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The Napoleonic Guide is proud to give you these tips from no lesser personage than Anthony Barton - one of the creators of the highly acclaimed AB range of miniatures figures.


People often ask how I paint my figures, such as the ones shown on the right.

Obviously special care has been lavished on these, but I hope the following may be generally useful.

Glue your soldiers to flat sticks or individual blocks of wood to hold them whilst painting - I generally put 10 or so on to an 8 inch stick with UHU glue which can be broken easily when finished.

Use a thin undercoat of white enamel, sprayed or brushed. Some prefer black, but I find it kills the luminosity of the lighter colours laid over it.

Keep your colours a shade lighter than they would be for real. Colours appear paler when seen from afar - the "scale distance" effect. This applies to small figures as well as vehicles.

Aim for maximum contrast. We all know that soldiers were filthy on campaign, but this effect is difficult enough to achieve with large figures and best abandoned with small ones. You can always add some mud later on.

The choice of enamel or acrylic is up to you. I use Humbrol acrylic for speed and flexibility, but enamels for undercoating and metallics - the white and yellow are also better than the acrylic alternatives.

Since acrylic paints clog up any brush eventually, I regard them as disposable and use nylon (in UK, Pro-Arte Prolene). These are much cheaper than sable, which tend to be of poor construction these days. Cherish the brush with a fine point and keep it for lining out. A fine point on a large brush is of more use than any number of really small brushes.

Block in the main colours carefully over the white undercoat, leaving the belting and any light facings or trousers untouched. Care taken at this first stage reduces repainting later. When everything is coloured in I then `line outí all the parts of the figure, putting a fine line between everything. Use a darker version of the colour you are working over: black over blue; brown over red; grey over white. You will need a brush with a very fine point and this part is fiddly, but it articulates the whole figure and brings it to life. Finish off by touching up any white items and adding the metallics such as buttons and shako plates. The detail on metalwork can be picked out by flushing with an orange-brown.

The part most people find difficult. I use a matt flesh as undercoat, then pick out the features with a light orangey-red mixture of gloss tan and matt red - you can flush this into the detail if you keep it light and thin enough. Eyes and hair are then touched in with a dark red-brown, for which I mix gloss black and matt red.

Use matt, satin and gloss to contrast the different black materials - add a little red to leatherwork. Matt cloth or felt should be lightened a little to a very dark grey.

Usually too strong as bought - add a little white and tan to lighten and fade. In British units you can contrast the brick-red of soldiers and the scarlet (add yellow) of officers.

Dark blue uniforms were dyed with indigo, which has an almost violet tint. Try adding red to your dark blue paint to create this shade. If you add yellow to this mixture, you get dark green.

White Uniforms, particularly for Austrians and Saxons:
Make your ground cover a silver-grey; contrast this with the belting, a very pale buff. Line out with a grey-brown.

Artistís acrylics in tubes give the best shades: Light Red, Burnt Siena, Burnt Umber. Mix these with Earth or Tan for better coverage. Most brown or bay horses have darker legs and noses. For black horses use satin black with red added. For white horses, paint them light grey, darken the lower legs and nose with a darker grey, then highlight with white.

Dark, glossy brown. Pick out the barrel and bayonet, etc. with silver, to which a little black may be added. Line out with gloss black.

Buy a paper one!

The Napoleonic Guide suggests two Internet sources of free Napoleonic flags. Click here for details.

Tips courtesy of Anthony Barton so be sure to check out the AB website





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