Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Horse holders...

Wow - clearly the trip to the Colours show was more affecting than I thought.. I had an almost overwhelming urge to pick up a paint brush when I got back... these guys were already under-coated so they were the unlucky candidates and drew the short straw!

These will provide the markers for my cavalry regiments when they dismount... these are the horse-holders for the Confederate 7th Virginia Cavalry [click here].

The following are the horse-holders for the Union 1st Michigan Volunteer Cavalry [click here]

..actually I think it's more to do with DG's visit and the sheer pleasure of pushing some lead around!

Figures are 20mm and Newline (I will try some other manufacturers at some point in time, but at the moment I'm wholly enjoying painting these little guys!)

This time I tried a new technique with these horses.. my favourite horses are bays - usually I use a paint to get the reddish brown colour (Vallejo Maron). This time I decided to save time - black undercoat, damp brush white, generous coat of some (very old) chestnut coloured Citadel ink, once that is dry over-brush with a generous coating of (very) dilute black ink, with a final darker black ink for mane and tail and the bottoms of the legs - done! No more than 10 minutes for all four, but I think they look OK... a little dark, but in the flesh they're good.

Next step - and already started - is the mounted versions of the regiments. First off the chocks will be the 1st Michigan.


  1. Steve,

    I use a somewhat similar horse painting technique . . . only I do it like this:

    Black prime (and dry)
    White damp brush
    "horse color" damp brush (note, some white will still show)
    after the above are nicely dry, I do a wash with a BROWN ink . . . it looks far more natural (to my eyes) than the black ink.

    The philosophical concept behind the above is that the focus should be on the riders, not the horse . . . so the detailed painting should focus on riders . . . and the technique I use does give reasonably looking horses.

    -- Jeff

  2. Excellent stuff there Steve. Really like those. Nice technique for the horses.

  3. Cheers guys..

    Jeff - I'll try that...

  4. Steve,

    A further note . . . after brushing on whatever "horse color" you want, there not only should still be some white showing, but also some black (mainly in recessed areas).

    The way that I apply my watered-down brown ink, by the way, is first with the figure upside down, then turn it over and brush back down.

    WARNING -- at this point it might look like your ruined everything . . . but the ink dries into hollows and crevices (such as mane and tail). Go ahead and wick off any that seems excessive . . . and wait to dry.

    -- Jeff

  5. I too am an inks fan for horses.

    Jeff - do you mix anything else in with your ink wash, such as a bit of white glue? I find without the white glue that sometimes the ink wash dries "in negative", ie the dark colours pool on the highlights and not in the recesses.

    Steve and Jeff - what inks are you using now that GW have very inconveniently withdrawn what I thought was their excellent inks range (not sure what I will do when my Flesh Wash runs out)? I find their new wash range just doesn't have a powerful enough pigment to it. I note Steve still has some GW Chestnut ink left - me too, but it is on its last legs and I need a replacement!

  6. Richard - your comments are spot on...

    I have a bottle of flesh wash that is down to a third - I hate to think what I'm going to do when it's finished as the new flesh washes (well Ogryn Flesh anyway) are rubbish...

    I've started using these:


    Specifically Black, Dark Blue (Union uniforms) and Scarlet - I may try the brown as a replacement for my chestnut wash...

    I tried a bottle of chestnut in the following range:


    ..but was disappointed - same issue as the new GW flesh washes - not enough "ooomph"...

    Worth checking are the Vallejo inks - I use their "woodstain" and "smoke" a lot - highly recommended...

  7. Very nice work, Steve. Somehow one always associates horse-holder vignettes with the ACW and not with other periods....these really look the business and I love the horses.

    Best wishes


  8. Thanks for the response Steve.

    Yes, the hunt for new inks is on as our existing GW stocks dwindle. It is that pure pigment power which I am seeking. I have tried Winsor & Newton Drawing Inks range - simple too thin - I guess thes is the same one that disappointed you.

    I cannot really recall how good the inks/washes were in the old GW paint range now marketed as Coat D'Arms by Black Hat - but I know that I thought the replacement inks to be a significant upgrade.

    I am sure it will be worth trying Vallejo inks - their paints are pretty solid.

    But if anyone has any recommendations, please shout!

  9. Sound choice.. the Vallejo inks are good, and I use the W&N calligraphy (not drawing) inks a lot (link above) both straight and diluted....

  10. Great Job. Like you, I think that vallejo eand W&N have the best products to paint figs...It's not the period that i prefer but I must tell you that your pictures make me want to try some figs...bravo!

  11. Richard,

    I'm still using some old GW inks.

    -- Jeff