Sunday, 27 November 2011

Painting Great War British Infantry - Part 2 (Shade Colouring)

A few painting hours further on and I reckon that I have got about between 50 and 60 per cent. of the way to finishing the models shown in the photo below:

I continued today with the shade colours. The way I work is to block in the shade first, basically covering just about all of the black undercoat save for the very deep shade in recesses such as elbow folds and under the tunic at the thighs.

This does lead to a very dull and dark looking model. Any satisfaction I get at this stage by seeing the models covered with paint tends to be diminished by the fact that the models at this stage look very flat and unexciting indeed!

For this reason, on some of the figures I do try and keep my interest going by painting a something a bit more interesting. So, you can see the flags of the signaller , the riding breeches of the Major and the gas masks of a couple of the figures having been worked on more, probably at a point when I found my interest flagging …

Generally though, it’s a process of painting shade colour quickly, trying to be as neat as possible and trying to cover the figures in such a way that makes painting the mid colour and highlight colour as easy as possible.

Most the paints used in this part were Vallejo. So, for the uniform it was Brown Violet; for the helmets German Grey; the webbing and packs were painted Leather Brown; the boots in a mix of German Grey and Black; any helmet cloth covers were shaded with Burnt Umber; and the gas masks Green-Brown.

The only other paint used was Plaka Braun for the rifles, bayonet scabbards and shovel handles.

On a number of figures (but not yet all), I ran a very fine brush of Vallejo Black mixed with the shade colour to bring out more deep shade. You can see this best on the figures for the Company command stand.

I tend to use Windsor & Newton Artists Acrylic Flow Improver a fair amount just to keep the paint consistency smooth. The Vallejo paints work very well with this, although the Plaka hardly needs it.

About two or three hours to go for these chaps before they’re finished. With luck, I’ll be able to posted the finished results on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. Until then…..


  1. Very interesting to see your process, stage-by-stage. I always marvel at seeing both the similarities and differences in other's approach to painting. Great work!


  2. Great info! Stooopid question, but what exactly does the flow improver do and how do you use it??

  3. Very interesting and I really enjoy reading how others paint. The work looks really nice.
    I find myself painting in a variety of techniques and often not the same for each project. I like to change up the style from time to time. Do you do that as well?


  4. Great info Sidney. Very interesting.

  5. Thanks everyone.

    @Curt - variety….it's the spice of life. Very glad you're enjoying, Curt.

    @Ray - according to the Windsor & Newton website, Acrylic Flow Improver "increases the flow of acrylic colours, allowing the application of areas of flat, even colour without changing colour strength. It maintains the stability of the colour and slightly slows drying. This medium maintains no colour shift from wet to dry when used with Winsor & Newton Artists’ Acrylic." For me, it's a very good way of improving the flow of the paint, the viscosity, without thinning the paint with water. I've found it seems to give a better, more even result than diluting with water all the time. A small bottle isn't too expensive - I got mine for about £5 in January, and it's lasted for almost a year with about two-thirds used so far. It doesn't work miracles, but I like using it.

    @Christopher - Yes, absolutely! My style changes a lot depending no the project and the effect I'm going for. I'm doing some Dark Age early Saxons from Gripping Beast at present for a club project which I am going to try with the "Army Dip" method. Very much a different approach needed for those chaps.

    @Rodger - thank you Sir!

  6. Wonderful progress; I tempted to try the acrylic flow medium as you seem to get a very even distribution of paint. The little tabs are there, I assume, to make handling easier, do you just glue gun them to the base?

  7. Finally the Wizard pulls back the curtain to reveal his secrets! LOL. Awesome work, as usual.

    Have you seen the previews for "War Horse"? Looks very promising.

  8. Lovely work, you have a great style. It's always good to see how someone else paints, one never stops learning and there is always a good tip or two to pick up.

  9. Thanks Gentlemen. I did a little more on the figures last night and the Command Stand is almost done. Aiming to get some finished pictures posted on Wednesday evening (30th December).

    @Michael - have a go with the acrylic flow improver. It is interesting using it. It's really useful when you're covering a larger area - horses, uniforms. The other use it really excels at is keeping the paint on a very small brush (say 1, 0 or 00) liquid for long enough to paint into the fine detail.

    @Colonel Hessler - always, always awesome to hear from you Colonel. That, coming from you, is very kind indeed. Not so much Wizard as sorcerer's apprentice perhaps! The "War Horse" does look very good. It's a great book (my daughter enjoyed it), and Dr David Kenyon who helped me with a couple of the articles on Great War cavalry in one of the TooFatLardies' Specials was one of the advisers on it. So, all in all a pretty good bloodline!

    @OldSchool - very kind indeed Sir. Thank you!

  10. Thanks Sidney, will certainly look out for some next time I'm in town.

  11. They look lovely, Sid. Just the chaps to go in and take those funky colourful Boche guns you painted recently.
    Can you take a moment to share how you did the lenses in the gas masks? I am painting a fellow with eyeglasses, and I want to do something similar for the lenses.

  12. Sidney,
    Thanks so much for posting these. I'm trying to get back to the painting table and this really does encourage me to pick up the brush again. I've never used Acrylic flow medium, but will definitely give it a try. Hope to post the results in a few days on my blog.


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