Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

A little progress

Posted by Martin on April 6, 2008

More Kurmark landwehr WIPPeople using the vBench blogs in PlanetFigure and PlanetArmor seem very happy to post even the smallest amount of progress on their projects and I have to say that I find that approach really reassuring and encouraging for old slow-coaches like me.

So, I’m going to try to take a leaf out of their book. Here’s a (slightly dark – sorry) photo of some small steps forward on the 2nd battalion of my Kurmark landwehr infantry. Can you spot what’s changed?

The obvious thing is the the two figures on the right are now completed and ready for varnishing. I’m not sure this picture shows it well, but there’s no use of metallic paints on these figures at all. I’ve pretty much dropped metallic paints from my toolset now and started to try to follow the principles of NMM. I’m pretty pleased with the results I get for yellow metals (gold, brass etc) but there’s still some way to go for white metals (iron, steel etc).

Bareheaded figureThe two figures on the right are the next batch. You might recall that I’m working in pairs for the timebeing and to keep things interesting, I’m trying to do one “vanilla” figure and one more unusual figure in each pair. Last time the unusual chap was the one with in bare feet; this time it’s the bareheaded one. He’s coming along nicely and, though you can’t see it, all his baggage is painted but I think I’ve over highlighted his black straps. So there will be a bit of remedial work there.

I’ve also given him a red material repair patch on his litewka. This sort of thing can be overdone and I’ve seen some units in painting competitions where every single figure sports a garishly coloured patch somewhere. For me the effect is spoilt when used indisciminately like this, especially if the patches are in unrealistic colours (why do some people go for purple?). To my mind, repair patches would be made from whatever spare material the soldiers had to hand. In many cases this would be cheap undyed or brown cloth or perhaps spare material in the facing colour of the unit. Hence my choice of red on this occasion.

The right-most figure is in the middle of having his litewka painted. The basecoat for this is Dark Prussian Blue and this picture shows nicely how dark that really is – especially over a black undercoat. But that’s exactly the effect I want. Next layer will be Prussian Blue, followed by Medium Blue.

The final step for the litewka will be to go back and do correction to the shadows with some thinned down Dark Prussian Blue. Now this isn’t a what I’d call a wash because I don’t let the paint flow into places by itself – it goes where I paint it (assuming I get it right). The nearest thing I’ve seen to this is something AFV modellers call a pin wash where they target thinned down paint precisely in order to put shadow round things like rivets and bolts.

With all this talk of paints, just a quick aside that I had a pleasant surprise one lunchtime last week. Sometimes I take a stroll out of the office to the shops in Bristol where I work. You won’t be amazed to know that the local model shop, Antics, is one of the places I often pause at. So you can imagine my pleasure when I discovered that they now stock Vallejo paints. I was so shocked that I’d didn’t check the prices but even if they are more expensive that buying online, that’ll probably be outweighed by the convenience factor. No more waiting to compile an order that makes the P&P worthwhile or hanging on until the next wargames show before I can pick up that obscure shade of green that I need.

So, well done to Antics. They’ve got several branches (Stroud, Guildford, Gloucester, Bristol, Plymouth, Worcester, Cardiff and Coventry) so maybe your local one is carrying Vallejos too.

5 Responses to “A little progress”

  1. Alan said

    I like your painting. What is the “NMM” method of painting metallics?

  2. Martin said

    Thanks Alan. NMM is “non-metallic metals”. It’s the idea that instead of using metallic paints (silvers. golds etc) to paint areas of a figure you wish to appear metallic, you use “normal” colours. So, for steel, you might use various shades of grey or blue-grey and for gold you might uses browns and ochre colours.

  3. Glen said


    Great stuff, can’t wait to see a whole battalion based up and ready for action.


    There are a number of articles on NMM, is just one of many, takes quite a bit longer but the effect can be quite dramatic.


  4. Alan said

    Hi Glen, Thanks for the tip, I checked out the website you recommended and it was very helpful. It looks as if it takes longer than the metallic paint “shortcut” but I may give it a go when I start my next project.


    I noticed you are going to check out the Perry Guard Chasseurs a Pied, I have almost finished a batallion of them, I chose the ones in greatcoats, and I am very pleased with the way they look. Lots of character. Would be glad to share pictures of them when based, is it possible do that on this site?

  5. Martin said

    Alan – I’ll PM you about pictures.

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