Sunday 4 May 2014

Work in Progress: Elephants and Romans

I haven't bothered much with WIP posts in the past, but I'm finding that the gaps between my postings are becoming longer because of the size of projects I am doing.  This is mainly because I usually just post piccies of completed units, but since it looks as though I won't be playing at the club for at least a month, I thought I should post something else in the meantime.  Anne O'Leary got me thinking when she posted a comment on a prior post.  Besides, somebody might like it:
On the left is my current lot: seven Numidian elephants and some Romans, all at various stages of completion.  The two dark elephants have been block painted and then inked; the three in the middle are blocked in; and the final two have just been undercoated.  I've done something I haven't tried for a while with these two, which is to use dark brown.  I have a tube of artist's dark umber which is quite thick (high viscosity) and has lasted me for ages; time to put it to some extra use.  I always paint on undercoat rather than spray it, for two reasons.  The first is that I have three kids, and the second is that I have three kids.  Oh, and there is another reason - I once had a really bad experience with a can of spray varnish.  The brown isn't perfect, but it will do; you can probably make out a weird yellowish colour coming through it, which is the resin of the elephant's body.

The four Roman officers have been given their basic paintjob, and the standard bearers have been undercoated.  I use black undercoat, followed by a heavy white drybrush to bring up the details.  I find this really helps with good quality figures, because it makes it easier for me to see where everything is.  For example, these Companion Miniatures figures are so well detailed that you can see the pin clasp on their belts poking though a hole.  Can't paint it if you can't see it.

Taken together, these figures pretty much show all of the stages I paint, apart from the final result.  They start off too bright, then go too dark, and then come just right.  I call it the Goldilocks method: too dark!  Too bright!  Just right...  And on the right of the photo are some already completed Roman officers and musicians sitting on the legion's bases.  These will be the command stands for Caesar's Alaudae, and will also double as early Gallic auxiliary infantry.

Meanwhile, Thomas is building the Titanic:
This is a beautiful 1:400 scale anniversary model by Revell.  Thomas got right into a Titanic project he did for school, and we bought him this model for Xmas.  I want him to start doing something a bit more intelligent than playing electronic things all the time, and this seemed like a good way to start him.  He quite likes it, because he gets to sit next to me and do boy and dad stuff.  He has also been expressing an interest in model tanks for a while, so he can progress onto those later.  And he can also play games with them too.  Besides, it's only a matter of time before his little sisters catch up.  They like terrain and scenery; who says child labour is dead!?


  1. Looks like they're coming along well Caliban :)

  2. Romans and elephants, eh? What strange bedfellows wargaming will throw up ;-)

  3. Hi Aaron, I know what you mean! To be honest, I just decided to finish off the Numidians I already have before ploughing into Caesar's lot. Besides, I haven't painted elephants in years...