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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Smallish French Advance Faster

Despite it being Day One of a three day pack-out for our move to Korea, I managed to carve out an hour and a half to paint last night, finishing the 10mm figures for my painting time test in a single evening: a first for me!

Painting Approach 

When first researching 10mm figures, I read an excellent painting primer on the Bend Sinister website 
(www.bendsinister.co.uk).  The primer recommended repeating a single stroke across all figures at once. In some cases, the artist appears to drag the brush along the figures. Unfortunately, the webpage was recently hacked, so I could not refer to the primer again.  I went off of memory and my prior experience with 15mm figs.

I painted the Old Glory 10mm figures in three sessions, the first being an hour long.  Keep in mind that this was the first time I have ever painted 10mm figures when perusing the photos.  I used a new Nr 2 Round brush for most of the work, avoiding the temptation to use a smaller brush.  I used 2/0 and 5/0 brushes for the smaller details and hard to reach spots.

Session One

I was surprised at how fast I could paint these figures.  I planned out the painting order in advance, making a check list.  I decided to take photos every 20 minutes.  (I stopped the clock during the photo shoots.)

At the 20 minute mark, I had painted the bases, hair, face, hands, and jackets.

20 minutes of painting

In the next twenty minutes, I finished the rifles, shakos, and boots.
40 minute mark

In the last twenty minutes of Session One, I hit a lot of the smaller bits, including the packs, bedrolls, ammo pouch, green portion of the plume, epaulets, bayonet, and bayonet sheath.  Because the figures are molded together, some details only needed painting on the ends, such as the sheath.  The rifle barrel was not defined on the figure, so I didn't attempt painting on a barrel.  I left the rifle slings alone, relying on the white primer for the color.
60 minutes of painting - front view
For the  backpack, pouches, and bedrolls, I dragged the brush across all the figures, completing these items quickly.  I did need to go back and hit the sides of the items one-by-one.

Second Session

The rapid progress slowed a bit in the second session when I tackled the braiding on the helmet.  My primary resources for Napoleonic uniforms lacked images that depicted the braiding, so I turned to Wikipedia, finding that the braiding was yellow.

In the 30 minute session, I completed the braiding, shako top edging, the top of the plume, white cross-belts,  white highlights on the pants, and grey shading under the cross-belts and between the legs. 
Session Two - yellow details and white shading

 I also painted the white straps on the roll and pack, finishing with black touch-up work.
Session Two - strap details and turnbacks

Third Session

After waiting an hour, I applied a light burnt umber wash.  Thinking I was finished, I took a photo and noticed that the red cuffs had been missed!  I fixed that problem and declared the painting complete.

Painting Complete

The total paint time was one hour and 33 minutes, an hour faster than painting up eight 15mm figures.  At this pace, I can complete a four base French Infantry battalion for Lasalle in six hours and 12 minutes.  I suspect that I can paint even faster than this with a little practice.

As a basic comparison, painting 10mm is much faster than double row-based 15mm figures, which I estimate takes 10 hours and 24 minutes for a Lasalle battalion.  However, painting up a 15mm single row-based battalion only takes 5 hours and 12 minutes.  Hmm...

Lessons Learned

While painting the 10mm figures is very similar to 15mm work, there are differences.  I found that brush quality was more important.  My 5/0 liner brush was a bit frayed and caused me some headaches.
It is easy to overload the paintbrush as well.  When painting the collars, I left my 2/0 brush a little too wet, and the yellow washed onto the figures face instantly.  Other than that, painting the figures was a breeze.

Choices, Choices

I'm going to run some numbers of the time required to paint up a collection of Lasalle armies before choosing a scale.  I also plan on basing the figures for a look-see.  In the end, will this quantitative analysis help my decision?  I'm not sure yet.  More to follow in another post.


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