Saturday, 10 May 2014

Napoleonic French - Part 3

I managed to develop a goodly combination of guilt and envy from watching Aidan’s collection of 28mm collection develop at lightning speed while mine was stationary, and cursed myself for not getting near providing even one unit for the projected big game at Gauntlet in July.  This pushed me into finishing painting another 6 Frenchmen for my Perry’s battalion.  Then a trip to Aidan’s to road test his collection gave me a proper kick start.  A few days later and the remaining men for the first whole battalion were finished.  Well, painted, dipped and stuck to bases, and merely awaiting the addition of sand, paint and flock (topped off by matt varnish) to be completed.  It’s a miraculous turn around, and they have even been joined by 6 models of a victrix pile that have been awaiting repainting for rather a while.

How to paint a Frenchman – The Hard Way

Painting description time, and I spent a while pestering Aidan for details of how he does his troops, to conclude that his painting skill is better than mine and his paints are different (Revell vs my choice of Vallejo).  Copying wasn’t an option, but luckily my own technique, although much slower, brought the results I craved if I provided the time and enthusiasm for it.  First of all I painted the model very basically and at speed (for me) in the below colours, and if an error wasn’t too bad I left it to save time.  All the colours are Vallejo ones, except the Chaos Black and Hormagant Purple (GW), and while the first few colours I did in order (white, blue jackets/great coats, skin) the rest could be varied with the same result.
  1. Undercoat – White spray paint
  2. Blue Jackets & bottom of ammo pouch – Flat Blue
  3. Greta Coats (worn and on top of back packs) – Neutral Grey or Iraqi Sand
  4. Shako’s, boots, ammo pouch – Chaos Black
  5. Shako covers – Green Ochre
  6. Muskets, backpacks, bayonet holders, hair, scabbards, water bottles – Beige Brown
  7. Metal (musket, backpack extras) – Natural Steel
  8. Collar, cuffs – Flat Red
  9. Badge on shako – Polished Gold
  10. Epaulets – Grenadiers are Flat Red, Voltigeurs Light Green, Officers Foundation White.
  11. Bases – Hull Red

The Shako Pom-Poms varied depending on which company I’m painting (of which there are 6);
  • Voltigeurs – Moon Yellow
  • Grenadiers – Flat Red
  • Four Fusilier Companies – Deep Sky Blue, Hormagant Purple, Pink (mix of Flat Red and Foundation White), Olive Green.

Next Step – Dipping and more paint:
After painting the basics I moved onto using the Army Painter Strong Tone dip, although I used a brush too apply this as thinly as possible.  This gave the models their depth of look and shading.  It also made them too dark and so afterwards I go round and lightly dry brush on Foundation white on the white, Green Ochre on the shakos, shako covers and backpacks, and Neutral Grey or Iraqi Sand on the worn greatcoats.  This gave them a lighter finish, which, while not as pleasingly light as Aidans men, does look more appealing.

Basing and spraying:
One of my least favourite bits – after sticking the models to the base with plastic glue (forget super glue, I want these to stay on!) I use PVA glue to apply sand, then paint the sand with Hull Red (a laborious task), before drybrushing with Khaki Grey and finally using PVA to stick down copious amounts of green flock.  Lastly a matt varnish spray in good conditions and the paint job is locked in and all done.

A few pictures of work in progress to end with.

Post dip.

70th Line Regiment

Victrix 'before' shot

Victrix 'after' shot, plus all the paints I've been using.


  1. Very nice work, love the officier!

    1. Thanks! Actually of all the figures I painted it turned out he was an extra and hasn't been used yet - I'm keeping him for another battalion or similar opportunity. He's a victrix model, and some of the detailing is nicer/clearer than the Perry's ones I started with.