Thursday, November 6, 2008

Auxilia!

I have confessed that I am a slow painter. I have been working my way through the auxilia, and I've got the first batch of sixteen (a single battle group in Field of Glory) almost finished. As I painted (and per a friend's request), I took pictures of the progression of a figure.

Here is my painting guide for 15mm Old Glory Roman Auxilia. I don't claim that this will be historically accurate; this is just what I use to achieve a finished figure with minimal fuss...

I will start with a cleaned up, mounted, and primed figure. I spray primed these black with Testors flat black and then touched that up with a watered-down acrylic. All of the acrylics on this figure are Delta Ceramcoat, except for the metal, which is Citadel Chainmail.


After the basic black, I drybrush the figure with the chainmail color. At this point I don't worry about what gets hit with it as long as the coverage is fairly complete. I also keep in mind that the last step in the process will be touching up the metal. In this pic you may be able to see that I missed a good chunk of his shoulder behind the shield and got the flesh basecoat on the front of the helmet. The flesh basecoat is the same as I use for my 28mm figures, and it's called Black Cherry.


I painted on the fleshtone, which is Medium Flesh. I use the standard U+T and I don't get too caught up in shading the face. I actually think that harder-edged lines look better on 15s because it makes the detail stand out. Also, it looks like this figure has got some bermuda shorts on, so I painted the flesh on his leg above his sandals.



Following the fleshtone, I basecoated the shield Blueberry blue. It looks kind of like I drybrushed it, but I just applied it in a quick, thin coat. It doesn't have to be perfect. I think that the painter often sees imperfections that other people don't, or maybe its that accidental stuff looks purposeful when the beholder isn't privy to this kind of information...

I gave the shield two quick drybrushes. Each lighter shade was made by mixing in Light Ivory with the Blueberry. The fist drybrush was about 25% ivory and the second was closer to 50%. The first layer was an all-over job to pop out the texture, and the second was concentrated on the edges of the shield to create a sort of outline.


I saw a picture somewhere (I think it was in an Osprey book that I don't have...) where the Auxilia were wearing off-white pants and tunics, so I used that scheme for this guy. I may toss in a color here or there just to make my Auxilia look more... auxiliary...

The paint was Mudstone the drybrushed with the same color slightly lightened with Light Ivory.


I then painted the sword, strap, and sandals with Dark Brown, and then  drybrushed them with Dark Brown lightened with Golden Brown.


Here is the finished product. The final touches were the spear shaft and helmet plume. The plume was blacked-out and then hits with some Cardinal Red, and the shaft is painted a mixture of Bambi Brown and Golden Brown. And, of course, the metal is touched up. Viola!




Now to do that about 50 times...


Until next time...

2 comments:

Marty said...

Great example, thanks for it Nick! When you have figures with many more 'solid' areas (i.e. a bare-chested celt, as opposed to a chainmailed Roman), are you inking/washing at all, or just starting with a dark base, then doing lots of highlighting? The contrast you get on your celtic horsemen was really striking...

Nick said...

Hi, Marty!

Actually I did the Celts mostly the same way. I used the Black Cherry base and then did Medium Flesh over that. I did try to just "block paint" the muscles, and some of the guys have 6-pack abs that I just painted on with 6 dashes or dots on their stomach. On the Celts I did something that I haven't ever done before on 15mm, I used a lighter highlight on the edges of some of the muscles. They just had so much exposed flesh that it still looked kind of flat with just the block painting. Also, I didn't drybrush it on, I just painted streaks on the edges and upper surfaces, kind of where I thought the light would hit. The highlight color was Delta Ceramcoat Fleshtone.

I actually did 4 steps on the flesh on my 28mm WWI guys. I based in Black Cherry (which, BTW, I also used this as the base coat on the rifle wood), then I mixed some Black Cherry and Medium Flesh about 50% and went over it again except for the deepest recesses, which generally were the eyes, under the cheekbones somewhat, between the lips, and in the creases extending diagonally from the corners of the nose. Then I painted the Medium Flesh for the general face, and then I hit the high points with the Fleshtone (upper cheekbones, nose, chin).

Also, on the 28mm I tend to thin the paints with water a little, while I don't really do this on the 15s. The reason for that is that I think watering it down helps the colors "blend" which is more of what I want on the 28mm, and on the 15mm leaving the paint alone creates a harder-edged contrast.