SAS Wargames Club

SAS Wargames Club
Welcome to our home on the Web! Well it's brighter and hopefully better than ever before - well it all works - which is better than before. Don't worry despite this new glossy professional feel we're still the same bunch of reprobates looking to play toy soldiers!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Painting 28mm 17th Century Lowland Scots - Part Three

Stage 6
Figures after dip has dried,very glossy and not looking that good!
You'll note I glue figures to their final bases before applying dip.
There re many other places in the internet where you can read-up on the Army Painter 'Shading' products, so I'll not bore you with a rehash of all those. <try here as a start>

All I can say is that after experimenting with the product for a number of years and becoming more and ore familiar with it - I love it!

I have a couple of tips that I'll share - I always use 'Dark Shade',my preference,this is the one that uses black as the pigmentation - the other two uses browns.

Next always keep it indoors and the lid well sealed, the product doesn't like the changes in temperature it'll experience out in  ashed or garage.

The product is Oil based - so it smells and requires 24 hours to dry. Tempting as it s to fiddle with the figures before it is dry - don't! You'll also need white spirit or similar to clean your brushes.

This leads to my final tip - the product is described as a dip, don't dip your figures! Paint on the product with a largish brush and work a generous amount into all the nooks and crannies of your figure. 

When satisfied move on to the next figure and then the next.

After the third figure, go back to the first, you'll see the shading product will have started to do its magic - with a critical eye - look for whee the product has started to pool or is obscuring important detail on the figure and correct this with your brush. Then put the figure aside to dry for 24 hours....

Stage 7
Sand and electrostatic grass added to bases,
Sergeant & Musketeer plus Pikeman Base
You're on the home leg now, before applying the dip you'll note that I glue the figures on to their final wargaming bases, any dip that flows off the figure will help fix it to it's base! These bases have been scored with a modelling knife, prior to fixing figures to help glues and paint 'key' to them.
Same treatment for command bases.

Once the Amy Painter Shading product has dried, I will then start the basing process - use filler applied with those small wooden coffee stir-sticks found at McDonalds or other such places. this will take a couple hours to dry but gives a good even surface to apply the next layer of paint.

I use emulsion paint than can be obtained from any DIY store, usually from sample pots which come  many colours - though i use a brown based paint for earth - which seems the obvious choice for me. When first opening the pot, I'll immediately top it up to the top with PVA wood glue, to make it better for sticking basing materials to. I regularly top up the pot with more PVA glue as I use up the paint.

Grass tufts and other scenics added to bases

I paint the whole base and whilst still wet I cover the surface with fine sand and leave to dry. Next I'll apply patches of the same paint to the base and then cover base with electro-static grass, before shaking off the excess - again leave to dry.

Finally apply various grass tufts and other ground vegetation to taste.

I'll now add the unit's flags to the officers - maybe a separate article on how I make these sometime (pretty much always print out on my home printer and apply with PVA wood glue).
Figures after final Matt Varnish spray
Not only does the Matt Varnish finish ff the figures
it sets the scenics in place as well.

The final step when all is good and dry is to spray paint the whole unit with Mat Varnish,  use Army Painter Matt Varnish as it is easy to find. I spray on sunny days only after a good shake of the can. Weather does effect the final finish of the spray varnish as does lack of shaking...

... Cover the figures from each direction - I do four sweeps to get each side, front and back and again leave to dry and stop smelling.

In my opinion the figures turn out pretty well ...

Figures en-mass, representing Grant of Grants' Lowland Regiment.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Painting 28mm 17th Century Lowland Scots - Part Two

Stage 3
So here's where things start to get interesting, the colour 'red' has always been a challenge to me in painting terms. It may just be me but I have found it difficult to find a good red paint that covers the surface of a model,giving the right amount of vivid colour and the capacity to provide opaqueness and pigment in enough depth to avoid having to do several coats of paint. 

