Monday 13 May 2013

The 7 Ps of Painting Blues and Greys

The title for this is rather tongue in cheek. I have been spending some time tidying up what needs to be done in the next phase of my modelling/painting projects for the year and one thing has stuck out somewhat. Union and Confederates or the blue and the grey of the title.

I will be completely honest about this, I shall be going for a simple painting style and I will also NOT be mixing types of figures up to get that authentic 'unit-on-campaign' look. The base figure I am using for both the infantryman and the cavalry trooper for both sides differs only in respect of the headgear. The Union troops will be wearing the kepi whilst the gentlemen of the South will have hats. Boring I know, especially when you consider that I am using Essex Miniatures and they are lovely figures. Everybody will be wearing light blue trousers as well. I have opted for the minimum types of figure so that I can really attack the figures en masse for painting.

I am going for the stylised look and so no shading or highlighting will be involved - just flat colours dry brushed for the main but with details picked out in block colours where needed. I shall also be using a black undercoat which is a truly scary prospect for me I might add, despite having used it successfully for my ships. In any event a degree of experimentation will be called for beforehand, just to bed the technique down. My aim is to tackle the whole collection in one fell swoop.

That's right - in one fell swoop....;-)

Mention of the painting of figures has also extended into what and how I will tackle my next project - that of Fezia and Rusland circa 1900 to 1914. I am going to cheat a little here. My plan is to use Balkan Wars Turks or Colonial Egyptians for the Fezians - both in the dark blue uniform with that rather fetching red fez - and for the Ruslanders I am going to make use of 1905 Russians so that I can ensure that a smattering of Russian dark green is in evidence. I could go straight for the WW1 uniforms but I really want to preserve a degree of colour if I can, hence using the slightly earlier uniforms.

On the subject of yet another project, I received this morning the last of the ancient galleys I need for the Greek and Persian set up. The next phase will be to see about the painting of them and organising the new hexed surface for use with the models.

It is a lot I know but funnily enough I feel more confident about completing these than I would have done a couple of years ago - mainly because I have learnt the simple truth that 'proper prior preparation prevents piss poor performance'....;-)


Ray Rousell said...

I'd go for a grey undercoat for the Rebs, then they're almost done right away.

Unknown said...

I've not used black as a primer before and it would frighten me too. Best wishes on this project!

David Crook said...

Hi Ray,

That is a good idea - and one that I may have a play with.

Cheers old chap!


David Crook said...

Hi Anne,

Many thanks for the good wishes with the project - knowing that I am not the only one fazed by using a black undercoat is also a great comfort!

All the best,


Lead Legion said...

It's a valid plan David and it'll work well, but I suspect you might wish you'd done it differently later.

Good luck all the same. Lets see some photos!

David Crook said...

Hi Lead Legion,

I sincerely hope not! Many thanks in any event and don't worry - there will be plenty of pictures in due course.

All the best,


doctorphalanx said...


I think you might find using a very, very dark grey slightly easier on the eye. I ceased using pure black some time ago, even for detailing.

I would also be inclined to finish off with a varnish with a stain in it. It really lifts figures for so little effort.


David Crook said...

Hi Richard,

I certainly have plenty of choice of techniques to use for the painting when I start! I will probably try a few different styles to see which I am happiest with and then go for it - the important thing for me is being able to produce figures in quantity and quickly.

All the best,