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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Painting Normans, step by step

SAGA is catching on big here in the Twin Cities. Hoping to help or inspire new SAGAmites everywhere, I'm sharing my Dark Age painting process in a single, overly long post. How fortunate that I have 48 Norman spearmen waiting for a quick coat of paint! 

Basing and priming: I used a glue gun for basing as it's fast, reliable and the glue smooths out the "pitcher's mound" on the base of the figure. I primed in brown to save a bit of brushwork. How much of the primer you keep intact is your call. The back of the shields, spears, and shoes are all good options.

Paint in sets: To maximize efficiencies, I sorted the Normans into 6 sets of 8 figures. I then block-painted each set with a single color. I'll mix sets at the finish line to achieve an irregular look. 


Block and wash: After block painting, I washed the figures with Vallejo's Sepia Game Color.   My other go-to wash is Army Painter Strong tone. Both give great results in shadows and shading.

Highlights: While painting for speed, I want my Dark Age figures to mix well.  Therefore, the Normans got highlights like the rest of my SAGA war bands.  While the primary blocking color was identical in each set, I varied my highlights slightly for variety. I avoided highlighting folds and recesses to keep a shadow effect  At gaming distance, the contrast looks quite nice.

There's a saying in miniature painting that it's all about "faces, bases and flags." To that end, I put use Foundry's flesh triad. I painted the flesh last to avoid the trial that comes from stray paint getting onto a face that is not my own.

Shield Transfers: I use Little Big Man Studios shield transfers for my SAGA painting as they both lovely and a time saver. Transfers were applied over white painted shields. Each shield got a coat of my lightest grey and then white since I can't get one coat coverage with just white. 
Color coordination: I sorted the transfers by color-red, green, blue and brown-and matched them to the warrior set painted the same color. While perhaps ahistorical, color coordination is pleasing to the eye and I do want my warriors to look good.
Paint the shields in: LBMS transfers are not a tight fit over the rimless kite shields. That's where you need to paint the transfers in. By feathering your paint just over the edges of the transfer, you'll fool people into thinking your shields were hand painted. I won't tell if you don't! 



Sealer:  I sealed the transfers with Future acrylic finish. Army Painter Matte varnish knocked down the shine at the finish line.

Basing: Bases were a mix of 1/3 fine & 1/3 medium Woodland Scenics ballast and 1/3 of a larger grit.  The bases were painted with Americana Milk Chocolate, a wetcoat of Cocoa over that and then a light highlight of Sand. I put tufts down and hit everything with Army Painter Matte Finish. With that, 32 Norman spearmen are done.  Time to crack open a frosty beverage and celebrate!  The next 16 Normans are well under way but I ran out of shield transfers, dang it.  







I'm planning to use these figures to turn my SAGA Norman warband into a playable Hail Caesar or Impetus army. To that end, I need many more mounted warriors. And Warbases bases to rank up my skirmishers. And more shield transfers.  And a local opponent would be good unless I want to paint up both sides.  I guess my last bit of advice today is to look before you leap!


51 comments:

  1. Awesome! love the green's and blue's colors you used on the figures..great step by step article Monty! which I'm sure will help young painters to improve their painting skills.

    cheers,

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    1. Thanks Phil, I appreciate it! I do like to see how other painters get to done. Here's hoping I'm not the only one.

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  2. Really like the overall impression of these guys. I'm always a bit jealous when I see people beeing able to do that block painting thingy with 28mm figures... especially when the results are as impressive as yours.

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    1. Moiterei, I have to laugh because I'm green with envy every time you post up figures, be they 15mm or 28mm. I really would like to step up my game on painting faces. Well, amongst other things. ;-)

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  3. Monty, this is a great step-by-step primer for Normans and an inspiration for those of us who are a bit more.., shall we say, leisurely (?) in our approach to painting. Excellent work!

    Are these Gripping Beast figs?

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    1. Makes me want to crack on with mine. Thankfully I don't have 48!

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    2. Good eye as always, Evan. I edited out my explanation on how I acquired these Gripping Beasts. A fellow on TMP was dumping them for .50 apiece, making them as cheap as plastics!

