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A Hard Contest

No, not a comment on life at the moment but my latest project. Despite having more time, my painting rate has dropped. I have come to a halt with my War Of The Roses project, having run out of subjects to paint, so I turned my attention to the ‘lead pile’. Rather than churning through yet more units, I decided to have a go at some of the more challenging models in my collection. I also deliberately slowed down. There was no need to rush. I am not under any time pressure in terms of getting a unit ready for the next game. So I have deliberately slowed up and decided not to put any artificial pressure on myself to clear my painting backlog or to build a new army.

The Perry Miniature version of 'a Hard Contest'.

The Perry Miniature version of ‘a Hard Contest’.

I thought that I would have a go at painting a Perry miniatures vignette, ‘A Hard Contest’. Inspired by Sgt Ewarts capture of the 45 Regts. eagle at Waterloo. The set comprises of Sgt Ewart himself and three French defenders. Rather than my usual functional ‘Block Paint and Quick shade’ style, I would try and paint these models using ‘proper’ shading and highlighting. Inspired by the picture above, the first model that I attempted was the Sgt Ewart figure.

Sgt. Ewart in progress - primed and blocking started

Sgt. Ewart in progress – primed and blocking started

I started with the ‘grey’ horse but I wanted my figures to be on a white Horse as I thought that it would stand out when the whole Vignette was completed. I painted the horse with Vallejo London Grey and then worked through Light grey, silver grey and then Off white for the highlights.

Sgt Ewart - main colours blocked on.

Sgt Ewart – main colours blocked on.

I couldn’t break away completely from my usual style of painting and found myself blocking in most of the colours before going back to shade and highlight them. I also used a variety of inks to get the shading done. So red ink on the tunic, Flesh wash on the face, Strong tone on the browns and Dark tone on the black and metals. I think that the Army Painter inks are superb for shading and lining.

Sgt Ewart - a bit more detailing

Sgt Ewart – a bit more detailing and highlighting

I find this style of painting less of a straight forward process and therefore difficult to describe. I paint a bit here, retouch a bit there, use some colours straight from the bottle, mix some up. If all that sounds a bit like Bob Ross ( My current obsession on TV. If you are not familiar with him, look him up!) then that is sort of how it is. I’ve got an idea as to how I would like things to look and I just fiddle around until I get close! I also use the photographs to help look for where I need to improve things. It’s a bit of an excuse but I am slightly red/green colour blind, so when it comes to highlighting these colours I’m really not sure how well they blend.

Sgt Ewart, nearly complete - I dont like the stripe on his trousers!

Sgt Ewart, nearly complete – I dont like the stripe on his trousers!

When it came to choosing the correct colours for the uniform, I relied on previous research that I did when painting my Scots Greys Cavalry Regiment. That said, I couldn’t work out whether a sergeant had Yellow facings and trim to his Jacket or Gold like the officers. In the end I went half and half as it looked nice…

Sgt Ewart Complete?

Sgt Ewart Complete? Whoops! Is that a paint chip on his toe?

After much fiddling and retouching I got to the point where I had had enough of painting the Sgt. There’s always more to be done and even in the last picture I noticed a paint chip that needs repairing, and some lining need around the yellow on the jacket, but it was time to move on to the next figure.

A bad day at the office for this French soldier.

A bad day at the office for this French soldier.

I chose the wounded French ensign to paint next. Again, I confess to doing limited research on his uniform. I copied the models on the Perry’s web site. He was painted in more or less one session, which surprised me but I guess I must be getting used to this new fangled approach to painting…. Once again, I’ll use the photos to revisit the figure and retouch any areas that I’m not happy with. I now have a French lancer and a French Infantry man in a great coat to paint. It’s then just a case of putting them all on a scenic base. It may take a bit of time but now that I’ve taken the pressure off myself to finish the model in a set time, I’m quite enjoying myself!


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Happy Modelling!