Sunday, June 03, 2007

Painting White

I'm gearing up to run a small side-project over the next 12 months that ought to see me painting about 72 french infantry. It's for a demonstration game in the US - basically I'll be sending my troops to stand in for me! So, keeping in mind that they'll be representing me, I thought I'd try to give them a better-than-normal paint-job. My goal is to more accurately portray the gris-blanc coats the French wore and to do more justice to the surface detail sculpted into the clothing of my favoured RSM miniatures.

This image gives a pretty fair indication of what I've acheived to far and how the figures look at "life-size". Click on the image for a much larger (and less flattering?) picture.

The effect was acheived by first undercoating in white from a spray-can, washing over in thinned black ink to provide all the shading and then highlighting. My first highlight shade is an off-white done with Vallejo "Buff" and white in a roughly 1:3 ratio applied from the top of the figure down as a heavy "damp-brush with a large brush. The next highlight is the remains of the first shade still adhering damply to my palette with an additional squirt of white mixed into that. This is then more lightly damp-brushed down the figure again from top to bottom. The final step will be to take a little white, slightly thinned, and applied to the most prominent "tops" of details.

The overall effect I hope will be to produce a figure that will appear to be lit from the top. The dry/damp brushing picks up the surface detail quite nicely. I'm fairly confident the final highlight will tidy things up and make the final effect look less dry-brushed, as too will the more conventionally layered painting effects that I hope to obtain painting the smaller areas of facings, belting, faces and so on.

I am tossing up matt or at least satin varnishing these. With the gloss varnish I normally use, you do seem to lose subtle detail.

I ought to be able to get the first eight finished today - along with some Strudelburg bits as well - and get another picture up tonight.


Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Neat looking figures Greg! SHould be cool to see how they turn out. But I like your results so far.

Best Regards,


Bluebear Jeff said...


Actually these figures look somewhat like my 'primed/prepared' figures before I start painting them.

Note that I say 'somewhat'. Mine are certainly not as well-done as yours . . . but they do have the mix of black and white that brings out the details so well.

What I do is to use a black spray primer first. Then when that's dry, I damp-brush with white using a large brush.

When dry, I've found that for me this provides a good surface to then paint over. Since many paints are really translucent rather than truly opaque, some 'shading' actually comes through.

Now, I'm certainly not suggesting that you use this for these troops, but you might try it sometime for something that will later take a more colorful uniform.

-- Jeff