3 IntroductionI have been a painter and Wargammer for over 20 years, and a member of NAWGC for 10 years. In this year 2011 with the Republic of Empire Napoleonic rules (released 2009) several of the club members were keen to start building a Napoleonic Army. Especially with weekends away playing out the rules with one of the game designers Barry Hilton.Several of us had 15mm armies but were looking at building 28mm figure armies with the new introduction of Vitrix and Perry plastic miniatures. These can allow large quantities of figures to be bought very inexpensively to supplement metal ones. A vast French army was being put together and the rest of us had to gather the opposition.But that leaves the problem with 40 to 60 figures per box how to get them painted quickly and efficiently. So here is my guide as a painter - rather than an expert on Napoleonic battles and history. Check out the NAWGC Links page for useful websites. The tutorial is aimed at people with some basic assembly and painting experience. I hope you find this tutorial useful.
5 Getting startedPerry plastics give you several options in multi poses the main difference is to watch out for the shoulder pads.The single small tufts for Centre Line, the figures used in the initial pictures of the painting guide have the wider pads suitable for Lights or Grenadiers for the Flank companies.The Lights/Grenadiers arms and poses are mainly found on the Command sprue, there are only two left arms holding gun in the main infantry sprue with 2 options for right arms to match.After clipping the plastic pieces out I use the edge of a sharp craft knife to clean of any flash/mould lines – not a needle file as this still leaves a rough edge and can easily damage detail on plastic figures. Remember to push blade away from fingers. Or try putting a plaster on the pad of the thumb most likely to get caught to act as a protection against cuts.
7 Getting startedI found it easier with my 24 figure per battalion to take 5 command figures, 2 Light, 2 Grenadiers, 15 Centre Line. We had decided to base them on a 40mm frontage and use the 45mm for depth to disperse the figures.I chose the poses I wanted for the Centre Line firing, reloading (ramrod on right arm on main infantry sprue), gun held ready to front, rest basic poses. Unfortunately kneeling poses are not available with Perry plastic box sets.It was easier to pick the bodies with the same arms, then heads and back packs in small groups rather than do all at once.Once each figure cleaned of extra mould lines I would then glue arms to the torso, then heads, then backpacks. Note the heads here are for Peninsular campaigns - choose the other heads (no stovepipe) for Waterloo.
9 Getting startedKeep the amount of polystyrene cement to a minimum to ensure it does not go over any figure detail and hence dissolve it. Make sure your hands are clean and relatively dry as you work.Leave the figure for several hours before trying to undercoat and paint – I usually leave over night.As the figures are built I would “Blu-Tack” them onto a piece of wood for the undercoat process. The spare piece of wood I use is approximately 60cm long by 2cm wide (where the figures attached) and 3cm high.
11 Here are my Highlanders ready for undercoat. Getting startedUndercoating this way you can make sure you evenly spray across many figures – typically 30 at a time – and you are able to tilt, turn and angle them to ensure full coverage.Usually cover hand holding the spare piece of wood with a gardening glove. This is a process I find is much easier and quicker than trying to undercoat figures in a box.Here are my Highlanders ready for undercoat.
12 Here is the 1st Royal Scots Battalion. End ResultHere is the 1st Royal Scots Battalion.
13 Here is one of the drummers ready to paint. Getting startedTo begin the painting processes use something like the lid of an aerosol can to mount your figure.Keeps your oily skin from contaminating the painting surface. Or accidentally wiping off new paint as you hold the figure. Makes the figure easier to hold and manipulate as you paint.Here is one of the drummers ready to paint.
14 Here is the 3rd Light Company. End ResultHere is the 3rd Light Company.
15 Preparation – base coats Here begins my step by step guide to painting the 28mm plastics quickly in as few steps as possible. Typically a British line infantry figure was painted from undercoat to final colour on average in around 35 minutes per figure. Usually I had 10 similarly posed figures being painted at one time. For the first time through the process I would suggest you should just try 5 at a time.Suggestions for paint and brush sizes are given.Depending on your skill/experience, should you find you are making too many mistakes - and its not because the tip of the brush you are using no longer comes to a point - drop to a smaller brush size, ie go from the suggested size 1 to a 0.
