Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Gauls

The test lot of Gauls is almost done.  Here are a few shots post Klear coat but pre matt varnish (hence the shinyness).  Photos are a bit ropey, but the figures look quite lively in the lead, as it were.  I think the Tin Soldier / Xyston mix is going to turn out OK, but I'm going to have to clip off the stands on some of the taller TS figures to help them blend in a little better.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Prufrock's painting guides: 15mm Republican Romans.

Republican Romans.

Step one - prep figures.  Remove flash using a hobby knife and / or a small round file.  If the figure cannot stand properly, file the bottom of the base flat using a flat file.  If the figures need spears, javelins or pila added, now is the time to drill out the hand using a dremel tool or pin vise.

Step two - wash figures in warm soapy water.  Rinse well and leave to dry.

Step three - now is a good time to attach any shields, javelins, spears or pila to the figures as metal-to-metal bonds are stronger.  If you are painting cavalry, you must decide whether to attach man to horse now or  after the painting is done.  Don't get stressed about this though; both ways work fine.

Step four - affix figures to a temporary painting stand.  I use strips of cardboard and stick them on with double-sided tape.  Make sure that the figures will not come off in normal handling, but don't put them on so well that you can't easily remove them later.  The key word here is temporary!

Step five - spray prime the figures.  I use a light primer, either white or light grey.  Make sure you get decent coverage but there's no need to spray it on too thick.  Be sure to cover your nose and mouth while spraying, as too much in the lungs is not a good thing.  Leave to cure, preferably outside for the first couple of hours.  As a rule of thumb, once the paint has cured, it will be odourless.  If you can still smell the paint, wait another day before beginning to paint.  If priming horses separate from their riders, a good time-saving trick is to prime the horses in their base colours, which will save you a painting step.

Step six - give the figures a brown wash all over.  Use whichever wash you prefer.  I like to go with a paint, water, Future / Klear mix.  This is to cover up the white patches and to provide shadow for flesh areas and tunics.  It is also a good colour from which to build up mail armour.

Step seven - if you think they might be tricky to get to later, it can be a good idea to do the backs of the shields now.  You may have to touch them up later on to get rid of splashes, but it's better than having your splashes come the other way around.

Step eight - block in the flesh areas using a darker shade of the final flesh colour you want.  Don't paint into the shaded areas; you want the earlier brown wash to show through here and give depth to eyes, mouth and sundry other bodily creases.  As an aside, it's a good idea to decide before you begin how many flesh coats you want to give the figures.  Two is probably enough, but I like to give three.  Whatever you decide, you need to factor this in when selecting how dark to have the colour at each stage.  Obviously, if you are only having two coats, you will probably have a slightly lighter first coat.  If you are having three, you will have a darker first coat, a good middle coat, and a light final coat.  There are also flesh washes you can use, so your technique for doing flesh will probably change as you get a better idea of what products are around, what suits your style, and how you can save on time.

Step nine - give metal areas a dark wash.  I use Tamiya Smoke mixed with a little black and watered down with thinner.  Experiment to get the colour and flow you like, because this will make or break the mail on your triarii and principes.  Cover swords, spear / pila tips, helmets (and I do helmet crests, too), greaves and shield bosses as well as the armour.  You will probably want to give another coat to the mail at some stage, but you can wait till later so that you can disguise any paint slips from later steps.  The smoke dries quickly, so you might prefer to break this into two batches - weapons and helmets in batch one, armour and shield bosses in batch two.

Step ten - block in the tunics.  I use two colours: red for Romans and white for allies.  I will also add in the occasional buff or sand tunic for a little variety amongst the whites.  You can use pretty much any colour you like for the things, but do some research beforehand just to be sure some new evidence hasn't come to light.  Again, you can leave deep creases alone if the brown wash is strong, and I find you can sometimes almost drybrush the white on if your original wash was an especially good one.  As with the flesh, you want to keep a lighter colour in reserve for your highlight, so my "white" here is more likely to actually be a buff, a light gray, or an off-white.  Do be careful not to get excess paint on the mail areas.  You can cover spills with another smoke wash, but it's much better to avoid having to do so if you can.  

Step eleven - block in the shield fronts.  Try not to paint over the shield bosses otherwise you'll lose that nice smoke colour.

Step twelve - do your browns.  Block in the shield backs (if you didn't do them before), the spear shafts, the sandals, hair and any belts on the figure.  You can also do the scabbards now, for which I usually employ a slightly different colour, reddish brown.  For things which have a lot of sculpted detail such as sandals or hair, I will sometimes use a very thin coat, even a wash, to bring out the details.

