Thursday, April 3, 2008

Painting 15mm AB - Spanish Napoleonics

Hello everyone and thank you for visiting. An article I did for the Wargames Directory( ) on painting 15mm Spanish Napoleonics forms the basis for this post. The figures are 15mm AB:

I am starting a new unit for my Napoleonic Spanish and I thought I'd do a work in progress article on how I paint my 15mm Napoleonics. I always paint a couple of test figures for each battalion before I dive in anyway and I thought it'd be easy enough to take a pic or two while doing it.
I have decided I will paint these as one of the Swiss regiments in the Spanish army though they can double for lots of other units as well with a bit of leeway accorded.
Here they are in all their bare (don't get excited everyone lol) glory:

For the first step we will prime the figures in black. I tried spray primer for the first time on 15s and I was not satisfied at all. Lots of tiny spots left bare and I had to track them down and coat them by brush. Back to brushing on the primer for me when it comes to 15mm.

Next up, I painted the trousers with Vallejo intermediate blue as a first coat on which to build up the white trousers.
I also painted Vallejo Chocolate brown in the areas which I will be painting red facings; lapels/cuffs and plume etc
Finally, I painted a coat of Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue on the coat of these figures as they are in dark blue coats.

This is it for starters. Please note that the figure on the left has a thick bit of flash between the musket and the lapels which I could do nothing about. I will try to disguise it with paint.

Next step:
-I painted the flesh with scorched brown,
-the cuffs, lapels, collar and turnbacks with vallejo red(in the lapels I left the indentations the sculptor did to represent the buttons the original brown - just paint around them. As a principle I refuse to paint detail that is not there so since the buttons are not raised detail they don't get painted silver or gold or brass or whatever, merely left as dark indentations. I reckon it works well enough to illustrate what is there).
- then painted a white line to represent piping on the collar and the cuffs. There was similar piping on the lapels and the turnbacks but I decided not to bother.

Third step:
using white we highlight the trousers leaving the intermediate blue as the shading colour. It's also time to paint the crossbelts. In 15mm I don't bother with more shades(say using offwhite or stone grey as I do for 28mm) even for the white. I reckon it looks decent enough as it is.
then vallejo flat red to highlight all the areas we had previously painted vallejo red.
the cockade was painted by painting a line of white, tidying it up with black on the sides and then a base of vallejo red highlighted with vallejo flat red.
Finally, using vallejo medium flesh I painted in the face. Again, for 15s no more shading is required.

ok last few steps to complete the figures:

using Vallejo Dark sea blue I highlighted the areas that had been painted black such as the bicorn, the boots, the ammunition pouch.

Vallejo Leather Brown as base for the pouch on the back of one of the figures and the backpack on the other. Highlighted with Vallejo Flat Earth. Finally, a very thinned down wash of GW brown ink.

vallejo prussian blue as the highlight for the blue coats

with vallejo brass paint the cocks of the musket and the triggers.

with vallejo oily steel the rest of the metal parts of the musket.

vallejo flat brown for the wooden parts of the musket.

This completes the article; I hope you enjoyed it lads and that it may prove useful to newbies to the hobby. I am not claiming this is some super duper, perfect way to paint Napoleonics in 15mm; so please feel free to weigh in with comments on how certain aspects could be improved on.
Cheers all,

Monday, January 28, 2008

Painting 15mm AB Horses

Here's a small tutorial I did for my mates at the Wargames Directory 3. (
Hello fellow inmates,
Given that I'm on holidays and have plenty of spare time I thought I'd do a tutorial on the way I paint my 15mm Napoleonic horses. I will be painting nine AB horses for a Vistula lancers regiment. This will be a work in progress article ie. I will post updates as I complete the different stages myself.
This is what the horses will end up looking like(don't freak out by the crappy bases; these bases are what I use to store finished figures prior to the entire unit being completed at which point they are stuck on my usual MDF bases):

Step 1
To start with, using PVA, I glue the horses on the caps you see below. PVA glue makes an excellent temporary bond when one wants to paint some figures. The only thing is that you have to let it 2-3 hours to dry out properly. I have been amused no end by folks on the net claiming that PVA is not strong enough to hold the figure. It is, in fact it is more than enough even for 28mm. Just let dry it properly. When you are done slip a scalpel underneath one end of the metal base and it will pop right off.
When the glue has dried undercoat/prime the horses with black. Doing so will save us quite a bit of tricky painting in due course (reins, hooves, tail, main etc.). So any 'heathens' out there who undercoat in other colours it is time to convert.LOL
Here is a pic of the primed horses:

I let them dry for about 8 hours and then touch up any spots I missed first time round. Then 24 hours more and they are ready to start painting. The reason I leave them so long is that while the paint may feel dry to the touch, the water in the paint has not yet completely evaporated.
Step 2
using Colour Party horse colours HS10 (thinned down pretty well) apply a couple of thin coats on the horses skipping the reins, mane, tail, and the lower part of the legs where we will be painting socks later. I've taken a closeup(not a very good one I'll grant you) to show which bits are to be left black.

