Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Dec 15 2018 05:58PM

The latest troops to emerge from my painting table is the Austrian Thüngen Regiment, 2 battalions of which served with Prince Eugene of Savoy at Malpalquet (1709). The miniatures are 15mm Dixon

What follows is a step by step progress from painting to wargame table.

I base each figure on a handling base and always undercoat with a matt white spray. This gives more vibrant colours than a black undercoat and allows the translucent properties of acrylic paints to do much of the work, as a thinned down colour is naturally highlighted by the raised parts of the miniature and becomes darker in the folds.

An initial wash of highly thinned down Raw Umber helps to define the detail for painting and avoids any white gaps that might appear later.

This wash is applied with a thick brush and the ‘paint’ is little more than dirty water. This really helps to bring out the detail for easy painting later. I always do this with 6 mil miniatures, and often with 15 mil. When painting 28 mm miniatures I rarely find it necessary.

Tüngen regiment had ‘pearl grey’ coats with blue facings. I will achieve the very light grey with a near black wash. The blue also benefits from this so this is the first colour I paint — deviating from my normal practice of painting from the inside out in which flesh would be the first colour to be painted.

Next step is to apply a very thin wash of Payne’s Grey (which is almost black). This is applied in the same way as the earlier Raw Umber wash.

When dry the coats are a white-grey and the detail is clearly outlined. If you want further perfection you can pick out the highlights with an off-white, using pure white for the officers if you want to give them the look of wearing finer cloth.

I then paint the faces and hands with a basic pale flesh colour. When dry I apply Games Workshop’s Flesh wash which brings out the details and gives the skin a more natural look. The miniature on the right has had the wash, the one on the left not yet.

A tiny dab of brown in the eye sockets, red-brown over the lips, pale pinkish flesh on the cheeks and very pale flesh on the nose, cheek-bones and chin bring the faces to life.

Then it is on to the browns — buff belts, brown cartridge boxes, wood spontoon and flag shafts, dark brown muskets and various shades of brown for the hair.

Gun-metal musket barrels, black shoes and sword scabbards are next, along with silver buttons.

For the tricorns I use a dark grey first then touch up the low-lights with a black ink wash. This

helps to retain a three-dimensional look.

Then comes the part I really do not like — painting the hat lace. Invariably my brush strokes are not perfect and I have to touch up with black in those areas where the white over-spilled. For regiments with yellow hat lace I find it necessary to first do the lace in white and then yellow on top as yellow is not a strong enough colour to go over black. I try to avoid raising regiments with yellow hat lace!

The final step for the figures is another super thinned out wash of Raw Umber.

This further picks out the detail but, perhaps more importantly, gives the figures a realistic patina.

The final step for the unit is the flag. I design this first on my computer, scale it down to a height of 1.7cm for 15mm miniatures and print it out.

I then over-paint it. Why bother? Well a computer printed flag looks like a computer printed flag. Painting it makes it look much more natural and in keeping with the look of the unit.

And here is the finished battalion of the Austrian Thüngen Regiment, ready to move from the painting table to the wargames table

By smacdowall, Jul 19 2017 03:32PM

A 6mm unit of 6th century Roman horse archers completed I have started to paint up Belisarius' bucellarii. After fixing them to a painting rod I fist undercoat with spray matt white and then give a very thin wash of raw umber. This brings out the detail and makes it easy to paint the tiny men and horses. Then I give helmets and armour a black wash.

After dry brushing the armour with a bright metal colour, I do the horses in a series of washes. This makes the detail stand out even on such small miniatures.

My full 6mm painting method can be found in the painting section of my site here.

By smacdowall, Oct 24 2016 11:23AM

I had so much fun painting up my 15mm villagers (see previous blog post - Good Scenics) that I decided to put away the 28mm figures for a while and try my hand once again with smaller miniatures.

The success of the 6mm Pharsaullus game at the Society of Ancients Battle Day inspired a couple of us to look at a 6mil version of Comitatus rules and test them out with loads of Huns. After all the smaller scale is perfect for wide ranging cavalry actions with hordes of troops.

It has been a while since I have painted 6 mil figures and I was not sure if the old eyes were still up to it. With good lighting and good glasses it all went very well. The first miniatures (Huns above) were quickly knocked out in half a day. More are primed up and ready to go.

I had forgotten just how simple and quick painting the smaller miniatures can be. I am looking forward to doing more. My method for painting 6mm figures is different from the accepted norm. I prefer a white undercoat as I believe the smaller miniatures require lighter brighter colours to stand out on the table. Conventional wisdom says 6mil calls for a black undercoat but I find this dulls them down far too much. My 6 mil painting method is detailed in the 'Painting Tips' sectopn of my website here.

By smacdowall, Jun 9 2016 09:29AM

At the Battle of the Dunes in 1658 Marshal Turenne had 2 battalions of the Gardes Suisses in his army.

For quite some time I have agonised as how to represent them. The first recorded uniform was in 1665 when they wore blue-grey coats lined buff. A few years later the officers were allowed blue coats while the sergeants were wearing red in the 1670s. For a while pikemen wore blue and musketeers red and it was only in 1684 that the more familiar red coat with blue lining was adopted.

Les Gardes Suisses
Les Gardes Suisses

Apart from my Gardes Francaises, none of the units in my French army wear uniforms. Although there is no hard evidence for it, I decided that my Gardes Suisses would also be given uniforms and they would be the same blue-grey and buff coats recorded 7 years later.

By 1658 the long justacorps had started to make an appearance even though it would not become universal for a few years more. I reasoned that if a uniform was issued to the Swiss Guards then it would be of the latest fashion. Therefore I went for the Northstar 1672 range to fill the ranks.

I used the Northstar Swiss pikemen but not their Swiss musketeers, preferring instead to mix some French and generic musketeers from the 1672 range.

Swiss musketeers and sergeant
Swiss musketeers and sergeant

I had two reasons for this. Firstly the Northstar Swiss musketeers have plug bayonets on their belts whereas the others do not and the plug bayonet was not yet in use. Secondly the Swiss musketeers are standing at rest and I wanted the Gardes Suisses to look right in the same line as my Gardes Francaises who have front rank musketeers firing and second rank at the ready. I decided to put my sergeant in a red coat which later became standard.

Pikemen and officers
Pikemen and officers

. Complete with 3/4 armour and with ‘points’ on the breaches I think the pikmen really looked the part and give the unit a Swiss look. I did not uniform the officers as I thought it most likely they would be wearing what they pleased at this time.

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