Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tutorial on Hessians

Some weeks ago I started a voting here on my blog which AWI unit should be next. Clearly the Hessian Jäger made the grade, and today I added the finishing touches.
However, to "thicken the plot" I will post the pics of the whole later this week. Beforehand, I'd like to give you a glimpse and try my hand on a tutorial how I painted these guys. So only one figure today, but more to come soon. Hope you enjoy it anyway.
Note: If not stated otherwise I used Foundry colours.

Step 1 - Priming
After the usual preparations I primed the miniature in black. I've tried some time a white undercoat, but (since I'm a lazy boy) the time spent on blacklining and painting again whole areas black afterwards seems wasted to me. So I'll stick to black undercoat anyway. Here I used
  • Matt Black spray (Army Painter)
but any primer will do. Any area not covered gets a touch of black paint before I go on.

Step 2 - Eyes & drybrush
Drybrushing is an ugly method and I don't use it much. Whenever needed I do it first not to spoil painted areas later. In this step I used for the
  • ammunition pocket, queue, shoes & tricorne: Charcoal Black 34B & 34C
For the latter, it gives a nice felty finish.
At this stage also the eyes are added. Here's my technique: Use a fine brush. Draw a horizontal line of white across the face (don't worry about any excesses). Then draw two black lines vertically through the eyes. It's important to decide first, whereto the figure should look, as you must draw the lines in the right angle. If you want a strong up- or downward look, renew the white line accordingly (a bit tricky to get it right). I almost always use black paint for the irides, but that's really a matter of taste. I just want these eyes to stand out from a distance.

Step 3 - Base colours
There's no rule when to paint which areas; mostly I start with the biggest parts and painting all the base colours. Here I've followed this standard procedure:
  • Skin: Dusky Flesh 6B
  • Hair: Beasty Brown (Vallejo)
  • Coat, waistcoat & cockade: Phlegm Green 28A
  • Laces: Scab Red (GW)
  • Trousers/gaiters: Rawhide 11A
  • Bag & rifle butt: Spearshaft 13A
  • Gun barrel & tin can: Chainmail 35A
  • Strap: Buff Leather 7A
  • Haversack: Boneyard 9B
Don't worry too much about blacklining - in my experience, most meeting areas will be already divided by the dark base colours. Black is quite often simply too strong and produces a rather comic-like impression. Never ever use black lines to differ skin from clothes or something!

Step 4 - Highlights
Now I get the chance to correct some mistakes and to make the miniature look almost like a finished one. Pay special attention to any wrinkels or foldings. Leave enough base colour to show through to strengthen the impression of actual crinkles. You can happily overdo this a bit as the final highlights will divert from it.
  • Skin: Flesh 5A
  • Hair (streaks): Buff Leather 7B
  • Coat, waistcoat & cockade: Phlegm Green 28B
  • Laces: British Red Coat 68A
  • Trousers/gaiters: Rawhide 11B
  • Bag (streaks) & rifle (grain): Spearshaft 13B
  • Gun barrel & tin can (only some strokes!): Spearpoint 35C
  • Belts, pouch & scabbard: Scorched Brown (GW)
  • Strap: Buff Leather 7B
  • Haversack: Boneyard 9C
  • And for the muddy shoe sole: Beasty Brown (Vallejo)
(Simply I forgot to paint the belts, the pouch and the scabbard earlier.)

Step 5 - Adding details
Or almost final - you could use the miniature for gaming at this stage already. It always amazes me how the colours finally blend together when applying the second highlight. However, some highlights are a bit harsh, so use them sparingly.
Skin tones for example: I only paint raised areas, mainly with dots of paint on finger tips, knuckles, tip of the nose/nostrils, upper lip, chin and some fine strokes around the eyes (by this you can add easily some laughter lines). The lower lip gets a stroke of wine red.
  • Skin: Flesh 5B
  • Lower lip: Madder Red 60A
  • Hair (end of streaks): Buff Leather 7C
  • Coat, waistcoat & cockade: Phlegm Green 28C
  • Laces: British Red Coat 68B
  • Trousers/gaiters: Rawhide 11C
  • Bag (streaks) & rifle (grain): Spearshaft 13C
  • Belts, pouch & scabbard: Dark Flesh (GW)
  • Strap: Buff Leather 7C
  • Haversack: White 33C
Step 6 - Final touches
This final stage is done very quickly, bringing the whole thing together. I'm just neatening some details, e.g. a last highlight on the skin or a straightening the highlights on the leatherwork. Also all the tiny metalwork is done now: Because it's too cumbersome for me to paint around buttons and the like from the beginning, I'm setting some dots of black paint after everything else is finished, and on top of this comes the metal colour. Furthermore I'm adding a final layer of appropriate washes; that's to blend the colours together and to darken the shady areas.
  • Skin (knuckles, upper eyelids, tip of nose): Flesh 5C
  • Lower lip (dots): Bright Red 15C
  • Trousers/gaiters (stripes): Rawhide 11A
  • Belts, pouch & scabbard: Vermin Brown (GW)
  • Buttons: Chainmail 35A & Spearpoint 35C
  • Rifle butt & scabbard plate: Burning Gold 44A & 44B

Step 7 - Varnishing & basing


The story of my experiences with different varnishing techniques is too long to be told here again. Let's say: I had my issues. By now I'm using a base coat of
  • 'Ardcoat Gloss Varnish (GW)
let it dry thoroughly (at least over night), then spraying a layer of
  • Anti Shine Matt Varnish (Army Painter)
on it. You need a lot of patience when applying the Matt Varnish as you MUST NOT spray several layers at once, or it will result in the infamous "snow flurry effect" with white dots sprinkled all over your figures.
Only after this last touch my miniatures are based. I'm using very thin plastic card as I don't like those pedestals. The stand is covered with filler with some decorative pebbles pressed in. At last I add bird sand, model grass and optionally other decorative items (foliage, tree trunks etc). The whole thing is painted with
  • Sand & stones: Graveyard Earth (GW), Base Sand 10B & Boneyard 9C (inspired by Tarleton's Quarter)
  • Grass: Chestnut 53C & Ochre 4B
  • Wood: Bay Brown 42A & Rawhide 11A-C
And that's it!


For sure, it's not the be-all and end-all, but perhaps this "tutorial" gives you some insights into my way of painting. It produces nice looking figures, not to win competitons anyway - but to make a good impression on the tabletop.

Please tell me what you think - and perhaps tell me (and others) about YOUR personal painting style!

4 comments:

Secundus said...

Very nice work, you seem to be going through a marksmen stage at the moment :)
I have never used Gloss varnish and it was handy to see that you do. I'm not sure quite yet about making the leap.

Sire Godefroy said...

Yeah, green is such a nice colour!
Honestly, it's pure coincidence as there are many more miniatures here on my painting desk yet to be photographed. No more marksmen for a while, I promise. ;)

Using gloss varnish is a bit tough at first, that's true. But it protects the colour from fading by the application of matt varnish - since not the paint itself becomes 'roughed up'. Moreover the gloss varnish encloses the miniatures like armour, and that means less to no chipping.

Trial highly recommended!

Yggdrasil said...

Nice work on those minis!
Especialy the skin looks realy awesome.
And thank you for this tutorial, very inspiring.

Greetings from Hessia

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Excellent - very nice indeed...

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