The Concremental Comes

Club member Jeremey takes us through building and painting his modern take on the classic earth Elemental.

While I certainly wouldn’t consider myself to be a professional sculptor, I have made a number of miniatures over the years. This miniature, the Concremental came out of an idea to create a modern version of the very familiar Earth Elemental. I was lucky enough for this miniature to be cast and so here is my attempt to paint it.

The miniature is currently being sold by Fenris Games and comes in several parts as shown. Therefore the first thing to do was to glue the parts together. The miniature is made of resin but I found superglue worked very well in sticking it together.

The miniature fit quite well on a 50mm round base and I stuck the spare bits of concrete that came with the miniature to the base.

I then added some milliput to the base to provide a texture to match the miniature.

Once the milliput was dry I sprayed the whole thing with Halfords grey primer. It was at this point that I first thought how on earth I was going to paint it. After all, concrete is grey so do I just put a black wash over the miniature and leave it at that or do something else.

I decided to try something different and painted the various concrete blocks in different shades of grey. I then dry brushed the miniature with lighter shades, before finally adding a very watered down black wash.

I then painted the traffic light pole silver and the steel reinforced bars as rusted metal. The traffic lights I did in yellow, I didn’t actually sculpt the traffic lights and they are clearly in the American style that I’ve seen in yellow.

Once all that was done I felt the miniature needed something else, so thinking the miniature would be made of modern street materials I painted road markings on the flat parts of the miniature.

The miniature started to look much better with the markings but they were too clean and bright, to remedy this I actually took a file to the whole miniature to distress the markings. This worked really well and gave the whole model a nice worn look.

Now all I need to do is find a game to put the Concremental in.

Painting a 6mm English 100 Years War army

Mark J guides through his painting technique for 6mm HYW figures.

This article follows on from my first 6mm painting guide, “Painting 6mm Romans” which appeared on the Maidstone Wargames Society Blog in May 2020. So, it’s been a while since my last blog, but I’ve been busy painting more 6mm over the last 12 months or so. This article covers my English 100 Years War army. This is another FoG army, we still play 2nd edition at the club, however I have also built the army to use with MeG and you could use it with any rules system that doesn’t stipulate base sizes.

The army is loosely based on that which fought at Crécy, very loosely as I just wanted to pick a point in history to use, my army commander is painted as the Black Prince.

The figures are from Baccus, while they are listed as 6mm, they’re closer to 8mm. I really like them and there’s a wide range of periods available which continues to expand. The painting method I’m going to take you through is block painting, which begins with the application of a dark undercoat and then adding brighter colours to bring out detail, while retaining some of the dark undercoat to emphasise shadow.

Longbows

I use a black undercoat as I find it works well at this scale, however you need to be careful not to overuse the base colour otherwise your figures will look like dark blobs on the battlefield. The idea with block painting is to trick the eye; this is where the brighter colours come in, as you’ll see below, I’ve used quite vibrant colours on the longbowmen. This would look odd on a larger scale but is a must at 6mm.

So, start by washing your figures in warm soapy water and then gently dry them off with a tea towel or just leave them somewhere warm or in sunlight to dry; this will remove any casting residue which can interfere with the paint and stop an even coat forming. I then spray my figures black with an acrylic spray, I use a matt black spray from a national hardware chain, it’s cheap and works very well. Always wear a mask and ensure you’re in a ventilated room when doing this.

I’m going to start with a unit of longbowmen, there are 64 figures in each unit, I find I can paint one unit in a couple of hours, ready to base. Once the figures have dried I, begin by painting the main part of the body, in this case the tunic working with a strip of 4 figures I paint the front of the tunic remembering to leave some parts black, the belt, collar quiver, scabbard and under the arms. You don’t need to be really accurate here, paint your first strip and then look at the figures from about 3 feet away, if they look right then you have accomplished the first part of the ‘trick’.

Longbows and Command

Carry on painting each strip and then repeat the process on the other side of the tunic, you’ll notice that Baccus longbowmen are not all the same, some carry their arrows to the front others to the back, some have small shields. Just follow the principle of using the undercoat and leave these black for the moment. Remember to go bright, a general rule of thumb is to go 2-3 times brighter than you would at 28mm. You can see from the picture below how I’ve used a bright pale blue and yellow with one unit and an orange with the other. Both can be seen from the battlefield and don’t look out of place. They would look out of place at a larger scale for this period, but the rules of painting are different for 6mm, trick the eye with bright colours.

