Thursday, 29 October 2015

Roundwood Recommends - Number 2: “Painting Wargames Figures” by Javier Gomez (“EL Mercenario”)


Here’s another in my (irregularly timed) series of posts entitled “Roundwood Recommends”.

If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for information which teaches you new techniques and approaches for our hobby, whether modelling, terrain-building, gaming or painting. Although I love blogs and other information on the internet, for me nothing quite beats the sensation of having a physical book filled with information in my hands. In short, I’m a sucker for general hobby books, and book about painting miniatures are no exception.



When I saw “Painting Wargames Figures” by Javier Gomez (“EL Mercenario”) as a recommendation on Amazon, I was therefore interested. It’s a reasonably priced, beautifully and fully colour illustrated paperback book which, in step by step chapters, tells you how to paint wargames figures. He has a good writing style, and lays out each chapter logically. He deals with everything from cleaning and priming a figure, to undercoating, to painting and varnishing. In the process he covers flags, washes (or patinas), camouflage, and ground work. There are lots of photographs, all in colour. Most helpfully, each of the paints used by Javier used is broken down into a list of Vallejo paints used to create the colour effect. 

 
So far so good. And when it arrived, I was very pleased with the book. It was certainly very visually attractive. It very much looked like a useful book to put as a reference work on your shelf. You know the sort. They look quite worthy and helpful, but maybe (just maybe) you don’t use them as much as you would like.

And then, something made me actually give it a go, and use the book as El Mercenario intended all along. I painted some figures using his three colour method, strictly along the lines of the paint colours stated in the book. (I should add that this involved be purchasing about a dozen new Vallejo Model Colour paints, all of which I didn’t have – including Ivory, Buff, Flat Red, Cavalry Brown, and so on).


And I realised that the book was not merely attractive, it really is very, very useful indeed. The colour combinations chosen by El Mercenario for browns, reds, buffs, grey and flesh tones are really excellent. He has clearly thought a great deal about colour combinations, and experimented with these extensively. It takes a steady hand to achieve El Mercenario’s painting effects, but using the techniques and colour combinations in his book is a great step on the journey to getting there.

I also loved that El Mercenario is writing about painting wargame figures. He’s not writing about painting figures which will win you a Golden Demon, or the first prize at Euro Militaire. He’s writing about how to create excellent effects for painting wargame figures on a wargames tabletop. Throughout the whole book, I felt he was “on my side” – appreciating the look I was trying to create for my figures, and that he’d been there himself many times. 



So, in all, a “highly recommended” from me, and a worthy Roundwood Recommends. If you get the chance to buy one, or receive it as a present, I think you’ll like the book.

But if you get the chance to paint some figures using the book, I know you’ll treasure what is a really useful practical guide to painting wargame figures.




25 comments:

  1. Good (and fair) review. One on my wish list if I don't weaken before! ;O)

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    1. Thanks Gary. It's well worth getting a copy.

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  2. Thanks for the review....it has my hand reaching for my wallet. Though it may need to wait until the new year. So many kickstarters have take a big bite out of income lately.

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    1. Thanks terry - good luck with the kickstarters in the meantime!

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  3. Great review Sidney. I totally agree, the book has revolutionised the way I paint horses. It is an easily readable and very practical guide.

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    1. Well said, Nate! The chapter on horses is particularly good.

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  4. Well that's just been ordered! Thank you.

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    1. I know you'll enjoy reading it, Michael!

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    2. It has now arrived and I am not disappointed, a cracking looking book. Plenty to digest, but still admiring the lovely pictures at the moment.

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  5. Cool! Now that is going to cost me!

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    1. Thanks Rodger. A worthwhile investment, I think!

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  6. Excellent post as always, Sidney; I may well check it out to kick-start my stalled hobby. Nice one.

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  7. I love the beautifully alliterative idea of "Roundwood Recommends" ... Now what can I have for The Wargames Table? :-S
    Cheers
    Matt

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    1. I'm chuckling, reading your comment. It's a bit of fun, but the alliteration came to me and kind of stuck. Nothing too serious, but the idea is just to help someone, somewhere have more fun from the hobby. I'll be watching "The Wargames Table" for your version!

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  8. Thanks for sharing Sidney, will stick this on my xmas list.

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    1. A good thing to find under the tree, Pat!

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  9. Have the Kindle version myself and I can only agree to your review. The Kindle version is a little odd as the pictures only come as thumbnails and need to be clicked to be shown in correct size. I think I'll get me the analogue format too.

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    1. Well done, Nick! If any of us can paint anywhere near as well as you, with El Mercenario's book, or without, we'll not be complaining!

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  10. Very impressed with his work, especially after seeing many images of the Carlist War figures he's painted for the Perry's. So my order for a copy has just been sent off.

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    1. Well done, Mark. I'll be very interested to see what you make of it. I think you'll enjoy using the book.

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  11. Hello, it's Javier Gomez El Mercenario! Googling myself (yes, I know...) I've just found your beautiful review. better late than never! Thanks a lot for your nice words on my book!

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    1. Hi Javier!! Thanks very much indeed for commenting - and I am sorry it's taken me so long to see your comment. I love your book and although I've been painting for quite a while, I end up referring to it a great deal. Since I added this post, I've been using it pretty much non-stop. The sections on painting horses are very useful indeed, as are the sections on painting the various colours. I keep meaning to paint using the patinas you mention in the first chapter.

      Thanks again for publishing the book, and writing it in such a "user friendly" manner. Top marks!

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