Step thirteen - do your first flesh highlight.  How much you cover will depend on whether you're planning on doing a second highlight or not.  Try to suggest some muscle definition by putting blobs on bicep and tricep, one on elbow and hand, a line on the thumb if you can, two lines on forearm, blob on knee, two on upper leg, one on shin, two on calf, etc.  Faces require a skill of their own, but I tend to hit and hope - sweep across the forehead, dab nose, dab each cheek, slash across the back of the neck; perhaps adding a touch to the ears if they are visible.  I'm not a great painter of faces, so don't take my method as gospel here - check the work of others to see what works for you.

Step fourteen - do the helmet crests.  I usually go for red, blue, white or black and use a base and a highlight (though I don't highlight black).  Helmet crests done well are an easy way to really lend some pop to a figure, so it can be worth going for the highlight, even if you are getting a bit sick of painting by this stage.

Step fifteen - do your metallics.  Slap some bronze on the helmets, the shield bosses, the greaves and the sword hilts.  Leave a little bit of the smoke wash to show through at edges and joins.  Some people like to further highlight their bronze but I prefer to use the smoke wash as a shade and the bronze coat as its own highlight.  Use a silver for sword edges, spear tips and, if you want variety, for the odd helmet or shield boss here and there.

Step sixteen - highlight your tunics.  Hit the high points, suggest folds and try to make the figure pop.  A dry brush can be useful here, depending on you much sculpting detail there is on the figure.

Step seventeen - do your final flesh highlight (if there is one) and do any other highlighting that takes your fancy.  You can add a touch to belts, scabbards, shields or anything, really.  Highlighting really does make a difference if you have good colour matches and some patience.

Step eighteen - do a protective wash.  I like to give my figures two coats of Future / Klear to protect the figure from handling damage.  I don't know if it makes much difference, but I feel better for trying.  The gloss coat also unites the colours and sets things up well for the final step.   The Klear coat here can also have a little black or brown added to it to bring out some extra definition in the figures if you think they could use it.

Step nineteen - give everything a matt spray.  The matt will bring all the colours into line, and while it may dull things down a little, overall I like the effect.  If you don't like the colours to be all flat, you can do a quick highlight of the metallics to get a little shine.

Note that you can swap the order of these steps around and even skip some steps altogether, but this is my standard method of painting Romans.  Note also that my results are not top notch, mainly because I paint in bulk, don't have a good method of highlighting black and can't be bothered highlighting shields or adding transfers.  If you are prepared to take more care and go the extra mile with highlighting you'd be able to use this method to get better results than I got.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Painting Gauls: the colour / pattern guinea pigs.

Have been testing paint and pattern combinations for the 330 or so Gauls I have to paint.  It's very slow going, but some progress has been made.  I've now got about four sets of base and highlight colours that go together reasonably nicely, and another couple that I'll use base and wash with.  Not very happy with the patterns so far, but hopefully I'll get better as we go along!

The idea is to have around half of the figures in drab, plain patterned articles,with every second figure having something mildly fancy (stripes of some description; rich colours; armour, etc), and every sixth or seventh figure in something a bit spiffy (in checked patterns, having a nicely striped cloak, good shield, etc).

It's very slow going, but once I get the groundwork done things should progress faster (he says with fingers crossed...).

To finish on a positive note, I pulled out the few bases of Gauls I painted six years ago and while they are too small to join this crew it's noticeable that my painting skills have improved in the interval, so that's some good news.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What motivates you to paint?

EDIT: poll is playing up, so sorry about that (see below).

One of the reasons I started blogging was to motivate myself to paint, and to paint better, because I would be posting pictures of the figures here.

To a certain extent this has worked, but one problem I have is that for space reasons I tend to either paint or play, and thus do not combine the two very well.  I need to get on a roll to paint, and when I get out of the habit of sitting down with the brushes (and it doesn't take me long to get out of the habit!) it can be a real struggle to pick one up again.

So, my question to you, dear reader(s), is what is it that makes you pick up the paint brush and paint?  I don't mean just thinking about painting, or researching painting, or - God forbid - ordering more figures to paint; I mean actually sitting down, picking up your brush, opening a paint pot and doing it.

On the top right of this blog you should now be able to see a poll, so if you feel like answering, please choose as many of the options there as you feel apply to you.

I'm fascinated by what it is that gets people from the 'hmm, I really should do some painting' to the 'look, I've just finished a unit!' stage, so if you feel that the poll does not allow you to express your experience properly, by all means add comments below.  In fact, I'd be very happy for you to comment for any reason :)

Many thanks,

EDIT: sorry all; for some reason the poll seems to be malfunctioning.  It keeps shedding answers and is not remembering earlier responses.  I'm not quite sure what the problem is, but it looks like it's not recording the information properly.  Thanks for all your responses, and sorry for the odd behaviour of the poll widget thingy.  It was looking good there for a moment :(

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A quick note on comments.