Once you’ve completed the tunic it’s now time to move onto the bow, quiver and scabbard. I use the same colour brown for these, again this would not work with a larger scale but is fine for 6mm. You can use differing colours, but they won’t really stand out and will take longer. I find a light yellowish brown works very well. Again, follow the front and then back method that I describe above, I find this gets me into a good rhythm, which gets me through a unit quickly but means I achieve the effect I’m looking for. This method also works well if you’re painting multiple units. I tend to do 3 at a time and can complete three units, fully based in around two evenings, 1 evening at a push.

Massed Longbows WIP

Once you’ve completed the bow and leatherwork it’s time to work on the metal parts, for the longbowmen this is their helms, shields if they have them and sword hilt, note that the sword hilt is optional, the figures will look fine without this. Again, apply to each strip front first and then back. With the helms it’s really important not to overdo things, too much silver and it will look like a huge silver blob, this is where your skill with a brush comes in and using the undercoat to provide shadow. I tend to use a semi dry brush when applying the silver, not as dry as I would when dry brushing, general rule of thumb is to apply enough paint to your brush to cover a couple of helms lightly.

Close up of the Longbows, showing the effect of leaving parts of the undercoat visible

It’s now time to move onto the flesh, I use a light pink flesh colour, those often used to highlight larger scale figures’ flesh. Again, front first then onto the back, you’ll see with the longbowmen that most of the work is covered from the front of the figure but it’s worth checking the back just to ensure that the flesh can be seen from all relevant angles. Paint the flesh in the same way you painted the silver, less is more. Try and keep a gap between the hands and cuffs and face and neck, this is where the dark undercoat really works well, this sounds hard, but it’s easily done with a little practice. Don’t worry if you don’t achieve this on every figure, remember you’re looking for an overall effect that will usually be viewed from the battlefield, tricking the eye with shadow and bright colours.

Once the flesh is done, then figures are complete, I usually quickly check each strip as you can miss some parts when painting large numbers of figures. Once dry, I then varnish the figures with a matt varnish. I spray my figures, if you do the same then make sure you’re not doing this in a cold room as the spray reacts to cooler temperatures and can fog, giving your figures a dusty look, which is a complete disaster at this scale as it obscures all your hard work. If this does happen, let the figures dry and then apply gloss varnish and another light coat of matt. I find a quick spray does the trick, again less is more. If it feels too cold don’t spray!

Basing next, I use a similar method to the Baccus basing, I apply a ready mixed earth texture paint first, make sure to apply up to the base not over it. Once this has been applied it is time to highlight. I use the Baccus 3 colour system, which starts with a dark beige colour moving up to an almost bone white, simply dry brush the bases. Once this is done it’s time to add some static grass, you’ll need the smaller grade, 3mm I believe. Apply some watered down PVA to the front and rear of the figures and where there are any gaps along the line. Once done sprinkle some static grass over the figure; what you’re looking for here is enough to hide any of the metal base while not covering the figure. The picture below shows how it should look.

Massed longbows, the bane of French Knights

OK so that’s how I paint 6mm longbowmen, for the men at arms use the same principles but when doing the armour ensure to use the undercoat well, leaving gaps works really well with armour. Use the same brown for any wood or leather and the same method for flesh. If you have any troops with padding, then apply this using the bright colour and shadow approach, you can see some mine below.

Billmen WIP

Finally, I painted the generals and camp using the same method, took a bit more time on some detail, but the same rules apply re tricking the eye. Up close they look a little messy, on the table they look the part.

The camp was done using a white undercoat and special contrast paints for the tents, the pigs, fires, well and baggage have a black undercoat with a block technique applied.

The Camp

The next few photos provide some completed units, in all there are 6 of longbow (8 bases each) and 6 of men at arms (4 bases each).

A selection of the retinue

Archers and their stakes

You’ll also notice some stakes placed in front of the longbowmen, these were scratch built using wire and Milliput. I cut the wire into 10mm long pieces, placed some Milliput onto a base and then added the wire to the Milliput at around a 30 to 40 degree angle. It was then a case of painting the stakes dark brown with bone white tips, and then basing using the same method described above. The stakes are bigger than they would have been relatively speaking but this is required to catch the eye and look right on the battlefield.

