lördag 26 augusti 2017

Back To Basics: Wargames Foundry Home Guard

(Warning: a small rant ahead. Pictures of models after the break, if you want to skip ahead.)

So I've sort of hit painter's block... I do paint... but I seem to take ages, not finish stuff other than the occasional odd miniature here and there. I buy stuff, build them, start paint a couple and then... I loose interest. It's just not the Wargamer's Attention Deficit Disorder, otherwise known as the Magpie or "OOh shiny" syndrome. Oh I got that too, but this is something else.

I was thinking back to when I started in the hobby. You bought a thing. Built it. Painted it. Played with it within a week or so. Sometimes you had a big project (like that Tamiya 1:35 Möbelwagen). If you didn't have the correct paint you used another, or mixed a couple of paints to a rough estimate of the box cover art. Things were simpler back then, I thought.

No this isn't a "Things were better before" post.

But no... things weren't simpler, my methods were. Now we have 200 or somewhere abouts paints in the GW range, many of them technical paints, some are dry, some are layer paints, some are washes and some are glazes, some are base paints. Back then you had paints, and inks. You could thin the paints to make washes, use the inks for pin washes or glazes, and you could wipe all of your paint from the brush for drybrushing. You drybrushed or highlighted, washed or pin washed, and that was it.

Don't get me wrong, all the new techniques, all the new kinds of paints are fantastic. You can do some amazing things. But they also lead to overcomplication. Do I need to paint every model like it could belong in the 'Eavy Metal section of White Dwarf? No, but I try to. It's partially because the models have become better and more detailed so they lure you into a complicated paint job. Back then the models often had unadorned armour, maybe the odd spike or symbol somewhere. If you wanted to you could freehand something or put a decal on it. Nowadays the armours are sculpted with lots of details and 3d insignia that beckons to be painted, highlighted, washed, weathered and then some git are doing them in non-metallic metallics. (Don't get me started about that... the Emperor's new paint scheme I call it.) But I'm setting my ambitions too high. It's not that I can't paint that fine, I can. But I don't need to, and it takes too long time.

My stash of Home Guard. Also includes some Crusader and Warlord figures in the top rows.
So I dug up a bunch of Wargames Foundry British Home Guard that I have had in my stash for a while, and decided to go back to the basics with them.

The idea is simple. I used to be able to churn out models at an acceptable standard -- let's call it Tabletop Quality -- if not fast, at least at a decent rate. I could finish a unit of say dwarfs in a month, taking school or work and social activities into count. So I would try to do a unit of Home Guard with the old methods just as an experiment.

I love these old sculpts by the Perry's. If you think they look familiar they are sculpted after the Dad's Army TV-show.
I arranged the figures into two squads, along with some sentrys and officers and a medic (in the pic above). Three Artizan late war crew figures was among the Home Guard so I based them too. All in all 25 figures were chosen for the experiment. (The rest will follow when if I manage to finish these.)

As a basecoat I used Plastic Soldier Company British Uniform spray. I made sure to get good solid covering using three thin coats. I then washed the figures with Army Painter Strong tone wash (not the dip) using a large brush concentrating on between the legs and under the arms and around the head. I didn't want to wash all of the miniatures because I didn't want to darken the basecoat too much, just where there would be shadows. I also saved some time by not washing the whole figures.

Next step was to drybrush the figures to pick out the details of the uniform. First I tried Coat d'arms Faded Khaki, but I thought it was a bit too grey. Then I tried Coat d'arms Festering Brown (identical to the old GW Bubonic brown) but thought it was too yellow. So I used them both: the first to figures where left as they were to provide some variation, and then I simply alternated between the two pots without rinsing the brush in between so every figure would get a random mix of the two colours. It actually worked very well, providing a range of brown hues for the uniforms. I then blocked in all the skin areas with Wargames Foundry's mid Fleshtone, and called it a day.

Roughly four and a half hour's work, the uniform is done and the skin tone is blocked in without any shading.
Using old simple techniques doesn't mean you skip painting any bits on the models so after the uniforms were done I washed the skin with Coat d'arms Chestnut Ink and proceeded to the webbings. These were done with in two different colours: Coat d'arms Putrid Green and Formula P3 Menoth White Base over the course of several evenings. An hour or so per evening listening to movie reviews on youtube while painting. I also painted all the helmets a plain green (I forgot which one, doesn't matter really).

About halfway through, you can clearly see the difference between the two paints.
After painting all the webbings I gave them a careful wash of either Army Painter Military Shader or Soft Tone: I deliberately took a handful of figures without caring which colour I had painted the webbing in, used one of the washes, switched wash for the next handful and so on. This way I got four different combinations of colour.

The washes has toned down the webbings significantly.
Next up is all the black areas, including the guns and other metal parts. I rarely use pure black nowadays, instead I use dark slate grey, wash with Nuln oil or highlight with gun metal depending on wether it's supposed to look like leather or steel. This meant that the next step was painting the boots and the metal details on the guns slate grey. The bayonet scabbard was also painted slate grey as I learned they were metal after I had painted them all with the webbing colour. Doh.

This too was done over the course of several evenings. At the same time I started to fill out the bases with green stuff as preparation for gluing on gravel and flock.

First squad, using a BAR as the squad automatic weapon.
Second squad has a Lewis gun, probably WW1 vintage.
Officers and medic with the sentries in the background.
So, twelve days after starting them I have done the uniforms and webbing, basecoated the flesh, leather and metal bits, and washed the flesh. Next up is doing the rifle stocks, highlighting the helmets, flesh and metal bits, and then doing some details like Private Pike's scarf, Wilson's first aid kit and the hair and moustaches on those that have them. Hopefully I will manage that within two weeks.

So what's next? Well, I did have some more figures to paint, but I couldn't resist buying a Rolls Royce armoured car from Warbases as support for my little platoon... I will do a full review soon. Hopefully it won't take too much focus away from painting these little blighters.

I love the smell of burnt MDF in the mailbox.
Happy gaming!

6 kommentarer:

  1. Looking good so far! The home guard figures look great, and with all the Bolt Action, er action, lately on Operation Sea Lion, they even fit in with the new hotness!

    1. Well, I've had them for a while. Maybe it's like fashion, what was old is suddenly "retro" and popular again :-)

    2. Yes that, and Perry figures are classics that fit in all the time!

  2. Excellent stuff and good thoughts.


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