16 Preparation – base coats #1 : Undercoat Grey primer – Spray paint (Halfords)#1Figures attached to a piece of wood (with Blu-Tack) and sprayed in a well ventilated area – as described before. Leave for several hours to completely dry.
17 Preparation – base coats #2 : Brown wash (either Burnt Umber – Inscribe - diluted to wash so the paint has a milk consistency,or GW Flesh Wash – comes ready to use).Brush size 2#2Jacket, arms, head, hands and gun initially covered.Try to avoid trousers on the figure.Illustration shown using Flesh Wash.
18 Preparation – base coats #3 : Black block in (Licorice from Plaid paint). Brush size 1#3Hat, shoes, backpack, bayonet sheath.Using the shade Licorice gives a dark grey effect on the grey undercoat.Found once covered does not need any more work when painting over the Grey undercoat – no need for dry brushing & washes. Especially if not painted on too thickly.
19 Preparation – base coats #4 : Black Wash (Licorice from Plaid paint). Brush size 1.#4Satchel under water bottle, over straps, face (to better define eyes nose and mouth), gun & hands, and shoulder pads.If the brown you are using is darker than the wash in the pictures you will be able to miss this step out and do these areas in step #2.Make sure these areas are thoroughly dry before next process.
20 Preparation – base coats #4 : Alternative Black Wash (Licorice from Plaid paint). Brush size 1.#4If you are planning to paint for the Waterloo period the trousers were dark grey. Again this can be achieved here by doing a Black Wash in one step at this point. If its too dark you can highlight with the wet brush technique (described in step 5) with a mid grey (Charcoal Black – Foundry, or Adeptus Grey – GW). I used this technique with the 3rd Company Lights shown above.On the other hand if you want a dirtied look use a dark brown wash on the trousers – see next image.
21 Preparation – base coats #4 : Alternative Dark Brown Wash (Burnt Umber - Inscribe). Brush size 1.#4An alternative choice for the trousers. This can be achieved by doing a Dark Brown Wash in one step at this point. If its too dark you can highlight with the wet brush technique (described in step 5) with a mid brown (Scorched Brown – GW). I used this technique with some of the 3rd Company Lights shown above.
22 Painting – Wet brush#5#5#5 : Artic Grey Wet brush over straps, trousers, shoulder pads, top of stovepipe (for centre line), and satchel bag under waterbottle. Brush size 1.This step done first saves loads of time painting the straps in as a detail later on. Notice the grey undercoat still seen on folds in trousers.The “Wet brush” is like a dry brush technique with slightly more paint in the brush head. But like Dry brushing you are dragging the brush head across the top of the areas you want to paint. Still leaving the edges and creases as the basecoat colour.
23 Painting – Wet brush#5 : Artic Grey – more information on painting the trousersThe choice of paint will make a huge difference here. You want light grey or white paint that is of high pigment and therefore very opaque. It should be a consistency of cream to ensure an easy transfer of paint to figure.The brush should still have a good tip definition. Found it was easier to paint the trousers in around the top to edge of jacket, bayonet scabbard and around the bottom of trousers. Then finish the rest of the trousers still leaving the creases showing through with the grey undercoat.
24 Painting – Wet brush#6#6#6 : Red (Scab Red GW). Mainly Wet brush. Brush size 0.Bottom of Stovepipe for centre of Line, jacket sleeves tails and a bit between straps (where required).Here the choice of red is yours. The darker red here worked for me as a better contrast. But even if the paint is rather less pigment the brown undercoat helps give it the shading and worn look in one layer.
25 Painting – Detail #7 : Flesh (Tallarn Flesh - GW). Brush size 0. Face, ears, hands and fingers.Use the wet brush technique for the fingers. Pick up the top of the fingers leaving the shade between. Does not matter if some goes on the gun barrel. Take care with face try a T shape above eyes and nose – leaving the eyes. Then block in the rest of the face and try and leave the mouth as shown.
26 Painting – Detail#8#8#8 : Overcoat (Storm Blue Light - Foundry). Brush size 0.Rolled up and sits on top of backpack.Use the wet brush technique for the end of the overcoat. Try and leave the straps black, and any creases try and leave the black to bleed through.
