Monday, July 30, 2007

Uniforming the Recruits

To continue from the previous posts on outfitting new recruits into the Herzogerheer, we'll first do some clean-up from the texturising of the bases, and fill in any gaps from the slots on the base we missed with the first coat of sand.

Finishing that, we are still confronted with a flat white figure with little contrast between the raised and lowered parts of the figure. We'll begin by enhancing that shading significantly with a wash of grey paint--I'm using one of GW's newish foundation paints--Dheneb Stone. These paints give excellent coverage, but tend to separate, so we begin with a shake-up.

Putting shading on first does three things: 1) It increases contrast, making it easier to see and pick out details as painting proceeds; 2) It provides a dark undertone in recesses, accomplishing the first shading undertone achieved by priming black, but without the headache of attempting to paint yellow or red over black primer; and 3) It gives gives a darker background for areas to be painted metal, which can be a little too shiny with a pure white undercoat. To enhance the contrast, and encourage the pigment to settle in the recesses of the figure, I thin the paint with flow enhancer to make my wash. In my experience, the biggest mistake I made as a beginning painter is not thinning my paints sufficiently--starting with a wash makes this especially important going forward to not obliterate the established shading.

This company of grenadiers gives a blurry impression of what this accomplishes. The two figures nearest the camera are unwashed--the blank whiteness makes picking out detail difficult, while the two in back have had their detail greatly enhanced by the additional shading. This will be fundamental to later painting, since these troops are going to be modeled on a white, Habsburg, scheme. We'll build up thin layers of white, from khaki, to unbleached titanium, to bleached titanium over the underlying shading.

Another blurry shot, unfortunately, but it shows the first, khaki, layer on the figures tunic, along with the first layer on the hat and exposed flesh. My technique is to work first dark to light, and then inside out, so anything darker than flesh adjacent to exposed flesh gets done before the flesh tone.

The cannoneers take a similar approach, but after the shading wash we follow up with a brown ink wash for the tunics--this is basically all the artillery uniform needs, except to pick out the lanyards, slings and pouches in a moderately contrasting leather tone.

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