Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Verdun Project: French Casualties and Bruised Flesh


Just a very quick update, again from Curt’s Painting Challenge and my fourth themed entry. This time, the subject was “Casualties”.


I painted a set of seven fallen Poilu, all in 28mm and from Old Glory, mounted on 40mm round bases from Warbases.

There’s nothing new as regards the basing or the uniform colours, all of which I think I’ve mentioned before on this Blog or posted details in the sidebar Painting Guides.

However, I wanted to try and experiment with a different flesh tone to the figures.


I normally rely on Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) Basic Flesh for my European flesh tone base. But for these figures I wanted something more grey, wounded and mortified.

Instead of the usual skintone, I blended a 50%/50% mix of VMC Green Brown and VMC Neutral Grey for basic skintone. I added a highlight on all of the figures by adding white to the VMC Green Brown/ VMC Neutral Grey mix and layering the highlight on very thinly. I then ink-washed the faces and hands with a blend of Games Workshop’s Asmuren Blue and Gryphonne Sepia. The Asurmen Blue blends the very warm, beige tone of the Gryphonne Sepia wonderfully. I then deepened the recesses with a VMC Burnt Cadmium Red and VMC German Grey mix. I added lighter skin tones over the ink washed skin for the final highlights.

All that sounds rather different from what I normally use for a flesh tone.  I really enjoyed the change. I should add that none of the above paint/ink/colour-tone ideas were my own. I am more than happy to direct you to a wonderful, inspired blog – Spiky Rat Pack – from where all the ideas and paint mix suggestions came from. Kari’s results on his Eviscerator were incredible, and awe-inspiring. Far, far better than mine and I recommend you visit his blog for all kinds of wonderful inspiration. My results were somewhat less so, and I’m not sure that the sickly flesh tone on my figures looks quite right.
 


 They look suitably wounded and bruised when photographed here, but in natural light on a wargaming table top they do look, well, how can I put it….perhaps just a tiny bit flat? But then again, these figures are supposed to be fallen or badly wounded soldiers - should their appearance be exactly the same as their healthy comrades?  I’m very much open to your thoughts on this, as I see them as being a work in progress to be followed by others.

And I should add that if you’re at the Partizan show in early June or the Evesham wargaming day in late June you should be able to see these casualties (and the other French figures featured here over the last few months) in the flesh, so to speak!

30 comments:

  1. Very nice work Squire - I know that you feel that they are a bit flat, but if anything I think they might look a bit too healthy. In my limited experience of bodies, particularly gs wounds or where the victim has lost a lot of blood, the face becomes ghostly white as the blood drains away over time. There will be livid red bruising in the lower portions or anywhere where the blood hasn't been able to flow away. You can get it sometimes on the fingers where the deceased has been gripping something. I notice there isn't any blood on the ground around them, which I would imagine is an artistic decision?

    Nice work. Keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. an interesting and positive set of observation there Conrad...there a challenge for you Sidney

      Delete
    2. Many thanks to you both, Conrad and Dave. I've no experience with actual dead bodies, and so your comments, Conrad, are really valuable. Subject to what follows, I might give them a try on a suitable figure.

      Your comments, the modelling, and a couple of other things had me thinking this week about realistic modelling of casualty figures. I confess very openly that my thinking is confused and muddled on this.

      I deliberately didn't swamp these figures with gouts of blood. I felt uncomfortable in doing that, not for myself but for the chance that someone might be offended. The bruised and discoloured flesh was enough.

      Since painting them, I've wondered if that approach isn't somehow cheating. Should a casualty figure in a historical wargame be depicted in an antiseptic manner, with all the trauma and horror of their moment of death being removed? We spend a long time trying to create the impression of realism for our figures - should that apply also to our casualty figures? But does that go as far as recreating broken bodies, or parts of bodies, on the wargames table? Do we honour the dead if we paint realistic casualty figures depicting the agony of modern industrialised death, or insult them?

      Perhaps this is another sub-set of the wargaming ethics debate. And perhaps its also about whether we see our wargames as commemoration as well as a game. I honestly don't know. Perhaps it’s the subject for its own blog post.

      Delete
  2. I think you are been unnecessarily hard on yourself Sir. I loved these, as I do all your work, and actually thought they were gasses victims when I first saw them. The whole ensemble is simply stunning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michael. They do have that dead pallor of gas victims around them. More grim ideas flow from that!

      Delete
  3. I found that you've achieved a very dramatic effect in those models due to the position of the bodies and the painting work. I'd feel quite uncomfortable using them in my games, so all in all you've done a pretty good job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Benito for the thoughtful comment. I know what you mean about being uncomfortable (see my above comment on my own confusion in the area!)

      Delete
  4. Very nicely done Sidney and they do look suitably dead so I think you achieved your goal. Lovely work indeed from the WWI maestro himself!

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
  5. Stunning work as always. every time I think about getting rid of my Old Glory French, I change my mind as I just love their horizon blue uniforms :) Best, Dean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give them a go, Dean. The Old Glory figures paint up well and are mercifully free of field packs and baggage.

      Delete
  6. Great work and the 'wounded fleshtone' does it for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I echo Mr A .. i thought there was gas green tinge which sort of worked for me.. frothing aside! They are a wonderful gruesome set. Remids me a bit of photo from 1917 in one pf Peter Books , the "English death field" as Passchendaele

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave. I have the same book on Passchendaele panoramas. The "Englander Totenfeld" panorama is an unbelieveable photograph. Quite incredible.

      Delete
  8. Very effective, Sidney. I wouldn't change them. A very powerful testament to what we are actually modelling.
    As an aside, I love the rusty barbed wire, something one doesn't always think about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mike. The rusty barbed wire is actually very kind on the fingers. I prefer it a lot to the realistically spikey brass etch barbed wire yu can buy from Forgeworld which literally rips your fingers apart as you model it!

      Delete
  9. Beautiful, beautiful work Sidney!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent looking vignettes, great work!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Fabulos work again Sidney! They definitely don't look as if they're only making a short power nap befor resuming the attack on the boche trenches. Suddenly the skin tone on my own casualtie markers looks much to vivid to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly not a power nap, no! Thanks Moiterei!

      Delete
  12. Nice work on those unpromising figures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting and dropping by, David

      Delete
  13. Huzzaah! Glad to see you found the tutorial helpful. The result is very good. They do look like if they are slowly dying in their wounds or are already dead. Too much blood would have made them look silly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kari, you're very kind, and you're very welcome indeed here. Again, thanks so much for your excellent tutorial on your blog. You have certainly got me thinking more about experimenting with my paint effects, and have opened my eyes to some new techniques and ideas. Thank you again very much.

      Delete
  14. Those are the best casualty models I've ever seen.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...