Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

A little progress update

Posted by Martin on June 14, 2008

First landwehr figureSecond landwehr figureThird landwehr figureFourth landwehr figure

Keeping up my Planet Armor approach that each small bit of progress is worth documenting and celebrating. Here’s two figures you’ve seen before finished and ready for varnishing (on the left) and the next two just started (on the right).

The left-most figure gave me some trouble. I want to vary the colours of the blanket rolls through the battalion to aid that landwehr campaign feel so I tried out some red-brown shades for this figure. They were an abject failure and I don’t really know why. More reflection called for there I’m afraid. So that led to a repaint using one of my trusty brown combinations (burnt umber basecoat, beige brown first highlight and cork brown second highlight) with a twist. I chose to experiment with an exceptionally dark brown called german camo. black brown (VMC822) as the basecoat and promoted the three other browns up the layers.

Success! You can see this darkest brown in the deepest central fold of the blanket roll. Don’t be deceived though – the other two “folds” you can see are a). burnt umber rather than german camo black brown and b). aren’t even folds really – they’re actually lines painted on the smooth surface of the blanket roll that give the illusion of folds. This is a tactic I’ve adopted on all the figures I’ve painted recently and really seems to give the texture of the figures a lift.

The two w-i-p figures are the ones that will complete the first company of the battalion and therefore the first officer makes an appearance. As you can see, I haven’t done too much yet. The first step was to paint the figures overall in a mixture of VMC black and Daler-Rowney FW black acrylic ink. Then I started on the faces and the fiddly bits on the caps: the landwehr cross and the black and white Prussian cockade. And yes, I do paint a little black dot in the middle for the central part of the cockade.

It’s at this stage that I also tackle everything that’s in the Kurmark provincial facing colour of red: cap bands, collars and cuffs. This is a four layer process (hull red – red – scarlet – orange-red). As you can see, one figure is further on than the other. The second figure wears a small neck scarf, so I’ve got the luxury of choosing a colour for this non-regulation item. I want something that’ll stand out from the red and dark blue of the uniform without being garish or unprototypical. I expect I’ll go for yellow or light blue.

4 Responses to “A little progress update”

  1. Frank Catinella said

    They look very good. I like the blanket trick. It really seems to work. I will try this. What is your combination for the red. It seems the colour that I am looking for. The combinations that I have tried, I am not happy with.

  2. Martin said

    Thanks Frank. I know what you mean about reds, they can be awkward to get good coverage and vibrancy (same with yellows, I find). My recipe is to use four layers:

    Basecoat: VMC985 hull red – this gets almost completely hidden by subsequent layers and is really there for the very deepest shadows and to provide a sort of friendly uncoat for what follows.

    First highlight: VMC926 red – don’t be fooled by the name of this paint, it’s actually a quite dark red. I cover almost all of the basecoat with this.

    Second highlight: VMC817 scarlet – I leave some of the previous layer showing through for folds and shadows.

    Third highlight: VMC910 orange red – I was so pleased when I discoved this almost flame-coloured red. I use it on the highlights and edges. When you actually paint this on, it hardly looks as though it’s making any difference but the touch of brightness it adds really shows when you compare with something that hasn’t had the same treatment.

    One tip with this: use nicely thinned down paint. You’ll get a smoother finish even if you have to go over some areas with the same colour more than once. If the paint’s applied too heavily you’ll get a chalky finish.

  3. Rafa Pardo said

    I like the splashed mud on the figure. It seems very realist!

  4. Alan said

    Hi Martin,

    I found a simple technique to get good vibrancy from reds and yellows; paint the first coat white. The colours really shine then. You can still use black undercoat on the figure of course. The bonus of doing it this way is that if the red area has white piping you can leave a little white showing when you paint on the red and there you have it!

    I use Citadel blood red for the main colour, shade with citadel scab red and highlight with blood red mixed around 50/50 with citadel fiery orange.

    For very small areas of red like the French light infantry cuff slashes I have just painted for example,I find white followed by red to be sufficient for a good effect.

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