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.


Mark Case said...

Nice Stuff - My technique is slightly different, using hue and contrast with thicker paint, but I like the effect! It's also nice to see someone who's as anal about detail as I am; it makes me feel like I'm not totally bonkers.

Theo said...

Thank you for the kind words mark; I have of course visited your blog and seen your handiwork too. I especially love what you've done with those OG horses!!! Very impressive!

Geira said...

Exceedingly nice painting. It's a shame though that varnishing will remove the nice sheen from the HS paints. Are there any other reasons to use Colour Party instead of Vallejo?

Theo said...

Hello geira,
thank you for the compliment;
as re Colour party paints a couple of observations:
a)In my experience(using Windsor newton acrylic brush on varnish) the varnish does not remove the sheen.
b)the sheen is not the main reason to use these at all; rather it's the way this paint flows from the brush unto the sculpts. I can't describe it better but with vallejo you can't achieve the effect seen here(and this coming from a bloke who has over 100 vallejo bottles). Thinned down, painting with colour party is a bit like painting with very high quality inks.
sorry if I can't be more specific.
feel free to join our group over at the Wargames Directory if you fancy talking about it more. Maybe someone else will have a better way to explain the nature of the colour party paints.

Theo said...

forgot to say that in the last pic you see in the post with the cavalry (the one with the twelve riders)all the horses have been varnished and you can clearly see the sheen still there.