Friday, December 01, 2006

My Painting Philosophy --

Well, I've recently viewed some very nice paint work on a number of the blogs listed on the side of mine . . . and I'm impressed.

I'm also still waiting for our old condo to sell so that we can get our new home and move all of our stuff in storage (including all of my paints and figures) to somewhere where I CAN paint.

However, I'm becoming intimidated. I am not nearly as fine a painter as many of the gentlemen currently displaying their work on-line. Indeed, about all that can be said of my painting is that the units look like units and they are easily seen.

You see (well, you don't actually "see" because I don't have any recently painted figures to show you), my painting philosophy differs from that of some of my fellow bloggers.

I generally use a fairly bright palette and do not add much in the way of detail or shading. I want the unit to look like a unit at "wargaming distances". That means that if it isn't particularly notable from a yard away, I generally don't paint it.

Also, I try to limit the number of colors on a figure. I don't try for six different shades of brown on a figure. For my taste (and yours may well differ), I feel that too many colors on a figure can "muddy" it.

Remember, I'm not painting individual figures for a close-up competition (which I'd lose), but rather a number of parts of a whole (the unit). I like the way my units look. They don't win awards, but I generally get some comments to the effect that people like the look of my army.

Does this mean that everyone should paint this way? Of course not. Each of us has different aspects of our hobby that appeal most to them. Painting is one of those aspects and we all approach it somewhat differently. We're all right.

I don't know how often I'll be posting for a while. Our "electrical woes" continue (we had no power for 14 hours today). Furthermore, we have some pipes that froze and broke in the severe weather . . . and I don't know how long that will take to get fixed.

Anyway, as December looms, I'll try to keep up . . . but who knows?

-- Jeff


Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Hi Jeff,

Happy December 1st! We're in the midst of our first big snowstorm of the season here in Central Illinois. Right on time! Anyway, I have an article on painting to wargames scale (and rapidly) from Miniature Wargames 6 or 7 that you might find interesting. I'll scan it and send it on to for if you like. You might find it interesting. Pleas let me know.

Best Regards,


Poruchik said...


You are right on the money! I have a range that I am painting simply; my 42mm RTW:

I want mass fast fun with plenty of toys on the table. I want the appeal of lots of big units with lots of countries. Eventually I'll paint English, French, German, Persian, Austro-Hungarians and Indians in this scale and time frame. Each country will have around 12-14 Inf units 4-6 Cav and 4-6 Arty. Well then I'm going to work in the Victorian SciFi angle as well with big steam driven toys. Perhaps from there they move into space; who knows?

I also have a couple of other ranges that I want a bit more detail on; the current SYW RSM95 project. I don't need to shade or wash a little black line and that's all. Again, I want to paint Prussians, Russians, Vulgarians and Ottomans.

Finally there are the projects that I have always wanted to paint. I'm only going to paint 4-6 Inf, 2-4 Cav and 1-3 Arty units. The GNW is one of those lines; I'm torn between the AWI and War of 1812 for the other. In the GNW I'm not sure about the M-M 28's or the upcoming S&S 40's. I probably only have two of these projects in me.

Regardless I think folks need to paint to make themselves happy. Paint to place out the armies you wants the way you want them. There is no shame in a lot of perfectly colored gaming figures placed out to play. If it makes you happy, then it's an excellent paint job. If you are able to punch out enough to play the games you want, then it's an exceptional paint job. After all, it really is about putting the little boogers on the table and pushing them around.

I think your figures are awesome and look great en masse. You have also picked out enough detail and color to get the nuisances and feel for the armies. You have nothing to be intimidated about my friend.


MurdocK said...

Ultimately we paint for different reasons.

I had started with just 15mm minis.

Only had plans to do the Roman era armies. My first painting efforts were rather bland, compared to today's works.

In time I found some fantasy rules that worked for the same troops. So I ended up planning and painting a few armies of Fantasy forces as well.

I found that the 15mm troops were difficult to get 'looking good' to my eye, beyond the basic colors.

Then Napoleonics found me.

Very busy uniforms, very intense colors (in the early uniforms - by 1813 they were all pretty much the same? DIRTY) with lots of lace and distinctive elements, really the end of the line for 'military tailors'.

A switch to 25mm figs and the need for lots of them brought me to Prince August. The minis are very simple in design and have less 'details' than many by the more commercial makers (mainly because you have to cast them yourself).

This then led me to want to 'include' some details into the minis (especially the faces where sometimes due to my sloppy casting {or very old moulds}) where there are no details at all.

I have since learned a super fast method of painting masses of troops. One that gives some details, certainly enough for the needs of tabletop gaming. One where I can do work for an hour or so two or three nights a week and in a month have 100 plus minis finished!

Now with Jeff's help I have encountered a really fast way to get cavalry done...thanks Jeff.

In the end how well painted units are is entirely up to their owner!

I only suggest that time spent lavishing on commanders will be time well spent!

Come join with us in December for a paint day Jeff!

(if you can sneak away come out for another in January too!)

El Grego said...

Hi Jeff,

I have similar feelings of intimidation when I see other painted figures. It has limited some of my plans in the past. Right now, though, I think that I just need to paint and get an army together on the table... I would rather be playing than worrying!


marinergrim said...


No need to feel intimidated. there are always people out there with more talent it's just one of those things.

If you're happy with the output then that's what matters. Everybody has a different view but there's nothing wrong with being different.

Painting used to be a chore for me and I never really liked it. I tried many styles over the years and never found one that suited me. It's only in the last five years or so that I've found one that I like and that's thanks to the GW Lord of the Rings game - the articles on how to paint figures were excellent and really helped improved my technique.

As long as you're happy no one should ever complain.