Painting Hessians…and an Old Guard Grenadier

29 Apr

So in my last post I mentioned a book I’d just picked up, “Foundry Miniatures Painting and Modelling Guide” by Kevin Dallimore.  I’ve read the book through once and was impressed with the style and his techniques.  I’m not a great painter.  Painting for me has always been an obstacle; something that had to be accomplished so that I could play the game.  Lately though, I’ve wanted to try actually doing a decent job on my miniatures, but had no real idea how to accomplish it, so I knew I needed help.

I bought the book with high hopes, but low expectations.  I expected to find a bunch of fascinating, expert techniques, but figured they would all be beyond me.  Reading the book though, that seemed to not be the case.   In particular Dallimore’s “One Color” method is very straightforward and a good way to get started.  I had some 28mm Perry Old Guard Grenadiers in my dead lead pile, so I pulled one out and painted him up using the one color method.  I don’t have any photos of the process, but I took one of the finished product after a coat of gloss varnish.

Now you guys are looking at this thinking, “big deal”.  I assure you though, this guy is a large improvement over my usual quality.

Full of confidence I grabbed up six of the Perry 28mm Hessian musketeers I just ordered from The Warstore, primed them and got to work.  Here is one in process, with just the flesh and white bits painted.

Again, I suspect most guys reading this aren’t going to be impressed, but I am.  As I keep painting this group of figures I’ll take some more pictures of the work in progress.

I recommend Dallimore’s book without reservation if you, like me, have minimal knowledge of ‘proper’ techniques for painting miniatures.  For more advanced types, the two and three color methods and other ‘advanced’ sections would probably be of value.  Maybe I should actually write a review of the thing, even though it is already three years old and I’m probably the last person in the hobby to know about it.


Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “Painting Hessians…and an Old Guard Grenadier

  1. Jonathan @ CWF Game Cast

    May 5, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Adrian, I think the models look great! I’m not a fan of glossy finishes but both figures look really good. One thing people may not keep in mind is that these models are small…and most often they will be observed from 2-3 feet away. How many people get right next to a miniature toy soldier to examine it? Maybe if that person is judging it for a painting contest. Otherwise, is it good enough to be on the table? Does it have 3 paints? Is the owner/painter happy with how it looks?

    That last question is, for me, the most important. I saw your Napoleonic Grenadier in person and was elated by how good it looks. An entire unit of them will be impressive.

    As the person who showed you the Dallimore book I’m very happy that it is working out for you. Some credit has to go to my co-host Tom because he is the one who mentioned the book to me.

    Part of me wants to try the one color method but I am not gutsy enough to give it a go. This reminds me that I need to do more painting before Huzzah Con next week. Can’t wait to play in the events and look forward to seeing you there!

    • Adrian

      May 6, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Heh, thanks for the good words! I’m not sure I love the gloss varnish either…I’ll have to pick up a can of matte spray and see how that looks. The Book recommends a gloss varnish first, for the protection, then a coat of matte if you want the more subdued look. So matte varnish doesn’t protect? I guess not…

      I agree about the viewing distance issue. If you look at the models in Dallimore’s (or anyone’s) book, they look amazing in the closeup photographs, and also on the table view shots. Mine don’t look so great in the closeup photo, but in spite of that they look pretty good at normal viewing distance. I need to get more experience and practice with the techniques of course and they’ll be much better, but overall I’m pretty happy with them at this point.

      • Jonathan @ CWF Game Cast

        May 6, 2011 at 8:35 am

        If you take a peek at you’ll see that I discuss gloss and matte varnish (a few grafs above the pictures).

        There’s a lady who paints at BG every Tuesday, wish I knew her name, who is an amazing painter! She deserves to win a Golden Demon or something. She told me to use gloss varnish first (2-3 coats) and then matte varnish (a couple coats) to really protect the model.

        The reason gloss varnish is glossy is that it basically seals the model in a strong protection coat. That results in the glossy finish. The matte varnish is dull because it isn’t completely sealed. Or so goes my understanding.

        If you like how my BP is looking then you may want to try what I did. I hand applied 3 coats of GW ‘Ardcoat (you could use their spray or another company’s gloss varnish). I waited for each coat to dry before applying the next. One thing to look for in this method is varnish pooling in recesses. Some of my models had it pool, or had bubbles form, which are now permanent. 😦

        After the final gloss varnish coat is completely dry I applied my matte. A handful of great miniatures painters recommended Testors Dullcote. BG doesn’t have it but I found it at The Whiz on Rte. 9 East in Westborough. It is an easy to use spray matte varnish, which you should be comfortable with if you’ve used spray primer.

        I applied two coats of Dullcote and let it sit overnight. One more coat was probably necessary because some of the gloss shows at the odd angle (in a recesses, under elbows, etc). The overall look is really good.

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