attempting, he suggests:

    Coat: base beige brown (875), 1st Highlight (875) + orange brown (981) + flat flesh (955), 2nd highlight as for 1st, but more of the 981 and 955, 3rd highlight 955
    Mane – 4 different choices, but for dark brown suggests: base: chocolate brown (872), 1st H Beige Brown (875)
    pink nostrils base: old rose (944) + Orange Brown (981), 1st H 944 + flat flesh (955)
    he also gives details for nostrils and socks etc.


  4. Martin said

    Thanks Murray – interesting to see just how much paint mixing Javier does. I tend to avoid mixing my own shades. Three reasons for that really. First, plain old laziness; second, the Vallejo range is so big that I can usually find a “standard” colour to meet my needs (and that’s doubly true when you factor in the Foundry range too); thirdly, consistency – I find it very difficult to reproduce a shade next time around and that’s more than a bit bothersome when I want to paint whole units.

    The downside is that it sometimes takes me a fair amount of experimentation to find palettes of three to five shades that I’m happy with.

  5. Murray said

    Hi Martin

    Interesting. I can’t imagine not blending colours. I find you get better integration between shades if you actually build up the colours yourself. Also, don’t find it to be a lot of work. Consistency can be a problem, but a wet palette helps and sometimes a little variation is probably more realistic anyway! It does pay to have a painting dairy, where you can record the colours you used for each item. Very helpful if having to add some figures months or years after you painted the last lot!

  6. Martin said

    I don’t rule out introducing colour mixing to my armoury – it’s just that I’m trying out some other technique tweaks at the moment (e.g. NMM) and so I’m keeping the number of new things to a minimum right now. If and when I do start mixing, a wet palette will definitely be the route I go. And it’ll be a DIY one rather like Sasha Herm’s.

    Your tip about a painting diary is one I heartily endorse. I keep a record of every palette I use and usually try to document them here on BFK so other people can try them for themselves if they like.

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