Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Posts Tagged ‘Toby Thornton’

Paint-in #4: heads, hair and hats

Posted by Martin on March 17, 2013

Finished faces, hair and hats.

Finished faces, hair and hats.

So, after a brief diversion, it’s back to the painting table to finish off the faces (having done the eyes in the last painting session) and to deal with hair and hats (of various sorts).

The equipment checklist is the same as for the last session with the addition of a size 0 Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 brush. The chart below lists the paints I used in this session:

Colour Basecoat Highlight 1 Highlight 2 Highlight 3
Black Black VMC950 Dark Grey VMC994 Neutral Grey VMC992 Light Grey VMC990
Red Hull Red VMC985 Red VMC926 Carmine Red VMC908 Orange Red VMC910
Flesh Burnt Umber VMC941 Red Leather VMC818 Flat Flesh VMC955 Light Flesh VMC928
Iron Grey Field Blue VMC964 (Grey Blue VMC943) Union Blue NAC24 Azure Grey NAC17
Red Hair Burnt Umber VMC941 Cavalry Brown VMC982 Red Leather VMC818 Orange Brown VMC981
Dark Blue Andrea Blue Set 2nd Shadow Prussian Blue VMC965 Andrea Blue Set 3rd Light

In addition to those, I used Burnt Umber VMC941 and Gold VMC996 for yellow metal items; Dark Grey VMC994 and Natural Steel VMC864 for white metal items; and Old Rose VMC944 for lips.

I started with the faces and a first highlight of Red Leather over all but the deepest recesses (like eye sockets, open mouths, under the chins and so on). Remember that we already had a base coat of Burnt Umber on the faces. The next colour is Flat Flesh which again covers most of the Red Leather while trying to leave lines that represent furrows and wrinkles. The final highlight is Light Flesh which should only go on the highest points like the top of the nose, chin, cheekbones and brow. If you overdo this last step you run the risk of making your soldiers look like the undead! The finishing touch for the faces is a narrow line of Old Rose for the lower lip.

Two of the four figures in the set wear covered shakos (and a third carries one). This offers the opportunity for a choice of colours for the shako covers and, if I were doing line infantry or soldiers fighting in the Peninsular, I’d be tempted by canvas/linen shades. However, I’ve stuck to straight dark oilskin covers this time around. Before going for the shako covers themselves, I like to deal with the details on the shakos. Here that means the metal chinscales and the pompoms.

The train soldiers’ lentille pompoms are iron grey, so that’s a simple overall bascoat of Field Blue followed by successive highlights of the other colours listed above. You’ll notice that I’ve put brackets around Grey Blue in the chart. That’s because I didn’t actually use it on these pompoms – partly because I was experimenting and partly because the pompoms are so small that there’s not much benefit to be had from using a fourth colour. The artillery drummer has a nice bright red tufted pompom for which I mostly followed my traditional red palette but using Carmine Red instead of Scarlet for the second highlight. At the moment, I favour this approach because there’s a slightly more obvious difference between the Carmine Red and the Orange Red. For the chinscales, I basecoat in a dark non-metallic shade and then paint the metallic colour over the top. If it needs it, I then use an extremely watered down wash of the non-metallic colour and retouch with the metallic colour for highlights.

Black can be a very difficult colour to highlight effectively. Luckily, these shako covers are a relatively small area, Peter has sculpted plenty of folds into them and they’re the kind of item that I think gets dusty and faded. All that makes highlighting with increasingly lighter shades of grey quite forgiving though the important thing is to avoid making the whole look grey rather than black. To ensure this doesn’t happen, I leave plenty of the black basecoat showing through and, after the final highlight, this is one of the few occasions when I’d recommend some judicious blacklining.

That leaves us with one of my favourite uniform items from the Bardin regulations: the pokelem, which replaced the previously used bonnet de police as the forage cap. Many Marie-Louise’s didn’t receive a proper shako and had to make do with the pokelem instead though I suspect it was a more comfortable item to wear and had the benefit of fold-down flaps to keep the ears warm. The colours I used for the red and blue are listed above. Of note here is that I strongly recommend the 2nd Shadow from the Andrea Blue Set. It gives a dead matt and truly deep dark blue which is an ideal starting point for French blue – more of this in later paint-in sessions. The second point to note is my approach to the piping. I paint the piping first and I don’t worry too much if the lines are too thick or wobbly to begin with as I work up through the successive highlights. Once I’ve done that, I then paint up to the line of piping that I want with the blue basecoat. It’s much easier to get a consistent, neat thin line of piping that way round. Once I’m happy with the piping, I then go on to the highlights for the blue.

While I’m doing the pokalem’s piping, I also tackle the regimental number that typically appeared in red in the middle of the front panel. Let’s face it, it’s too small to attempt to paint actual numbers, so don’t bother! Simply paint a small red patch to give the impression of a number being present.

To finish up, I’ll leave you with a relevant video that Toby Thornton of Artmaster Studio posted recently on YouTube. It’s serendipitously appropriate and well worth watching. The approach to face painting is broadly similar to mine apart from using a slightly different palette of colours and tackling the eyes last rather than first. In the next paint-in session, I’ll turn my attention to trousers and footwear.


