Ok this is the bit that I enjoy, to be honest all the faffing around before hand to get to this stage bores me stupid! I suppose that I could also not even bother with this section, a lot of people would say that war gaming figures are fine painted to the level we have already got them to. But this for me is where all the enjoyment is and it is this stage that makes the figures look just that bit better...
So what are we going to try and do now, well we are going to try and soften off some of the harsh edges and then we are going to try and define parts of the figure and finally highlight them.
OK so what’s first! The first thing for me is to soften the figures a little especially on items like the back pack and bed roll [the thing on top of the pack!]. Now the way I do this is by using a light dry brush of white, in a similar way to the way we did the shako’s and boots at the start. So dry brush over the back pack, rifles stock, bed roll. You can see from the first three images how this breaks up the large blocks of colour and gives some nice edges to the areas. Actually you can't see it that well but that's because Im a crap photographer. You can actually see it better in the last image in this post.
I then use my first ink wash but if you don’t have inks you can use watered down colours. The first is a chestnut wash which I use on the face and hands, back pack and also the linen areas, bags and shako covers. This is quite hard to see in the photos above but you can just see it around the hands. Now I don’t just wash the colour over the whole area with a soding great brush, or dip it [MARK – lol]... Use the ink to paint into the recesses of the area you are working on. For example around the top of the back pack where it would be shadowed by the bed roll, or around the cuffs on the hands. You are just trying to bring out the detail.
Next I add the missing detail on the uniform if there is any, in this case white edges to the colours and cuffs. Don’t worry if this isn’t precise we are going to use another wash next which should help. Different uniforms will probably have different bits of detail you want to add!
Right now probably the most important part and that’s the black wash, again I’m not going to cover the figure in black ink wash, you paint with it to enhance the detail that's on the figures.... now I have been sitting here trying to work out what I do and to be honest I don’t have a set pattern, I just look at the figure and highlight it where I think it needs it; that’s a bit vague isn’t it! I have tried to show you what I mean in the images below. Take the cuff, a thin line of ink down the edges and between the buttons defines the area and makes it stand out. Then if you run a thin line between the white detail you added to the edges of the cuffs and collars, that enhances that as well. Also adding a dark edge where the hand meets the cuff increases the depth and layering effect. I just spend time [remember this is the bit I like doing – lol] making things stand out.
The final stage is to add some lighter tones to the blocks of colour, again to create depth, this looks great and it’s so easy to do. The areas on these figures that I’m going to highlight are the pale blue and the red on the officers. So get the base colour and mix white with it and apply this to the raised areas on the figure, you will be amazed how much this does stand out. You can probably best see this on the back tails of the uniform but it can even be effective in very small areas such as the edges of the cuffs. You will need to do a bit of experimentation and don’t be afraid to make the colour quite light, you want there to be a contrast. One thing I dont do is to try and replicate the light from one spot, you dont need to, you just want to add a splash of lighter colour to the most visible areas of the figure. A good tip is to just touch up the face of a figure with a a light flesh colour as this is a suprisingly visible area of the figure when they are on a table.
Well I think that pretty much covers painting the figures for me, I do sometimes go back over the figures and touch up things like buttons etc which can sometimes get lost during the ink wash stage especially if you are heavy handed, but other than that they are done!
Next it’s basing them! I'll try and get that done over the weekend, this is another very important part of the project, I was originally pants at basing but if you practice a bit you can get some good results and I have improved a little...
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