Progress in Madness
Last week after I announced the goal to attempt to paint 275 figures in three weeks, I had a vision. In that vision, a young Robert Duvall sat confidently on a horse across the field from me and he shouted “That’s bold talk for a one-eyed fat lady!”
Knowing that I won’t complete any miniatures if I work on all 275, I decided to break them into 4 groups – cavalry, infantry with built up bases for Warhammer Ancient Battles, plastic figures from Wargames Factory, and infantry without built up bases. I chose to start with the infantry without the built up bases, a group of 96 figures.
I was able to paint about an hour a day & 3 hours on Thanksgiving. With luck, I hope to finish this batch by Sunday evening. Without further ado, I’ll tell you what I got done this week.
Nudity and Painting Skin
The Amazon figures I painted this week are modeled after depictions in Classical Greek art. About half of this week’s batch of figures are nude. I read somewhere that we should never be completely comfortable with nudity, but we should also not be shocked or offended by it. In truth it is never the nudity that offends, but rather the offensive behavior exhibited by some naked yahoo.
When dealing with ancient Greek history, we have three forms of records available, the written record, the archeological record, and the artistic record. We really don’t have much outside of the artistic record that tells us what warriors wore into battle. The problem with the artistic record is determining how much of it is accurate and how much is artistic license. Some scholars have concluded that the Greeks did not fight nude at all, but that the nude representation of Greek warriors is meant to convey the physical superiority of the Greeks over other nationalities. Others tend to view that while clothing was worn by all, it was expensive and labor intensive to construct, especially for the lower classes. Some Greeks may have fought nude to save wear and tear on the only pieces of clothing they may have worn. And there is always the theory of the fringe fanatic who fought nude to prove he was more manly than his opponent. This also flowed over into their depictions of Amazons.
Reaper makes 22 skin or flesh colors, 10 of them are triads with shadow and highlight colors which would bring the total of skin related paints up to 42. While I like using Tanned skin for male Greeks, I like using Rosy Skin for female Greeks. To me, Rosy Skin has a more outdoors feel than the Fair Skin triad normally used for female figures. Using a triad approach is slower than just using a single color for skin, but, in my opinion, using a shadow color and highlight color adds some subtle depth to the figure.
You begin by holding the figure under a light source and determine where the shadows will be and where light is most reflected is where the highlights will be. Well, that is what you do for special character figures such as heroes and generals. When painting rank and file figures, I place the shadow colors where they tend to naturally occur – between toes, fingers; under the arms, under the breasts (both male and female figures); under the chin; interior of the thighs; behind the knees; and any exposed undersurfaces.
I actually paint all three colors, blending as I work. Shadow, base, and then highlight.
One thing about painting nudes, once you finish the skin, the figure is nearly finished!
After painting the skin, I painted the bases using an average brown paint. Believe it or not, Reaper also makes several shades of colors for dirt.
I’ve always painted figures from the skin out. Kind of like painting them the same way we get dressed. So, it is natural to paint the hair next. My hair stylist, Kris Mesko, has at least twenty to thirty tubes of color in the cabinet where she keeps my color. From those she can mix hundreds if not thousands of shades of hair color.
The predominate hair color in this batch of figures is brunette. I selected three colors of brown and a color called “Barn Wood.” “Barn Wood” is a gray with a brownish tint, the color of weathered wood. I use this color to mix with the others to produce lighter shades of brown often called a “mousey brown.” Three out of four figures will have some shade of brunette as their hair color.
Of the remaining figures, two out of three will be blonde and the lucky third will be a redhead. When painting blonde, I paint a base of “Honey Brown” first and then add yellowish highlights.
With skin and hair finished, I’m ready to start on clothing, headbands, leather, shields and weapons. I have the weekend off, so with luck I might be able to finish this batch of 96 on Sunday or Monday.
The next batch to work on will be a batch of 29 cavalry figures.