Painting Austrians

In The conversion bug, I looked at converting the Victrix and Perry plastic Austrians and their compatibility, which was surprisingly high. Naturally, it would only be a matter of time before I’d be reaching for that paint brush and painting these, particularly as I fancied recreating the battles around Dölitz and Markkleeberg. For those battles, I’d need Regiments Nr 20 Kaunitz and Nr 24 Strauch (bright red and dark blue facings).

After my Painting a whoooooole box of French Line Infantry, I thought the Austrians with their slightly simpler uniform would be easier to paint (they are!). I planned to use the same method I had used for the Warlord French: divide the plastic sprues and spray each section a different colour. 

I’d tried painting Austrians before – starting from a pure black undercoat – however, these came out too harsh for my tastes and required a lot of work (not conducive for creating a large army). I also tried a white basecoat, but as the Victrix Austrians already start as a cream colour, spraying them white makes them look creamy white – it may be entirely my imagination but I felt I needed more coats than usual to undercoat them to my satisfaction. What I needed was a different base color which would satisfy my aesthetic tastes and go on as a single coat, and be dark enough to be forgiving if I made a mistake painting. Grey primer was the solution!

The conversions I’d done previously were sprayed grey – I converted them to give my units variety. The bulk of my planned army would not be converted, or only with the most basic of conversions to the body and then sprayed. As I did with the French minis previously, I firstly carefully removed the flash from the side of the models with a knife, and then cut up the sprues into three piles - heads, backpacks and bodies. Each was sprayed separately. The heads were sprayed black, the bodies grey and the backpacks white. I used standard car body primer for each of these.

The grey bodies were dry-brushed white – or with an off white. This proved quick and effective. The basic facing colours were added with the brown and steel for the muskets. The boots were dark grey. For the shading, I used a slightly watered down brown shade (Army Painter strong Tone). The backpacks were simple - a dark brown wash for the pack, followed by a middle grey for the roll and dark grey for the cartridge box. After inking, I added some white highlights for the backpack straps. The heads were simply highlighted – flesh for the faces, some dark grey for the shako and brass with yellow for the facings. To top it all off, a touch of green for the oak leaves. The parts were glued together with a careful application of Revell Contacta Professional.

I’m reasonably happy with the results – I’ll still keep messing about until I improve the method further.  One technique I’m considering is different inks for different parts of the model, so using a black ink on the musket - for example. The only mistake I made was the buttons, which are supposed to be silver, not brass! Oh well, I am off to dot a couple of dozen buttons!!!!

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