Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

As I look up and down the the trench I can see familiar faces, and a few new conscripts. Many of us have been here before, and we know what to expect. Some stare fixedly ahead, forming in their minds the determination to survive at all costs. Others glance furtively at photographs of loved ones, before tucking them away in breast pockets. A few compulsively check and recheck their kit, just to ensure their ammunition pouches are within easy reach, and their bayonets firmly fixed. Our breath condenses in clouds around us in the icy air. Our captain emerges from his dugout, looks nonchalantly at his fob watch, and holds the whistle just a few inches from his lips. Seconds to midnight - we know it can't be long. A flare arches over our heads in the pitch black sky, we hear the whistle's scream, and we scramble up the ladders, over the top of the sandbags and into the inferno.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Through the Mud & Blood Simplified

Actually Through the Mud and the Blood Very Lite. I finally got my "crew" to the painting table. The results won't win any competitions, but you have to start somewhere.

And here are some that I've been working on - for way longer than I care to admit. But they are almost finished.

Then it was off to the gaming table for an expedited version of Through the Mud and the Blood, aka "Patrick's Rules". I guess you could say the game comes with a lot of sound effects and relies on the development of special characters that seem to have unlimited access to "The Luck of the Devil" card that provides them with immunity to snipers, tank tracks, heavy machine guns, gas, barbed wire, bayonets, bullets, and shelling. These characters also seem to benefit from the "Storm Trooper Move" borrowed from Flames of War, allowing them to traverse extraordinary distances along trenches, over sodden stretches of No-Man's-Land, and shell craters.
You'll find a short excerpt below.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

That Elusive Feldgrau

One of the big questions anyone who tries to paint Great War Germans eventually faces is that of deciding exactly what constitutes "feldgrau". I have to admit that I've found the question particularly troublesome, and the source of not a little painter's angst. Below you'll see a variety of primary illustrative sources, mostly gleaned from web searches.

Early War feldgrau, at least from these images, seems to lie closer to the green end of the color spectrum. This is also evinced from the excellent original uniforms found in Laurent Mirouze's World War I Infantry in Colour Photographs. I'm leaving aside here the vexing but valid question regarding the fading or discoloration of century-old images and artifacts.
Delving into sources like Osprey and Mollo produces a bewildering variety of interpretations, as is shown below, many clearly more grey than green:

In the end, I found a combination of colors, shading, and washes that at least satisfied my desire to create a distinction between these early war uniforms and those of later years represented in my collection.

I undercoated the figures with a black Krylon primer, which gave them a slight sheen. This is not quite semi-gloss, but helps in a number of ways. Firstly, it seems to make the details stand out and easier for me to distinguish given my deteriorating middle-age eyesight. Secondly, the very subtle semi-gloss undercoat helps with the flow of washes in a way that doesn't work for me with a purely matt undercoat. For faces I used the following built up layers:
1) Foundry Flesh Shade 5a; 2) Games Workshop Elf Flesh 61.23; 3) Vallejo Basic Skin Tone 815; 4) Vallejo Salmon Rose 835.
I don't worry about painting the eyes unless they are really well sculpted. I've found their realistic rendition one of the greatest challenges in painting. Get it wrong and you mess up what would be an otherwise presentable paint job.
There are many different ways to create the look of skin. I've experimented with a variety of possible combinations, and this is the one that causes me the least grief at the moment.
For the uniform, I used the following:
1) base coat with Vallejo German Fieldgrey WW2 830; 2) highlight with Vallejo Green Grey 886; 3) Leather boots and belts: Vallejo Red Leather 818; 4) highlight leather with Vallejo Orange Brown 981.
The penultimate step is to wash the figure, apart from the face, and any white parts, with Asphaltum (I'll explain how I produce this in my next blog post). This acts something like a filter, and tends to blend the transitions between previous layers, and also provides a sense of depth to the deepest recesses.
Lastly, once things have dried, go over the miniature with your second highlight - in this case Green Grey and Orange Brown.