Painting the enemy

Keeping interest in a long-term project can be challenging. Painting the same thing over and over again can get monotonous. To tackle this problem for our Project Ligny 2015 game, we are setting each other little challenges each month to keep it fresh.

One of the challenges that James Oram and I undertook was to assemble and paint a unit of 24 enemy troops. I’m doing a unit of Prussians for James and he in turn is doing a unit of French infantry. I suspected at the outset that I might have the easier job of it, as Prussians are slightly easier to paint than French: they don’t have so much of that damned piping!

The box I was given was of Perry Prussian regular infantry. For ease of painting, I would paint them, where possible, on the plastic frames.

To start, I cleaned up the individual modes and divided the plastic sprues up into two, one of torsos (sprayed grey) and the remainder of heads and backpacks (sprayed matt black). I had initially tried spraying the torsos blue on a test run but was unhappy with the results. The sprays I used were both Hycote primer, standard car body sprays.

I first started on the torsos, painting the coat of the uniform with Vallejo Prussian Blue. I didn’t go for the darker Prussian Blue, as I was going to use a black wash later. I did try to restrict the paint to the areas where the uniform was but wasn’t too fussy – if I went over some webbing, I could always touch it up when I did that stage later. Next were the cuffs and collar. These I used the old Citadel Landen Darksun (now Averland Sunset). Then I added the flesh to the hands (any mid tone flesh will do) and the boots (in Vallejo Black Grey). I like Black Grey as its works well with the black wash. Next was the wood on the rifle (Coat D’Armes Wood Brown).

Next were the metal parts of the musket. As I wanted a “steel” look to the finished weapon, not too dark, I used an old Citadel silver; probably as old as my twenty-two-year-old son! I usually mix in a little iron or “boltgun metal” to darken it down slightly. Next, I did the white webbing and finished off by picking out the brass buttons.

The backpacks were simple, a coat of middle grey for the coat roll backpack (I used some old Codex Grey which matched the shade of my spray paint), followed by white for the canteen and brown for the backpack. Both the sword scabbard and ammo pouch were painted Black Grey. The sword was picked out in Brass. The heads were simply Black Grey for the shako covers and flesh for the face. Once assembled, the models were covered in a black wash (I used Army Painter Dark Tone ink for this). Finally, I highlighted the face with a light flesh. I could have done slight highlights to the trousers and webbing.

Overall these were fun to paint but not much simpler than the French, who perhaps had one or two extra stages. It also highlights my need to use a magnifier when I paint, as I’d missed a few spots first time around. I’ll correct these before James gets them.

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