      Michael, you have a pretty full plate, editing, painting AND gaming!

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  4. Very impressive work - I really like the LBM Studios transfers and your painting is very. very good

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    1. Thanks Jim! I am a huge fan of LBMS, their work really saves me work, and looks great.

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  5. That's a great little demo on 'getting it done!'
    Great result.
    cheers

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    1. Thanks Kiwi, it helped to be away from the painting table for a bit!

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  6. SAGAmites? That's a good one! Fantastic work with great blues, greens, reds, and browns. Shields look fantastic. Forty-eight figures at one go? I know only one other with such madness.

    Enjoyed your tutorial.

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    1. I can think of a Jonathan and Phil who have and move lead mountains with the greatest of ease! With the limited poses I had to knock them out in one go or they'd never see the finish line. :-)

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  7. That's some lovely looking madness 48 miniatures my word but you make it look quick and easy.

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    1. Thanks Robert and HEY, you are the fellow who wrote Zombie incident post! That was superb, and I've added you to my blog roll.

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  8. Very interesting step by step guide and a stunning result.
    Excellent work!

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  9. Lovely work and a great step by step. Love how the greens came out... although they look more Irish than Norman that way! ;-)

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    1. Burkhard, the fellows in green are the Norse–Gaels. ;-)

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  10. Great tutorial. Interesting use of brown base coat. Cheers, Ross

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    1. Thanks Ross! I have to admit that this reddish brown was not quite as helpful as my standard Army Painter Leather Brown. It was worth a try!

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  11. Most impressive step by step, and it looks so simple when you show us your beautiful work...Basing, paint job and shields are on top!

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    1. Thanks Phil, I look forward to your next AAR!

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  12. Excellent results Monty, really nice work. Thanks for sharing your methods, there's a few things there I will try. Cheers, Paul :-)

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    1. Paul thanks! I remember you have a little SAGA painting too. Of course, it's dwarfed by the massive FoW drop you acquired. I do love a good deal too!

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  13. Those colours sure are nice and the shields really make a statement. I don't see how anyone can get results this good so quickly.

    You should submit this as an article to the Blogger Wargaming Magazine!

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    1. Anne, thanks! The trick is to use non of the higher end painting techniques that you use. ;-)

      I was trying to weigh what my chances of that are. I think maybe if I carve out one segment of the article and build it up, maybe I have something? I will try!

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  14. That is very impressive. You get a great result.

    John

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  15. Really inspiring stuff, Monty!

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  16. You've just painted more than I do in six months in the blink of an eye - and they were jolly good! Amazing Monty, really impressive stuff.

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    1. Thanks Michael! Your Witchfinder project is stunning and moving at a very rapid clip.

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  17. Awesome step-by-step production line painting with superb results, Monty. Interesting choice for the base coat color too. Best, Dean

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    1. Thanks Dean! I thought the warm reddish brown would be an interesting change-up but it turns out it's not the equal of AP Leather Brown. Live and learn!

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  18. Colour me (or block paint and varnish me) impressed, Monty, that is stonkingly impressive. My ADHD kicks in just reading this post. You got some very solid and lovely figures there - I hope they fight as well as they're painted!

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    1. Thanks Michael, that is very kind!

      For me, a touch of OCD comes in handy as I constantly strive to organize and control the painting table. It's a double edged sword that worked here. ;-)

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  19. Replies
    1. Thanks Pru, and I liked your new approach to getting figures painted. It is a good option, and frees you up for other things until you want to come back to it. Good one!

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  20. Replies
    1. In my best Austrian accent "Follow me if you want to live, er, paint!"

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  21. Excellent step-by-step Monty! The results speak for themselves.

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  22. Lovely work Monty, I have used brown undercoat in the past, on the right figures it can be a real timesaver. I think you may have accidentally commited yourself to a bigger project than you intended... :)

    Phil

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    1. I really have stepped into it, haven't I?

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  23. Monty,

    Have you ever thought about making a video?

    Dave

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    1. How about a painting and terrain making day? ;-)

      I don't know if I still have my digital recorder. Time to look...

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