I am in the final stages of finishing off the Black Prince’s archers. It may be wishful thinking but as the painting progresses, the marked differences between the proportions of the Front Rank and Perry figures seem to dissipate. The eye does have a natural tendency to correct faults.
The figures are now more or less finished apart from my magic ingredient. This is a very thin Raw Umber wash over everything.
Liquitex’s Raw Umber is the best for this, thinned so much that it is little more than dirty coloured water.
The Raw Umber wash transforms the figures. It provides definition by settling into the groves to outline detail; it tones down the colours adding a pleasing and realistic patina; and it helps to blend the colours.
It used to be that I avoided applying the raw umber wash over the colour blue (as it gave a greenish tinge) or over armour. For ancient or medieval figures, however, the greenish tinge to blue is probably quite realistic.
The raw umber wash over armour gives a slight rusty tinge which can be seen in the above photo. For most men in the era before stainless steel a bit of rust would be the norm on campaign, unless they had armies of servants to polish theri armour.
I base the figures 5 to a 60 x 40 cm base. I use card with adhesive magnetic bases on the underside. This helps for transport and storage as well as adding a little weight. I then varnish the figures brushing on Liquitex Matte varnish which not only protects but also enhances the colours.
I paint the bases green and then cover with a water based natural colour wood filler. After adding a few bits of gravel and green foliage to set in the wood filler I let it all dry. In doing so I place the magnetic bases on a steel ruler to prevent warping as the filler dries.
After leaving overnight to properly dry, I apply a wash of Raw Umber over the base, this gives the base an appropriately earthy look.
Some medium green flocking comes next, applied with white glue.
Then some tufts of lighter coloured static grass to brighten and lift the colours.
Here then is the finished unit.
Next up: the Black Prince’s knights.