I hope this has been helpful, I hope to have another guide out soon covering my 6mm Spanish Napoleonic.

Barrow or Cairn?

Jeremey takes us through a recent scratch build of an ancient Barrow, or should that be Cairn?

During the last few months I’ve started to build up my collection of terrain. Having a fantasy undead army I thought I’d have a go at building a burial mound of sorts.

As is my usual methodology when building terrain I created a number of rock shapes out of some EVA foam and stuck them together with the hot glue gun.

Stage 1 – the basic burial mound

The whole thing was then glued to a piece of thin wooden board, and then spray painted with grey primer. Unlike other polystyrene foams the EVA foam does not melt when sprayed.

Stage 2 – undercoated grey

I then had to decide what colour to paint the rocks. The temptation is always to go with grey but I try and avoid that. I chose to go with the brown/beige look.

Stage 3 – painting the individual rocks

The method I used was one I’d tried before when painting a dungeon. I used a few different shades of brown to give a variety to the mound.

Stage 4 – dry brushing

The next stage is to chose a light beige colour (bone, linen etc.) and to dry brush the whole thing. This dry brushing blends the different rock shades together, you can go lighter if desired. I did return to this later feeling that the dry brushing needed to be lighter.

Stage 5 – basing

Simple stage up next with painting the base brown. I always do my bases this way and then apply PVA glue before flocking.

Stage 6 – flocking

With the PVA glue applied I then sprinkled the flock on the base. I also stuck some flock to the rocks to give the impression it has been around for a while.

The finished burial mound

Here we have the finished burial mound, this was a simple piece of terrain to build. I was pleased with how the rock colours worked especially after applying another lighter dry brush.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again and John has been extremely productive for this one.

Above John has painted up some more Norse Gaels for Saga, and below we have some  Armada period ships John has based up for Galleys and Galleons.

But it doesn’t stop there, John has also made progress on two of his Spanish buildings.

Next up Marcus shares his current work bench with lots going on. We are all particularly interested in how his alien plants are going to end up. They look like great models.

And lastly I’ve made some progress on my dropship. I’ve managed to create a cockpit for it. Now just down to the paint job. I think I’m going khaki for the main colour.

See you all next week.

Paintbrush Maintenance

I’ll be the first to admit, I treat my paintbrushes very badly. I buy cheap and hammer them until they are no longer usable. It’s a bad habit that I really need to change.

Then while glancing through YouTube I came across a video on repairing brushes on a a Channel called Midwinter Minis and thought I should really give that a go. Fellow club members had mentioned ways to clean brushes before but I needed something for poorly treated ones.

The first surprise was in digging out all my paint brushes I discovered no less than 57! This is what they looked like.

The Used and Abused of the Paintbrush World

The method for cleaning was very simple, first was to apply some washing up liquid. While doing this stage I started off just swishing the paintbrush in the liquid but then found myself massaging the liquid into the brush more which seemed to work better.

Washing Up Liquid then Hot Water and Vinegar, Finally Drying on a Cloth

Then the brushes are put into boiling water that contains vinegar to wash off the soap. Finally to then dry the brush by drawing it across a cloth. While doing this I rotated the brush to help a new point form.

Before and After Using this Technique

I took a before and after photo of a selection of my brushes to see if this cleaning method made any difference. As you can see I had a degree of success with this. I managed to get a good point on quite a few of the brushes while for others it made absolutely no difference.

I’m being somewhat unfair with the flat brush in the middle as it did clean up nicely, but there were still lots of bristles that didn’t straighten.

Rescued at least Half of my Brushes

The end result was at least half of my brushes improving back to a point or close to. The technique did also suggest using a hair wax to get a point but I didn’t have any of that (or hair!), but I might revisit that idea at some point.

Here’s hoping cleaning my brushes will restore my lost painting mojo at the moment.

 

Painting 6mm Romans

New(ish) member Mark2 shows us how he paints his little fellas…

I’ve recently started playing Field of Glory at the club and decided to purchase a 6mm late Roman Army, never owned a Roman army but I have dabbled with late western Roman reenactment and enjoy this period. After consulting the FoG ‘Legions Triumphant’ army list, I picked a Dominate army (3rd to 5th century). Bought my figures from Baccus, they have a good range of late Roman and allies to pick from, the whole army cost around £90. Bases where purchased from Warbases and I used a mixture of Citadel and Vallejo paints, plus the Baccus basing kit.

