18 November 2011

Another Painting Challenge Is Afoot!

No rest for the wicked!  And while I still have a few final touches to put on the last nine Minden hussars, a number of my wargaming friends and acquaintances around the globe have proposed a second painting challenge -- November 16, 2011 to January 16, 2012 -- in which we each pledge to paint a particular number of figures during the two months.  The precise number, period, level of detail, etc. is left open to each one of us, and we are each free to modify that if time and personal/professional commitments dictate it.

All of which is a rather long winded way of saying that I have pledged to complete a unit of 60 RSM95 Prussian musketeers.  And they will be painted in the 1750s-era uniform pictured above, wearing the three-cornered hat of musketeers, because that's what I have on hand, rather than a version of the grenadiers' mitre cap.  

So, I spent some pleasant downtime yesterday evening in bed with a writing pad and pencil, figuring out how I could reduce the number of painting steps to an absolute minimum while still producing reasonably nice looking results.  First things first.  I think a good foundation is called for, say a good solid white basecoat (two coats actually) over which I can apply a nice red wash ala Peter Gilder's technique.  In keeping with my recent pushing of the style envelope where my Monday-Friday dressing habits are concerned, I've even thought about trying a small tube of artist's red watercolor pigment -- an extremely daring approach, I know -- which, to my mind, just might yield a better wash with more consistent coverage than oils or Citadel (ex-Games Workshop) acrylics have here in Zum Stollenkeller thus far.  Note to self: visit local craft and artists' supply store this weekend! 

The best way to do this, naturally, would be to try the watercolor medium on just a few figures first, to see if results are acceptable before I launch into applying a thin gruel of red to a company-sized batch of figures.  Taking a page from Der Alte Fritz's painting handbook over at Hesse-Seewald, you know.  Far better, and less frustrating, as he has pointed out in the past, to "fix" only a single figure or two if things don't work out quite as one hopes than to repaint a company-sized batch of musketeers whose colors aren't quite up to snuff.  What do you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars think?

Later. . .
According to the Knoetel illustration above, I'll be working with just four colors plus flesh and metallic tones (silver and brass).  In theory, that kind of limited pallet ought to speed things along.  We'll see how things go in practice!

Even Later. . .
Oh, and of course the green bases, so that's FIVE basic colors besides flesh and metallic tones.


Bluebear Jeff said...

It sounds like very good advice, Stokes . . . which means that I would probably ignore it and risk having to re-paint far too many figures if it didn't work to my satisfaction.

The good news is that the RSM figures are easy to paint.

-- Jeff

johnpreece said...

Interesting. I love to see people experimenting. I have never used watercolour but I think you would need a fairly 'absorbent' undercoat to prevent it simply running off.

I wonder if Plaka poster paints may not be better. I used these in the seventies before acrylics became more widely available. They do havevery pure colours but I don't even know if you can still get them.

Anyway the very best of luck and keep us up to date.


Fitz-Badger said...

I would be concerned that the watercolor pigment would either not dry or run when you tried to varnish or cause other problems. I would definitely play it safe with such different untried technique, especially with so many soldiers to redo if there were a problem at some point.
good luck!

Mark Dudley said...


Have you thought of using Red Acrylic Ink over the white undercoat. Easy to apply as flows over the figure on and has good staining.

I use browns inks for hair, muskets and bits and bobs and this gives good results.

Good Acrylic ink can speed up paining.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

As a long time use of water colour type inks can I recommend the Windsor and Newton inks?? These are not permanent (so you can re-work them with a damp brush should you wish) but I've had no problems with colours running at the protection stage (though I spray rather than brush)


abdul666 said...

Back to 'not perfectly historical uniforms'? Cheers! :)

Using intensely pigment ink on the *still wet* white undercoat (the good ancient fresco technique) gave me some 'interesting' results, but more appropriate for Fantasy minis than decent 'historical' ones.
I even tried to color the undercoat in one hue with powder pigment, than 'wet ink' it with another color, e.g. blue on yellow: sometimes it worked quite well, giving 'pigeon's throat' effects; sometimes.... :)


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