Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WWII Soviets: Highlighting


Now that the figures have been washed, it's time to put on a little bit of highlighting.  Bear in mind that these are figures for gaming.  They are not top shelf fantasy figures painted to "ridiculous detail standard".  So after a single dirt wash, I dry brush all of the boots with some charcoal paint.  Next I dry brushed all of the uniforms and blanket rolls with khaki.  Finally I dry brushed the helmets with a little bit of the same green that they were base coated with - just to take the sheen off of them.  So here are a couple of photos of the figures at this step.

Next Time: Finishing

Sunday, April 20, 2014

WWII Soviets: Dirt Wash

Easter & Dirt Wash

Yesterday it rained all day, and so I had a little extra time away from yard and house chores to apply dirt wash to my Russians.  Late on Good Friday afternoon the rain began to fall, steady and cold.  Today, Easter Sunday morning dawned a beautiful clear  and warm sunny day.  All of the dirt and dust had been washed away and everything looked fresh and clean.  I could not help but notice the Spiritual implications of the weather this weekend.  By the grace of God and the blood of Jesus, all of my dirt and sin has been washed away, and He has made me a new creation, holy and righteous.  But instead of washing away the dirt, this post will be all about applying dirt and grime to miniature soldiers.

Making Dirt Wash

A long time ago I used to use a wash that consisted of black paint thinned with water.  This method would more often than not make my figures look like they had been in a fire.  They had black splotches all over their clothes, not just in the recesses of the model.  Straight up ink was my next attempt at a wash, but it was often too vibrant, not subtle enough for what I was trying to achieve.  Finally I found some acrylic matte medium at a craft store.  Matte medium is essentially acrylic paint without any pigment.  (Gloss medium is the same thing but shiny)  By mixing a small amount of ink with some matte medium I could get a less vibrant color than straight ink, at a thinner consistency than paint, that would still adhere to the recesses of the model!  Eureka!
dirt wash ingredients

In the picture above you can see my WW2 dirt wash bottle along with the ingredients I used to make it.  Truth be told, I have no clue what is really in my WW2 dirt wash - when it gets low I just add more matte medium and some ink to get a nice brownish, blackish, slightly greenish hue.

Applying Dirt Wash

I am always tempted to use a big brush and just slap this stuff on all of my figures.  Resist this temptation!  Use a small brush and apply it carefully all over the model with the possible exception of the flesh.  I put a lot of it into recesses around the model's gear and then spread it out onto the uniform and clothing areas.  By using a small brush I can make sure that no bubbles are left on the model because bubbles can dry in weird and ugly ways.  A small brush will also allow you to build up the dirt thicker in some places and thinner in others.
Here are some comparison shots of models with, and without dirt wash applied.
With, without, with, and without.

Dirt wash on top right and bottom left

German camo orange ochre - without and with dirt wash.

Finally, here are all of the figures in this batch with dirt wash on them.

Next Time: Highlights

Friday, April 18, 2014

WWII Soviets: Weapons and Helmets


There are three different weapons in this group of figures; the Mosin-Nagant 91/30 rifle, The PPSh-41 submachine gun, and the DP-28 light machine gun.  Weapons are perhaps the most important part of a WWII miniature.  Some game rules, like Bolt Action for example, differentiate figures by the weapon they carry.  So it is important to glance at a figure and be able to identify the weapon the figure is carrying.  Therefore it is important to paint the weapon correctly.  Get a picture of the weapon you are painting and get it as close to correct as you can.
Riflemen (Mosin-Nagant)
I decided to paint all of the Mosin-Nagants a nice wood-brown color.  Later, I will wash this with a dirt color, and then pick out the hardware with a metallic paint.
The PPSh-41 is largely metal with a wooden stock.  So I painted the barrel and hardware black and the stock the same brown color as the rifles.  After this I painted the black parts with a pseudo dry-brush of gun metal.  This weapon has an air-cooled barrel and I wanted to be able to see the sculpted texture of it.
Group photo (DP-28 prone on the right)
The DP-28 is almost entirely metal except for a small stock.  So once again it gets a brown wood stock, and black everything else, followed by a generous dry-brush of gun metal metallic paint.
Metallic painted weapons

Helmets and Headgear

These russians have three different types of headgear.  The pilotkas were painted the same color as the uniforms.  The helmets I painted with Vallejo 70823.  The winter hats (woolly chapkas?) I painted two colors.  The inside of the hat I painted black and the outside I used Ceramcoat Storm Grey.  So these will be the grey variety of winter hat.  You can also use a brown/buff color as well.
Woolly Chapkas
At this point, every bit of the figure has a covering of color!  So the next step is one of my favorites...

Next Time: Dirt Wash

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

WWII Soviets: Gear and Boots


Now we start to get to the part of the job where things can get tedious, but keep plugging away at it!
I paint all of the boots on these soldiers black.  The Vallejo black has just enough gloss to look right without being too shiny.  So here are 16 pairs of boots.


It really helps to know what you are painting when it comes to painting all of the ammo pouches, backpacks, blankets, shovels, and so on.  Reenactor sites like this one are really handy for this kind of thing.  So I have painted all of my soldier's gear in a variety of greens, khakis and browns.  When I can I try to provide some slight contrast and variations.  In other words don't paint all of a soldiers gear the same color as his uniform.
Some details will look nice during this step.  For example, paint the shovel handles a nice wood color, then paint the metal parts of the shovel black.  When the black is dry paint the metal parts with a dark gun metal color, because metallic paints always look better on top of a black base coat.  Finally paint the shovel (or e-tool) cover a nice green or khaki color.
Other details to consider are a different color strap holding the ends of their blanket rolls together.  Paint the straps on the rucksacks and grenade pouches a contrasting color to the rest of the bag.  Contrast and variety is good.  Here are my Soviets after this stage of painting.

Next time: Weapons and Helmets