Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Painting Victrix Napoleonic British Infantry.


I've started painting Napoleonic figures so many times over the years, that I couldn't possibly name every incarnation... my first ever attempt at painting wargames figures was back in 1968, when I tried to paint up some Airfix French Napoleonic artillery, even though I only owned two pots of enamel paint at the time! I've tried 15mm Spanish, French, British and Austrian, 28mm Spanish, British and French and at least two goes at Russians. For me, the trouble with Napoleonics is that they just take so long to get all that fancy stuff painted well enough to look like you've done a good job. The thought of painting enough figures to make a decent sized army is enough to put even the most patient painter off. 

Bearing all this in mind, the only way I was ever going to paint a Napoleonic 'army' was to do just enough figures to put on a skirmish game. A dozen figures a side ought be achievable, even for a complete defeatist like me! Well, time will tell! The figure on the left below, took me about a week to clean up, build and paint; clearly, even a small skirmish force is going to involve a major investment in time. Nor surprising then that I am prepared to try any strategy to cut down the painting time and effort, while maintaining the quality of the finished product.

The thing that slows me down most with Napoleonics, is the trouble you have painting things like lacing and belts accurately when other things like arms and muskets are in the way.

Hence this attempt to make the whole process of painting some Victrix Napoleonic British flank company easier by leaving off the head, arms and back packs (to begin with at any rate!)

The advantage of painting this way is simply that you can get your brush far more easily into areas that are otherwise difficult to reach.

Once the legs and torso are painted, it is a simple matter of attaching the missing body parts, undercoating and carefully completing the paint job. I say carefully, because the problem I found was painting areas like the shoulder wings and the body side of the musket.

All in all, I think the two painting methods are equally fiddly in their own way and, if you're going to paint Napoleonics, you just have to live with the fact that it's going to be a tedious, frustrating and time consuming business. Once they are completely finished, it's nigh on impossible to tell which method you used to paint them. I have to say that I really like the Victrix figures, especially when all the trimmings have been added and I'm determined to paint up at least a dozen or so British and French to use with Song of Drums and Shakos, but I'll need to be really motivated to paint any more while I've got my lovely Warlord Ancient Germans to keep me entertained!

The finished articles... two different methods of going about the tricky business of painting Napoleonic infantry. I don't think either method has any major advantage or disadvantage over the other. Painting Napoleonics requires a unique combination of skill, patience and perseverance and I don't think it matters how you do it, it's just going to strain every ounce of  stamina and fortitude you have!