Baccus figures are pretty chunky for 6mm and have quite a bit of detail, after consulting with some experienced 6mm painters at the club I decided to start with a black undercoat and work up from this, dry brushing light/bold colours to accentuate the detail, finally picking out detail such as weapons, helmets and banners. It’s important to use lighter or bolder colours at this scale, without this figures tend to look like a dark blob on the table. The black undercoat acts as shade/black line effect. The trick here is to ’trick’ the eye, with the aim of producing hopefully decent looking figures on a tabletop battlefield.

These figures are Baccus late roman with helm, I’m using them for my Auxilia palatina. In a Dominate army these troops were usually deployed as medium infantry but where also used as heavy infantry. I believe this was to fill gaps in the legions which were becoming a little more scarce during this time. I’ll be basing the auxilia on a FoG 15mm medium infantry base (40x30mm) but will pack the troops together in the style of heavy infantry. The figures come in fours and I use 16 per base, two lines of eight, that’s about as many as you can get across a stand this size using Baccus.

These figures where tacked to temporary painting bases, I usually permanently base before painting if I can, but didn’t fancy painting these guys when they are so closely packed together. I tack using a small blob of super glue as it’s easy to break off when you’re ready to base.

I base coat using a black acrylic spray, I find cheaper car sprays work well with metal figures, not to be used with plastics. It’s a messy job, but you can cover a whole army fairly quickly. I tend to undercoat in chunks, usually around 4 units at a time.

I begin by dry brushing the main colour, for the auxilia it’s their tunic, which I have painted using Citadel Lothern Blue, a bright powder like blue. I chose this colour as I have seen artists impressions using blue and it plausible that it may have been used. I dry brush with one of my 0 size brushes that has seen better days, you can purchase dry brushes but they tend to be on the large size and you need a relatively small brush for this scale. Dry brushing involves removing moisture from the brush by sweeping it across some kitchen role or the like and then lightly brushing across the area you want to paint, at a 45 degree angle if possible. This technique highlights raised detail and leaves recessed areas darker, giving a fairly good and realistic contrast, I find it works really well at this scale. I don’t tend to dry brush at larger scales as I prefer to wash and layer, however this is a quick and effective way to paint 6mm armies. You need to be careful not to contaminate other parts of the figure, such as the spear, shield and forearms, but this is relatively easy with some steady sweeps of your brush, any miss-haps can be blacked over.

Once I’ve completed the main colour I move on to the ‘large’ peripheries, in this case the shield (Vallejo Scarlet). Note that I am not dry brushing here but applying colour to the front of the shield leaving the middle and rear black, the same technique is also used with the spear (Vallejo Beige Brown), helmet (Citadel Mithril Silver) and flesh (Vallejo Flat Flesh), more on this in a moment.
Fourth picture – helmet, spear.

Before moving on the next stage, now is a good time to check for any contamination, such as tunic colour on flesh or weapon areas by touching up with some black, this sounds fiddly but it’s worth doing and doesn’t take long at all. I spend about 5 minutes per unit, the auxilia have eight stands with 16 figures on each so it gives you an idea of what I mean by not taking up much time.

I now move on to the flesh, hands and face in the case of these figures. As I mentioned above, Baccus are quite detailed for 6mm, so need a little care and attention when doing the Faces. I use a three spot method, one at the mid-top of the face and two below, left and right, this creates a face rather than a flesh coloured blob (at least that’s the theory). I’ve found the Baccus figures do have different faces, some work well with three dots others are better with two, this can only be about casting variations. Remember the effect works at battlefield level, on the table top, not close up. Next is to add any metal colours, I used Citadel Mithril Silver for the helmets, spear tips and shield boss. Gold (Vallejo Brass) for the standard, instrument and helms for the officer, musician and standard bearer. I use the same technique described above, making sure to pick out highlights and leave those in shade black. After this it’s the spear poles and then onto shield detail (see below). I also apply paint to the leggings at this point (Vallejo Pale Sand).

