07 June 2011

How did I ever. . . ???

Four squadrons of 15mm MiniFigs French Napoleonic Dragoons (with two Essex elite company figures in Bearskins), a gift from good ol' Mom for Christmas 1989, finally painted during the late winter-early spring of 2006.  She and my step-father lived in Southampton, England at the time where he was a lecturer at the University of Southampton, and when they returned to the States in late December '89, she brought me a shopping bag FULL of 15mm Napoleonic MiniFigs.  Still one of the greatest Christmas gifts I have ever received.
A few evenings ago, while rooting around through several boxes of things that were never opened after our April 2008 move into "Stollen Central" -- looking for some carefully hoarded heavy cardboard tubes for the current building project -- I unearthed my boxes of carefully painted 15mm Late Napoleonic Minifigs, on which I have not set eyes in more than five years.  Many of us have parts of our toy solider -- Ahem, military miniature! -- collections that are put away into lengthy storage for one reason or another.  Nothing remarkable there.  

But, what is remarkable is how SMALL they seem to me now after almost five years of working with 25-30mm figures.  How in the world did I ever resolve/manage to paint these?  The castings are nice enough, but so tiny to my 44-year old eyes.  Amazingly, the painting doesn't look too shabby either after all this time.  However, I'm not really sure I could go back now and expend that kind of painting effort on figures so small.  

In hindsight, which is always 20/20, you know, painting the larger figures is much more fun and ultimately more rewarding from an artistic standpoint than spending several weeks on a single 15mm unit or two.  However, part of the blame is mine since I always tried to paint my tiny figures to a standard similar to that of Peter Gilder and Doug Mason, over whose 25mm glossy Napoleonics I drooled for many an hour as a teenager and twenty-something in the 1980s when their work featured in almost every issue of Miniature Wargames and, later, Wargames Illustrated.  Still some of the best painting and modelling out there in my book even all these years later.

 15mm Dragoons next to nominally 30mm (1/56) Minden Prussian Hussars of the SYW.  Quite a startling difference in size and painting difficulty, don't you think?


Grimsby Mariner said...

Smaller figures require less detail for me. The idea of using smaller figures is to get more on the tabletop to represent larger formations. To my mind there is no need to recreate the level of detail and shading that 25mm+ figures deserve. That's why I dip all my 15mm Naps and don't shade at all.
Having said that I do admire those painters who are able to recreate such equisite details in smaller sizes.

A J said...

I find painting 15mm figures easier than 25-28mm in many ways. As the Grimsby Mariner says, less detail is required.

Mark Dudley said...

Is about time you got their bases finished.

With my 40mm Prince August I find that I need less shading/detail than 28mm.

guy said...

As paul says, 15mm games can give an increadible spectacle if done well. My eyes really are not up to painting them but some seem to be able to paint them to an amazing standard. Like you I only had one short detour into 15mm but soon came to the conclusion that I prefered 25/28mm. Having said that I have used the Revell plastic 22mm SYW figures and these give a reasonable compromise.

what I do find increadible is the detail and painting of 6mm figures. I have difficulty even focusing on them.



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