Saturday, 23 November 2019

Thirty Years War 6mm progress 4: the main colour

An impressive array, but further patching is needed because of the white undercoat and inconsistent mixing and application of the brown paint.
I wet painted the figure blocks (including the bases) with Vallejo Charred Brown. This may be thin paint but it's not supposed to be a wash. Controlling the consistency of the paint is a bit hit and miss. However you mix it, it tends to separate and to dry out.

The brown needs to be solid as it will be the finished colour of at least 50% of the figure blocks. This brown functions as the base colour of the ground, the shadow between the ranks of figures and any and all parts of the figures which I don't subsequently paint with any other colour.

The blocks may be only 60mm x 30mm but given the indentations represented by the figures and the sand on the bases, they have a very large surface area and positively drink paint. Getting 100% coverage is vital. I don't want any white spots in the middle of an area which is supposed to be deep shadow. The blocks therefore have to be touched up in good light.

It was at this point that I realised I should have undercoated in black gesso according to the original ‘recipe’. Had I done so, covering the undercoat completely wouldn’t be so important. As it was it took quite a lot of time to eliminate any white spots and I still have to go over the blocks again as the brown is a bit thin in places. I am currently awaiting a new supply of Charred Brown!

I know some people may think that basing before painting is a little eccentric, but had I painted the figures first I would not have been able to get at the ground between them given the way in which they are so packed together.


  1. Fascinating technique. I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

    1. There are three projects I’ve approached like this: this one in 6mm, the ACW one in 10mm and a SYW one. The latter is also 10mm but currently stalled so there is no outcome to judge.

      I think the figures have to be fairly small, i.e. 6mm or 10mm, and also well packed. That’s not to say you can’t base-before-paint 15mm or larger figures, but the technique would not be the same.

      Michael Leck (Delauppror) prebases 28mm figures in 1s, 2s and 3s with remarkable results

      At some point I would like to resuscitate my 16thC armies for Irregular Wars. I’m thinking of basing before panting these. They will have 3, 4 or 6 figures on 30mm square bases so could be quite challenging. I don’t think I could leave a lot of ‘unpainted shadow’. I would have to get a brush in amongst them.