I’ve chosen to add a pattern to the shield, I’ve done this as it adds a little more detail to the figures and helps to catch the eye, really important at this scale. I’ve used Vallejo white, note that there are two units both with differing patterns. I’ve done this based on research carried out about the period, which indicates that Roman armies of this time were subject to more barbarian influence.

Finally the base materials are applied, basing is important at all scales, for 6mm it’s really important as it helps to bring your units to life. Again, brighter colours should be used for same reasons described above. I’ve chosen to use the Baccus basing system, which involves applying fine grade sand using PVA glue, washing the sand with a light brown ink and then dry brushing three progressively lighter sand colours over the dry wash. Don’t worry about hiding the figures’ stands at the moment, this comes next. Once the dry brushing is complete, you add the grass, this is done using a small plastic device called an Uff Puff. It’s best described as a plastic bellows, which you fill with grass and then apply the grass over the base, this means that the grass is more likely to stand up, and less likely to lie flat or clump. So, water down a little PVA apply around the figures’ base and hey presto you have some grass and no step showing from the figures’ base. Finally I paint the edges of the base Citadel Moot Green. I’ve also included some of my archers and cavalry, these were done without using temporary panting bases and there’s more space between these figures. I have also added grass between each figure. So that’s it, I hope this has been helpful, I am also working on a 6mm Spanish Peninsular army and hope to share some photos of these in the not too distant future.

The Russian Baltic Fleet in 1914 – Organisation, Modelling and Painting Guide – Part 1

2nd Cruiser Brigade

Our Treasurer recently decided to expand his WW1 naval campaign into the Baltic – a theatre that saw a lot of interesting naval actions and a major amphibious assault.

That meant acquiring the Russian Baltic Fleet.  Fortunately Russian naval enthusiasts have unearthed a lot of good material from their naval archives in the last few years and made it available on-line.  After brushing up on the Russian alphabet and with liberal use of Google translate, this information is just a click or two away as long as you use Cyrillic text for your searches!  I’ll give the correct 1914 Cyrillic names of the units, commanders and ships below with their western script equivalents.

1/3000 is the scale of my German Fleet, so off went my order to get started to Navwar – who still have an unrivaled range and reasonably priced models for this period.

First up on the painting table are 6 cruisers from the 1st and 2nd Бригада Крейсеровъ (Cruiser Brigades).

The flagships were the big old armoured cruisers Громобой (Gromoboy, meaning Thunderer), and Россия (Rossiya, meaning Russia)  respectively.  These are oldish Navwar sculpts and needed some work, but also needed quite a bit of conversion work to bring them up to 1914.  Both had been considerably upgunned from the 1904 era Navwar model with prominent new casemates on the top decks  – Gromoboy had also had a complete new set of boilers, but you can’t see them!  Bring on the modelling knife, plasticard sheet and rod, bits of old national trust membership cards and superglue and voila:

Original models of Gromoboy (top) and Rossiya (bottom)
Gromoboy (top) and Rossiya (bottom) after conversion – casemates and guns moved/added, boats re-positioned, funnels and bridges tidied up/added and for Gromoboy stern shape and ship length corrected with a new stern casemate and conning towers also added

Next were two other much newer, smaller armoured cruisers of 1st Brigade, the sisters Адмиралъ Макаровъ (Admiral Makarov, a celebrated admiral lost in the war against Japan) and Баянъ (Bayan, a celebrated 11th century bard).  These needed very little work – not much more than just filing away the 11pdr gun in the bow and moving a couple of boats.

Last in this first batch were two 2nd class cruisers of 2nd Brigade, the sisters Богаты́ръ (Bogatýr, a Russian medieval warrior/knight) and Олегъ (Oleg – the name of several celebrated historical figures).  These veterans of the Japanese war also needed some tidy ups and removal of some of the small guns from Oleg:

Oleg (top) and Bogatýr (bottom) with funnels tidied, turret shape/size corrected, aft superstructure enhanced/corrected, boats added and 4x11pdr guns removed from Oleg

Finally painting and basing.  The Baltic Fleet introduced a two tone paint scheme for all large warships in an order of March 7th 1912, with light grey upperworks and a darker grey hull side.  All of these warships had unpainted wooden decks.  Finally the Baltic Fleet continued to use 1m wide funnel bands throughout the war (painted out in most other navies).  1st Brigade used red and 2nd Brigade blue in 1914.  First ship had a band at top of 2nd funnel, 2nd ship a band half way down 2nd funnel, 3rd ship a band at the top of 2nd and 3rd funnels and fourth ship a band half way down 2nd and 3rd funnels:

