Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From a friend of mine - Speed painting Napoleonics

My friend Carl penned this interesting missive.

A DNA induced requirement to produce more and more painted Napoleonic figures in any scale can be really frustrating if one does not paint quickly, with extra social negatives if one is not a master painter from birth. The quality painting of J. Croswhite, E. Ackerman, and C. Turnitsa shines as examples of what can be. If you are not one of these gentlemen, we’re here to help.

First, find all the painting related articles and pamphlets. Throw away one fifth of them, as the authors are master painters who make everything look easy or have legions of “employees” to paint for them or can afford ten dollar ounces of paint.. Throw away another fifth, as the schemes only work for a very specific army or navy, and the author left something out anyway so yours will never look as good as his. You can keep the next fifth, about keeping brushes clean, using good brushes and paint, securing good lighting, as this is good advice. The last fifth is up to you to keep or not, free will and all and maybe it works for you.

If though, you forget to clean brushes because your cat and child are destroying the house and you need to intervene, if the lighting isn’t great because you’re on a budget, if the only one painting is you, if your buddies aren’t into assembly line painting or team painting is going to crash into the giant mollusk named “Bob”, wonderful fellow, brings pizza and all, but has to be watched, this is your article.

If you are tough enough for some social stigma, if your fellow gamers can handle the concept, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat. Not in the game, you need to be beaten if you do, but in the strategy of painting.

First, make up the nations and their forces. This is all kinds of liberating, because now you can be painting Napoleonic Hawaiians instead of a lace drowned Hussar. You can pick which figures fit your painting style, rather than slogging through required forces that don’t have any interest and will be sold off or dumped half painted. Just out of the blue, let us take Payepally armies. These are dressed in Landswehr uniforms, because it’s my army and I said so. Landswehr uniforms can be used up to the Civil War, so changing your mind is facilitated. Make sure your rules don’t require a gun park of more than two guns. Cossacks may be crud in most rules, but they paint easy and you can write your own rules.

If you can get your spouse to promise to help paint and she doesn’t, well, par for the course, my friend.

Get the figures out of the bags, clean them of extra metal or plastic unless that’s your look, dump them all into a box (war is rough), and take them outside and primer them black. If you primer indoors with no ventilation you should eat the can, as it is kinder and quicker. Buy an oven for the garage and use it to dry the figures or melt them if plastic. I can’t defend against all the stupid after all. When dry, dry brush them white. Don’t go nuts, you’ve got a hundred figures to do, three different branches, and if you keep adding figures to the total you’ll give up and take up haiku, I promise.

While that is drying, look at the paints in hand and decide your uniform from those. “Honest, sweetie, I’m being frugal, I’m not buying any new paints for this”. But if you do, crafty places tend to have really big bottles of paint comma water soluble, for not much. Write All Your Decisions Down, change them maybe once or twice, and then cast the decisions in stone. It’s the only way my friend.

BTW, one of the fifths you tossed was about how your work environment needed to be right for –you-. I cannot help you there, as wife, children, pets, friends, and telemarketeers have a radar for when you want to paint, and will do everything in their power to make sure you can’t. I suggest feigning no interest at all in what you are doing, and as long as you look lump like, they’ll all leave you alone. True story, although my family was keyed to me merely picking up a brush. Unemployment and school age children are great for getting things painted, but it’s tough to maintain the miniatures budget in the same time frame. Finding a job that lets one paint is just an urban legend.

Anyhow: if you are really strong, Nappy armies frequently put covers over things, oilskins over hats, fabric around gun locks, overcoats over everything, etc. These are excellent ideas for speed painting, will not win you any awards. But your forces will be done, bringing a smug smile to your face while your fellow gamers moan about the slows. Of course, you may wind up with an army you can’t use because everyone else changed scale or period while you were out getting cheetos, but you takes your chances, and you get to paint an oppo army, so good for you.

Get clean big brushes. Paint hat and coat the same color, don’t do the hat if oilskinning. Paint the pants, if a different color. Use smaller paint brushes. Paint the flesh colors and the rifles. Be careful but not obsessive because if this works right one of the later paints will bury your mistakes. Paint the blacks of the leather and fabrics, and if you’re smart it’ll all be black Get even smaller brushes. Paint the metals, and be obsessive with this. Paint the facing colors. With really good small brushes, go back and neaten everything up. Do it again. One more time. Have someone else look because they will find things instantly that you missed. Neaten up one more time. Go to hardware store, replace brushes you forgot to clean. Stop chewing on the paint brushes, you’re scaring the cats.

Carefully carry it all out to the garage, pick a very special wood stain of the lighter persuasion, and wash down the figures. Wait five minutes, brush off the blobs. Wait five more, brush off the blobs. Wait five more more, brush off the blobs. Check often during the drying time, because once the blobs set it’s ugly, especially over light colors. If sticky, put out in sun to dry. If still sticky, chuck it, sell an organ, and buy the army you want from a painting service. If not sticky, touch up the light colors by dry brushing or dotting, then coat with matt lacquer. Make sure the lacquer doesn’t cloud up. Really, at this stage, make sure the lacquer doesn’t cloud up. No, Really. Not to worry, five or six armies and you’ll have this down to a science or be watching televised poker as a hobby.

Cranking out speedy armies is a good way to irritate people. Why I recall buying a set of figures from a fellow who’d had them for five years untouched, I used them in the game next week. Really honked him off for years. Speedy armies is way to get into the game before interest shifts to poker or boardgames or 15mms. Speedy armies don’t mind being sold on e-bay, or life leaves you starting over again.

Over to you.

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