Musketeers and Pikeman in Scarlet Coats
Any way after years of trying different manufacturers I now always use Citadel red paints, on these models I have used 'Evil Sunz Scarlet' and 'Wazdakka Red' The rank and file are done in the brighter Scarlet colour but I have used the darker red colour on officers, sergeant an drummer to give an indication that these figures are wearing a better quality cloth.
Officers and Sergeant in Red Coats
As with other stages the key thing here is to apply the paint as neatly as possible, avoiding splashes of colour on areas that have already been painted or are about to be painted. That said don't worry if this happens, it will but being careful saves time later....

After the red coats are painted in then I add in a dark brown for the musketeer's weapons and a light
Wood is coloured in for musketeers and pikemen
yellow paint I got from Army Painter to represent the pike, flag and Halberd shafts which would have bee stripped ash or similar wood in real life.  The dark brown, I also used to paint the handles of swords and any bayonets modeled on the figures.

Finally at this stage I add in flesh tones for faces and hands, using a fast running out supply of Citadel 'Dwarf Flesh' paint. This flesh colour does dry to distinctive shade, but as I will be using the Army Painter shading varnish,this colour will be toned down to a more natural colour.

Officers and Sergeant with pole arm shafts painted 
It is also worth pointing out that the same is true for all colours used on these figures, once the shading varnish is applied all colours will be muted somewhat, so what appears to be a very bright scarlet coat will be less in your face once shaded....

At this point I put the figures to one side to dry over night. Another thing about red paint is that it tends to bleed into colours painted over it, 24 hours drying time prevents this from happening.

Stage 4

Men with Buff Leatherwork and dark brown shoes & Scabbard detail added 
Once thoroughly dried It s now time to paint in the buff leatherwork on the figures. For musketeers this is the hardness for the 'ten apostles', bullet pouches and leather straps for the powder horn. For most other figures this is limited to scabbard fobs, waist belts and shoulder straps etc.Again the key here is to take a little time to be neat and tidy.

Next on the list is to paint in the metalwork,musket barrel, matchlocks and pike & halberd heads etc. I use a Citadel 'Mithrel Silver' paint for this and rely on the Amy Painter to tone this down appropriately when this is applied.

Sam stage for Sergeant and Officers
The biggest chore ranking alongside the 'ten apostles' for this period is the coat buttons, upwards of a dozen to do on some figures. The answer is to take your time, use a fine brush and ensure you have enough paint on the brush to get each button first time. I find I make most mistakes on buttons when I have to go back to complete a partial button or I have too much paint on the brush to start with. You will miss some, you will get silver on the coat but just correct it later and relax.

Buttons and other metal work added and 'fixes' applied to earlier mistakes1
On the officers I painted their braid Gunmetal - to give it a contrast to the silver buttons, for teh sergeant and the drummer I did their braid in white to reflect their lower rank.

Again same stage for Command Group
The final piece of the jigsaw at this stage is to add in colouring for shoes, scabbards and powder flasks. For this I use Citadel 'Rhinox hide', this is a very dark brown. In the 1680s period,getting a black finish to leather goods was very expensive and from a painting point of view using a base black colour leave no room for shading. The Dark brown can be shaded to near black.

Stage 5
So having stressed the need to be neat and tidy when applying paint all the way through these articles, being realistic paint does stray...

Painting pretty much finished...

You get splashes of one colour on another, your hand wobbles and the paint for the straps ends up on the coat etc - well we're all human!

So this stage is about going back and correcting all your mistakes as best as possible, take your time, one colour at a time the more accurately you apply the colour the better the finished product.

... and ready for the shading and scenics stages
Once happy you have corrected mistakes then continue adding detail - various browns for hair colours, brass for sword hilts, bayonet details, musket and powder horn details etc. Blue sashes for officers and fringes on the pikemen's sashes. Dark grey for the 'ten apostles', add on red ties on the breaches, red laces on the shoes and a suitable colour for the matches each musketeer has in their hand.

