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Painting

Painting 6mm figures is a not as off-putting as it may sound. At first it may seem a daunting task but once you knuckle under it’s not so bad. The beauty is that there’s no detail to speak of and a lot of the painting is done with ‘blobs’ of paint, examples being the face and hands. It takes me about five minutes to do 60 faces and 60 pairs of hands. When painting my figures I use No 1, ‘000’ and ‘0000’ brushes.


1798 United Irish Musketeers, figures from Steve's collection

The following guide is of course my method of painting “Baccus” figures and you may want to modify it to suite your own tastes but it’s a good guideline if nothing else.

1. First of all I glue my figures en-masse onto a 12 inch piece of wood, giving me 60 figures to paint.

a. For our younger viewers out there 12 inches equates to 300 of those foreign EU millimetres.

2. When they’re firmly stuck on I apply two white undercoats using a No 1 brush. Apart from being an undercoat it also serves another useful purpose, as I will explain a bit later on.

3. The next stage is to paint the hair. All of my men have brown hair and I use a ‘000’ brush for this.

Battle of Arklow: Government Troops anxiously awaiting the onslaught, figures from Steve's collection

4. Whilst you still have your brown colour out, paint any muskets or other weapons that your troops may have.

5. The next thing to do is to paint the coat. I use a ‘0000’ brush for this because if you’re painting troops that have white cross belts you can paint around these leaving them white meaning that there is one less job to do later on. If you find this technique too fiddly at first then paint the cross belts on during stage 8.

6. When the coat colour is dry you can, if you wish, paint on the regimental facings. (Go on, have a try!)

7. If your troops have white trousers, like a lot of Napoleonic troops do, this job was done for you in stage 2 when you applied your second under coat, so unless your troops have any other colour trousers there’s no need to paint them.

8. If your troops have black cross belts then it is at this stage that you will want to paint them. Use your ‘0000’ brush for this.

1798 Raay Fencibles, figures from Steve's collection

9. Hats are next. A ‘000’ brush is generally good for this.

10. Any sword scabbards can now be painted, use your ‘0000’ brush.

11. Hands, and faces next, use your ‘0000’ brush again for this.

12. The next activity is to paint on any metallic items such as sword hilts, pike heads etc with steel or gun metal, but leave any gold, brass or silver paint until after you have varnished your figures. I find that these kinds of paints tend to run when varnish is applied.

13. The second to last activity is to paint the bases. I use green for my figures but this is of course up to you.

14. Now leave your figures over night to completely dry.

15. This next stage will bring out the detail of the figure without too much effort and takes the “flat” effect away from them. Make yourself up a wash using matt varnish, I use Ronseal outdoor varnish, and “Payne’s Grey” oil paint. You will need very little oil paint so don’t over do it. I mix 1 teaspoon of varnish with a spot of oil paint, the wash shouldn’t be so dark as to darken the figures it should be a “Transparent” grey. This amount of wash will be enough to do all 60 figures. Apply the wash using a No 1 brush and leave to dry. You can then add any gold, brass or silver paint and then base your figures as you like.
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