1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade
1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade
1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade

These ships underwent a bewildering number of changes in their armament during their lives, but contemporary records, photos and plans confirm their armament in 1914 as:

1st Brigade

Контръ Адмиралъ Коломейцевъ – Rear-Admiral Kolomeytsev

Gromoboy (flag) – 4×8″, 22×6″, 4x75mm(11 pdr), 4x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Admiral Makarov (2nd ship)- 2×8″, 8×6″, 20x75mm(11pdr), 2 TT

Bayan (4th ship) – 2×8″, 8×6″, 22x75mm(11pdr), 2 TT

2nd Brigade (initially titled Бригадой крейсеровъ 1-й резерва, 1st Reserve Cruiser Brigade)

Контръ Адмиралъ Лесковъ – Rear-Admiral Leskov, promoted on 10.8.14, having been appointed to command a couple of days before war broke out

Rossiya (flag) – 4×8″, 22×6″, 15x75mm(11 pdr), TTs all removed

Bogatýr (2nd ship) – 12×6″, 12x75mm(11pdr), 4x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Oleg (3rd ship) – 12×6″, 8x75mm(11pdr), 8x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Most 3pdr guns and all 6pdr and 1pdr guns had been removed from the ships as they were found to be ineffective deck clutter in the war against Japan.

The next batch will add the remaining cruisers in these Brigades and begin adding the destroyer and torpedo boat flotillas…….

Painting 6mm Figures

**This post has been updated as the steel paper originally recommended for basing is no longer available**

We have a 6mm Napoleonic game at the club tomorrow and Mark has added a Brigade to his French Army for the occasion.

6mm figures are ideal for large battles, but many people think they must be difficult to paint – like anything it is easy if you follow some simple rules and don’t make the mistake of trying to paint them like larger figures.  Here is a quick guide on how.

The figures are 1/300 scale Heroics and Ros and the units are the 4th and 46th Line Regiments comprising GB Dalesme’s Brigade, belonging to GD Carra St. Cyr’s Division of the French 4th Army Corps in May 1809 as well as the General’s of GD St.Hilaire’s Division.

Here are the 2 packs of French Fusiliers (FN26), half a pack of French Voltigeurs (FN4), half a pack of French Grenadiers (FN27) and some assorted generals (from FN 17 and AN8) that need to be painted, straight out of the packs.

It always pays to rinse the figures in warm soapy water before starting to get rid of any mould grease, then work round the edges of the figures with a sharp hobby knife to get rid of flash and any casting mismatches.  There is some surgery on the general staff figures to removed unwanted plumes, marshal’s batons, etc, as they were all to be used as French generals.  The figures date back to when most people painted their flags and the old style metal flags need removing – good flags really do make or break 6mm figures, so this is worth your time – don’t skimp and put paper flags round the metal – the results don’t look good.  Small nail clippers are a good tool to nibble the flag off the flagpole.  Try to avoid the eagles, but you can always glue them back on with superglue if they break off!

FIRST TIP – Now base the figures, as they are easier to paint this way.  The figure in this post used mounting card with steel paper underneath, but steel paper is no longer available.  Instead I now use 40thou plastic card with self-adhesive non-magnetic ferrous sheet on the bottom – this needs to be the thick variety as sold by First4Magnets product code FFU620(SA)-1M. The infantry are on a 1″x.5″ base for our house rules, four bases to a battalion.  One battalion is on an open order base (combined Voltigeurs of the Brigade) and this uses a 1.5″ base.  There is one combined battalion of Grenadiers and four Battalions of Fusiliers.

SECOND TIP – Now undercoat all over with a black undercoat, making sure that every cranny is filled.  You can use spray, but for this size an old brush can be quicker and less messy.  DON’T USE WHITE FOR UNDERCOAT – if you do you give yourself a massive painting headache trying to cover the undercoat and then shade the figure to avoid it looking like a paint blob – this a technique for bigger figures!  Your black undercoat on 6mm means you have already painted anything black on the figure and you have already shaded it – don’t worry that all you have at this stage is a load of black blobs:

THIRD TIP – It is essential on 6mm to use lighter shades than the colours you are depicting.  This is partly to offset the black undercoat and partly to ensure the colour looks right at a distance.  Your eye perceives small objects as darker than they really are.  If you use dark ‘correct’ shades, all of the figures will simply look like near black blobs when you have finished.

