Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Wurtemburg Cavalry....Have I been a complete prat all my life?

Kavallerie Rgt. Nr. 4 Jäger König
I can't help feeling I've been a bit of a plonker. Since the mists of time I've always painted cavalry in the following manner: Glue rider onto horse, spray undercoat grey, paint whole thing as required.
Such stupidity!
While approaching painting these Wurtemburg mounted jager for Noel, I was struck by the fact that the uniform was very dark. Dark green coat and trousers, all belts and gauntlets black, black helmet. Seemed pretty sensible to undercoat black, despite my general dislike of black undercoat. Fine, we are all allowed to change our minds once in a while. The trouble was the horses, unless they are actually black, I REALLY don't like black undercoated ponies, and as these are light cavalry, bays and browns were going to be what I wanted. My method normally for this is to undercoat grey, then apply either a tan or dark brown, then wash over with the ubiquitous burnt umber oil paint. Relatively quick and easy, but the tan doesn't work well with a black basecoat.
Hang on...What if I painted the riders and horses seperately? Then I could base the riders black and the horses grey. Problem solved. Then....What if I sprayed the horses seperately as well??? Tan for the bays, grey for the greys (thats white ones for those who don't pander to horse-speak), and dark brown for the...dark brown ones. Blimey! this was a revelation! Now it might be blindingly obvious to all of you lot, but it is a good example of how we can get set in our ways. .
I explained how I'd never done this before to Mr Sympathy (John Lander) and he almost wee'd himself laughing at how I'd never worked this out previously. Thanks.

Rear view: Lots of black belts.
So thats what I did. Preped up 8 horses at a time, sprayed in strips of 4, either tan, brown or grey. Block in the harness, mane and tail black. Black wash over the legs, then splat on the umber wash. Wipe a bit off here and there with a dry cloth. Then detail with dry-brushing the tail etc and do some white markings. A little bit of brass on the harness.
It was SO quick! I could bang out 8 horses in about an hour or so, even allowing drying time for the oils. Varnishing does need 24 hours or so or the wash will come off.

As usual, plenty of head variants possible with Firing Line stuff
Painting the riders was fine too, and they were pretty quick with a black undercoat, which was then heavily dry-brushed in very dark grey, before highlighting with 2 lighter greys. Uniform in green. The Trumpeters were nice to do, a tan base and then highlighted with a very pale yellow (Vallejo German yellow). I'm not that keen these days on using a bright yellow, and this fits the bill nicely.
The white and silver lines on the shabraques took a while, but all in all it was a quick paint job with decent results.

There are however, 2 errors in this unit. 1 was deliberate as it actually conformed with Noels' instructions for the unit. The second one is a lot less conspicuous and I only found out about it about 1/2 an hour ago by which time it was too late to rectify.
So...Pedant of the month award and a punch in the mouth for those of you who can work out my terrible inaccuracies. I am waiting for the ground to swallow me up as I write this.
So, thats the Wurtemburgers all done apart from the Skirmishers, I'll start them when I get back from the WHC. I'm off up there on friday for a WWII game, which is followed by a game of Vittoria between just me and Gerry. I've never played Vittoria before...He said "You'd best play French"...I'm expecting a proper shoeing.


RTB said...

Very nice indeed. Whats this oil wash that you use Chris?

Chris Cornwell said...

I always thought painting hosses with oils was the oldest trick in the book, just using an artists oil paint as a wash, block in the basecoat, then I use "Burnt Umber" artists oils thinned right down with white spirit all over the horse, including the black bits as it gives them a nice deep brown sheen, then wiping off the excess with a dry clean cloth. This exposes the colour beneath while leaving the oil paint in any grooves/shadows etc. if you wipe off too much you can just put more on. Contrary to popular belief, the oils don't take long to dry, about an hour tops, though varnishing should be left for a day or so.
In 30 years of painting I've got through a total of 3 tubes of Burnt Umber and I use it for EVERYTHING. I love it. the other oil I use is "burnt sienna" as a flesh wash. Base flesh with vellejo "sunny skin tone" wash over with Burnt sienna and then highlight in the vallejo ..simple.

Noel said...

They look lovely Chris, I'm all a quiver about collecting them in November.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Hello Chris,

Beautiful new cavalry you have there! Thanks for describing how you painted them. It has never occurred to me either to prime/paint the horses and troopers separately.

Best Regards,

Stokes Schwartz

RTB said...

Cheers Chris

I am relatively new to all of this and pretty much self taught so any tips come in handy. Will consider some oils..........


Anonymous said...

What spray paint to you use for the tan / dark brown over the primer? Alternatively do you know of a tan primer?


Secundus said...

I love the big units, what game rules are you playing with?

Chris Cornwell said...

For the tan I just use the army painter desert yellow and the dark brown a Humbrol....
Rules?? what rules????!!!!!!!!!!!
"In the Grand Manner"..beware pale imitations.