Dear readers,

The comments I get from you folks are one of the things I most enjoy about the blogging process, but I'm afraid that as I've been getting a big whack of spam recently I've reluctantly decided to reinstate the comment verification system to try and cut the spam out.  I know that the extra step required to share your thoughts is a pain in the backside, but it's now become a necessary one.  Sorry about that!

Apologies for the inconvenience, and I hope it will not put you off leaving a comment here now and then.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Boots of Spanish Leather

I thought I'd post some shots of my recently finished 15mm Iberian army.

The figures are a mix of Old Glory and Magister Militum/Chariot, with four Essex cavalry in there to make up numbers.

This army will rarely fight on its own; it will most frequently be broken into constituent parts as allies for Rome and Carthage.

Depending on which set of rules I'm using, there are three to five units of medium cavalry, or 15 bases altogether.

There are 8 bases of light cavalry, so there are two to three units there, as well.

There are nine units of caetrati light infantry, or 36 bases.

Of Iberian scutari there are 28 bases in seven units.

And of Celtiberian scutari there are 44 bases in eleven units.

I do like my Iberians and hope that they will perform creditably!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Messing with Timoleon...

I played through a game of Commands and Colors: Ancients last night; it was the first time in a while that it has had some table time here.

The battle was Crimissos, which sees the Syracusans under Timoleon descend upon a Carthaginian expeditionary force and batter it while it is crossing the Crimissos river.  Both sides start out with five cards in their hands and needing five banners to win.

I'm not going to do a full write-up; I'll just post some pictures and a few comments.

Timoleon's centre is strong.  He has four units of heavy infantry, two of auxiliary infantry, and another leader, in Mamercus.

The sole unit of medium cavalry is on the left.

The right is made up of two units of light infantry, which begin with their flank resting on the river.

Hasdrubal has most of his left on the wrong side of the Crimissos.

But he has three of his strongest units already across: heavy chariots and the sacred band, classed as heavy infantry.

Just across the river and slightly exposed he has Spanish auxiliaries and Numidian light infantry.

Timoleon's first move is to block the river crossings with his lights and pepper the enemy with missiles.

Hasdrubal responds by using a line command to make for the crossings anyway.

Timoleon uses a leader + four card to move his centre forward and attack the Spanish auxiliaries with his peltasts, leaving them one hit away from destruction.

Hasdrubal consolidates his line with a move-fire-move card, which allows his lights to score a hit on Timoleon's unit of heavy infantry.

Timoleon attacks the river crossings with his lights, but the results are dismal, with both of his units forced to retreat in the fighting.

The Carthaginians use another line command to feed more men across the river.

Timoleon uses an order two left card to advance against the sacred band.  He scores one hit, but the battle back is lethal: his own unit is destroyed and he himself cut down.

The score is 2-0 to Carthage, and the battlefield suddenly a more open place.

With the advantage going his way, Hasdrubal elects to take a cautious approach.  Instead of using his double-time card to attack, he employs it to bring his medium infantry across to join the main line and to move the warriors onto the river crossings.

Hasdrubal is beginning to feel more confident about the outcome.

With a card that finally gives him some latitude, Mamercus (who has now taken over command of the army) advances the heavy infantry of the centre.

He destroys one unit of medium infantry, and then another.

It is now 2-2.


Hasdrubal attacks the isolated peltasts on his right, but only succeeds in driving them off.

Mamercus plays another order three card to allow him to advance his centre once more, and the results are equally impressive results.   Two more banners are taken, and the fifth and last is within his grasp.                   

Hasdrubal gambles on "I Am Spartacus".  He can activate one unit of lights (ineffective) and his own unit of heavy infantry, with +1 die on attack.  He hits Mamercus' unit in the flank and destroys it, forcing him to retreat to the next line, which is attacked in turn.

Three hits and a retreat are scored, and Mamercus is killed in the leader check!  It is a disaster for Syracuse. The game is tied at 4-4.

The momentum has swung back to Carthage.

With fortunes at a low ebb and a hand full of poor cards, it is left to the Syracusan cavalry to attempt to win the day.  A mounted charge card is played.

The cavalry engage the heavy chariots head on, needing two hits on four dice, but score none.  They do force a push back, and they gets another chance.  Once more they fail to hit, and once more the chariots are pushed back.  The gods are not smiling upon the Greeks today!

The battle is now Hasdrubal's to take...

...and the clash of shields card is enough to do it.  Hasdrubal destroys the weakened heavy infantry unit opposing him in the centre and the battle is won.

5-4 to Carthage, and history has been edited!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Red face...

In an idle moment this morning I went to blog templates and fiddled around with a couple of different views. Unfortunately, blogger saved it and so the usual format and images of my blog have been lost!  I don't mind so much for myself, but I feel very bad for my buddy Nige, as he had put a lot of work into choosing text and images that matched nicely.  Due to my foolishness and blogger's upgrade entrapment that work has now all gone to waste!

Well, I guess I'll have a new project to add to the list...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...