Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Saxon shako experiment

Posted by Martin on April 30, 2008

Just a quick note on a bit of progress I made on my Saxon musketeer. This figure is very much a test figure to try out several palette combinations. I’ve already mentioned the Foundry whites and the various greens for the facing colour. I’m also looking at a number of possible palettes for shako covers to give a campaign look to battalions.

In due course, I’ll experiment with some greys, dark browns and my canvas palette but on this figure I’m trialling grey-greens. The base coat is VMC994 (dark grey), mid-shade is VMC886 (green-grey and the highlight is VMC971 (confusingly labelled green grey on the label but actually a pale grey green). I’m not sure this has been a success but I haven’t quite worked out why. It might be the combination of colours or it might be because I haven’t been refined enough with painting in folds on the cover.

Note the correct colouring for the pom-pom. Saxon line musketeer pom-poms were white on the lower half and the regimental facing colour on the upper half. Line grenadier pom-poms were red regardless of regiment.


4 Responses to “Saxon shako experiment”

  1. Robert said

    Very creditable job so far!

    I can’t speak with experience on the Saxons, but when years ago I was painting Italians in white and green, I tried shako covers in a similar grey/green and didn’t like it; I felt it needed something “warmer” to contrast the white and green, and in the end went for a coffee brown colour, and for the cover highlights lightened it with a bit of yellow.

    Painting is never simple; I have just finished a bunch of French infantry having spent a lot of time shading the white campaign trousers. Each individual figure looked great, but when I put them together in a unit, something just didn’t work- the whole effect looked too “fussy”.

    I went over them and repainted the shading (done in a light/ mid grey) with the original colour (Ceramcoat’s Soft Grey- almost a white). it looked much better en masse. Maybe I need to use more subtle shading, but at what point it would just “wash out” visually on the tabletop is what I am wondering now, and whether it may even be worth the effort if I means I can churn out a greater number of figures in the long run.

  2. Rafa Pardo said

    It is a good attempt. The white uniforms are not easy to paint. I paint my Saxons (or Italians) with Vallejo medium grey as base colour and I add some two or three highlights with light grey, white or a mix.

  3. Alan said

    I have found that Wargames Foundry “Buff Leather” works really well for shako covers. It provides a pleasing contrast with the colours of pompons and facings, particularly red and green. When painting French infantry I tend to use shako covers as a way to identify particular battalions and regiments on the table, as they all tend to look the same otherwise. Another colour I have used is Citadel “Catachan Green,” which is a dark greyish green, highlighted by mixing with a little white.

    There’s always a trade-off between how figures look en masse and close-up. I think that one factor that makes a huge difference is how the bases look. The right contrast between them and the figures is paramount for achieving the right effect.

    I am looking forward to see the outcome of your experiments Martin, I am getting a lot of inspiration from your work. From the photo it looks like there might be too much contrast between the light and dark areas of the shako cover and that may be why you are not comfortable with the result.

  4. Martin said

    Yes, Alan, I’ll be doing some of my Saxons with canvas shako covers which I suspect is a bit like the buff leather you mention. I already have a good palette for canvas so I don’t need to experiment with it. I’ll be using a variety of browns too.

    I think you may have something with your comment about the contrast. The dark grey is very dark compared with the highlight. I’ve introduce more of the mid-shade since – see the latest posting for a new photo. Oh – and I haven’t fogotten about your Perry chasseurs.

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