Friday, January 24, 2020

Essex Miniatures ECW Cavalry

 A few years ago I moaned at how poor the Essex Parliamentarian Cavalry were compared to the Royalist ones. Well it turns out the riddle has been solved, they used to have the same head as the Royalists. The old figure comes with its head separate and joined to its gun arm. This must of caused issues somewhere along the line because the separate head and arm were dropped in favour of a new sculpt. However, I think you will agree the new sculpt on the left isn’t a patch on the old one. Love that lobster!
 The buff covered troopers are stuck on pencils and sprayed black. I’m going to keep this armour very  dark and try aging it with the side of a lead pencil. This unit should be nice and quick to do as they are in buff leather from head to toe, plus I’m going to use the Dip to shade them.
 No troopers were hurt in the making of this Blog post.

Essex Miniatures ECW Cavalry

 The addition of five more figures from EBay prompted me to start another squadron. This is going to be a large one of eight rather than six models, should look nice crammed together, knee to knee. I have increased the size of my Foote regiments by ten figures or so, which in turn means everything else must nudge up too including the horse.
 This is a figure of Olly Cromwell from Essex miniatures, in my games this nice characterful chap will be based on my friend, one Mr Gurney.
Gurney’s Horse will be a large Iron side unit. Most of my regiments will be based on my friends and family, makes the units more personal and interesting. My wife’s maiden name will go towards my new blew coated regiment... Sir Herbert Jackson’s Régiment of Foote and will take to the field to fight for Parliament.
 I’m very pleased with these new figures, they have been resculpted since but the newer versions are not as good, more on this in a moment.
A new regiment of horse is laid out and sorted. I painted a lot of horses using the oil wash technique a year or two ago so that should really speed things up. This oil technique is quite smelly and messy so if you’re going to do it, make sure you do loads at a time. I think I have around fifty shaded horses ready to go, chomping at the bit.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

More Civil War Dipping

 The latest batch of glossy, sticky iced buns get laid out to dry. It’s still quite early to say but I think they look okay.
 Interestingly, the first batch I did on Sunday night at 10.30 still aren’t 100% dry. There’s no rush however, I have plenty more to block out in the meantime. I did put a few fine scratches on the armour with a lead pencil, a bit like weathering a tank, it’ll be interesting to see if they are still visible once the Dip is dry. Not many left to do now, just the command with their standards.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Using Dip in ECW

 I have to say that I am addicted to painting Buff leather, I can’t just leave it alone. I find the little highlights and scuff marks impossible to leave off, even when speed painting. Love it!

 This drummer was an interesting one because without really realising it, he came out in very Confederate colours. So it will be nice to see how he turns out when finished.

The ACW is another project that simmers away on the back rings on this blog. If the Dip works out on this chap it could be the way to go on all those Rebel regiments waiting in bags, in draws, in cupboards, in locked rooms.
 The buff leather seems to come out well under the Dip.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Night of the Dip

 More pictures of tonight’s forays into dipping the English Civil War. I thought the pike colours really came to life with the added Dip.

 I did think ahead and try to add a little brown into most colours so the dark brown stain would hopefully shade them better. Also I was pleased with the shading on the tawny orange sashes.

 The process isn’t over yet of course as you can still use the original colours to touch up and highlight the figures. I always feel the faces are bit that lets down the Dip but once highlighted the figure looks great. A bit of time spent on the flesh colours either before or after the Dip should pay off. I even remember painting stubble on my French which looked good. The face is the focal point of the figure, once that looks good you don’t have to worry about the trousers, legging and shoes etc.

The moment of DIP Truth

 Looking back through the years on Iron Mitten I had forgotten myself  the amount of times I had actually used the Dip. Warbands of Celts and Romans, even a few French Napoleonics. The best case of results was bashing out tonnes of Celtic cavalry with Soft Tone over the horse flesh, so why did I just forget this tried and tested method for quick units.
Well, the answer is, I think I just got a bit scared. I remember painting up a whole green regiment of Foote ready for the Dip and then using the water based Army Painter strong tone instead. I think it had just been released and I wanted to try it. Since then I have used it all the time and even made my own washes from Woodland scenics paints. However the only thing that is different is that these water based washes didn’t  protect like the Dip, not even when glossed and matted down with varnish.

I had rediscovered the joy of the Dip after reading through the blog ‘I live with cats’ and seeing his Border Reivers armies. It has reminded me of the many benefits of using the stuff, namely the pleasure of  Painting figures with simple details using base colours. Also just now, the actual painting on with the Dip was very rewarding. I think if you have large numbers of troops to produce it is definitely worth considering.

I think it’s a case of having armies to game with is better than having plastic tubs of lead...or something like that. It’s this approach that has lead me back to the Dip after a good ten years away from it.
 I have been nibbling away at this ECW project for many years with only two regiments finished, so I’m hoping if these turn okay, I could use this method to speed things along. Now I need to wait 24 hours to find out.
I brushed on the Dip, wicking away any pooling with a wiped brush. If you feel some colours or armour are getting too brown, you can use the brush to wipe the Dip away, lessening the effect.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Preparing for the Dip

 You can see here the new brush bristle pike and the old metal one from Bicorne miniatures. It’s quite refreshing blasting through these figures. I’m hoping to finish this regiment in one Dip....or two.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Trying some new ideas

I took the chance to try a couple of new things tonight on the old English Civil War project.

Firstly I tried out the Vallejo thick mud for the infantry bases. In the past I had poked holes in the PVA glue and painted them brown to act as mud. However, if you want thick mud, why not try a pot of ready made stuff, I thought to myself. I didn’t go crazy with it as the base will mostly be flocked and then long grass added on top of that, so I just wanted to a few areas showing through the tufts. I’ll have to wait til tomorrow to see how this stuff drys and paints up, I’m thinking of giving it a slightly lighter drybrush when dry. The texture on it looks good though and should save me time with basing sand and paint.
 Another tip I’ve been itching to try out is the making of pikes from brush bristles. These plastic stand ins are much more flexible and less likely to take out an eye than metal ones.. Saying that,I think the real advantage comes with the fact you can flatten out the ends and make a nice pike head. You can also shape the top of the shaft to look like the metal tangs either side of the pole. Another nice touch is that the plastic sticks strongly to the figure and takes paint very well indeed.

It took me a couple of trips to various hardware stores before I found the right brush with the right sized bristles. I did buy another with slightly thinner bristles that I use for arrows and javelins. These to can be flattened with pliers and shaped easily. After doing a few I really like the effect and the bristles left on the brush should be more than enough to finish both armies.

Talking of armies, I’ve been inspired to try Army Paintet Dip again. I bottled out last time and used the water based one instead. However, the thought of producing quicker units has got me thinking. I will try Dip on the Blew coated pike block and see how they look.