Step 3
ok time for the next step;
we will be using Colour Party HS 14 thinned down VERY well. I really can't stress this enough. The success of the whole technique is based on applying NUMEROUS successive well thined coats of this colour. Apply these coats on the horses swirling the brush here and there to help blend . Here is how they look after the first couple of coats:

continue applying coats, progressively applying them only on the raised spots of the horses for eg. rumps etc.
this is how they will end up:

and here are all nine horses having completed this stage(the paint is still wet on a couple of them :) ):

Step 4
using HS3(white) well thinned down paint socks on the horses. Also some stars on their noses. Before applying the white on the noses, paint a base of black in the size/shape that you want the mark to have and then the white over that.

Step 5
paint the metal bits on the horses' reins. As is evident I am not shooting for accuracy here just the overall effect. I use Vallejo brass. One more step to go ;) .

Step 6
using Vallejo black grey highlight the areas of the horse we left black earlier on. I have taken an extreme closeup of one of the horses to show where/how the colour ought be applied. This is the last step in the process, besides varnishing of course.

just a pic of half the unit on their proper bases. The other twelve riders are ready so only 12 more horses to paint. I will paint 1 white/grey, 5 dun and the rest 'brown' as you see them here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Basing Tutorial

Hello everyone,
This is an article I did for the Wargames Directory forum, concerning the basing of some 15mm Napoleonic Highlanders. Enjoy :-D

Step 1
With regards to these first pics, all I need to point out is that the metal bases of the figures should be painted brown(preferably the same brown you will be using later) before the basing starts. This will help you in due course. The bases are 2mm MDF from ERM.
These are the boys I will be basing:

the different basing steps will be shown on this base:

At the end I will post a pic of the whole unit as well.
next step in the process; thin PVA(white glue, Elmer's, wood glue whatever they call it where you come from) with water(not too much just enough to let it be picked up by the brush and spread with ease) and apply it with a brush on the base. Please be careful not to get it on the feet of the figures. If you do (I invariably do) have a brush ready nearby and immediately wipe it off. After you have coated the base in PVA then dunk it in a container of sand. For 15mm it is best to use the finer variety (NOT silica though, that's TOO fine and on the other end not the GW variety, that's too thick for 15mm figures). The sand I use is from Timecast and has little pebbly bit in it which look brilliant when drybrushed. Allow to dry and then shake for the excess sand to drop and using a very soft and large brush lightly flick over the figures to remove the 'dust' the sand has left on the figures' feet.
Images of this next step:

Step 3
Paint the sand and side of the bases with GW bestial brown. Before applying it thin the GW bestial brown with water. It flows easier and consumes less paint and despite the fact that the colour is not applied full strength (watered down as it is) the sand will absorb it and colour itself very nicely. If you get brown on the figures' feet have a wet brush nearby and wipe it off.

ps. as an interesting aside, the pic above was taken in total darkness. I was keen to experiment with the camera and there you go.
Step 4
ok next up drybrush the sand with Humbrol enamel 93. Don't fret about getting the colour everywhere. it will look more realistic if you've missed a spot or two.

Step 5
next step up is to drybrush the base with GW bleached bone. Don't go crazy with this. A light drybrush will suffice.

Step 6
Next to last step involves gluing static grass here and there on the bases. Don't go overboard on the static (certainly not if you are gaming the Peninsular). Apply slightly(I stress SLIGHTLY, too much water and the grass will end up in clumps) watered down PVA here and there on the base in an irregular pattern. Dunk into a container with static grass. Leave for a few hours. Take it out tap the excess grass off, give a blow or two and it's ready.

Step 7 (last one)
ok for the last step you whip out some yellow and drybrush the static grass VERY lightly. The purpose is twofold; add a sunburnt shade to the grass and also raise it to have it pretty much standing up. And that's it lads; hope you enjoyed the whole thing and that some of you found it useful.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Napoleonic Highlanders Battalion

Hello all,
A 40-fig unit of Highlanders comprised of AB figs and built with the General de Brigade rules in mind. Extra marks to whoever can tell which unit it is from the tartan :-)
ps. as usual please click on the pic for closeup.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Napoleon and Roustam

These are 18mm Fantassin figures. The well is from Hovels and the fire is included in the pack of Napoleon and Roustam as produced and sold by Fantassin. The stones surrounding the fire are just gravel bits.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Napoleonic Spanish battalion

This unit represents an anonymous Spanish battalion in the south of Spain during the Peninsular War. Figures used are the inimitable AB. Mind you the particular figs are sold as Portuguese; however, the uniform was similar enough for me to use them to build a Spanish unit.Inspiration was provided by the third Osprey on the Spanish. The unit is built with Dave Brown's General de Brigade rules in mind.


Hello to all my fellow wargamers around the globe. Being a fashion victim myself I have decided to cave in and start a blog :-). I hail from Northern Greece and in particular the city of Thessaloniki. I have been involved in the hobby of wargaming since 2001. I picked the bug while studying at uni in the UK. I am very susceptible to new projects/periods/figures etc. so this blog will feature all sort of weird and wonderful toys :-) My main period is 15mm Napoleonics but lately I have been afflicted with a weird predilection towards GW products. In any case, welcome everyone and I hope to make this a fun place to visit with lots of eye candy. Make yourselves comfortable lads...