Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Brief Interlude - Warhammer Ancients

On occasion, we get a chance to move backwards in time and uncover some of the older stuff that we have painted and for one reason or another have stored away for future use and forgotten about!

Im back home in Wales for the Christmas break and whenever I am here I always try to find a little time to pore over some of my wargames stuff, just to see what I uncover.

This time around I unearthed a treasure trove of items that I had all but forgotten about. Relics of a time when I actually had the time to paint miniatures properly and did it to compete!

One of my armies is a rather large Macedonian army of Philip II of Macedon, and his son, the young Prince Alexander (soon to be called Great!)

Now I loved my Macedonian army, and they never lost BUT sadly the only stuff that I had the time to paint were the majority of my light and auxiliary troops.

After Philip II crushed the Greek City States at the Battle of Chaeronea they were all oblliged to commit troops to the Macedonian war machine.. These are the Greek City State Hoplites that I painted for my army:

A closer look at some of the details on the Hoplites

After Philip II's campaigns to secure his borders in the early part of his reign he had to quell the tribal groups under Bardylis (?) whom he smashed in short order. Once this was done Thracian tribal groups also pledged their support to the Macedonian war machine.

These are Thracian tribesmen, famous for their Rhompeia (A massive cleaver wielded in battle)

In all of Philip and Alexander's campaigns the one thing that was noticeable was the difference in balance of light support troops to regular regiments. Light troops were present in the Macedonian armies in veritable swarms...

So... that summarises the troops that I have painted for my Macedonian army... but how did I paint them.

All troops were undercoated black! I always like to undercoat black as it provides all parts of the model with a deepest darkest shadow for those nooks and crannies that are always all over the place with well sculpted models.

The second step after the undercoat is the base coat whereby I would choose the overall colour scheme for the model and then choose the darkest version of that colour I would be happy to see on the model. These colours are then painted in blocks, tunics, skin, hair, armour, weapons etc. 

Shields are a separate consideration and are dealt with individually as unique pieces of art, although at this point I would also decide on tunic and cloak patterns and paint the base colours of these designs onto the miniature as well.

Once the base coats have all been done I choose two highlights for each colour. The normal highlight with which the majority of the raised areas would be painted and then the peak highlight which would only be applied to the highest areas of each colour. Why do this? Because it provides the level of contrast that any miniature needs in order to stand out on a wargames table.

Once these super highlights are finished the models just need to be based and varnished.

The basing is simple here, and looks really effective for an army that waged war across the near east. I concocted a mix of sand and fine cat litter and mixed it together judiciously. The bases were then painted with PVA glue and dipped into this sand little mix and then tapped to shake off the excess and left to dry. Once dry, a light sand coloured drybrush would be applied to the bases directly with no further colouration to keep the colour light. 

At this point the whole model would be varnished with Citadel Spray Varnish. Tough, durable and not too shiny!

The final step for painting these miniatures was to choose a suitable flock to glue, in patches onto the base. I cant stand sawdust flock as I believe it looks unrealistic and cheap... unless you are modelling in the smallest of scales BUT Static flock is ideal.. and this had small clumps glued in place across all bases. The results are what you can now see...

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