There are three key colours we now need to add.  First Dark Blue for the coats and some of the horse furniture.  Citadel Ultramarines Blue was used, which is a middish blue pigment.  When you paint the coat use a fairly small brush (for these a 101 was used).  Work down the line painting the same feature on each base.  From the front do a stroke down the left arms of all figures, then the same for the right arm, shoulder to hand (don’t worry about paint getting on the hands).  Do another stroke to join these up under the chin, then fill in the lower chest, leaving the black undercoat showing in the crevices between the chest and arms.  Repeat round the back.  The horse furniture was also painted now (light crimson for the French generals, Vallejo Carmine was used) again don’t paint right up to the next colour – leave black showing around the furniture:

Second main colour is white (and white is – well white, Humbrol white here), for the trousers or breeches (both were used, so for a bit of variety I have done one regiment in each here), as well as coat lapels, which are a prominent feature on French line infantry.  Paint up the leg from above the footwear (all left legs from the front, all right legs, then reverse and do the back – a final tidy up to join the legs at the front.  Breeches are best done with a horizontal stroke around the leg as far down as the knee.  Leave some black showing between legwear and coat.  A simple stroke down the middle of the chest for the lapels.  Also touch in the drumskin on drummers.  To make the command figures stand out a bit better white scabbard and drum supports have been added, but you can omit this!   Regimental plumes and pompoms were also done at this point (a simple dob on the pompom):

Now for the last main colour; red/scarlet.  Before doing this the Voltigeurs plumes and epaulettes were painted (both regiments used green plumes with red tips and green epaulettes for their voltigeurs at this time) in Citadel Goblin Green – another strong middle shade.  Humbrol scarlet is used for the red here, which is a nice bright shade.  Paint a red line above each hand for the cuffs (again don’t worry if the paint slops onto the hand).  Then paint the grenadiers plumes and a dob on each shoulder for the prominent epaulettes.  A dob of red added to finish the Voltigeur plumes and the fusilier plumes are also quickly dabbed in (one base each of dark green, sky blue, light orange and violet for each battalion):

You are nearly there now!  Paint the back of the rawhide knapsack with leather – leave the sides black (this is Humbrol Leather) then a stroke horizontally along the back and a touch in from the front on each end of any grey you have to hand for the rolled greatcoat on top of it (shades varied enormously for this item)  Brass for the drum body and Voltigeur horns.  Masses of gold lace to finish the generals (worth taking some time over these as they are few in number) and the eagle on the flagpoles.  Optional extras are a small dob of brass for the helmet plate at the front and the visible sword hilts on the voltigeurs, command figures and grenadiers.  Senior generals horses are painted white with a black bridle.  The colour makes them easy to pick out.  Regimental command horses are painted leather and brigadier’s horses left black.  You can leave the underside of the horse as well as the mane and tail black for contrast, a few white flashes on the noses of some of the horses also make a lot of difference.

Lastly a stroke of silver along the top of each musket and any bayonet and drawn swords all over.  Leave the rest of the musket black (it really is not worth using brown for the woodwork – the black keeps it looking thin in scale and most musket wood was in any case quite dark, but you can paint the body brown first if you really want to).

Finally add a dob of flesh on each hand and a stroke of flesh across the face to finish the figure.  Don’t overdo the face and leave black around it.

Finally finish with an overall coat of matt varnish to protect the figures from handling (I use Vallejo which sets with a good clear finish):

FOURTH TIP – Don’t skimp on basing, as bad basing really ruins any figures and especially 6mm – you would be better off cutting corners on the figure painting.  Flock also is not good with 6mm – it tends to make it look like the figures are moving through a patch of dense scrub!  These figures are finished with Basetex.  DON’T USE TOO DARK A GREEN.  If you do it will kill the figure painting.  Use a light spring green for both the basing and the terrain.  Basetex green is way too dark for 6mm, so a mix of about half and half green and sand is used here, stored in a sealable sandwich box.

