Sunday, 20 May 2012

Update from the Workbench

A rather "muddy" looking base, good result thus far.
It has been a hectic week, but amongst the smoke and general disorder I have managed to get some painting done. The Russians are now all but done, only the mortars and leader figures to go, and the Strelkovy Battalion will be ready for basing. I haven't based any Flames of War minatures before, and given that the figures stand on mighty pedestals that need levelling off, I thought I would follow the nifty tutorial on the Battlefront website that show how to use Polyfilla as a basing material. I got myself a tube of the ready mix quick dry stuff that you can squeeze straight out and use, and here is my first test base. I am going to let this set for a day before trying to paint it, I know the Polyfilla claims to be quickdry, but there is no harm in leaving it for a little longer.

Whilst having a general tidy up, and taking stock of all my lead, I came across a drawer of 15mm ACW Confederates which were almost done, so I started to complete the last 21 Rebs of that set. The American Civil War is amongst my favourite historical periods and I enjoy reading about what was certainly a more complicated conflict than one "about slavery." It certainly helps that there are many films and books set in the period which provide ample inspiration for us wargamers. On Wednesday evening my father, a Civil War fiend, and I watched Gods and Generalsa very long film at around three and a half hours, which covers the story of General 'Stonewall' Jackson and is the prequel to Gettysburg. I had been reading about Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign and I was thinking about starting 15mm ACW anew with forces for both sides. The relatively small sizes of both armies involved in the Valley Campaign, with Confederate forces peaking at around 16,000 at Winchester, and Union forces 11,500 at Cross Keys, make modelling the armies an eminently doable prospect. So for the moment the 21 Rebs are back on the workbench and I am enjoying painting them immensely, the irregular look of the Confederate infantry is a pleasure to paint when one gets tired of painting homogenous bodies of men. I also found a bag of Confederate cavalry which I shall be painting up as well, I am no position to be buying miniatures at the moment, so I will rather paint what I have.

Also on the workbench is the combined dwarven hosts from two Warhammer Skull Pass starter sets which I had bought many years ago. I don't really play Warhammer Fantasy, but given that it is the most popular thing out there, it isn't a bad idea to have an army on hand should the opportunity to play a game arise. With that in mind, as I am not massively invested in the project on a personal level, the painting and modelling of these miniatures is not subject to the usual focus and attention to detail. This is however an opportunity to explore ways in which to get larger bodies painted really quickly and to that end I am going to try and use the dip method. So I bought a tin of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade from Warlord Games and a few days later it was here.

Proud Dwarven warriors almost ready to settle some grudges.
Luckily, The Army Painter has a set of tutorial videos on their website that shows a novice "dipper" how it is done. I favoured the "splash" method, by which you paint the varnish on and the results aren't bad at all. These thirteen dwarves took almost no time to paint, I just blocked in the basecoat colours and painted on the shader. With hindsight I wish I had started basing them at the same time as painting them, but that is a lesson for the next set. Once I have a method down I will post a step-by-step for those who might find it useful. I think most will agree that the results are quite good actually considering the lack of effort on my part, the tabletop view of them is quite impressive. I still need to apply the matt varnish to get rid of that "wet" look, but these are table ready as of now by my reckoning.

It is very tempting to use this method for "hoard" armies, like Picts and Celts, but perhaps with a highlight thrown in after the shading. This is something I will definitely consider going forward.