Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Loose Ends & New Beginnings

Whilst I wait for the arrival of my new, surprise, army (which I suspect Mrs T may have intercepted and be holding back as a birthday present) I’ve been working of some loose ends from some older armies. Currently I’m painting up three Peter Pig tchankas. I love the look of these on the table top, but honestly I hate painting them. They don’t fit well into my painting system as they have too many nooks and crannies. I can’t work out the best way to do them, so I’ve got them stuck to sticks at the moment and I’m just trying to do the best I can with them.

After them I’ve got a few 25pdrs and jeep tows to go with my XIVth Army, and there’s always my 16th century Irish (which I named checked this time last year as needing completion) and also some Crusaders and Turks that I won at an SoA games day a few years ago. Those last two are 28mm, so they really don’t fit with my current painting system.

I’ve been filling the painting gap in other ways. I know I should be typing up some rules or working up some new scenarios but I’m a little bit unfocussed on this point at the moment. I’m looking at co-ordinating the SoA’s incentive game for 2012 but despite getting an early go ahead the project has stalled for a couple of reasons. So I’ve been making some extra roads instead and may also do some extra river/stream sections. My original sets were made from hardboard retrieved from broken up furniture and these still serve very well. They have a slight tendency to warp so my new bits are being made from plywood. This in turn gives them a slightly different colour as the plywood is quite bit lighter, but I think they’ll be okay to use together.

For figure painting I’m thinking I’ll use a different method for the new army. I normally undercoat in black as it is more forgiving as a background colour if you miss a bit when painting. The main problem with this is that it does make colours a bit dull, especially when I then varnish with the Ronseal woodstain. I’ve been wondering about moving to a grey undercoat, using vehicle paint primer in a spray can as a compromise. I used to use it years ago when I got several cans cheap in a sale, and I’ve also done the same with white. On the other hand I saw on another site (Madaxeman, I think) the idea of undercoating in black, then drybrushing in white before painting. This might be the best compromise if I water the paint down enough, - otherwise using my normal thickness I’ll end up with even more shapeless blobs than usual.

My other new beginning is a new Peter Pig army. I was recently given a PP gift voucher to the tune of £100, - pretty much as soon as I placed my recent order for the mystery army. What to spend it on? A few ideas spring to mind:

Extra SCW units (which could be):
•    Carlists,
•    Civil Guard
•    Cavalry
•    Italians

ECW Additions (for example)
•    Montrose Army
•    NMA Regiments

Africa (oh, yes, have loads of this already)
•    Humvees & US Marines

•    Early War Brits

Problems with these ideas? Firstly as Mr Pig is currently remoulding stuff in the SCW range now is a bad time to buy. Plus most of these boost my Nationalist forces and both sides are pretty much balanced at the moment, so I’d need to buy some more Republicans.

As for the ECW, - I sort of despise the adulation for Montrose and his hairy highland super troops. On the other hand I have several packets of highland command that I bought by mistake. The NMA gives me the same problem as I have with the SCW, - it boosts one side when I don’t need to.

Africa, - well AK47 Republic was one of my favourite rule sets and I badgered Martin to make Humvees so I sort of owe it to him to buy them, although we rarely if ever play the game these days.

So, early war Brits for PBI then…except the packs aren’t that numerous so a lot of repeated poses. And that’s only half the cash. Hmm.

Of course, I can put this off until I’ve finished my next project, so that’ll be in the New Year, probably. So perhaps I’ll have developed a new obsession by then.

What a problem to have!


  1. My standard is to prime with black; then when dry, "damp brush" with white. This leaves the recesses dark and the raised areas white (which provides natural under-shading) and makes figure details stand out much better (in addition to "brightening up" over-colors).

    "Damp brushing" is much faster and less finicky than "dry brushing". You don't try to get the brush all that "dry" before brushing.

    Anyway, I find that this gives the best of both undercoats . . . so try your friend's method . . . it works!

    -- Jeff

  2. I will second the prime black and sort of dry brush with white with a wetter brush.

  3. Thanks for the info. I think I'll test paint some figures and see how it goes, but it does sound like it'll work. I just need to water my paint sufficiently, rather than use my normal pallet knife consistency.