Sunday, 15 September 2019

Thirty Years War: 6mm Paint Plan for Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Some of my 10mm American Civil War figures:
I am basically following the same methodology.
This is a rough and incomplete draft of my plan for painting 6mm Thirty Years War armies for Steven Thomas's Tilly's Very Bad Day. I’ve been creating paint plans privately for years, but I thought it might be interesting to share the experience with readers. It's fairly provisional in its first form but will firm up over time. I will add a little explanatory detail here which I wouldn't necessarily do just for my own benefit.

Once I actually start wielding a paintbrush I'm always very careful to list paints used so I can match them if more models need to be added at a later date. I also mark jobs done so I know where I am and give myself encouragement.

The general approach for this project will be similar to the 'Base before painting' approach that I used on my 10mm ACW armies (see photo above). Last time I found that approach hard-going but it has its advantages:
  • Once the preliminary basing, texturing and undercoating is done, the bases can be used on the table in games.
  • You begin to gain a very good impression of what the figures are going to look like as you go along. You don’t have to wait till the last part of a process (e.g. a ‘magic dip’) before the figures look right.
  • You can balance the colours used on each base.
  • The result is effective.
  • The method is potentially quick, but you need to be relaxed about the parts you can't reach and the lack of detail. You are basically just painting the outsides and the tops.
The main stages are as follows:
  • Base figures.
  • Texture bases.
  • Undercoat with a wet application of Acrylic chocolate brown.
  • 'Pop' figures with light, bright block painting that contrasts sharply with the brown background. If it doesn't stand out it's not worth adding.
  • Leave brown in the shadows between ranks and for anything else that can be left brown e.g. legs, muskets, bags etc.
  • Detail is minimised – overall impression at a distance is maximised, e.g. Faces will be painted but not hands.
The following section is a detailed painting ‘to-do’ list. Some of the detail below is not quite finished. I'm publishing it as it is. I was thinking of posting this a live document but I decided that would be too awkward.  It’s shown here as a list but my working document will be a Word table and some sections will be placed in parallel.

Make temporary trays for sorting figures into units. DONE
Decide on basing arrangements. TO BE FINALISED
UHU MDF and steel bases together.
Clip and sort into trays by unit. (Note Imperialist infantry have armoured front rank and some musketeers in helmets. Swedes have some musketeers in Monmouth caps.)
Clean castings if/as necessary.

PVA all figures (except cannon) to bases.
Tetrion bases.
PVA fine sand to bases.
Supergell cannon in place.
Undercoat with wet application of acrylic dark chocolate paint.

Paint horses that are *not* brown.
Paint Imperialist cannon carriages…
Paint Swedish cannon carriages…
Do blackened armour on Imperialist Cuirassiers and Imperialist front-rank pikemen (Dark grey? Gunmetal?)

Using light, bright paints, pick out coats:
Buff coats on Swedish Cavalry.
Swedish coloured infantry  uniforms:
Yellow, Blue etc
Paint Scots in hodden grey (brown) and light blue bonnets.
Remainder of Swedish infantry: pearl-grey.
Paint Swedish Commanded Shot – all pearl-grey or split into three colours/sections.
Paint remainder of Swedish cavalry in random colours...
Paint Imperial Pike+Shot, Shot, Harquebusiers, Dragoons, and Croats in random colours...

Dab faces flesh.
Paint Swedish hats....
Paint Imperialist hats...
Paint Swedish Monmouth caps...
Paint Imperialist pike helmets and shot in helmets as blackened.
Paint some Swedish Horsemen with blackened armour.

Paint all pikes light wood.

Bronze cannon barrels.
Silver swords, pike points, burnished armour on remaining Swedish Horsemen.

Static grass, ballast, tufts etc.

Spray varnish to fix and protect.
[Ink wash and re-highlight???]
[Very light white feather-brush to lift???]
Add flags.

Balagan's TYW Imperialist Painting Guide
Balagan's TYW Swedish Painting Guide
Balagan's TYW Spanish Painting Guide


  1. I really like the idea of basing before painting .... I just wish I was brave enough to do it :-)

    1. It requires an act of faith, but when you've done it once you know it works...

  2. Your basing plan post is not showing, it may be because you have two posts dated for the 15th? perhaps it will show tomorrow.

    1. Hi Norm - thanks for pointing this out! Actually, I hit the 'Publish' button accidentally and then had to backtrack. It wasn't ready for publication and I'm not intending to start posting twice a day!

      All being well I'll check it again tomorrow morning and then post it properly.

      I've got quite a bit to say at the moment and not much else to do, but once I can start painting I'll probably go back to weekly posts...