Sunday, 27 December 2009

Teaching "un vieux chien" some new tricks!

Voila Claude Deplussis, soldat of the 28eme legere.
I finished him today along with the rest of the 4th Company.  All have been given a protective coat of strong semi-matt varnish (hence the shine in the picture), and tomorrow, once the varnish has time to dry thoroughly, I'll take them outside for a few passes of matt spray varnish and mount them on their base.

Again, the picture doesn't do the figure justice.  A much darker, richer blue in real life and the cockade on the shako didn't come out very well on my cell phone camera. 

Nevertheless, this particular mini is something of a departure for me, as I tried a different painting technique with the ochre campaign trousers.  I'm pretty happy with the result.

I usually paint in all the shadows and line in the details.  Not as subtle as what some painters out there are capable of, and the "toy soldier" look is not to everyone's taste.   

But it is an effect I like, and it is reminiscent to me of the Peter Gilder and Phil Robinson figures that graced the pages of the early issues of Miniature Wargames.  And it does stand out nicely on the tabletop.  

The problem is that it is a time-consuming technique.  Washes would have made the job a lot simpler, but I have had no luck with using washes in the past.  They always looked terrible once dry; the colours would leach, and darker colours in particular tended to dry a whitish mess whenever they pooled in crevasses.  

I therefore decided to give up with washes, and to just do everything the hard way by painting in shadows, and lining in details such as deep creases and cross-belt lining.

But the method is too slow given the amount of figures I need to paint.   I need to speed things up somehow, and after checking some blogs and posts on line I decided to give washes a second chance, and to try my hand at what I call a "modified dip" method.  

First, I applied a coat of matt (actually satin) brush-on acrylic varnish over the area I want to wash.  When dry, I then took a small amount of the paint I wanted to shade the area with and mixed it in with some more varnish and a little water, and presto- it did the job nicely!

Now I want to experiment a little more with the technique, but it does seem promising.  I'll still keep largely to my traditional painting style with the lined-in detail as I do like the effect, but it looks like I may be able to take some much-needed short cuts when possible, and speed up production accordingly.   


Iannick said...

Works good, it does give a subtle but nice effect.

I'm a fan of your other painting technique,though, but can understand the need to speed things up.

Robert said...

I doubt I'll change my style that much. What takes the time is the outlining- or, in actual fact, going over my mistakes!

I'm a patient painter more than an accurate one.

Still, there are definite advantages in being able to use an effective wash. Saving time with things like the hide back-packs, campaign trousers, shako covers and so on. Maybe even horses!

Another thing I've learnt is that figures in greatcoats and shako covers are MUCH faster to paint!

Time to increase the quota of ill-clad Marie-Louise's in my army, methinks...

Phil Robinson said...

Lovely painting Robert. It is very nice (and a little embarrassing) to have your name mentioned as "style inspiration". Thank you. Here in Hull Peters old wargaming friends still paint and play with their toys in "the grand manner".