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

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

10mm French Elite

I finished up the 10mm Old Glory French Elite Company figures, practicing my 10mm paint skills and evaluating the efficiency gained in painting larger batches.  For my time comparison test, I painted enough figures for a single double row-based bases for both 10mm and 15mm scales.  As expected, paint time was much faster per base when working on a larger batch.  There is probably a learning curve factor at work, too.

I painted three bases as French grenadiers and one base as voltigeurs.  I will use the grenadiers as elite infantry for DBN, and all five bases (counting the base from the original paint test) will also serve as companies in five Lasalle infantry units.  The figure strips were mounted on craft sticks, and I  generally repeated the same paint stroke on all figures on a stick at one time.

I modified my painting approach slightly for this batch, aiming to speed up the process without sacrificing the quality of the work too much.

Thinning the Paint

I primarily use FolkArt acrylic craft paint.  For my 15mm figure painting, I often use the paint directly from the containers without thinning.  I noticed that this was not working as well for 10mm.  I either ended up with too much paint on the brush or needed to reload constantly.  I thinned out the paints for the large areas, such as the coats, boots, and shakos.  It made a big difference in the ease of painting and time.  If you thin too much, though, you are in trouble.

Sloppy to Neat

On my first 10mm painting attempt, I was very careful to not stray out of an area with the paint.  This time, I didn't worry as much about  collateral damage with the initial colors, particularly the jacket and boots.  I painted fairly quickly, and I cleaned up a few mistakes later.


I did take the time to shade and highlight the face, coat front, and pants more.  I'm not sure that it made a big difference in the end.  You certainly cannot notice from a distance of more than 12 inches!

Hat Trick

For my first painting attempt, the shako braiding and edging took a lot of time.  I tried a different approach, pulling out a Number 4 flat brush (That's right, a Number 4!).  For the shako top edge, I loaded up the brush and lightly pressed it to the top of the hat at a 45 degree angle.  Voila - instant edging!  This technique worked well except near the plume.  I also tried to use the Number 4 for the braiding and details on the front of the shako.  This didn't work as well.  Next time, I plan to try dry brushing the details.

Fast Results

I expected to paint faster when working a large number of figures, but I was surprised at the efficiency game.  The total paint time for 40 figures (eight strips of five) was 3 hours and 40 minutes, including the final wash.  I completed the work in five sessions.  The paint time for a single base is 55 minutes, compared to 93 minutes for my first test.

I also timed the basing time.  I kept the basing simple because I was working on a tight schedule due to our move, and I had already shipped much of my hobby supplies.  I used small grey model railroad ballast for the basing, covered in a Vallejo Earth paint wash.  I finished the bases with Woodland Scenics burnt grass sprinkled over Elmer's Glue.  Total basing time was 15 minutes in two sessions.

I'll work out the paint time for a couple of Lasalle armies, comparing to my original analysis in a future post.

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