Tuesday, 8 November 2016

First world problems

(AWI project retrospective, part 2)

 I left you just about when I was picking up my can of spray-paint to lay down a base coat for my minutemen. This was all still very much in that first wave of excitement I told you about. In fact, in that weekend I got a considerable amount of brush painting done as well. This left me with a few questions of painting technique.

Just so you know: I’m a pretty mediocre painter. I lack practice and have spent years hardly painting at all. Due to time constraints, a few years ago I overcame my antipathy towards letting somebody else paint my miniatures and in this way I have obtained beautiful Dark Age Saxons and WWII Americans for skirmish games. I have even bought armies and single units, so that I now have a nice medieval Norman force and an eclectic collection of fantasy figures.

But as you may have noticed I’ve found I quite enjoy the painting, and when a limited amount of miniatures is combined with a reasonable deadline, I even get things done. Which is why 80 miniatures and 10 months seemed so attractive. But I still realised I wasn’t very good at painting and quite slow. To save time I adopted the army painter philosophy, which I used previously on my Prussian Landwehr and some medieval monks. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the results.

But what about highlighting? Experience suggests that only extreme highlighting works in combination with dipping (although I don’t actually dip. Does anyone really dip?). I finally decided against it as I was displeased with test result.

My other question was how to get a good balance between diversity and uniformity for my minutemen. I’ve seen some beautiful examples of far better painters than me using understated hues to great effect: no miniature is the same, but there is a real sense of unity to them.

What I was afraid of was having a very colourful collection of minutemen who would not look very good as a collective. And of course, even if I managed to configure a balanced palette, I’d still be a mediocre painter, and it wouldn’t look as good as the pros.

You know… first world problems!

This blog was first published on the Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy blog on November 5th 2015

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