Fusilier of King Joseph's 2nd (Toledo) Regt - note pre-bottle-top coin
After publishing yesterday's Hefty Effort, I was thinking some more about my initial dealings with the hobby-shop man who did some painting for me. I was astounded when he complained (amongst a great many other things) about the number of colours required for a Napoleonic figure, and how long it took to do the work. I had admired some extremely complicated Fantasy things that he had done, and - given that my requirements for wargame figures are relatively primitive anyway - I dismissed his complaint as nonsense.
Thinking about it again, I had a go at writing down just what it is that I do to paint a battalion from scratch, and it is much more fiddly than I would have thought. Please note that this is no kind of "how-to" explanation or guideline for painting Napoleonic troops - Lord knows I am hardly qualified to offer any advice on the subject!
For a standard French Napoleonic line battalion - for me this would be, typically, Les Higgins fusiliers and flankers, and mostly Kennington, NapoleoN or Art Miniaturen command figures, including a mounted colonel - the required work would be, in sequence:
Clean up/modify castings as necessary, superglue colonel onto his horse; blu-tak figures onto plastic bottle-tops for painting.
Humbrol matt white enamel: base coat over everything - leave overnight.
Acrylics from now on:
White: trousers/breeches, lapels, turnbacks, belts, drum heads.
Dark blue: coats, colonel's saddle cloth.
Red: collars, cuffs, shoulder straps, piping round lapels and (maybe) round turnbacks, grenadiers' epaulettes and plumes.
Dark blue (again): middles of shoulder straps (leaving red piped edges), cuff flaps, clean up edges.
White (again): clean up edges & belts, piping round collars if reqd, officers' plumes & gloves.
Mid green & yellow: voltigeurs epaulettes & collars (maybe) & plumes.
Flesh: heads & hands.
Blue-grey: rolled greatcoats.
Dark brown: colonel's horse, muskets, hair & moustaches.
Earth: packs, horse's hooves.
Black: hats, boots, cartridge pouches and all scabbards, horse harness & straps, flag pole.
Leather: boot cuffs, socket for eagle-bearer's strap.
White (again): musket slings, bottom layer of cockades, ties & laces on packs.
Red (again): blobs on cockades.
Mid blue: more blobs on cockades, drum hoops.
Purple, dk green, orange, sky blue: shako pompoms.
Whatever: detailing of drummer & colonel & colonel's horse, plus touch-up and fancy tweaks as required.
Matt varnish over everything - leave a couple of hours (prepare plywood bases).
Gunmetal: musket barrels and fittings.
Brass/gold: buttons, (maybe) some musket fittings, sword hilts and scabbard trim, chinscales, hat plates, all officers' finery and distinctions, including edging of saddle cloth and top band of shakos; The Eagle, drum case, fancy bits on horse's strapping.
Silver: bayonets, sword blades, stirrups, harness buckles on horse.
White (one last time) plus leather (again): tensioners on drum.
Paint figure bases with regulation baseboard-green emulsion.
Glue figures on bases with PVA - leave to dry.
Paint completed bases with green emulsion.
Now get them a flag, get them labelled up as necessary, make up a sabot (movement tray), put them in The Cupboard.
It's rather more than I thought - if someone asked me to do all that for them, I would complain, too. I would certainly charge more than I paid him.