The detail makes the figure so again spend time here, you 'll be surprised at how quickly such detail can be added and it pays dividends once the unit is completed.

Next time I'll talk about applying the Army Painter shading products, basing the figures and adding the final detail - the unit's flags

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Painting 28mm 17th Century Lowland Scots - Part One

I thought it might be fun to record the steps that I typically go through to paint up a unit of 28mm figures for my current favourite period - the Late 17th Century Wars...

In this case the figures are Front Rank Lowland Scots in bonnets, as such this article will discuss some of my thought processes,hints and tips and hopefully provide inspiration to others wanting to dabble in these larger figures but worried that their painting skills are not up to it.

Lets be clear from the start - I do not rate my self as a great painter,however, I can apply paint fairly accurately onto  figure and then using the available products, I think these can be converted into passable wargames figures.

The other point to make clear is that I'm also not a photographer, so apologies for the quality of my pictures!

For purposes of my games I like to have big regiments - 28 figures - 2 blocks of eight Musketeers each side of a central block of 12 Command and pikemen. Yes I know this is a little over the top but the usual 18 or 20 figures per regiment just don't seem to look right to my eye.

For painting purposes I usually paint-up each block separately in batches of 8 to 12 figures it meas a manageable number of figures in each batch, you don't get too bored painting each batch and you get to see the end results at regular intervals!

Stage 0
So before you even get your pints out the first thing is to spend time cleaning up your figures. These Front Rank figures are very crisp and have great detail, applying paint to them is really a process of drawing out that detail. It is vital that any flash or other blemishes are removed form the castings before going any further.

A small needle file and patience is all that is needed, removing mould lines and snipping off any unwanted flash, it should only take you 4 or 5 minutes per figure. Once this task is completed I attach each figure to a 2p piece with some Blu-Tac and leave overnight for the Blu-Tac to 'set'.

Sounds like a silly detail but stretch and kneed the Blu-Tac until soft,use a small piece to attach figure to the 2p piece and overnight the Blu-Tac hardens and will hold the figure in place for the whole painting process.

Stage 1
Two Muskeers and a Pikeman, undercoated in white
All paints that I use are Acrylic, made by different manufacturers, typically Citadel, Foundry, Vallejo as well as generic artists paints picked up from Hobby Craft or the like.

For undercoating I use generic artists acrylic paint, applied with a fairly big, flat ended brush, and worked so that the paint gives a thorough covering to the case metal and gets into every nook & cranny of the figure, without clogging-up any of the figure's details.
Sergeant Ensign and Officer undercoated in white.
I again leave the figure overnight to allow the undercoat to dry and take the coloured paint without any 'bleed' into these colours....

Stage 2
Grey beaches and socks added
So now to the colours, in this case the unit I am painting is going to be representing Grant of Grant's lowand infantry regiment,they were typical of many such Scots units of the time so I can use these as generic Scots units on the wargames table.

That said there is some debate over how many units wore the bonnet by the late 1680s as there is evidence to say that many regular units preferred to wear a hat rather than bonnet to distinguish themselves as 'proper' soldiers.
I debated having red breaches and socks for officers
but went for grey i the end

Anyway - I have other Scots regiments in hats so I fancied doing one in bonnets ..

First colour - grey for breeches and socks, simple task, apply the paint with a 'No 2' brush

Stage 3
This is really hard to show on my photos, I use  good quality white paint to do cuffs, shirt sleeves, cravat & sashes. This provides a much more opaque and 'clean' white than can be achieved with the generic white paint used to undercoat.
White cuffs,shirt sleeves, sashes and cravats

Feathers in Officer's hats also white
Again there s a debate over the exact colourings of sashes for many regiments,or even how common the practice was as we moved later in the period. I have chosen to have pikemen in white sashes with a blue fringes. I'm currently thinking that the offices will have blue sashes but want to check this out against my reference books before committing paint to brush!

So next posting we'll start adding real colour to the figures, coats, flesh and equipment...