SAS Wargames Club

SAS Wargames Club
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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...