22 October 2006

In the Home Stretch. . .

A crisp, chilly Sunday morning here in Central Illinois -- Finally, it feels like October!

Well, I managed to get in two separate sessions with the Jaegers zu Fuss yesterday. First, I painted all halberds and the walking sticks of two officers brown, followed by silver swords, pike heads on the halberds, lace on the mounted colonel’s light blue saddle cloth, etc. Then, I painted the reins and harnesses of the colonel’s horse and then the horse himself – A lovely light bay stallion with a white blaze on his muzzle and white socks on three of his legs.

I must admit that I enjoy painting single horses for generals and mounted offices. However, as Jeff Hudelson (The Duke of Saxe-Bearstein) discussed on his blog and at the OSW group a few weeks ago, I get bored painting multiple horses in my cavalry units. Nevertheless, it is very useful to have some kind of reference work on horses in one’s wargames library.

I’d recommend Horses by Elwyn Hartley Edwards, one of the Smithsonian Handbooks series. In 255 pages, Edwards explains virtually everything a non-equestrian needs to know in order to paint fairly realistic looking horses. Not only does the book contain numerous photographs of the various breeds, but it also discusses topics like different horse types, horse conformation, the horse life cycle, and horse furniture/tack (saddles, bridles, bits, etc.). In addition, there is a concise glossary at the rear of the book. And all for less than $20 US! Certainly, one does not necessarily NEED a book like this, but it can be very helpful and is interesting reading in its own right. But I digress!

Anyway, during my second painting session late last night, I completed the white and khaki shoulder straps for the second company of Stollen’s Jaegers zu Fuss. I also used this session to begin a few small “touch-ups” of earlier mistakes with the brush, and caught a few small areas that I had somehow missed filling in with one color or another during previous painting sessions. Funny how that happens sometimes!

All that remains on this batch of figures now is for me to paint the musket stocks and barrels. For these, I’ll use my favorite oil colors, neither of which runs when I apply the protective coat of Future floor wax! An important lesson I learned with the Von Laurenz Musketeers last month.

The color I’ll use for the musket stocks is Grumbacher’s “English Red”, which is actually a lovely, rich brown that I’ve used for horses, muskets and hair for more than 20 years. I have no idea how old this tube is. My mother, a trained artist, gave it to me in 1983, and I suspect it’s a tube she purchased and used in her paiinting during the early 1970s! Another neat thing about this particular tube of color is that it dries to the touch in about 48 hours, particularly when thinned.

For items like musket barrels, officers’ swords, etc., I use a much newer tube of Winsor& Newton Artists’ Oil Color “Silver”, which also dries to the touch in about two days. I also have tubes of oil-based gold, bronze, and copper. The thing I like about oil-based metals is that they don’t begin to dry and clump on one’s brush WHILE you’re actually still painting on the colors. Oil-based metals are richer in color and intensity too, which is important given the often small figure details to which they are applied.

I’ll admit to using Humbrol “Brass” for a couple of small details on the Jaegers zu Fuss because, again, I do not want the color to run when I apply Future floor polish later. I discovered with the Von Laurenz Musketeers that my brass mixture of gold and silver oil colors ran when the coat of Future was applied. This was something that had never plagued me before with my figure painting. Needless to say, it was an unpleasant surprise that I’d like to avoid in future – Ha, ha, ha. . . ;-) It must be the way the Future reacts with the oils.

In any case, the Jaegers zu Fuss should be all finished in the next few days, and then I can start on the aforementioned artillery battery, the two mounted generals, and the ADC next weekend. Seems like I'm back on track with painting. Charge!

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