Issue 86 - On the Cover extras

Russian officers by John Morris

(see also the On the Cover article in WSS 86) It is a truth universally acknowledged that painting a group of figures is quicker than doing them one at a time. I am not so sure. The only thing I can be sure of is that it saves paint. The blob on the palette will get all used up rather than dry after painting a couple of buttons.

The front cover diorama.

The basic time and motion study I have done is that batch painting is quicker if you can focus and work quickly without getting bored of painting the same jacket the same colour ten times in a row. I find it easy for my concentration to drift doing this with the result that the figure that takes an hour on its own still takes an hour when done with seven friends and I’ve just had a boring day at the office.

Painting the officers and the horse gives us a chance to change our pace. The main difference with the officers is the overalls. I used a mix of greys, the mounted officer got the same mix as the blanket rolls with a GW Mephiston Red stripe. The Foot officer was done with Vallejo Model Colour Oxford Grey mixed to the same proportions.

Both officers have a sash that should be white with a dotted line of gold thread. This is near impossible to reproduce exactly so I went for the suggestion of a stripe. First I painted thin horizontal lines of Vallejo Game Colour Charred Brown fairly randomly, and didn’t worry too much about them joining up on the other side. Then I did the same with thin lines of Coat D’Arms Barbarian Leather, trying to go over the darker brown lines. Then to get the dotted effect I painted thin, regular vertical lines of white to get the dotted look. To be honest, I think I could have left the sashes pure white because it’s a detail invisible at game distances.

Officer on foot.

In the getting-it-done stakes, I really fell over on the officers. The gold and silver lace on epaulettes and saddle cloth always looks better if done in super shiny NMM style. The quick way would be a coat of the correct metallic paint. This always looks like the clothes are made of the same stuff as the swords and rankles with me a bit. Most rank and file troops don’t have gold or silver lace so I think we can get away with doing a bit extra just on the bosses.

The mounted officer.

Normally with NMM I’d use layer upon layer to get it smooth, in this case I used fewer and hopefully got the highlight positions right to give them a proper shine. Think how Iron Man looks in a comic style compared to a fully painted version. Both will look “shiny” but the comic style will use fewer brush strokes.

Gold Lace NMM

  • Base Coat: Vallejo Game Colour Charred Brown
  • Highlight 1: Scale 75 Gobi Brown
  • Highlight 2: Scale 75 Sahara Yellow
  • Highlight 3: Scale 75 Tenere Yellow
  • Highlight 4: Scale 75 White Sands

Silver Lace NMM

  • Base Coat:  Scale 75 Eclipse Grey
  • Highlight 1: Base Coat + P3 Frostbite mixed 70/30
  • Highlight 2: Highlight 1 + P3 Frostbite mixed 50/50
  • Highlight 3: P3 Frostbite
  • Highlight 4: White

There is a very dashing officer on a very dashing horse. The horse was actually quite quick to paint, mainly because of my secret weapons. Shhh. Not telling.

The officer’s horse

Actually they are simply: use a bigger brush than usual – a Windsor & Newton Series 7 Size 1 and don’t wait for the paint to dry before painting the next layer. This way the paint mixes and blends on the figure without having to do loads of layers. The first step was to drybrush the mane, tail and lower part of the legs Vallejo Game Colour Charred Brown. Then I just went through these layers on the rest of the horse.

  • Base Coat: Vallejo Game Colour Charred Brown
  • Highlight 1: Basecoat + Coat D’Arms Horsetone Brown mixed 50/
  • Highlight 2: Coat D’Arms Horsetone Brown
  • Highlight 3: Coat D’Arms Horsetone Brown + Liquitex Yellow Ochre mixed 70/30
  • Highlight 4: Coat D’Arms Horsetone Brown + Liquitex Yellow Ochre mixed 50/50

Then a quick wash of Nuln Oil over the mane, tail and lower legs and the horse is done.

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