Monday, August 22, 2005

First paintwork for several years

Some will already know me as the gaming equivalent of the reservist.
A busy family life and 3 growing sons leave little time for me to pursue the hobby to the degree I'd like.
I regard myself and some of my armies as mothballed until I have more free time to put in.
In the meantime I watch new releases and attempt to remain abreast of rules developments.

I have assembled - amassed some might say - collections of almost 5000 plastic figures.
Lack of time means they are destined to languish in my loft for some time.
Approximately half represent the 2 sides in the American Civil War, the others are Russian and French Napoleonic forces from the year 1812.

Like many gamers, I am an avid collector of figures I don't need, and may never even activate.
I do have definite plans for these though.
I found a set of operational scale rules for Horse and Musket called LGG (Le Grand Guerre).
I seriously believe this is the first set which gives a realistic chance of playing out the big battles in a domestic situation.
(Of course it is possible to play Borodino using Napoleon's Battles given sufficient time, figures and like minded friends - though I suspect the whole thing would last many days and leave most participants feeling little satisfaction and with major headaches).

I have even toyed with using the bases of ACW figures on a large scale "Garden game" grid to play Battle Cry.

Anyway, on to the action and away from the hopeful thoughts.
I have been wondering for some time about how best to get Acrylic paint to stick to, and remain stuck to plastic figures.
I have collected various opinions from the internet. PVA undercoat appears to be the method of choice, with acrylic gesso and spray on mounting glue as alternatives.
Various top coats are also suggested, with a Woodland Scenics product promising a flexible and durable surface.
I believe the paint remains in place sandwiched between inner and outer layers.

Today I found a few spare hours to experiment and broke out the artship bought PVA.
My guinea pigs were a selection of union soldiers from the Battle Cry game.
The PVA went on OK from a number 11 brush. The process was rather slow, and I shall be gluing the figures to chop-sticks before starting bulk painting.
There appeared to be little difference in final effect between using watered PVA and full strength PVA.
In all cases, the PVA dried to a very thin layer with a satin type sheen.
The coated figures are readily distinghished from the uncoated ones as the uncoated ones are considerably more glossy - this may not be the case for all manufacturers plastics.
After applying the glue I was slightly worried as it collected in deep pools in the hollows of some figures.
I followed the instructions from a website suggesting to come back in 10 minutes and use a brush to soak out some of the pooled glue.
Once the figures were dry, there was no sign of the layer thickening in these hollows.
Indeed I was extremely pleased with the way detail was preserved on all the figures.

When I was nearly done, No 1 son appeared and asked what I was doing.
When I explained I was preparing to paint, he asked whether I could paint any of his soldiers.
He has some action figures and a couple of bags of army men types.
I then discovered that most of my prized miniatures paints had dried up - leaving me with 2 tubes of artists acrylic - black and white.
I set off painting boots, some helmet markings and some straps in black.
I then mixed what I considered a metallic grey for the machineguns.
By now the bug had bitten, so I started explaining the "Mickey mouse" pattern and attempted to reproduce it on some helmets.
I also mixed a lighter grey and demonstrated highlighting on the machineguns.

I spent about an hour painting, and found it quite relaxing.
I cannot see that I'll have opportunities for marathon sessions, so want to get a feel for what I can accomplish in an hour.
It remains to gather a working palette of colours for the armies and then to begin the painting.
The undercoating appears to be the slowest part, so I am hoping that my collection of size 11 brushes holds up.


Blogger fatgoblin said...

excellent to hear you starting to paint. Hope more free time comes your way!

6:02 pm  
Blogger Lord-Horatio said...

I have seenyour work, and don't think I'll ever be as good as you.
I am turning my mind to creating a mobile paintshop.
A shoebox sized container whihc can be quickly brought into operation, and packed away.

The basics are simple.
Fill a shoebox wiht the stufff you'll be using for thennext painting sessions.

I intend to introduce some innovations which really benefit the busy painter.
Watch this space for innovations.

4:32 am  
Blogger fatgoblin said...

I'm lucky in that I have a table where all the stuff can be left in a big mess. After a week or three, I will tidy it up and pack everything away... then bring the whole lot out again two days later!

Having a permanent painting table is a luxury and one of the biggest time savers.

5:37 pm  
Blogger domgoh said...

Steve - all it takes is one hour a night, and in 6 months or so, you'll have about 200 figures painted up. Great for those long winter nights with nothing better to do. That's when I get my best painting done!

5:31 am  

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