|Coming along slowly, but surely. Some highlights at this point help bring the far from finished second batch of figures to life.|
Fairly quiet here for the last few weeks on the toy soldiering front. The Young Master, like so many other children in 2021, is over-scheduled and has a lot on his plate during his summer vacation, so we have yet to return to the table, or continued painting of his Prussian garrison regiment. Sigh. Mowing, yard work, and tending flower beds has also occupied a lot of Bad Dad's (Paul's nickname for yours truly) time since late June.
But, the last few evenings have seen me return to the painting chair for some more work on the second batch of 16 Minden Prussians with Swedish cuffs, which are being painted at the Schaumburg-Lippe Infantry Regiment. At this point, they look like an awful lot of Prussian, Hessian, and other northern German infantry of the period, but the flags, when I get to that stage, will set them off nicely.
I recall reading somewhere in the last decade or so that Charles Grant with his own painting works on batches of his own units to near completion before starting another batch and doing the same thing. Final small, quick, and easy details are then added once he reaches a critical mass of the battalion or regiment before coming back to finish the remaining unpainted figures, basing, and etc.
So, that is what I am trying with these. You know, playing psychological games with myself to keep the painting muse around and fight off the tedium demon. So far, it seems to be working, and I find my self looking forward to two or three 30 to 60-minute sessions in the painting chair most days. Nothing like visible progress to keep the paintbrush fires burning.
An interesting skill development point when it comes to highlights. After many, many years of painting -- Ok, ok. Let's just say I'm a bit slow on the uptake. -- it finally occurred to me that highlights look better if you simply touch the tip of the brush to the area in question, and leave just the smallest drop or bit of color behind.
Not only is this faster, but I'd argue that it gives a more realistic effect when you let more of the darker undercoat show. Certainly it seems to work for figures painted to the ol' 'looks good from three to five foot away wargaming standard.' One is also less like to obscure earlier painting with misplaced blotches of color or similar mistakes with the brush that need to be fixed later.
As I have mentioned before somewhere, I prefer a more simple two-step painting process for my figures with a darker undercoat and a lighter highlight. To my eye, it is more pleasing, visually speaking, that a busier three-, or four-layer style. To be sure, there are some painters out there who do masterful brushwork using this approach, but I am not that talented. Or patient.
And on the flip side, there are other painters who get some really nice results with the old fashioned blocking in of single colors and leave it at that, Phil Olley, in particular, does some really nice work with his speed painting of certain units for his collection that feature plain old block painting without highlights. And no mistake. Those look super.
But I digress!
This evening, I plan to add charcoal gray highlights to the boots, gaiters, and cartridge pouches of the 16 figures in the forefront of the photograph above, followed by a dark, reddish brown for the knapsacks on their left hips, and, if there is still time and motivation, gunmetal to the canteens , bayonets, musket barrels, and firelocks before turning in for the night. We'll see how things progress.
And speaking of Charles Grant, I am inching ever closer to having enough infantry, cavalry, and artillery to fight many of the scenarios from his Tabletop Teasers and books. It is simply a matter a making the time to do so. Of course, if I could just leave my tables set up and games in situ, it would help. But cats and idle, unsupervised 11-year old fingers mean that things need to be put away when not actually in use.
Not quite what I envisioned when we moved into this house with the wonderfully finished basement, which I christened Zum Stollenkeller, Mk. II, but there we are as Bertie Wooster might say. Still, there are many wargamers without the space to do even that, so I should not complain I suppose. Ok, time to get back to the painting table!