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.

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