Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Horse Painting...

As promised I sat down and did a little painting tonight, and the following shows the horse painting stage of what will eventually be Wyndham's Horse, an English regiment in the service of Marlborough.

The figures are 15mm and are a first for me, in as much as they are by Essex - not had any of their cavalry before and have to say that I'm really impressed - I like them a lot - good detail and loads of animation. I've taken some comparison pictures and will post these on the project page soonest...

Anyhow - here we go:

Black undercoat - I use standard black spray - no particular brand, usually whatever they have at the DIY store. This is good shot to see the detail of these Essex figures.. the plan is to do a bay and a grey... by the way no need to tell me, the horses tails are too long for British cavalry and I should trim them, I think they look good as they are though!

First step - using a soft no. 4 wedge brush give them a heavy dry brush of white, sometimes referred to as a "dampbrush". Basically, you load the brush, and then wipe it a couple of times in a tissue or on a piece of newspaper to get rid of most of the paint. Once you've done that brush the figures all over (to save time try to avoid the tricorn if you can) - do it quickly, and just get the highlights and surrounding area's..

Next step - base flesh colour - paint just the white area's from the previous step, leave the rest as natural shade..

Third step - my favourite step - get a decent sized soft paintbrush (I use a no. 1 or 2), load it with black ink (I use Windsor and Newton from the local art shop) and drop it on to your palette (or in my case, scruffy saucer). Mix in an equal amount of water and then paint it all over the base colour - if it's too thick, add some water to the brush and paint over what you've just painted. If it's not dark enough, no worries, just add a little more ink...

Fourth step - using a smaller brush, do the mane and tail with undiluted ink...

Last step - I use Wargames Workshop Snakebite Leather for the reins and harness - I don't do all the straps (you couldn't see them on the tabletop anyway) just a representation.. it looks very bright, in reality it isn't...

The materials - Windsor & Newton Black Calligraphy Ink, Vallejo Maron Rojo and Gris Cielo (a brick red colour, and the lightest grey which I also use as the base for French Infantry coats) , and lastly the aforementioned Snakebite Leather.

...and that's it - ignoring the time to take photo's I reckon they took me about an hour tops but I think they look ...... OK'ish


  1. Thanks for that Steve. Not too dissimilar from my own technique and with good results too.

  2. Quite similar to what I do too . . . except that I don't bother with the straps at all . . . I let the ink wash define them and leave it at that.

    One of the things that I do have to say -- and I suspect that it is true of yours also -- is that they look lots better to the eye than they do to the camera.

    -- Jeff

  3. Hi Steve,
    That's a very effective looking technique and I will give it a go. Thanks for sharing it. I would be interested to see the completed figures with rider as well!

  4. Thanks guys appreciated - the perils of close ups with the camera is that the reins and harness look very bright - in reality as Jeff says they're not....

    You may have noticed I also extend step 4 to slap a little undiluted ink on the lower legs..

    The Windsor & Newton is a water soluble ink - so if it all goes pear-shaped a clean wet brush will smooth out most errors no matter how long they've been dry.. :o))

    Stryker - will do.. according to Grant they have sea green facings - should be very attractive if I can manage to keep the brush between the lines!

  5. Hi Steve,

    Nice work there. I've never tried inks myself, but it seems many now use them as part of their painting processes. How did you hit on the use of inks?

    Best Regards,


  6. Lord, that's a good question, Stokes... I've been using them for so long now that I almost forget how I started... I suspect I started off with the GW washes some years ago, I absolutely swear by their "armour wash", and their "flesh wash"... they are a superb, fast, way of adding in shading quickly when you're not a good painter... :o))

    ...then in the old days of the Rec.Games.Miniatures.Historicals usenet group a guy called Andy O'Neil gave out some tips following posting some pictures of his stuff and I think that was probably when I started using them more... the method/style of painting just grabbed me.. in our circle of blooging OSW'ers, Murdock is a fine exponent

    You could check out for some of the early discussion - bottom line, inks are a quicker and easier way of applying shadow than drybrushing, and being thin, are far easier to paint with.

    If I could get the full palette of colours, I might even be tempted to go the whole hog!