Thursday, 16 July 2015

New Wargames Standard, So Far, Not So Good!


In one of my previous posts I outlined my ideas about painting up the beautifully sculpted and designed Iron Duke mini's to a wargames standard. Well, I decided to go one better and try a new style of painting, one that would be more suitable for 15mm painting than that of 28mm but it has the advantage that the mini's stand out more on the wargames table as they are usually viewed from arms length at least. So, how is this achievable?

Quite simple really, when painting 15mm mini's it is important to have bigger jumps in the highlighting process. Larger steps between hues. It makes the 15mm mini's look right if you're with me? Well, I've got to admit that, even though these figures are in the early stages of painting I'm quite disappointed in the overall look of the mini's ie that the stages are more staggered than they would normally be. I'll have to see if this improves later as more detail; I certainly hope that it does!! The other draw back to painting in this style is that it hasn't really saved me that much time as I'm not used to painting 28's in this manner so it's been a learning process. Personally, I think that I could be a lot more free with the brush and not worry too much about where a particular brushstroke lands. I know that this sounds counter intuitive but it's something that great emphasis is put on in Art Schools (unless you're the graphics type, which I'm not).

OK, time to bare all, let me know what you think?

I should add that this is not how I  normally paint and will not be how I paint my other projects nor indeed anyone else's mini's!!

Bye for now.


  1. [I'll copy this so that non-forum readers can read my erudite and knowledgeable words of wisdom here too, and then disagree with me :P ]

    I can't see anything wrong with it and I'd be happy to pay you to paint to that method for me. I'd bet a lot of other people would too!

    I call that style the high-contrast method (though to be honest your standard is far less 'high-contrast' than the majority of gamers who use that style). But that's just it, gamers use the high-contrast approach because it produces good tabletop results in a relatively quick time (obviously, as you say, you're taking longer due to the conflict of 'unlearning' and learning). Working this way will go against the grain of your education and prior standard, but those of us who know your levels of ability recognise that this is to a self-imposed gaming standard to get the figures painted and onto the table in a reasonable amount of time. Those who don't know you will look at the figures, see the painting standard is good even if the technique is to a high-contrast standard (though they'll probably not give a hoot!), and will still be impressed.

    Once the units finished, based and on the tabletop amongst the flying dice nobody will be paying any attention to the finer levels of painting anyway. They're to be played with, not sat on a shelf in a cabinet and worshipped as fine art. Look in any wargames magazine at the close up game shots and you'll see that the figures are painted just the same. Same goes for (95% of the*) games at the shows. It's the overall spectacle not the tiny detail that makes the picture.

    * I put this in as you'll show me a picture of you L&LB Society Salute game to prove me wrong

  2. Thanks Roy, you're right. I'm probably getting disheartened before completing the mini's. I'll finish this batch off today and see what the final result is and if I can live with it.


  3. I agree. While the transitions are not as smooth as some of your other stuff they still look pretty good so far. I'd be very happy to have miniatures that look like that on my table. I bet they look even better when finished and massed together.

  4. They look fine to me, and I'd be happy to field them on my table. I always paint to the 'Three Feet Rule' anyway.

  5. They look fine to me Darrell. The contrast between the black and the painted parts is very stark, but once you've done the white belts and such they will almost certainly look splendid.

  6. I think they look fine, personally I tend to be more loose and free with my brush strokes when painting my gaming standard and aim for table viewing. Temptation is always there to be more precise, but for me it's how I can speed paint to a style and standard I'm happy with, and I feel satisfied with increased output. I'll follow your trials and tribulations with interest to see your conclusions, it's an issue I think all painters face, I still have to paint the occasional figure or unit to my best ability just to keep the urges at bay. The way I look at it is that it's just a different style, Picasso as opposed to Turner if that makes sense. You could leave very dark colours flat with no shading, and concentrate on faces, hands and lighter colours. Good luck, and as I said very interested in your conclusions.

  7. I have to agree with the previous comments. They look reasonable to me - they are not going to win prizes but that's not what your going for. Also, you're testing this out on mostly white figures. I find white generally one of the hardest colours to work with (other than yellows & black) to get reasonable contracts without going too cartoony. Not being a trained artist (or that skilled with a brush) myself I tend to use the base, wash and then highlight quite a bit and for the right models it looks perfectly fine.