Posted in BfK Limited Edition Figures, On the Workbench, Paint and Equipment, Tutorials | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Start of the Autumn campaign

Posted by Martin on September 5, 2011

It’s struck me that wargamers hibernate the opposite way round to nature. We rest from our hobby through the warm Summer months and the come out of our metaphorical burrows when Autumn begins for a period of activity that runs through to the end of the following Spring. I’m even beginning to develop the theory that here in the UK, the wargaming “season” (rather like the grouse shooting season) has official start and end dates. My suggested start date being the Colours show at Newbury in September and my suggested end date being Salute in London in April. Enough of this folly…

There is some truth in my theory though because I do detect increased hobby activity around this time of year. As evidence of that I offer the following: Perrys’ bumper release of new Prussian metals, a fascinating horse painting video tutorial from Toby “Artmaster Studio” Thorton, increased discussion fora activity and (being briefly parochial) the seasonal increase in traffic here at BfK.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of these beginning with the Perrys. Among other things, they’ve release nine metal Prussian cavalry packs, each comprising three figures and three horses. These packs are evenly divided across Cuirassiers, line Uhlans and Landwehr cavalry. I haven’t had the opportunity to inspect the figures in person but there are photos of all nine packs on the Perry Miniatures website. I suspect that the Cuirassiers will be the most popular release with many Prussian collectors because there a few options in 28mm for this troop type – even the extensive Calpe range doesn’t include them yet.

As for the Landwehr cavalry and the Uhlans, well these may pose a dilemma for some collectors since they provide the first credible competition for the Calpe figures. I suspect it’ll come down to a matter of personal taste but you all know which side my bread is buttered. I even managed to earn the dubious “sock puppet” badge of honour on one discussion forum for pointing out in a thread about the Perry release that I felt the Calpe figures were better. But, knowing the forum in question, I suspect this was light-hearted jest rather than a serious insult. Of course, there’s another forum that shall not be named where things would probably have been more spiteful…

Perry Prussian Landwehr cavalry command pack.

Perry Prussian Landwehr cavalry command pack.

As an aside, one of the things that I noticed in the photos of the Perry Prussian cavalry was that they’ve all be primed light grey. I think the reason for this is to make the photography easier to show more details. It’s an uncanny coincidence that I’m also experimenting with grey primer but for different reasons. I’m investigating whether I can get better results by switching from back to grey – especially for lighter colours like yellows and whites. I’ll post some photos once the experiment gets into full swing.

Talking of painting, Toby Thorton has tackled the often thorny (see what I did there?) topic of painting horses in the latest of his insightful series of tutorial videos. He covers all kinds of territory including several useful paint triads and an overview of several different horse painting techniques. I’ve embedded it here for your viewing enjoyment:

I’ll sign off by bringing things full circle to say that the Autumn campaign is set to start at Calpe Towers too with news of the the next packs in the French infantry “route march” set. Head variant packs F7 to F9 will be next and possibly a head variant pack for the regimental command group because Peter F. wants it for his own collection (oh, what it must be like to enjoy that kind of luxury). Peter is also working on the battalion command pack and hopes to have this ready for release early next month. More officer packs (both foot and mounted), an NCO pack and “dynamic” packs (with casualty figures and enthusiastic figures) will be released to complete this set of figures before the end of the year.

Look out for us rummaging round the demo games, traders and painting competition at Colours this coming weekend!

Posted in Calpe Towers, Forward Patrol, Tutorials | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

All thawed out

Posted by Martin on January 20, 2010

At last, all the snow that’s hit Wiltshire over the last week or two has melted away at the study here at BfK HQ is warm enough to work in again. And that means it’s been time to start my assault on some of Peter F’s finest figures with the putty and sculpting tools. So far I’ve picked out some figures that look well-suited to modifications and made a list of the painful indignities I’m going to inflict on them. Better still, a couple have already been on the operating table. Once I’ve got a critical mass of work completed, I’ll take some snaps and share more details with you.

While I’ve been shivering lately, I’ve also hoovered up links to a few more interesting and useful sites.

The first of these is Clarence Harrison’s new blog where he plans to recount the tale of building his collection of figures for playing the Republic to Empire ruleset. Clarence did the artwork and design layout for the rulebook so if anybody’s collection is worth watching grow, it’ll be his.

Next up is another painting blog, this time that belonging to Toby Thornton who paints for Artmaster Studio. Now that’s a commercial painting service so I have to quickly clarify that this isn’t a product endorsement slot. Rather, I like the cut of Toby’s painting jib and if you scroll down a few postings you’ll find some Foundry French artillery figures that he’s done very nicely. The only thing I’ve found a bit odd is his choice of the Foundry figures. If he can do such a good job, I wonder why he didn’t opt for more modern sculpts from the Perrys. Still, there’s a little nostalgia there for me because some of those French artillery crew figures were among the first I purchased when I returned to the hobby about ten years ago.

Lastly, we travel to Spain for another commercial painter with a wide range of tastes in different periods and scales. “Archiduque” Rafa is another painter who works commercially and looking at his work I can see a definite Spanish school emerging with notable stylistic similarities to my online friend Javi Gomez.

All three sites are well worth a browse for eye-candy and painting inspiriation and I’ll add them to the links in the right hand column when I get a spare moment or three. And talking of having time to post more – I’ve just acquired a copy of a secondhand book I’ve been hunting down for ages. It’s the Arms and Armour Press version of the Blandford title Uniforms of the Retreat from Moscow. Over the weekend I’ll aim to say more about this acquisition and, in particular, why I prize this paperback edition more highly than the original Blandford hardback.

And I’ll leave you tonight with a stop press announcement from Alan Perry, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Posted in Forward Patrol, On the Workbench, Reading List | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »