Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I decided to do a little experiment in the past few days to try out the competing “undercoat” models we have available.

I took three similar miniatures (WW1 Russians from HLBS) and undercoated them. One I did in white, one in black and one in black, heavily dry-brushed white.

I painted all three using exactly the same techniques – base-coat, first and in some areas, second highlights. Some areas got a wash of my favourite brown ink.

The HLBS castings are heavily undercut and have many a nook and cranny.

The black undercoat and the dry-brushed one let me paint the “visible” detail, while the white undercoat made me want to stick my paintbrush into every semi-accessible crevice in the figure. This is for me always a frustrating exercise and I wound up washing those areas with ink to hint at painted detail. The dry-brushed undercoat let me wash over raised strap detail without having really to paint it. I followed this up with a thinned wash of brown ink again to define the detail and it came up looking pretty good.

For comparison purposes, I ought to paint three RSM figures for comparison. They are much less heavily undercut and would make an interesting point of comparison.

Images of the HLBS figures will follow in the next day or so.


marinergrim said...

Looking forward to seeing these figures. Front Rank are noted for their high sculpting quality and have lots of raised detail, so I'll be interested to see if I can apply one of these techniques to them.
I suspect though that washing with inks (magic dip?) favour the uniforms of the late nineteenth & early twentieth centuries (all that olive drab & khaki never appealed to me).

Bluebear Jeff said...

I'll echo the request to see a picture of the three figures side-by-side.

As I believe I've mentioned in my blog (I know that I have for painting horses), I almost always use the black with white "damp brushing" for almost all of my figures. I particularly find that (for me at least) it makes the details of the figures far more visible.

Also, since most paints are actually translucent rather than completely opaque, it results in a bit of "shading" simply with the addtion of color.

Not that anyone is wrong who prefers a different method -- we all develop our own preferences and techniques.

-- Jeff

Bloggerator said...

I've tried washing my white-coated French with inks once. The result was sadly rather muddy. I find that the old brown ink works best with darker colours - like green or dull red. Or flesh.

I agree that there is no "right" way to paint a figure. I thought this could be an interesting experiment in comparative painting.

Most of my figures are painted up from a white undercoat, but I find that on figures that I want to get extra painterly on that I always seem to work up from black. As an undercoat white encourages more effects based on glazes and washes, whereas I feel that starting from black makes me want to go more for layering effects.


Anonymous said...

I tend to use the white-over-black method, and a lot of inks. But I don't use the inks so much as a wash over existing paint, but to block in the main colours over the primer and damp brush. So, no muddiness and a lot of shading very quickly.