Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Warm weather painting

Posted by Martin on June 5, 2010

Another horse artilleryman goes under the brush.

Another horse artilleryman goes under the brush.

I’m not sure what to make of painting in such warm weather. One thing I do like is the light. I can set up my painting area back from the French windows at the back of the house and still enjoy plenty of natural light for close-up brushwork. On the downside, warm weather can be uncomfortable and it does seem to affect the paint. I’m inclined to think this has more to do with the straightforward impact of high temperatures rather than some more arcane effect caused by humidity. The paint seems to thicken up more quickly on the palette and then start to dry. This means I have to work more quickly than usual (perhaps no bad thing) and, crucially, put smaller amounts of paint out on the palette.

I particularly noticed this with the white strapping on this figure but the eventual result is pleasing and should look just fine after varnishing. Next up for this chap will be his grey overalls, then the handspike followed by weathering with mud colours before finishing off with details like his hands and the scabbard. I’m especially looking forward to doing the handspike in Prussian artillery grey-blue. These lighter shades of blue are ones that I rarely get the opportunity to use and that’ll make for an enjoyable variation.

7 Responses to “Warm weather painting”

  1. Frank said

    I too have noticed the ‘warm weather’ effect. I paint around 9 or 10 figures at a time and now have to use two lots of paint per shade. I also have more problems with white than any other colour. The base colours be they beige or grey are fine but the top coat whit always comes out chalky I have tried several manufactures paint. Any ideas on the difinitive white?

    • Martin said

      Ah Frank, the search for the perfect white paint is my personal Holy Grail quest. Most people seem to struggle with reds and yellows which give me no problem at all. But white – that’s been a ongoing struggle for me as you’ll know if you’ve followed this blog over the years.

      The two problems I experience with whites are the chalkiness you describe and coverage. Over the years I’ve tried Vallejo, Foundry, Miniature Paints, Andrea and most recently P3. Ultimately it’s a matter of personal taste (for example, I don’t like the plasticky texture of the Foundry paint but others get on fine with it) but I’ve settled on Andrea (in particular the six-pot white set) and Vallejo.

      I could go on about white paint for ages but I should perhaps save that for a specific posting in future. The one thing I haven’t tried is mixing my Vallejo white (which does go chalky sometimes) with a retarder like this one to slow down drying time. If anybody has experience of this, I’d be interested to learn about how it went.

      • Burkhard said

        With white it usually depends.

        For basecoats I use artists acrylics. Dead cheap since it comes in half litre or litre bottles and very good pigmentation. It just needs to be thinned down (BTW I always use distilled water since it prevents this rotten smell you can get after some time with tab water).
        For small stuff like eyes or fine piping I go for Games Workshop ?Skull? White. It can cause havoc on your brushes, but gives good coverage and has a nice flow.

        For all the shading I use selfmixed tomes (again using artist acrylics as a base). There seems to be a set of whites from Andrea which is reputedly extremely good but i have not used it.



  2. Burkhard said

    I actually like painting in this weather. As you said… the good light makes painting much easier. I do not have any problems with the paint. I have all the colours and shades I needed ready mixed in pots (bought a huge lot of empty pots for that purpose some time ago). So all I need to do is close the pot to give it a quick twice as often as in the winter and add two or three drops of water from time to time.
    The biggest plus for me is varnish. I use an industrial spry on varnish. Due to the fumes I need to leave the mini in the staircase to dry during the winter. Which takes about a week. During the summer I just leave them in the sun and the varnish is burned in with 30 minutes. Just love that!!!



  3. Hi
    The warm weather makes that paint dries quickly…
    Beautiful miniatures and a great painting job…
    I am in the 1/72 scale however, but your advice and expertice is universal!

  4. Harry the Elder said

    Winsor Newton Blending Medium…

  5. Mark W said

    As an Australian painter working in acrylic in SYDNEY I have little idea of cold weather painting!

    The evaporation of water is dependent on the RH of the air, not the temp [it just happens that as air warms it expands and RH drops within that air parcel].

    The temp does not appear to be the issue with the paint as much as the humidity. I have noticed the effect of RH when painting with the air conditioner on [the A/C also dehumidifies the air]. I typically work with temps in the mid to high 20’s and occasionally the low 30’s. RH is usually in the 60-70’s %. However, with the A/C on the RH is closer to 50% except on stinkers when it drops into the 20’s % and it is too hot to paint [and as a vol firie I am usually busy with other matters, anyway]. I recently attempted to do some painting during a deployment to Afghanistan in A/C where temp was mid 20’s but RH was very, very low. I quickly gave up on the painting because the paint was drying out too quickly – even with constant additions of water.

    I tried Flotrol once but have gone back to using water. I mix to taste on an old glazed white tile. After nearly 30 years in the Aust. Army I am well aware of the total lack of consistency in colours of materiel being used in the field so I am not at all fussy about achieving the so-called right colours. However, I am also not fussy about researching the true dyes and wear characteristics either. This ‘field standard’ is what attracted me to Calpe’s campaign figures.

    Keep safe, Mark W

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