Tuesday 19 May 2009

A mix of mounted types

This entry is the first of what I want to be a main feature of my blog, which is a photo record of my figures as and when I'm happy with them. Which will take some time: I have a large collection of 25mm ancients and medievals that need revamping, for various reasons. I'll explain these as I go along and make more posts. The Arab light horse in the first photo in this post are completely repainted figs I bought second-hand from Graham in our club; they were pressed into service as part of the Arab allies at Callinicum. One element of experimentation I tried with these guys is the shields, which are small bucklers. Even though these are 25mm figures, I used Little Big Men 15mm Arab/Sassanian shield transfers to brighten them up, and I'm quite pleased with the result. The trick was to avoid any figurative designs and go for the geometric and/or floral ones. You can probably tell that they are old figures because of the bendy spears, but it's an efficient way to get usable figures on to the table relatively quickly: The second photo in this sequence is of some nobility, which again are old figures re-done. I have no idea what makes are included! Graham originally put quite a lot of effort into painting some of the shields, so I tried to leave those intact. The guy in the right foreground is one of them:
The next two shots are of Gripping Beast camelry, with a mix of shield types. If you save these images and then zoom in, you'll very quickly see that there's a sheen to them. This is because I use artist's varnish to protect them, which comes out as a kind of silky effect. My figures see a lot of abuse, transportation and general mayhem, so they need protecting. I know that others swear by combinations such as hard gloss followed by dullcoate, but that's too much like hard work. Plus, it stinks, and there are certain little people running around while I'm painting.
The guy on the right of the second camelry photo with the blue shield is another experiment. My wife bought me a craft visor as a present last year, and I've started to use it almost all the time. Again, this is because of the Callinicum game. Gripping Beast Sassanian Persians are extremely well detailed, and I needed a good way to pick out the possibilities. Plus, my eyesight is getting middle-aged, and the craft visor really helps. I realised that a neat way to make a smooth surface a bit more interesting is to use a fine brush with lots of swift strokes, with a lighter colour over the darker base colour. I like the effect; it might not come out too well in photos, but at a gamer's distance looking down onto the tabletop, it looks really good:
The final three shots are of Musketeer Miniatures Bedouins. Like the camel riders, these are newly painted from scratch, with Little Big Men transfers added:
When we moved to our current house a few years ago, the deal was that we would get somewhere with a garden (my wife's hobby) and enough shed space for my hobby. Cathy suggested that I should take advantage of this when we did it to rework and sort out my figure collection properly. One of the ways I'm doing so is to base them all in a very similar way, although so far I've only tried it with mediterranean/semi-arid types. I'll worry about northern Europeans and such later...
These guys are all based in exactly the same way, and as I work my way through the rest of the old figures I'll base them like this as well. I use pre-cut MDF bases from East Riding Miniatures with sticky magnetic sheeting applied to the bottom. After the figures are glued on, I splurge Ronseal plastic wood (light oak), which has the important advantage of being acrylic. I found a long time ago that oil-based plastic wood eventually warps the bases, which is a real shame because it does look really good. But it stinks too. While the plastic wood is still wet, I add random bits of scatter, grass, cork for stones and so on:
The finishing touch on the bases is a heavy dry brush of sandy paint to bring up some highlights, and then some flock on any metal bits of figure bases still showing, and that's it. Nice, simple, and reasonably quick. It must look all right, because some of the best painters at the club have asked how I do them!

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