First work the green around the base of each figure with a small old brush:

Now use sand to cover the bases (and the sides).  A cocktail stick works well to pick up and poke the Basetex into place.  Make sure you ‘bury’ the sides of each figure base.  Some printed labels are added at this stage for the generals:

Once dry use a really old big brush with a few bristle left to work over the top of the sand with your light green mix – working quickly using a mixtures of dabs and strokes and leaving the sand showing through the green:

That just leaves the flags, which really finish off each unit.  The ones used here are adapted from those available free online from Warflag, reduced to around 20% size.  Print these on a printer using pigment (not inkjet ink which will run if it gets damp).  These were printed on an Epson printer as all Epson printers use pigment based cartridges.  Use thin 80g/m paper.  The flags are glued with simple PVA, which lets you work with the flag to line up the sides before it sets, then given a ‘crinkle’ to give the flag some life before the glue sets (easier with thin paper).  A pair of tweezers is useful to ‘pinch’ the flag around the pole.  Once dry it is well worth running round the edges of the flag with a matching colour to get rid of the ‘white edge’ effect – use a little thinned paint for this.  Finally flag poles are finished in a dark blue, covering up any glue stains.

Here is the end result:

Each close order battalion sits on a 2 inch by 1 inch piece of magnetic ferrous sheet (which is why the bases have steel paper/ferrous sheet on their bottom – allowing them to grip the magnetic sheet).   As the magnetic sheet looses its magnetism over the years, it is easily replaced.  This is why you should not use the magnetic sheet on the figure base – not so easy to replace!  The four bases on each sheet can be re-arranged for the required formation (those above are in column).  Finally the whole lot sit on a brigade manoeuvre base (8″x3″), which is simply a sheet of steel paper with some Woodland Scenics Spring Green mat stuck on top.  This allows the brigade to be quickly moved until it gets into contact.

 

 

Strapping Jocks

John Lambert brings us up to date on his Scots SAGA warband

I’d bought a Gripping Beast 4 point Warband over a year ago. With the advent of Saga Version 2, I had the incentive to get them table top ready. I added one unit of Levy archers and a third unit of warriors to bulk it out to 6 points and out of 45 figures I only had 3 duplicates – well done Gripping Beast!. I replaced the Warlord with the Welsh Warlord on foot and used wire spears in place of the white metal ones supplied to ward off curious fingers.

I used Artist’s acrylic throughout ensuring that any intense pigments were dulled down to colour matches I had for Dark Age dyes and employed a three shade system that these figures suit. The figures themselves had plenty of flat surfaces on cloaks that would need the plaid treatment so once the basic figures were done, I sprayed with matt polyurethane to apply the plaid using a lining brush.

Levy Archers.
I decided that these would be the Warlord’s Estate workers so would have a shared colour palette – Brown, Yellow, Grey, Green, Blue.

Warriors
These would have a more varied palette and I decided to try wet blending on the shields to get a colour gradient which worked well. For shield designs, I chose simple crosses or Pictish designs.

Hearthguard
These would have more plaid cloth and more red on the clothing. I decided that they would have black shields with a white motif to match the Warlord.

Warlord
I seem to remember a doughty character in Macbeth called Lennox, well this would be my Warlord. Another trip to the Memory Bank reminded me of Bobby Lennox so he had to be kitted out in Green and White. For the cuirass, I used gunmetal/Silver and a thin coat of silver white to highlight. I added a dark purple cloak with yellow plaid. A black shield with Stags head motif completed the figure.

Basing
I added filler and stones to the base before undercoating the figures. When the figure was complete, I started the bases with black all over. I then drybrushed mid grey and then a light grey to pick out stones and boulders. I wanted a dark peaty soil with granite showing through and then the boulders. I then dry brushed the areas I was going to apply static grass in mid then light brown. I then applied Static grass in two shades.

Heather and grass tufts
To make the heather clumps, I used a piece of black pan scourer from B & Q, which I ripped open to make clumps which I attached to greaseproof paper with PVA. I drybrushed the surface with PVA and then sprinkled Heather flock lightly on the surface. Once dry and fixed with sealant spray, I could peel these off and attach to the bases. I bought some 6mm forest green static grass for the tufts. I dropped blobs of PVA onto Greaseproof and then dropped the Static grass on top. I pushed this into a clump as the PVA dried then fixed with sealant before peeling off and fixing to the base.

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