Since I have painting technique on the brain at the moment, I thought that I would share a couple of potentially useful titles with you this morning that I own and refer to from time to time. First up, Building and Painting Scale Figures by Sheperd Paine is almost 20 years old, but it contains lots of information that is both interesting and helpful to figure painters, whether wargamers, or their cousins who tackle 54mm or larger single display figures and dioramas.
While the book presents considerable material that, at first glance, might not seem relevant to those of us painting 15 or 25mm figures en masse, read between the lines a bit, and there is actually a great deal here to help wargamers produce sharper looking figures for their tabletop armies. Besides chapters on lighting, color mixing, shading, painting faces realistically, horses, and detailing one's figures, as well as sculpting and converting larger figures, there here is even a short chapter on painting specifically for wargamers. While all of this makes for fascinating reading, and provides ample food for thought where painting technique is concerned, it is Chapter Two, entitled 'Setting up to Paint', however, that is most interesting part of the book. Many useful tips to be found right there between pages 8-13. The book is well worth a look by anyone looking to improve his, or her figure painting technique and end results.
Next, comes the small Oil Painter's Pocket Palette by Rosalind Cuthbert. This is not a handbook on every aspect of painting with oils. Rather, Cuthbert's book provides basic guidelines on how oil colors work and how to achieve more than 600 color mixes with a very modest number of basic colors on the palette. Even if you are mixing on an old chipped saucer or plate! You will learn how to mix various skin tones, oranges, purples, greens, and the like. A section of the book that I find particularly interesting is the one having to do with glazing, that is overpainting with transparent colors. If you are looking around for a way to take your brushwork to a higher level, and want to give painting with oils a shot, the Oil Painter's Pocket Palette is a concise and highly useful addition to your library.
Finally, we finish this morning with the delightful Wargaming in History, Volume 4 by Charles S. Grant with his children Charlie and Natasha Grant. This title sees a return to the Seven Years War and is chock-a-block with information on, and photographs of, Charles's armies, his particular approach to wargaming, the actual political history and military background of three key battles from the SYW, and how to translate all of that to the tabletop. There is also a truly fantastic chapter on the origins and evolution of hussars (my personal favorites despite the difficulty in painting them), featuring the artwork of R.J. Marion, who has done color uniform plates for the previous two WIH titles by Charles.
While I enjoyed last year's Volume 2 on the War of Austrian Succession, it seemed slightly off relative to Volume 1 and the War Game Companion. Volume 4, however, sees the series back on form. There is lots more I could say about the book, which I received, indirectly, as a Christmas gift from my in-laws, but I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who have not yet seen it. Suffice to say, this is one wargaming book you don't want to miss. If you purchase only two hobby titles in 2012, one of those should be this one. The other should be the forthcoming Wargaming Compendium by Henry Hyde, but I am getting a little ahead of myself! In short, there is a lot of interest in Wargaming in History, Volume 4, and you get a great deal of bang for your buck with it.