Getting your whites right and other chores
Posted by Martin on June 13, 2009
June is always a hectic month at BfK HQ but this year seems more frenzied than ever. On top of the usual family birthdays this week, I’ve been cracking on with the updates to the Calpe website, proof-reading Peter F’s painting guide for the Saxon musketeers and grenadiers, writing some more of my Wargames Illustrated article and trying to complete my paint trials in readiness for getting stuck into the job of painting up the first battalion.
The white palette trials seem as good a place to start as any. As you know, I’ve been introduced to the Andrea white paint set and I’ve now completed my experiments. It’s a dangerous temptation to have a set of six pre-mixed shades in front of you on the workbench (see photo above). After all, six colours means six layers, right? Well, I was able to resist that extreme option but I did initially go for using four out of the six colours on the trousers of a test figure. It was fun at the time but after a couple of days reflection I reached the conclusion that there wasn’t sufficient difference between each shade.
So that meant the poor test figure had to suffer the ignomy of having his trousers scrubbed clean with hot water and an old toothbrush! The second experiment was a more conventional three layer job. The base coat was the second shade colour from the set (i.e. the darkest of the six – leftmost in the photo above); the first highlight was the base colour from the set (third from the left in the photo above) and the second highlight was the third highlight colour (i.e. straight white – rightmost in the photo above). I opted for two thin layers of each colour as opposed to a single thicker layer.
The test figure has spent most of the rest of this week being dragged round the house by me and viewed under various different light sources. And the conclusion is that I’m satisfied with the outcome. In fact, I’m more than satisfied with the whole experiment. At last I think I have three shades that work as a palette for white and all three of them come from paints that don’t go chalky. Oh yeah – look right for a photo of the results.
Reviewing Peter F’s painting guide has got me thinking about the blue palette I had previously settled on for the Saxon officers’ surtouts. Before, I’d be visualizing a sky blue as the target to aim for but Peter’s notes describe the colour as a grey-blue, the figures he is painting at the moment are definitely a grey-blue rather than a sky one and (this is the clincher) Peter Bunde’s plates for the Saxon infantry regiments also indicate a particular shade of grey-blue. A pity really, because I was pretty damned proud of the pair of officer’s trousers that I’d painted the other week. Still, all is not lost: two of the colours from my intended palette will still serve well and I’ve identified a suitable candidate for the third colour. Once I’ve re-painted the trousers of the officer in question, I’ll post details here.
A slight digression follows.
Peter F. intends to sell relevant Peter Bunde Brigade plates alongside his painting guide. If you haven’t seen these plates before, then I urge you to investigate them. Peter B. is German and therefore has easier access than many to primary research materials in German museums, archives and collections. Naturally, the fact that German is his first language also makes it easy for him to correctly interpret these sources. The result is that the Brigade plates are a stunning uniformology resource that mainly (but not exclusively) covers German states of the Napoleonic period. Each A4 plate covers one particular unit in extensive detail.
For example, the plate about the Saxon Prinz Friedrich August infantry regiment is on my desk at the moment. It illustrates the the flags carried by the two battalions; uniforms for musketeers, NCOs, sappers, musicians and officers; shako details; rank distinctions; the shabraque for mounted officers; the aforementioned grey-blue surtout; examples of campaign uniform and other details like cartridge cases and forage caps. The plate comes with a page of notes translated into English with a full list of the sources used by Peter B.
The last area of work this week has been the Wargames Illustrated article. I have to confess to a little procrastination on this front but I’ve got thing back on track and I’ve completed almost half of the article now. Most of what’s left is planned out and there’s only one section that I’m not particularly looking forward to because it calls for some research that feels a bit too much like exam revision for my taste. Still, I could get the thing finished next week with a solid final push. Dan’ll be pleased to hear that if he’s reading this.
PS: who spotted photos of von Peter and ADC Simon in this week’s Foundry e-mail newsletter!?