A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

What a Load of Old Walls


Further to references in a couple of recent posts, I have now painted up most of my new Battleground medieval fortifications. The paint now appears to be sticking nicely - thanks for assistance with the base coat issue - I am still swithering over whether to apply a coat of matt varnish spray to finish. I prefer the appearance without, but these chaps will have to be stored away in a box, wrapped in tissue, and tough might be better than pretty - thinking about it.

Quick photo includes my existing Battleground pieces, just to fatten up the picture a bit. I decided to go for a general stone shade, which, strictly speaking, is incorrect for the Siege of Chester (Chester has good, red Bunter sandstone walls), but is fine for Newcastle and a pile of other places. Also, a big plus for this colour is that it will match well with my Vauban pieces, so I can produce hybrid fortified towns for the Peninsular War.

I still have to paint a rather natty little gatehouse (with clock) and two dirty great half star-fort castings (two halves = one complete star-fort). The star-forts may be a week or so, but I'll try to get the gatehouse done at the weekend. The gatehouse is not Battleground, by the way - I think it's JR Miniatures, but I'm not sure.

Drybrushing stonework, fortified with plenty of coffee and my new Radu Lupu recording of the Brahms Divertimenti, has been very therapeutic!

13 comments:

  1. Varnish! Varnish everything!!!!

    The acid off your fingeers, the gentle friction of packaging, cat pee, it all has an effect. Protect 'em.

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    1. I believe I shall - I've never trusted that cat.

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    2. I'll second that Gary. Good call.

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  2. Henry emailed me to say that he uses washes to paint buildings, since he was taught that drybrushing is an old-fashioned technique. He asked for some details on the method I use.

    Well, I am hardly an expert, and what I do with buildings is what I picked up from books, long ago - I've never used washes for this purpose - I believe that the methods are sort of opposite - with washes you start with a light shade and get darker, with drybrushing you start with a very dark base coat and drybrush on to highlight the detail, using progressively lighter colours. With brickwork I tend to use 4 layers, but for masonry I use 3 these days.

    For these buildings I wanted a neutral kind of stone colour, but all grey doesn't give the effect I was looking for - many greys can make the building look like something out of a pottery class. The flash photo has blanched the colours and flattened the texture of the castings, but without flash I couldn't get anything at all in the short time I had available.

    I use sampler pots of Dulux household paint - my local hardware store will mix them to order, and they can even handle shades that are no longer in the catalogue.

    For this lot I used a dark brown base (Rum Caramel #2), then drybrush with a mid-to-light grey (Night Jewels #3), then drybrush again with a light cream colour (Khaki Mist #3), which I also use very sparingly over timberwork. I also touched in some darker brown (Rum Caramel #1) in the arrow slots and hatches, and added a little baseboard green around footings, in dark corners and so on.

    If that doesn't get me pilloried (yet again) as an idiot by the heroes on TMP then I don't know what will.

    I intend to finish off this lot with two coats of acrylic aerosol matt varnish.

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  3. In the photo, you can see that the buildings look less cream and more gritty the further they are from the flash. I'll try to get a better picture when I have more time.

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  4. Nice work. I would be would be much more of the school that tough is better than pretty.

    How often do you expect to transport them?

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    1. Thank you sir - I have the varnish spray on order. I don't like aerosols - they are dangerous to use in the house, and in this weather they are not so great out of doors either. Which doesn't leave many other possibilities, except maybe for our garage, but that's basically indistinguishable from outdoors, apart from the spider census.

      The fortifications are not going to be transported in the sense of going somewhere (painting trips notwithstanding), but the box they are packed in will get moved far more times than it gets opened.

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  5. Those look very good indeed Tony, I like the stonework.

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    1. Thanks Lee - slapping household paint on with a ⅜" brush is more my kind of thing, as you know! The star-fort sections are interesting - there is a bit of mould rubber to be picked out of the castings, so I guess I may have the last-ever star-fort from this maker...

      More pics will follow eventually. I am now living at home again, after a spell taking care of my mother. Comparatively, I suddenly have so much time that I don't know quite where to start!

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  6. My local hardware store don't sell spray cans of acrylic matt varnish any more, so I was looking on line. Interesting. We'll take cosmic standards of quality as a given, but why is a 400ml can of Games Workshop/Citadel stuff £30, when i can get the same size can of PlastiKote acrylic for £6.40? Did I miss something?

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    1. sshhhhh. it's a secret!
      I get complaints about the smell from aersols even if I've sprayed outside and waited 2 days to bring it in so I brush on everything including primers and varnishes.

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  7. Battleground and or JR buildings aren't cheap, best varnish them!They do look rather nice I must say.

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