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Xenophon's Ghost covers military history and wargaming from the ancient period to modern times.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Painting Pikes

As noted in my last post, I am just finishing up a batch of Macedonians for a Hellenistic Morph army.  I have been painting miniatures off and on for three years now, and I try different techniques each time.

I decided to try using white primer this time and test a few other techniques.  I have used black primer for the majority of my figures.  For one group of American War of Independence figures, I tried white primer, but I found that white doesn't hide missed spots well like black does.  However, ancient figures use brighter colors, so I decided to give white primer a go.  This would set off my Macedonians from my other DBA armies.

Overall, I am pleased with the look, but I still missed spots at the seams of colors.  I need to be a bit more sloppy next time on the initial colors used.

I also decided to try my hand at an ink wash.  I haven't used washes much since black primer provides a dark undercoat.  I frankly hate the idea of brushing a wash on newly painted minis since I have had some bad luck with the technique in the past.  With white primer, I needed to add shading effectively, particulary for the white linen armor of the Phalangites.

Checking out several websites, I found examples of painters using Higgins brand black ink without dilution as well as several different dilution methods.  I experimented with four figures using different dilution levels:
Wash of undiluted Higgins Ink
This poor Pikemen was an undiluted and unmitigated disaster.  I am happy to report that I touched him up, and he looks okay now.  Undiluted ink is not a good choice....

I then tried three dilution approaches. From right to left, I used,
  • 50% ink/50% water
  • 50% ink/30% water/20% alcohol
  • 30% ink/50% water/20% alcohol
Ink washes with progressive dilution

These pikemen, too, needed some clean-up work.  I'm glad that I tested out the dilution levels on single figures instead of rushing forward.

I decided to stick with the weakest solution and use a lighter touch on the brush.  I mainly aimed to improve the contrast of the pteruges on the linothorax.  A sample is shown below,

Phalangites painted with a 50% Water/30% Ink/20% Alcohol wash

I'll share photos of the based figures in future posts.

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