27 Painting – Detail#9#9#9 : Collar and cuffs – choose Regimental Facing colour(Illustrated here is Bad Moon Yellow GW). Brush size 0.Notice on the cuff - block in most of the area. Then just the section around the top of the cuff. Leaving the section for the white trim untouched.
28 Painting – Detail#10#10 : Water bottle (Tomb Blue Shade - Foundry). Brush size 0.If you treat as a wet brush and flick across the top edges of the water bottle leaves the grooves of the wood effect.
29 Painting – Detail #11 : Gun Barrel (Drab Foundry). Brush size 0. Simple block in both sides of gun barrel.
30 Painting – Detail#13#13 : Hair (Any shade of brown, or tan - your choice, or even just a brown wash to darken it again). Brush size 0.If you have brown undercoat and black wash. You might want to leave this step out as the hair already looks dark brown. If you have caught the hair in another step now is the chance to fix it.
31 Painting – Detail#14#14#14 : White detail (Artic Grey Foundry). Brush size 0.This the most time consuming part of painting the 28mm Napoleonic figure. Any bits of the straps requiring fixed do at this stage.Take care catching the straps on the back pack, overcoat. Pick up the white trim on the cuffs, and along the edge of the collar (only try this if you are sure to have a steady hand). Remember to get the gun strap, and the turn up on the bottom edge of the jacket.
32 Painting – Detail #15 : Black detail. Brush size 0. For the water bottle strap. Goes around water bottle and up across the chest.Also fix any bits on back pack, hat, shoes, bayonet scabbard,ammunition pouch, eyes on face or edges of straps / fingersto recapture any lost definition.
33 Painting – Detail#16#16#16 : Silver Metal detail (Boltgun metal GW). Brush size 0.For the bayonet, end of scabbard, circular rim of water bottle, top of straps on overcoat, pan on back pack, gun barrel, butt of gun, on strap of gun or ram rod on underside of gun, and firing mechanism. Depending on figure pose.
34 Painting – Detail #17 : Gold Metal detail (Metallic Gold - Humbrol). Brush size 0.For the hat badge detail, and the clasp on chest straps.
35 Painting – Detail #18 : Black or Dark Brown wash. Brush size 0. For the lower half of the water bottle, pan on back pack, overcoat on edge nearest the back pack.Or any metal sections you may wish to dull down a bit. If you prefer you can replace this step with the Army Builder varnish that also shades.
36 For Plastic figures with acrylic paints I would not varnish them For Plastic figures with acrylic paints I would not varnish them. At this point the figures are finished. Once the battalion with the command (with flags) were done I would glue them to bases.I would recommend painting the circular bases, around the shoes, a mid green before mounting them on a base. For my Peninsular armies I added a badge detail to the backpack …
37 Only Peninsular armies had the badge detail of the Regiment on the backpack. In Waterloo the number appeared on the water bottle. Not wanting to spend the hours required to paint these on. I used PowerPoint text box Font size 4 with a black background. Printed out onto an A4 adhesive label. I cut out the thin strips – leaving a side end I could peal away easily. Then cut each square just making contact with side of my finger. Then used tweezers to carefully pick up badge detail and position between the straps of the back pack. I have added this PowerPoint as “Peninsular Back Pack Badges” for your use.
38 I super glued ready made tufts of grass made by a German company - Mininatur (available through Mutineer Miniatures in the UK). Used a paint brush to glue a diluted PVA (wash consistency using cooled boiled water). Then used a mixture of Javis scatter colours with sand to texture the bases. This scatter mixture was kept in one of the microwave oven safe plastic storage containers that can be cheaply bought at a supermarket or pound store. Easy to dip the bases into and tap the surplus easily back into the container.
39 The EndI hope you found this information useful and helps you quickly turn that mountain of plastic to finished figures in quick time. It still required just under 3 months to paint around 300 figures using this technique. But this is much less than the half year I first thought it would take.As you can see the techniques described here can be used for other figures.Next I plan to show a step by step process on painting the Command figures, the Rifles, and Victrix Highlanders.