Monday, 28 November 2011

The Romans - A Hail Caesar Project - Part 4

Time for the post on Painting Romans

Now it must first be noted that most of the process I'm using has at best been copied (and at worse pinched) from others methods and ideas. Because i a nice person who is afraid of being sued I will put the credits at the bottom.

My painting - a nod to my own technique, a combination of base colours followed by a lighter series of dry brushing with some washed used sparingly for skin/guns/metal etc. This tended to produce quite good results (I thought), however incredibly slowly, meaning that by the time one unit was done I would have lost the will to live and abandoned the task, bit of a problem when your army is 8-9 units big at least. My lack of dedication and slowness in painting technique adds to the lack of time I have to paint due to work and (mostly) the bio-Titan (a 19 month old with a fascination with paint and brushes), to mean I hadn't finished a model, let alone a unit, since feb 2010.

 A previous effort; ECW musketeers.

The revolution - having watched a number of people building and painting their armies happily, and suffered the (sometimes slight sometimes acute) embarrassment of turning up with unpainted models I wondered what the secret was. In some cases time appeared a factor, the player simply had more of it, and in others a single-mindedness to finish before they used anything. Neither approach looked likely to help me, but a third way had potential, relying on an effect from more of a distance than the close-up "eyes painted and face correctly shaded" ideals I was using. It seemed to cut painting time down to a minimum, and I had seen, and envied, the results on the tabletop myself. I resolved to gave it a shot, and so far it appears to be bringing me results. The full process used is below:

Modelling - stick model together, stick models to bases in blocks of 4 on a 4cm by 4cm base. The bases are plasticard which I cut to the right sizes. I use plastic glue (humbrol mainly), rather than superglue, i find it cheaper and easier to use (do have to wait a bit for it to dry but I think i, although revert back to superglue for metal or resin models. Then attach sand using pva glue covering base.

Painting - I undercoat the model in chaos black spray paint, then paint the entire model with a cost of brown (medium-dark), before adding/dry brushing another couple of layers of the same brown on, a bit slighter each time.

Once that's done it's metal (armour, swords etc) followed by flesh, all of which is done in one shade, although sometimes a couple of coats to make it strong enough, and done quickly. Then some details; red shields, beige sword slings are the obvious, the command group needs more. Then only tidying up, with brown mainly but also metal where the flesh can carried over. All is done quickly and without any aim of perfection which would slow the job down. The command group needs a couple of greys for the wolf skin, and some cream for the tunics and gold and bronze for the standard and horn respectively. No effort is made to do details like eyes, buckles etc.

On the subject of tunics; the traditional red all round would be nice, but much more time consuming so the lighter brown is left. In actual fact the dye for the wool was often unavailable and plain cream or brown tunics worn and that satisfies my historical accuracies committee.

The bases get the same base coat of brown, but then a lighter coat of a different brown in a change from my usual 3 coats plus. This is partly for speed, but mostly because the flock will cover 90% of it.

 The Cohorts post paint but pre-Dip.

The Dip - Painting finished and onto the next bit: the infamous Dip - I have the strong quick shade one. Now the size of the neck of the dip can means its rather tricky to get a 4cm square base in, so following some advice I use a paint brush to put it on the model, which works nicely because I can then remove excess bits in areas like faces with ease, plus you don't waste as much trying to flick it off after dipping. I tried dipping first but the sheer volume of shade on the model was a disaster and I had to use a brush to take most of it off. Once dipped (or painted etc) I leave the model for 24hrs, which goes against my impatience streak, but is necessary for the dip to dry 100%, no kidding here - first couple of attempts went horribly wrong. 

 Post-Dip shiny-ness.  Actually didn’t look as bad as if you had actually dipped it in the stuff, probably because by ‘painting’ it on I hadn’t used as much.

After the 24hrs it's onto the flock (mix of two greens from gale force nine, attached to 90% of the base using pva glue), then once that is dry (another min of 12hrs I reckon, but I left it 24 because I was at work anyway) a coat of the army painter anti-shine matt varnish. This does two things; one it takes off the shine and gives the effect, and two it cements the flock to the base. I think any matt varnish should do the job to be honest but I'd bought that one with the dip so used it.  Big tip - use Dip and Varnish in good humidity conditions; cold and damp is disastrous!

And done! Didn't actually time the period taken to paint each model or unit but due to the bio-Titan I tend to have to do bits in short bursts so it would be tricky. The mere success of painting the two cohorts has brought back the joy of painting however, and I'm varying the subject matter by working on some English Civil War pikemen at the same time (more on that somewhere else sometime).

Next up is a unit of auxiliaries, although I need to buy some command groups before I can complete anything.

And not to forget the credits, two ‘thank you‘s‘:
Firstly to Michael for his tips on basing (which caused me to go with the 90% flock cover - a very good move), and for information on ‘Dipping’.  Also for his single-minded determination to embarrass the rest of us by painting models he has purchased.
To Andy for the info on humidity and using the varnish, saving me from packing the whole lot in before I’d really started!
And the biggest thanks to Aidan, because it’s his quick painting technique I’m using and exposing to everyone else, and because he responsible for me purchasing the Army Painter system in the first place, even though he now claims he said not too.  Plus his ECW army makes me feel bad every time I play a game.

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